Are you looking for vacation ideas? We have fun facts about Luxembourg in this post. Since you are a traveler, you are probably looking for destinations or vacations. Luxembourg is somewhere you should explore. Maybe it’s already on your bucket list? As a traveler, here are some fun facts to consider about Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is neither a country nor a kingdom. Instead, it is a grand duchy. This figures prominently in its history.
It was founded in 963. During this period, the Holy Roman Empire was growing. Luxembourg was an independent fief of the Holy Roman Empire until 1354, when it became a duchy. A fief is an estate of land that operates under a feudal service. You’ve probably heard the term fiefdom before. In this case, the Holy Roman Empire created it for “services rendered” to the Holy Roman emperor.
The House of Luxembourg suffered between 1354 and 1839. Various princes, dukes and empresses controlled the region, but it seems that it was always being ruled by someone new.
Finally, the Hapsburg family took it over with the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. The French took it over in 1684, and French rule ended in 1814 with the fall of Napoleon. It then became a grand duchy in 1815. It was originally part of the Netherlands and was ruled by the king of Netherlands. In 1839, Luxembourg lost about half its size to Belgium in return for the beginning of self-rule and autonomy. It became completely independent in 1867.
For such a tiny country, Luxembourg essentially was defenseless during World War I and World War II. Germans occupied Luxembourg between 1914 and 1928 and again between 1940 to 1944.
After WWI, Luxembourg created the Gelle Fra or Golden Lady monument. At the top of the obelisk stands a gilded statue representing Nike holding out a laurel wreath. At the foot of the obelisk are statues of two Luxembourg soldiers who volunteered to serve in the underground. One of the soldiers is dead while the other sits mourning.
On May 10, 1940, the Hitler’s army entered Luxembourg. The grand ducal family and the government immediately moved to London to encourage the Luxembourgish resistance. Germany conscripted more than 10,000 Luxembourgers into its armed forces. Well over a third of them went underground. Many more heard about the underground movement and participated.
During WWII, more than 5,700 Luxembourg citizens died. While Nazi forces occupied Luxembourg, the Germans dismantled the Gelle Fra monument. Several portions of the monument were rescued, and after the war the monument was partially restored. But the Gelle Fra herself remained unaccounted for until January 1980. She was found hidden beneath the main stand of the national football stadium. Later additions were made to honor Luxembourger forces who served in World War II and the Korean War.
Luxembourg was a democratically neutral country since 1867. After occupation by Germany in both world wars, Luxembourg abandoned its neutrality and became a vocal proponent of European integration. Luxembourg joined NATO in 1949, the Benelux Economic Union (with Belgium and the Netherlands) in 1948, the European Economic Community (later the European Union) in 1957, and the European Monetary Union in 1999.
Luxembourg part of the EU. It is a country with 600,000 people. The capital of 120,000 people is also called Luxembourg. A Belgian province called Luxembourg has nothing to do with the grand duchy. Luxembourg is a small country, about 1,000 square miles. That is smaller than Rhode Island.
The economy of Luxembourg is robust, and the country is one of the wealthiest in the world. The minimum wage is 2,000 Euro per month or about $2,200 USD per month. The average yearly salary runs about 50,000 Euro. The most important sector is financial, followed closely by technology. Almost half of Luxembourg’s workers commute from other countries. They come from France, Belgium and Germany.
While it might be small, it has the largest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world. One of the leading industries is financial services. More than 150 banks operate in the country. These are not all branch banks. Most are foreign banks with major operations in Luxembourg.
The country is also well known as a technology hub in Europe. The government realized that technology was an important growth sector and has supported it. Virtually all residents in the country have high-speed internet. It is supported by a large fiber-optic network that services all homes. One technology you might have heard about is Skype. The Skype worldwide headquarters are in Luxembourg. Ebay bought Skype in 2005 for $2.6 billion. Ebay sold it to Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Skype was founded in 2003 by two guys, one from Sweden and the other from Denmark. They used Estonians to build it. So why is Skype in Luxembourg? The country has the lowest VAT in Europe, so it makes sense for an e-commerce company to operate there.
Luxembourg has three official languages: Luxembourgish, German and French. Schools teach all three languages to its students. The first language taught is Luxembourgish. While still in primary school, students learn German. In secondary school, they are taught French. Students can also pick up English in secondary school and are encouraged to do so. If you are a local, you’ll speak Luxembourgish.
The flag of Luxembourg consists of three horizontal stripes of red, white, and blue. It is almost identical to the flag of the Netherlands. The primary difference is blue, which is ultramarine for the Netherlands and sky blue for Luxembourg. The red shades are a bit different, and the sizes of the flags are different. Luxembourg and the Netherlands had the same monarch during the 19th century, so maybe that’s why their flags are similar. Historians say that the Netherlands flag inspired the French flag, and the Luxembourg flag was not influenced by the Netherlands. At least 29 countries have red, white and blue flags, so there must be something to the color scheme!
Because Luxembourg is a grand duchy, it is ruled by a duke and a duchess. The duke is Henri and has served since 2000. The duchess is Maria Teresa. They have five children together.
The duke and duchess serve as the faces of the country, but they have no power. Parliament makes the laws for the grand duchy.
For a small country, it has quite a lot to be proud of.