The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in the world, is a landlocked country in Western Europe. It is surrounded by France to the South, Germany to the East, and Belgium to the South. It is one of the remaining sovereign grand duchies with the Grand Duke remaining the head of the state. Though it is a small country, Luxembourg holds an influential seat in the European Union as one of the union’s founding members. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the four official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Due to its location, Luxembourg is a point of contact between Germanic and Romantic language communities. It has three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish.
Prior to adopting the euro as its national currency, Luxembourg used the Luxembourg franc as its monetary unit from 1854 to 1999. This franc is also convertible and interchangeable with the Luxembourg mark. The earliest franc notes were introduced at par with the Belgian franc. The denominations were hand-stamped on both sides of the note and were issued by the International Bank in Luxembourg (Banque Internationale a Luxembourg). When Germany invaded Luxembourg at the beginning of the First World War, the International Bank issued small value notes to alleviate the shortage of coins. After the war, the International Bank issued franc notes that featured Grand Duchess Charlotte in the front and various agricultural vignettes on both sides. The Grand-Duche de Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) State Treasury also issued state treasury notes that ran concurrent to the banknotes issued by the International Bank. In 1918, the first series of treasury notes that featured Grand Duchess Charlotte were issued following her ascension to the throne. After the liberation of Luxembourg from German administration in 1943, the Luxembourg franc was re-established. These franc banknotes featured a new portrait of Grand Duchess Charlotte on the obverse side and various landmarks and everyday vignettes on the reverse side. When Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated in 1964, the State Treasury issued new banknotes featuring the new Grand Duke Jean in his military uniform on the front and various landmarks at the back. The Institut Monetaire Luxembourgeois (Luxembourg Monetary Institute) took over paper money issuing authority from the government. They issued banknotes that featured an updated portrait of Grand Duke Jean and the Grand Ducal Palace on the obverse side and different landmarks on the reverse side.