The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today "Luxembourg Castle) situated on the "Bock rock by "Siegfried, Count of Ardennes, in 963 through an exchange act with "St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier. Around this "fort, a "town gradually developed, which became the centre of a 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 territories being sold by Duchess "Elisabeth 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.
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 within the German Confederation in "personal union with the Netherlands, being at the same time a part of the Netherlands and ruled as one of its provinces, with the "Fortress of Luxembourg manned by Prussian troops. This arrangement was revised by the 1839 "First Treaty of London, from which date Luxembourg's full independence is reckoned.
At the time of the "Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839, and by the 1839 Treaty establishing full independence, Luxembourg's territory was reduced by more than half, as the predominantly "francophone "western part of the country was transferred to "Belgium. In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union ("Zollverein). This resulted in the opening of the German market, the development of "Luxembourg's steel industry, and expansion of "Luxembourg's railway network from 1855 to 1875, particularly the construction of the Luxembourg-"Thionville railway line, with connections from there to the European industrial regions. While Prussian troops still manned the fortress, in 1861, the "Passerelle was opened, the first road bridge spanning the "Pétrusse river valley, connecting the "Ville Haute and the main fortification on the Bock with "Luxembourg railway station, opened in 1859, on the then fortified Bourbon plateau to the south.
After the "Luxembourg Crisis of 1866 nearly led to war between Prussia and France, the Grand Duchy's independence and neutrality were again affirmed by the 1867 "Second Treaty of London, Prussia's troops were withdrawn from the Fortress of Luxembourg and its Bock and surrounding fortifications were dismantled.
The "King of the Netherlands remained "Head of State as "Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining a personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of "William III, the throne of the Netherlands passed to his daughter "Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (then restricted to male heirs by the "Nassau Family Pact) passed to "Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.
At the time of the "Franco-Prussian war in 1870, despite allegations about French use of the Luxembourg railways for passing soldiers from "Metz (then part of France) through the Duchy, and for forwarding provisions to Thionville, Luxembourg's neutrality was respected by "Germany, and neither France nor Germany invaded the country. But in 1871, as a result of Germany's victory over France, Luxembourg's boundary with "Lorraine, containing Metz and Thionville, changed from being a frontier with a part of France to a frontier with territory annexed to the "German Empire as "Alsace-Lorraine under the "Treaty of Frankfurt. This allowed Germany the military advantage of controlling and expanding the "railways there.
In August 1914, "Imperial Germany violated Luxembourg's neutrality by invading it in its war against France. This allowed Germany to use the railway lines, while at the same time denying them to France. Nevertheless, despite the "German occupation, Luxembourg was allowed to maintain much of its independence and political mechanisms.
In 1940, after the outbreak of "World War II, Luxembourg's neutrality was again violated when the "Wehrmacht of "Nazi Germany entered the country, "entirely without justification". In contrast to the First World War, under the "German occupation of Luxembourg during World War II, the country was treated as German territory and informally annexed to the adjacent province of the "Third Reich. A "government in exile based in London supported the "Allies, sending a small group of volunteers who participated in the "Normandy invasion. Luxembourg was liberated in September 1944, and became a founding member of the "United Nations in 1945. Luxembourg's neutral status under the "constitution formally ended in 1948, and in 1949 it became a founding member of "NATO.
In 1951, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the "European Coal and Steel Community, which in 1957 would become the "European Economic Community and in 1993 the "European Union, and in 1999 Luxembourg joined the "Euro currency area. In 2005, a "referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held.
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 Grand Duke has the power to dissolve the "legislature, in which case new elections must be held within three months. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the "Nation, exercised by the Grand Duke in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
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 is divided into 12 "cantons, which are further divided into 105 "communes. Twelve of the communes have "city status, of which the city of "Luxembourg is the largest.
The three "Partitions of Luxembourg have greatly reduced Luxembourg's territory.
Luxembourg has long been a prominent supporter of European political and "economic integration. In efforts foreshadowing European integration, Luxembourg and Belgium in 1921 formed the "Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) to create a regime of inter-exchangeable currency and a common "customs. Luxembourg is a member of the "Benelux Economic Union and was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (now the European Union). It also participates in the "Schengen Group (named after "the Luxembourg village of Schengen where the agreements were signed), whose goal is the free movement of citizens among member states. At the same time, the majority of Luxembourgers have consistently believed that European unity makes sense only in the context of a dynamic transatlantic relationship, and thus have traditionally pursued a pro-"NATO, pro-US foreign policy.["citation needed]
Luxembourg is the site of the "European Court of Justice, the "European Court of Auditors, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (""Eurostat") and other vital EU organs. The "Secretariat of the European Parliament is located in Luxembourg, but the Parliament usually meets in "Brussels and sometimes in "Strasbourg.
Luxembourg contributes an army of about 800 soldiers and 100 civil servants to its defense and to NATO. Being a landlocked country, it has no navy.
Luxembourg also lacks an air force, though the 17 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.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked "179th 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 mi) long and 57 km (35 mi) wide. It lies between latitudes "49° and "51° N, and longitudes "5° and "7° E.
To the east, Luxembourg borders the German "Bundesland 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, part of which comprises 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 near Wilwerdange, which is the highest point, at 560 metres (1,837 ft). Other mountains are the '"Buurgplaaz' at 559 metres near "Huldange and the '"Napoléonsgaard' at 554 metres near "Rambrouch. 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 southeastern 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.
According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, Luxembourg is one of the world's best performers in environmental protection, ranking 4th out of 132 assessed countries Luxembourg also ranks 6th among the top ten most livable cities in the world by Mercer's.
Luxembourg has an "oceanic climate ("Köppen: Cfb), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer. The summers are warm and winters cool.
Luxembourg's stable and high-income "market economy features moderate "growth, low "inflation, and a high level of innovation. Unemployment is traditionally low, although it had risen to 6.1% by May 2012, due largely to the effect of the "2008 global financial crisis. Consequently, Luxembourg's economy was forecast to have negligible growth in 2012. In 2011, according to the "IMF, Luxembourg was the second richest country in the world, with a per capita GDP on a purchasing-power parity (PPP) basis of $80,119. Luxembourg is ranked 13th in the "Heritage Foundation's "Index of Economic Freedom, 26th in the United Nations "Human Development Index, and 4th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's "quality of life index.
External debt of Luxembourg is extremely high when external debt per capita or "debt-to-GDP ratio is taken into consideration. External debt per capita (2014) is $3,696,467 and as a percentage of GDP it is 3443%, the world's highest by both measurements.["better source needed]
The industrial sector, which was dominated by steel until the 1960s, has since 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 production. Services, especially banking and "finance, account for the majority of economic output. Luxembourg is the world's second largest investment fund centre (after the United States), the most important private banking centre in the "Eurozone and Europe's leading centre for reinsurance companies. Moreover, the Luxembourg government has aimed to attract internet start-ups, with "Skype and "Amazon being two of the many internet companies that have shifted their regional headquarters to Luxembourg.
In April 2009, concern about Luxembourg's banking secrecy laws, as well as its reputation as a "tax haven, led to its being added to a "grey list" of nations with questionable banking arrangements by the "G20. In response, the country soon after adopted OECD standards on exchange of information and was subsequently added into the category of "jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard". In March 2010, the Sunday Telegraph reported that most of Kim Jong-Il's $4 billion in secret accounts is in Luxembourg banks. Amazon.co.uk also benefits from Luxembourg tax loopholes by channeling substantial UK revenues as reported by The Guardian in April 2012. Luxembourg ranked third on the "Tax Justice Network's 2011 "Financial Secrecy Index of the world's major tax havens, scoring only slightly behind the "Cayman Islands. In 2013, Luxembourg is ranked as the 2nd safest tax haven in the world, behind "Switzerland.
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.
With $171 billion in May 2015, the country ranks eleventh in the world in holdings of "U.S. Treasury securities. The ranking is however imperfect as some foreign owners entrust the safekeeping of their securities to institutions that are neither in the United States nor in the owner's country of residence.
Luxembourg has efficient road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernised in recent years with 147 km (91 mi) 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 and a new passenger terminal at "Luxembourg Airport was opened in 2008. There are plans to introduce trams in the capital and "light-rail lines in adjacent areas within the next few years.
The number of cars per 1000 persons amount to 680.1 in Luxembourg — higher than all but two "states, namely the "Principality of Monaco and the "British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
The telecommunications industry in Luxembourg is liberalised and the electronic communications networks are significantly developed. Competition between the different operators is guaranteed by the legislative framework Paquet Telecom of the Government of 2011 which transposes the European Telecom Directives into Luxembourgian law. This encourages the investment in networks and services. The regulator ILR – Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation ensures the compliance to these legal rules.
Luxembourg has modern and widely deployed optical fiber and cable networks throughout the country. In 2010, the Luxembourg Government launched its National strategy for very high-speed networks with the aim to become a global leader in terms of very high-speed broadband by achieving full 1 Gbit/s coverage of the country by 2020. In 2011, Luxembourg had an "NGA coverage of 75%. In April 2013, Luxembourg featured the 6th highest download speed worldwide and the 2nd highest in Europe: 32,46 Mbit/s. The country's location in Central Europe, stable economy and low taxes favour the telecommunication industry.
It ranks 2nd in the world in the development of the Information and Communication Technologies in the ITU ICT Development Index and 8th in the Global Broadband Quality Study 2009 by the "University of Oxford and the "University of Oviedo.
Luxembourg is connected to all major European Internet Exchanges (AMS-IX Amsterdam, DE-CIX Frankfurt, LINX London), datacenters and POPs through redundant optical networks. In addition, the country is connected to the virtual meetme room services (vmmr) of the international data hub operator Ancotel. This enables Luxembourg to interconnect with all major telecommunication operators and data carriers worldwide. The interconnection points are in Frankfurt, London, New York and Hong Kong.
Several providers interconnect Luxembourg to the major European data hubs:
- Teralink ("P&TLuxembourg, also called EPT Luxembourg: incumbent operator)
- "LuxConnect (shareholder : Government) LuxConnect tested the 100G coherent transmission of data signals between Luxembourg and Amsterdam in June 2011.
- Artelis/Cegecom (alternative telecommunications provider in Luxembourg and Saarland)
- Satellite connectivity – Teleports ("SES), Broadcasting Center Europe and P&T Luxembourg Teleport.
Luxembourg is connected through an optical "DWDM network, called Teralink to several Tier 1 upstream providers like Level3 and Global Crossing. Teralink offers connectivities up to 100 Gbit/s. P&TLuxembourg established a coherent 100Gbit/s IP connection between Frankfurt and Luxembourg with live traffic in 2011.
The Internet IPV6 protocol has been introduced to the country by Restena and P&T Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has one "Internet exchange point and one Carrier "Ethernet Exchange point.
- "LU-CIX is Luxembourg's neutral and commercial Internet Exchange Point which was founded in 2009 by Cegecom, Datacentre Luxembourg, Global Media Systems, INEXIO, LuxConnect, P&T Luxembourg and Root eSolutions. It offers a short, fast and efficient route to the major European Internet networks. In 2012, LIX, the neutral Internet exchange operated by the RESTENA Foundation, merged with LU-CIX. In March 2013, LU-CIX launched the 'Central European Peering Hub' in order to provide the opportunity to its members to connect to other IXs' reseller programs, AMS-IX (Amsterdam), LINX (London), DE-CIX (Frankfurt) and France-IX (Paris), etc.
- LIX is the Luxembourg Ethernet Exchange located in the Tier IV certified eBRC datacentre.
The online portal De Guichet of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a single one-stop online shop for citizens and companies to undertake various administrative operations (procedures, online forms, downloadable forms and advice) by Internet.
"PSA Peugeot Citroën, with "P&TLuxembourg as its partner, has introduced an integrated mobile telecommunication solution for the development of its telematic services in Europe.
Some 20 data centres are operating in Luxembourg. Six data centers are Tier IV Design certified: three of ebrc, two of LuxConnect  and one of European Data Hub. In a survey on nine international data centers carried out in December 2012 and January 2013 and measuring availability (up-time) and performance (delay by which the data from the requested website was received), the top three positions were held by Luxembourg data centers.
The people of Luxembourg are called "Luxembourgers. The "immigrant population increased in the 20th century due to the arrival of immigrants from "Belgium, "France, "Italy, "Germany, and "Portugal, with the majority coming from the latter: in 2013 there were about 88,000 inhabitants with "Portuguese nationality.
There is also a very small "Romani (Gypsy) and "Jewish population. Both of the two groups living in Luxembourg were affected by the "Holocaust in the past and were expelled from Luxembourg.
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 the EU states, as well as "Eastern Europe. In 2000 there were 162,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 37% of the total population. There were an estimated 5,000 illegal immigrants in Luxembourg in 1999.
Three languages are recognised as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and "Luxembourgish, a "Franconian language of the "Moselle region that is also spoken in neighbouring parts of Belgium, France and Germany. Though Luxembourgish is part of the West Central German group of "High German languages, more than 5,000 words in the language are of French origin. The first printed sentences in Luxembourgish appeared in a weekly journal, the 'Luxemburger Wochenblatt', in the second edition on 14 April 1821.
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 use to speak to each other, but it is not often used as the written language. Since the 1980s an increasing number of novels have however been written in Luxembourgish. 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. Proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school, but 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, especially in Luxembourg City. Portuguese, the language of the largest immigrant community, is also spoken by large parts of the population, but by relatively few from outside their community.
French is the preferred language of the government. Official legislation must be conducted in French.
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, "Lutheranism, "Calvinism, "Mennonitism and "Islam.
Since 1980 it has been illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices. An estimation by the "CIA Factbook for the year 2000 is that 87% of Luxembourgers are "Catholic, including the royal family, the remaining 13% being made up of Muslims, "Protestants, "Orthodox Christians, "Jews, and those of other or no religion. According to a 2010 "Pew Research Center study 70.4% are Christian, 2.3% Muslim, 26.8% unaffiliated and 0.5% other religions.
According to a 2005 "Eurobarometer poll, 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".
The "University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg "Miami University campus are two universities within Luxembourg.
Luxembourg sells the most alcohol in Europe per capita. However, the large proportion of alcohol purchased by customers from neighboring countries contributes to the statistically high level of alcohol sales per capita; this level of alcohol sales is thus not representative of the actual alcohol consumption of the Luxembourg population.
Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours. It retains a number of folk traditions, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country. There are several notable museums, located mostly in the capital. These include the "National Museum of History and Art (NMHA), the "Luxembourg City History Museum, 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 "Théo Kerg, "Joseph Kutter and "Michel Majerus, and photographer "Edward Steichen, whose "The Family of Man exhibition has been placed on UNESCO's "Memory of the World register, and is now permanently housed in "Clervaux. Movie star "Loretta Young was of Luxembourgish descent.
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 physically, psychologically, artistically and emotionally.
Luxembourg was represented at the World "Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010 with its own pavilion. The pavilion was based on the transliteration of the word Luxembourg into Chinese, "Lu Sen Bao", which means "Forest and Fortress". It represented Luxembourg as the "Green Heart in Europe".
Unlike most countries in Europe, sport in Luxembourg is not concentrated upon a particular "national sport, but encompasses a number of sports, both team and individual. Despite the lack of a central sporting focus, over 100,000 people in Luxembourg, out of a total population of only 512,353, are licensed members of one sports federation or another. The largest sports venue in the country is "d'Coque, an "indoor arena and Olympic swimming pool in "Kirchberg, north-eastern Luxembourg City, which has a capacity of 8,300. The arena is used for basketball, handball, gymnastics, and volleyball, including the final of the "2007 Women's European Volleyball Championship. The "national stadium (also the country's largest) is the "Stade Josy Barthel, in western Luxembourg City; named after the country's only official Olympic gold medallist, the stadium has a capacity of 8,054.
Notable sportspeople include (see also "List of Luxembourgish Sportspeople of the Year):
- Alpine skier "Marc Girardelli, "World Cup overall champion five times between 1985 and 1993
- Cyclists "Nicolas Frantz, winner of the 1927 and 1928 "Tours de France; "Charly Gaul, winner of the 1956 and 1959 "Giro d'Italia and of the 1958 "Tour de France; "Elsy Jacobs, first ever "women's Road World Champion in 1958; and "Andy Schleck, winner of the 2010 "Tour de France
- "Middle-distance runner "Josy Barthel, winner of the "men's 1500 metres at the 1952 Summer Olympics
- 1961 "world water skiing champion "Sylvie Hülsemann
- Tennis players "Gilles Muller, "Anne Kremer and "Mandy Minella.
Luxembourg cuisine reflects its position on the border between the Latin and Germanic worlds, being heavily influenced by the cuisines of neighboring France and Germany. More recently, it has been enriched by its many Italian and Portuguese immigrants.
Most native Luxembourg dishes, consumed as the traditional daily fare, share roots in the country's folk dishes the same as in neighboring "Germany.
"Bouneschlupp is considered to be a Luxemburgish national dish
The main languages of media in Luxembourg are French and German. The newspaper with the largest circulation is the German-language daily "Luxemburger Wort. In addition there are both English and Portuguese radio and national print publications, but accurate audience figures are difficult to gauge since the national media survey by ILRES  is conducted in French.
Luxembourg is known in Europe for its radio and television stations ("Radio Luxembourg and "RTL Group). It is also the uplink home of "SES, carrier of major European satellite services for Germany and Britain.
Due to a 1988 law that established a special tax scheme for audiovisual investment, the film and co-production in Luxembourg has grown steadily. There are some 30 registered production companies in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg won an "Oscar in 2014 in the "Animated Short Films category with "Mr Hublot.
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