Luxembourg

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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked Benelux country bordered by Belgium, France and Germany at the crossroads of Germanic and Latin cultures. It is the only Grand Duchy in the world and is the second-smallest of the European Union member states. With successful steel, finance and high technology industries, a strategic location at the heart of Western Europe, more natural beauty than you might expect given its size, and as one of the top three richest countries in the world, Luxembourg enjoys a very high standard of living and has prices to match! (less...) (more...)

Population: 514,862 people
Area: 2,586 km2
Highest point: 559 m
Coastline: 0 km
Life expectancy: 79.88 years
GDP per capita: $81,100
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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
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  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
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  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
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  • Historic site Historic site
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  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
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  • Winery Winery

About Luxembourg

History

The city of Luxembourg proper was founded in 963, and its strategic position soon promised it a great future. Luxembourg was at the crossroads of Western Europe and became heavily fortified. You can still see the extensive city walls and towers which form its distinctive cityscape. Due to its key position, Luxembourg became a Duchy that once included a much larger territory stretching into present-day Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and France. The powerful Habsburg family kept its hand on it until the late Renaissance times.

After the Napoleonic wars, the Duchy of Luxembourg was granted to the Netherlands. It had a special status as a member of the German confederacy and the citadel was armed with a Prussian garrison. Luxembourg was still a strategic location that everybody sought to control. It was granted the title "Grand Duchy" in 1815 but lost some territories to France and Germany.

During the course of the 19th century, developments in warfare and the appearance of artillery made Luxembourg obsolete as a stronghold, and it became little more than a rural territory of no strategic interest. The Germans relinquished their rights over it and moved out their garrison, its western half was granted to Belgium in 1839, and the Netherlands granted it complete independence in 1867. Since then, Luxembourg has developed from a poor country of fields and farms into a modern economy relying on financial services and high-tech industries.

Overrun by Germany in both world wars, Luxembourg was one of the major battlefields of the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-1945, a story well documented in the museum at Diekirch. The state ended its neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and 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.

Climate

Luxembourg enjoys a temperate oceanic climate, with the hills of the Ardennes providing some extra protection against the influences of the Atlantic. The best, or at least the sunniest time to go is May to August, although with a bit of luck you'll enjoy mild weather in April and September too. The warm months of July-August are high-season in the country, with outdoor festivals all around, but Spring comes with many flowers and Autumn comes with wine-making opportunities in the Moselle valley area.

Despite the small size of the country, there are measurable differences in overall temperature, with the north being generally a few degrees colder and receiving serious packs of snow in winter. Although comparatively mild for this part of Europe, winters are on the cold side for travels, with average temperatures around +2°C in January and occasional low points of -15°C at night. July and August are the warmest months, with average temperatures between 15°C and 25°C, and usually a few days over 30°C. Annual precipitation is around 780mm, with highs in August and December.

Activities

Luxembourg has many excellent well-marked outdoor trails. Their location and GPS tracks can be found at Géoportail.lu

Food

Traditional dishes are largely based on pork and potatoes and the influence of German and central European cooking is undeniable. The unofficial national dish is judd mat gaardebounen, or smoked neck of pork served with boiled broad beans. A must to try if you do get the opportunity are gromperekichelchen (literally, potato biscuits) which are a type of fried shredded potato cake containing onions, shallots and parsley. Typically found served at outdoor events such as markets or funfairs they are absolutely delicious and a particularly nice snack on a cold winter's day.

In most restaurants, however, the typical local food would be French cuisine coming in bigger portions. Italian food has been popular since the 1960s. Home cooking has been greatly influenced by the recipes of Ketty Thull, apparently the best-selling cooking and baking book in Luxembourg since WW II.

You can also taste the "Bamkuch" (literally tree cake), which is eaten mainly during celebrations such as weddings and baptisms. This cake is traditionally made on a spit and presented as a tree trunk composed of several layers, visible when it is cut, and that represent the tree rings.

Drinks

The Luxembourg white wines from the Moselle valley to the east of Luxembourg include Riesling, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner and Elbling to name just a few, and are good. In autumn, many villages along the Moselle river organise wine-tasting village festivals.

Young people tend to drink local or imported beer. Luxembourg has a number of breweries, with Diekirch, from the village of the same name, Bofferding, Battin, Simon and Mousel being the most popular. Despite the fact that you would be hard pushed to find any of these outside of the country, all are excellent lagers.

As an after dinner digestive, Luxembourgers like to drink an eau-de-vie . The most commonly available are Mirabelle and Quetsch. Both are made from plums and are extremely strong! Sometimes these are taken in coffee which may be a little more palatable for some.

Shopping

Luxembourg uses the euro (€, EUR) as its money. It is one of 24 European countries that use this common European currency: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (which are all eurozone countries of the European Union or EU) together with the six non-EU members Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican that also solely use euros but have no say in eurozone affairs. These 24 countries together have a population of more than 330 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. Except for Kosovo and Montenegro, all issue their own coins with a distinctive, national face. However, all the coins' obverse looks the same, as do all bills or banknotes and all are legal tender in all 24 countries.

If you know any coin collectors, take a few local coins as keepsakes, since Luxembourg coins are among the rarest of the euros — even in Luxembourg, most of your change will be in other countries' coins!

The general price level in Luxembourg is noticeably higher than in France and Germany, especially in central Luxembourg. Even cheap hotels tend to cost over €100 a night and you won't get much change from €20 after a modest dinner and a drink. Basing yourself in Trier (or other cities across the border) and daytripping to Luxembourg might be a good bet.

On the upside, cigarettes, alcohol and petrol are comparatively cheap, making the small state a popular destination for long-haul drivers.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Luxembourg on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Luxembourg

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The city of Luxembourg is the capital of the country of Luxembourg. Its spectacular valleys and plateaus led it to be nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the North".

Interesting places:

  • Luxembourg City History Museum
  • Neumunster Abbey
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Grand Ducal Palace
  • Casemates du Bock
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  • Rockhal
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Ettelbruck is a small city in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It's located in the centre of the country, where the rivers Sauer, Wark and Alzette meet. This practical location has made Ettelbruck a major junction and transport hub, both historically and today. Although this friendly place doesn't have any of ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Clervaux Castle
  • National Museum of Military History
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Remich is a city in Luxembourg.

Interesting places:

  • Bourscheid Castle
  • Caves of Saint Martin
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Diekirch is a small town in Luxembourg, best known for its brewery of the same name and the National Museum of Military History.

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Interesting places:

  • Brasserie Nationale
  • Cactus Barcharage Mall
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Schengen is a village in far south-eastern Luxembourg near the tripoint where the borders of Germany, France, and Luxembourg meet. Schengen is known because Schengen Agreement was signed here in 1985.

Interesting places:

  • Schengen Agreement Monument
  • Pillar of Nations
  • European Museum
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One of Luxembourg's main tourist attractions, Vianden is a delightful historic town with a stunningly restored medieval castle, spectacularly situated on a rock high above town. Think charming cobblestoned streets with typically pastel-coloured Luxembourg mansions and a gorgeous Our valley backdrop. Vianden ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Place Guillaume II
  • Adolphe Bridge
  • Vianden Castle
  • Maison de Victor Hugo
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Clervaux is a small city in northern Luxembourg.

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Points of Interest in Luxembourg

You may not expect it from one of the smallest countries in Europe, but The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a diverse land, full of beautiful nature and gorgeous historic monuments. Its turbulent history is filled with stories of emperors and counts as well as many battles and disputes. Today, the almost fairy-tale like castles and fortresses are a faint but impressive reminder of those days, and amidst their lovely natural setting, they make some superb and picturesque sights.

Most of the country's population lives in rural areas and apart from the delightful historic City of Luxembourg, the country's capital, settlements are mostly small. That said, the capital is a place not to be missed. It has a splendid location high on a cliff, overlooking the deep and narrow valleys of both the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. Several parts of the old town are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the most interesting places include the Gothic Revival Cathedral of Notre Dame, the town fortifications, and of course the Grand Ducal Palace, which is surrounded by charming cobblestoned lanes. However, there's far more to see, such as the Bock casemates, Neumünster Abbey and the Place d'Armes. There are several World War II memorial sites and a number of high-end museums, but just wandering through the old centre, taking in the beautiful views from the Chemin de la Corniche and crossing bridges to the nearest plateaus is at least as great a way to discover the city.

The lively town of Echternach is the oldest city in Luxembourg. It boasts the country's most prominent religious structure, the basilica of the Abbey of Echternach where the country's patron St Willibrord is buried. The annual Whit Tuesday celebrations in his honour involve lots of dancers in the old town centre and are a popular tourist attraction. Apart from its own sights, Echternach makes a great base to explore the beautiful Müllerthal, better known as "Little Switzerland". Hike or bike through its dense forests with myriad streams and even some caves.

The romantic village of Vianden with its stunning medieval castle is a tourists' favourite and well worth a visit even despite the crowds in summer. The beautiful location of the fortress in the Our river valley, surrounded by tight forests and a lake with swans, gives it a typical fairy-tale castle look and feel. If you're done wandering the streets and exploring the Gothic churches and fortified towers of this charming town, visit the Victor Hugo house. Afterwards, the pleasant cafés of the Grand Rue are a perfect place to kick back and enjoy.

Head to Remich to start your own trip down the Route du Vin and discover the many fine wines that are produced here, in the Moselle Valley.

Neumunster Abbey - Luxembourg

Place Guillaume II - Vianden

Abbey of Echternach - Echternach

Clervaux Castle - Bourscheid

Bourscheid Castle - Remich

Caves Bernard-Massard - Grevenmacher

Brasserie Nationale - Bascharage

Luxembourg City History Museum - Luxembourg

Notre-Dame Cathedral - Luxembourg

Adolphe Bridge - Vianden

Grand Ducal Palace - Luxembourg

Casemates du Bock - Luxembourg

National Museum of Natural History - Luxembourg

Saint Michael\'s Church - Luxembourg

Monument of Remembrance (Gelle Fra) - Luxembourg

Luxembourg City Hall - Luxembourg

Place d\'Armes - Luxembourg

Hotel de la Chambre - Luxembourg

National Museum of Art and History - Luxembourg

Mudam Luxembourg - Luxembourg

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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