Small, independent and the HQ of the EU. It sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Add to this a dramatic history (wars, victories, dynasties and two German occupations) that’s hidden behind today’s picturesque countryside, medieval castles and neat little towns and you can see why Luxembourg is an attractive place to visit. Come and find out what it’s all about. Molen! (hello)
Luxembourg is a tiny country (82k long and only 57k wide). It shares its borders with France, Belgium and Germany. Located in central Europe, it is the perfect location for the headquarters of key EU institutions and as a world-banking centre.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Luxembourg has been occupied by Germany twice – 1914 to 1918 and 1940 to 1944 – yet still managed to turn this to its advantage in that it has since become one of the richest countries in Europe.
Luxembourgers are famous for their independence and have led the way in modern Europe. In 1949 Luxembourg became a founding member of NATO and the United Nations. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding member countries of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) and in 1999 it joined the Eurozone. They are also great at languages: French, German and Luxembourgish are the official languages of the country. Most people also speak English very well – and luckily for English students looking to study here, English is the official language at higher education institutions.
Politically Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy. The head of government is the Prime Minister who leads a Council of Ministers recommended by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Grand Duke. Administratively Luxembourg is divided into three regions, the city of Luxembourg, Diekirch and Grevenmacher. The country’s official title is the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The capital and by far the largest city is Luxembourg with other small towns and cities dotted around the small country.
But there’s a lot more to Luxembourg than just being the centre for EU and financial institutions. As well as taking a trip around the country (which really won’t take long) there are also some great museums, casinos and palaces to visit. And make sure you take a look at the Petrusse Casemates – a cave that leads to a maze of tunnels under the city.
And we haven’t even mentioned the beer. There are lots of locally brewed beers (Bfferding, Mousel and Simon Pils) to try or you could go for one of the Luxembourg wines? The food is pretty good too and heavily influenced by its French and German neighbours. Try Judd mat gaardeboune (smoked pork in a cream sauce with potato and beans) or ferkelscrippen (spareribs) or kachkeis (cooked cheese). Beware though, the portion sizes are very large!
At a glance facts
- Languages: German, French and Letzeburgesch (German-Moselle- Frankish dialect)
- Population: 590,321 (2018)
- International Dialling Code: 352
- Time: GMT + 1 hour