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Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

[French] Grand-Duché de Luxembourg;
[German] Grossherzogtum Luxemburg

CAPITAL: Luxembourg

FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of red, white, and blue horizontal stripes.

ANTHEM: Ons Hémecht (Our Homeland).

MONETARY UNIT: The Luxembourg franc was replaced by the euro as official currency as of 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. 1 euro = $1.25475 (or $1 = 0.79697) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; public celebration of the Grand Duke's Birthday, 23 June; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 2526 December. Movable religious holidays include Shrove Monday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


A landlocked country in Western Europe, Luxembourg has an area of 2,586 sq km (998 sq mi), with a length of 82 km (51 mi) ns and a width of 57 km (35 mi) ew. Comparatively, the area occupied by Luxembourg is slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island. The eastern boundary with Germany is formed by the Our, Sûre (Sauer), and Moselle rivers. Luxembourg is bordered on the s by France and on the w and n by Belgium, with total border length of 359 km (223 mi).

Luxembourg's capital city, Luxembourg, is located in the south central part of the country.


The country is divided into two distinct geographic regions: the rugged uplands (Oesling) of the Ardennes in the north, where the average elevation is 450 m (1,476 ft) with the highest point, Buurgplaatz, at 559 m (1,834 ft); and the fertile southern lowlands, called Bon Pays (Good Land), with an average altitude of 250 m (820 ft).

The entire area is crisscrossed by deep valleys, with most rivers draining eastward into the Sûre, which in turn flows into the Moselle on the eastern border. The northern region, comprising one-third of the country, is forested and has poor soil.


Luxembourg's climate is temperate and mild. Summers are generally cool, with a mean temperature of about 17°c (63°f); winters are seldom severe, average temperature being about 0°c (32°f). The high peaks of the Ardennes in the north shelter the country from rigorous north winds, and the prevailing northwesterly winds have a cooling effect. Rainfall is plentiful in the extreme southwest; precipitation throughout the country averages about 75 cm (30 in) annually.


The principal trees are pine, chestnut, spruce, oak, linden, elm, and beech, along with fruit trees. There are many shrubs, such as blueberry and genista, and ferns; a multitude of lovely flowers; and many vineyards. Only a few wild animal species (deer, roe deer, and wild boar) remain, but birds are plentiful, and many varieties of fish are found in the rivers, including perch, carp, bream, trout, pike, and eel.


The Ministry of the Environment is the main environmental agency. Government statistics indicate considerable improvement in pollution control over the past few decades. Emissions of particles of sulfur dioxide declined substantially from 1972 to 1983. As of 1994, emissions of smoke, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead were well within EU acceptable limits. Luxembourg has about 0.2 cu mi of water. Luxembourg has produced an average of about 3.3 tons of particulate emissions and 22 tons of hydrocarbon emissions per year.

Forest reserves have been severely depleted since 1800, when three-fourths of the country was forest; today forest and woodland cover only one-fifth of Luxembourg. During World War II, German requisitions and heavy demands for fuel contributed to this depletion.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included three types of mammals, three species of birds, two types of mollusks, and two species of other invertebrates. Threatened species include the spotted eagle, the southern damselfly, and the great snipe.


The population of Luxembourg in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 457,000, which placed it at number 163 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 14% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 19% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.4%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 2025 was 544,000. The population density was 176 per sq km (457 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 91% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.42%. The capital city, Luxembourg, had a population of 77,000 in that year. The chief industrial city is Esch-sur-Alzette, with a population of 28,000. Other urban areas and their estimated populations include Differdange, 19,005; Dudelange, 17,000; and Schifflange, 8,084.


During the 19th century, thousands of Luxembourgers emigrated, chiefly to the United States. In 1870, however, rich deposits of iron ore were uncovered in southern Luxembourg, and during the period of industrialization and prosperity that followed, many persons from neighboring countries migrated to Luxembourg.

Since the adoption of national asylum legislation in April 1996, there has been a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers. In 1997, 431 people applied for asylum. By 1998, 1,709 people applied. Between January and July 1999, as many as 2,404 people submitted asylum applications.

As of 12 August 1999, some 101 people had been evacuated from Macedonia to Luxembourg. Evacuees were given a six-month renewable residence permit, as well as work permits, social assistance, and the right to family reunification. As of 1999, none of the evacuees had returned. Also as of 1999, Luxembourg officials were in the process of adopting a law on temporary protection. In 2004 there were 1,590 refugees and no asylum seekers. The estimated net migration rate in 2005 was 8.86 migrants per 1,000 population.


The indigenous inhabitants of Luxembourg consider themselves a distinct nationality, with a specific ethnic character. A strong indication of that character is the national motto, "Mir woelle bleiwe wat mir sin" ("We want to remain what we are"), for despite a history of long foreign domination, Luxembourgers have retained their individuality as a nation. There are also native-born residents of Celtic, French, Belgian, or German ancestry, as well as a substantial immigrant population of Portuguese, Italian, and other Europeans (guest and worker residents).


Luxembourgers speak Luxembourgian, or Letzeburgesch, the original dialect of the country, as well as French and German. All three are official languages. Letzeburgesch is a Germanic dialect related to the Moselle Frankish language that was once spoken in western Germany. It rarely appears in written form.

Letzeburgesch, French, and German are all languages of instruction in primary schools, while French is the most common language of instruction in secondary schools. Government publications are generally in French. English is also spoken.


The country is historically Roman Catholic and it is estimated that over 90% of the population are nominally members of this church. The largest Protestant denominations are the Lutheran and Calvinist churches. About 6,000 people are Muslim, about 5,000 are Orthodox Christians (Greek, Serbian, Russian, and Romanian), and about 1,000 are Jewish. There are also small communities of the Baha'is, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and members of the Universal Church. It is believed that the number of atheists is small, but growing.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and this right is respected in practice. A special Concordat of 1801 allows certain religious groups to receive financial support. For instance, the state pays salaries for Roman Catholic and Greek and Russian Orthodox priests, Jewish rabbis, and pastors of some Protestant denominations. The state also supports some private religious schools. Certain Christian holidays are celebrated as national holidays.


Transportation facilities are excellent. The railways are consolidated into one organization, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fers Luxembourgeois (CFL), with the government of Luxembourg controlling 51% of the stock and the remaining 49% divided between the French and Belgian governments. Railway lines, totaling 274 km (170 mi) in 2004, provide direct links with Belgium via Arlon, with France via Metz and Longwy, and with Germany via Trier. There is through-train service to Paris and various other points in France. In that same year, 242 km (150 mi) of railway were electrified.

In 2002 there were 5,210 km (3,241 mi) of state and local roads, all of which were paved, including 147 km (91 mi) of expressways. Direct roads connect all important towns, and the main arteries are suitable for heavy motor traffic. As of 2003 there were 287,245 cars and 35,904 commercial vehicles in use. In the 1990s, a program was underway to link Luxembourg's highways to those of Belgium, France, and Germany.

The only river available for industrial transport is the Moselle, which for 37 km (23 mi) allows navigation of barges of up to 1,500 tons. In 2005, the merchant fleet comprised 40 ships of 1,000 GRT or more, with a total of 652,454 GRT. There were two airports in 2004, only one of which had a paved runway. There was also a single heliport. The principal airport is Findel, located near the city of Luxembourg. Regular flights to other European cities are operated by Luxair, the national carrier, and by foreign airlines. Luxembourg's largest airline, Cargolux, ranks among Europe's top 10 cargo carriers. Luxembourg and the United States have shared open sky aviation rights since a 1995 agreement. In 2001 (the latest year for which data was available), 885,900 passengers were carried on scheduled airline flights.


The land now known as Luxembourg fell under the successive domination of the Celts, the Romans, and the Riparian Franks before its founding as the County of Luxembourg in 963 by Sigefroid, count of the Ardennes, who reconstructed a small ruined fortress called Lucilinburhuc (Little Burg) on the site of the present capital. The area tripled in size during the reign of Countess Ermesinde (11961247). John, count of Luxembourg (r. 130946) and king of Bohemia, became the national hero; although blind for many years, the inveterate knight-errant laid the foundations for a powerful dynasty before he fell in the Battle of Crécy, in northern France, during the Hundred Years' War. His son Charles (131678) was the second of four Luxembourg princes to become Holy Roman emperor. He made Luxembourg a duchy, but under his successors the country was ruined financially.

Luxembourg came under Burgundian rule in 1443 and remained in foreign hands for more than 400 years. Successively it passed to Spain (15061714, excepting 168497, when it was ruled by France), Austria (171495), and France (17951815). The Congress of Vienna in 1815 made Luxembourg a grand duchy and allotted it as an independent state to the king of the Netherlands, after ceding to Prussia its territory east of the Moselle, Sûre, and Our. Luxembourg lost more than half its territory to Belgium in 1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy, although Dutch kings continued to rule as grand dukes. By the Treaty of London in 1867, Luxembourg was declared an independent and neutral state under the protection of the Great Powers, but was required to dismantle its mighty fortress. In 1890, the house of Nassau-Weilbourg, through the Grand Duke Adolphe (r. 18901905), became the ruling house of Luxembourg. The country was occupied by German troops in World War I. In 1919, Grand Duchess Charlotte succeeded to the throne, and on 28 September 1919, in a referendum held to decide the country's future, a plurality supported her. In 1921, Luxembourg formed an economic union with Brussels.

The Germans again invaded the country in May 1940, but the grand ducal family and most members of the government escaped to safety. Under the Nazi occupation, the people suffered severely, particularly when their revolt in 1942 protesting compulsory service in the German army was savagely repressed. Luxembourg was liberated by Allied forces in September 1944.

That year, while still in exile, the government agreed to form an economic union with Belgium and the Netherlands; the first phase, the Benelux Customs Union, was effected in 1948. In February 1958, a treaty of economic union, which became effective in 1960, was signed by representatives of the three countries. During the postwar decades, Luxembourg also became an active member of NATO and the EC.

In April 1963, Luxembourg celebrated its 1,000th anniversary as an independent state. On 12 November 1964, Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated in favor of her son, Jean. The Grand Duke announced on Christmas Day 1999 that he planned to abdicate in favor of his eldest son Prince Henri in September 2000. (Prince Henri took the throne on 7 October 2000.) Jean's reign was marked by continued prosperity, as Luxembourg's economy shifted from dependence on steel to an emphasis on services, notably finance and telecommunications. Luxembourg is now among the world's top 10 financial centers and the financial sector employs approximately 10% of the workforce (20,000 people) and accounts for around 22% of national income. There is an industrial sector which initially was dominated by steel but has become increasingly diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. Luxembourg had an incredibly high 2005 GDP per capita of us$58,900.

Different governments have played a key role in the diversification process and the development of a skilled workforce has been an important instrument. Equally important is the country's tax regime. Luxembourg's 0% withholding tax on crossborder savings acts as a magnet for investors. Its favorable tax law is at odds with the rest of the European Union and pressures for European-wide harmonization would diminish the sector's competitive advantage.

The country's growth rate has been among the highest in the European Union and averaged over 4% annually between 1994 and 2000. Luxembourg suffered due to the global economic down-turn and the turmoil in international stock markets that began in 2001, as its small, open economy specializes in financial services. Luxembourg joined the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999, and adopted the euro as its currency. Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was considered for the presidency of the European Commission in 2005, however he promised to remain as prime minister if he won the election of 2003, and so stayed on in Luxembourg.


Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy, governed by the constitution of 1868 as revised in 1919 (when universal suffrage and proportional representation were introduced) and subsequently. The grand ducal crown is hereditary in the house of Nassau-Weilbourg. Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, the 60 (prior to 1984, 64 members) members of which are elected for five-year terms. In addition, the Council of State, composed of 21 members appointed for life by the sovereign, acts as a consulting body in legislative, administrative, and judicial matters and has the right of suspensive veto.

Executive power rests jointly in the sovereign, who may initiate legislation, and a prime minister (president of the government), appointed by the monarch, who in turn selects a cabinet. The prime minister, together with the cabinet, must command a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Voting is compulsory, and eligibility begins at age 18.


Since 1947, shifting coalitions among the three largest parties have governed the country. The Christian Social Party (Parti Chrétien SocialPCS) is a Catholic, promonarchist movement favoring progressive labor legislation and government protection for farmers and small business. Except for the period 197479, the PCS has been the dominant partner in all ruling coalitions since World War I. The Socialist Party (Parti Ouvrier Socialiste LuxembourgeoisPOSL) supports improvement and extension of the present system of social welfare programs. The third major group, the Democratic Party (Parti DémocratiquePD), favors social reforms and minimal government activity in the economy. Other parties have included the Luxembourg Communist Party (Parti CommunistePC), which has its main strength with steelworkers in the industrialized south, and the Social Democratic Party (Parti Social-Démocrate LuxembourgeoisPSDL), which split from the POSL in 1971. In addition, the ecologist Green Party has representation in parliament, as does the Action Committee for Democracy and Justice (ADR), a pensioners' party. The Marxist and Reformed Communist Party, known as "The Left," secured one seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 1999.

Following the June 1999 elections, the distribution of seats in the 60-member unicameral Chamber of Deputies was: PCS, 19; POSL, 13; PD, 15; and other groups, 13. The coalition of the PCS and POSL, which had governed for 15 years, was replaced by a coalition of the PCS and PD. Jean-Claude Juncker, leader of PCS, remained as prime minister. Following the June 2004 elections, distribution of seats was: PCS 24, POSL 14, PD 10, Green Party 7, ADR 5. The next elections were scheduled to be held in June 2009.


Luxembourg is divided into three districts (Luxembourg, Diekirch, and Grevenmacher) comprising 12 cantons, which in turn make up 118 communes. The districts are headed by commissionerscivil servants who are responsible to the central government. Each commune elects an autonomous communal council headed by a burgomaster; the councils elect government officials at the local level. Local elections are held every six years.


The legal system is similar to the French Napoleonic Code, except for the commercial and penal divisions, which are similar to their Belgian counterparts. Minor cases generally come before one of three justices of the peace. On a higher level are the two district courts, one in the city of Luxembourg and the other in Diekirch. The Superior Court of Justice is composed of the Court of Cassation, a Court of Appeal, and a department of public prosecution. The Court of Cassation comprises a bench of five judges, responsible for hearing cases that seek to overturn or set aside decisions given by the various benches of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal consists of nine benches of three judges each, hearing civil, commercial, and criminal cases. Judges are appointed for life terms. New administrative courts began operations in 1997, after a 1995 decision by the European Court of Human Rights that Luxembourg's Council of State could no longer serve as both a legislative advisory body and an administrative court. The death penalty was abolished in 1979. The prosecutor as well as the defendant may appeal verdicts in criminal cases. An appeal results in a completely new judicial procedure with the possibility that a sentence may be increased or decreased.

Trade unions and striking are constitutionally guaranteed and news media is free to report without fear of retribution. There is a minority population of Bosnians who live in Luxembourg who face mild social racism.

Luxembourg is a member of the UN and is the site of the European Court of Justice.


In 1967, Luxembourg abolished conscription and created a volunteer military force that is part of NATO. Responsibility for defense matters is vested in the Ministry of Public Force, which also controls the police and gendarmerie.

In 2005 the armed forces of Luxembourg consisted of the army with 900 active personnel and a gendarmerie of 612. NATO maintains 17 early warning aircraft with Luxembourg registration. Luxembourg maintains 23 personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Another nine are in Afghanistan and 26 in Serbia-Montenegro. More than 5,000 American soldiers, including Gen. George S. Patton, are buried at the American Military Cemetery near the capital. Budgeted defense expenditures in 2005 were $264 million.


Luxembourg is a founding member of the United Nations, having joined the organization on 24 October 1945, and participates in ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, IAEA, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNIDO, the ILO, IMF, and the WHO. Since 1921, it has been joined with Belgium in the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU). It is also a partner with Belgium and the Netherlands in the Benelux Economic Union. Luxembourg is a member of the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, NATO, OECD, OSCE, WTO, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Western European Union, and the European Union. Luxembourg held the EU presidency for the first half of 2005. The country is the home site of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, European Investment Bank, and other EU organizations. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is also located in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg belongs to the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group). In environmental cooperation, the country is part of the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


In relation to its size and population, Luxembourg is one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world. Its standard of living rivals that of any country in Europe. Steelmaking, traditionally the most important industry, has seen its contribution to GDP decline from 21% in 1974 to 1.8% in 1996. Iron ore, formerly mined in limited quantities, is no longer produced because supplies have been exhausted. The country's lack of industrial fuels makes it completely dependent on imports of coke for steel production. In 2001, Luxembourg's steel producer, ARBED, merged with France's USINOR and Spain's ACERALA to create the world largest steel company, NewCo, in order to increase competitiveness. Other industriesplastics, rubber and chemicals and other light industrieshave been successfully developed, and the service industries, most notably banking, have expanded rapidly. Services now contribute 69% to GDP (2000 estimate).

Agriculture is generally small-scale, with livestock and vineyards comprising the most important segment.

The worldwide recession of the early 1980s adversely affected Luxembourg's economy; between 1985 and 1992, however, GDP grew by 32%, or 4% per year. Growth for 1998 was 2.9%. Inflation, as high as 9.4% in 1982, was only 0.3% in 1986 and averaged 3.3% during 198892. Average inflation 1999 to 2001 was 2.3%. Total GDP, at $13.9 billion in 1998 (purchasing power parity) had risen over 38% to $19.2 billion by 2001. Per capita income in 2001 was $45,500, one of the highest in the world, with GDP growth reported at 8.3%.

Luxembourg is known for having one the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. The unemployment rate averaged just 1.4% between 1984 and 1991 and was 3% in 1998. In 2001, unemployment was at 2.7%, the range where it remained until registering a slight increase in 2004, to 4.3%.

Economic expansion continued at stately rates (similar to most other Western European countries), reaching 2.5% in 2002, 2.9% in 2003, and 4.5% in 2004; the GDP growth rate for 2005 was expected to be 3.6%. This expansion was mainly fueled by the country's up and coming financial and service oriented (especially media and communications) sectors. The steel sector, while being the subject of major restructurings in the past two decades, remained one of the backbones of the economy. Inflation remained stable at around 2%.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Luxembourg's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $29.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $62,700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2.6%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 0.5% of GDP, industry 16.3%, and services 83.1%.

Approximately 17% of household consumption was spent on food, 9% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 7% on education.


In 2005, the labor force was estimated at 200,000, of whom 105,000 were foreign workers crossing the border from France, Belgium and Germany. Of those employed as of 2004, the services sector accounted for an estimated 86%, while 13% were in industry and 1% in agriculture. The estimated unemployment rate was 3.7% in 2005.

Labor relations have been generally peaceful since the 1930s. Foreign investors are attracted by the positive relationship which exists in Luxembourg between employers and the labor force. There is a strong trade union movement. About 50% of the labor force was organized into unions as of 2005. Although independent, the two largest labor organizations are associated with major political parties. Workers may strike only after their dispute is submitted to the National Conciliation Office and all mediation efforts have failed. Collective bargaining is widely practiced.

As of 2005, unskilled workers who are over 18 years of age with no dependents are entitled to a minimum wage of $1,390 per month, while the minimum for skilled workers was $1,475 per month. However, these totals were insufficient to provide a worker and family with a decent living standard. Most workers earned more than the minimum rate. Wage agreements are generally arrived at by industry-wide bargaining between labor and management. The maximum workweek is legally set at 40 hours. Overtime is paid at premium rates. Work on Sunday is restricted. Children under the age of 16 are prohibited from employment except in some special circumstances. The law mandates a safe working environment and this is effectively enforced by the Ministry of Labor.


Over 27% of the work force and 50% of the land (126,629 hectares/312,900 acres) are devoted to agriculture and grazing; the majority of agricultural land consists of meadows and pastures. Farms are generally small and highly mechanized, although average farm size has been increasing. While the number of farms of 2 hectares (5 acres) or more fell from 10,570 in 1950 to 2,263 in 2002, the average holding increased from 13.16 to 57.18 hectares (from 32.52 to 141.3 acres) over the same period. Crop production in 2002 included (in tons): corn, 137,721; forage crops, 146,182; bread grains, 79,126; potatoes, 20,105; and pulses, 2,327.

Vineyards including Ehnen, Stadtbredmis, and Bech-Kleinmacher are located in the Moselle River Valley. In 2002/03, wine production totaled 15.39 million liters, consisting of rivaner, elbling, auxerrois, riesling, pinot blanc, and pinot gris. Wine and clover seeds are the important agricultural exports. In addition, millions of rosebushes, a major specialty crop, are exported annually. Chief fruits produced include apples, plums, and cherries.


Livestock breeding is relatively important, particularly because of Luxembourg's dairy product exports. In 2005, livestock included 184,172 head of cattle, 75,000 pigs, 7,500 sheep, and 3,100 equines. A total of 48,615 tons of meat, and 272,000 tons of milk were produced in 2005.


There is some commercial fishing for domestic consumption and much private fishing for sport. The rivers teem with perch, carp, trout, pike, eel, and bream.


About 88,620 hectares (218,980 acres) were covered by forests in 2000, of which 53% was private forest. Forestry production in 2004 included 277,180 cu m (9.8 million cu ft) of roundwood, over 50% from broad-leaved trees. Chief commercial woods are spruce and oak. In 2004, forest product imports exceeded exports by $13.7 million.


In 2003, Luxembourg's mineral sector consisted primarily of raw materials processing, information systems, and mineral trading. Metals produced included crude and semi-manufactured steel, while industrial minerals consisted of hydraulic cement, crude gypsum and anhydrite, and Thomas slag phosphates. The iron and steel industry was the most important mineral industry sector, with steel products as the country's main export commodity. Mining in Luxembourg was represented by small industrial mineral operations that produced material for domestic construction, including cement manufacture. In 2003, Luxembourg produced 2.7 million metric tons of crude steel and 2.8 million metric tons of semi-manufactured steel. Hydraulic cement production in 2003 was estimated at 700,000 metric tons, with crude gypsum and anhydrite output estimated at 400 metric tons in that same year. Production of Thomas slag phosphates (by gross weight) totaled and estimated 475,000 metric tons in 2003. Luxembourg's traditional source of mineral wealth was iron ore, concentrated between Redange and Dudelange. Because of mine depletion, production declined from 2.08 million tons in 1976, to 429,000 in 1981, when the last iron mines were closed.


Luxembourg imports all the petroleum products, natural gas and coal it requires, since it has no oil, natural gas or coal reserves.

In 2002, imports of petroleum products (all refined) averaged 52,290 barrels per day, while consumption for that year averaged 51,680 barrels per day. Natural gas imports and consumption in 2002 each totaled 42.06 billion cu ft. Coal imports that year consisted of hard coal and totaled 140,000 short tons.

Total electric generating capacity in 2002 was 128 MW, of which nearly 52% used fossil fuels, 31% was hydroelectric, and the remainder geothermal/other. Production of electrical energy in 2002 amounted to 2.526 billion kWh of which 92.2% was from fossil fuels, almost 8% from hydropower, and the rest from other renewable sources. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 5.787 billion kWh. The steel industry consumes 80% of total industrial energy demand.


Massive restructuring of the steel industry and continuing diversification of the industrial base characterized the 1980s. Under the ongoing industrial diversification program, more than 80 new firms were launched between 1960 and 1985, providing jobs for 10,332 people. Chemicals, rubber, metal processing, glass, and aluminum became increasingly important, while some other industries, including construction, remained depressed; traditional light industries such as tanneries, glove-making plants, and textile mills were forced either to close down or to greatly reduce their scale of operations.

In 1997, steel was responsible for 29% of all exports. Production of steel was 2,613,000 tons in 1995 (5,462,000 tons in 1970); rolled steel products, 3,709,000 tons (4,252,000 tons in 1970). Luxembourg's blast furnaces and steel mills are located in the Bassin Minier of the southwest. Mergers have given ARBED, a private multinational firm with significant government shareholding, virtually complete control of the steel industry. A merger with France's USINOR and Spain's ACERALIA in 2001 made ARBED the world's largest steel producer; it was renamed "NEWCO" temporarily, and was searching for niche markets for highly specialized steel products.

In recent years, Luxembourg has diversified its industrial production away from steel, producing chemicals, medical products, rubber, tires, glass, and aluminum. The financial sector has compensated for the decline in steel production, and other service-sector growth areas in 2002 were cargo shipping, satellite transmission, and television and radio broadcasting.

In 2004, industry contributed to 16.3% of the GDP, and employed 13% of the labor force. The largest share of the economy went to the services sector, which made up 83.1% of the GDP, and employed 86% of the working force, with some 35% of the people working in Luxembourg representing cross-border labor from France, Belgium, and Germany. The industrial production growth rate, at 2.9%, was slightly smaller than the GDP growth rate, hinting to a more dynamic services sector in 2004.


The Grand Ducal Institute, the central learned society, includes medical and scientific sections. The Society of Luxembourg Naturalists, founded in 1890, had 575 members in 1996. Two public research centers conduct research on health and applied science. The University Center of Luxembourg, founded in 1969, has a sciences department. The Higher Institute of Technology, founded in 1979, offers courses in engineering and computing. Sociéte Européenne des Satellites at Betzdorf is the control center for a group of satellites important to Europe's broadcasting industry.

In 2000, Luxembourg had 3,757 researchers and 3,820 technicians engaged in research and development (R&D) per one million people. In that same year, the country spent $420.967 million or 1.71% of GDP on R&D, with the overwhelming majority of the expenditures, 90.7%, coming from business, with government accounting for 7.7% and foreign investors at 1.7%.


The commercial code is similar to that of Belgium and trade practices are nearly identical. The city of Luxembourg is the headquarters for the distribution of imported goods within the country and Antwerp in Belgium is the principal port of entry. Consequently, manufacturers' agents and importers maintain offices in one or both of those cities. The commercial laws and solid economic base are highly attractive to foreign investors. About 35% of the workforce is made up of foreign workers, many of whom are commuters from neighboring countries. French, German, and English are the languages of business correspondence. Advertising is extensive, particularly in newspapers and on Radio-Télé-Luxembourg.

Most shops and stores are open 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. Banking hours are on weekdays, 9 am to 4:30 pm. Private business hours are usually from 8 am to 5 pm.


Luxembourg remains dependent on foreign trade, even though domestic demand has become an increasingly important factor in fueling the economy. The nation's trade position has weakened with the decline of the steel industry: between 1974 and 1981, imports grew by 55% while exports rose only 7%, as the trade balance swung into deficit. Between 1985 and 1992, imports grew by 42% and exports rose only 24%.

Trade with European nations accounted for 88.6% of imports and 88.7% of exports in 2000. With 23% of the total export volume in 2000, Germany was Luxembourg's biggest customer. Luxembourg imported more goods from Belgium (35%) than any other country.

Unlike some of its Western European counterparts, Luxembourg continued to register a trade deficit in recent years. In 2003, exports totaled $13.4 billion (FOBFree on Board), while imports rose to $16.3 billion (CIFCost and Freight). Principal export commodities included machinery and equipment, steel products, chemicals, rubber products, and glass, and mainly went to Germany (which in 2004 received 22.1% of Luxembourg's total exports), France (20.1%), Belgium (10.2%), United Kingdom (8.4%), Italy (7.3%), Spain (5.9%), and the Netherlands (4.3%). Imports included minerals, metals, foodstuffs, and quality consumer goods,

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 9,986.1 13,639.1 -3,653.0
Germany 2,565.5 3,682.1 -1,116.6
France-Monaco 1,990.2 1,922.0 68.2
Belgium 1,233.4 4,626.8 -3,393.4
United Kingdom 591.4 322.8 268.6
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 584.5 327.6 256.9
Netherlands 457.4 732.0 -274.6
Spain 284.7 113.1 171.6
United States 241.3 288.6 -47.3
Special Categories 182.2 363.1 -180.9
Austria 151.2 135.7 15.5
() data not available or not significant.

and chiefly came from Belgium (29.8%), Germany (22.6%), China (12.6%), France (12%), and the Netherlands (4.2%).


Luxembourg enjoyed a favorable trade balance from 1951 until 1975, when rising energy costs and structural weakness in the steel industry led to deterioration in terms of trade. The overall balance of payments has, however, tended to show a surplus, mainly because of income from banking services. The levels of imports and exports remain relatively stable, with the level of imports fluctuating significantly only when large capital purchases are made in the aviation sector.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2000 the purchasing power parity of Luxembourg's exports was $7.85

Current Account 2,492.0
    Balance on goods -2,463.0
      Imports -13,696.0
      Exports 11,233.0
    Balance on services 8,535.0
    Balance on income -3,025.0
    Current transfers -556.0
Capital Account -176.0
Financial Account -1,790.0
    Direct investment abroad -96,428.0
    Direct investment in Luxembourg 87,871.0
    Portfolio investment assets -78,423.0
    Portfolio investment liabilities 99,152.0
    Financial derivatives 6,836.0
    Other investment assets -30,035.0
    Other investment liabilities 9,236.0
Net Errors and Omissions -417.0
Reserves and Related Items -108.0
() data not available or not significant.
Revenue and Grants 10,092 100.0%
    Tax revenue 6,386 63.3%
    Social contributions 3,000 29.7%
    Grants 74 0.7%
    Other revenue 633 6.3%
Expenditures 10,099 100.0%
    General public services 1,503 14.9%
    Defense 79 0.8%
    Public order and safety 242 2.4%
    Economic affairs 924 9.1%
    Environmental protection 140 1.4%
    Housing and community amenities 85 0.8%
    Health 1,273 12.6%
    Recreational, culture, and religion 278 2.8%
    Education 1,012 10.0%
    Social protection 4,564 45.2%
() data not available or not significant.

billion while imports totaled $10.25 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $2.4 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Luxembourg had exports of goods totaling $9 billion and imports totaling $11.4 billion. The services credit totaled $19.9 billion and debit $13.7 billion.

Exports of goods and services totaled $47 billion in 2004, up from $36 billion in 2003. Imports followed a similar trend, growing from $30 billion in 2003, to $39 billion in 2004. The resource balance was consequently positive, reaching $6 billion in 2003 and $8 billion in 2004. The current account balance improved from $2.2 billion in 2003, to $2.8 billion in 2004. National reserves (including gold) were insignificant at $331 million.


Banking has been gaining in importance since the 1970s and has become the most significant part of the economy; by 1998, banking and insurance employed about 15% of the total workforce. The principal bank and the sole bank of issue is the International Bank of Luxembourg (Banque Internationale à Luxembourg ), founded in 1856. The Belgium-Luxembourg monetary agreement, as renewed for 10 years in 1991, provided for the establishment of the Luxembourg Monetary Institute to represent the nation at international monetary conferences and institutions. The banking sector has benefited from favorable laws governing holding companies. The European Investment Bank, the European Court of Auditors (both EU institutions), and the European Monetary Fund are headquartered in Luxembourg, as are all of the big six accounting firms. As a financial center, Luxembourg has the advantages of strict banking secrecy, a trained multilingual workforce, and a government that is sympathetic to the sector's needs. These last two factors are proving attractive to the developing cross-border insurance business. In addition, a strict 1992 law aimed at combating money laundering reinforces Luxembourg's reputation as a corrupt-free environment. The financial sector is currently active in three main areas: the Eurobond market, investment funds, and the developing cross-border life insurance market.

Faced with the impossibility of raising the capital for its steel industry alone, Luxembourg has always been open to the financial world. But its current success in the field owes more to legislation in neighboring countries and external economic factors than to any deliberate policy on the part of the government.

The Euro-markets have made Luxembourg the home of Cedel Bank, one of the two international clearing and settlement depositories. In 2001 this group recorded a consolidated gross operating income of 979.5 million euros and a pretax operating profit of 113.4 million euros. In 1999, Cedel and Deutsche Börse Clearing announced a merger. The new company is called Cedel International and will serve as a single European clearing organization.

Luxembourg controls about 90% of Europe's offshore investment funds, making it the fourth-largest world market. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $46.0 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small scale time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $139.4 billion.

The Luxembourg Bourse, founded in 1929 in the city of Luxembourg, primarily handles stocks and bonds issued by domestic companies, although it also lists Belgian securities. The exchange was closed down on 10 May 1940. Dealing resumed but was limited to domestic and German securities. The exchange was again closed down when the country was liberated and did not reopen until October 1945.


Third-party liability insurance is compulsory for all automobile owners, as is insurance for nuclear operators, hunters, hotel operators, boats and aircraft, windsurfers and parachutists. Domestic insurance companies issue both life and nonlife policies. The Third European Life Directive has permitted life companies to operate in any European Union (EU) country while still being controlled by domestic regulations. As of 1996, there were 23 subsidiaries of leading European companies that had been set up in Luxembourg, attracted by the availability of skilled staff and the proximity to major European markets. Direct premiums written in 2003 totaled us$8.232 billion, with us$1.102 billion of the total comprised of nonlife premiums and us$7.130 comprised of life insurance premiums. In that same year, Luxembourg's top nonlife insurer had gross written nonlife premiums (including healthcare) of us$223.2 million, while the country's leading life insurer that same year was le Foyer with gross written life insurance premiums of us$223.2 million.

The Commissariat aux Assurances regulates insurance companies in Luxembourg.


The budget of the Luxembourg government is presented to the Chamber of Deputies late in each calendar year and becomes effective the following year. Government finances are generally strong, and budgets are usually in surplus.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Luxembourg's central government took in revenues of approximately $15.1 billion and had expenditures of $15.8 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$690 million.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were 10,092 million and expenditures were 10,099 million. The value of revenues was us$11,391 million and expenditures us$11,242 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = .8860 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 14.9%; defense, 0.8%; public order and safety, 2.4%; economic affairs, 9.1%; environmental protection, 1.4%; housing and community amenities, 0.8%; health, 12.6%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.8%; education, 10.0%; and social protection, 45.2%.


Luxembourg has come under pressure to share information on the interest paid on the hither-to-secret savings accounts maintained by nonresidents. In June 2003, the EU Commissioners issued a directive that would allow Luxembourg (as well as Belgium and Austria) to apply increased withholding taxes in lieu of directly sharing information on the interest tax paid on these accounts. Withholding rates of 1520% would be applied 2004 to 2007, rising to 25% 2007 to 2009, and to 35% after 2009. The US Bush administration stood opposed to these EU initiatives to deal with tax evasion on the grounds that they would eliminate useful "tax competition."

Luxembourg's corporate income tax (IRC) rates in 2004 ranged from 2022%. In addition, there is a 4% employment fund surtax. Companies are also subject to municipal taxes that average 7.5%. Taken as a whole, the taxes produce an effective tax rate of 30.38% on profits. Since 2002 the municipal tax was no longer deductible for corporate tax purposes. Capital gains are taxed as ordinary income, although some capital gains are tax-exempt. Dividends paid to nonresidents are subject to 20% withholding unless the payments are to a parent company resident in the EU that owns at least 10% of the subsidiary paying dividends. Subsidiaries of foreign companies are considered resident companies ("capital societies") and are taxed at the same rate.

Personal income in Luxembourg is taxed according to a progressive schedule with a top rate of 38%. There is a 2.5% surtax for the employment fund. Social security taxes are separate for blue-and white-collar employees. Employer social security tax rates (in 2004) for blue- and white-collar employees are 13.01% and 10.76%, respectively. Employee tax rates are 12.90% and 10.65%, respectively. Other taxes include a wealth tax, gift taxes, local real estate taxes, registration taxes, subscription and net worth taxes.

The main indirect tax is Luxembourg's value-added tax (VAT), introduced 1 January 1970 with a standard rate of 8% and a reduced rate of 4%. Revisions as of 10 January 1992 instituted a standard rate of 15% with reduced rates of 3% and 6%, and a "parking" (intermediate) rate of 12% (applied to heating oil, intellectual services, advertising, wine and certain other services). The 3% rate is applied to foodstuffs, newspapers, books, and periodicals, medicines and medical equipment, medical and dental care, and other basic goods and services. The 6% rate is applied to gas and electricity.


Tariff policies have been traditionally liberal. Luxembourg adheres to the trade regulations of the European Union. Luxembourg levies its own 15% value-added tax on imports if their final destination is Luxembourg. Nontariff barriers exist also in the form of health, safety, and packaging regulations.


Foreign capital investment in Luxembourg has traditionally been small. In recent years, however, US investments have risen substantially, with the value of direct investments in manufacturing alone in excess of $1 billion in 1993. Moderate-sized investments by Luxembourg firms have been made in Germany, France, Belgium, and South American countries. To encourage private investment from abroad, the government grants tax relief for up to 10 years in certain cases. Profits from investment may be transferred out of the country and invested capital may be repatriated with a minimum of regulation. Statistics on Luxembourg's inward and outward foreign investment are calculated and published in conjunction with Belgium's.

Presently, Luxembourg is one of the main actors (in conjunction with the United Kingdom and France) in terms of FDI outflows external to the EU. In 2003, Luxembourg was the EU's second-largest investor outside the boundaries of the union, with capital outflows of $37 billion. At the same time, due to its new role in the financial intermediation sector, Luxembourg has become the biggest recipient of FDI in the EU, with capital inflows reaching around $46 billion (49% of the EU25 total). It was followed at a distance by Ireland, with FDI inflows of $6 billion. Financial intermediation, whose receiving and sending actors almost always reside outside Luxembourg, accounted for 94% of outflows and 98% of inflows.


The keystone of the economic system is free enterprise, and the government has attempted to promote the well-being of private industry by every means short of direct interference. The full-employment policy pursued by every postwar government has produced a high ratio of economically active population to total population. Not only is the population economically active, it is also highly skilled, a fact not overlooked by foreign companies seeking to invest. The government encourages the diversification of industry by tax concessions and other means. Luxembourg's successful economy continues to attract immigrants; the immigrant population comprises over one-third of the Grand Duchy's total.

Banking has become an important sector of the economy, compensating for a decline in the steel industry. Successive governments have taken steps to encourage foreign investment, and investment incentives cover taxes, construction, and plant equipment. Government priorities in 2002 included balancing the budget, keeping spending growth in line with GDP growth, and running a general government surplus. The government was enacting tax cuts in 2002, and increased spending in infrastructure, research and development, education, and pension benefits. Obstacles were removed to part-time employment, more flexible working time arrangements were made, and child care facilities were expanded.

Today, Luxembourg is one of the most developed countries in the world (it actually has the highest income per capita in the worldapproximately $55,000), and offers a welcoming and dynamic business environment. Its investment fund sector is second only to the one in Paris, and in 2004 it managed assets of over $1.027 trillion. The country is also home to one of Europe's biggest and most successful media conglomeratesRTL Group. Its location within the heart of Europe, its highly educated labor force, a stable tax system, and low business costs, make it a very attractive market for investors, and a reputable competitor for other developed economies.


An extensive system of social insurance covers virtually all employees and their families. Sickness, maternity, old age, disability, and survivors' benefits are paid, with both employee and employer contributing and the government absorbing part of the cost. Retirement is set at age 65 for both men and women. Birth, maternity, child and education allowances are also provided to all residents. There is a choice for medical service providers. Parental leave and child-rearing allowances are available as well. The government covers the total cost for family allowances. Work injury laws were first instituted in 1902.

Women are well represented in politics and the professions. Although legally entitled to equal pay for equal work, in practice women's salaries are somewhat lower than men's for comparable work. However, the number of women in the workplace increased in 2004. The Ministry for the Promotion of Women is charged with ensuring equal opportunities for women. Violence against women is taken seriously by the authorities, and most abusers are prosecuted. Children's rights are fully protected and the government amply funds systems providing education and health care.

Human rights are fully respected in Luxembourg.


Luxembourg has an advanced national health service, supervised by the Ministry of Public Health. Public health facilities are available to physicians and treatment of patients is on a private basis. Hospitals are operated either by the state or by the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2004, there were an estimated 255 physicians, 74 pharmacists, 64 dentists, and 39 midwives per 100,000 people. There were 32 hospitals with 4,438 beds. Public health officials have waged efficient national campaigns against contagious diseases and infant mortality has been reduced from 56.8 per 1,000 live births in 1948 to an estimated 4.81 as of 2005.

It was estimated that 80% of the country's children were immunized against measles. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 12 and 8.8 per 1,000 people. The fertility rate was one of the lowest in the world. The average woman living through her childbearing years had 1.5 children. Average life expectancy was estimated at 78.74 years in 2005. Leading causes of death are circulatory/heart diseases, cancer, road accidents, and suicide. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.20 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 500 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003.


The immediate post-World War II housing shortage created by the considerable war damage has been alleviated by substantial construction of private homes and apartment buildings. The government has helped by making home loans at low interest rates available to buyers. In 1981 there were 128,281 private households in Luxembourg. In 2001, there were about 171,953 private households. About 169,198 households were living in single-family units. Of these, 67% were living in owner-occupied dwellings. Housing satisfaction is one of the highest in the European Union.


School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. Pupils attend primary schools for six years and then enter a general secondary or technical school for a period of up to seven years. The school year runs from October to July. The primary languages of instruction are French and German. In 2001, about 84% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 90% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 80% of age-eligible students; 77% for boys and 83% for girls. It is estimated that about 86.5% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 12:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 11:1.

Postsecondary institutions in Luxembourg include the Central University of Luxembourg (founded in 1969), Superior Institute of Technology, and teacher training schools. However, most advanced students attend institutions of higher learning in Belgium and France. In 2003, about 12% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2002 was estimated at about 100%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.6% of GDP, or 8.5% of total government expenditures.


The National Library in Luxembourg is the largest in the country, with over 650,000 volumes. Other major libraries belong to the Centre Universitaire (120,000 volumes), the European Community Court of Justice (120,000), the Abbey of St. Maurice at Clervaux (100,000), the Seminary of Luxembourg (110,000), and the European Parliament (150,000). The Grand Ducal Institute maintains a few specialized collections in the city of Luxembourg, as does the government. In Esch-sur-Alzette the public library has close to 66,000 volumes and features a special collection of Luxembourgensia.

The National Museum of History and Art (founded in 1845) exhibits fine arts as well as the history of Luxembourg. The city of Luxembourg also hosts the Museum of Natural History, founded in 1988 and moved to a new building in 1996, the year that the Museum of the History of Luxembourg opened in the same city. The home where the 19th-century French writer Victor Hugo lived as an exile is in Vianden, and there is a museum of wine in Ehren.


Direct-dial telephone service is in use throughout the country, and includes efficient international service. In 2002, there were 355,400 mainline phones and 473,000 mobile phones in use nationwide. Telegraph service is also widely available.

Radio-Télé-Luxembourg broadcasts on five radio channels (in Letzeburgesch, French, German, English, and Dutch) and two television channels (Letzeburgesch and French). The powerful commercial network reaches not only the domestic audience but millions of French, Germans, and other Europeans. The country is home to the Societe Europeenne des Satellites, the largest satellite operator in Europe. In 1999 there were 2 AM and 9 FM radio stations and 5 television stations. In 1997, there were 285,000 radios and about 285,000 television sets. In 2002, there were 165,000 Internet subscribers in the country.

As of 2001, there are six daily and two weekly newspapers. The daily press is small in circulation but has high standards. Luxembourg does not have an independent news agency of its own but relies on foreign news agencies for information. The most popular dailies in 2002 were the Luxemburger Wort (German and French, circulation 87,777); Tageblatt (German and French) (29,469); and La Républicaine Lorraine (French) (15,000). The weekly Telecran had a 2002 circulation of 45,000.

The law provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the government is said to uphold these provisions in practice.


The principal agricultural organization is Centrale Paysanne Luxembourgeoise, under which are grouped all producer cooperatives and other farmers' societies. Organizations promoting the interests of industry include federations of artisans, manufacturers, merchants, and winegrowers. The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is active in representing local business interests. The Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions promotes worker's rights for all.

Several professional associations are active in supporting a wide variety of occupations and fields. The Association of Doctors and Dentists serves as a professional networking organization while also promoting research and education on health issues and working to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are several other associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions.

The Christian Social Women organization promotes women's rights and encourages political participation. Scouting programs are active for youth. There are also several sports associations active within the country, including the multinational European Table Tennis Union.

Kiwanis and Lions clubs also have programs in the country. International organizations with active chapters include the Red Cross, Amnesty International, UNICEF, and Greenpeace.


Picturesque Luxembourg, with approximately 130 castles, has long been a tourist attraction. Among the points of greatest attraction are Vianden; Clervaux, with its castle of the De Lannoi family, forebears of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the famous abbey of Clervaux; Echternach, an ancient religious center; the Moselle region; and the fortifications of the capital. Popular sports for both residents and visitors include fishing, rowing, swimming, hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and golf. More than 5,000 American soldiers are buried at the American Military Cemetery near the capital, including Gen. George S. Patton.

Visitors from Canada, Australia, the United States, and most of the Western European and South American countries require a passport. No visas are necessary for stays of less than three months. There were 581,450 visitors who arrived in Luxembourg in 2003, many of whom came from Belgium and the Netherlands. Hotel rooms numbered 7,626 with 14,620 beds and an occupancy rate of 25%. The average length of stay that year was two nights. Tourist expenditure receipts totaled $2.9 billion.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of traveling in Luxembourg at $301.


Count Sigefroid founded the nation in 963, and Countess Ermesinde (r.11961247) tripled the extent of the country. Other outstanding historical personages are Henry VII of Luxembourg (c.12751313), who became Holy Roman emperor in 1308; his son John the Blind (12961346), count of Luxembourg (130946) and king of Bohemia (131046), a national hero; and the latter's son Charles (131678), who became Holy Roman emperor as Charles IV (134678). Grand duke from 1890 to 1905 was Adolphe (18171905), one-time duke of Nassau (183966) and the founder of the present dynasty, the house of Nassau-Weilbourg, whose origins go back to 1059.

Joseph Bech (18871975), prime minister from 1926 to 1937 and from 1953 to 1958, served as foreign minister for 33 years. Luxembourg-born Robert Schuman (18861963), French premier (194748) and foreign minister (194853), was a key figure in the postwar movement for West European integration. Grand Duchess Charlotte (18961985) abdicated in 1964 in favor of her son Grand Duke Jean (b.1921), ruled from 19642000. The current ruler is his son Grand Duke Henri (b.1955).

An artist of note was painter Joseph Kutter (18941941). Gabriel Lippmann (18451921) was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics (1908) for his pioneering work in color photography.


Luxembourg has no territories or colonies.


Annesley, Claire (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

Clark, Peter. Luxembourg. New York: Routledge, 1994.

D and B's Export Guide to Luxembourg. Parsippany, N.J.: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.

Kelly, Mary, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, and Denis McQuail (eds.). The Media in Europe. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2004.

Newcomer, James. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: The Evolution of Nationhood. Luxembourg: Editions Emile Borschette, 1995.

Wessels, Wolfgang, Andreas Maurer, and Jürgan Mittag (eds.). Fifteen into One?: the European Union and Its Member States. New York: Palgrave, 2003.

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Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Major City:

Other Cities:
Clervaux, Diekirch, Differdange, Dudelange, Echternach, Esch-sur-alzette, Vianden


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 2000 for Luxembourg. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


It would be easy to overlook tiny Luxembourg in a European itinerary, but you'd be missing out on a very charming experience. Squeezed into a pocket of land about one-fiftieth the size of England, it is Europe in a miniature, complete with wine country, abbey towns, a cosmopolitan city, hiking trails, restored castles, lovely river valleys, and a multilingual populace.

Luxembourg has been influenced at one time or another by the Spanish, Belgians, French, Germans and Austrians. But perhaps the most influential of all were the Romans, who ruled the land for nearly 500 years. They left behind an excellent network of roads and bridges that, in addition to unifying the nation physically, linked the people psychologically.

Positioned between two major historical world powers (and having been conquered at times by both of them), Luxembourg takes a good deal of its identity from its neighbors' contributions. This shows itself both in the generally amicable relationship between the countries and their citizens and in their shared linguistic traits. Multilingualism is universal among Luxembourgers, and both the German and French languages are used in the press, in politics, and in daily life. French is most common in government and schools, though Luxembourgish is the language you will hear most frequently on the street. English is widely understood in tourist areas.

Luxembourg's location in the heart of Europe made it a desirable territory for the continent's abundance of expansion-minded rulers. So it built itself into one of the most powerful fortresses in the world. Most of the fortifications were dismantled in the mid-19th century, and fortresses were converted into parks-too soon, as it turned out. Luxembourg was invaded and occupied in both World Wars by its neighbors to the east and sustained terrible damage in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge. The damage has since been repaired, and Luxembourgers, grateful for the U.S. role in liberating their country, have been particularly friendly to travelers from the U.S. ever since.

Geographically, the country is surprisingly varied, considering its small size. The northern area has the best scenery, particularly in the heavily forested area of the Ardennes, whereas the southern area is more industrial and urbanized. The eastern region, along the Sauer and Moselle Rivers, has lovely vineyards and wineries.

Luxembourg offers the advantage of life in a medium-sized Western European city coupled with many of the social and cultural aspects of a modern capital.


Luxembourg City

Luxembourg City is situated in central, southern Luxembourg. The city is the formal residence of the Grand Duke and the seat of government. The Court of Justice of the European Communities, the EU Court of Auditors, the general secretariat of the EU European Parliament, the European Investment Bank, the EU Office of Statistics, and many other community services are also found here.

In 1963, the city celebrated its 1,000th anniversary. For centuries, Luxembourg was one of the most powerful fortresses in the world, earning the name of "Gibraltar of the North." Although the fortress was dismantled during the years 1867-83, the many remnants of these ancient fortifications, the medieval towers and ramparts, are of great interest. The casemates are a 23-kilometer network of underground passages, hewn from solid rock. The Grand Ducal Palace, built during the 16th and 18th centuries, is located among the narrow, winding streets of the old city.

Within the Cathedral Notre Dame are the Grand Ducal Mausoleum and the tomb of Luxembourg's national hero, John the Blind, who was killed in 1346 at the Battle of Crecy. The European Center on the Kirchberg Plateau commands an impressive view of the entire city. Built on ridges overlooking the confluence of the Alzette and Petrusse Rivers, the city has attractive park areas along both streams. The Place d'Armes, in the center of the city, is the site of numerous band concerts during the spring and summer months.


Most foodstuffs, including many American products, are available in Luxembourg. Prices are higher than in the U.S. for many foods, such as meat. Uncooked fruit and vegetables are safe, and the quality is high. Beef is lower in quality than in the U.S., but the quality of pork is higher. American cuts cannot be obtained locally. High quality poultry is available. Excellent-quality fish and seafood are available.

Water is potable, but it has a high calcium content, making it hard for washing purposes. Bottled water is available at reasonable prices.


Clothing is similar to that worn in the northern U.S. Average annual rainfall is heavy, so raincoats, umbrellas, and waterproof footwear are needed. Extremely cold weather is not prolonged, but it is often chilly and damp. Bring warm suits, coats, overshoes or other warm footwear, and a good supply of sweaters. Summer weather is also cool and unpredictable. Most summer-weight clothes can be worn for only a limited time. Sports clothing and heavy shoes are useful for walking, shooting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Men: Ready-made European-style suits are available locally. Workmanship of these suits is good, but costly. Much available haberdashery is imported, and prices are higher than in the U.S. Good shoes from England, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy are available.

Women: Because of the cool, damp climate and the tendency to under heat houses, women wear more suits and sweaters throughout the year than in most parts of the U.S. Competent, but expensive, dressmakers are available. Hats, gloves, and other accessories are available, and there are several good, but expensive, women's wear shops. "A" width or narrower shoes are scarce, and local shoes are generally expensive.

Good-quality furs are priced lower than in the U.S. Mending, glazing, and alteration of furs are done well and more cheaply than at home.

Children: Children's clothes, including winter clothing, are similar to those worn in the northern U.S. and are readily available in Luxembourg, though they are more expensive than in the U.S. Due to the damp climate, children need warm boots and extra shoes.

Supplies and Services

General living needs are sold locally and at Bitburg/Spangdahlem. Internationally known cosmetics and toiletries are available locally.

Bring a supply of any favorite or special cosmetics.

A wide variety of good-quality fabrics is available locally.

A wide range of personal services is available in Luxembourg, including shoe repair, laundry, drycleaning, hairdressing, clothing alterations. Photographic equipment is readily available, and developing is satisfactory, but much more expensive than in the U.S.

Domestic Help

Full-time domestic help, especially a competent housekeeper, is extremely difficult to find. It is somewhat easier to find cleaning personnel who work by the hour. Persons who employ domestic help for at least 4 consecutive hours a week must register with the "Office des Assurances Sociales" The employer must contribute to the worker's social security. This tax is about 25% of the worker's salary and includes medical and retirement. The typical expense per week for a full-time (40 hours) maid runs about 15,000 FLux. Part-time help, e.g., 6 hours a week, costs approximately 1,800 FLux. Extra help is available for dinners and receptions. A commercial supplier charges 2,500 FLux per waiter for an evening.

Cleaning help can also be obtained from several companies who supply their own staff and equipment. The client pays these companies a flat hourly rate and they take care of all insurance. Some American students at the Miami University European Study Center take odd jobs, such as helping in the house, working in the garden, and babysitting. They may be contacted through the university.

Religious Activities

The local population is predominantly Roman Catholic. Although many church services are held in German, services in English, French, or Luxembourgish are available. Sermons are frequently given in a different language from the service. A Lutheran church with services in German and a synagogue are also located in Luxembourg City.

The English-speaking Catholic Community of Luxembourg offers services in English. The Protestant Anglican Chaplaincy and Christian Community Church also hold services in English. A number of American residents in Luxembourg attend Christian services at Bitburg AFB and English-speaking churches in the area around Bitburg.


Primary and secondary public education in Luxembourg is operated by the Ministry of National Education. Tuition is free and foreign students are accepted. The curriculum is roughly the same as in the other European schools. Languages of instruction are Luxembourgish, German, and French. American students, unless fluent in German or French, may experience considerable difficulty. English is taught only as a second (fourth) language. Religious instruction is conducted in all schools by Roman Catholic clergy, but students are exempted if the parents so request.

The International School of Luxembourg , which offers a full American curriculum in grades kindergarten through 12. ISL is fully accredited by both the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the Middle States Association in the U.S. It is overseen by a predominantly American board of directors under the aegis of the Luxembourg Ministry of Education, which subsidizes ISUs operation. The total student body numbers 424, with 257 in pre-K through grade 6, and 167 in grades 7 through 12. Americans make up the largest single block of students with 28%; Scandinavians are next with 15%; altogether among the students there are 27 nationalities from five continents. The Upper School offers advanced placement and honors classes in most key subjects. Small classes provide each student with a good deal of personal attention.

In addition to its formal curriculum, ISL offers a wide variety of supplementary and elective opportunities, including vocal music, instrumental music, art, computer science, theater, debate, etc. With its relatively new gymnasium and extensive contact with other American and international schools in the region, ISL conducts an active sports program, both intramural and interscholastic.

The European School in Luxembourg (kindergarten through grade 12) is for children of employees of the European Community who are working in Luxembourg. Instruction is in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. Each section has teachers accredited by the board of education in the respective countries. First choice, however, is given to families belonging to the European Union countries.

An English-speaking International Kindergarten is also located in Luxembourg.

Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) European Study Center was opened in Luxembourg in 1968. About 100 American undergraduates come there from Ohio to study for one or two academic terms under a faculty of 12, including 4 American professors. Students wishing to attend the center must request approval from Miami University in Ohio.

Sacred Heart University (Fair-field, CT) is also established in Luxembourg and offers an MBA program as well as certificate in various fields of management.

Luxembourg has no full-curriculum university of its own. Luxembourgers must go to France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, or elsewhere for their higher education.

Special Educational Opportunities

Several language schools are located in Luxembourg. Private tutors are available for French, German, and most other school subjects. The Luxembourg Board of Education arranges courses in Luxembourgish for foreigners as part of its adult education program. Luxembourg City also makes available, cost free, courses in French, German, and Luxembourgish. Foreign women's clubs have also organized language courses.

A number of dancing schools and gymnastics classes are available in Luxembourg. There are also ballroom dancing classes for adults.

Some professional schools in Luxembourg allow amateurs to study pottery-making, drawing, etc. During the summer, special classes called Beaux Arts are held for about 6 weeks.


The Grand Ducal Golf Club has an excellent 18-hole course and a small, attractive clubhouse where meals are available. The course, considered to be among the most challenging and beautiful in Europe, attracts golfers from all over Europe. Instructors and caddies are available. Membership is not inexpensive, nor necessarily available to all.

A permit from the Ministry of Justice is required to possess a hunting weapon. Hunters and fishermen also must purchase an annual license. Wild boar, deer, and pheasant hunting are excellent and popular in Luxembourg. Many wooded streams provide fine fishing. However, hunting and fishing rights are privately owned, so you are usually dependent on invitations from Luxembourgers.

Gym classes for men and women are available. The more popular spectator sports are basketball, soccer, rugby, bicycling, handball, and volleyball. Team membership in these sports and activities such as karate and judo are open to everyone.

The city has several swimming pools; the Olympic Swimming Pool in the suburb of Kirchberg is a world-class facility. Pool memberships are also available at the Hotel Intercontinental and Royal Hotel.

River bathing is possible in several places. Water skiing is popular on the Moselle, and scuba diving may be done in Lake Esch-sur-Sure. Sailing, kayaking, and canoeing are also possible, but you sometimes have to provide your own equipment.

Membership is possible in several private tennis clubs, and a few well-kept municipal courts are available. Indoor tennis courts are also available for hire by the hour or on a seasonal basis. About 4 miles outside the city is an indoor ice skating rink that can be enjoyed year round. Two riding academies offer riding lessons, and many riding trails are located in the surrounding countryside. A new squash club is also available. There are several lovely bicycle paths, both from the city and out in the countryside.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The Luxembourg countryside is beautiful in the spring, summer, and early fall. There are hundreds of kilometers of well-groomed hiking trails throughout the country. Tourists and hikers from all over Europe enjoy the unspoiled natural attractions of "Little Switzerland," the Sure and Moselle Valleys, and the thick forests of the Ardennes Mountains. Over 130 old castles dot the country, including Vianden, Clervaux, Bourscheid, Beaufort, and Esch-sur-Sure. Grape and wine festivals and tastings are held in towns and villages along the Moselle in the fall and spring when the grapes are gathered and the wine is bottled.

Trier, a former provincial capital of the Roman Empire and an important German town in medieval days, is 30 miles from Luxembourg City and an interesting day's excursion. North from Trier along the German Moselle, a series of picturesque wine towns and ruined castles extends to Koblenz where the Moselle joins the Rhine.

To the south near Luxembourg, the Verdun Battlefield in France is well worth a visit. Paris and Brussels are fun for a weekend visit. Reims, Cologne, Aachen, and Strasbourg are within easy reach of the Grand Duchy. Spring trips to Holland's tulip fields also are popular.


Luxembourg has several motion picture theaters. American, English, French, German, Italian, and other films are shown. American films are usually 6-12 months old, but are ordinarily presented in their original English-language version.

Luxembourg City's cultural center is the Municipal Theater, which opened in April 1964. It offers opera, drama, symphonic concerts, and solo recitals and otherwise enriches the country's

cultural life. In the winter, the Municipal Theater presents two series of plays, one in French and one in German, by excellent touring companies. Touring companies also perform operatic and ballet series each season. Luxembourg has an excellent philharmonic orchestra. Luxembourg's New Theater Club presents two or three plays in English during the season. The "Old Theater" on the Rue des Capucins has been revived and presents very interesting plays by professional and amateur actors.

The French, Italian, and German cultural centers have interesting programs. Luxembourg City has a number of small nightclubs.

In the summer, music may be found everywhere. Groups from all over Europe, Canada, and the U.S. perform in the Place d'Armes. Concerts are also held in the Municipal Theater, the " Cercle Municipal," churches, and various other places in and around Luxembourg City. The annual Open Air Theater and Music Festival at Wiltz Castle in northern Luxembourg provides a well-rounded selection of musical events, theater, and ballet, as does the Echternach Festival. The U.S. Air Force bands have concerts several times a year.

During 3 weeks in May, pilgrimages are made from all parts of the country to the Cathedral, culminating in a procession of the statue of "Our Lady of Luxembourg" through the city streets. The "Schueberfouer" comes to town at he end of August, following an almost unbroken tradition of over 450 years. this annual fair has all the usual attractions loved by children-bumper cars, carousels, shooting ranges-plus many temporary restaurants and two dance calls.

Social Activities

An American Chamber of Commerce, an American Business association of Luxembourg, and an American Women's Club operate here. Small scouting groups are provided for both boys and girls. Luxembourg has an active American-Luxembourg Society.


CLERVAUX is a tourist center with 1,000 residents, 35 miles northwest of Diekirch in northern Luxembourg. This medieval town lies on the eastern bank of the Clerf River, in a colorful, twisting valley. Noteworthy buildings here include the Abbey of the Benedictines of St. Maurice, the Chapel of Notre Dame of Lorette, and the castle, built in the 10th century by Gerard of Clervaux. The castle was badly damaged during the Ardennes offensive of World War II, but is being restored. Clervaux has several hotels, a youth-hostel, and official campgrounds.

DIEKIRCH , a town of 5,000 in the west-central part of Luxembourg, near the border with West Germany, dates to 1260. A brewery is located here.

DIFFERDANGE is 12 miles southwest of Luxembourg-Ville. With a population of 16,000, it is a center for the production of iron and steel. North of Differdange, near the Belgian border, is Pétange, with a population close to 12,000.

DUDELANGE , on the French border, 10 miles south of Luxembourg-Ville, has a population of about 14,000. It is an industrial commune that produces iron, steel, and aluminum.

ECHTERNACH , an ancient town which was one of the earliest centers of Christianity in Europe, lies northeast of Luxembourg-Ville. St. Willibrord, an English Benedictine missionary, is buried in the abbey he founded here in 698. Each year on Whit Tuesday, a famous festival, La Procession Dansante, is held in Echternach. This small town of fewer than 5,000 residents figured in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE , an industrial center and rail junction, is located on the French border about 10 miles southwest of Luxembourg-Ville. The country's second largest city, with a population of 23,700, Esch-sur-Alzette is situated in a coal mining region, and manufactures iron, steel, cement, tar products, and fertilizer.

Situated in northeastern Luxembourg, VIANDEN is the city were Victor Hugo (1802-1885), the French literary figure, spent his voluntary exile in 1871. The city is surrounded by magnificent landscape. There are modern campgrounds, pleasant hotels, and comfortable cottages, as well as a number of sports and leisure facilities. Vianden's narrow, winding streets and its castle create a medieval atmosphere. Europe's most powerful hydroelectric pumping-station is located here. Vianden's population is about 1,500.


Geography and Climate

Luxembourg, located in Western Europe, is bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium. The country is 50 miles long and 36 miles wide, covering 999 square miles, or slightly less than the area of Rhode Island.

Geographically, the Grand Duchy is divided into two sections. The forested and hilly northern half of the country is a continuation of the Belgian Ardennes. In the south, the Lorraine Plateau extends from France, creating an open, rolling countryside with an average elevation of 1,000 feet. The Our, Sure, and Moselle Rivers flow north-south along the frontier between Luxembourg and Germany.

Temperatures range from 5°F (-15°C) to 90°F (32°C), with an annual mean temperature of 49°F (9°C). Summer temperatures average 60°F (15°C) and winters are mild with an average low of 29°F (-1.7°C). July and August are the warmest months; May and June are the sunniest; and January and February are the coldest months. Luxembourg has a climate much like that of the U.S. Pacific Northwest-cool, temperate, and rainy. The northwesterly winds that traverse the western, lower portion of the Belgian Ardennes cause abundant clouds, fog, and rain. Average annual rainfall is 30 inches; some rain falls 50% of the year.


The Grand Duchy has a population of approximately 440,000 (2000 est.).

The densest population is in the industrial southwest region and around the capital city, with a population of 78,300. Of the entire population, 34% are aliens, most from other European countries (12% Portuguese). The European Union Institutions located here employ many citizens of the different member states.

The native population is at least bilingual, often trilingual. Luxembourgish is the native language spoken in the majority of homes. German is the language of instruction beginning in first grade; French begins shortly thereafter as a foreign language. Luxembourgish and French are the official languages of the country. French is used in diplomatic exchanges, in drafting decrees and legislation, and in the upper courts.

Local newspapers are usually published in German, and German is used in the lower courts. French is the most common second language used in stores within the city, but German is often more useful in the northern part of the country. Luxembourgers invariably speak Luxembourgish among themselves. Related to the old Moselle Frankish language of Western Germany, Luxembourgish is basically a Germanic language enriched by French and Flemish words and expressions. This language is rarely written and varies from region to region. English is also taught in the schools.

While there is no state religion, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic. Protestant and Jewish communities also exist, and all faiths are welcome.

Public Institutions

Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarchy. Under the Constitution of 1868, as amended, the Grand Duke is the Chief of State. Executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the Council of Government (Cabinet), which consists of a dozen members led by the President of the Government (Prime Minister). The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that has the most seats in the Parliament.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, elected directly to 5-year terms. A second body, the Council of State, exercises some of the functions of an upper house, but can be overridden by the Chamber of Deputies. It is composed largely of ordinary citizens appointed in part by the Grand Duke, in part by the Council of Government.

The law is codified, as in France and Belgium, and is a composite of local practice, legal tradition, and foreign systems (French, Belgian, and German). The apex of the judicial system is the Superior Court, whose judges are appointed by the Grand Duke.

Under the Constitution of 1868, as amended, Luxembourg is a parliamentary democracy. A coalition of two of the three major parties-the Christian Social Party (CSV), the Socialist Party (LSAP), and the Democratic (or Liberal) Party (DP) have formed the government in recent years.

Arts, Science, and Education

Over the ages, the cultural influences upon Luxembourg life have been extremely varied. Until the 19th century, Luxembourg was dominated by the various European powers: France, Spain, Prussia, Austria, and the Netherlands. The strongest influences have been those of its immediate neighbors: France, Belgium, and Germany. Luxembourg's technology is primarily German-influenced. While many Luxembourg engineering students train in Germany, others take higher education in Belgium or France. The French and, to a lesser degree, the Belgians, are the strongest cultural influences. However, Luxembourgers are appreciative of many other cultures as well, including those of Great Britain, Italy, and the U.S.

Commerce and Industry

Luxembourg is aptly described in tourist literature as the "Green Heart of Europe." The open rolling countryside is accentuated by Luxembourg's small but productive agricultural sector, which concentrates on animal husbandry. Its principal products are meat and dairy products. Vineyards along the Luxembourg side of the Moselle River annually produce almost 4 million gallons of high-quality dry white wine, almost half of which is consumed locally.

Luxembourg's standard of living and per capita income are the highest in the European Union. The Grand Duchy's currency is linked to Belgium's, and the two countries share customs facilities and are partners in the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU). The economy is stable and prosperous, enjoying modest growth, low inflation, and low unemployment (2.9%; 1999 est.). Steel production, financial services, and light industry are the primary sectors. The industrial sector, until recently dominated entirely by steel, is increasingly diversified.

American investment has played a large role. Goodyear, DuPont, Guardian, General Motors, Commercial Intertech, and Delphi Automotive Systems are among the American firms with industrial facilities in Luxembourg. The financial sector's rapid growth over the past two decades has more than compensated for the long-term decline of the steel industry, which now contributes only 1.8% of GDP.

Services, especially banking, account for a growing proportion of the economy. Luxembourg's 210 banks now employ over 9 percent of the working population (20,557).

Luxembourg's dependence on exports of goods and services has made it favorable to open borders and commercial activity generally. Most trade is with Luxembourg's immediate neighbors. The U.S. accounts for only 3% of Luxembourg's trade. Steel exports to the U.S. dominate our trade relations. Although the country usually registers a trade deficit, a surplus in earnings from financial services contributes a very large current account surplus.

GDP growth in 1999 was 7.6%, the highest in recent years. Inflation was 1.4%. Unemployment, at 3.3%, remains the lowest in the European Union.

Government finances are conservatively managed. Government budgets usually record surpluses. In order to prevent these surpluses from growing even larger, the government introduced tax cuts in both 1997 and 1998.



Luxembourg has excellent paved highways and secondary roads. Driving in Luxembourg is on the right side of the road with "priority to the right" (the driver from the right normally has the right of way and exercises it).

Rental cars are available through car rental agencies locally or at nearby U.S. military bases. Gasoline quality is comparable to American grades, with an occasional slightly lower octane rating. Unleaded gasoline and diesel is commonly provided by most gas stations in Luxembourg and neighboring countries.

Many people prefer small American or European cars. However, no restrictions apply to the type of car brought into the country.

Repairs and spare parts are not readily available for American automobiles in Luxembourg, and prices are higher than in the U.S.

Some cars need minor modifications to pass a safety inspection required for all vehicles registered in Luxembourg. Regulations on tire tread are strict.

Within 3 months of establishing residence, you must register your car in Luxembourg. Automobile registration costs about $45. A valid U.S. drivers license is sufficient for a tour of duty not exceeding 1 year. After 1 year, you must apply for a local driver's license. Before registration can be completed, the car must pass inspection by the Ministry of Transport. The law requires that all cars registered in Luxembourg be insured with a Luxembourg firm for third-party liability insurance. The insurance "green card" proves that your automobile insurance is valid in Europe and is obtained from the Luxembourg insurance company with which you have third-party liability coverage. The cost of third-party insurance is based on engine displacement.

Local insurance companies' premiums are based on the value of your car when purchased, not the present value. Payment on claims, however, is based on the present value. A letter from your American (or present) insurance company stating that you have been driving "X" number of years without a claim against them, will cause the local insurance company to deduct 5% for each year (up to 45%) from the prices listed above on comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance may be obtained outside Luxembourg (i.e., Clements in Washington, USAA).

The not-for-profit Automobile Club of Luxembourg provides travel information, maps, emergency, assistance, and many other services for a modest membership fee. With the purchase of a carnet d'assistance, members have access to services from automobile clubs throughout Europe and in North Africa. (Automobile Club, 54 Route de Longwy, L-8007 Helfenterbruck, Telephone: 45-00-45.)


In the city, buses are inexpensive. Schedules are geared to students as well as Luxembourg shopping and office hours. Taxicabs are plentiful. Taxis do not cruise the city; they must be phoned, but they come quickly.


Luxembourg's central location is a definite advantage; all of Europe is easily accessible from Luxembourg. Paris is 4 hours away by car; Brussels 2 hours; Le Havre 10 hours; Frankfurt 4 hours; and Amsterdam 6 hours.

Bus or rail connections can be made between Luxembourg City and most other towns in the Grand Duchy. The schedules, however, are primarily geared to workers and students.

Trains stop at Luxembourg's Central Station en route to Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Milan, and the south of France.

First class, round-trip fares by train are as follows:

Paris: FLux4,648, US$126

Bonn: FLux 3,852, US$104

Frankfurt: FLux 5,024, US$136

Amsterdam: FLux 4,900, US$132

Basel: FLux 4,172, US$113

Strasbourg: FLux 2,904, US$78

Brussels: FLux 1,995, US$54

Second class is generally clean and pleasant. A modern airport (Findel) is located only 4 miles outside Luxembourg City. The passenger terminal was opened in November 1975. Luxembourg has daily air service to Brussels, Paris, London, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. Other major European cities are also served but not by daily flights. Limited tourist flights are scheduled to most major vacation areas. Attractive package tours to some 30 destinations from Algarve to Zurich are offered by Luxair, the Grand Duchy's passenger airline.

A wide variety of connecting flights to other points in Europe is available in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, London, and Frankfurt.

Round-trip, economy fares by plane to various points of interest are as follows:

Paris: FLux 15,700, US$424

Frankfurt: FLux 11,450, US$309

London: FLux 19,360, US$523

Nice: FLux 20,420, US$552

Palma: FLux 18,760, US$507

Vienna: FLux 31,390, US$848

Madrid: FLux 26,260, US$710

Rome: FLux 33,980, US$918


Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone and telegraph service in Luxembourg is excellent. Telephone installation costs about $70. Calls within the Grand Duchy cost 5 francs for each 4 minutes. You can dial directly to subscribers in most Western European countries and in the U.S. A 3-minute person-to-person call from Luxembourg to New York costs $2.50. Telegraph or cable rates between Luxembourg and New York are FLux 1,900, including 40 words.

Radio and TV

Radio reception in Luxembourg is adequate to receive stations throughout Western Europe, including the BBC, VOA and the American Forces Network from Germany. In some areas, however, an aerial may be necessary.

Radio FM and television programs from Western Germany, Belgium, and France are received in Luxembourg. Radio Tele Luxembourg also has daily television programs in French and German. In many areas, a large antenna is essential for reception. If your antenna is good, or, if you have subscribed to cable TV, you can receive three German channels, six French channels, Belgium's two French-language channels, and Radio T616 Luxembourg (when hooked up to cable TV; in addition, you can get several satellite programs, including some English-language channels). All channels are in color. An American TV, however, cannot be converted to receive Belgian,

French, German, or Luxembourgish programs. It is recommended that newcomers to Luxembourg buy multisystem TV's and videorecorders (available at Bitburg, Spangdahlem and other bases) in order to enjoy all available channels and/or programs in Luxembourg. Luxembourg does not tax owners of televisions and radios.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The leading newspapers of Luxembourg are in German, with the exception of the French-language Republicain Lorraine, published in France. The main newsstands in Luxembourg carry a wide section of Europe newspapers as well as French, Belgian, and German magazines.

The International Herald Tribune is also available at local newsstands or by subscription. It is possible to obtain American magazines in Luxembourg, but the selection is limited.

About 1,500 English and American books of the former USIS library have been donated to the National Library of Luxembourg. The University of Miami and the British Ladies Club maintain good reading libraries in Luxembourg. Some American books are sold in shops, but prices are high.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Medical and surgical attention in Luxembourg is good, although in view of the small community served, the depth of a coverage in some specialities might not be as great as, for instance, in the U.S. All Luxembourg physicians and surgeons receive their medical education abroad. Several local doctors, including pediatricians, have trained in the U.S. The hospitals, including maternity hospitals, are clean and well kept and are usually well staffed by Catholic nursing sisters.

Competent dentists practice in Luxembourg, and Americans are usually satisfied with routine dental work done locally. As with medical care described above, there may be areas of special dentistry where the size of the community does not support the fullest facilities.

Local ophthalmologists and opticians are dependable.

Pharmacies in Luxembourg are well supplied with most general medicines.

Community Health

Luxembourg enjoys a high standard of living. Public health standards compare well with those in the U.S. Sewage and garbage disposal are not a problem. The public water supply is potable.

Preventive Measures

Prevalence of disease is comparable to that in the New England states, except for a slightly higher incidence of tuberculosis and respiratory diseases. Several outbreaks of typhoid, influenza, and infantile paralysis have occurred since World War II; none has assumed serious proportions, and statistics reflect a steady downward curve. The last recorded case of infantile paralysis was in 1963. Ordinary colds and bronchial coughs from the damp climate are the most common ailments. Humidity increases sinus trouble, rheumatism, arthritis, catarrh, and asthma.

Pasteurized milk sold in cartons is considered. Glass-bottled or plastic bagged milk is pasteurized but does not meet U.S. sanitary standards. No special treatment is required for water or fresh vegetables.

While potable, the local water supply is very hard. Many people drink mineral water or use a softener available at Bitburg or locally. In all new buildings and houses, a softener is automatically included at the input of water supply.


Passage, Customs and Duties

Most travelers arrive by air via London, Brussels, Paris, or Frankfurt. Some flights into Luxembourg are via short stopovers, but you do not need large amounts of currency for these cities. All airports have exchange facilities for changing small amounts of currency.

Flying time from New York to Luxembourg is about 12 hours, including a stopover at an intermediate airport. Unaccompanied airfreight from the U.S. usually arrives within 7 days. Surface freight takes a minimum of 1 month.

A passport is required. A visa is not required for American citizens for business or tourist stays of up to 90 days. For further information concerning entry requirements for Luxembourg, travelers can contact the Embassy of Luxembourg at 2200 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, Tel. (202) 265-4171/72, or the Luxembourg consulates general in New York or San Francisco

Americans living in or visiting Luxembourg are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg to obtain updated information on travel and security within Luxembourg. The U.S. Embassy is located at 22 Boulevard Emmanuel Servais in Luxembourg City, Tel: (352) 46-01-23 or Fax: (352) 46-19-39. The Embassy website address is

For specific information concerning Luxembourg driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Luxembourg National Tourist Office in New York at 212-935-8888, or via the Internet at For international driving permits, contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance at


No special formalities are observed in connection with the importation of pets, nor do any special rules or limits affecting clearance of particular items apply. Pets should be inoculated against rabies and should have had the parvo vaccine. Pet owners should obtain a Certificate of Good Health from their veterinarian before coming to Luxembourg. Upon arrival, dogs should be licensed in Luxembourg.

Firearms and Ammunition

The following quantities and types of nonautomatic firearms and ammunition may be brought to Luxembourg:

Pistols and revolvers, 2; Rifles, 4; Shotguns, 4; Ammunition1,000 rounds.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

As a member of the European Community, the monetary unit Luxembourg is the Euro, which is divided into 100 cent. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 & 2 Euro. Bank notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The exchange rate approximates 1.15 euro to $1 US.

The metric system is used for weights and measures.


Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Feb/Mar.Shrove Monday*

Feb/Mar.Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras)*


Mar/Apr.Easter Monday*

May 1Luxembourg Labor Day

May/JuneAscension Day*


May/JunePentecost (Whit) Monday*

May/June (Tues after Pentecost) St. Willobord Dancing Processsion in Echternach*

June 23 Grand Duke's Birthday

Aug. 15Assumption Day

Nov. 1All Saints' Day

Nov. 2All Souls' Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 St. Stephen's Day



The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

A great deal of bibliographic material on Luxembourg is available in English. In addition to Fodor and Blue Guides on Belgium and Luxembourg, many tourist pamphlets in English can be obtained from the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington or the Luxembourg Consulate General in New York. The good general books are " Living in Luxembourg" available from the American Women's Club, and " Luxembourg Yesterday and Today" by Joseph Petit, director of the Luxembourg Government Information Service.

The latest edition of the "Political Handbook of the World," published by the Council of Foreign Relations, contains a brief resume of useful information on political affairs, party program and leaders, and the press of Luxembourg. Attic in Luxembourg, written in 1956 by Beryl Miles and published by John Murray, gives a great deal of historical and background information about the Grand Duchy and its customs and ceremonies.

In French, a brief but excellent general study of Luxembourg is " Le Benelux, " published by the Editions Ode of Paris. Two books by Pierre Majerus of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Manuel de Droit Constitutionnel et de Droit Administratif Luxembourgeois" and " Le Luxembourg Independant: Essai d'Histoire Politique Contemporaine et de Droit International Public, " are highly recommended for their scholarly excellence and useful historical information. " All the Best in Belgium and Luxembourg" by Sydney Clark (Dodd, 1956) is also recommended reading. "Le Luxembourg" edited by Charles Dessart, and " Nature et Tourisme an Luxembourg, " published by the Touring Club Luxembourgeois, present pictorial evidence of the Grand Duchy's scenic and historical attractions. Finally, " Le Luxembourg: Livre du Centenaire, " originally published in 1939 under the auspices of the Luxembourg Government and subsequently updated, is an exhaustive analysis of every aspect of life in Luxembourg, past and present.

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Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Grand-Duché de Luxembourg

Grossherzogtum Luxemburg



Luxembourg is a landlocked nation in Western Europe, at the intersection of Belgium, France, and Germany. It is one of the smallest nations in the world with an area of 2,586 square kilometers (998 square miles), which makes it slightly smaller than Rhode Island. The nation has 359 kilometers (223 miles) of borders, including 148 kilometers (92 miles) with Belgium, 73 kilometers (45 miles) with France, and 138 kilometers (86 miles) with Germany. Luxembourg, the capital, is in the southern region of the country. The nation's second and third largest cities, Esch-Alzette and Differ-dange, are in the southwest.


In July of 2000, the population of Luxembourg was estimated to be 437,389. While the overall fertility rate is below replacement levels (1.7 children per woman, or 12.45 births per 1,000 people), the population continues to grow because of immigration . There were 9.21 immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants in 2000. The death rate was 8.91 deaths per 1,000. In 2000, the population growth rate was 1.27 percent because of the influx of refugees and immigrant workers.

Immigration has been encouraged because of the need for workers. As much as 35 percent of the population is foreign, which gives the nation a higher proportion of foreigners than any other European country. The government has implemented different programs to integrate foreign residents into society. For instance, foreigners with resident status have the right to vote and run for office in municipal elections and may be employed in public sector jobs. Given the aging population, the need for workers continues. About 14 percent of Luxembourgers are over the age of 65, while 19 percent are 14 or younger. Average life expectancy is 73.8 years for males and 80.6 years for women. Besides guest workers , Luxembourg has also opened its borders to refugees. In 1998, there were 4,548 refugees in the nation, making up just over 1 percent of the population. Many of these refugees came from the former Yugoslavia. As the conflicts in the Balkans subside and refugees return home, population growth is expected to stabilize. However, the continuing need for workers will bring a corresponding growth in the population, which is expected to reach 700,000 by 2025.

Most Luxembourgers are descended from Celtic stock, with German and French influences. The largest minority group is the Portuguese, who account for 13 percent of the population. There are also significant numbers of Italians and other southern Europeans. Most people live in the southwest, and two-thirds of the population are urban. During the 20th century there was increasing migration from the countryside to urban areas. The population of the capital is 76,440, while 24,255 live in the second largest city, Esch-Alzette. To maintain the declining rural population, the government has relocated some industries to the countryside. The Luxembourg language is an amalgamation of German and French, with French also used for official purposes and German which is commonly spokenas the language of the press. English is also widely used.


Since World War II, the economy of Luxembourg has been marked by high income levels and low unemployment. For most of this period, the iron and steel industry dominated the economy, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the nation's wealth during the 1960s. Banking and financial services are now the main considerations in the economy. In 1999, the unemployment rate was the lowest in Europe at 2.9 percent, and the inflation rate was only 1.1 percent. Meanwhile, the nation's GDP has grown about 5 percent per year since 1985.

Luxembourg's economic success has been due to its adaptability and the skills of its people. As the steel industry declined, the economy shifted to other enterprises, and current prosperity is based on a combination of industry, a small agricultural sector, and a growing import-export economy based on financial services. Economic diversification has resulted in the expansion of small to medium-sized companies.

The nation has one of the world's most educated labor forces , and the multilingual ability of most of the population is an incentive for foreign companies to invest or relocate there. While there are no 4-year universities in Luxembourg, there are 6 major universities in the region and 500 laboratories, and the government subsidizes those students who go abroad to complete their education. The nation's superb infrastructure also adds to its attractiveness, as do the sound relations between labor and industry.

As the steel industry declined in the 1970s, Luxembourg restructured its steel producers into a single entity, ARBED, a multinational group which is among the most important steelmakers in the world. Steel still accounts for 29 percent of the exports, 1.8 percent of the GDP, and 3.9 percent of employment. The government owns just under one-third of ARBED, and since 1974, it has set up reforms and modernization initiatives and assumed parts of the group's debt. The company is the second largest steel producer in Europe and one of the most productive in the world.

With the decline of the steel industry in the 1970s, the government undertook several programs to diversify the economy. A significant aspect of this diversification effort was the promotion of the financial sector. By the 1980s, the nation emerged as one of the world's premier banking centers, and by 1996 there were 222 banks in the country with 21,458 employees (9.5 percent of the workforce). Total assets exceed US$200 billion, with 81 percent of funds in foreign currencies. U.S. dollars and German marks are the primary denominations held in Luxembourg banks. Luxembourg's attractiveness as a financial center has prompted companies, such as Goodyear, Du Pont, and General Motors, to build factories there. The nation's investment fund sector is the second largest in the world (behind the United States) and accounts for 20 percent of Europe's total investments. This sector is at the forefront of new services, such as e-commerce . There are also more than 9,000 foreign holding companies in Luxembourg, and the European Investment Bank, the main financial institution of the European Union (EU), is located there.

Successive governments have enacted policies and adopted many programs to encourage foreign investment and attract foreign businesses. Examples of such policies include cuts in company tax, abolition of corporate capital gains tax, and tax credits for new products and services. Administrative reforms have reduced bureaucratic impediments to business, with relevant agencies and bureaus placed under one coordinating body. This arrangement hastens paperwork and permits, making it easier for new companies to establish themselves. The nation's banking secrecy laws also appeal to foreign investors, but problems with money laundering have led to efforts to compromise between privacy and the need to prevent criminal activity. The laws continue to allow Luxembourg to remain a tax haven for foreign investors. These government programs have been successful. For instance, outside of North America, Luxembourg has the largest U.S. foreign direct investment on a per capita basis.

The government has encouraged the development of audio-visual and communications sectors, and media services have become the second most significant sector in the diversification program. The government-backed company, Société Européenne des Satellites (SES), operates 5 satellites, and Radio-Television Luxembourg is 1 of the continent's leading private radio and television broadcasters.

A continuing problem for the economy of Luxembourg is energy. The nation has few sources of energy other than timber, and 95 percent of electricity is imported. The country chooses not to construct nuclear energy plants. Oil, coal, and natural gas fuels are imported. Thus, Luxembourg is dependent on foreign sources of fuel.

Luxembourg has been a strong supporter of economic integration. For 80 years, Luxembourg and Belgium have been joined under the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) which provides for an interchangeable currency and a joint customs union. Along with the Netherlands, these 2 nations also form the Benelux Economic Union which integrates cross-border trade. The most significant aspect of Luxembourg's pro-integration policies has been the nation's support for the European Union (EU). The EU has eliminated trade barriers, such as tariffs , among its member states (numbering 15 in 2000), and helped to coordinate external trade practices. Luxembourg also supports the European Monetary Union (EMU), which will replace the national currencies of the EU with a common currency, the euro.

Luxembourg is a net donor of foreign aid, to which it contributed US$160 million in 1999.


Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy, known formally as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The nation's head of state is the grand duke, a position based on heredity. Since October 2000 the country has been led by Grand Duke Henri. The grand duke's powers are mainly formal and ceremonial, with real power resting in the hands of the prime minister, whom he appoints from among the leading party members in the elected Chamber of Deputies. The prime minister appoints a cabinet known as the Council of Ministers. There is a unicameral (single house) legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, which has 60 members elected by direct popular vote every 5 years. Voting is compulsory. There is also a 21-member Council of State whose members are appointed for life and whose main purpose is to advise the Chamber of Deputies and the grand duke on issues such as judicial appointees. The nation's government is based on the constitution of 1868 and its subsequent amendments. Local government consists of 3 districts, which are subdivided into smaller cantons and communes. These bodies are responsible for public works, health care, and education.

The country is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 1998, the government spent US$131 million on defense. Luxembourg has an army, but no navy or air force. The 500-member military force is made up entirely of volunteers and its troops have served in NATO peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia.

The Grand Duchy has been one of the most stable democracies in Europe. There are 3 main parties (the Christian Socialists, the Socialists, and the Democratic Party), and governments are usually formed from a coalition of 2 of the major parties. All parties, including the Socialists, have supported pro-business policies.

There is a close relationship between the nation's government and business and workers. Before legislation is passed, 1 of 3 advisory bodies is consulted. Labor legislation is discussed before 6 confederations, representing business, guilds, farmers, unions, and civil servants. The Social and Economic Council examines broad economic policies, and the Immigration Council advises the government on issues such as immigration or housing.

A strict fiscal and monetary policy has delivered a yearly budget surplus . In 2000 government revenues were US$4.73 billion, while expenditures were US$4.71 billion, making for a strong economy that allows Luxembourg to avoid significant debt while providing generous social policies. Luxembourgers enjoy the highest standard of living in the EU. Medical fees are low, and the national social security system covers sickness and maternity benefits, retirement pensions, family allowances, and accident and unemployment insurance. Each category of coverage is overseen by public institutions independent of the government and supervised by an elected board of representatives. There have been shortages of housing for immigrant workers, but government programs have been implemented to increase affordable homes.

Government policies are pro-business and favor tax reductions. In 1998, the total tax rate was 37.45, composed of a 30 percent corporate tax and municipal business tax. This system included a personal income tax , a corporate tax, a corporate capital gains tax, and municipal business taxes. Later, the government eliminated the corporate capital gains tax, decreased personal income tax by 15 percent, and plans to reduce the company tax to 35 percent by January 2002. A potential problem for Luxembourg involves EU policy that calls for the standardization of national taxes and economic policies. If adopted, these measures would force Luxembourg to levy corporate taxes that it previously did not impose. Furthermore, the Grand Duchy has already agreed to repeal laws on banking secrecy, which may lessen its attractiveness as an international banking center.

Conversely, continued EU integration offers advantages to Luxembourg. The country has supported the establishment of a common retirement fund for all EU member states and, because of its financial status, would be the likely beneficiary of such a policy. The government also advocates increased use of the Internet for business purposes and financial transactions. It has championed EU efforts to promote the World Wide Web, offering tax incentives for the creation of new Internet companies. Luxembourg was the first EU nation to meet the standards for adopting the euro, the common European currency that will make currency conversions unnecessary between member nations and result in less complicated financial transactions.


Luxembourg has an excellent road system, communications network, and power supply system. The government spends a higher percentage of its GDP on infrastructure than any other European nation. There are 5,166 kilometers (3,210 miles) of paved roads, including 166 kilometers (103 miles) of expressways. The nation's railways are fully electrified, and the government is spending 12 billion francs on further improvements to the system. Railroads provide a main method to transport goods to and from Luxembourg. The Moselle River has canals which link it to the Rhine River. This waterway provides links between Luxembourg and ports on the North Sea. The Grand Duchy has a small merchant marine fleet with 56 commercial vessels. The nation's main port is the river port of Mertert, which, along with the smaller port of Bech-Kleinmacher, handled 1,868,230 tons of freight in 1994.

Findel Airport is the nation's only international airport, but it has become a major air terminal. The airport is 5 miles from the capital. The government has engaged in a continuing effort to expand the airport's capacity. Luxembourg has an open-skies agreement with the other EU members and with the United States that allows unrestricted flights between the nations. The Grand Duchy's largest airline, Cargolux, is among Europe's top 10 air cargo carriers. The state-owned airline provides 3 percent of the government's annual revenue. Luxair is the national passenger airline and transports over 1 million people annually.

Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations b Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Luxembourg 314,700 (1999) 215,741 (2000) AM 2; FM 9; shortwave 2 (1999) 285,000 5 (1999) 285,000 (1998 est.) 8 86,000 (1999)
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Germany 45.2 M 15.318 M (1999) AM 51; FM 767; shortwave 4 77.8 M 373 (1995) 51.4 M (1998) 123 18 M
Belgium 4.769 M 974,494 FM 79; AM 7; shortwave 1 8.075 M 25 4.72 M 61 2.7 M
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

The Grand Duchy has also engaged in a broad effort to improve its already superior communications network. This effort, known as E-Luxembourg, significantly increases the financial resources devoted to expanding Internet access and the use of information technology. Half the households have personal computers, and 1 in 3 Luxembourgers have access to the Internet. Currently, 40 percent of elementary schools and all secondary schools have Internet access. There are 5 communications satellites owned by Luxembourg and 2 more will be in orbit by 2002.

The communications infrastructure is among the best in the world which has aided the growth of the financial and banking sectors. The government is privatizing the telecommunications sector. The telephone system is extensive and half of Luxembourgers have mobile phones. Most of the power and telephone lines are underground, as are the nation's petroleum pipelines. Although most of the nation's electricity and power is imported, 1 percent of its energy is produced by local hydroelectric plants. The nation consumes 5.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric power per year.


Since the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, agriculture has been in decline in Luxembourg, and most farms are small, family-owned operations. Most foodstuffs consumed in Luxembourg are imported, while many of the country's agricultural products are exported. Only a small percentage of the population remains engaged in agriculture and the number of farms continues to decline. In 2000 agriculture contributed just 1 percent of the nation's GDP, and in 1998 it employed 2.5 percent of the workforce.

For most of the 20th century, industry provided the nation's wealth, with steel production forming the core of Luxembourg's economy. However, during the 1970s, it became difficult for local steel manufacturers to compete with companies from around the world who were producing steel more cheaply. This difficulty led to a period of restructuring and reform, during which smaller companies were consolidated into a single major steel group, ARBED, which is a highly productive steel maker. Thus, despite declining, the steel industry remains a major feature in the Grand Duchy's economy.

Efforts at diversification in industry have had some success. Major chemical and rubber manufacturing companies have built plants in Luxembourg. Significantly, these include foreign-owned companies, such as DuPont Chemicals, Goodyear Tire, and the Guardian Glass Company. Industry contributed 30 percent of the GDP in 2000 and employed 14.3 percent of the workforce in 1998.

The real growth in Luxembourg's economy has been in the services sector, especially in banking and financial services, which have experienced dramatic growth, making the nation one of Europe's top financial centers. Information services have also grown dramatically, making the nation one of the world's largest satellite service providers, while its development as a major Internet service provider continues to grow quickly. The services sector contributed 69 percent to the GDP in 2000 and employed 83.2 percent of the workforce in 1998.


The main agricultural areas are situated around the flood plain of the Moselle River, but having suffered a marked decline, agriculture accounts for only a small percentage of the Grand Duchy's economyjust 1 percent in 2000. While the climate is conducive to several crops, poor or marginal soil limits production in many areas. The main agricultural products are barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits, and grapes for wine production. Approximately 42 percent of the land is arable, with 1 percent used for permanent crops. About 10 square kilometers of the nation is irrigated, and about three-quarters of the nation's farms are smaller than 200 acres (50 hectares).

Extensive livestock production accounts for 80 percent of agricultural profits, resulting in many farmers raising crops and livestock. Meat production exceeds 15,000 tons annually. Because the nation produces 40 percent more beef than it consumes, meat is one of the few agricultural products in which Luxembourg is self-sufficient. Although farming cattle has increased in importance and profitability, sheep and pig farming have declined. About 70 percent of farms had pigs in 1970, but by 1993, this number had dropped to 15 percent. The growth of the cattle industry has led to an increase in dairy products and to the production of corn as livestock feed. The dairy industry in Luxembourg is organized differently from other agricultural enterprises, being in the hands of 2 major, and 6 minor, dairies. The dairy industry contributes approximately 55 percent of agricultural profits.

There are also 788 small vineyards along the Moselle River, covering 1 percent of agricultural land (1,200 hectares). These vineyards produce 15 million liters of wine annually. Almost four-fifths of the wine produced is consumed by Belgium and the Netherlands, with most of the remainder exported to France and Germany. Luxembourg imports 3 times as much wine as it exports. Vineyards have been the recipients of significant government aid. There are 6 independent breweries in the country, who use much of the locally grown grain in the production of their beer. There is a small tobacco firm employing 350 people, but their cigarettes are made from imported tobacco.

Forestry plays only a tiny part in the economy and accounts for 0.2 percent of the GDP. The annual production of rough timber is approximately 330,000 cubic meters. Furthermore, while wood exports amount to 980 million francs per year, imports exceed 2.8 billion francs.


From the Industrial Revolution through the 1970s, the steel industry was the backbone of the Grand Duchy's economy. In 1974 the nation produced 19 tons of steel for each inhabitant, and metal exports accounted for two-thirds of exports. However, lower demand and the energy crises of the 1970s caused a dramatic decline in the industry. By 1992, steel exports made up only one-third of Luxembourg's exports.

The government-supported conglomerate ARBED, formed to combat the steel crisis in the 1970s, shifted from producing general bulk steel to manufacturing high-quality specialized products such as galvanized metal sheet and metal wire, resulting in the replacement of older blast furnaces with sophisticated electric furnaces. In 1970, there were 30 blast furnaces; by 2000, there were none, but there were 3 electric furnaces. Reforms continue, and ARBED has set aside an 18 billion-franc investment fund for continuing modernization. Despite reductions in the industry, ARBED is the largest private employer in Luxembourg with 7,300 employees. The company remains the fourth largest producer of steel in the world and exported 22 million tons of steel products in 1999.

The Luxembourg government has aggressively tried to diversify and attract other industries. Goodyear has built several plants to produce tires and has become the second largest private employer in the nation with 3,500 employees. Many chemical companies have also built factories in Luxembourg. The Du Pont company has 1,160 workers at plants which produce polyester filaments (mylar) and another 150 workers at a plant which manufactures photographic film. Other major chemical or plastics companies in Luxembourg are Rubbermaid, T.D.K., and Recording Media Europe. The rubber, chemical, and plastics industry accounts for 10 percent of total employment in the Grand Duchy.


The backbone of Luxembourg's economy is the services sector. Financial services, communications, and media services form the core of this sector. Currently home to over 200 banks and 9,000 holding companies, Luxembourg has experienced the biggest growth in recent years in this sector. Employing 20,000 people, the banking sector accounts for 15 percent of the nation's GDP, while the services sector overall contributed 69 percent of the GDP in 2000.

During the 1970s, Germany and Switzerland adopted legislation that made it difficult for non-residents to deposit money in their national banks. However, Luxembourg maintained laws that encouraged foreign investment, and these led to its emergence as a banking center where foreign individuals and companies could easily deposit funds. In the 1980s, this trend accelerated as the country's banks diversified into a wide array of other financial services. By 1994, the banking sector was worth over 17.6 trillion francs. The largest banking group is Cedel, which had an operating income of US$587.6 million and returned profits of US$92.1 million in 1999.

Well into the 1980s, the insurance business in Luxembourg was concentrated on local markets, but EU economic integration opened the markets of other nations to companies in the Grand Duchy. This led to a doubling of the insurance companies by 1993. Besides life and other personal insurance, Luxembourg's companies have gained a place for themselves in maritime insurance, which now accounts for 39 percent of non-life-insurance policies. Including independent insurance brokers, there are as of 2001 approximately 6,200 people employed in insurance.


With a superb communications infrastructure providing a strong platform for new information technologies, Luxembourg is a major communications center. The company, Europe-Online, was an early Internet service in Europe. The company offers multimedia services to consumers throughout Europe. The government has adopted new regulations, including rules for online shopping, to protect consumers who do business on the Internet.

With support from the government, the communications company, SES, operates ASTRA satellites. The first satellite, launched in 1991, provided television programming for 32 million homes in Europe. The launch of 8 subsequent satellites expanded the coverage to over 74 million homes, bringing a corresponding expansion of television broadcasts. The satellites also transmit 39 different radio programs. By 1999, the ASTRA satellites had captured 83.4 percent of Europe's satellite and cable market. Profits from SES exceed 4 billion francs annually.

The government began several investment incentives to promote the audiovisual sector, leading to rapid expansion in the field, which now employs 750 people in production companies. However, the real growth in this sector has been the commercial broadcasting company, CLT. From 1989 to 1994, the revenue of CLT tripled to 82 billion francs per year, and revenues have continued to increase by over 20 percent per year. The CLT group owns 12 television channels and 12 radio stations, and employs 3,089 people. A 1999 merger between CLT and the German media giant, Bertelsmann, created Europe's largest television and radio group, CLT-UFA. The combined company has also created an alliance with the Walt Disney Corporation.


There are 5,300 trade and retail sales enterprises in Luxembourg, employing 31,000 people. Retail businesses have taken advantage of the Grand Duchy's lower tax rate to attract buyers from neighboring countries. There are 2 major chain stores, Cactus and Match, and 60 other supermarkets.


Luxembourg has 2,350 hotels and restaurants, employing 11,000 people. Hotels declined by 70 in the 1990s, but total room numbers increased by 328 as hotel chains have built larger units. About 2 million tourists visit Luxembourg annually. But about half of these stay at campsites around the nation. The largest number of visitors come from the Netherlands, followed by Belgium, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.


While Luxembourg has had a trade deficit since the 1980s, the strength of the financial sector has meant that the Grand Duchy maintains a surplus in earnings. Although the nation had trade deficits of 84 billion francs in 1997, 81.4 billion francs in 1998, and 106 billion francs in 1999, it had account surpluses of 86 billion francs in 1997, 84 billion francs in 1998, and 59 billion francs in 1999. The overwhelming majority of the nation's trade has been with its EU partners. The 3 main trading partners are Germany, Belgium, and France. EU nations received 75 percent of Luxembourg's exports and provided 81 percent of its imports in 1999. In 1999, Germany received 25 percent of Luxembourg's exports, France 21 percent, Belgium 12 percent, the United Kingdom 8 percent, Italy 6 percent, the Netherlands 5 percent, and 4 percent went to the United States. Meanwhile, 35 percent of Luxembourg's imports came from Belgium, 26 percent from Germany, 12 percent from France, 9 percent from the United States, and 4 percent from the Netherlands. In 2000 exports totaled US$7.6 billion while imports totaled US$10 billion.

The country has traditionally imported most of its consumer goods and exported industrial products (steel). The Grand Duchy continues to import manufactured consumer products, but its exports have become more diversified. Besides steel, exports now include chemical and rubber products, and finished glass, but the most profitable export is financial services. The nation remains dependent on energy imports.

While Luxembourg's economy is traditionally geared toward its immediate neighbors, the government is supportive of free trade. About 90 percent of the nation's GDP is related to foreign trade. To expand internationally, successive governments have supported regional economic integration and worldwide efforts to promote free trade. Beginning with currency integration with Belgium in 1921, Luxembourg has looked for participation in regional bodies. It was a founding member of the European Community (later the EU), and its EU membership has opened markets for itself in other member states. The population of the EU is currently 370 million, and Luxembourg hopes increasingly to market its financial services to EU citizens. The adoption of common trade rules and practices has eased the ability to conduct foreign trade. Within the EU, Luxembourg coordinates with Belgium and the Netherlands to promote their national interests and to bolster the Grand Duchy's standing within the EU. Luxembourg is also a member of the Schengen Group, which promotes the free movement of citizens within the EU. With greater freedom of movement, the government of Luxembourg hopes to continue encouraging the influx of workers necessary to maintain the economy.


Linking of its currency to that of Belgium in 1921 has helped Luxembourg maintain its financial stability. Despite the demand for labor, the government managed to keep inflation low through the 1990s. However, the Luxembourg franc has declined in relation to the U.S. dollar but has maintained its value against major European currencies. In 1995, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 29.48 francs, but by 1999, 1 dollar equaled 34.77 francs. In 1999 Luxembourg joined the EU which created a single currency, the euro, for the EU nations. The exchange rate is fixed at a rate of 40.3399 francs per euro. Since its introduction, the euro has been weak against the dollar. In 2000, 1 U.S. dollar equaled 0.9867 euros.

Luxembourg's 200-plus national and international banks place few restrictions on operations and lend money to consumers and businesses around the world. There are no regulations on the transfer of funds or profits. Bank confidentiality, prompt payment of interest, and the Grand Duchy's political stability have combined to make Luxembourg a banking haven.

The Luxembourg Stock Market has also performed well since the 1980s. It lists over 15,000 international securities. In 1999, the total volume of trade was 1 trillion francs. By 1994, investment companies in the Grand Duchy had assets of over 100 trillion francs. Luxembourg

Exchange rates: Luxembourg
euros per US$1
Jan 2001 1.0659
2000 1.0854
1999 0.9386
1998 36.299
1997 35.774
1996 30.962
Note: Rates prior to 1999 are in Luxembourg francs per US$; the Luxembourg franc is at par with the Belgian franc, which circulates freely inLuxembourg.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Luxembourg 21,650 23,926 26,914 35,347 46,591
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
Belgium 18,620 21,653 22,417 25,744 28,790
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

ranks fourth in the world for asset management and second in Europe.


Luxembourgers enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. The UN Human Development Report 2000 ranks Luxembourg number 17 in the world in its human development index. Luxembourg has the world's highest per capita income of US$46,591 per person. (Figured at purchasing power parity , Luxembourg still led the world with a per capita income in 2000 of US$36,400.) This figure reflects the growth in the nation's economy, as the nation has overtaken the economies of Japan and Switzerland since 1990.

Low unemployment and the need for workers have prevented poverty. Generous social benefits also contribute to this healthy situation. Laws prohibit discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities, and women enjoy equal rights, including property rights, with men. However, there are differences in pay because of gender, with women often earning between 9 and 25 percent less than men in comparable jobs. Companies with more than 25 employees have a quota for hiring the disabled. According to the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Luxembourg
Lowest 10% 4.0
Lowest 20% 9.4
Second 20% 13.8
Third 20% 17.7
Fourth 20% 22.6
Highest 20% 36.5
Highest 10% 22.0
Survey year: 1994
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Luxembourg 17 8 9 3 7 5 52
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Germany 14 6 7 2 10 7 53
Belgium 17 6 8 3 1 7 57
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

2000: Luxembourg, the government pays subsidies to companies that construct "disabled-friendly" buildings. The government also provides support for programs that integrate foreign residents into the mainstream of society.

Luxembourg has a first-rate education system and a literacy rate of 100 percent. School is mandatory until the age of 16, although students may continue their education in post-secondary schools (with some government financial support). The well-educated workforce of the nation has contributed to its attractiveness to foreign companies and investors.


In 1999 the unemployment rate was estimated at 2.7 percent, the lowest in Europe. Efforts to attract foreign businesses have been aided by the good labor relations in the country. Since the 1930s, there has been little labor unrest. About 57 percent of workers belong to unions, with membership highest among industrial workers. The 2 largest unions have links to political parties, but maintain their independence. Businesses with more than 15 employees must allow their workers to organize. The constitution allows employees the right to strike, except the police, army, and hospital workers. Labor negotiations are conducted cooperatively between government, business, and unions.

National laws prohibit children under the age of 16 from working, and employees under the age of 18 have special limits on overtime and the total amount of time worked. There are minimum wage laws that vary with age. For those over 18, the minimum wage is 278 francs (US$7.32) per hour. The working week is limited to 40 hours, and employers must pay special overtime rates. Most employees cannot be made to work on Sunday, except those in the steel, chemical, and glass manufacturing industries, and security personnel. Workers receive a minimum of 5 weeks of vacation.


450 B.C. Luxembourg is settled by 2 Belgic tribes, the Treveri and the Mediomatrici.

53 B.C. The Romans conquer the territory.

963. Luxembourg gains independence under Siegfried, the Count d'Ardennes.

1354. Luxembourg is made a duchy by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV.

1555-56. The Duchy is incorporated into the Spanish Netherlands.

1618-48. During the Thirty Years War, the territory of Luxembourg is devastated by warfare, famine, and disease.

1684. France conquers Luxembourg but returns the Duchy to Spain in 1697.

1714. Luxembourg is ceded to Austria and undergoes an economic boom, especially after 1735.

1795. The Duchy is again conquered by France.

1815. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Luxembourg becomes a Grand Duchy under the king of the Netherlands, William I.

1830. William's heavy taxation leads the people of Luxembourg to support a Belgian revolution against his rule, and the French-speaking areas of the nation become part of Belgium.

1842. Luxembourg joins a Prussian-led customs union.

1867. Luxembourg gains full independence, with its neutrality guaranteed by the great European powers.

1879. The introduction of new methods of steel production leads to the rapid expansion of the steel industry.

1914. Germany invades Luxembourg at the start of World War I.

1919. All adults are granted the right to vote.

1922. The Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) is formed.

1929. The government introduces legislation encouraging holding companies to relocate to Luxembourg.

1940. Germany occupies the Grand Duchy during World War II.

1947. Luxembourg joins the Benelux Economic Union, formed between Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Grand Duchy.

1949. The nation joins NATO.

1951. A Goodyear tire plant is built near Colmar-Berg.

1952. Luxembourg joins the European Coal and Steel Community.

1957. The Grand Duchy becomes a founding member of the European Community.

1965. Du Pont opens a chemical plant in Contern.

1974. The nation's steel industry is consolidated into a single company group, ARBED.

1986. The government-backed satellite company, SES, is created.

1991. The first ASTRA satellite is launched, marking the emergence of SES as Europe's most prominent satellite and cable television provider.

1999. Luxembourg is the first nation to meet the requirements for entry into the European Monetary Union, which it joins in January.


Luxembourg is well positioned to continue its economic transformation from an industrial to a diversified economy with financial services as the base of the country's wealth. The close relationship between government and corporations and the pro-business stances of major political parties ensure that there will be little economic instability in the coming years. The continued economic integration of the EU will open new markets for the Grand Duchy's financial services, especially for pension plans.

The main danger facing the economy of Luxembourg is the possibility of labor wage inflation caused by a shortage of labor. However, the continuing momentum toward open borders and the free movement of people within the EU should ensure a steady supply of new workers. A second danger is that the harmonization of EU banking and tax laws may mean that the Grand Duchy will lose its special status as a tax haven. The concentration of banking and financial services may compensate for this trend, especially if U.S. companies and financiers continue to invest in the nation.


Luxembourg has no territories or colonies.


Barteau, Harry. Historical Dictionary of Luxembourg. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1996.

Clark, Peter. Luxembourg. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Luxembourg. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

"Luxembourg: An Economic Portrait." STATEC. <>. Accessed September 2001.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD Economic Surveys: Belgium-Luxembourg, 1998/99. Paris: OECD, 1999.

Permanent Mission of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the United Nations. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Luxembourg, July 2000. <>. Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Luxembourg. <>. Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Department of State. 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Luxembourg. <>. Accessed October 2001.

Tom Lansford




Luxembourg franc (LUF). One franc equals 100 centimes. There are coins of 25 and 50 centimes and 1, 5, 10, and 20 francs. There are notes of 50 and 100 francs. Belgian currency is also legal tender in Luxembourg, and bills of 500, 1,000, and 5,000 Belgian francs also circulate. On 1 January 1999 the European Union began using the euro for non-currency financial transactions, and euro-denominated coins and notes will replace the franc as the currency in 2002.


Machinery and equipment, steel products, chemicals, rubber products, glass.


Minerals, metals, foodstuffs, quality consumer goods.


US$15.9 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).


Exports: US$7.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000). Imports: US$10 billion (c.i.f., 2000).

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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Region: Europe
Population: 437,389
Language(s): Luxembourgian,German, French,English
Literacy Rate: 100%
Academic Year: September-July
Libraries: 5
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 28,437
  Secondary: 28,796
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 99%
  Secondary: 88%
  Higher: 10%
Teachers: Primary: 1,844
  Secondary: 2,836
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 15:1
  Secondary: 8:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Secondary: 90%
  Higher: 7%

History & Background

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium in Western Europe, became an independent country in 1890. Although a relatively new nation, Luxembourg has a very ancient history that can be traced back to the time of Julius Caesar when the Romans in 54 and 51 B.C.E defeated the Treveri people, the original inhabitants of modern Luxembourg. The country's history was influenced by the competing needs of the Roman Catholic Church and the ruling dynasties of the Holy Roman Empire and Imperial Germany with those of royal and republican France for the population's souls and land.

Christianity was introduced into Luxembourg in the seventh century B.C.E., when the Roman Catholic Church founded a group of Benedictine monasteries between 633 and 721. The feudal County of Luxembourg was awarded in 963, to Siegfried, a relative of Wigerik, a Palace Count serving Charles the Simple, a member of the Carolingian Dynasty that governed France. For two centuries the descendants of Wigerik and Siegfried of the House of Ardennes, governed the region that would become modern Luxembourg in fealty to Saxon and Salian Holy Roman Emperors. The first dynasty Luxembourg counts became extinct in 1136. The title and lands were awarded to Henry IV of Namur, who founded Luxembourg's second dynasty. With the arrival of political stability Luxembourg became home to the Benedictine, Cistercian, Dominican, Franciscan, and the Penitents monastic orders and the Knights Templar and the Teutonic Knights.

In the fourteenth century, the Counts of Luxembourg increased the dynasty's international prestige by advantageous political marriages and battlefield heroics as allies of France's kings in territorial and religious wars in Europe and Africa. The feudal alliances paid off with the election of Henry of Luxembourg as Holy Roman Emperor in 1308. Although reigning only five years before succumbing to a fever, Henry represented the highest ideals of feudal Europe's chivalric code. For the next four generations, Henry's male descendants ruled as Kings of Bohemia. Two great-grandsons, Wenceslas and Sigismund, were elected Holy Roman Emperors. Henry's bloodline entered the royal houses of France and Burgundy when his granddaughter Bonne married King John the Good of France. In the sixteenth century the County of Luxembourg was incorporated into the Burgundy inheritance awarded Charles V, King of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor, and Duke of Luxembourg, as the Spanish Netherlands.

During the Middle Ages education in Luxembourg was under the clerical control of the Benedictine Order at Munster Abbey, founded in 1083. Educational authority was temporarily transferred to the suburb of Grund during the Counterreformation period, but was restored to the Roman Catholic Church in the seventeenth century when a Jesuit College was built in Luxembourg in 1603. The Capuchin Fathers came to Luxembourg in 1621 and offered education to garrisoned soldiers. In 1627, the Congregation of Notre Dame from Lorraine founded a chapter in Luxembourg and assumed responsibility for the education of girls. The Sisters of Notre Dame continue to staff and administer Luxembourg's private girls schools.

From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, Luxembourg was fought over in dynastic wars by either the French Bourbon or Bonaparte dynasties with the Austrian Habsburgs. French King Louis XIV won Luxembourg on the battlefield and governed it until 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht awarded Luxembourg to the Habsburgs as part of the Austrian Netherlands. During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, Luxembourg was once again incorporated into France. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 ceded the Duchy of Luxembourg in personal union to the King of the Netherlands, the head of the House of Nassau-Orange. The United Netherlands of Catholics and Calvinists barely lasted fifteen years before Catholic Flemish-speaking and Walloon (Frenchspeaking) citizens in the southern part of the country rebelled against the Calvinist Dutch in the north, gaining independence in 1830 as the new country of Belgium. By treaty in 1830, Luxembourg was split into a Walloon section that merged with modern Belgium, while the predominately German-speaking section remained a sovereign grand duchy in personal union with the King of the Netherlands, but a member state within German economic and political organizations.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Luxembourg became an independent grand duchy in 1890 when the male line of the royal house of Nassau-Orange came to an end with the death Dutch King William III, leaving only his daughter, Wilhelmina, to succeed him. In accordance with Article Three of the Luxembourg Constitution, the Crown was hereditary in the Nassau Family in the male line and excluded female descent. The Crown of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg passed to the senior branch of the Nassau family, Adolphe of Nassau-Weilbourg, who became Grand Duke Adolphe I of Luxembourg. Ironically, the male line of the Weilbourg branch of the Nassau family ended in 1912, with the death of Grand Duke William IV. Anticipating this political crisis, the Constitution of Luxembourg was changed in 1907, to permit one of William IV's six daughters to succeed him.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy with executive authority placed in the hands of the Grand Duke Henri since 2000, ensuring the laws of the nation are carried into effect and order maintained. Legislative power is shared between the Grand Duke and an elected Chamber of Deputies. All legislation must be signed by the Grand Duke to become law. Judicial authority is invested in the courts of law. The Constitution of Luxembourg guarantees the rights of citizens. Among these public rights as stated in Article Twenty-Three of the Constitution is the right that education be compulsory and provided free of charge by the state. The Constitution further stipulates that the state must organize free vocational training courses, secondary educational establishments, and the necessary courses in higher education. The law requires the state to finance education and share supervisory authority with the communes (municipalities). The Government is responsible for regulating all educational matters and creating a fund to educate the exceptionally gifted. Each Luxembourger is free to pursue studies in the Grand Duchy or abroad and to attend universities of choice subject to the provisions of the law relating to admission to employment and career choice.

Educational SystemOverview

The Luxembourg State organizes and controls the educational system. Compulsory education covers a total of eleven years, two years of preprimary education, six years of primary education, and three years of secondary education. Public education in Luxembourg is free. The costs are paid by the public budget making education one of the largest expenditures in the state budget. Municipalities pay for textbooks and equipment at the primary level. By the Act of 14 July 1986, school children are now paid an allowance. School transport is free. Financial assistance and scholarships are granted to students in higher education based on parental income and academic success.

Private schools are usually Catholic. There are few private schools at the primary and post-primary education levels. They are strictly regulated by the Ministry of Education, which must approve a private school's charter, curricula, graduation certificates, teaching methods, the professional qualifications of the private school's director and staff, and the overall educational environment. Private schools are free to select their director and staff and to determine their fee structure.

Luxembourg is a multilingual nation with three official languages: French, German, and Letzeburgesch (Luxemburgish). The cabinet level Ministry of Education makes the important decisions regarding education in the Grand Duchy. The curricula for the different types of schools are decided by the Ministry, as are the budgets for education and educational institutions, and the management and the survey of all secondary schools. Financial responsibility for preprimary and primary education is divided between the municipal governments and the national government. Vocational education, private education, school inspections, textbook selection, and curricula are the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Education. The Service de Coordination de la Recherche et de l'Innovation Pédagogiques et Technologiques (SCRIPT), a department within the Ministry of Education, has jurisdiction over research and innovation in the various teaching fields, including the integration of information and communication technologies in teaching and analysis and evaluation of the entire educational system in Luxembourg. The Centre de Psychologie et d'Orientation Scolaires (CPOS) has the obligation to provide students and parents with information about the school system in Luxembourg, career and professional options, and psycho-pedagogic guidance. This department informs students about higher education choices within Luxembourg and abroad, guides graduates into the work place, provides financial assistance, and works with public and private institutions as students make the transition from school to the work place. Public research is regulated by the Act of March 9, 1987, which organizes and encourages technological development and the transfer of technology between public and private sectors through one of three public centers, Centre de Recherché Publics (CRP): Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg for literature, history, natural sciences, mathematics, and physics, the CRP "Henri Tudor," Institut Supérieur de Technologie for automation in industrial production, and the CRP Santé (Health), Laboratoire National de Santé for health research. The Recherché and Développement Department within the Ministry of Education coordinates the activities of the CRPs and offers financial assistance to people undertaking research. Additional departments within the Ministry of Education include Administrative Organization and Staff, Preschool Education and Primary Education, Secondary Education, Technical Secondary Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education, Adult Training, Special Education, Statistics, Publications, Budget, School Buildings, School Sports, the Department of European and International Affairs, the Eurydice Information Unit, and Scientific research.

Educational responsibility for preschool and primary school education rests with the municipalities and is confined to the financial and administrative management of the schools. Local political authority for education is delegated to the Commission Scolaire, which includes the mayor or his delegate, a church representative, and three to five members from the community chosen by the town council.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preprimary education is compulsory at the age of four by the Grand Ducal Regulation of September 2, 1992. The Ministry of Education, which provides twothirds of the financial expenses, controls preprimary schools. Administration and maintenance of preprimary institutions is the responsibility of the municipality. No more than one percent of preprimary schools are private and those that are, are usually attached to a private primary school. Two years of preprimary school is compulsory, but no formal teaching is given to the children. Preprimary schooling fosters physical, intellectual, and social development of the children and prepares the children for entrance into a primary school. For the academic years 1998-1999, there were 10,349 students enrolled in Luxembourg's public preprimary schools. Of these, 62.5 percent were native Luxembourg citizens. The rest were Portuguese (20.2 percent), Yugoslavian (3.8 percent), Italian (3 percent), French (2.9 percent), Belgian (2 percent), and German (1 percent), with the remaining 4.6 percent distributed among a variety of nationalities. There were 654 students enrolled in private preprimary institutions in 1998-1999.

Primary schooling is mandated by the law of August 10, 1912, and covers a period of six years. Fees are charged only by private primary schools. Primary curricula are determined by the Ministry of Education and standardized throughout the country. Students are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, artistic and physical activities, local environment, development of social behavior, and computer sciences. All three national languages are used for instructional purposes. Letzeburgesch is usually the language of the home and is the one first used in primary school. German becomes the second teaching language for all subjects in the primary school with French introduced during the second primary year. All three languages are in common use in primary school instruction. Students are given thirty lessons per week. Promotion is teacher judged based on grades, homework, and oral participation. Special classes are offered for students with unique learning needs and for children of immigrants. The public school student population at the primary grade levels for the years 1998-1999, totaled 29,533 pupils of whom 65 percent were Luxembourgers, 18.6 percent Portuguese, 3.2 percent Yugoslavian, 3.2 percent Italian, 2.5 percent French, 1.7 percent Belgian, 1.2 percent German, and 4.7 percent from among other nationalities. The number of Luxembourg students enrolled in private Catholic and private non-Catholic schools was 2,096.

Secondary Education

Students are required to attend secondary school for at least three years after completing six years of primary education. This covers the years when a student is twelve to fifteen years of age. There are two secondary education tracks available for vocational education and a separate track for university entrance. The régime préparatoire is designed to provide a broader qualification for young people interested in a technical secondary education who are academically weak, but could become eligible for further training at a technical secondary school or vocational training center. The second track is Technical Secondary Education offered at fifteen schools called lycée techniques, in specialized programs of study that include hotel catering and management and agriculture. The first stage (cycle inférieur ) lasts three years and completes the mandatory state requirement of three years of secondary education. The curriculum includes languages, mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, artistic, and musical and physical education. Qualified graduates of the technical secondary education can pursue additional postsecondary education at intermediate and upper stages in either a vocational section offering an apprenticeship, technician's training, or a technical section.

At the apprenticeship vocational section students study one program from among agriculture, arts and crafts, commerce, tourism and hotel catering, industry, and domestic sciences. Training at this level is a partnership between the school and a business with the student workweek divided between an on-the-job apprenticeship while simultaneously learning theoretical principles in the classroom. This program of study can last from two to four years with graduates earning a Certificat d'Initiation Technique et Professionnelle (CITP). The Technician Training Program is designed to educate students for highly skilled jobs in industry and it may also last from two to four years. Graduates receive a diplome de technicien (technical degree at the end of the secondary education program), which grants either a professional career or entrance into higher education. Programs of study include administration and commerce, agriculture, electronics, mechanics, art and crafts, chemistry, building science, hotel catering and tourism, and computer science. The Technical Section lasts four years and graduates earn a technical secondary completion diploma. This course of study centers on theoretical and general subjects. Graduates can either enter a university or are qualified for entry into the job market in the fields of administration, commerce and business management, ancillary medical and social studies, or general technology. Enrolled students in Secondary Technical Schools are more than double the number of students in college preparatory programs. For the academic years 1998-1999, 20,763 students were enrolled at 21 Secondary Technical Schools ethnically distributed among Luxembourgers (63.3 percent), Portuguese (22.8 percent), Italians (4.1 percent), French (1.5 percent), Belgians (0.8 percent), Germans (0.8 percent), Yugoslavians (0.4 percent), and the remaining 4.4 percent distributed among other nationalities. Three Catholic private schools and four non-Catholic private schools enrolled 2,742 students in 1998-1999.

General Secondary Education was reorganized in 1968 by lycées (general secondary schools) and is for students planning to attend a university. The lower stage covers three years of education and completes the state requirement for secondary education. There is an upper stage divided into two, two-year segments. The first year is called the classe d'orientation, which allows students to adjust to secondary education environment. At the end of the first year students must select from either the classical education program that mandates Latin as a third language or the modern education program with English as the third language. The basic program is the same and a year later students in the classical program must also learn English. At the upper stage students must again select from two programs of study, literary or scientific. Mathematical difficulty is the primary distinction between the two programs. Specialization comes in the final two years and includes two optional courses of study in either languages and human sciences, human and social sciences, fine arts and crafts, music for the literary program and mathematics and physics, natural sciences and mathematics, or economics and mathematics for the scientific orientation. Graduates earn the diplome de fin d'études secondaires (high school diploma) and are qualified for university entrance provided they pass the final examination. Students enrolled in nine General Secondary Schools and three schools exclusively for the lower stages of General Secondary Education with college-based curricula totaled 9,471 students of whom 87.4 percent were Luxembourgers, 4.5 percent Portuguese, 1.7 percent Italian, 1.2 percent Belgian, 1.2 percent German, 1.1 percent French, 0.4 percent Yugoslavian, and the remaining 2.6 percent were distributed among other nationalities. The number of students enrolled in two private Catholic General Secondary Schools earning a degree leading to a university education was 2,948.

Higher Education

A recent act for higher education reform has three main objectives, to qualify educational institutions within Luxembourg to teach higher education, designate greater autonomy to the Centre Universitaire and the Institut Supérieur de Technologie for administrative and financial management and in pedagogy, and the right of the Centre Universitaire to organize final university degrees in cooperation with foreign universities. The reforms do not create a complete university within Luxembourg but work for closer integration with university systems in other countries.

Higher education options in Luxembourg include the (1) Cours Universitaires offered at the Centre Universitaire for the first year of university study, (2) the Institut Universitaire International which organizes seminars at postgraduate levels, (3) an accelerated two-year course of study called the cycle court d'études supérieur engestion, (4) a four-year course for industrial engineers, (5) the training of preprimary and primary school teachers, (6) the training for graduated educators for secondary levels, and (7) higher technical training courses at lycées techniques (technical secondary schools).

Enrollment at the Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg is a one-year program of study in law and economics, arts and humanities, or the sciences. Successful graduates are awarded a certificate of graduation, which qualifies them for admission to a second year of studies at universities in Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, or France. Third-year students of law must go to a Belgian university. The Institut Universitaire International offers post-graduate degrees and diplomas in law, political economy, or political science. The Cycle Court d'études Supérieures en Gestion enrolls graduates from the Centre Universitaire who plan to enter private firms in banking, insurance, and industry. The curriculum specializes in computer science applied to economics and business management and administration. The Institut Supérieur de Technologie offers programs of study in mechanics, electrical engineering, civil engineering, and computer science. The Institut Supérieur d'études et de Recherches Pédagogiques is a teacher's college for primary and elementary school teachers. The three-year program of study is centered on practical study and theory. The Institut d'études Educatives et Sociales trains educators for higher education, vocational training, and the instruction of handicapped students. It is a three-year program of study. The Higher Technicien Training offers programs of study in secretarial studies, accounting and business management, marketing and international commerce, and creating motion pictures.

Nonformal Education

Adult education in Luxembourg is primarily vocational and is supervised by the Ministry of Education for adult workers who desire to increase knowledge or to learn the new technology in their field of specialty. Vocational education allows both unemployed and employed residents the opportunity to earn a diploma in secondary education. Most courses are taught in the evening. Specialized adult education courses focus on technology, economics, the fine arts, and handicrafts.


Education is Luxembourg's number one priority. The largest expenditure in the national budget is for education. Luxembourg's emphasis on education directs students to a variety of careers with more students graduating from Secondary Technical Schools than from General Secondary Schools. Students seeking higher education are subsidized by the national government, which regulates most aspects of education including curricula, teacher qualifications, salaries, school budgets, and textbook selection. The Ministry of Education strictly governs private education, except for the selection of headmaster and teachers and the types of fees charged. Luxembourg is a small country. The country's future depends on a well-educated population to survive. Luxembourg's population, regardless of nationality, is educationally thriving in a technology and information driven era.


Facts about Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Luxembourg Press and Information Service, 1975.

Harsch, Raymond. Education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Ministère de l'Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle, 1997.

Levy, Jerome. L'Enseignement Secondaire General 1998/1999, Statistiques Globales & Analyse des Resultats Scolaires. Luxembourg: Ministère de l'Education Nationale, 2000.

. L'Enseignement Secondaire Technique, 1998/1999, Statistiques Generales & Analyse de la Promotion des Eleves. Luxembourg: Ministère de l'Education Nationale et de la Formation Professsionnelle, 2000.

. Examen de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires, Comparisons et Analyse. Luxembourg: Ministère de L'Education, 2000.

The Luxembourg Grand Ducal Family. Luxembourg: Press and Information Service, 1975.

Majerus, Pierre. The Institutions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Press and Information Service, 1973.

Margue, Paul. A Short History of Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Information and Press Department, 1974.

William A. Paquette

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 437,389
Language(s): Luxembourgian, German, French, English
Literacy rate: 100%

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium, became an independent nation in 1890. Although a relatively new state, Luxembourg has a long history dating back to the region's incorporation into, first, the Ancient Roman Republic and Empire, and successively, the Holy Roman Empire, Republican and Napoleonic France, and the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Today, modern Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy with executive authority invested in the Grand Duke, Henri since 2000. Legislative authority is shared between the Grand Duke and the elected Chamber of Deputies. All legislation becomes law with the Grand Duke's signature. Judicial authority is invested in the courts of law. During World War II, Luxembourg joined a custom's union with neighboring Belgium and was one of the signatory nations that created the European Coal and Steel Union and the European Union. Luxembourg's industrial base is steel, chemicals, and rubber production. The banking industry accounts for a substantial portion of the nation's economic base. Family-owned farms represent the smallest sector of Luxembourg's economic sector.

Article 24 of the Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg guarantees freedom of speech in all matters. Freedom of the press is guaranteed, subject to the repression of offences committed in the exercise of these freedoms. Censorship is strictly forbidden. No publisher, printer, or distributor can be prosecuted if the author is known, is a native-born citizen of Luxembourg, or is a resident of the Grand Duchy. The Law of 27 July 1991 governs electronic media in Luxembourg and guarantees the right of free audiovisual communication from a variety of sources, assures the independent flow of information, respects the human rights and dignity of each individual to receive information, and promotes intercultural exchanges. The proposed Law of 5 February 2002, under consideration by the Chamber of Deputies, seeks further safeguards in an electronic information age for journalists' sources, the right of journalists to freedom of expression, and the freedom of journalists to establish their own professional standards of journalism.

Le Service Information et Press (SIP) of the Luxembourg government, created by the Law of 27 July 1991, replaced the older Office of Information. The SIP guarantees communication between the government, the media, and the people of Luxembourg, promotes good relations between the Luxembourg government and foreign countries, assures the right to public information, publishes public documents, and facilitates the right of the national and foreign media to access information within the country. The Law of 27 July 1991 created Le Service des Medias et des Communications for electronic media to assist the prime minister in the definition and enforcement of the media's rights, regulate satellite programming in Luxembourg, oversee foreign investment in media ownership, and represent Luxembourg in media discussions within the European Union.

Because Luxembourg is situated at the crossroads of Europe and represents both French and German culture, a variety of media exist. Luxembourg's major newspapers are the Luxembourger Wort ( with a 1995 circulation of 81,500; La Voix du Luxembourg (; Tageblatt (, which had a 1995 circulation of 25,000; Le Quotidien, Editions Letzeburger Journal SA (, with a circulation of 12,000 in 1995; and Zeitung vum Letzebuerger Vollek, which had a circulation of 3,000 in 1995. Twelve local, regional, or weekly newspapers are also printed in Luxembourg. Twenty-seven periodicals are published in Luxembourg and include the weekly general-interest magazines Letzeburger Land, which had a circulation of 3,000 in 1995, and the Revue D'Letzebuerger Illustreiert, with a circulation of 16,000 in 1995. A special interest consumer periodical, De Konsument, had a bimonthly readership of 34,000 in 1995.

Luxembourg has 2 national radio stations, 4 regional radio stations, and 20 local radio stations. Radio-Tele Luxembourg is the nation's principal radio station. Television is the most used media in Luxembourg; 95 percent of the population watches cable television, and only 1 percent of the population does not own a television set. Luxembourg's four national television stations are RTL Tele Letzebuerg, Nordliicht TV, Uelzechtkanal, and De Kueb TV. More than 40 foreign television stations are received by Luxembourg television sets. Two new and specialized television stations were added in 2002, Tango TV and Parlament TV. RTL Letzebuerg is Luxembourg's principal television station, with more than 130,000 viewers. The language of transmission is Luxembourgeois (the local dialect), but the programming is simultaneously broadcast in French.

All television and radio broadcasting in Luxembourg is done through Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Telediffusion (CLT). CLT was established in 1929 and began broadcasting multilingual programs in 1932. In 1954, CLT received an exclusive license for broadcasting radio and television within the Grand Duchy. CLT's broadcasting license was extended in 1995 to the end of 2010. In 1995, 12 television channels and 12 radio stations belonged to the CLT group. CLT broadcasts four television and three radio stations via the Astra satellite system, which began service in 1985. The 1991 Law on Electronic Media allowed the creation of 4 new radio networks and 15 local radio stations, thus ending the CLT monopoly of radio. Commercial and religious programs are broadcast in French, German, English, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. More than 40 international television programs are broadcast by cable and satellite.

Press agencies operating within Luxembourg are AFP Agence France-Presse, Agence de Presse Luxpress, Agence Reuters, and Agence DPA. The acquisition of GE American Communications, Incorporated, in 2001, allows Luxembourg the transmission capability to reach North and South America. Mediaport Luxembourg ( is the principle Internet site for information about Luxembourg and the government of the Grand Duchy.

Le Conseil de Presse, created by the Law of 20 December 1979, recognizes and protects the rights of journalists in Luxembourg, establishes credentialing criteria for journalists, and represents the editors and newspaper reporters of the Association Luxembourgeoise des Journalistes (AJL) and the Union of Journalistes Luxembourg (UJL). Le Conseil de Presse has 40 members, 20 from among Luxembourg's editors and 20 from the nation's newspaper reporters. Membership changes every two years. Decisions made by the Conseil de Presse can be appealed to the Commission d'Appel. Luxembourg citizens seeking a career in the media attend universities in the neighboring countries of France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.


Majerus, Pierre. The Institutions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Press and Information Service, 1973.

Margue, Paul. A Short History of Luxembourg. Luxembourg: Information and Press Department, 1974.

Turner, Barry, ed. Statesman's Yearbook 2002. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

World Mass Media Handbook, 1995 ed. New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 1995.

William A. Paquette

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Luxembourg (grand duchy, W Europe)

Luxembourg (lŭk´səmbûrg, Fr. lüksäNbōōr´) or Luxemburg (lŭk´səmbûrg, Ger. lŏŏk´səmbŏŏrkh), officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, grand duchy (2005 est. pop. 469,000), 998 sq mi (2,586 sq km), W Europe. Roughly triangular, it borders on Belgium in the west and north, Germany in the east, and France in the south. The city of Luxembourg is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

Luxembourg is drained by the Sûre (Sauer) and Alzette rivers, both tributaries of the Moselle (Mosel), which forms part of its eastern border. The Ardennes Mts. extend into N Luxembourg. The southwestern section is part of the Luxembourg-Lorraine iron-mining basin, once one of the most productive iron and steel manufacturing regions in the world; Esch-sur-Alzette is its main center. The people are an amalgam of Celtic, French, and German ancestry. In the Letzeburgesch language, which is a prevailing Low German dialect, the duchy is called Letzeburg. German and French are both administrative languages, and English is also widely spoken. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic; there are Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim minorities.


Iron ore made the fortune of modern Luxembourg, and although its ores are now depleted, the steel industry continues, using iron imported from France. Much of the labor force consists of foreign workers. The country is an increasingly important center for information technology and telecommunications industries, as well as a hub of banking and financial services. Tourism is also important, and Luxembourg derives great economic benefits as a center for many European Union functions, including the European Investment Bank and the European Court of Justice. Other industries are food processing, cargo transport, and the production of chemicals, metal products, tires, glass, and aluminum. Grapes, grains, potatoes, and fruits are grown and livestock is raised. Machinery and equipment, steel and rubber products, chemicals, and glass are the main exports; imports include minerals, metals, foodstuffs, consumer goods, and fuel. Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands are the principal trading partners.


Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy governed under the constitution of 1868 as revised. The hereditary monarch, the titular head of state, has a largely ceremonial role. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the monarch with the approval of the legislature. The 60 members of the unicameral legislature, the Chamber of Deputies, are elected by popular vote to five-year terms. The 21 members of the Council of State, an advisory body to the legislature, are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister. Administratively the country is divided into three districts.


Through the Nineteenth Century

The county of Luxembourg (originally Lützelburg), extending between the Meuse and Moselle rivers and including the Luxembourg province of Belgium, was one of the largest fiefs in the Holy Roman Empire. John of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia and father of Emperor Charles IV, made Luxembourg a duchy in 1354. The elder line of the house continued in Bohemia and other parts of the Roman empire, with Emperors Wenceslaus and Sigismund; the younger line, descended from Charles's brother, Duke Wenceslaus, continued in Luxembourg. (The French noble family of Luxembourg was descended in collateral line from an early count of Luxembourg.)

In 1443, Philip the Good of Burgundy seized the duchy, and in 1451, he was confirmed in possession by the estates of Luxembourg. Luxembourg passed in 1482 to the house of Hapsburg following the death of Mary of Burgundy. For the ensuing three centuries it shared the history of the S Netherlands (see Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish), passing from Spanish to Austrian rule in 1714. The southern part of the duchy, including Montmédy, Thionville, and Longwy, was ceded to France in the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659). In 1684, Louis XIV of France seized Luxembourg, but he was obliged to restore it to Spain by the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). Occupied by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars, the duchy was formally ceded to France by the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797).

The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) officially made Luxembourg a grand duchy, in personal union through the sovereign with the Netherlands. At the same time, Luxembourg became a member of the German Confederation, and the fortress in the capital was garrisoned by Prussian troops. When in 1830 the Belgians rebelled against William I of the Netherlands, Luxembourg shared in the revolt. Belgium, on gaining independence, claimed the entire grand duchy; it eventually obtained (1839) the major part (i.e., the present Belgian Luxembourg prov.). The remainder, continuing in personal union with the Netherlands as well as a member of the German Confederation, became autonomous and was granted a constitution in 1848.

When the German Confederation was dissolved in 1866, William III of the Netherlands agreed to sell the grand duchy to France, nearly provoking war between France and Prussia. At the London Conference of 1867 the European powers declared Luxembourg a neutral territory; its fortress was dismantled and the Prussian garrison withdrawn. William III died (1890) without a male heir; his daughter Wilhelmina succeeded him in the Netherlands, but Duke Adolf of Nassau, from a collateral line, became grand duke of Luxembourg.

The Twentieth Century

Grand Duke Adolf was followed in 1905 by William IV and in 1912 by Marie Adelaide. In 1914, Germany violated the neutrality of the grand duchy and occupied it for the duration of World War I. Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide abdicated in 1919 in favor of her sister, Charlotte, who married Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Germany again invaded (May, 1940) neutral Luxembourg in World War II. The grand duchess and her cabinet fled abroad, and a government in exile was established in London. Allied troops liberated Luxembourg in Sept., 1944. Luxembourg entered the United Nations (1946) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, and it received Marshall Plan aid.

A constitutional revision (1948) abolished the perpetual neutrality of the grand duchy, a status that in practice had ended with the introduction of compulsory military service (1944–67). In 1958, Luxembourg joined with Belgium and the Netherlands to establish the Benelux Economic Union and became a founding member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union). In 1961, Prince Jean, son and heir of Grand Duchess Charlotte, was made his mother's representative as head of state; she formally abdicated in 1964, and Prince Jean became grand duke.

In 1995 Jean-Claude Juncker of the Social Christian People's party became premier; he succeeded Jacques Santer, who became head of the European Union's European Commission. Grand Duke Jean abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Prince Henri, in Oct., 2000. Constitutional changes in 2008 ended the monarch's power to approve Luxembourg's laws. Juncker resigned in 2013 and new elections were called after a misconduct scandal involving Luxembourg's secret service; Juncker was responsible for the agency's oversight. Following the elections, Xavier Bettel of the Democratic party became premier. A recent problem in Luxembourg has been the increasing number of aging citizens and a lack of population growth, both of which affect the economy and have led to a dependence on foreign workers.


See R. C. Riley and G. Ashworth, Benelux: An Economic Geography (1975); J. Newcomer, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1984).

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Official name: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Area: 2,586 square kilometers (998 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Buurgplaatz (559 meters/1,834 feet)

Lowest point on land: Moselle River (133 meters/436 feet)

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 1 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 57 kilometers (35 miles) from east to west; 82 kilometers (51 miles) from north to south

Land boundaries: 356 kilometers (221 miles) total boundary length; Belgium 148 kilometers (92 miles), France 73 kilometers (45 miles), Germany 135 kilometers (84 miles)

Coastline: None

Territorial sea limits: None


Luxembourg, one of the world's smallest countries, is a landlocked nation located at the heart of Western Euroh2. Together with Belgium and the Netherlands, it is part of a group known as the Benelux countries (formerly the Low Countries). With an area of 2,586 square kilometers (998 square miles), it is slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.


Luxembourg has no territories or dependencies.


Luxembourg has a temperate climate, with cool summers, mild winters, and plentiful precipitation. The city of Luxembourg, in the south-central part of the country, has average temperatures of 0.6°C (33°F) in January and 17°C (63°F) in July. In the Oesling region to the north, temperature averages for both seasons are somewhat lower. The Moselle River Valley in the east has an especially pleasant climate, which has led to its nickname of "Little Riviera." Rainfall, which varies from about 76 centimeters (30 inches) to 127 centimeters (50 inches) annually, is generally heavier in the north.


Despite its small size, Luxembourg's terrain varies considerably and includes parts of three different topographical areas: the Lorraine plateau of northern France, the foothills of Belgium's Ardennes Mountains, and Germany's Moselle Valley. The intersection of these features carves Luxembourg into two major geographic regions. The northern third of the country, known as the Oesling, is a plateau region belonging to the Ardennes system of southeastern Belgium. The southern two-thirds, known as Gutland, or the Bon Pays, is a region of lower elevation consisting of hills and broad valleys.


Luxembourg is landlocked.


The most important lake is the Upper Sûre Lake, situated on the course of the Sûre River as it winds across the upper portion of the country. Esch-sur-Sûre is located at its eastern end, which is the site of both a nature reserve and a hydroelectric dam.


Luxembourg's major rivers are the Moselle, the Sûre, and the Our, which together form its border with Germany. The Moselle, which originates in France and has a total length of 515 kilometers (320 miles), demarcates Luxembourg's eastern border for 31 kilometers (19 miles). The Sûre, which rises in Belgium, flows eastward across Luxembourg in a meandering course for 172 kilometers (107 miles), gathering tributaries from both the northern and southern parts of the country before reaching the German border and then flowing southward into the Moselle. In the south, the Alzette River flows northward through the center of the country until it reaches the Sûre.


There are no deserts in Luxembourg.


The southern two-thirds of Luxembourg consists of fertile, gently rolling land with an average elevation of about 229 meters (750 feet). The Moselle River Valley in the east is known for its vineyards, and there is a mining region to the southwest, near the border with France.


The highest point in Luxembourg's uplands, and also in the country as a whole, is Buurgplaatz, at 559 meters (1,834 feet).


The Hoestroff Cave is 4,000 meters (13,124 feet) long.


Human settlement near Luxembourg's second-largest city, Esch-sur-Alzette, can be traced back five thousand years.


The Ardennes region that forms Luxembourg's northern uplands consists of a plateau that has an average elevation of 450 meters (1,500 feet) and is deeply carved by the valleys of the Sûre River and its tributaries.


Luxembourg's hills and plateaus are connected by numerous bridges, which are especially prominent in the capital city. Bridges in the capital include the modern Grand Duchesse Charlotte Bridge, popularly known as the Red Bridge; the seventeenth-century Vaubon Bridge; the late-nineteenth-century Pont Adolphe, once the world's longest single-span stone bridge; and the Pont Victor Bodson.



Belgium and Luxembourg. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 2001.

Belgium and Luxembourg: The Rough Guide. London: Penguin, 1997.

Egan, E. W. Belgium and Luxembourg in Pictures. New York: Sterling, 1966.

Web Sites

Luxembourg Central. (accessed April 11, 2003).

Luxembourg Tourist Office. (accessed April 24, 2003).

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2590sq km (1000sq mi)



capital (population):

Luxembourg (76,687)


Constitutional monarchy (Grand Duchy)

ethnic groups:

Luxembourger 71%, Portuguese 10%, Italian 5%, French 3%, Belgian 3%, German 2%


Letzeburgish (Luxembourgian-official), French, German


Christianity (Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant 1%)


Euro = 100 cents

Independent Grand Duchy in w Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany; the capital is Luxembourg.

Land and Climate

Luxembourg divides geographically into the forested Ardennes plateau and the fertile Bon Pays in the s. In the e, the Moselle and Sauer river valleys provide fertile farmland. Luxembourg has a temperate climate. Forests cover c.20% of Luxembourg, farms 25%, and pasture another 20%.

History and Politics

In the 11th century, the County of Luxembourg formed one of the largest fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1354, Luxembourg became a Duchy. In 1482, it passed to the Habsburg dynasty, and in the 16th century it became part of the Spanish Netherlands. In 1714, it passed to Austria. Occupied by France during the Napoleonic Wars, it became a Grand Duchy at the Congress of Vienna (1815). In 1839, Belgium acquired a large part of the Duchy. In 1867, Luxembourg was recognized as an independent state, and the European powers guaranteed its neutrality. Germany occupied Luxembourg in both World Wars. In 1948, Luxembourg joined NATO. In 1960, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg formed the economic union of Benelux. Luxembourg was one of the six founders of the European Community (EC). In 1964, Prince Jean became Grand Duke. After 1994 elections, the Christian Social People's Party (CD) and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (SOC) formed a coalition government. Jean-Claude Juncker (CD) replaced Jacques Santer as prime minister. In 1999, Luxembourg joined the euro. In 2000, Grand Duke Jean abdicated in favour of his son, Henri.


There are rich deposits of iron ore, and Luxembourg is a major producer of iron and steel. Other industries include chemicals, textiles, tourism, banking, and electronics. Major crops include cereals, fruits, and grapes. The city of Luxembourg is a major centre of administration and finance. Luxembourg has the highest per capita income in the world (2000 GDP per capita, US$36,400).

Political map

Physical map


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Luxembourg (city, Luxembourg)

Luxembourg or Luxemburg, city (1991 pop. 75,377), capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, S Luxembourg, at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. It is a commercial, banking, industrial, administrative, and cultural center as well as a rail junction. First established by the Romans on a defensive site inside the rivers' meanders, it was known by the Saxons as Lucilinburhuc [little fortress]. Luxembourg developed around a 10th-century castle that was one of Europe's strongest fortresses until the garrison was dismantled according to the terms of the Treaty of London (1867).

The original nucleus of the city, in the upper town, consists of numerous medieval houses and churches, the most notable of which are the Grand Ducal Palace and the Cathedral of Notre Dame (both 16th cent.). Newer features such as the city hall and the Chamber of Deputies, as well the National Museum of Art and History and the city history museum, are also located there. The modern upper town to the west is a busy commercial center bordered by a complex of parks that replaced the old fortifications. On the Kirchberg Plateau to the northwest are Radio-Television-Luxembourg, the Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall, the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, and several institutions of the European Union, including the European Court of Justice, the European Investment Bank, and the Secretariat of the European Parliament. The lower town, in the winding valley bottoms, is mostly industrial. The entrenched meanders of the rivers are crossed by spectacular bridges, including the Adolphus Bridge and the Bridge of Europe. The city is the seat of a university (founded 1958).

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Luxembourg (province, Belgium)

Luxembourg, Du. Luxemburg, province (1991 pop. 232,813), 1,706 sq mi (4,419 sq km), SE Belgium, in the Ardennes, bordering on the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the east and on France in the south. The chief towns are Arlon (the capital), Bastogne, and Marche-en-Famenne. The province is drained by the Ourthe, Semois, and Lesse rivers. It is mainly agricultural, producing grain, rye, clover, and potatoes. Pigs and cattle are raised, and there is dairy farming. Tobacco is grown, iron is mined, and timber is exported. The population is largely French-speaking, although Letzeburgesch, a Low German dialect, is spoken in the east. The province was detached from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 1839. In World War II it was a major battleground in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec., 1944–Jan., 1945). Tourism is extensive, especially in the Ardenne highlands.

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Culture Name



Identification. The name of the nation derives from Lucilinburhuc, which in the local Germanic dialect meant "Little Fortress," referring to a small Roman castle on a rocky promontory overlooking the Alzette River.

Location and Geography. Luxembourg is one of the world's smallest sovereign states at 999 square miles (2,586 square kilometers). The triangle-shaped country borders Germany to the east, France to the south, and Belgium to the west. The most important influence on the nation's cultural traditions is its location between the French and Germanic culture realms.

The southern two-thirds, known as "the Good Land" (Bon Pays in French andGutland in German), has rich sandy soil and one of Europe's major iron ore deposits, the basis of the country's wealth. The capital, Luxembourg City, where one-fifth of the people live, is in the Bon Pays. The northern third, called Eisléck (Oesling in French andOsling in German), is hilly and heavily forested and contains only 15 percent of the population.

Demography. The population increased from 281,000 in 1947 to 420,000 in 1997, a growth rate of about 1 percent per year. Underlying that growth was a dramatic shift in the ethnic composition of the population. The number of native-born Luxembourgers increased modestly from 262,000 in 1947 to 280,000 in 1997, because Luxembourgers have one of the world's lowest fertility rates, but the number of immigrants increased from 29,000 to 140,000.

The largest groups of immigrants came from Italy in the 1950s and 1960s and from Portugal beginning in the 1970s. In 1997, Portuguese accounted for 13 percent of the population, Italians 5 percent, French 4 percent, Belgians 3 percent, Germans 2 percent, citizens of other European Union countries 3 percent, and citizens of other countries 3 percent. The percentage of native-born residents declined from 93 percent in 1947 to 67 percent in 1997.

Linguistic Affiliation. Language is the most important element of cultural identity for the native-born. Those residents speak, read, and write in French, German, and Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch), switching between them effortlessly. The major newspaper publishes most international news in German, cultural features in French, and classified advertisements in Luxembourgish. The simultaneous use of three languages derives from a combination of historical tradition and economic necessity.

Native residents speak Luxembourgish to each other, and that is the first language infants learn to speak at home. Classified as a Moselle-Franconian dialect of German, Luxembourgish was enriched during the Middle Ages with so many French words and phrases that it is no longer understood by Germans. Traditionally, Luxembourgish was rarely written, and no official rules of spelling and grammar existed until they were established by the government in 1984. Older Luxembourgers suddenly found themselves accused of making spelling and grammatical errors.

As the major language most easily understood by native Luxembourgers, German is the principal language of instruction in elementary school, although children speak Luxembourgish in the playground. Beginning in the second grade, French is taught as a subject, although instruction is still principally in German. Over the years, French becomes more important and by high school replaces German as the language of instruction, with German limited to specialized courses in language and literature.

French is the principal language for government legislation and speeches. Street names, shop signs, and menus are written in French, and it is preferred by the more educated, intellectual elite. French is also the lingua franca used to communicate with immigrants, most of whom already know another Romance language.

Although their language is closer to German than to French, Luxembourgers are reluctant to speak German. Because French replaces German as the language of school instruction in higher grades, using German can be taken as a sign of limited education. Also, older Luxembourgers recall the German occupation during World War II, when they were forced to speak German, and have passed on their memories to later generations. However, in their homes, Luxembourgers are more likely to watch television programs in German than those in French.

Symbolism. The national motto, Mir wëlle bleiwe, war mir sin, means "We want to remain what we are." That accurately captures the two dominant goals of contemporary society: protection from linguistic or other imperialism on the part of its more powerful French and German neighbors and protection from economic and political instability that would threaten the country's prosperity and extremely high standard of living.

The national anthem consists of the first and last verses of the song Ons Heemecht ("Our Fatherland"). Written in 1864, immediately before the nation gained full sovereignty, the anthem calls for peace.

The flag has three horizontal stripes of red (on the top), white, and blue (on the bottom). It is virtually identical to the flag of the Netherlands except for a slightly different blue shading (sky blue instead of ultramarine). In the nineteenth century, Luxembourg and the Netherlands had the same monarch.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The modern independent state is a nineteenth-century creation, but national identity developed when Luxembourg was an independent duchy between 963 and 1443 c.e. Sigefroi (Siegfried), count of Ardennes, bought the area in 963 from the Abbey of Saint Maximin in Trier and built a fortress on the site of the Roman castle. The nation's links with Germanic culture strengthened during the five centuries of independence, especially in the fourteenth century, when Luxembourg's dukes also ruled the German-centered Holy Roman Empire and the national territory extended as far east as the present-day Czech Republic.

Luxembourg was conquered in 1443 by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. That conquest brought Luxembourgers closer to French culture and severed their links with Germany. French became the language of official business and the one preferred by the elite. Luxembourg experienced four centuries of foreign occupation, primarily by Spain, Austria, and France. The fortress was coveted for its strategic position.

The 1815 Congress of Vienna, ending the Napoleonic wars, designated Luxembourg a grand duchy, and awarded it to William I, prince of Orange-Nassau, who was also made the first king of the Netherlands. Luxembourg's territory was reduced to its current size when the Congress of Vienna transferred the land east of the Our, Sûre, and Moselle rivers to Prussia and the western half joined Belgium in a successful revolt against the Netherlands in 1830. The portion remaining under William's control was forced to join the German Confederation, a union of monarchies dominated by Austria and Prussia, and to let Prussian soldiers occupy its fortress.

Luxembourg gained independence during the 1860s. The German Confederation was dissolved in 1866, and after the 1867 Treaty of London, Prussia withdrew from the fortress and accepted Luxembourg as a neutral country.

The final step in the emergence of a fully independent country was the accession of different monarchs for Luxembourg and the Netherlands in 1890. William I (r. 18151840), William II (18401849), and William III (18491890) ruled both countries, but when William III died, his only child, Wilhemina, became queen only of the Netherlands, whereas Adolphe, head of another branch of the house of Nassau, became grand duke of Luxembourg. In 1783, the Nassau family had agreed that no woman would become a monarch, and in 1815, the Congress of Vienna decided to apply that rule to Luxembourg but not to the Netherlands. In the twentieth century, though, Luxembourg had two female monarchs: Marie-Adelïde (19121919), who was the granddaughter of Adolphe (18901905) and the only daughter of William IV (19051912) and Charlotte (19191964).

National Identity. A strong national identity beyond speaking Luxembourgish resulted primarily from two German invasions in the twentieth century. During World War I, Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaïde incurred the wrath of her subjects by tolerating the occupation. In 1919, she was forced to abdicate in favor of her sister, Grand Duchess Charlotte. A few months later, Luxembourgers voted to retain the monarchy while extending democratic privileges, including universal suffrage.

When Germany again invaded in 1940, Grand Duchess Charlotte instilled national unity by refusing to collaborate with the Nazis, instead fleeing to London until the Allies liberated the country in September 1944. The last major German offensive of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, was fought largely in Luxembourg. Charlotte abdicated in favor of her son, Grand Duke Jean, 1964, and she died in 1985.

Ethnic Relations. Ethnic relations are dominated by large-scale immigration from southern Europe. The earlier Italian immigrants are well integrated into society, and many families have hyphenated last names that combine Italian and Luxembourgish names. The more recent Portuguese immigrants are less well integrated, although Luxembourg has not had the level of ethnic tensions seen in neighboring countries.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The dominant public space is the medieval fortress built on Bock promontory. Portions remain of Sigefroi's castle built in 963, as well as archaeological evidence from ancient Gallic encampments and Roman outposts. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the nation was occupied by the Spanish, French, and Austrians, increasingly elaborate fortifications were constructed on the promontory, and Luxembourg became known as the "Gibraltar of the North." Carved inside the cliff was a fourteen-mile (twenty-three-kilometer) maze of tunnels for underground defense, known as casemates.

When the Prussians withdrew in 1867, the fortifications were larger than the city of Luxembourg. No longer serving a military purpose, most of the fortifications were demolished in the late nineteenth century. During the 1930s though, eleven miles (seventeen kilometers) of casemates and some of the aboveground fortifications were restored as parks and museums. The restored fortifications are the most prominent feature in contemporary "skyline" photographs of the city.

Homes in the historic, central area are typically narrow two- or three-story row houses. Those originally built for wealthier families are more ornate than those originally occupied by working-class families. Older homes in smaller towns and villages, and newer ones in the suburbs, are free-standing, but relatively close together. Outside these houses are well-kept gardens, as well as space to park cars.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Luxembourg cuisine is said to combine the finesse of French cooking with the heartiness of German food. More recently, it has been inspired by the cuisine of Italian and Portuguese immigrants. Traditional Luxembourgers consume a small French-style breakfast and large meals at midday and in the evening.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Specialties include Judd matt Gaardebou`nen (smoked collar of pork with broad beans), thuringer (small sausages), Luxembourg ham (smoke-cured), friture de la Moselle (small deep-fried river fish), pike in Riesling sauce, gromper keeschelche (potato pancakes), kach keis (soft melted cheese), paté, and quetsche tort (plum tart). Special dishes are consumed on national and religious holidays, as well as on Sunday afternoons. After consuming these large meals, Luxembourgers are fond of taking walks in the country, along well-marked trails.

Well-regarded dry white wine is produced from Reisling grapes grown on the east-facing slopes of the Moselle River, across from Germany. Luxembourg also produces eaux-de-vie, or plum brandies, made from mirabelle (yellow plums) and quetsch (purple plums).

Basic Economy. Luxembourgers have a saying, "Just as Egypt is a gift of the Nile, Luxembourg is a gift of iron." For centuries, the country sat atop a large field of iron ore that contained too much phosphorous to be made into high-quality steel, but in 1877 the British engineer Thomas Gilchrist invented a method of removing phosphorous during the smelting process. Steel production dominated the economy for nearly a century and transformed a very poor, mostly agricultural society into one of the world's wealthiest industrialized countries. At its peak, the steel industry employed one-fourth of the workforce and generated two-thirds of exports, but when world demand for steel plummeted in the 1970s, three-fourths of the steelworkers were laid off. The iron ore fields were closed in 1981, and the surviving steel industry makes specialized products with imported ore.

The loss of the steel industry did not plunge Luxembourg into economic disaster. In the 1970s and 1980s, the country became one of Europe's most important financial services centers. Luxembourg had two hundred thirty-three banks in the 1990scompared with only seventeen in 1960 as well as seven thousand holding companies and 1,300 investment fund operations. Financial institutions were attracted by the low tax rates and strict privacy laws. Luxembourg also houses a number of European organizations, including the general secretariat of the European Parliament, the European Union's statistical and publications offices and court of justice, the European Investment Bank, and the European Court of Auditors.

Land Tenure and Property. Luxembourgers place a high value on owning property and the protection of private property rights.

Commercial Activities. With the large decline in the steel industry and the growth in financial and European institutions since the 1970s, most citizens are now employed in services. In 1993, 68 percent of the workforce was in services, 29 percent in manufacturing, and 3 percent in agriculture.

Major Industries. The major steel producer Arbed (Acieries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange) is a transnational corporation with headquarters in Luxembourg City and factories in seven other countries. Somewhat offsetting the loss of steel jobs, several transnational corporations have built factories. The manufacture of chemicals, rubber, and plastic products has increased.

Trade. Because of its large number of financial services, Luxembourg has a strongly positive international trade balance. Other European Union countriesprimarily the three neighboring countries of Belgium, France, and Germanyaccount for 61 percent of exports and 74 percent of imports.

Division of Labor. One-half of the workers are foreign, about equally divided among immigrants living in the country and commuters from Belgium, France, and Germany. Immigrants hold a large percentage of jobs in construction and minimally skilled services, whereas commuters work in financial services and international institutions.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. The most fundamental social division is between native Luxembourgers and foreign-born residents. Portuguese immigrants are likely to hold lower-status jobs such as street cleaning, bus driving, and restaurant waiting.

Symbols of Social Stratification. The major symbol of social class difference is the language spoken and understood at home. Native Luxembourgers address each other and their families in Luxembourgish but switch to French, German, or English to talk with foreigners.

Political Life

Government. Luxembourg is a representative democracy within a constitutional hereditary monarchy. The grand duke or duchess, the ceremonial head of state, appoints the prime minister, who is responsible to a sixty-member Chamber of Deputies that is popularly elected every five years.

Leadership and Political Officials. The three principal political parties are the right-leaning Christian Social Party (PCS), the left-leaning Socialist Workers' Party (POSL), and the centrist Democratic Party (PD). The government is nearly always a coalition of the conservative PCS and one of the two more progressive parties.

The most influential informal decision-making bodies are three councils: le Conseil d'Etat (council of state), le Conseil économique et social (economic and social council), and les chambres professionnelles (confederation of employers and unions). Former ministers and business, labor, and other civic leaders are appointed to these councils, which are consulted before legislation is enacted affecting their areas of national life.

Social Problems and Control. The legal system is strongly influenced by French practice. The highest court is the Cour Superieure de Justice (Superior Court of Justice). Judges are appointed for life by the grand duke. The crime rate is extremely low, and civil disorders are unknown.

Military Activity. Luxembourg is an active member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It spends 0.8 percent of the gross domestic (GDP) on defense and has a volunteer army of about eight hundred active soldiers.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

About one-third of GDP is spent on social welfare programs; this is one of the world's most generous systems. About half that spending is on pensions, one-fourth on health insurance, and one-fourth on disability payments. With only five thousand unemployed people, spending for unemployment compensation is low.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In principle, women have full political and economic equality. The percentage of women active in the labor force has increased rapidly, but the country has a lower female labor force participation rate than do other developed countries: only 43 percent among citizens and 54 percent among foreigners.

Few women are compelled by economic necessity to seek employment, and housework is counted as employment in determining social security and other benefits. Because of the very low birthrate, women citizens are torn between child rearing and working outside the home. The main impetus for the growth in female labor force participation is a desire for more independence and equality and less social isolation.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Older women wield considerable informal authority, in part because they constitute a high percentage of the population: About 12 percent of native-born Luxembourgers are women over age 65. Older women have a large percentage of the national wealth and provide their middle-aged children with considerable financial support, such as assistance in buying a house. In the afternoon, the streets are filled with older women heading for the bakeries to consume coffee and pastry with friends.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Marriage rates have dropped sharply in recent years. One-third of couples who live together are unmarried, one-seventh of the children are born to unmarried mothers, and one-third of marriages end in divorce. All these practices were rare a generation ago.

Domestic Unit. Although the older generation controls much of the family wealth, three-generation households have become much less common than they were in the past. Older women who cannot live independently are more likely to move into expensive, comfortable retirement homes than to move in with one of their children.

Inheritance. Inheritance laws do not induce early divesting of an estate to heirs, and so older people hold on to their wealth until they die. Because Luxembourg has had a very low birthrate for a long time, an inheritance is typically divided among a small number of children, but with high life expectancy, most middle-aged and even retired people have living parents.


Infant Care. Among the native-born, the birth of a baby is a relatively rare event at about three thousand per year, several hundred less than the number of deaths. An extensive publicly supported network of day care centers is available for the 50 percent of mothers who work outside the home. Nearly half the babies are born to foreigners, and they are entitled to the same maternity and day care as the native-born population.

Child Rearing and Education. People are taught to be prudent, careful, responsible, and practical. Creativity and expressiveness are not emphasized. An infant is not a constant center of attention, and parents are not obsessed with twenty-four-hour catering to a child's whims. Regular mealtimes and other activities are not disrupted by the arrival of a child.

Higher Education. There is no university. Because French is the principal language of instruction in secondary school, Luxembourgers are more likely to attend a university in France or Belgium than in Germany.


Luxembourgers regard their cultural values as deriving primarily from their French rather than their German neighbors. However, they do not admire the spontaneity of Latin culture. Punctuality is expected at meetings, social activities, and cultural events.


Religious Beliefs. About 97 percent of the people are Roman Catholics. Native-born Luxembourgers are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, as are most immigrants from Italy and Portugal.

Medicine and Health Care

Like other European countries, Luxembourg has a free and universal national health insurance system.

Secular Celebrations

The public holidays are a mix of Christian and secular dates, such as Christmas, New Year's, and May Day. Luxembourg celebrates National Day on 23 June as the sovereign's official birthday. The night before (22 June) is festive, with torchlight parades, fireworks, music, and parties. National Day is more ceremonial, including military parades, cannonades, and a "Te Deum" sung in the national cathedral.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The major supporter of the arts is the Grand Ducal Institute, which promotes work in languages and folklore, arts and literature, history, natural science, medicine, and moral and political sciences.

Literature. Luxembourg lacks a distinctive literary tradition because of the absence of spelling and grammatical rules and the limited vocabulary and grammar constructions of Luxembourgish. Thus, writers are more likely to work in genres, such as poetry and plays, that are meant to be spoken rather than read silently. The major writers, including the essayist Marcel Noppeney (18771966) and the poet Michel Rodange (18271876), have invariably used French or German.

French books and publications are widely read, and Luxembourg's periodicals, literary reviews, and magazines aimed at intellectuals are almost always written in French. Luxembourgers writing in French are better able to compose essays and scientific tracts than to write novels.

Because Luxembourgish is essentially a German dialect, writers in German are able to weave in local phrases and sentiments that are meaningful in Luxembourgish, although "pure" German would discourage such colloquialisms. However, the discomfort of Luxembourgers with the German language discourages its widespread use.

Graphic Arts. Luxembourg lacks internationally prominent graphic artists, and its principal museumsthe National Museum of History and Art and the Museum of History of the City of Luxembourgemphasize history and artifacts rather than graphic arts. Contemporary artists are represented at the Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.

Performance Arts. Luxembourg has had a degree of influence in modern communications media. Radiotelevision Luxembourg (RTL), a privately owned company, transmits radio programs in five languages and television programs in French and German. RTL first developed a large audience in the 1960s, when it was the only major station in Europe that played pop music. RTL also supports the major orchestra, the Grand Orchestra of Radiotelevision Luxembourg.


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James M. Rubenstein

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Luxembourg Capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. Luxembourg was a Roman stronghold. The walled town developed around a 10th-century fortress. The Treaty of London (1867) dismantled the fortress and demilitarized the city. It is the seat of the European Court of Justice, the Secretariat of the Parliament of the European Union, the European Monetary Fund, the European Investment Bank, and the European Coal and Steel Union. Industries: iron and steel, chemicals, textiles, tourism. Pop. (2001) 76,687.

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The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers. Those who are native-born consider themselves a distinct nationality. About one-third of the population consists of immigrants.

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Luxemburg: For the grand duchy, province, and city thus named, use Luxembourg.

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LuxembourgBerg, burg, erg, exergue •Hamburg • Battenberg • Strasberg •Habsburg • Salzburg • Strasbourg •Pressburg • Spielberg • Tilburg •Lindbergh, Strindberg •Wittenberg • Vicksburg • Pittsburgh •Ginsberg • Johannesburg •Königsberg • Gettysburg • Freiburg •Heidelberg • Heisenberg • iceberg •Bromberg, homburg, Romberg •Gothenburg • Warburg • Jo'burg •Gutenberg • Duisburg • Magdeburg •Brandenburg • Hindenburg •Mecklenburg • Wallenberg •Orenburg • Nuremberg •Luxembourg • St Petersburg •Williamsburg • Schoenberg •Würzburg • Esbjerg

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