Landlocked between Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg is one of the smallest European countries. In this tiny area of only 80 by 50 kilometres, there’s a large array of historical sights, great museums and other impressive attractions. It’s a stone’s throw from anywhere, so why not visit Luxembourg during a trip through northern or western Europe?
For centuries, Luxembourg experienced strong German, French and Belgian influences, but it managed to develop its own unique culture anyway, including unique folk traditions. Presently, Luxembourg is the world’s only Grand Duchy with independence status. French, German and Luxembourgish are official languages there, the last having a national status, as well. Luxembourg is strongly engaged in several European organisations; it was among the founders of the EU, NATO and UN, and nowadays it accommodates several agencies of these institutions. Luxembourg has also been a member of the Benelux union, embracing Belgium and the Netherlands.
Interestingly, Luxembourg boasts the world’s highest GDP per capita, making it a great place to live. It owes its economic welfare to the highly developed financial sector of its economy; moreover, the country is a tax haven which helps to draw foreign capital here. Although Luxembourg is widely associated with extensive green meadows and idyllic countryside, in fact steel and iron processing is the most important branch of industry in Luxembourg.
As the country has only half a million inhabitants, there are merely a few towns, with only its capital deserving the status of a “city”. The capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is called Luxembourg, too. Inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List for its unique old town and historic fortifications, Luxembourg is fascinating. First of all, the historical sights are worth exploration, such as the Luxembourg Castle, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a great example of late Gothic architecture with some later reconstructions; the Grand Ducal Palace, a residence of the Grand Duke; the early 20th-century Adolph Bridge, later copied by designers of the Walnut Lane Bridge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, the top attraction in Luxembourg is its fortification system, which was built over several centuries. At the end of the 16th Century, Luxembourg was considered the best fortress in Europe, later equipped with casemates and tunnels. Although they were dismantled, some fragments remain, including the underground passages and casemates.
Luxembourg offers a wide range of interesting museums and galleries. The most noteworthy places of this kind include the National Museum of History and Art and the National Museum of Natural History. Enthusiasts of Modern art should visit Am Tunnel, a contemporary art gallery, or the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, often referred to as Mudam, housing an impressive collection of contemporary art and design. Luxembourg also boasts monuments dating back to World War II and commemorating its victims, such as the Gelle Fra War Memorial and the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial.
Luxembourg provides its visitors with plenty of cultural events, as well as sports and leisure time activities. Apart from sightseeing, be prepared to have fantastic shopping opportunities. Luxury shops and small souvenir stores surprise with their affordable prices. After some shopping, you can relax over a cup of coffee, as bars and cafes have been established in profusion.
Often overlooked due to the plenty attractive and bigger countries in the neighbourhood, Luxembourg is small, but interesting. Thanks to its location, it can be a good extension during your holiday in Europe. The international airport near Luxembourg City provides direct connections with London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich, Frankfurt, and many other European cities. So don’t hesitate, pack your suitcase and reserve your stay in Luxembourg!