The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked state in the north-west of the continental European Union, bordered by France, Germany and Belgium.

Grand-Duch頤e Luxembourg
Groߨerzogtum Luxemburg
Groussherzogtum L봺ebuerg

Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg: Coat of Arms
(In Detail)
National motto: Mir w묬e bleiwe wat mir sinn
(Luxembourgish: We wish to remain what we are)
Location of Luxembourg
Official languages French, German, Luxembourgish
(de jure since 1984)
Capital Luxembourg
Largest City Luxembourg
Grand Duke Grand Duke Henri
Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 167th
2,586 km?
 - Total (2004)
 - Density
Ranked 162nd
11 May 1867
GDP (2005)
  - Total (PPP)
  - Total
  - GDP/capita (PPP)
  - GDP/capita

$30.6 billion (92nd)
$35.6 billion (62nd)
$66,821 (1st)
$77,595 (1st)
Currency Euro (€) (¹)
Time zone
 - in summer
National anthem Ons Heemecht
Internet TLD .lu
Calling Code +352
1 Prior to 1999: Luxembourg franc.


Main article: History of Luxembourg

The recorded history of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg begins with the construction of Luxembourg Castle in the 963. Around this fort a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a small but important state of great strategic value. In 1437 the ruling family became extinct. In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened over the years by its successive occupants, among others the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and French. Even after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, when the Congress of Vienna gave formal autonomy to Luxembourg, the country was disputed between Prussia and the Dutch kingdom.

Luxembourg declared independence in 1835. It was however not until 1867 that Luxembourgs independence was formally ratified. The country was attacked by Germany during World War I and World War II.

In 1945 after World War II Luxembourg abandoned its politics of neutrality, when it became a founding member of NATO (1949), the United Nations. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union) and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area. The present sovereign is Grand Duke Henri, the current Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.


Main article: Politics of Luxembourg

Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarchy by inheritance. Under the constitution of 1868, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the cabinet, which consists of a prime minister and several other ministers. The Grand-Duke has the power to dissolve parliament and reinstate a new one.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, elected directly to 5-year terms. A second body, the "Conseil d'ɴat" (Council of State), composed of 21 ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation.[1] (


The Grand Duchy has three lower tribunals (justices de paix; in Esch-sur-Alzette, in Luxembourg and in Diekirch), two district tribunals (Luxembourg and Diekirch) and a Superior Court of Justice (Luxembourg),which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation.

There is also an administrative tribunal (Luxembourg) and an Administrative Court (Luxembourg),as well as a Constitutional Court (Luxembourg).


Map of Luxembourg

Main article: Geography of Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It is ranked 167th in size of all the countries of the world. The country is about 2,586 km? in size. In the west it borders the Belgian province of Luxembourg, which is (at 4,443 km?) nearly twice the size of the country.

The north of the country, part of the Ardennes, has hills and low mountains, with the Buurgplaatz as the highest point at 559 m. The rest of the country is also hilly.

Luxembourg's eastern border is formed by three rivers, the Moselle, the [[Sauer|Sauer/S? and the Our.

The capital, Luxembourg, is the largest city of the country. Other important cities are Esch-sur-Alzette (or just Esch), to the south-west of the capital, and Echternach, against the German border in the east.


Main article: Districts of Luxembourg

Luxembourg is divided in to three administrative subdivisions, or districts:


Main article: Economy of Luxembourg

The stable, high-income economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and low unemployment. The industrial sector, until recently dominated by steel, has become increasingly more diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. During the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than compensated for the decline in steel. Services, especially banking, account for a growing proportion of the economy, as in most tax havens. Agriculture is based on small family-owned farms. Luxembourg has especially close trade and financial ties to Belgium and the Netherlands, and as a member of the EU, enjoys the advantages of the open European market. Luxembourg possesses the highest GDP per capita in the world ($77,595 as of 2005).


Main article: Culture of Luxembourg

The linguistic situation in Luxembourg is characterized by the practice and the recognition of three official languages: French, German and Luxemburgish.

The plurilingualism of Luxembourg results from the coexistence of two ethnic groups, a Romance and a Germanic one.

In the beginnings of the country, French enjoyed the greatest prestige, and therefore its preferential use as the official and administrative language. German was used in the political field to comment on the laws and the ordinances in order to make them comprehensible to everyone. At primary school, teaching was limited to German, while French was taught in secondary education.

The law of July 26, 1843 reinforced bilingualism by introducing the teaching of French in primary school.

Luxembourgish ("L봺ebuergesch"), a Francique dialect similar to German, native of the Moselle region, was introduced in primary school in 1912.

Until 1984, the official use of the languages was based on the grand-ducal decrees of 1830, 1832 and 1834, which allowed the free choice between German and French. French was preferred in the administration. Luxembourgish had no official status at all.

The constitutional revision of 1948 gave the legislator the possibility of regulating the language by law. On February 24, 1984 a law, passed by the constitutional chamber, made Luxemburgish the national language. Furthermore, this law recognized the three languages of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish, French and German) as official languages. French remains the language of the legislation, due to the application of the Napoleonic civil code in Luxembourg.

Luxemburgish is taught in schools after French and German. Moreover, Luxembourgish is taught only one hour per week at secondary school and only in the first years. In secondary school, besides German, French and Luxembourgish, English and one of Latin, Spanish or Italian is taught. At university level, multilingualism makes it possible to Luxembourgish students to continue their higher education in French-, German- or English-speaking countries.

At the political level, Luxembourg contributed to the creation of Europe linked with Robert Schuman. Mastery of two major European languages has made it possible for Luxembourg to be easily integrated into the creation of the European Community and to become a unifying and progressive factor.

German is the primary language of the press. Public service information is in French, German, and sometimes English or Portuguese, since roughly 10% of the population is of Portuguese extraction.

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