The question of the military is linked to many historiographical fields of enquiry: power and legitimation, state building, nation building (the notion of compulsory military service as “school of the nation” and factor of integration), national security, cyber security and surveillance but also interventions in public health, responses to natural disasters etc. Military history is also intrinsically linked to International Relations and the study of systems of political alliances, economic cooperation and spheres of influence.

The military history of Luxembourg is characterized by many changes and reorganizations. This project seeks to examine each type of military configuration and composition since the early nineteenth-century until today in its historical context and reconstruct its relations to the political power (head of state and legislative bodies) as well as society at large. The project also aims at assessing recurring issues, such as recruitment policies and public responses, training and deployment, doctrine and strategies. It examines the entangled history that ties Luxembourg to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the German Confederation, France and Belgium, as well as Benelux, the Western European Union and NATO. The case of Luxembourg also allows to ask more general questions about small states and the production of (military) knowledge, which will be addressed in a comparative analysis for the most recent period.

The scientific board comprises: Prof. Christian Koller (Universität Zürich), Dr Antony Dabila (Université de Lyon),  Dr Suzanne Graham (University of Johannesburg), Dr Stefan Klemp, Dr Jean-Jacques Patry (FRS).

The steering board is composed of Prof. Harlan Koff, Assoc. Prof. Sonja Kmec, Mr Benoît Niederkorn (Director of the Musée national d’histoire militaire) and Mr Alex Riechert (Directeur adjoint, MAE Direction de la Défense)


International conference on Small States and Security (September 2021), extended conference papers submitted for publication.

Collective volume: Histoire militaire du Luxembourg/ Militärgeschichte LuxemburgsPrincipales caractéristiques d’un développement transnational de l’armée, de la guerre et de la société /  Grundzüge einer transnationalen Entwicklung von Militär, Krieg und Gesellschaft, sous la direction de / herausgegeben von Thomas Kolnberger & Benoît Niederkorn (Mersch: capybarabooks, 2022)

Journal articles and working papers (see the publication record of each project member)

Bachelor thesis: Romain Haas, La milice nationale du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Portraits biographiques et profils socio-militaires des miliciens ayant servi pour la commune de Dudelange (1817-1830), Université du Luxembourg, 2022.

Master thesis: Milena Campagna, La milice nationale : La naissance d’une armée luxembourgeoise. D’une armée imposée à une armée de volontaires, Université du Luxembourg, 2021.


Illustration: Postkarte / Carte postale, Serie: Militärkarten / Cartes militaires (Luxembourg: Verlag Kuschmann soeurs, s.d.)


Project members
Sonja Kmec, PI

Thomas Kolnberger, project coordinator

Matthias Boucebci

Thibault Fouillet

Thierry Grosbois

Karl Hampel


Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes (Direction de la Défense), Luxembourg

Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, France