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Luxembourg Facts

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a tiny European nation with a rich history and culture. Despite its size, the country is wealthy, and its people enjoy a high standard of living.

luxembourg-flag

Quick Facts

Capital: Luxembourg City

Population: Approx. 583,000

Key Cities: Esch-sur-Alzette, Differdange, Dudelange, Luxembourg City

Official Language: French, Luxembourgish, German

Major Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant 

Geography

Bordering Countries: Belgium, Germany, France

Size: 999 sq. miles

Lowest point: Moselle River at 436 ft.

Highest point: Buurgplaatz at 1,834 ft.

Luxembourg-map

Luxembourg is a very small country in Western Europe. It’s even smaller than the smallest U.S. state of Rhode Island! It’s a landlocked country with many thick forests, hills, and low mountains.

The most notable mountain range in Luxembourg is the Ardennes. The country’s northern region (Oesling) suffers from bad soil. The southern region (Gotland) has fertile soil and many rivers.

Important rivers include the Alzette, Eisch, Moselle, Our and Sure. Luxembour’s largest lake is Haute Sure. Luxembourg has mild weather. Summers are usually cool, and winters rarely get too cold.

Wild boars and deer can be found in the mountains of Luxembourg, along with smaller mammals. The country has a surprising amount of sea life, including carp, trout, and pike.

A large variety of birds travel through Luxembourg during migration.

History

People have lived in Luxembourg as far back as Roman times. However, its true history officially started in 963 when the Count of Ardennes established Luxembourg Castle.

Luxembourg-castle

A town developed around the castle, and over time it grew into a small country. The House of Luxembourg gradually became a European power.

In 1437, the House of Luxembourg came to an end because there was no male heir to take the throne. This also brought an end to the tiny nation’s independence.

It was ruled by different European countries over the next 400 years.

After the French Revolution, Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy in union with the Netherlands. During World War I and World War II, Germany occupied Luxembourg.

After World War II, Luxembourg became independent again.

In 1951, it became one of the six original members of the European Union.

Today, Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy. It’s governed by a Parliament, Council of State, and Grand Duke.

Economy

Luxembourg’s main industries include banking and financial services, tourism information technology, iron and steel, chemicals, engineering, glass, aluminum, and food processing.

banking-finance

Main crops in Luxembourg are potatoes, oats, barley, and wheat. Livestock products are another important part of the country’s agriculture.

Although it’s very small, Luxembourg is one of the world’s richest countries. It has the highest minimum salary in Europe and the second highest in the world.

It also has Europe’s lowest unemployment rate.

Quality of life in Luxembourg is very good. Its standard of living is ranked third in the world by the World Economic Forum. Luxembourg’s currency is the Euro.

Culture

Most people in Luxembourg are trilingual. They speak German, French, and Luxembourgish. Roman Catholicism is the most practiced religion, followed by Protestantism.

The country also has a small population of Jewish and Muslim citizens.

Food in Luxembourg is a combination of French and German cuisine. It’s also influenced by Italian and Portuguese immigrants.

potato-pancakes

Specialties include thuringer (small sausages), Luxembourg ham, friture de la Moselle (small deep-fried river fish), gromper keeschelche (potato pancakes), and kach keis (soft melted cheese).

After large meals, many Luxembourgers like to take walks in the countryside.

Opera, theatre, dance, and museums are very popular in Luxembourg.

During the summer, the country has many free outdoor events.

These include music festivals featuring rock, pop, jazz, opera, and even a Celtic celebration called Zeltik. Luxembourgers also celebrate Buergbrennen (Bonfire Day) and Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Day).

The Thursday before Easter Sunday, all church bells are silenced. The silence is eventually broken by children making clattering noises with wooden instrument boxes that sound like rattles.

The children are rewarded with chocolate or small amounts of money.

easter-rattles

Easter is one of the most important holidays in Luxembourg. Children paint Easter eggs and families eat traditional meals of rabbit, duck, or pork roast with potatoes and other vegetables.

Fun Facts About Luxembourg

Luxembourg has the only existing Grand Duchy in the world. (It’s ruled by a grand duke.)

99% of adults in Luxembourg can read.

Luxembourg is considered one of the safest countries in the world, and life expectancy is 82.4 years.

Throughout history, Luxembourg was invaded so many times that the country built walled towns and castles to protect itself from soldiers.

Skype is headquartered in Luxembourg, along with the European headquarters of Amazon, PayPal, and other major corporations.

skype-hq

In Luxembourg, it’s customary to bring flowers or a box of chocolate when invited to someone’s home. Also, Luxembourgers think punctuality is very important. So be on time!