25 interesting facts about Luxembourg

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From the world’s highest minimum wage to world-famous castles, these are the most interesting facts about Luxembourg.

Interesting facts about Luxembourg include its historic capital
Interesting facts about Luxembourg include its historic capital (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Population: 0.66 million
Area: 2,586 sq km
Capital city: Luxembourg City
Major languages: Luxembourgish, Portuguese, French, German
Major religions: Christianity
Time zone: UTC+1 (Central European Time)
– Source: CIA World Factbook

Interesting facts about Luxembourg

1. Luxembourg is a landlocked country in Western Europe bordering Belgium, France and Germany.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

2. Luxembourg is a Grand Duchy, meaning it is ruled by a Grand Duke, in this case, Grand Duke Henri who succeeded to the title in 2000 following the abdication of his father Jean. the title is largely ceremonial and the country is governed by a parliament, headed by a prime minister.
– Source: BBC News

3. Luxembourg is one of three countries comprising Benelux, an economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The name is a portmanteau of the first three letters of each nation’s name.
– Source: Collins

A map of Benelux and Luxembourg
Luxembourg is the smallest of the Benelux nations (Shutterstock)

4. Luxembourg gets its name from the ancient Saxon name of its capital city, Lucilinburhuc which means “Little Fortress” and reflects its strategic position straddling a major military route linking Germanic and Frankish territories.
– Source: Britannica

5. For this reason, Luxembourg has been referred to as the “Gibraltar of the north”.
– Source: Britannica

6. Luxembourg’s flag is horizontally striped red, white and blue. The colours derive from the Grand Duke’s coat of arms which has a red lion on a white and blue striped background. The flag is similar to the Dutch national flag which uses a darker blue.
– Source: Wanderlust (2021) Flags, Capitals and Countries of the World: The Complete Handbook. Wanderlust Press: London

The flag of Luxembourg
The flag of Luxembourg (Shutterstock)

7. Luxembourg is the world’s only remaining Grand Duchy.
– Source: Peter Wilson (2016) Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire. Harvard University Press: Cambridge

8. Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, is the first openly gay leader of the country and in 2015, he became the first serving EU leader to marry their same-sex partner.
– Source: US News

9. Luxembourg only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site – the City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications.
– Source: UNESCO

A panorama of Luxembourg City's city walls
Luxembourg City and its old fortifications (Shutterstock)

10. As of 2021, Luxembourg has the world’s third-highest GDP per capita at $133,590.1 USD. Only Monaco and Liechtenstein are higher.
– Source: World Bank

11. Luxembourg was a founding member of NATO in 1949 and the EEC (the precursor to the EU) in 1957.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

12. One of Luxembourg’s most famous sites is the Schloss Vianden which has been named one of the 21 most beautiful castles in the world. Vianden was built between the 11th and 14th centuries.
– Source: CNN

Schloss Vianden at dusk
Schloss Vianden (Shutterstock)

13. Due to its “favourable” tax arrangements, a number of multinational companies including Amazon, AOL, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and eBay set up their European headquarters in Luxembourg.
– Source: CNBC

14. However, following an investigation in 2014 known as the “LuxLeaks”, Luxembourg has now cracked down on its tax avoidance policies and has come into line with EU law.
– Source: Financial Times, European Commission

15. Every year since 1100 on the Tuesday of Pentecost (a Christian religious festival), the hopping procession of Echternach takes place in the medieval town centre of Echternach, Luxembourg’s oldest city. The dancing procession sees as many as 13,000 people take part.
– Source: UNESCO

Crowds gather for the dancing procession
The hopping procession of Echternach (David Edgar/CC 3.0)

16. Luxembourgers are the world’s fifth-biggest drinkers. On average, they consume 12.94 litres of alcohol per person a year.
– Source: World Bank

17. Luxembourg has the world’s highest hourly minimum wage at $13.39 USD.
– Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

18. There are 17km of underground tunnels running beneath Luxembourg City known as casemates. The caves were initially dug out in 1644, then extended in the 1680s and again in the mid-18th century. They have been used for defence as well as housing garrisons, bakeries, slaughterhouses and sheltering 35,000 people during the world wars.
– Source: Luxembourg City Tourist Office, Lonely Planet

Inside a tunnel in Luxembourg
The casemates (Luxembourg City Tourist Office)

19. Luxembourgers are the world’s second-heaviest smokers after only Andorra. They smoke, on average, 6,330.87 cigarettes per person per year, aged 15 years or older.
– Source: The Tobacco Atlas

20. Luxembourg has the world’s highest rate of car ownership, with 647 cars per 1,000 population.
– Source: Guinness World Records

21. As such, in 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make all public transport free in a bid to reduce road traffic.
– Source: The Guardian

A train crosses a bridge
All public transport is free in Luxembourg (Shutterstock)

22. Luxembourg first became an independent state in 963 when Siegfried, Count de Ardennes, traded his lands for a small but strategically located Roman castle lying on the site of the modern-day capital city.
– Source: Britannica

23. Luxembourg gained its modern-day borders in 1839 when the Treaty of London gave the western part of the country to the recently-created state of Belgium. However, it didn’t gain independence until the Second Treaty of London in 1867.
– Source: BBC News

24. Luxembourg is one of the world’s safest countries to visit. It is one of just 18 countries to have been assessed as carrying an ‘insignificant travel security risk’ to travellers.
– Source: International SOS

25. The Chiggeri Restaurant in Luxembourg City has the world’s largest wine list with 1,746 varieties of wine available.
– Source: Guinness World Records

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Luxembourg using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.