Luxembourg is the least populated country in the European Union, with only 465,000 inhabitants. It is also the 20th smallest of the 194 independent countries in the world.
Luxembourgish, a Franconian dialect of High German, is the mother tongue of nearly all Luxembourgers. In spite of that, most official (written) business is carried out in French, whereas German is the first language taught in school and used in the media.
As of 2006, there were 181,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 39.6% of the total population. 15% of the country's inhabitants (over 1/3 of all immigrants) are of Portuguese origin.
Luxembourg has won five times the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983), a feat only surpassed by Ireland.
The original County, then Duchy of Luxembourg was about three times the size of the modern country, including notably most of the Belgian province of Luxembourg.
From 1310 to 1437, the Counts, then Dukes of Luxembourg were also Kings of Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic).
The House of Luxembourg also had three of its members elected Holy Roman Emperor : Henry VII (1312-1313), Charles IV (1355-1378) and Sigismund (1410-1437). The latter also ruled as king of Hungary from 1387. Sigismund's daughter, Elisabeth of Luxembourg, married Albert II of Habsburg, who succeeded his father-in-law as Emperor, as well as King of Bohemia and Hungary. From then on, apart from a 3-year interlude, the Habsburgs would provide all the Holy Roman Emperors until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806. It could thus be said that the glorious fate of the Habsburgs, and the very foundation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was achieved through their marriage to the House of Luxembourg in 1422. Thanks to this marriage as well, the Habsburgs ruled as Dukes of Luxembourg between 1506 and 1813.
Economy & Politics
Luxembourg is the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world. At US$ 115,000 in 2011, Luxembourg's GDP per capita was almost 3 times higher than the EU average. Even adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) it remains the world's highest after Qatar's.
Luxembourg is a well-known tax haven. In March 2006, there were no less than 155 banks in the country.
Luxembourg has the highest minimum legal salary in the Europe and the second highest in the world after Australia. In 2013, it was €1,874.90 ($2,404) per month or €10.8335 ($13.89) per hour for unqualified workers over 18 - higher even than in Monaco.
Luxembourg's average unemployment rate from 1982 to 2013 was 3.3%, the lowest in the Europe.
The RTL Group (Radio TÚlÚvision Luxembourg) is Europe's largest TV, radio and production company. It has 34 television channels and 33 radio stations in 12 countries, including the UK's Channel Five, France's M6, among those that do not bear the name "RTL".
Skype, the free Internet calls and instant messaging software, is headquartered in Luxembourg.
Amazon, Rakuten, Paypal and Rovi Corporation all have their European headquarters in Luxembourg.
Between 1944 and 2002, the Luxembourgish franc had the exact same value as the Belgian franc. From 2002, the euro replaced both currencies.
Luxembourg was ranked 3rd best country in the EU for business efficiency in 2005, after Finland and Denmark.
The American organisation 'The Heritage Foundation' ranked Luxembourg first in Europe and fourth in the world for economic freedom.