Facts about Luxembourg

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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.

Geography of Luxembourg

Western Europe, between France and Germany
49 45 N, 6 10 E
total: 2,586 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 2,586 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
total: 359 km
border countries: Belgium 148 km, France 73 km, Germany 138 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
modified continental with mild winters, cool summers
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Moselle River 133 m
highest point: Buurgplaatz 559 m
Natural resources:
iron ore (no longer exploited), arable land
Environment current issues:
air and water pollution in urban areas, soil pollution of farmland
Geography - note:
landlocked; the only Grand Duchy in the world

Population of Luxembourg

486,006 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.9% (male 46,118/female 43,356)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 159,498/female 156,075)
65 years and over: 14.6% (male 28,027/female 41,339)
Median age:
38.7 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
4.74 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.89 years
male: 75.6 years
female: 82.38 years
Fertility rate:
1.78 children born/woman
noun: Luxembourger(s)
adjective: Luxembourg
Ethnic groups:
Celtic base (with French and German blend), Portuguese, Italian, Slavs (from Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo) and European (guest and resident workers)
87% Roman Catholic, 13% Protestants, Jews, and Muslims 
Luxembourgish (national language), German (administrative language), French (administrative language)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%


Country name:
conventional long form: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
local long form: Grand Duche de Luxembourg
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:
3 districts; Diekirch, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg
1839 (from the Netherlands)
National holiday:
National Day (Birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte) 23 June
17 October 1868, occasional revisions
Legal system:
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: Grand Duke HENRI (since 7 October 2000); Heir Apparent Prince GUILLAUME (son of the monarch)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Claude JUNCKER (since 20 January 1995); Deputy Prime Minister Jean ASSELBORN (since 31 July 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; following popular elections to the Chamber of Deputies, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; the deputy prime minister is appointed by the monarch; they are responsible to the Chamber of Deputies.
Legislative branch:
unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (60 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
judicial courts and tribunals (3 Justices of the Peace, 2 district courts, and 1 Supreme Court of Appeals); administrative courts and tribunals (State Prosecutor's Office, administrative courts and tribunals, and the Constitutional Court); judges for all courts are appointed for life by the monarch


This stable, high-income economy - benefiting from its proximity to France, Belgium, and Germany - 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, which now accounts for about 28% of GDP, has more than compensated for the decline in steel. Most banks are foreign owned and have extensive foreign dealings. Agriculture is based on small family-owned farms. The economy depends on foreign and cross-border workers for about 60% of its labor force. Although Luxembourg, like all EU members, suffered from the global economic slump in the early part of this decade, the country continues to enjoy an extraordinarily high standard of living - GDP per capita ranks second in the world, after Qatar. After two years of strong economic growth in 2006-07, turmoil in the world financial markets will slow Luxembourg's economy in 2008, but growth will remain above the European average.

$38.14 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 13%
services: 86%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
316,500 of whom 121,600 are foreign cross-border workers commuting primarily from France, Belgium, and Germany
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 13%
services: 86%
revenues: $9.195 billion
expenditures: $9.573 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 57.3%
hydro: 25.2%
other: 17.5% 
nuclear: 0%
banking and financial services, iron and steel, information technology, telecommunications, cargo transportation, food processing, chemicals, metal products, engineering, tires, glass, aluminum, tourism
wine, grapes, barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits; dairy products, livestock products
machinery and equipment, steel products, chemicals, rubber products, glass
Export partners:
Germany 21%, France 16.3%, Belgium 9.2%, UK 8.3%, Italy 7.5%, Spain 6.6%, Netherlands 4.3% 
minerals, metals, foodstuffs, quality consumer goods
Import partners:
Belgium 28.2%, Germany 21.8%, China 12.8%, France 9.6%, Netherlands 5.1% 
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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