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For other uses, see Luxembourg (disambiguation).

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

Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Großherzogtum Luxemburg
Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg

Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg: Coat of Arms
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
National motto: Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn
(Luxembourgish: We wish to remain what we are)
Location of Luxembourg
Official languages French, German, Luxembourgish
(de jure since 1984)
Capital Luxembourg
Largest city Luxembourg
Grand Duke Grand Duke Henri
Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 167th
2,586 km²
 - Total (2005)
 - Density
Ranked 162nd
Independence 1815, confirmed 1867
GDP (2005)
  - Total (PPP)
  - Total
  - GDP/capita (PPP)
  - GDP/capita

$30.6 billion (92nd)
$35.6 billion (62nd)
$66,821 (1st)
$77,595 (1st)
HDI (2004) 0.949 (4th) – high
Currency Euro (€) (¹)
Time zone
 - in summer
National anthem Ons Heemecht
Internet TLD .lu
Calling Code +352
1 Prior to 1999: Luxembourg franc.



Main article: History of Luxembourg

The recorded history of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg begins with the construction of Luxembourg Castle in the year 963. Around this fort a town gradually developed, which became the center of a small but important state of great strategic value. In 1437 the ruling family had no rightful heirs to assume the throne. In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened over the years by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French, among others. Even after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, when the Congress of Vienna gave formal autonomy to Luxembourg, the country was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands.

Luxembourg's independence was confirmed in 1839, but it was not formally ratified until 1867. The king of the Netherlands remained head of state until 1890, when Luxembourg gained a grand duke of its own. William III left the Dutch throne to his daughter while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs) passed to a distant cousin.

The country was invaded and occupied by Germany during World War I and World War II.

After World War II, Luxembourg abandoned its politics of neutrality, when it became a founding member of NATO and the United Nations. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area. Several European agencies are located in Luxembourg. In 2005 a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held in Luxembourg.


Main article: Politics of Luxembourg

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

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


Main article: Justice of Luxembourg

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

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


Map of Luxembourg

Main article: Geography of Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It is ranked 167th in size of all the countries of the world. The country is about 2,586 km² in size. In the west it borders the Belgian province of Luxembourg, which is (at 4,443 km²) nearly twice the size of the country.

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

Luxembourg's eastern border is formed by three rivers, the Moselle, the Sauer/Sûre and the Our.

Administrative subdivisions

Main article: Administrative subdivisions of Luxembourg

The country is divided in 3 districts, 12 cantons and 118 communes.

12 communes have city status, whereof Luxembourg, the capital, is the largest city in the country.


Main article: Economy of Luxembourg

Stable, high-income economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and low unemployment. The industrial sector, until recently dominated by steel, has become increasingly more diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. During the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than compensated for the decline in steel. Services, especially banking, account for a growing proportion of the economy. Agriculture is based on small family-owned farms. Luxembourg has especially close trade and financial ties to Belgium and the Netherlands, and as a member of the EU, enjoys the advantages of the open European market. Luxembourg possesses the highest GDP per capita in the world ($77,595 as of 2005). Unemployment was 4.4% of the labour force as of July 2005.


Main article: Language of Luxembourg

The linguistic situation in Luxembourg is characterized by the practice and the recognition of three official languages: French, German and Luxemburgish, a Franconian language of the Moselle region similar to German.

Roughly 10% of the population is of Portuguese extraction and speaks Portuguese.


Main article: Culture of Luxembourg

94 percent of Luxembourg's population is Roman Catholic.

External links

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