Luxembourg is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. Luxembourg has a population of over half a million people in an area of approximately 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi). A representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is ruled by a grand duke.
Luxembourg has long benefited from a favorable climate for entrepreneurial activity and high levels of openness and flexibility. Prudent financial regulations have supported the country’s position as a global financial hub. The judiciary, independent of politics and free of corruption, has provided strong protection for property rights. Institutional support for open markets is similarly strong.
Luxembourg performs very well in many measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in several topics in the Better Life Index. Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Luxembourg, the average household earned an estimated 44 212 USD in 2008, the highest figure in the OECD. The average is 22 284 USD.
Luxembourg's politics are characterised by stability and long-serving administrations. This tranquillity was interrupted in 2008, when Grand Duke Henri said his conscience would not allow him to sign into law a bill approving euthanasia. The crisis was resolved by a constitutional reform which removed the need for laws to be approved by the monarch, reducing the post to a largely ceremonial role.
Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg is the last grand duke anywhere in the world. Yet he insists he is not an endangered species, and to a great extent he helped stir up the furor that threatens to curtail his ducal powers. “The title is historic,” he said...
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.
2009 July - OECD commends Luxembourg for taking action to improve the transparency of its financial arrangements by signing agreements on the exchange of tax information with a dozen countries
Luxembourg's external interests are centred on the EU, where the Government tends to favour integrationist proposals. They support developing the security role of the EU while maintaining the primacy of NATO and the transatlantic link. In countries where Luxembourg is not represented diplomatically, Belgium takes care of its economic interests and the Netherlands the political.
The present government, which came to power on 20 July 2009 following elections on 7 June 2009, is a coalition of the Christian Social Party (CSV) and the Socialist Party (LSAP), headed respectively by Jean- Claude Juncker (CSV), who is Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and Jean Asselborn (LSAP) who is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Asylum.
'Lëtzebuergesch' is the vernacular, the everyday spoken language of the people and the symbol of the Luxembourgers national identity. Since the creation of a dictionary and a grammar, this former Moselle-Frankish dialect is now recognised as the national language (since 1984), while both French and German remain the official languages, alongside 'Lëtzebuergesch' or Luxembourgish, which is taught in schools and in language courses mostly addressed to the resident foreigners.
In 1994, Luxembourg City was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Currently, Luxembourg is a truly trilingual country: native-born residents speak, read, and write in French, German, and Lëtzebuergesch, switching between them effortlessly. It is almost impossible for a Luxembourger to spend a whole day speaking only one language. This alternation of languages is present in all layers of the society - each of the three languages has its own position.
Luxembourg’s financial sector is not just the largest contributor to the Luxembourg economy. It is also the agency for the development of the financial sector- the second largest investment fund centre in the world after the United States, the premier captive reinsurance market in the European Union and the premier Private Banking centre in the Eurozone.
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.
…Luxembourg has more Michelin-starred restraints per capita than any other country in the world. But even the legion of establishments that haven't received such accolades still pride themselves on producing the finest of dishes from the freshest of ingredients. Moreover, the nation's wines - which rate among Europe's best-kept secrets - are rather good, to say the least.