23 Interesting Facts About Luxembourg

In my quest to visit all European countries, I also visited Luxembourg. This small country, tucked between France, Germany, and Belgium, is not a hot European destination, but it is known as being the richest country in the world. 

In my quest to visit all European countries, I also visited Luxembourg. This small country, tucked between France, Germany, and Belgium, is not a hot European destination, but it is known as being the richest country in the world. 

I was surprised to find a smaller France, one that attracts many expats from all over the world. 

23 Interesting Facts About Luxembourg

One of the Smallest Countries

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world, covering just about 2,586 square kilometers.

Trilingual Nation

The country has three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German.

Wealthy Population

Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world, boasting a high GDP per capita.

Why is Luxembourg so rich?

Luxembourg’s astounding wealth is the result of a unique blend of factors that have turned this tiny European nation into an economic powerhouse. 

Strategically located at the heart of Europe, it’s a hub for trade and logistics, benefitting from proximity to major markets like Germany, France, and Belgium. But its true secret weapon is its robust financial sector, including a dense network of banks and investment funds that attract global capital. 

This financial strength is supported by a business-friendly environment, favorable tax policies, and political stability, making Luxembourg an attractive destination for multinational corporations to set up their European headquarters. 

Add to this a highly educated, multilingual workforce and excellent infrastructure, and it’s easy to see why Luxembourg has successfully diversified its economy beyond its historical reliance on the steel industry. Hosting European Union institutions like the European Court of Justice also contributes to its prosperity by creating jobs and attracting skilled professionals. 

Overall, Luxembourg’s focus on innovation, investment in research and development, and high quality of life make it a magnet for both businesses and wealthy individuals, sustaining its status as one of the world’s richest countries.

European Institutions

It is home to some of the European Union’s key institutions, like the European Court of Justice.

Medieval Charm

The capital, Luxembourg City, has a well-preserved medieval old town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Steel Industry

Luxembourg was historically known for its steel industry, which played a significant role in its economy.

Radio Pioneer

Europe’s first-ever radio station, Radio Luxembourg, started broadcasting in the 1930s from the country.

Tax Haven

Luxembourg is often considered a tax haven due to its favorable tax laws, attracting many multinational corporations.

Fairy-Tale Castles

The country has more than 100 castles, many of which look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale.

Wine Production

Luxembourg is famous for its white wine, particularly those from the Moselle region.

Low Unemployment

The country typically enjoys a low unemployment rate compared to other European nations.

Schengen Agreement

The small village of Schengen in Luxembourg is where the famous Schengen Agreement was signed, allowing for passport-free travel across many European countries.

High Quality of Life

Luxembourg consistently ranks high in terms of quality of life and safety.

Cycling Haven

Luxembourg is known for its excellent cycling routes, attracting cycling enthusiasts from around the world.

A Family Affair

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy currently headed by Grand Duke Henri.

Luxembourg has a fascinating history that traces its origins back to the early medieval period. The country initially came into existence as a small fortress town founded in 963 AD, when Siegfried I, Count of Ardennes, acquired a rocky promontory known as the “Bock” and built a castle on it. This fortress gradually evolved into a strategic military hub, leading to the growth of a settlement around it, which later became Luxembourg City. Over time, the region gained prominence and expanded its territories, and eventually was elevated to the status of a Grand Duchy.

For centuries, Luxembourg was a pawn in the complex chess game of European politics, passing through the hands of various foreign rulers, including the Spanish, French, and Austrians. Its strategic location and fortified city made it highly desirable for military control. By the 19th century, the country found itself at the crossroads of significant geopolitical changes. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 elevated Luxembourg to a Grand Duchy and placed it under the personal rule of the King of the Netherlands. However, it remained a part of the German Confederation, which complicated its status.

Luxembourg’s modern national identity started to take shape in the latter part of the 19th century. The Treaty of London in 1867 reaffirmed its status as an independent and neutral country, ending its dual obligations to both the Netherlands and the German Confederation. This treaty also led to the partial dismantling of the fortress in Luxembourg City, signifying the end of the country’s military significance and the beginning of its development as a financial and administrative center.

In the 20th century, Luxembourg was occupied by Germany during both World Wars but was liberated by Allied forces. Post-World War II, the country became a founding member of several international organizations, including the United Nations and the European Economic Community, a precursor to the European Union.

Today, Luxembourg is a sovereign, trilingual nation, renowned for its wealth, quality of life, and status as a major financial hub. Its rich history and complex geopolitical past have shaped it into the diverse and prosperous country it is today.

Old Military Fortress

Luxembourg City was once considered the “Gibraltar of the North” due to its strategic military fortifications.

It played a pivotal role in the military strategies of several European powers. Its high cliffs and the fortifications built around the city made it nearly impregnable, attracting the attention of military tacticians and statesmen alike. 

The city’s fortifications were a blend of various styles and epochs, incorporating elements from medieval walls, Spanish and French bastions, and Austrian and Prussian engineering. This made Luxembourg City one of the most heavily fortified places in Europe, a labyrinth of underground tunnels and above-ground walls that could withstand prolonged sieges. 

Its role as a military stronghold changed after the Treaty of London in 1867, which led to the dismantling of many of its fortifications and signaled the city’s transition into becoming the financial and administrative center it is today. 

Yet, the remnants of this formidable past can still be seen in the old quarters and fortifications that are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, serving as a vivid reminder of its strategic importance in European history.

National Holiday

Luxembourg’s National Day is on June 23, which is actually not the real birthday of any Grand Duke or Duchess but a day chosen for celebration.

Bank Density

Luxembourg has more banks per capita than any other country, reflecting its status as a major financial hub.

Open-Air Market

One of the oldest open-air markets in Europe, the ‘Marché Gare,’ operates in Luxembourg.

The ‘Marché Gare’ is a cornerstone of Luxembourg’s cultural and commercial life. Situated in Luxembourg City, this bustling marketplace serves as a vibrant gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. It offers a plethora of goods ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to handcrafted artisanal products, making it a one-stop shop for all kinds of necessities and luxuries. The market is more than just a place for commerce; it’s a social hub where people come to chat, bargain, and catch up on the latest news, maintaining a tradition that has thrived for centuries.

The longevity of the ‘Marché Gare’ speaks volumes about the importance of community and trade in Luxembourg’s history. It showcases the country’s agricultural richness and its citizens’ knack for commerce, but it also serves as a melting pot of cultural influences. You’ll find a diverse range of products that reflect Luxembourg’s multicultural makeup, from local Luxembourgish treats to international delicacies. Over the years, the market has adapted to modern tastes and trends, incorporating organic produce and gourmet food stalls, but it has never lost its old-world charm. The ‘Marché Gare’ remains a vital part of Luxembourg’s social fabric, a testament to the country’s enduring values of community and tradition.

Unique Dishes

Luxembourg has its own traditional dishes like ‘Judd mat Gaardebounen,’ which is a smoked pork neck served with broad beans.

Cultural Diversity

Around 47% of the population in Luxembourg is made up of foreign nationals, making it a melting pot of cultures.

Public transport is free

Luxembourg used to have a huge issue with cars, as they counted more than the total population of this tiny country. To counteract the urban traffic, Luxembourg decided in 2020 to make public transport free for all. I was surprised, and it almost felt like stealing when I got on the bus, especially since there are still taxing stations as you enter the bus. However, they’re not working. 

Focus on renewable energy

Another interesting facet of Luxembourg’s affluence is its focus on sustainability and renewable energy. The country has been investing heavily in eco-friendly initiatives, aiming to produce 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. This commitment not only enhances its global reputation but also attracts companies and investors interested in sustainable development, further bolstering its economic standing. With a concerted effort to move towards a greener future, Luxembourg adds another layer to its multifaceted approach to maintaining its wealth and economic vitality.

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

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