Count Sigefroid founded the nation in 963, and Countess Ermesinde (r.1196–1247) tripled the extent of the country. Other outstanding historical personages are Henry VII of Luxembourg(c.1275–1313), who became Holy Roman emperor in 1308; his son John the Blind (1296–1346), count of Luxembourg (1309–46) and king of Bohemia (1310–46), a national hero; and the latter's son Charles (1316–78), who became Holy Roman emperor as Charles IV (1346–78). Grand duke from 1890 to 1905 was Adolphe (1817–1905), one-time duke of Nassau (1839–66) and the founder of the present dynasty, the house of Nassau-Weilbourg, whose origins go back to 1059.
Joseph Bech (1887–1975), prime minister from 1926 to 1937 and from 1953 to 1958, served as foreign minister for 33 years. Luxembourg-born Robert Schuman (1886–1963), French premier (1947–48) and foreign minister (1948–53), was a key figure in the postwar movement for West European integration. Grand Duchess Charlotte (1896–1985) abdicated in 1964 in favor of her son Grand Duke Jean (b.1921), who has reigned since then; the heir apparent is Crown Prince Henri (b.1955).
An artist of note was painter Joseph Kutter (1894–1941). Gabriel Lippmann (1845–1921) was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics (1908) for his pioneering work in color photography.