Known as 'Adolphe Grand-Duc de Luxembourg' he was born Adolf Wilhelm August Karl Friedrich Duke of Nassau-Weilburg. He was the last Duke of Nassau, and the fourth Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He was a son of Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau (1792 - 1839) and his first wife Charlotte Luise Friederike of Saxe-Altenburg. Adolfe's half-sister, Sophia of Nassau, married King Oscar II of Sweden. Adolf became Duke of Nassau in August of 1839, after the death of his father. He supported the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. After Austria's defeat, Nassau was annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia and he lost his throne on 20 September 1866.
In 1879, Adolf's niece Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the daughter of another of his half-sisters, married her distant relative King William III of the Netherlands. In 1890, their only daughter Wilhelmina succeeded on his death without surviving male issue to the Dutch throne, but was excluded from the succession to Luxembourg by the Salic Law. The Grand Duchy, which had been linked to the Netherlands since 1815, passed to the Dutch royal family's distant relative - the dispossessed Duke Adolphe - on 23 November 1890, in accordance with the Nassau family compact. The Grand Dukes of Luxembourg are still descendants of Adolf, although through female lines, since the very independence of the Grand-Duchy required an alteration of the succession laws at the absence of male heirs. On 31 January 1844, Adolf first married Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia, niece of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. She died less than a year afterwards in childbirth with a stillborn daughter. On 23 April 1851, he remarried in Dessau Princess Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau (1833-1916), a daughter of Friedrich, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau. They had five children, of whom only two lived to the age of eighteen.
Reportedly first laid to rest in a vault at Schloss Hohenburg in Lenggries (Bavaria), his remains were relocated to Weilburg in 1953 when the castle was sold.
Helene von Nassau von Waldeck-Pyrmont