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perjantai 15. toukokuuta 2015

Luxembourg, Cool Facts #30

29. Portugal <=                                                                                                         => 31. Liechtenstein 

1. The last Grand Duchy in the world

Luxembourg is the last Grand Duchy in the world. It has been a Grand Duchy after the Vienna Congress in 1814-15. There were other Grand Duchies in Europe between the Napoleon wars and the World War I.

The Medici family in 1569 were the first monarchy given the title Grand Duchy when they ruled Tuscany under the overlordship of the Holy Roman Emperors.

Examples of Grand Duchies

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany 1569-1860 (part of Italy afterwards)
The Grand Duchy of Finland 1809-1917 (Independent republic since 1917)
The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt 1810-1813 (part of German afterwards)
The Grand Duchy of Cracow 1846-1918 (part of Poland afterwards)

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg (left)

2. Three official languages

Luxembourg has three official languages 


Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally speak to each other, but it's not used as a written language that much. 

Business is usually carried out with French and it's used in the government. The legislature must also be conducted in French. 

German is the language which is taught the first at school. German is also the language of the media and church usually. 

In Luxembourg school system the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish before they shift to German. The language of instructions changes then to French in secondary school and students have to have proficiency in all these three languages to graduate. In addition Luxembourgers generally all speak English too. 

3. One of the wealthiest countries in the world

According to the IMF Luxembourg was the second wealthiest country of the world in 2014 measured by GDP/capita (PPP) second only to Qatar.

Facts about Luxembourg's economy

Second biggest investment fund centre after USA
Most important banking centre in the eurozone
2nd safest tax haven in the world after Switzerland
Steel and iron one of the most important industries
Chemical and rubber products
Amazon and Skype regional headquarters are in Luxembourg
150 banks
10,000 foreign holding companies

Luxembourg got critique when it was reported that 4 billion dollars of North Korea's Kim Jong Il's money are in his secret bank accounts in Luxembourg.

4. Foreigners in Luxembourg

From the 550,000 people strong population more than 40% of the population are immigrants. The majority of the immigrants are from Portugal, there are 88,000 Portuguese immigrants in Luxembourg. The other big immigration groups are from Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

After the Yugoslav wars there have been a lot of immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia and also from Eastern Europe.

5. Head of Europe in many areas

Luxembourg is the center of many European institutions like:

European Court of Justice
European Court of Auditors
Eurostat (Statistical Office of the European Communities)
Secretariat of the European Parliament

Luxembourg formed a union with Belgium in the early 1900s which became gradually the Benelux economic union when the Netherlands joined the two countries.

Luxembourg was also one of the founding members of the European Economic Community which evolved into the current European Union.

European Court of Justice


Beginning of time - Luxembourg belongs to the Roman Empire
963 Luxembourg becomes an independent principality
1443 The House of Luxembourg doesn't have any male heirs, the territories are sold to the members of the House of Burgundy
1500s Luxembourg becomes part of the Spanish Netherlands which is a province in the Holy Roman Empire
1700s Luxembourg becomes part of the Austrian Netherlands after the War of the Spanish Succession
1795 The French revolutionaries occupy the Netherlands
1815 Luxembourg becomes a Grand Duchy
1830 Luxembourg participates in the Belgian uprising against the Netherlands
1867 France and Germany in war with each other, one of the major reasons was the position of Luxembourg
1890 Luxembourg gets independence back
1922 Economic alliance with Belgium
1944 After the World War Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands establish the Benelux customs union

Sources: - history of the Benelux union - history of the Spanish Netherlands - history of Luxembourg - GDP statistics - tax haven statistics - Grand Duchy history and explanation
Maailman liput maat ja historia - Kimmo Kiljunen - world history 

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