Luxembourg has a very long history that extends as far back as 963. While it is now a small independent nation, it is very economically stable, with the nation’s finances coming from its iron ore exploration and subsequent steel industry. Its economic stability contributed greatly to the economic union with its neighbors, The Netherlands and Belgium. Later Luxembourg, the only Grand Duchy in the world played a significant role in the creation of the European Union. With its economic stability, its citizens are enjoying a high standard of living. Luxembourg did not suffer from the economic crisis that hit Europe in recent years.
:: Background of Luxembourg ::
Luxembourg was once part of the empire of Charlemagne. Luxembourg was founded in 963 when it became independent and the Count of Ardennes, Siegfried acquired a castle called Lucilinburhuc on a section of land that is now the location of the capital city of Luxembourg. The location became a fortress and a town grew around what was named the Gibraltar of the North. Conrad, who descended from Siegfried, became the count of Luxembourg in 1060. Spanish, French, Austrians, Prussians and Burgundians all wanted to seize the fortress of Luxembourg. Even the fortified fortress had to be rebuilt around twenty times after each siege that the fortress faced. Through a succession of rulers, the size of the territory increased.
Prussia and the Netherlands entered into a dispute over Luxembourg when Napoleon was defeated in 1815. Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy united with the Netherlands through the Congress of Vienna that settled the dispute. It also once became part of the German Confederation, with Prussian troops manning the fortress.
In this Country Profile
The territory of Luxembourg was significantly reduced to almost half its size when the Belgian Revolution was waged from 1830 to 1839 as the western part of the territory was returned to Belgium. Luxembourg became independent in 1839 by virtue of the Treaty of London, also called the Convention of 1839, a treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Untied Kingdom of the Netherlands. The eastern part of Luxembourg in turn joined the Zollverein or German Customs Union to establish economic ties while still in personal union with the Netherlands, until it was granted autonomy in 1848. The London Conference of 1867 established Luxembourg as a neutral territory to be governed by a grand duke. During WWI and WWII, the country was occupied by the Germans. Luxembourg was liberated in 1944 by Allied troops.
In 1946 Luxembourg became a founding member of the United Nations; joined NATO in 1949 and was a founding member of the European Union in 1957. It joined the Euro currency era in 1999. The son and heir of Grand Duchess Charlotte, Prince Jean was made the head of state in 1961 until the Grand Duchess abdicated and Prince Jean became the grand duke who became the head of state for twenty-six years. In October 2000, Crown Prince Henri was sworn in as grand duke of Luxembourg.
:: Geography of Luxembourg ::
Landlocked and composed of gently rolling uplands and with a cool and mild climate, Luxembourg is a country that lack few natural resources but rich in human resources. It is one of the smallest countries in Europe.
Luxembourg is a landlocked nation in northerwestern Europe, nestled in the midst of France, Germany and Belgium.
Luxembourg, which gained independence from The Netherlands in 1839 is geographically located 49° 45’ North of the Equator and 6° 10’ East of Greenwich.
The country is one of the smallest nations in the world. Its total land area is 2,586 square kilometers, slightly smaller than Rhode Island and about half the size of Delaware. The country is landlocked therefore there are no territorial waters to be claimed. Luxembourg does not have a coastline.
Luxembourg has a long boundary, totaling 359 kilometers. It shares 148 kilometers of border with Belgium. Its border with Germany is 138 kilometers while its border with France is 73 kilometers long.
The climate of Luxembourg is mild and temperate. The summer months have generally cool weather, with an average temperature of 63° F. Even during winter, the weather is not that severe, with the average temperature reaching 32° F. Luxembourg is sheltered by the Ardennes mountain range on its northern portion so the country is shielded from the strong winds blowing from the north. The northwesterly wind that prevails is what keeps the temperature in Luxembourg mild. The southwest portion of Luxembourg receives the most rain, with an annual average of about 30 inches.
The terrain of Luxembourg is mostly composed of gently rolling uplands. It has shallow and broad valleys. The northern portion of the country is slightly hilly, with the highest point of Luxembourg located in the commune of Troisvierges up north. Oftentimes it is listed that the highest point in Luxembourg is the Buurgplaatz, a hill that rises to 559 meters. Close to it, near the town of Wilwerdange, still in the commune of Trousvierges is Kneiff, which is a meter higher than Buurgplaatz at 560 meters, which makes it the highest point in the county. The northern section of the country steeply slopes down to the Moselle flood plains located in the southeast of the country. The lowest point in Luxembourg is the Moselle River, which is 133 meters above sea level.
Luxembourg is not particularly rich in natural resources. It made its economy very viable when iron ore was discovered but that had been exhausted around the 1980s. Despite having arable lands, agriculture is not an industry that Luxembourg can rely on for the country’s economy. It does have timber and water. What Luxembourg lacks in natural resources is compensated by its richness in human resources that have displayed ingenuity and adaptability to make their country’s economy grow, as well as the country’s efficient use of its capital.
Only 27.4 % of the total land in Luxembourg is arable and 0.69% is planted with permanent crops. Twenty percent is covered by permanent pastures and forests cover twenty-one percent. The rest is used as residential, commercial and manufacturing areas.
Luxembourg is a very lucky nation as it faces no natural hazards, being protected by its neighboring countries as well as the Ardennes mountain range.
Current Environmental Issues
The country of Luxembourg is highly industrialized, with several tire manufacturing, metal fabrication and chemical plants operating in Luxembourg. Existing environmental issues that plague the country are air and water pollution in the urban areas and soil pollution of its meager farmlands.
International Environmental Agreements
Luxembourg has signed but has not yet ratified the international agreements on environmental modification. It has however joined in several international agreements involving issues on polluted air such as air pollution-sulphur 85 and 94, air pollution, air pollution, air pollution-volatile organic compounds, air pollution-persistent organic pollutants and air pollution-nitrogen oxides due to its heavy manufacturing industries. It has also entered into agreements regarding climate change, biodiversity, climate change-Kyoto protocol, endangered species, desertification, law of the sea, hazardous wastes, ozone layer protection, marine dumping, ship pollution, wetlands as well as tropical timber 83 and 94.
:: People of Luxembourg ::
As of the 2011 estimates, the population of Luxembourg is about 511,840. Its median age is 39.4 years, with 38.4 years for the males and as of the July 2011 estimates, 40.4 years for the females. The population growth is estimated to be 1.145%. The birth rate, according to the 2011 estimates is 11.69 births per 1,000 people while the death rate is placed at 8.48 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants.
Net migration is estimated in 2011 to be 8.24 migrants for every 1,000 inhabitants.
According to the estimates for 2011, the fertility rate is 1.77 children born for every female of child-bearing age in Luxembourg.
The current age structure in Luxembourg is divided into 18.2% for those in the zero to 14 years age bracket, with 18.2% or 47,274 males over 44,366 females. Those in the 15 to 64 years age bracket represent 66.9%, with 167,211 females and 169,343 males. In the 65 years and over group, there are 31,086 males and 44,022 females, representing 14.9%.
At birth, the sex ratio is 1.066 males for every female born. The ratio is maintained in the under 15 years age group, with 1.07 males for every female. It decreases slight as the age level increases. In the 15 to 64 age group, there is 1.01 male for every female. There is only 0.7 male for every female in the 65 years and over age group. The average sex ratio for the whole population is 0.97 male for every female.
Infant Mortality Rate
In the whole of Luxembourg, the infant mortality rate is 4.44 deaths per 1,000 live births, which is almost evenly divided between the males and females. There are 4.46 deaths for the males for every 1,000 live births and 4.42 deaths for the females.
Life Expectancy at Birth
The females outlive the males in Luxembourg slightly. Life expectancy at birth is 83.08 years for females while it is 76.36 for the males. The country average is placed at 79.61 years across all sexes.
Although there are no natural hazards affecting the country, Luxembourg as a highly industrialized nation is not immune to the onset of HIV/AIDS among its population. According to the 2009 estimate the adult prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 0.3%. According to the same estimate, there are fewer than 1,000 cases of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country and there are fewer than 100 deaths that occurred due to HIV/ AIDS.
Luxembourger(s) is used as a noun while Luxembourg is used as an adjective.
There are a few ethnic groups co-existing in Luxembourg. The majority consists of Luxembourgers with 63.1%. It is followed by the Portuguese with 13.3% and the French with 4.5%. The Italians are represented with 4.3% and the Germans comprise 2.3%. Other EU groups represent 7.3% and other minorities represent 5.2%, according to the 2000 census.
Eighty-seven percent of the population of Luxembourg is Roman Catholic. Protestants, Muslims and Jewish account for 13% of the population, based on the 2000 census.
Due to its proximity to Belgium, Germany and France, the citizens of Luxembourg are tri-lingual. Luxembourgish or Luxembourgeois is the national language while German and French are administrative languages. Locally the national language is called Lëtzebuergesch.
Luxembourgers have a high literacy rate. It is estimated that 100% of the population is literate, with the total population, male and female receiving an education and staying in school for 13 years in total.
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