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Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a
landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There are currently 44 landlocked countries and 5 list of states with limited recognition, partial ...
country in Western Europe. It is bordered by
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
to the west and north,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
to the east, and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
to the south. Its capital,
Luxembourg City Luxembourg ( lb, Lëtzebuerg; french: Luxembourg; german: Luxemburg), also known as Luxembourg City ( lb, Stad Lëtzebuerg, link=no or ; french: Ville de Luxembourg, link=no; german: Stadt Luxemburg, link=no or ), is the capital city A c ...
, is one of the four official capitals of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(together with
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
,
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
, and
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...

Strasbourg
) and the seat of the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbors, making it a mixture of French and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
cultures.
Luxembourgish Luxembourgish ( ; also ''Luxemburgish'', ''Luxembourgian'', ''Letzebu(e)rgesch''; Luxembourgish: ) is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: ...
is the only national language of the Luxembourgish people, as defined by law. In addition to Luxembourgish,
French
French
and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
are used in administrative and judicial matters; the three languages are jointly considered administrative languages of Luxembourg. With an area of , it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe. In 2019, Luxembourg had a population of 634,730, which makes it one of the least-populous countries in Europe, but by far the one with the highest population growth rate. Foreigners account for nearly half of Luxembourg's population. As a
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song, ...
with a
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from a ...
, it is headed by Grand Duke Henri and is the world's only remaining sovereign
grand duchy A grand duchy is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisa ...
. Luxembourg is a
developed country A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized governm ...
, with an advanced economy and one of the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita. The City of Luxembourg, with its old quarters and fortifications, was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
in 1994 due to the exceptional preservation of the vast fortifications and the old city. 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 Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley b ...

Trier
. Siegfried's descendants increased their territory through marriage, war and vassal relations. At the end of the 13th century, the
counts of Luxembourg The County of Luxemburg (french: Luxembourg; lb, Lëtzebuerg) was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...
reigned over a considerable territory. In 1308, Count of Luxembourg Henry VII became
King of the Germans King of the Romans ( la, Rex Romanorum; german: König der Römer) was the title used by the German king following his election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple in ...
and later
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
. The
House of Luxembourg The House of Luxembourg (luxembourgish: D'Lëtzebuerger Haus; french: Maison de Luxembourg; german: Haus Luxemburg) or Luxembourg dynasty was a royal family A royal family is the immediate family of /, , /, or / and sometimes their extended ...
produced four German emperors during the High Middle Ages. In 1354,
Charles IVCharles IV may refer to: * Charles IV of France (1294–1328), "the Fair" * Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1316–1378) * Charles IV of Navarre (1421–1461) * Charles IV, Duke of Anjou (1446–1481) * Charles IV, Duke of Alençon (1489–1525) * C ...

Charles IV
elevated the county to the
Duchy of Luxembourg The Duchy of Luxemburg ( nl, Luxemburg; french: Luxembourg; german: Luxemburg; lb, Lëtzebuerg) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic ...
. The duchy eventually became part of the
Burgundian Circle The Burgundian Circle (german: Burgundischer Kreis, nl, Bourgondische Kreits, french: Cercle de Bourgogne) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1512 and significantly enlarged in 1548. In addition to the County of Burgundy, Fr ...
and then one of the
Seventeen Provinces The Seventeen Provinces were the s of the in the 16th century. They roughly covered the , i.e., what is now the , , , and most of the of ( and ) and (). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such ...
of the
Habsburg Netherlands Habsburg Netherlands ( nl, Habsburgse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas des Habsbourg), in Latin referred to as Belgica, is the collective name of Renaissance period fiefs in the Low Countries held by the Holy Roman Empire's House of Habsburg. T ...
. Over the centuries, the City and
Fortress of Luxembourg The Fortress of Luxembourg refers to the former fortifications of Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which were mostly dismantled in 1867. The fortress was of great strategic importance for the control of the Left Bank ...
, of great strategic importance situated between the
Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France; frm, Royaulme de France; french: link=yes, Royaume de France) is the historiographical name or Hyponymy and hypernymy, umbrella term given to various political entities of France in the Middle Ages ...
and the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
territories, was gradually built up to be one of the most reputed
fortifications A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, w ...

fortifications
in Europe. After belonging to both the France of
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
and the Austria of
Maria Theresa Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (german: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy, Habsburg dominions from 1740 until her death in 1780, and the only woman to hold the position. She was th ...
, Luxembourg became part of the
First French Republic In the history of France, the First Republic (French: ''Première République''), officially the French Republic (''République française''), was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refe ...
and
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...
under
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
. The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

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 William I (Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau; 24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843) was a Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or af ...

William I of the Netherlands
with a
Prussian Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 1525 with Duchy of Prussia, a duchy centered on the Prussia (region), region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Balt ...
garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France. In 1839, following the turmoil of the
Belgian Revolution The Belgian Revolution (, ) was the conflict which led to the of the southern provinces (mainly the former ) from the and the establishment of an independent . The people of the south were mainly (speakers of ) and (speakers of dialects). ...
, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
and the Luxembourgish-speaking part (except the
Arelerland The Land of Arlon ( Luxembourgish/german: Arelerland, , ; french: Pays d'Arlon, ; Dutch: ''Land van Aarlen'' )In isolation, ''van'' is pronounced . is the traditionally Luxembourgish-speaking part of Belgian Lorraine, which is now predominantly F ...
, the area around
Arlon Arlon (; lb, Arel, ; nl, Aarlen, ; german: Arel; wa, Årlon; la, Orolaunum) is a Walloon municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-governm ...
) became what is the present state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union,
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
, United Nations,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
, and
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
.Timeline: Luxembourg – A chronology of key events
BBC News Online, 9 September 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
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 The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the Organs of the United Nations, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international security, international peace and security, recommending the admission ...

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.


History


Before 963 AD

The first traces of settlement in what is now Luxembourg are dated back to the
Paleolithic Age The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by ho ...
, about 35,000 years ago. From the 2nd century BC,
Celtic tribes This is a list of Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium ...
settled in the region between the rivers
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
and
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
, thus settling in the region which constitutes today's Grand-Duchy. A few centuries later, the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
would name the Celtic tribes inhabiting these exact regions collectively as the ''
Treveri The Treveri or Treviri (Gaulish language, Gaulish: ''Trēueri'') were a Celts, Celtic tribe of the Belgae group who inhabited the lower valley of the Moselle (river), Moselle from around 150 BCE, if not earlier, until their displacement by the Fra ...
'', 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 Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

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 The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
for the next 450 years, living in relative peace under the
Pax Romana The ''Pax Romana'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...
.
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 Dalheim Ricciacum is the site of a Gallo-Roman The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanization (cultural), Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman cult ...
and the Vichten mosaic which is on display at the
National Museum of History and Art The National Museum of History and Art ( lb, Nationalmusée fir Geschicht a Konscht, french: Musée national d'histoire et d'art, german: Nationalmuseum für Geschichte und Kunst), abbreviated to MNHA, is a museum A museum ( ; plural museu ...
in Luxembourg City. The territory was infiltrated by the
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
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 Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankland, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent ...
. 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 Frankish (reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a l ...
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 Luxembourgish ( ; also ''Luxemburgish'', ''Luxembourgian'', ''Letzebu(e)rgesch''; Luxembourgish: ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 600,000 people speak Luxembourgish worldwide. ...
. The
Christianization Christianization ( or Christianisation) was the conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity Late antiquity is a used by historians to describe the time of transition from to the in and adjacent areas bordering th ...
of Luxembourg also falls into this epoch and is usually dated back to the end of the 7th century. The most famous figure in this context is
Willibrord Willibrord (; 658 – 7 November AD 739) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or ...

Willibrord
, a Northumbrian missionary saint, who together with other monks established the
Abbey of Echternach The Abbey of Echternach is a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Ca ...
in 698 AD. It is in his honor that the notable
Dancing procession of Echternach The dancing procession of Echternach is an annual Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome ...
takes place annually on Whit Tuesday. For a few centuries, the abbey would become one of northern Europe's most influential abbeys. The
Codex Aureus of Echternach Image:Codex aureus Epternacensis folio 24 2.jpg, Text page (Mt 4:22–5:16) The Codex Aureus of Echternach (''Codex aureus Epternacensis'') is an Illuminated manuscript, illuminated Gospel Book, created in the approximate period 1030–1050, w ...
, an important surviving codex written entirely in gold ink, was produced here in the 11th century. The so-called Emperor's Bible and the
Golden Gospels of Henry III The Golden Gospels of Henry III, also Codex Aureus of Speyer or Speyer Gospels (Speyerer Evangeliar), (El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, Cod. Vitrinas 17) is an eleventh-century Illuminated manuscript, illuminated Gospel Book. The manuscript contains th ...
were also produced in Echternach at this time, when production of books at the
scriptorium Scriptorium (), literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts commonly handled by monastic scribe A scribe is a person wh ...

scriptorium
peaked during the middle-age.


Emergence and expansion of the County of Luxemburg (963–1312)

When the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
was divided multiple times starting with the
Treaty of Verdun The Treaty of Verdun, signed on 10 August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Mi ...

Treaty of Verdun
in 843, today's Luxembourgish territory became successively part of the Kingdom of Middle Francia (843–855), the Kingdom of Lotharingia (855-959) and finally of the
Duchy of Lorraine The Duchy of Lorraine (french: Lorraine ; german: Lothringen ), originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a , territory, , or domain ruled by a or , a high-ranking nobleman hierarchically second to the or i ...

Duchy of Lorraine
(959–1059), which itself had become a state of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of ''Lucilinburhuc'' (today
Luxembourg Castle The Bock ( lb, Bockfiels) is a promontory A promontory is a raised mass of land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land a ...
) situated on the
Bock Bock is a strong lager (traditionally, and sometimes still, an ale Ale is a type Type may refer to: Science and technology Computing * Typing, producing text via a keyboard, typewriter, etc. * Data type, collection of values used for comp ...
rock by Siegfried, Count of the Ardennes, in 963 through an exchange act with
St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier St. Maximin's Abbey (german: Reichsabtei St. Maximin) was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic) ...
. Around this
fort A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...

fort
, a town gradually developed, which became the center of a state of great strategic value within the Duchy of Lorraine. Over the years, the fortress was extended by Siegfried's descendants and by 1083, one of them, , was the first to call himself a "Count of Luxembourg", and with it effectively creating the independent County of Luxembourg (which was still a state within the Holy Roman Empire). By the middle of the 13th century, the counts of Luxembourg had managed to considerably gain in wealth and power, and had expanded their territory from the river
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
to the Moselle. By the time of the reign of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg, Henry V the Blonde, Bitburg, La Roche-en-Ardenne, Durbuy,
Arlon Arlon (; lb, Arel, ; nl, Aarlen, ; german: Arel; wa, Årlon; la, Orolaunum) is a Walloon municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-governm ...
, Thionville, Marville, Meuse, Marville, Longwy, and in 1264 the competing County of Vianden (and with it St. Vith and Schleiden) 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, Count of Luxembourg, 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. The ascension of the Counts of Luxembourg culminated when Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VII became King of the Romans, King of Italy and finally, in 1312,
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
.


Golden Age: The House of Luxembourg contending for supremacy in Central Europe (1312–1443)

With the ascension of Henry VII as Emperor, the new dynasty of the
House of Luxembourg The House of Luxembourg (luxembourgish: D'Lëtzebuerger Haus; french: Maison de Luxembourg; german: Haus Luxemburg) or Luxembourg dynasty was a royal family A royal family is the immediate family of /, , /, or / and sometimes their extended ...
not only began to rule the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, but rapidly began to exercise growing influence over other parts of Central Europe as well. Henry's son, John the Blind, in addition to 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 in 1340 and for his heroic death at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. John the Blind is considered a Folk hero, national hero in Luxembourg. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three more members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian Kings: John's descendants
Charles IVCharles IV may refer to: * Charles IV of France (1294–1328), "the Fair" * Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1316–1378) * Charles IV of Navarre (1421–1461) * Charles IV, Duke of Anjou (1446–1481) * Charles IV, Duke of Alençon (1489–1525) * C ...

Charles IV
, Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund (who also was King of Hungary, King of Hungary and Croatia), and Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, Wenceslaus IV. 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 half-brother Wenceslaus I, Duke of Luxembourg, 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 The Duchy of Luxemburg ( nl, Luxemburg; french: Luxembourg; german: Luxemburg; lb, Lëtzebuerg) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic ...
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 Habsburg Netherlands ( nl, Habsburgse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas des Habsbourg), in Latin referred to as Belgica, is the collective name of Renaissance period fiefs in the Low Countries held by the Holy Roman Empire's House of Habsburg. T ...
, 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 (1506-1556), then under Spanish Netherlands, Spanish rule (1556-1714), before going back again to Austrian Netherlands, 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 The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France; frm, Royaulme de France; french: link=yes, Royaume de France) is the historiographical name or Hyponymy and hypernymy, umbrella term given to various political entities of France in the Middle Ages ...
. In 1542 Francis I of France, Francois I invaded Luxembourg twice, but the Habsburgs under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V managed to reconquer the Duchy each time. Luxembourg became part of the Spanish Netherlands in 1556, and when France and Spain Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659), went to war in 1635 it resulted in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, in which Partitions of Luxembourg, the first partition of Luxembourg was decided. Under the Treaty, Spain ceded the Luxembourgish fortresses of Stenay, Thionville, and Montmédy, and the surrounding territory to France, effectively reducing the size of Luxembourg for the first time in centuries.Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs 2013 p.57 In context of the Nine Years' War in 1684, Siege of Luxembourg (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 Fortress of Luxembourg, Fortress 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, First French Republic, Revolutionary France invaded the Austrian Netherlands, and with it, Luxembourg, yet again. In the years 1793 and 1794 most of the Duchy was conquered relatively fast and the French Revolutionary Army committed many atrocities and pillages against the luxembourgish civilian population and abbeys, the most infamous being the massacres of Differdange and Dudelange. However the Fortress of Luxembourg Siege of Luxembourg (1794–95), resisted for nearly 7 months before the Austrian forces holding it surrendered. Luxembourg's long defense 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''.Kreins (2003), p.64 Luxembourg was annexed by France, becoming the Forêts, ''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 in 1797. 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 Religion in Luxembourg#State intervention, 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.Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs 2013 p.65 When the French Army introduced military duty for the local population, riots broke out which culminated in 1798 when luxembourgish peasants started a rebellion. Even though the French managed to rapidly suppress this revolt called ''Peasants' War (1798), Klëppelkrich'', it had a profound effect on the historical memory of the country and its citizens. 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 Napoleonic Code, Code Civil which was introduced in 1804 and is still valid today.


National Awakening and Independence (1815–1890)

After the Treaty of Paris (1815), defeat of
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
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 Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

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 William I (Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau; 24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843) was a Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or af ...

William I of the Netherlands
, the Monarchy of the Netherlands, 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 The Fortress of Luxembourg refers to the former fortifications of Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which were mostly dismantled in 1867. The fortress was of great strategic importance for the control of the Left Bank ...
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 Partitions of Luxembourg, Second Partition of Luxembourg. To compensate the Duchy for this loss, it was decided to elevate the Duchy to a Grand duchy, Grand-Duchy, thus giving the Dutch monarchs the additional title of Grand-Duke of Luxembourg. After
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
became an independent country following the victorious Belgian Revolution, Belgian Revolution of 1830-1831, it claimed the entire Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg as being part of Belgium, however the Dutch King who was also Grand Duke of Luxembourg, as well as Prussia, didn't want to lose their grip on the mighty fortress of Luxembourg and did not agree with the Belgian claims. The dispute would be solved at the Treaty of London (1839), 1839 Treaty of London where the decision of the Partitions of Luxembourg, Third Partition of Luxembourg was taken. This time the territory was reduced by more than half, as the predominantly francophone Luxembourg (Belgium), western part of the country (but also the then luxembourgish-speaking part of
Arelerland The Land of Arlon ( Luxembourgish/german: Arelerland, , ; french: Pays d'Arlon, ; Dutch: ''Land van Aarlen'' )In isolation, ''van'' is pronounced . is the traditionally Luxembourgish-speaking part of Belgian Lorraine, which is now predominantly F ...
) was transferred to the new state of Belgium and with it giving Luxembourg its modern-day borders. The treaty of 1839 also established full independence of the remaining Germanic-speaking Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union (Zollverein). This resulted in the opening of the German market, the development of Steel industry in Luxembourg, Luxembourg's steel industry, and expansion of Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois, Luxembourg's railway network from 1855 to 1875. 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 Treaty of London, 1867, 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 Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg, the Grand-Duchy would have Nassau-Weilburg, their own monarchy, thus reaffirming its full independence.


Two German occupations and interwar political crisis (1890–1945)

In August 1914, during World War I, Imperial Germany violated Luxembourg's Neutral country, neutrality by invading it in order to defeat France. Nevertheless, despite the German occupation of Luxembourg during World War I, 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. After the war, Grand-Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Marie-Adélaïde, was seen by many people (including the French and Belgian governments) as having collaborated with the Germans and calls for her abdication and the establishment of a Republic became louder.Thewes (2003), p. 81Kreins (2003), p. 89. After the retreat of the German Imperial Army, German army, communists in Luxembourg City and Esch-sur-Alzette tried to establish a Soviet republic (system of government), soviet worker's republic similar to the German Revolution of 1918–1919, ones emerging in Germany, but these attempts lasted only 2 days. In November 1918, a motion in the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg), Chamber of Deputies demanding the Abolition of monarchy, abolition of the monarchy was defeated narrowly by 21 votes to 19 (with 3 abstentions). 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.Michel Pauly, Geschichte Luxemburgs 2013 p.85 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 favor of her sister Grand Duchess Charlotte, Charlotte 5 days later. The same year, in a 1919 Luxembourg referendum, popular referendum, 77.8% of the Luxembourgish population declared in favor 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 (1919–1920), Paris Peace Conference, thus securing Luxembourg's independence. In 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, Luxembourg's neutrality was violated again when Nazi Germany, Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht Invasion of Luxembourg, entered the country, "entirely without justification". In contrast to the First World War, under the German occupation of Luxembourg during World War II, the country was treated as German territory and informally annexed to the adjacent province of the Third Reich, Gau Moselland. This time, Luxembourg did not remain neutral as Luxembourg's Luxembourg government-in-exile, government in exile based in London supported the Allies of World War II, Allies, sending a small group of volunteers who participated in the Invasion of Normandy, Normandy invasion, and multiple Luxembourgish Resistance, resistance groups formed inside the occupied country. 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 of Luxembourg, constitution formally ended in 1948, and in April 1949 it also became a founding member of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
. 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. In 1951, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Coal and Steel Community, which in 1957 would become the European Economic Community and in 1993 the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. With Robert Schuman (one of the founding fathers of the EU), Pierre Werner (considered the father of the Euro), Jacques Santer and Jean-Claude Juncker (both President of the European Commission), Luxembourgish politicians contributed in great share to the formation and establishment of the European Union. In 1999 Luxembourg joined the Eurozone. 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 Economy of Luxembourg, a global financial center and developed into the banking hub it is reputed to be. 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

Luxembourg is described as a "Democracy Index#Definitions, full democracy", with a parliamentary democracy headed by a
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from a ...
. Executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, grand duke and the cabinet, which consists of several other ministers. The Constitution of Luxembourg, the supreme law of Luxembourg, was adopted on 17 October 1868. The grand duke has the power to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg), legislature, in which case new elections must be held within three months. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the nation, exercised by the grand duke in accordance with the Constitution and the law. Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, Chamber of Deputies, a unicameral legislature of sixty members, who are directly elected to five-year terms from four Legislative circonscriptions (Luxembourg), constituencies. A second body, the Council of State of Luxembourg, Council of State (''Conseil d'État''), 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 City, Luxembourg, and Diekirch), two district tribunals (Luxembourg and Diekirch), and a Superior court of justice (Luxembourg), 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.


Administrative divisions

Luxembourg is divided into 12 Cantons of Luxembourg, cantons, which are further divided into 102 Communes of Luxembourg, communes. Twelve of the communes have List of cities in Luxembourg, city status; the city of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg is the largest.


Foreign relations

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 (tax), 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 Agreement, Schengen Group (named after Schengen, Luxembourg, 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 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
, pro-US foreign policy. Luxembourg is the site of the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
, the European Court of Auditors, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) and other vital EU organs. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is located in Luxembourg, but the Parliament usually meets in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
and sometimes in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...

Strasbourg
.


Military

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 of the military, civilian control, with the grand duke as Commander-in-Chief. The Minister for Defence of Luxembourg, Minister for Defense, François Bausch, oversees army operations. The professional head of the army is the Chief of Defence (Luxembourg), Chief of Defense, who answers to the minister and holds the rank of general. Being a landlocked country, Luxembourg has no navy. Seventeen NATO Airborne Warning And Control System, AWACS airplanes are registered as aircraft of Luxembourg. In accordance with a joint agreement with Belgium, both countries have put forth funding for one Airbus A400M, A400M military cargo plane. Luxembourg has participated in the Eurocorps, has contributed troops to the United Nations Protection Force, UNPROFOR and IFOR missions in former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, and has participated with a small contingent in the
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
SFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Luxembourg troops have also deployed to Afghanistan, to support International Security Assistance Force, ISAF. The army has also participated in humanitarian relief missions such as setting up refugee camps for Kurdish people, Kurds and providing emergency supplies to Albania.


Geography

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked List of countries by area, 167th in size of all the List of sovereign states, 194 independent countries of the world; the country is about in size, and measures long and wide. It lies between latitudes 49th parallel north, 49° and 51st parallel north, 51° N, and longitudes 5th meridian east, 5° and 7th meridian east, 7° E. To the east, Luxembourg borders the German ''States of Germany, Bundesländer'' of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and to the south, it borders the French ''Regions of France, région'' of Grand Est (Lorraine (region), Lorraine). The Grand Duchy borders Belgium's Wallonia, in particular the Belgian Provinces of Belgium, provinces of Luxembourg (Belgium), Luxembourg and Liège Province, Liège, part of which comprises the German-speaking Community of Belgium, to the west and to the north, respectively. 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 near Wilwerdange, which is the highest point, at . Other mountains are the Buurgplaatz at near Huldange and the Napoléonsgaard at 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 (Luxembourg), 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 (Luxembourg), Little Switzerland, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests. The Moselle (river), 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. The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer, and the Our River, Our. Other major rivers are the Alzette, the Attert River, Attert, the Clerve, and the Wiltz River, Wiltz. The valleys of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling.


Environment

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.


Climate

Luxembourg has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen: ''Cfb''), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer. The summers are warm and winters cool.


Economy

Luxembourg's stable and high-income economic system, 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 List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita, 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, quality of life index. Luxembourg was ranked 18th in the Global Innovation Index in 2019 and 2020. 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 industry in Luxembourg, steel production. Services, especially banking and financial export, 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 and Amazon.com, Amazon 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, 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. In early November 2014, just days after becoming head of the European Commission, the Luxembourg's former Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was hit by media disclosures—derived from a document leak known as Luxembourg Leaks—that Luxembourg under his premiership had turned into a major European center of corporate tax avoidance. 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 The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
), and as a member of the EU it enjoys the advantages of the open European Market (economics), market. With $171 billion in May 2015, the country ranks eleventh in the world in holdings of U.S. Treasury security, U.S. Treasury securities. However, securities owned by non-Luxembourg residents, but held in custodial accounts in Luxembourg, are also included in this figure. , 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%. The Luxembourg labor market represents 445,000 jobs occupied by 120,000 Luxembourgers, 120,000 foreign residents and 205,000 cross-border commuters. The latter pay their taxes in Luxembourg, but their education and social rights are the responsibility of their country of residence. The same applies to pensioners. The Luxembourg government has always refused to share a portion of its tax revenues with the local authorities on the French border. This system is seen as one of the keys to Luxembourg's economic growth, but at the expense of the border countries.


Transport

Luxembourg has road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernized in recent years with 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 Luxembourg railway station, railway station and a new passenger terminal at Luxembourg Airport was opened in 2008. Luxembourg city reintroduced Trams in Luxembourg, trams in December 2017 and there are plans to open light-rail lines in adjacent areas within the next few years. The number of cars per 1000 persons amount to 681 in Luxembourg — higher than most of other State (polity), states, being surpassed by USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland or other small states like Monaco, Principality of Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein, the Gibraltar, British overseas territory of Gibraltar or Brunei. On 29 February 2020 Luxembourg became the first country to introduce no-charge public transportation which will be almost completely funded through public expenditure.


Communications

The telecommunications industry in Luxembourg is liberalized 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 Next-generation access, 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. It ranks 2nd in the world in the development of the Information and Communication Technologies in the ITU ICT Development Index and 8th in the Global Broadband Quality Study 2009 by the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo. Luxembourg is connected to all major European Internet Exchanges (AMS-IX Amsterdam, DE-CIX Frankfurt, LINX London), 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.


Demographics


Largest towns


Ethnicity

The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers. The immigrant population increased in the 20th century due to the arrival of immigrants from
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal; the latter comprised the largest group. In 2013 about 88,000 Luxembourg inhabitants possessed Portuguese Luxembourger, Portuguese nationality. 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."La progression de la population du Grand-Duché continue: 537 039 résidants au 1er janvier 2013."
Statnews 16/2013, op statec.lu, 18 April 2013. (in French).
Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, 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.


Language

As determined by law since 1984, Luxembourg has only one national language, which is
Luxembourgish Luxembourgish ( ; also ''Luxemburgish'', ''Luxembourgian'', ''Letzebu(e)rgesch''; Luxembourgish: ) is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: ...
. It is considered to be the mother tongue or "language of the heart" for Luxembourgers and the language that they generally use to speak or write to each other. Luxembourgish is considered a Franconian languages, 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. Knowledge of Luxembourgish is a criterion for Naturalization, naturalisation. In addition to Luxembourgish, both and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
are used in administrative and judicial matters, making all three of them administrative languages of Luxembourg. As by article 4 of the law promulgated in 1984, if a citizen asks a question in Luxembourgish, German or French, the administration must reply, as far as possible, in the language in which the question was asked. Luxembourg is largely multilingual: as of 2012, 52% of citizens claimed Luxembourgish as their native language, 16.4% Portuguese language, Portuguese, 16% French, 2% German and 13.6% different languages (mostly English language, English, Italian language, Italian or Spanish language, Spanish). Even though French was the mother tongue of only 16% of residents in Luxembourg (placing 3rd), 98% of its citizens were able to speak it on a high level. The great majority of Luxembourg residents are able to speak it as a second or third language. As of 2018, much of the population was able to speak multiple other languages: 80% of citizens reported being able to hold a conversation in English, 78% in German and 77% in Luxembourgish, claiming these languages as their respective second, third or fourth language. Each of the three official languages is used as a primary language in certain spheres of everyday life, without being exclusive. The national language of the Grand Duchy, Luxembourgish, is the language that Luxembourgers generally use to speak and write to each other, and there has been a recent increase in the production of novels and movies in the language; at the same time, the numerous expatriate workers (approximately 44% of the population) 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 mostly in French and sometimes additionally in German. 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 and is considered by most Luxembourgers their second language. This is mostly due to the high similarity of German to Luxembourgish but also because it is the first language taught to children in primary school (language of alphabetization). Due to the large community of Portuguese origin, the Portuguese language is fairly present in Luxembourg, though it remains limited to the relationships inside this community. Although Portuguese has no official status, the administration sometimes makes certain informative documents available in Portuguese. Even though Luxembourg is largely multilingual today, some people claim that Luxembourg is subject of intense francization and that Luxembourgish and German are in danger of disappearing in the country, thus making Luxembourg either a unilingual French speaking country, or at best a bilingual French and English speaking country sometime in the far future.


Religion

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 Catholicism, Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Mennonitism, and Islam. Since 1980, it has been illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices. An estimation by the The World Factbook, 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 poll,Eurobarometer on Social Values, Science and technology 2005
– page 11
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".


Education

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. The University of Luxembourg is the only university based in Luxembourg. In 2014, Luxembourg School of Business, a graduate business school, has been created through private initiative and has received the accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg in 2017. Two American universities maintain satellite campuses in the country, Miami University (Miami University Dolibois European Center, Dolibois European Center) and Sacred Heart University (Sacred Heart University Luxembourg, Luxembourg Campus).


Health

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, 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.


Culture

Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbors. It retains a number of folk traditions, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country. There are several notable museums, located mostly in the capital. These include the
National Museum of History and Art The National Museum of History and Art ( lb, Nationalmusée fir Geschicht a Konscht, french: Musée national d'histoire et d'art, german: Nationalmuseum für Geschichte und Kunst), abbreviated to MNHA, is a museum A museum ( ; plural museu ...
(NMHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam). The National Museum of Military History (Luxembourg), National Museum of Military History (MNHM) in Diekirch is especially known for its representations of the Battle of the Bulge. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications. The country has produced some internationally known artists, including the painters Théo Kerg, Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, and photographer Edward Steichen, whose ''The Family of Man'' exhibition has been placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme, Memory of the World register, and is now permanently housed in Clervaux. Editor and author Hugo Gernsback, whose publications crystallized the concept of science fiction, was born in Luxembourg City. Movie star Loretta Young was of Luxembourgish descent. Luxembourg was a founding participant of the Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision Song Contest, and participated every year between Eurovision Song Contest 1956, 1956 and Eurovision Song Contest 1993, 1993, with the exception of 1959. It won the competition a total of five times, Eurovision Song Contest 1961, 1961, Eurovision Song Contest 1965, 1965, Eurovision Song Contest 1972, 1972, Eurovision Song Contest 1973, 1973 and Eurovision Song Contest 1983, 1983 and hosted the contest in Eurovision Song Contest 1962, 1962, Eurovision Song Contest 1966, 1966, Eurovision Song Contest 1973, 1973, and Eurovision Song Contest 1984, 1984, but only nine of its 38 entries were performed by Luxembourgers, Luxembourgish artists. 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 (region), 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".


Sports

Unlike most countries in Europe, sports in Luxembourg are not concentrated upon a particular national sport, but instead encompass 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 Stade de Luxembourg, situated in Gasperich, southern
Luxembourg City Luxembourg ( lb, Lëtzebuerg; french: Luxembourg; german: Luxemburg), also known as Luxembourg City ( lb, Stad Lëtzebuerg, link=no or ; french: Ville de Luxembourg, link=no; german: Stadt Luxemburg, link=no or ), is the capital city A c ...
, is the country's national stadium and largest sports venue in the country with a capacity of 9,386 for sporting events, including football and rugby union, and 15,000 for concerts. The largest Indoor arena, indoor venue in the country is d'Coque, Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Kirchberg, north-eastern
Luxembourg City Luxembourg ( lb, Lëtzebuerg; french: Luxembourg; german: Luxemburg), also known as Luxembourg City ( lb, Stad Lëtzebuerg, link=no or ; french: Ville de Luxembourg, link=no; german: Stadt Luxemburg, link=no or ), is the capital city A c ...
, which has a capacity of 8,300. The arena is used for basketball, team handball, handball, gymnastics, and volleyball, including the final of the 2007 Women's European Volleyball Championship.


Cuisine

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 German cuisine, 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.


Media

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 (French), Radio Luxembourg and RTL Group). It is also the uplink home of SES S.A., 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. Luxembourg won an Academy Awards, Oscar in 2014 in the Academy Award for Animated Short Film, Animated Short Films category with ''Mr Hublot''.


Notable Luxembourgers


See also

* Outline of Luxembourg * Disability in Luxembourg


References


Informational notes


Citations


Works cited

* *


Further reading


Plan d'action national luxembourgeois en matière de TIC et de haut-débit

CEE- Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report –Volume 2: i2010 –ICT Country Profiles- page 40-41

Inauguration of LU-CIX

Art and Culture in Luxembourg


External links


The Official Portal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''
Luxembourg
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency. *
Luxembourg profile
from the BBC News
''Luxembourg's Constitution of 1868 with Amendments through 2009'', English Translation 2012
* {{Authority control Luxembourg, Countries in Europe Duchy of Luxembourg French-speaking countries and territories German-speaking countries and territories Landlocked countries Member states of NATO Member states of the Council of Europe Member states of the European Union Member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean Member states of the United Nations NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union NUTS 2 statistical regions of the European Union States and territories established in 1815 States of the German Confederation Western European countries