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Luxembourg Culture, Geography and History
Luxembourg as we now know it began in AD 963 when Siegfried, the Count of Ardennes, obtained sovereignty over a promontory called the Bock and had Lucilinburhuc Castle built. Enticed by the security this impressive fortification appeared to offer, migrants flocked in and a city grew (the ruins of Lucilinburhuc Castle can still be seen in Luxembourg City). Unfortunately the fortifications were also the envy of many a surrounding empire, and the population had to endure centuries of military invasions by jealous foreign armies looking to bolster their own strongholds. Successively occupied by the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and French, Luxembourg was finally granted its independence in 1867 in the Treaty of London (at the stipulated cost of having its fortifications demolished). Down a castle and with swathes of the country’s fertile lands having been usurped by Belgium over the years, the country diversified its economy and developed into an attractive haven for squillionaires who subscribe to the belief that paying tax sucks.
As well as regularly ranking as one of the world’s richest and safest countries, Luxembourg is the globe’s only remaining Grand Duchy. What this means on the ground is that executive power over parliament rests with Grand Duke Henri – who looks exactly like what one would imagine a Grand Duke would – and his ministers. Admirably cognisant of the fact they have things pretty good, Luxembourg and its nationals are happy to share their good fortune and host the highest proportion of immigrants in the EU.
Luxembourg at a glance
- Luxembourg City
- Letzebuergesch, German, French
- (GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris
- Type C (European 2-pin)
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