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,
it 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 comparative: Slightly smaller than Rhode Island.
continental with mild winters, cool summers.
Terrain: Mostly gently rolling uplands with broad,
shallow valleys; uplands to slightly mountainous in the
north; steep slope down to Moselle flood plain in the southeast.
(July 2002 est.)
Celtic base (with French and German blend), Portuguese,
Italian, Slavs (from Montenegro, Albania, and Kososvo) and
European (guest and resident workers).
greatest preponderance of the population is Roman Catholic
with a very few Protestants, Jews, and Muslims
note: 1979 legislation forbids the collection of religious
(national language), German (administrative language), French
Legal system: Based
on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
This stable, high-income economy features solid growth,
low inflation, and low unemployment. The industrial sector,
initially dominated by steel, has become increasingly diversified
to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. Growth
in the financial sector has more than compensated for the
decline in steel. Services, especially banking, account
for a substantial proportion of the economy. Agriculture
is based on small family-owned farms. The economy depends
on foreign and trans-border workers for 30% of its labor
force. Although Luxembourg, like all EU members, has suffered
from the global economic slump, the country has maintained
a fairly robust growth rate. On 1 January 2002, Luxembourg
- together with 11 of its EU partners - began to replace
its circulating national currency with the euro.
Communication/Telephone system: Highly developed,
completely automated and efficient system, mainly buried
Places of interest: The north of the country lures
outdoors enthusiasts with sylvan settings promising fabulous
skiing and hiking. The Moselle Valley, just east of Luxembourg
City, is one of Europe's most idyllic wine-producing regions.