Luxembourg Tourist Office
122 Regent Street,
London W1R 5FE
Tel: 0171 434 2800,
Fax: 0171 734 1205

Physical geography

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is landlocked between Belgium (to the East), Germany (to the West) and France (to the South). The country has a maximum North-South extension of 82km 51 miles), an East/West extension of 57km (36 miles) and covers an area of 2,586 square km or 999 square miles. Luxembourg is divided into two clearly defined geographical regions: - The 'Eisleck' or 'Oesling' in the north, which is part of the Ardennes, on the western rim of the Eifel, and covers one-third of the territory. It is a wooded country of great scenic beauty. Highest point: 1,823 feet. - The 'Gufland' in the centre and the south, covering the remainder of the territory, is mainly rolling farmland and woods. Average height: 900 feet. Culminating point 1,400 feet. It is bordered in the east by the wine-producing valley of the Moselle, and in the extreme south west by a narrow strip of red earth which forms the Luxembourg iron-ore basin.


Luxembourg enjoys a temperate climate without extremes. July and August are the warmest periods (22-23°C average day temperature).

Economic geography

It was the discovery of iron ore around 1850 which marked the turning point for Luxembourg and meant its economic take-off. An important steel industry came into being in the south-western corner of the country, drawing tens of thousands of foreign workers into the ore mines and steel factories and bringing prosperity to the whole country. The steel exports constitute one quarter of the value of the Luxembourg export trade. The ARBED group alone (Acieries Reunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange), produces 90 per cent of the whole Luxembourg steel output. In spite of severe labour-shedding during the eighties, ARBED remains the largest private employer in the country. ARBED is the fifth largest steel complex in Europe, and the 13th largest in the Western world.

Since the end of the Second World War, great efforts have been made to bring diversity into the former monolithic industry. Aluminium, glass, cement, tyres, magnetic tapes and computer manufacturers have established plants, dams have been built in Esch-sur-Sre and Rosport; Vianden houses Europe's second largest pumping station producing peak hydro-electricity; the ASTRA satellites are controlled from Luxembourg. Tax rebates, help in obtaining credits, and a host of other incentives are offered to companies intending to set up plant in the Grand Duchy.

However, despite these continuing efforts. Luxembourg's industrial labour is dropping in numbers, marking a slide into the service sector. Luxembourg plays a major role as a prominent international financial centre. Numerous banks and important investment trusts have settled in the capital, as the fiscal legislation, which dates back to 1929, favours banks and holding companies. Luxembourg as an international centre numbers more than 9000 domicile holding companies, some 1,300 investment funds, and 220 banks which represent the greatest banking concentration in the European Union.

More recently still, Luxembourg has reaffirmed its importance as a centre for Eurobonds with a big emphasis in ECUs, and the future seems likely to attract more and more investment funds in European Currency Units to this comparatively young, but steadily growing centre. Big insurance and re-insurance companies have set up subsidiaries in the capital, and it looks like Luxembourg will soon be one of the major centres in this area of business. Its economic structure and its geographical position have necessarily led Luxembourg into a close co-operation with other countries, and particularly with Belgium since 121, and with Belgium and the Netherlands since the Second World War, with the creation of BENELUX, an economic union which was the first step towards the present larger European Community.


Of the country's 399,239 inhabitants, some 90,000 live in Luxembourg-city and its immediate surroundings. Other town populations are: Esch/Alzette 25,000, Dudelange 15,000, Differdange 9,000. The number of foreign residents in Luxembourg has already exceeded 33 per cent of the population, whilst the proportion of foreign passport holders working in the country reaches 48 per cent of the total workforce. These figures represent the highest proportion of foreigners of any EU country.

A brief history

The written history of Lucilinburhuc (ie, Luxembourg) starts in the year 963, when Siegfried, Count of the Ardennes, and founder of the Luxembourg dynasty, had a castle built on the territory of the present-day capital of Luxembourg. This castle was the origin of the establishment of a town, which later was to develop into a formidable fortress, known by the name of 'Gibraltar of the North'.

After a long period of foreign sovereignty (Burgundian/Spanish/French/Austrian), the Congress of Vienna settled the destiny of the country, by raising it to the rank of Grand Duchy, and by giving it as personal property to the King of the Netherlands William I of Orange-Nassau. The personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands lasted until 1890. During this period the political independence and autonomy were strengthened, and the democratic institutions were developed. The 11th of May 1867 is one of the most important dates in national history. The Treaty of London reaffirmed Luxembourg's territorial integrity, and the political autonomy which had already been granted by the Treaty of London of 1839. Furthermore, Luxembourg was declared perpetually neutral, and the great powers agreed to guarantee and to protect the neutrality of the Grand Duchy. Since 1890, when the Crown of the Grand Duchy passed to the elder branch of the House of Nassau, Luxembourg has had its own dynasty. The present ruler, H.R.H. Grand Duke Jean, succeeded his mother on the throne in November 1964, when she abdicated. His mother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, Duchess of Nassau, Princess of Bourbon Parma, died in 1985. Grand Duke Jean and his wife Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte, the sister to Albert, King of the Belgians, have five children Henry, Jean, Guillaume, Marie-Astrid and Margaretha. Executive power is in the hands of the Grand Duke and a Cabinet of 12 ministers. The legislative power rests with a Parliament (Chamber of Deputies) elected by men and women over 18, all of whom in Luxembourg have the right and duty to vote. Despite its neutrality, Luxembourg was occupied twice by German troops during the two World Wars. The Battle of the Bulge was to a great extent fought on Luxembourg territory. In 1948, the country gave up its neutrality, to join the various economic, political, and military organisations of Europe. Already forming a close economic union with Belgium since 1921, the Grand Duchy is a founder member of the EU, and was host to the first European institutions in 1953.


The country is to 97 per cent, Roman Catholic, 1.5 per cent Jewish, one per cent.

Languages spoken by nationals

'Letzebuergesch' is the everyday spoken language of the people, and the symbol of the Luxembourgers' national identity. Since the creation of a dictionary and a grammar, this former Mosel-Franksh dialect is now recognised as the national language (since 1984). While both French and German remain the official languages 'Letzebuergesch' or Luxembourgish is taught in schools and in language courses mostly addressed to the resident foreigners.


Summer: GMT, Winter: GMT + one.


The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has its own currency, the Luxembourg Franc. It has the same rate as the Belgian franc and both are commonly and widely used in the country.

Official holidays 1997

New Year's Day, 1st January (Wednesday) - Carnival, 10th February (Monday) - Easter Monday, March 31st (Monday) - May Day, 1st May (Thursday - Ascension Day, 8th May (Thursday) - Whit Monday, 19th May (Monday) National Day, 23rd June (Monday) - Assumption, 15th August (Friday) - Luxembourg City Kermesse, September 1st (Monday) - All Saints Day, November 1st (Saturday) - Christmas Day, 25th December (Thursday) - St. Stephen's Day, 26th December (Friday).

Note: Public Holidays falling on a Sunday are usually observed on the following Monday decreed on 1st December of the preceding year, to a maximum of two per annum.

What one should not fail to see

The millennial City of Luxembourg, with the remains of the fortress; Luxembourg's 'Little Switzerland'; Vianden with its majestic castle; The river Moselle; The Ardennes uplands in the North of Luxembourg.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

During the pre- and post season (May-June) and (September-October) special offers are available from many Hotels/Guesthouses. Luxembourg is an ideal base for touring the neighbouring countries of Belgium, Germany and France, as they are all within easy reach within an hour (at most) of travelling time.

How to dress

In the main season: (July/August) cool summer dress [22-23° C average day temperature], during the pre- and post season [8-10° C average day temperature] a raincoat might be of use. In the Winter (November - February) a warm coat would be advisable as the country often gets snow and ice.

Main holiday resorts

Luxembourg City, Echternach (Little Switzerland), Vianden, Clervaux, Wiltz, Remich (on the Moselle).

Main holiday sports

Golf (five courses), swimming (plenty of covered and open air swimming pools), sailing, tennis, horseback riding, bicycle riding (many bike tracks across the country), etc. A special sports brochure is available from Luxembourg Tourist Offices.

What to eat and drink

The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is well known for its gastronomic delights. The country boasts more Michelin stars per square mile than anybody else, a safe indicator of the people's high opinion where matters of food are concerned. Most traditional dishes are of peasant origin, but Luxembourg's affiliates with both French and German culture, have long ago been translated into the country's speciality foods. Typical dishes of Luxembourg include: 'Judd mat Gaardbounen' (Smoked Collar of Pork With Broad eans); 'F'rell am Reisleck' (Trout in Riesling Sauce, also with Pike [Hiechf]); 'Fierkelsjhell' (Suckling pig in Aspic). Ardennes Smoked Ham and a special cheese, cooked in the making ('Kachkeis') are more snack-type speciality foods of Luxembourg. Don't miss out on the superb dry white wines grown along the Moselle, or the excellent local beers, available in most restaurants and supermarkets.

What to buy

Villeroy & Boch porcelain and crystal ware; Miniature fire-backs depicting typical scenery; Luxembourg chocolates; Locally produced wines and spirits.

Frontier formalities

The Luxembourg village of Schengen has given its name to a European document, the so-called Schengen Treaty. Since 26th March 1995, a new type of visa - the Schengen Visa has been introduced by the following member-states of the European Union who are signatories of the Schengen Agreement: Belgium, France, Germany, [Greece, Italy], Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. [note: At this moment in time, Greece and Italy are not ready to implement.] The Schengen visa issued by an Embassy or Consulate of the above countries allows the holder to move freely in all of these countries within the validity of the visa. If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of that country. If you intend to visit several Schengen countries without having a main destination, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the first country that requires you to have a visa. Application should be made in person at the Embassy or Consulate that is responsible for your place of residence. Please note that holders of Schengen visas are still subject to immigration control and are not guaranteed entry into any of the Schengen countries, even though they may hold a valid visa for these countries. People wishing to cross from other Schengen States into Luxembourg should be in possession of a 'Schengen Visa'. Such a visa is available from either the Embassy of the county of your main stay, or the Embassy of the country you first arrive at.

Please note: You must be in possession of a valid visa before starting your journey. You are advised to allow as much time as possible for obtaining your visa.


Many cultural and folklore events are held throughout the year in the Grand Duchy. The tourist office has detailed listings available.

List of representatives abroad

Luxembourg: Ministere du Tourisme (Administrative Head Office), PO Box 86 L-2937, Luxembourg Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Tel: (+ 352) 478-1, Fax: (+ 352) 47 4011 Office National du Tourisme 77 Rue d'Anvers PO Box 1001 L-1010 Luxembourg Tel: (+ 352) 40 08 08, Fax: (+352) 40 47 48

Belgium: 104 Avenue Louise, B-1050 Brussels, Tel: (+ 32) 2 646 0370 Fax: (+ 32 2) 648 6100

Denmark: Westerfarimagsgade 1, DK-1606 Copenhagen, Tel: (033) 91 61 91, Fax: (033) 91 63 91

England: 122 Regent Street, London W1R 5FE, Tel: (+ 44) 171 434 2800, Fax: (+ 44)171 7341205 e-mail:, World-Wide Web Site:

France: 21 Boulevard des Capucines, 75002 Paris, Tel (+ 33) 1 47 42 905, Fax: (+ 33) 1 40 07 0043

Germany: Bismarck Strasse 23/27 D-41061, Monchengladbach Tel: (+ 4) 2161 20 88 88, Fax; (+ 49) 2161 274 220

Netherlands: 8 Nassau Laan, NL-2514 JS, Den Haag Tel (+ 31) 70 364 9041, Fax: (+ 31) 70 356 3303

USA: 17 Beekman Place, New York 10022, Tel: (212) 935 8888, Fax: (212) 935 896, email:

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Luxemburg thanks to the co-operation and the participation of the Luxembourg Tourist Office in the UK