Want to know everything about the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?
Luxembourg is a small country with a complex history and multiculturalism. With economic growth close to 4%, the country welcomes a large foreign population who comes to work in its European institutions or in its multinational companies located in this very dynamic and constantly growing country.
We give you here a few references to know better Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has an area of 2,586 square kilometres and 550,000 inhabitants. The country is located at the heart of Europe, between Belgium, France and Germany.
Luxembourg, the country's capital, derives its name from a fort called Lucilinburhuc, acquired by Count Siegfried in 963. The city and later the county developed around that fort and, in 1353, the Duchy of Luxembourg came into existence. The country gained its independence in 1839 and its motto – “Mir wölle bleiwe wat mir sin” (We want to remain who we are) – reflects its strong national identity.
Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy. The Grand-Duke is the Head of State. The Prime Minister is the head of government and legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies. The government currently in power following the early elections held in 2013 is a coalition government.
The three languages of Luxembourg are Luxembourgish, French and German, which are all taught at school. English is also taught in high school and many people speak it fluently, particularly in business and politics.
Luxembourg is one of the six founding members of the European Union and some Luxembourgers have become key figures of Europe, including Robert Schuman, one of the “founding fathers” of the European Community. In 1952, the newly created European institutions started working from premises located in the city of Luxembourg.
Following the merger between European institutions, Luxembourg became one of the European Union's co-capitals in 1986, along with Brussels and Strasbourg. Luxembourg is home to the headquarters of several European institutions and bodies, such as the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund as well as several departments of the European Commission and of the European Parliament. Today, some 10,000 international civil servants are Luxembourg residents.
Luxembourgers cherish their traditions and love a good time. Among the country's many traditions, none is more original than the Sprangprëssessioun In Echternach. This dancing procession takes place in Echternach every Whit Tuesday and is on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list. The traditional Éimaischen takes place every Easter Monday and Luxembourg holds its biggest religious festival, the Oktav, around the months of April-May every year. At the end of the summer, the Schueberfouer – the Luxembourg's biggest fair – brings the whole country together for a few weeks and is an unmissable event.
The country's national day is 23 June. A torchlight procession and a spectacular fireworks display take place on 22 June. On the day itself, there is a religious service and a big parade.
“Zesummen” means together in Luxembourgish and reflects Luxembourg's cultural diversity. Luxembourg is indeed the European country with the highest rate of immigration and is home to over 170 nationalities, the Portuguese community being the largest.
A lot of expatriates have called Luxembourg home and they make up about 44% of the population. They come to Luxembourg for work and to enjoy the excellent quality of life.
“Together” also means “living together”: respect and courtesy are the rule and make life very enjoyable. In addition, Luxembourg is one of the safest countries in the world.
The Luxembourg's employment market reflects the international, vibrant environment that is typical of Luxembourg. Foreign residents represent almost 40% of the working population and a variety of languages are spoken every day at work.
The country's unemployment rate is lower than the European average. The job opportunities offered by Luxembourg have also attracted a growing number of cross-border workers over the past few decades. As a result, the capital city's population doubles on working days.
Luxembourg had a very successful steel industry in the mid-20th century. Several mining sites in the south of the country are testimony to the country's industrial past which helped Luxembourg grow and develop. After the 1973 oil shock and the crisis that followed, Luxembourg sought to diversify its economy and started focusing on the tertiary sector. In particular, it has become a major financial services centre and today it is Europe's largest investment fund centre. Luxembourg features a successful, highly competitive private banking sector, wealth management sector and insurance/reinsurance sector. For the past few years, the Luxembourg government has been looking to diversify the country's economy and has been encouraging the growth of sectors such as ICT (information, communications and technology), logistics, e-commerce and biotechnology, while also focusing on research and development. Luxembourg is also very stable socially and politically and easy access to policymakers and business decision-makers is conducive to development.
Education opportunities abound in Luxembourg. The Luxembourg school system features public establishments with multilingual classes but there are also private and international schools.
The University of Luxembourg is one of the key higher-education institutions and its campuses are scattered across the country. Some foreign universities also have campuses in Luxembourg.
The brownfield site of Belval is being turned into a centre for knowledge and innovation. It will be home to the City of Science, to the University of Luxembourg headquarters and to research centres and start-ups. The University of Luxembourg should be home to 7,000 students and 3,000 teaching staff and researchers.
Luxembourg has beautiful and changing scenery of plains, forests, national parks, lakes and rivers. The country has miles of unspoiled countryside and a diversified flora and fauna to be enjoyed by the lovers of the great outdoors.
The Mosel Valley, the Little Luxembourgish Switzerland and the Sauer Valley are jewels in Luxembourg's crown.
Not to be outdone, the cities also have something for everyone, with parks and play areas for children. The capital's steep hills never fail to surprise and delight visitors from near and far. The fortress and the old town of Luxembourg were designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994.
Luxembourg may be a small country but it is culturally, socially and economically diverse and it boasts a variety of cultural activities. Luxembourg was European Capital of Culture in 2007 and has extended its cultural offering since then: it features a wide range of cultural events and attractions.
The country has also built outstanding cultural venues including the Philharmonie and Rockhal concert halls. The country's cultural offering is vast and goes from shows, festivals and local literature and arts to fine dining, wine growing, fairs and cinema. There's something for everyone and it caters to the tastes of its multicultural population.
From Luxembourg, you can easily travel to 4 different countries in less than a day.
Luxembourg is located close to Germany's Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, France's Lorraine and Belgium's Walloon Region. This area is what is commonly known as the Greater Region. As an entity, it aims to improve political and economic cooperation and encourage partnerships between cross-border stakeholders.
The Greater Region is also a hotbed of culture and features a programme of events which brings players closer together and promotes synergies between them.
A portal dedicated to the Greater Region – www.granderegion.net – provides information on partnerships and relationships between Luxembourg and its neighbours across the border.