Grand Duchy of Luxembourg specs
Country National name:
Luxembourg Prime Minister:
Luxembourg Total area: 998 sq mi
Luxembourg birth rate: 11.8/1000;
Luxembourg infant mortality rate: 4.7/1000;
Luxembourg life expectancy: 79.0;
Luxembourg Capital and largest city (2003 est.):
Luxembourg Monetary unit:
Luxembourg Literacy rate:
Luxembourg Economic summary:
Luxembourg Labor force:
Luxembourg Natural resources: iron ore (no longer exploited), arable land.
Luxembourg Major trading partners:
Luxembourg Communications: Telephones:
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 2 (1999).
Luxembourg Television broadcast stations: 8 (1999).
Luxembourg Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 8 (2000). Internet users: 100,000 (2001).
Luxembourg Transportation: Railways: total: 274 km (2002). Highways: total: 5,189 km; paved: 5,189 km (including 114 km of expressways); unpaved: 0 km (2000).
Luxembourg Ports and harbors: Mertert. Airports: 2 (2002).
Of the country's 459 500 inhabitants (official estimate 2006), some 90,000 live in Luxembourg-city and its immediate surroundings.
The number of foreign residents in Luxembourg has already exceeded 32 % of the population. It is the highest proportion of foreigners of any EU country.
'Lëtzebuergesch' is the everyday spoken language of the people, and the symbol of the Luxembourgers national identity. Since the creation of a dictionary and a grammar, this former Mosel-Frankish dialect is now recognised as the national language (since 1984), while both French and German remain the official languages.
'Lëtzebuergesch' or Luxembourgish is taught in schools and in language courses mostly addressed to the resident foreigners.
Although of Germanic origin (around 11th century), Lëtzebuergesch has sufficiently differentiated itself from its parent language, so as no longer to be understood by many a German.
Indeed many French words (and a dash of English, for good measure) have been adopted into the language and were transformed, sometimes beyond recognition.
Both German and French culture meet in Luxembourg. Franco-German bilinguism, without any language differences, is a typical aspect of the country's social structure.
If both German and French are used in the press, in political and in religious life, French is nevertheless the official language of the administration, jurisdiction, parliament, education, and of some literary circles.
Public offices though are held to answer -wherever possible- in the language they are addressed in.
This peculiar language situation is a direct result of the size of the country, and its historic associations with both France and Germany.
When going abroad -which after all, is not very far- the Luxembourgers have to speak other languages, simply because their own is not understood elsewhere.
Thus it comes as no surprise that many Luxembourgers speak English too. This is obviously more the case in the capital and in other centres, than in rural areas, where there is hardly a need for more than 2 foreign languages.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small country, landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany, and its history has been inextricably linked with that of its far larger neighbours.
Despite declaring its neutrality, Luxembourg
Luxembourg location in Europe:
Map of Luxembourg [ click to enlarge in new browser window ]
History of Luxembourg:
Luxembourg, once part of Charlemagne's empire, became an independent state in 963, when Siegfried, count of Ardennes, became sovereign of Lucilinburhuc (“Little Fortress”). In 1060, Conrad, a descendant of Siegfried, took the title count of Luxembourg. From the 15th to the 18th century, Spain, France, and Austria held the duchy in turn. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 made it a grand duchy and gave it to William I, king of the Netherlands. In 1839, the Treaty of London ceded the western part of Luxembourg to Belgium. The eastern part, continuing in personal union with the Netherlands and a member of the German Confederation, became autonomous in 1848 and a neutral territory by decision of the London Conference of 1867, governed by its grand duke. Germany occupied the duchy in World Wars I and II. Allied troops liberated the enclave in 1944.
Attempts to escape German influence initially led to an economic union with Belgium in 1921.
After renewed occupation in World War II, Luxembourg abandoned its neutrality and became a front-rank enthusiast for international co-operation.
Luxembourg joined NATO in 1949, the Benelux Economic Union (with Belgium and the Netherlands) in 1948, and the European Economic Community (later the EU) in 1957. In 1961, Prince Jean, son and heir of Grand Duchess Charlotte, was made head of state, acting for his mother. She abdicated in 1964, and Prince Jean became grand duke. Grand Duchess Charlotte died in 1985. Luxembourg's parliament approved the Maastricht Accord, paving the way for the economic unity of the EU in July 1992. Crown Prince Henri was sworn in as grand duke in Oct. 2000, replacing his father, Jean, who had been head of state for 26 years.
Luxembourg's prosperity was formerly based on steel manufacturing. With the decline of that industry, Luxembourg diversified and is now best known for its status as a tax haven and banking centre.
But Luxembourg's strict laws on banking secrecy mean the system can be exploited for the purposes of tax evasion and fraud.
Luxembourg's politics are characterised by stability and long-serving administrations.
The City of Luxembourg :
In 1952, came the great opportunity for which they had been waiting, the chance to complete their task after so long. The Foreign Ministers of the first European Community, the Coal and Steel Community, chose Luxembourg as their provisional headquarters. The proverb goes that it is only that which is provisional which is destined to last: today Luxembourg, alongside Strasbourg and Brussels, is one of the three headquarters of the European Union. (European Institutions established in Luxembourg are: The European Court of Justice, The European Investment Bank, The European Court of Auditors, The Secretariat of the European Parliament, certain Services of the Commission and The Office for Publications etc.)
The impact of all this upon the city has been considerable. From the beginning of the Sixties, a European quarter has developed, on the Kirchberg plateau, linked to the city by the Pont Charlotte. Almost 8,000 officials now work there. According to Jean Monnet, it can be said of Luxembourg that, "the small city has become a cross-roads of Europe".
The evolution of a financial centre in Luxembourg from the end of the Sixties further accentuates the international character of the city. In 1960 the number of banking establishments was 17. That number has grown to 218 by 1994. The effect of so many banks taking root has not always been favourable, mainly because a number of fine dwellings, which had once belonged to city folk, have now been replaced by modern constructions without charme.
In spite of its modest demographic dimensions (80,000 inhabitants, and approximately 100,000 if parishes which directly adjoin the city are included) Luxembourg has become a metropolis, as much in these activities in the service of the international community as in the composition of its population (about 48% of its inhabitants are foreigners, the great majority nationals of countries in the European Union). Today the city is a microcosm of the Europe of tomorrow.
It was the discovery of the iron ore around 1850 which marked the turning point for Luxembourg and meant its economic take-off. An important steel industry came into being in the south-western corner of the country, drawing tens of thousands of foreign workers into the ore mines and steel factories, and bringing prosperity to the whole country.
Steel exports constitute one quarter of the value of Luxembourg's export trade. Luxembourg is home to the ArcelorMittal group (previously known as ARBED), the largest private employer in the country and the number one steel company in the world with a turnover of 88.6 billion dollars in 2006. The company holds leadership positions in its main markets: automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging as well as general industry. ArcelorMittal has 320,000 employees in over 60 countries, and produces around 10% of world steel output.
Since the end of World War II, great efforts have been made to bring diversity into the former monolithic industry. Aluminium, glass, cement, tyres, magnetic tapes and computer manufacturers have established plants, dams have been built in Esch-sur-Sûre and Rosport; Vianden houses Europe's second largest pumping station producing peak hydro-electricity; the ASTRA satellites are controlled from Luxembourg.
Luxembourg plays a major role as a prominent international financial centre. Numerous banks and important investment trusts have settled in the capital, as the fiscal legislation, which dates back to 1929, favours Banks and Holding Companies.
The Luxembourg financial sector comprises 154 credit institutions from 26 different countries holding Balance Sheet assets of over EUR 843 billion as at 30 September 2006. The country represents the first International Private Banking centre in "Euro-Land" and the second largest Investment Funds industry after the USA and ranks eighth among the largest financial centres in the world.
In parallel with the growth of private banking, which year on year emerges as the core activity for Luxembourg's banks, the development of other sectors, such as Investment Fund Promotion and Services, as well as Life Insurance are reinforcing Luxembourg's claim to be Europe's premier centre for all forms of Personal Investment business.
Tourism contributes significantly to the National Accounts. (see also: Tourism Statistics and Tourism stats overview)
Its economic structure and its geographical position have necessarily led Luxembourg into a close co-operation with other countries, and particularly with Belgium since 1921, and with Belgium and the Netherlands since the second World War, with the creation of BENELUX, an economic Union which was the first step towards the present larger European Union.
Links to information and resources on Luxembour :
Administration du Cadastre et de la Topographie
More usefull links to information about Luxembourg