/ (listen) LUK-səm-burg
: Lëtzebuerg [ˈlətsəbuəɕ] (listen)
; French: Luxembourg
; German: Luxemburg
), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
is a landlocked
country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium
to the west and north, Germany
to the east, and France
to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City
is one of the four official capitals
of the European Union
(together with Brussels
, and Strasbourg
) and the seat of the Court of Justice of the European Union
, the highest judicial authority in the EU.
Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbors, making it a mixture of French
cultures. It has three official languages
, and the national language
Interactive map showing the border of Luxembourg
The history of Luxembourg is considered to begin in 963, when count Siegfried
acquired a rocky promontory and its Roman-era fortifications known as Lucilinburhuc
, "little castle", and the surrounding area from the Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin
in nearby Trier
Siegfried's descendants increased their territory through marriage, war and vassal relations. At the end of the 13th century, the counts of Luxembourg
reigned over a considerable territory.
In 1308, Count of Luxembourg Henry VII
became King of the Germans
and later Holy Roman Emperor
The House of Luxembourg
produced four emperors during the High Middle Ages. In 1354, Charles IV
elevated the county to the Duchy of Luxembourg
The duchy eventually became part of the Burgundian Circle
and then one of the Seventeen Provinces
of the Habsburg Netherlands
Over the centuries, the City and Fortress of Luxembourg
, of great strategic importance situated between the Kingdom of France
and the Habsburg
territories, was gradually built up to be one of the most reputed fortifications
in Europe.
After belonging to both the France of Louis XIV
and the Austria of Maria Theresa
, Luxembourg became part of the First French Republic
The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna
in 1815. The Grand Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands
with a Prussian
garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France.
In 1839, following the turmoil of the Belgian Revolution
, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to Belgium and the Luxembourgish-speaking part (except the Arelerland
, the area around Arlon
) became what is the present state of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, OECD
, United Nations, NATO
, and Benelux
The city of Luxembourg, which is the country's capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU.
Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council
for the years 2013 and 2014, which was a first in the country's history.
As of 2020, Luxembourg citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries and territories, ranking the Luxembourgish passport
fifth in the world, tied with Denmark and Spain.
Before 963 AD
The first traces of settlement in what is now Luxembourg are dated back to the Paleolithic Age
, about 35.000 years ago. From the 2nd century BC, Celtic tribes
settled in the region between the rivers Rhine
, thus settling in the region which constitutes today's Grand-Duchy.
A few centuries later, the Romans
would name the celtic tribes inhabiting these exact regions collectively as the Treveri
, and multiple archeological evidence of their existence in Luxembourg have been discovered, the most famous being the "Oppidum of the Titelberg
In around 58 to 51 BC, the Romans invaded the country when Julius Caesar conquered Gaul
and part of Germania up to the Rhine border, thus the area of what is now Luxembourg became part of the Roman Empire
for the next 450 years, living in relative peace under the Pax Romana
Similarly to what happened in Gaul, the Celts of Luxembourg adopted Roman culture, language, morals and a way of life, effectively becoming what historians later described as Gallo-Roman civilization
Evidences from that period of time include the Dalheim Ricciacum
and the Vichten mosaic
which is on display at the National Museum of History and Art
in Luxembourg City.
The territory was infiltrated by the GermanicFranks
starting from the 4th century, and was abandoned by Rome in 406 AD.
The territory of what would become Luxembourg now became part of the Kingdom of the Franks
. The Salian Franks who settled in the area are often described as the ones having brought the Germanic language to present-day Luxembourg, since the old Frankish
language spoken by them is considered by linguists to be a direct forerunner of the Moselle Franconian dialect
, which later evolved, among others, into the modern-day Luxembourgish language
Emergence and expansion of the County of Luxemburg (963–1312)
By the middle of 13th century, the counts of Luxembourg had managed to considerably gain in wealth and power, and had expanded their territory from the river Meuse to the Moselle. By the time of the reign of Henry V the Blonde
, La Roche-en-Ardenne
, and in 1264 the competing County of Vianden
(and with it St. Vith
) had either been incorporated directly or become vassal states
to the County of Luxembourg.
The only major setback during their rise in power came in 1288, when Henry VI
and his three brothers died at the Battle of Worringen
, while trying unsuccessfully to also add the Duchy of Limburg
into their realm. But despite the defeat, the Battle of Worringen helped the Counts of Luxembourg to achieve military glory, which they had previously lacked, as they had mostly enlarged their territory by means of inheritances, marriages and fiefdoms.
Golden Age: The House of Luxembourg contending for supremacy in Central Europe (1312–1443)
Historic map (undated) of Luxembourg City's fortifications
With the ascension of Henry VII as Emperor, the new dynasty of the House of Luxembourg
not only began to rule the Holy Roman Empire
, but rapidly began to exercise growing influence over other parts of Central Europe as well.
Henry's son, John the Blind
, additionally of being Count of Luxembourg, also became King of Bohemia
. He remains a major figure in Luxembourgish history and folklore
and is considered by many historians the epitome of chivalry
in medieval times. He is also known for having founded the Schueberfouer
John the Blind is considered a national hero in Luxembourg.
In the 14th and early 15th centuries, two more members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian Kings: John's descendents Charles IV
, as well as Sigismund
, who additionnally was King of Hungary and Croatia
. Charles IV created the long-lasting Golden Bull of 1356
, a decree which fixed important aspects of the constitutional structure of the Empire. Luxembourg remained an independent fief (county) of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1354, Charles IV elevated it to the status of a duchy
with his brother Wenceslaus I
becoming the first Duke of Luxembourg
. While his kin were occupied ruling and expanding their power within the Holy Roman Empire and elsewhere, Wenceslaus, annexed the County of Chiny
in 1364, and with it, the territories of the new Duchy of Luxembourg
reached its greatest extent.
During these 130 years, the House of Luxembourg was contending with the House of Habsburg
for supremacy within the Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe. It all came to end in 1443, when the House of Luxembourg suffered a succession crisis, precipitated by the lack of a male heir to assume the throne. Since Sigismund and Elizabeth of Görlitz
were both heirless, all possessions of the Luxembourg Dynasty were redistributed among the european aristocracy.
The Duchy of Luxembourg become a possession of Philip the Good
, Duke of Burgundy
As the House of Luxembourg had become extinct and Luxembourg now became part of the Burgundian Netherlands
, this would mark the start of nearly 400 years of foreign rule over Luxembourg.
Luxembourg under Habsburg rule and repeated french invasions (1444–1794)
In 1482, Philip the Handsome
inherited all of what became then known as the Habsburg Netherlands
, and with it the Duchy of Luxembourg. For nearly 320 years Luxembourg would remain a possession of the mighty House of Habsburg, at first under Austrian rule (1444-1556), then under Spanish rule (1556-1714)
, before going back again to Austrian rule (1714-1794)
With having become a Habsburg possession, the Duchy of Luxembourg became, like many countries in europe at the time, heavily involved into the many conflicts for dominance of europe between the Habsburg-held countries and the Kingdom of France
In 1542 Francois I
invaded Luxembourg twice, but the Habsburgs under Charles V
managed to reconquer the Duchy each time.
In context of the Nine Years' War
in 1684, France invaded Luxembourg again
, conquering and occupying the Duchy until being forced to return it to the Habsburgs in 1697. But, yet again, peace lasted not long, as France invaded Luxembourg a third time when the War of the Spanish Succession
broke out in 1701. Only at its conclusion in 1714 began a period of peace as Luxembourg came back under Austrian rule.
As the Duchy of Luxembourg repeatedly passed back and forth from Spanish and Austrian to French rule, each of the conquering nations contributed to strengthening and expanding the Forteress
that the Castle of Luxembourg had become over the years. One example of this includes french military engineer Marquis de Vauban
who advanced the fortifications around and on the heights of the city, fortification walls that are still visible today.
Luxembourg under French Rule (1794–1815)
During the War of the First Coalition
, Revolutionary France
invaded the Austrian Netherlands, and with it, Luxembourg, yet again. Most of the Duchy was conquered relatively fast, however the Fortress of Luxembourg resisted for nearly 7 months
before the Austrian forces holding it surrendered. Luxembourg's long defence led Lazare Carnot
to call Luxembourg "the best fortress in the world, except Gibraltar", giving rise to the city's nickname the Gibraltar of the North
Luxembourg was annexed by France, becoming the département des forêts
(department of forests), and the incorporation of the former Duchy as a département
into France was formalised at the Treaty of Campo Formio
From the start of the occupation the new French officials in Luxembourg, who spoke only french, implemented many republican reforms, among them the principle of laicism
, which led to an outcry in strongly catholic Luxembourg. Additionally french was implemented as the only official language and luxembourgish people were barred access to all civil services.
When the French Army introduced military duty for the local population, riots broke out which culminated in 1798 when luxembourgish peasants started a rebellion.
The French managed to rapidly suppress this revolt, which is called the Peasant's War
However, many republican ideas of this era continue to have a lasting effect on Luxembourg: one of the many examples features the implementation of the napoleonic Code Civil
which was introduced in 1804 and is still valid today.
Gradual path towards independence and emergence of a national awareness (1815–1890)
The tree partitions of Luxembourg
After the defeat
in 1815, the Duchy of Luxembourg was restored. However, as the territory had been part of the Holy Roman Empire as well as the Habsburgian Netherlands in the past, both the Kingdom of Prussia
and the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
now claimed possession of the territory. At the Congress of Vienna
the great powers decided that Luxembourg would become a member state of the newly formed German Confederation
, but at the same time William I of the Netherlands
, the King of the Netherlands
, would become, in personal union
, the head of state. To satisfy Prussia, it was decided that not only the Fortress of Luxembourg
be manned by Prussian troops, but also that large parts of Luxembourgish territory (mainly the areas around Bitburg and St. Vith) become Prussian possessions.
This marked the second time that the Duchy of Luxembourg was reduced in size, and is generally known as the Second Partition of Luxembourg
. To compensate the Duchy for this loss, it was decided to elevate the Duchy to a Grand-Duchy
, thus giving the Dutch monarchs the additional title of Grand-Duke of Luxembourg
After the Luxembourg Crisis
of 1866 nearly led to war between Prussia and France, as both were unwilling to see the other taking influence over Luxembourg and its mighty fortress, the Grand Duchy's independence and neutrality were reaffirmed by the Second Treaty of London
and Prussia was finally willing to withdraw its troops from the Fortress of Luxembourg under the condition that the fortifications would be dismantled. That happened the same year.
At the time of the Franco-Prussian war
in 1870, Luxembourg's neutrality was respected by the North German Confederation
, and neither France nor Germany invaded the country.
As a result of the recurring disputes between the major European powers, the people of Luxembourg gradually developed a consciousness of independence and a national awakening took place in the 19th century.
The people of Luxembourg began referring to themselves as Luxembourgers
, rather than being part of one of the larger surrounding nations. This consciousness of Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn
culminated in 1890, when the last step towards full independence was finally taken: due to a succession crisis the Dutch monarchy
ceased to hold the title Grand-Duke of Luxembourg. Beginning with Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg
, the Grand-Duchy would have their own monarchy
, thus reaffirming its full indpendence.
Two German occupations and interwar political crisis (1890–1945)
Frontier with Alsace-Lorraine from 1871 to 1918
In August 1914, during World War I
, Imperial Germany
violated Luxembourg's neutrality
by invading it in order to defeat France. Nevertheless, despite the German occupation
, Luxembourg was allowed to maintain much of its independence and political mechanisms.
Unaware of the fact that Germany secretly planned to annex the Grand-Duchy in case of a German victory (the Septemberprogramm
), the Luxembourgish government continued to pursue a policy of strict neutrality. However, the Luxembourgish population did not believe Germany's good intentions, fearing that Germany would annex Luxembourg. Around 3,700 Luxembourgers served in the French army, of whom, 2,000 died.
Their sacrifices have been commemorated at the Gëlle Fra
France questioned the Luxembourgish government's, and especially Marie-Adélaïde's, neutrality during the war, and calls for an annexation of Luxembourg to either France or Belgium grew louder in both countries.
In January 1919, a company of the Luxembourgish Army
rebelled, declaring itself to be the army of the new republic, but French troops intervened and put an end to the rebellion.
Nonetheless, the disloyalty shown by her own armed forces was too much for Marie-Adélaïde, who abdicated in favour of her sister Charlotte
5 days later.
The same year, in a popular referendum
, 77.8% of the Luxembourgish population declared in favour of maintaining monarchy and rejected the establishment of a republic. During this time, Belgium pushed for an annexation of Luxembourg. However, all such claims were ultimately dismissed at the Paris Peace Conference
, thus securing Luxembourg's independence.
With 2.45% of its prewar population killed, and a third of all buildings in Luxembourg being destroyed or heavily damaged (mainly due to the Battle of the Bulge
), Luxembourg suffered the highest such loss in Western Europe and its commitment to the Allied war effort was never questioned.
Modern history: Integration into NATO and European Union (1945–)
The Grand-Duchy became a founding member of the United Nations
in 1945. Luxembourg's neutral status under the constitution
formally ended in 1948, and in April 1949 it also became a founding member of NATO
During the Cold War
, Luxembourg continued its involvements on the side of the Western Bloc. In the early fifties a small contingent of troops fought in the Korean War
Luxembourg troops have also deployed to Afghanistan, to support ISAF
The steel industry
exploiting the Red Lands
' rich iron-ore grounds in the beginning of the 20th century drove the country's industrialization. After the decline of the steel industry in the 1970s, the country focused on establishing itself as a global financial center
and developed into the banking hub it is reputed for. Since the beginning of the 21st century, its governments have focused on developing the country into a knowledge economy
, with the founding of the University of Luxembourg
and a national space program
Government and politics
Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies
, a unicameral
legislature of sixty members, who are directly elected to five-year terms from four constituencies
. A second body, the Council of State
), composed of twenty-one ordinary citizens appointed by the grand duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation.
Luxembourg has three lower tribunals (justices de paix
; in Esch-sur-Alzette
, the city of Luxembourg
, and 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 and an Administrative Court, as well as a Constitutional Court, all of which are located in the capital.
Partitions and Cantons of Luxembourg
There have been three partitions of Luxembourg
between 1659 and 1839. Together, they reduced the territory of Luxembourg from 10,700 km2
(4,100 sq mi) to the present-day area of 2,586 km2
(998 sq mi). The remainder forms parts of modern day Belgium
, France, and Germany.
Luxembourg has long been a prominent supporter of European political and economic integration
. In 1921, Luxembourg and Belgium formed the Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union
(BLEU) to create a regime of inter-exchangeable currency and a common customs
Luxembourg is a member of the Benelux Economic Union
and was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (now the European Union). It also participates in the Schengen Group
(named after the Luxembourg village of Schengen
where the agreements were signed).
At the same time, the majority of Luxembourgers have consistently believed that European unity makes sense only in the context of a dynamic transatlantic relationship, and thus have traditionally pursued a pro-NATO
, pro-US foreign policy.
Luxembourgish soldiers on parade during National Day, Grand Duke Day, 23 June
The Luxembourgish army is mostly based in its casern, the Centre militaire Caserne Grand-Duc Jean
on the Härebierg
in Diekirch.The general staff is based in the capital, the État-Major
The army is under civilian control
, with the grand duke as Commander-in-Chief
. The Minister for Defense
, François Bausch
, oversees army operations. The professional head of the army is the Chief of Defense
, who answers to the minister and holds the rank of general.
Being a landlocked country, Luxembourg has no navy. Seventeen NATO AWACS
airplanes are registered as aircraft of Luxembourg.
In accordance with a joint agreement with Belgium, both countries have put forth funding for one A400M
military cargo plane.
Luxembourg has participated in the Eurocorps
, has contributed troops to the UNPROFOR
missions in former Yugoslavia
, and has participated with a small contingent in the NATOSFOR
mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
. Luxembourg troops have also deployed to Afghanistan
, to support ISAF
. The army has also participated in humanitarian relief missions such as setting up refugee camps for Kurds
and providing emergency supplies to Albania.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked 167th
in size of all the 194 independent countries of the world
; the country is about 2,586 square kilometers (998 sq mi) in size, and measures 82 km (51 mi) long and 57 km (35 mi) wide. It lies between latitudes 49°
and 51° N
, and longitudes 5°
and 7° E
Typical Luxembourg countryside near Alscheid
The northern third of the country is known as the Oesling
, and forms part of the Ardennes
. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff
which is the highest point, at 560 meters (1,840 ft). Other mountains are the Buurgplaatz
at 559 meters (1,834 ft) near Huldange
and the Napoléonsgaard
at 554 meters (1,818 ft) near Rambrouch
. The region is sparsely populated, with only one town (Wiltz
) with a population of more than four thousand people.
The southern two-thirds of the country is called the Gutland
, and is more densely populated than the Oesling. It is also more diverse and can be divided into five geographic sub-regions. The Luxembourg plateau
, in south-central Luxembourg, is a large, flat, sandstone
formation, and the site of the city of Luxembourg. Little Switzerland
, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests. The Moselle
valley is the lowest-lying region, running along the southeastern border. The Red Lands
, in the far south and southwest, are Luxembourg's industrial heartland and home to many of Luxembourg's largest towns.
View of the Grund
river in the historical heart of Luxembourg City
The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer
, and the Our
. Other major rivers are the Alzette
, the Attert
, the Clerve
, and the Wiltz
. The valleys
of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling.
According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index
, Luxembourg is one of the world's best performers in environmental protection, ranking 4th out of 132 assessed countries.
In 2020 the country was ranked second out of 180 countries
Luxembourg also ranks 6th among the top ten most livable cities in the world by Mercer's.
The country wants to cut GHG emissions
by 55% in 10 years and reach zero emissions by 2050. Luxemburg wants to increase fivefold its organic farming.
Luxembourg had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index
mean score of 1.12/10, ranking it 164th globally out of 172 countries.
Luxembourg has an oceanic climate
), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer. The summers are warm and winters cool.
Graphical depiction of Luxembourg's product exports in 28 color-coded categories
Luxembourg's stable and high-income market economy
features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation.
Unemployment is traditionally low, although it had risen to 6.1% by May 2012, due largely to the effect of the 2008 global financial crisis
In 2011, according to the IMF
, Luxembourg was the second richest country in the world, with a per capita GDP on a purchasing-power parity (PPP) basis of $80,119.
Its GDP per capita in purchasing power standards was 261% of the EU average (100%) in 2019.
Luxembourg is ranked 13th in The Heritage Foundation
's Index of Economic Freedom
26th in the United Nations Human Development Index
, and 4th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life index
The industrial sector, which was dominated by steel until the 1960s, has since 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 production
. Services, especially banking and finance
, account for the majority of the economic output. Luxembourg is the world's second largest investment fund center (after the United States), the most important private banking center in the Eurozone
and Europe's leading center for reinsurance companies. Moreover, the Luxembourg government has aimed to attract Internet startups, with Skype
being two of the many Internet companies that have shifted their regional headquarters to Luxembourg. Other high-tech companies have established themselves in Luxembourg, including 3D scanner developer/manufacturer Artec 3D
In April 2009, concern about Luxembourg's banking secrecy laws, as well as its reputation as a tax haven
, led to its being added to a "gray list" of nations with questionable banking arrangements by the G20
. In response, the country soon after adopted OECD standards on exchange of information and was subsequently added into the category of "jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard".
In March 2010, the Sunday Telegraph
reported that most of Kim Jong-Il's $4 billion in secret accounts is in Luxembourg banks.
Amazon.co.uk also benefits from Luxembourg tax loopholes by channeling substantial UK revenues as reported by The Guardian
in April 2012.
Luxembourg ranked third on the Tax Justice Network
's 2011 Financial Secrecy Index
of the world's major tax havens, scoring only slightly behind the Cayman Islands
In 2013, Luxembourg is ranked as the 2nd safest tax haven in the world, behind Switzerland
Agriculture employed about 2.1 percent of Luxembourg's active population in 2010, when there were 2200 agricultural holdings with an average area per holding of 60 hectares.
Luxembourg has especially close trade and financial ties to Belgium and the Netherlands (see Benelux
), and as a member of the EU it enjoys the advantages of the open European market
With $171 billion in May 2015, the country ranks eleventh in the world in holdings of U.S. Treasury securities
However, securities owned by non-Luxembourg residents, but held in custodial accounts in Luxembourg, are also included in this figure.
As of 2019, the public debt of Luxembourg totaled $15,687,000,000, or a per capita debt of $25,554. The debt to GDP was 22.10%.
Luxembourg has road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernized in recent years with 165 km (103 mi)
of motorways connecting the capital to adjacent countries. The advent of the high-speed TGV
link to Paris has led to renovation of the city's railway station
and a new passenger terminal at Luxembourg Airport
was opened in 2008.
Luxembourg city reintroduced trams
in December 2017 and there are plans to open light-rail
lines in adjacent areas within the next few years.
On 29 February 2020 Luxembourg became the first country to introduce no-charge public transportation which will be almost completely funded through public expenditure.
The telecommunications industry in Luxembourg is liberalised and the electronic communications networks are significantly developed. Competition between the different operators is guaranteed by the legislative framework Paquet Telecom
of the Government of 2011 which transposes the European Telecom Directives into Luxembourgish law. This encourages the investment in networks and services. The regulator ILR – Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation
ensures the compliance to these legal rules.
Luxembourg has modern and widely deployed optical fiber and cable networks throughout the country. In 2010, the Luxembourg Government launched its National strategy for very high-speed networks with the aim to become a global leader in terms of very high-speed broadband by achieving full 1 Gbit/s coverage of the country by 2020.
In 2011, Luxembourg had an NGA
coverage of 75%.
In April 2013 Luxembourg featured the 6th highest download speed worldwide and the 2nd highest in Europe: 32,46 Mbit/s.
The country's location in Central Europe, stable economy and low taxes favour the telecommunication industry.
Luxembourg is connected to all major European Internet Exchanges (AMS-IX Amsterdam,
datacenters and POPs through redundant optical networks.
In addition, the country is connected to the virtual meetme room services (vmmr)
of the international data hub operator Ancotel.
This enables Luxembourg to interconnect with all major telecommunication operators
and data carriers worldwide. The interconnection points are in Frankfurt, London, New York and Hong Kong.
Luxembourg has established itself as one of the leading financial technology
(FinTech) hubs in Europe, with the Luxembourg government supporting initiatives like the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology.
Some 20 data centers
are operating in Luxembourg. Six data centers are Tier IV Design certified: three of ebrc,
two of LuxConnect
and one of European Data Hub.
In a survey on nine international data centers carried out in December 2012 and January 2013 and measuring availability (up-time) and performance (delay by which the data from the requested website was received), the top three positions were held by Luxembourg data centers.
Population density in Luxembourg by communes
. The main urban area, Luxembourg City
, is located in the south-center of the country
Largest groups of immigrants:
- Portugal (100,460)
- France (38,384)
- Italy (21,877)
- Belgium (21,008)
- Germany (15,056)
- Montenegro (9,065)
- United Kingdom (6,946)
- Serbia (6,282)
- Netherlands (4,734)
- Spain (4,241)
The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers
The immigrant population increased in the 20th century due to the arrival of immigrants from Belgium
, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal
, with the majority coming from the latter: in 2013 there were about 88,000 inhabitants with Portuguese
In 2013, there were 537,039 permanent residents, 44.5% of which were of foreign background or foreign nationals; the largest foreign ethnic groups were the Portuguese, comprising 16.4% of the total population, followed by the French (6.6%), Italians (3.4%), Belgians (3.3%) and Germans (2.3%). Another 6.4% were of other EU background, while the remaining 6.1% were of other non-EU, but largely other European, background.
Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars
, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina
, and Serbia
. Annually, over 10,000 new immigrants arrive in Luxembourg, mostly from the EU states, as well as Eastern Europe. In 2000 there were 162,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 37% of the total population. There were an estimated 5,000 illegal immigrants in Luxembourg in 1999.
Coin of the former Luxembourg franc
in two of the country's three languages: French (obverse, left) and Luxembourgish (reverse, right)
The three official languages of Luxembourg are French
: a Franconian
language specific to the local population which is partially mutually intelligible with the neighboring High German
, but which also includes more than 5,000 words of French origin.
Every citizen or resident has the right to address the administration in the language of their choice among the three official languages and to be answered in that language.
Luxembourg is largely multilingual; while a 2009 survey revealed that French was the language spoken by most inhabitants (99%), Luxembourgish (82%), German (81%) and English (72%) were also spoken by large sections of the population.
Each of the three official languages is used as the primary language in certain spheres of everyday life, without being exclusive. Luxembourgish is the national language
of the Grand Duchy and is considered the mother tongue or "language of the heart" for the local population,
being the language that Luxembourgers generally use to speak to each other. However, despite a recent increase in the production of novels in the language, it is seldom used as written language, and the numerous expatriate workers (approximately 60% of the population) also generally do not use it to speak to each other.
Most official business and written communication is carried out in French, which is also the language mostly used for public communication, with written official statements, advertising displays and road signs generally being in French. Due to the historical influence of the Napoleonic Code on the legal system of the Grand Duchy, French is also the sole language of the legislation and generally the preferred language of the government, administration and justice. The parliamentary debates are however mostly conducted in Luxembourgish, whereas the written government communications and the official documents (e.g. administrative or judicial decisions, passports etc.) are drafted only in French.
Although professional life is largely multilingual, French is described by private sector business leaders as the main working language of their companies (56%), followed by Luxembourgish (20%), English (18%), and German (6%).
German is very often used in much of the media along with French.
Due to the large community of Portuguese origin, the Portuguese language is de facto fairly present in Luxembourg though it remains limited to the relationships inside this community; although Portuguese does not have any official status, the administration sometimes holds certain informative documents available in Portuguese.
Luxembourg is a secular state
, but the state recognizes certain religions as officially mandated religions. This gives the state a hand in religious administration and appointment of clergy, in exchange for which the state pays certain running costs and wages. Religions covered by such arrangements are Roman Catholicism
, Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy
, Russian Orthodoxy
, and Islam
Since 1980 it has been illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices.
An estimation by the CIA Factbook
for the year 2000 is that 87% of Luxembourgers are Catholic, including the grand ducal family, the remaining 13% being made up of Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and those of other or no religion.
According to a 2010 Pew Research Center
study, 70.4% are Christian, 2.3% Muslim, 26.8% unaffiliated, and 0.5% other religions.
According to a 2005 Eurobarometer
44% of Luxembourg citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 28% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", and 22% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French.
Proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school, but half the students leave school without a certified qualification, with the children of immigrants being particularly disadvantaged.
In addition to the three national languages, English is taught in compulsory schooling and much of the population of Luxembourg can speak English. The past two decades have highlighted the growing importance of English in several sectors, in particular the financial sector. Portuguese, the language of the largest immigrant community, is also spoken by large segments of the population, but by relatively few from outside the Portuguese-speaking community.
According to data from the World Health Organization
, healthcare spending on behalf of the government of Luxembourg topped $4.1 Billion, amounting to about $8,182 for each citizen in the nation.
The nation of Luxembourg collectively spent nearly 7% of its Gross Domestic Product
on health, placing it among the highest spending countries on health services and related programs in 2010 among other well-off nations in Europe with high average income among its population.
Luxembourg was a founding participant of the Eurovision Song Contest
, and participated every year between 1956
, with the exception of 1959. It won the competition a total of five times, 1961
and hosted the contest in 1962
, and 1984
, but only eight of its 38 entries were performed by Luxembourgish
Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture
twice. The first time was in 1995. In 2007, the European Capital of Culture
was to be a cross-border area consisting of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland in Germany, the Walloon Region and the German-speaking part of Belgium, and the Lorraine
area in France. The event was an attempt to promote mobility and the exchange of ideas, crossing borders physically, psychologically, artistically and emotionally.
Luxembourg was represented at the World Expo 2010
in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010 with its own pavilion.
The pavilion was based on the transliteration of the word Luxembourg into Chinese, "Lu Sen Bao", which means "Forest and Fortress". It represented Luxembourg as the "Green Heart in Europe".
Charly Gaul won three Grand Tours
in his cycling career.
Unlike most countries in Europe, sport in Luxembourg is not concentrated upon a particular national sport
, but encompasses a number of sports, both team and individual. Despite the lack of a central sporting focus, over 100,000 people in Luxembourg, out of a total population of near 500,000–600,000, are licensed members of one sports federation or another.
The largest sports venue in the country is d'Coque
, an indoor arena
and Olympic swimming pool in Kirchberg
, north-eastern Luxembourg City, which has a capacity of 8,300. The arena is used for basketball, handball, gymnastics, and volleyball, including the final of the 2007 Women's European Volleyball Championship
. The national stadium
(also the country's largest) is the Stade Josy Barthel
, in western Luxembourg City; named after the country's only official Olympic gold medalist, the stadium has a capacity of 8,054.
Luxembourg cuisine reflects its position on the border between the Latin and Germanic worlds, being heavily influenced by the cuisines of neighboring France and Germany. More recently, it has been enriched by its many Italian and Portuguese immigrants.
Most native Luxembourg dishes, consumed as the traditional daily fare, share roots in the country's folk dishes the same as in neighboring Germany
Luxembourg sells the most alcohol in Europe per capita.
However, the large proportion of alcohol purchased by customers from neighboring countries contributes to the statistically high level of alcohol sales per capita; this level of alcohol sales is thus not representative of the actual alcohol consumption of the Luxembourg population.
The main languages of media in Luxembourg are French and German. The newspaper with the largest circulation is the German-language daily Luxemburger Wort
Because of the strong multilingualism in Luxembourg, newspapers often alternate articles in French and articles in German, without translation. In addition there are both English and Portuguese radio and national print publications, but accurate audience figures are difficult to gauge since the national media survey by ILRES
is conducted in French.
Luxembourg is known in Europe for its radio and television stations (Radio Luxembourg
and RTL Group
). It is also the uplink home of SES
, carrier of major European satellite services for Germany and Britain.
Due to a 1988 law that established a special tax scheme for audiovisual investment, the film and co-production in Luxembourg has grown steadily.
There are some 30 registered production companies in Luxembourg.
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Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 19:17
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