Luxembourg

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Ruler: Grand Duke Henri (2000)

Prime Minister: Xavier Bettel (2013)

Total area: 998 sq mi (2,585 sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 520,672 (growth rate: 1.12%); birth rate: 11.75/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.28/1000; life expectancy: 80.01

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Luxembourg, 94,000

Monetary unit: Euro (formerly Luxembourg franc)

National name: Grand-Duché de Luxembourg

Current government officials

Languages: Luxermbourgish (national) French, German (both administrative)

Ethnicity/race: Luxembourger 63.1%, Portuguese 13.3%, French 4.5%, Italian 4.3%, German 2.3%, other EU 7.3%, other 5.2% (2000 census)

Religions: Roman Catholic 87%; Protestant, Jewish, Islamic 13% (2000)

National Holiday: National Day, June 23

Literacy rate: 100% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $42.67 billion; per capita $77,900. Real growth rate: 0.5%. Inflation: 1.8%. Unemployment: 4.9%. Arable land: 23.9%. Agriculture: wine, grapes, barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits; dairy products, livestock products. Labor force: 208,800 note: data exclude foreign workers; in addition to the figure for domestic labor force, about 150,000 workers commute daily from France, Belgium, and Germany (2013 est.) Industries: banking and financial services, iron and steel, information technology, telecommunications, cargo transportation, food processing, chemicals, metal products, engineering, tires, glass, aluminum, tourism. Natural resources: iron ore (no longer exploited), arable land. Exports: $15.8 billion (2013 est.): machinery and equipment, steel products, chemicals, rubber products, glass. Imports: $23.12 billion (2013 est.): minerals, metals, foodstuffs, quality consumer goods. Major trading partners: Germany, France, Belgium, UK, Italy, Netherlands, China, U.S., Switzerland (2013).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 266,700 (2012); mobile cellular: 761,300 (2012). Broadcast media: Luxembourg has a long tradition of operating radio and TV services to pan-European audiences and is home to Europe's largest privately-owned broadcast media group, the RTL group, which operates 46 TV stations and 29 radio stations in Europe; also home to Europe's largest satellite operator, Societe Europeenne des Satellites (SES); domestically, the RTL group operates TV and radio networks; other domestic private radio and TV operators and French and German stations available; satellite and cable TV services available (2008). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 250,900 (2012). Internet users: 424,500 (2009).

Transportation: Railways: total: 275 km (2008). Roadways: total: 2,899 km; paved: 2,899 km (including 152 km of expressways) (2008). Waterways: 37 km; Moselle. Ports and terminals: Mertert. Airports: 2 (2013).

International disputes: none.

Major sources and definitions

Flag of Luxembourg

Geography

Luxembourg is about half the size of Delaware. The Ardennes Mountains extend from Belgium into the northern section of Luxembourg. The rolling plateau of the fertile Bon Pays is in the south.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

History

Luxembourg, once part of Charlemagne's empire, became an independent state in 963, when Siegfried, count of Ardennes, became sovereign of Lucilinburhuc (“Little Fortress”). In 1060, Conrad, a descendant of Siegfried, took the title count of Luxembourg. From the 15th to the 18th century, Spain, France, and Austria held the duchy in turn. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 made it a grand duchy and gave it to William I, king of the Netherlands. In 1839, the Treaty of London ceded the western part of Luxembourg to Belgium. The eastern part, continuing in personal union with the Netherlands and a member of the German Confederation, became autonomous in 1848 and a neutral territory by decision of the London Conference of 1867, governed by its grand duke. Germany occupied the duchy in World Wars I and II. Allied troops liberated the enclave in 1944.

Luxembourg joined NATO in 1949, the Benelux Economic Union (with Belgium and the Netherlands) in 1948, and the European Economic Community (later the EU) in 1957. In 1961, Prince Jean, son and heir of Grand Duchess Charlotte, was made head of state, acting for his mother. She abdicated in 1964, and Prince Jean became grand duke. Luxembourg's parliament approved the Maastricht Accord, paving the way for the economic unity of the EU in July 1992. Crown Prince Henri was sworn in as grand duke in Oct. 2000, replacing his father, Jean, who had been head of state for 26 years.

Prime Minister Resigns after Being Implicated in Spying Probe

On July 11, 2013, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker resigned. Juncker was the longest-serving head of government in the European Union and led the euro finance ministers group until early 2013. Juncker said he decided to resign after his socialist party coalition asked for early elections.

Juncker had been recently implicated in a spying probe. On July 5, 2013, Parliament was sent a report that said Juncker had failed to inform lawmakers of "irregularities and supposed illegalities" by the State Intelligence Service. Early elections were set for October 2013.

Early general elections were held on October 20, 2013. Juncker's Christian Social People's Party lost three seats, but still remained the biggest party in the Chamber of Deputies, keeping 23 of 60 seats. However, it was the party's worst election since 1999. Immediately following the election, Juncker's opponents worked to form a coalition, but a new prime minister had not been named yet.

Five days after the election, Grand Duke Henri bypassed Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and named Xavier Bettel, the current Mayor of Luxembourg City, “formateur” responsible for organizing a coalition government. On December 4, 2013, Bettel was sworn in as prime minister.

See also Encyclopedia: Luxembourg.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Luxembourg
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies .


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