The castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries on the foundations of a Roman fort and a Carolingian refuge. Influenced by the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the palace is one of the largest residences of the Romanesque and Gothic eras.
Until the 15th century, the castle was the residence of the powerful Counts of Vianden, who prided themselves on their relations with the German Imperial Court and whose most notable scion, Henry I (1220-1250), married a blood relative of the Capetian dynasty, the House of France. In 1890 the castle fell to Grand Duke Adolf, the elder line of the House of Nassau, and remained in the possession of the Grand Ducal family. The castle became state property in 1977 and has been restored in keeping with its former splendour. Today it is one of the most important architectural monuments in Europe.