Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Großherzogtum Luxemburg (German)
Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (French)
Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourgish)
Motto: "Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir
"We want to remain what we are"
Royal anthem: De Wilhelmus 1
(and largest city)
|Official languages||German, French, Luxembourgish (de jure since 1984)|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional grand duchy|
|-||Grand Duke||Grand Duke Henri (List)|
|-||Prime minister||Jean-Claude Juncker (List)|
|-||From French empire (Treaty of Paris)||9 June 1815|
|-||1st Treaty of London||19 April 1839|
|-||2nd Treaty of London||11 May 1867|
|-||End of personal union||23 November 1890|
|EU accession||25 March 1957|
|-||Total||2,586.4 km2 (175th)
998.6 sq mi
|-||2009 estimate||493,500 (-)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|-||Total||$40.091 billion (97th)|
|-||Per capita||$82,440 (2nd)|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|-||Total||$54.973 billion (65th)|
|-||Per capita||$113,044 (1st)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.960 (very high) (6th)|
|Currency||Euro (€)2 (
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
|1||Not the same as the Het Wilhelmus of the Netherlands.|
|2||Before 1999: Luxembourgish franc.|
|3||The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.|
Luxembourg (pronounced /ˈlʌksəmbɜrɡ/ ( listen) LUKS-əm-berg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg, French: Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, German: Großherzogtum Luxemburg), is a small, landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. Luxembourg has a population of under half a million people in an area of approximately 2,586 square kilometres (999 sq mi).
Luxembourg is a parliamentary representative democracy with a constitutional monarch; it is ruled by a Grand Duke. It is the world's only remaining sovereign Grand Duchy. The country has a highly developed economy, with the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in the world as per IMF and WB. Its historic and strategic importance dates back to its founding as a Roman era fortress site and Frankish count's castle site in the Early Middle Ages. It was an important bastion along the Spanish Road when Spain was the principal European power influencing the whole western hemisphere and beyond in the 16th–17th centuries.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, the United Nations, Benelux, and the Western European Union, reflecting the political consensus in favour of economic, political, and military integration. The city of Luxembourg, the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the European Union.
Luxembourg lies on the cultural divide between Romance Europe and Germanic Europe, borrowing customs from each of the distinct traditions. Luxembourg is a trilingual country; German, French and Luxembourgish are official languages. Although a secular state, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic.
The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today Luxembourg Castle) by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes in 963. Around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a small state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors. In 1437, the House of Luxembourg suffered a succession crisis, precipitated by the lack of a male heir to assume the throne, which led to the territory being sold to Philip the Good of Burgundy.
In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and the French, among others. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands. The Congress of Vienna formed Luxembourg as a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Confederation, with a Confederate fortress manned by Prussian troops.
The Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839 reduced Luxembourg's territory by more than half, as the predominantly francophone western part of the country was transferred to Belgium. Luxembourg's independence was reaffirmed by the 1839 First Treaty of London. In the same year, Luxembourg joined the Zollverein. Luxembourg's independence and neutrality were again affirmed by the 1867 Second Treaty of London, after the Luxembourg Crisis nearly led to war between Prussia and France. After the latter conflict, the Confederate fortress was dismantled.
The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.
Luxembourg was invaded and occupied by Germany during the First World War, but was allowed to maintain its independence and political mechanisms. It was again invaded and subject to German occupation in the Second World War in 1940, and was formally annexed into the Third Reich in 1942.
During World War II, Luxembourg abandoned its policy of neutrality, when it joined the Allies in fighting Germany. Its government, exiled to London, set up a small group of volunteers who participated in the Normandy invasion. It became a founding member of the United Nations in 1946, and of NATO in 1949. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and, in 1999, it joined the euro currency area. In 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is a parliamentary democracy headed by a constitutional monarch. Under the constitution of 1868, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the cabinet, which consists of several other ministers. The Governor has the power to dissolve the legislature and reinstate a new one, as long as the Grand Duke has judicial approval. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the Supreme Court.
Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, a unicameral legislature of sixty members, who are directly elected to five-year terms from four constituencies. A second body, the Council of State (Conseil d'État), composed of twenty-one ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation.
The Grand Duchy has three lower tribunals (justices de paix; in Esch-sur-Alzette, the city of Luxembourg, and Diekirch), two district tribunals (Luxembourg and Diekirch) and a Superior Court of Justice (Luxembourg), which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. There is also an Administrative Tribunal and an Administrative Court, as well as a Constitutional Court, all of which are located in the capital.
Luxembourg also lacks an air force, though the seventeen NATO AWACS aeroplanes are for convenience registered as aircraft of Luxembourg. In accordance with a joint agreement with Belgium, both countries have put forth funding for one A400M military cargo plane, currently on order. Luxembourg still jointly maintains three NATO Boeing 707 model TCAs (for cargo and training purposes) based at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked 175th in size of all the 194 independent countries of the world; the country is about 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi) in size, and measures 82 km (51 miles) long and 57 km (35 miles) wide. To the east, Luxembourg borders the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and, to the south, it borders the French région of Lorraine. The Grand Duchy borders the Belgian Walloon Region, in particular the latter's provinces of Luxembourg and Liège, more in particular the German-speaking Community of Belgium, to the west and to the north respectively.
The northern third of the country is known as the 'Oesling', and forms part of the Ardennes. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff, which is the highest point, at 560 metres (1,837 ft). The region is sparsely populated, with only one town (Wiltz) with a population of more than four thousand people.
The southern two-thirds of the country is called the "Gutland", and is more densely populated than the Oesling. It is also more diverse, and can be divided into five geographic sub-regions. The Luxembourg plateau, in south-central Luxembourg, is a large, flat, sandstone formation, and the site of the city of Luxembourg. Little Switzerland, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests. The Moselle valley is the lowest-lying region, running along the south-eastern border. The Red Lands, in the far south and southwest, are Luxembourg's industrial heartland and home to many of Luxembourg's largest towns.
The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer, and the Our. Other major rivers are the Alzette, the Attert, the Clerve, and the Wiltz. The valleys of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling.
The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers. The native population has a Celtic base with a French and Germanic blend. The immigrant population increased in the twentieth century due to the arrival of immigrants from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Portugal, with the majority coming from this last country. In 2001 census, there were 58,657 inhabitants with Portuguese nationality.
Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Annually, over 10,000 new immigrants arrive in Luxembourg, mostly from EU states, as well and Eastern Europe. As of 2000, there were 162,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 37% of the total population. There were an estimated 5,000 undocumented immigrants, including asylum seekers, in Luxembourg as of 1999.
Three languages are recognised as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and Luxembourgish, a Franconian language of the Moselle region very similar to the local German dialect spoken in the neighbouring part of Germany, except that it includes more borrowings from French. So in principle Luxembourgish is a High German dialect with the status of a national language. Apart from being one of the three official languages, Luxembourgish is also considered the national language of the Grand Duchy; it is the mother tongue or "language of the heart" for nearly all Luxembourgers.
Each of the three languages is used as the primary language in certain spheres. Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally speak to each other, but it is not often written down. Most official (written) business is carried out in French. German is usually the first language taught in school and is the language of much of the media and of the church.
Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German, while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. However, as proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school, half the students leave school without a certified qualification, with the children of immigrants being particularly disadvantaged.
In addition to the three official languages, English is taught in the compulsory schooling and much of the population of Luxembourg can speak English, at any rate in Luxembourg City. Portuguese and Italian, the languages of the two largest immigrant communities, are also spoken by large parts of the population, but by relatively few from outside their respective communities.
Luxembourg is a secular state, but the state recognises certain religions as officially-mandated religions. This gives the state a hand in religious administration and appointment of clergy, in exchange for which the state pays certain running costs and wages. Currently, religions covered by such arrangements are Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Russian Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Islam.
Since 1980 it has been illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices. An outdated estimation by the CIA Factbook for the year 2000 is that 87% of Luxembourgers are Catholics, including the royal family, the remaining 13% being made up of Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and those of other or no religion.
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 44% of Luxembourg citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 28% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 22% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
Luxembourg's stable, high-income economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and low unemployment. The industrial sector, which was dominated until the 1960s by steel, has diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. During the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than compensated for the decline in steel. Services, especially banking and other financial exports, account for the majority of economic output. Luxembourg is the world's second largest investment fund center (after the USA), the most important private banking center in the Eurozone and Europe's leading center for reinsurance companies. Moreover, the Luxembourgish government has tried to attract internet start-ups. Skype and eBay are two of the many internet companies that have shifted their local or global headquarters to Luxembourg.
Agriculture is based on small, family-owned farms. Luxembourg has especially close trade and financial ties to Belgium and the Netherlands (see Benelux), and as a member of the EU it enjoys the advantages of the open European market. Luxembourg possesses the highest GDP per capita in the world (US$87,995 as of 2006), the eighteenth highest Human Development Index, and the fourth highest rated in the quality of life index. As of March 2006, unemployment is 4.8% of the labor force. For the fiscal year of 2005 and 2006, Luxembourg has run a budget deficit for the first time in many years, mostly because of slower international economic growth.
Luxembourg has efficient road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernized in recent years with 147 km of motorways connecting the capital to adjacent countries. The advent of the high-speed TGV link to Paris has led to renovation of the city's railway station while a new passenger terminal at Luxembourg Airport has recently been opened. There are plans to introduce trams in the capital and light-rail lines in adjacent areas within the next few years.
Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours, although, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country, it retains a number of folk traditions. There are several notable museums, mostly located in the capital; these include the National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), the History Museum of the City of Luxembourg, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam). The National Museum of Military History (MNHM) in Diekirch is especially known for its representations of the Battle of the Bulge. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications.
The country has produced some internationally known artists, including the painters Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, as well as the photographer Edward Steichen. Steichen's The Family of Man exhibition is now permanently housed in Clervaux, and it has been placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World register.
Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture twice. The first time was in 1995. In 2007, the European Capital of Culture was to be a cross-border area consisting of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland in Germany, the Walloon Region and the German-speaking part of Belgium, and the Lorraine area in France. The event was an attempt to promote mobility and the exchange of ideas, crossing borders in all areas, physical, psychological, artistic and emotional.
For many people in other parts of Europe, Luxembourg is best known for its radio and television stations, Radio Luxembourg and the RTL Group, Europe's largest TV, radio and production company. It is also the uplink home of SES Astra, carrier of major European satellite services for Germany and Britain.
Studies show that the country Luxembourg consumes the most alcohol per capita, according to Guinness World Records 2008. In the year 2003, on average 2.8 gallons (12.6 litres) of pure alcohol was purchased per citizen. This however is a statistical phenomenon, not actual, as the low taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and petrol in Luxembourg mean that Belgians, French and Germans living close to the border buy these products in Luxembourg, and increase the sales without being counted as consumers in the statistical analyses.
Luxembourg is a country in Europe.
|Area||2,586 sq km|
|Population||474,413 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Luxembourgish (national language), German and French (administrative languages)|
|Religion||87% Roman Catholic, remainder Protestants, Jews, and Muslims|
|Electricity||230V/50Hz (European plug)|
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg  (Luxembourgish: Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg, French:Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, German: Großherzogtum Luxemburg), is a landlocked country in the Benelux bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, lying at the crossroad of Germanic and Latin cultures. It is the only Grand Duchy in the world and is the second-smallest of the European Union member states.
With a successful steel, finance and high technology industry, a strategic location at the heart of Western Europe, more natural beauty than you might expect given its size, and as one of the top three richest countries in the world, Luxembourg enjoys a very high standard of living and has prices to match!
Founded in 963, Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy in 1815 and an independent state under the Netherlands. It lost more than half of its territory to Belgium in 1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy. Full independence was attained in 1867.
Overrun by Germany in both World Wars, Luxembourg was one of the major battlefields of the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-1945, a story well documented in the museum at Diekirch. The state ended its neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union) and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area.
Modified continental with mild winters, although January and February can get very cold and temperatures can fall to as low as -15°C. The summer can be very hot in Luxembourg, with temperatures in July and August reaching around 30+°C.
Mostly gently rolling uplands with broad, shallow valleys; uplands to slightly mountainous in the north; steep slope down to Moselle flood plain in the south.
Luxembourg is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Swiss citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you travelling within the Schengen area or not, some airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
Keep in mind that the counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa.
As of January 2010 only the citizens of the following non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area; note that they must not stay longer than three months in half a year and must not work while in the EU: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.
Further note that
(*) Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian citizens need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel and
(**) Serbian citizens with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Serbs residing in Kosovo) still do need a visa.
Luxembourg-Findel International Airport (IATA: LUX) (ICAO: ELLX)  is located 6km outside Luxembourg-City. It is served by Luxair , the national airline, which flies to many EU countries (including Milan and London Gatwick and City) and Dublin, and Air France (Paris; actually a Luxair codeshare), KLM (Amsterdam), Swiss (Zurich), Lufthansa (Frankfurt; actually a Luxair codeshare) and British Airways (London Gatwick). Another airline to consider is VLM, often a cheaper option than Luxair. A completely new terminal opened in May 2008, the airport site  has information about all flights .
Alternative airports, especially for low-cast carriers, include Ryanair hub Hahn (aka "Frankfurt-Hahn"), about two hours away by direct Flibco bus , Zweibrücken Airport  and Brussels-South Charleroi, served by bus company charleroiexpress.com .
Luxembourg train station can be reached directly from Paris (2 hours), Metz (1 hour), Brussels (3 hours) and Trier (43 min). Both international and national timetables can be found on the website of the national railways company CFL .
If you want to enjoy a nice view to the city, "Grund" and Kasematten, leave the motorway coming from the East (Germany) at exit "Cents". Enter Cents and drive down the hill. Don't let yourself be stopped by signs that the route is blocked via "Grund".
Luxembourg being a landlocked country, it's extremely hard to get in by boat. But if you really want to there are boat links form the German side of the Moselle river to the Luxembourg side, but it is easier walking over the bridges.
Luxembourg is a compact country and it's possible to reach most any place in the country from the capital in under an hour. The central railway station has a handy Mobiliteit  office that will help to plan your trip with bus and train.
The Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (CFL)  train network is either comprehensive or spartan, depending whether you want to go south or north. While the south is reasonably well covered, the north is limited to one main line (Ligne 10) which runs from Luxembourg City via Mersch, Ettelbrück, Wilwerwiltz, Clervaux and Troisvierges. The line continues north into Belgium towards Liège. Diekirch has a branch line from Ettelbrück, and Wiltz has a branch line from Kautenbach. To the south you can reach Bettembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette. There is also a line to the east which crosses into Germany over the Moselle River at Wasserbillig.
The same tickets are valid on trains as buses, and the same rates apply: €1.50 for two hours (unlimited transfers) or €4 for one day. A €40 month ticket can be purchased at the CFL office under Hamilius, at some newsagencies or at the station. Trains in Luxembourg generally run very much on time and are modern and comfortable. As the fares are so cheap this is a good mode of transport to use when possible.
From an aesthetic view, perhaps the best way to approach Luxembourg City is by train from the north via Ligne 10 as this is a beautifully scenic route past some of the most well-known Luxembourgish sights.
Within the city, the comprehensive bus service is more than adequate for the average tourist. Buses numbered 1-25 serve the Ville de Luxembourg, with the most useful being the 16 (Town to the Airport via Kirchberg) and the 18 (Town to Kirchberg and Auchan). Almost all buses include the central bus station Hamilius (centre of town) and the Station (Luxembourg Gare) in their routes at some point. Any bus pointing stationwards from Hamilius will probably take you there (the 3 being a notable exception). Bus tickets (which are also valid on trains) are available from the driver. A standard ticket costs €1.50 and will be valid on any bus up to 2 hours after its purchase.
The bus service out of town is also extensive. Every village has a convenient bus service which runs at least once every hour. Buses numbered 100 upwards will take you out of the city. Useful routes to the north of the country include the 100 (Diekirch via Junglinster, every hour), the 120 (Junglinster, every 30 minutes) and the 290 (Mersch, frequent). However, Mersch and the south are more easily reached by train (see below).
Town buses experienced a reduced service on Saturdays (including those used mainly by shoppers), and many routes are barely existent (if at all) on a Sunday. This doesn't matter, though, since most shops and attractions are closed on a Sunday.
Almost all national buses run the same on Saturdays (which count as working days in this instance) as during the week, but the Sunday service is usually reduced or non-existent.
Luxembourg's road infrastructure is well-developed if not always very well thought-out. Anywhere that happens to lie along the major motorways is easily accessible via these (including Grevenmacher in the east, Mamer to the west and Bettembourg to the south). Esch-Alzette, the country's second city (more like a small town by international standards) has its own motorway link, the A4. In addition, a new motorway is being built towards the north of the country (Mersch, Ettelbrück), but this won't be completed until 2010 at the earliest. However, the current North Road provides easy access to these areas for the moment.
Current national speed limits are 50km/h in towns and villages, 90km/h on open country roads (110 in some places on N7 and N11), and 130km/h on the motorway (110 in the rain). 70km/h also exists in some places. Speed limits are enforced by random police checks. Be aware that if you have a right-hand-drive car then you are very likely to be singled out for a customs check on the way in. Police are also very keen on stopping drivers for having the 'wrong' lights on in town, i.e. side lights instead of dipped headlights.
Finding parking in Luxembourg city centre on weekends can be difficult. Most spaces are quickly taken and some parking garages close early. The best option is to find somewhere near the station and then walk around the city centre. Traffic wardens are also numerous and vigilant.
The streets and landscape in Luxembourg make for good biking territory; highly recommended. Be wary, though, of small-ish bicycle repair shops in rural corners of the country -- they may quite well charge you quite some money for fixing your bike when they actually break it, more or less subtly. For bicycle repairs, neighboring Trier (with a considerable University student population) is usually a safer bet.
Luxembourgish ("Lëtzebuergesch") is the national language, while French is the administrative language. German is also widely used and almost universally understood. That means outside of large cities where French is spoken on the street, the national language of Luxembourgish is spoken at home. Luxembourgish is a separate and unique language, having previously evolved from a German dialect ("Moselfränkisch"). German (Hochdeutsch) enjoys official status and appears in some media and is used in the court system and is taught in schools. However, everything from road signs, to menus to information in stores will appear in French. French therefore is clearly the most useful of the three languages to know, essentially making Luxembourg a Francophone country for the visitor with the exception of places close to the German border such as Diekirch or Echternach.
Over one third of Luxembourg's overall population is made up of foreigners, and this figure rises to around 50% in the cities. Hence, again knowing French is your best bet if you want to converse with most people, especially as people working in shops and bars usually come from France or Belgium and don't bother to learn the local native language of Luxembourgish. English is widely understood by such personnel as bus drivers, but many shop assistants will only respond if addressed in French. Educated Luxembourgers are fluent in all four of the above languages; it is the "frontaliers" (workers who live across one of the borders) who may not speak English well or at all. Apart from the more elderly inhabitants, virtually every Luxembourger understands and speaks fluent standard German and French. Luxembourgers are the polyglots of Europe, perhaps making even the Swiss jealous!
Luxembourg uses the euro, so there is no need to change money if coming in from Belgium, France or Germany. If you know any coin collectors, take a few local coins as keepsakes, since Luxembourgish coins are among the rarest of the euros — even in Luxembourg, most of your change will be in other countries' coins!
The general price level in Luxembourg is noticeably higher than in France and Germany, especially in central Luxembourg. Even cheap hotels tend to cost over €100 a night and you won't get much change from €20 after a modest dinner and a drink. Basing yourself in Trier (or other cities across the border) and daytripping to Luxembourg might be a good bet.
On the upside, cigarettes, alcohol or petrol are comparatively cheap, making the small state a popular destination for long-haul drivers.
Traditional dishes are largely based on pork and potatoes and the influence of German and central European cooking is undeniable. The unofficial national dish is judd mat gaardebounen, or smoked pork neck served with boiled broad beans. A must to try if you do get the opportunity are Gromperekichelchen (literally, Potato Biscuits) which are a type of fried shredded potato cake containing onions, shallots and parsley. Typically found served at outdoor events such as markets or funfairs they are absolutely delicious and a particularly nice snack on a cold winter's day.
In most restaurants however, the typical local food would be French cuisine coming in bigger portions. Italian food has been popular since the 1960s. Home cooking has been very influenced by the recipes of Ketty Thull, apparently the best-selling cooking and baking book in Luxembourg since WW II.
The Luxembourg white wines from the Moselle valley to the east of Luxembourg include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner and Elbling to name just a few and are good. In autumn, many villages along the Moselle river organise wine-tasting village festivals.
Young people tend to drink local or imported beer. Luxembourg has a number of breweries, with Diekirch, from the village of the same name, Bofferding, Battin, and Mousel being the most popular. Despite the fact that you would be hard pushed to find any of these outside of the country, all are excellent lagers.
As an after dinner digestive, Luxembourgers like to drink an eau-de-vie . The most commonly available are Mirabelle and Quetsch. Both are made from plums and are extremely strong! Sometimes these are taken in coffee which may be a little more palatable for some.
Thanks to the heavy banking and EU presence in the city, hotels in central Luxembourg are quite expensive, although there is a good youth hostel (see Luxembourg (city)#Sleep). It may be more cost-effective to stay across the border in eg. Trier and "commute" into Luxembourg, as a day-ticket valid for a return trip and free run of the entire country is only €8.40.
The Association of Independent Hotels in Luxembourg operates a booking service at hotels.lu  for a number of smaller hotels, mostly in the countryside but including a few in the city.
Luxembourg is a major player in the financial service sector. Many thousands of people commute from neighbouring Belgium, France (Les frontaliers) and Germany on week days, considerably swelling the population of the capital city. The majority work in the numerous financial institutions based in and around the capital (particularly in the Kirchberg district) and are drawn across the borders by the excellent salaries on offer. Luxembourg City has a very international flavour as in addition to les frontaliers, it attracts young professionals from all over the globe. In this area, business is done predominantly in English, French or German and it is necessary to be fluent in one of these as a minimum although many jobs will demand proficiency in at least two.
In many surveys, Luxembourg has been named "safest country in the world".
The food and tap water supply in Luxembourg is perfectly fine and the country's healthcare system is first-class. The climate is average even though the summers can get hot. However these temperatures only rarely rise much above 30°C.
Try to show respect for the local language and make some effort to say a word or two of it even if it's just the standard greeting "Moien". Avoid calling "Luxembourgish" a dialect of German or think that the country itself is merely an extension of France or Germany.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!|