Luxembourg

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bourschieldcastleluxembourg
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe and is a landlocked country in western Europe, surrounded by Belgium,France and Germany.

To the east, Luxembourg borders the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and, to the south, it borders the French région of Lorraine. The Grand Duchy borders the Belgian Walloon Region, in particular the latter’s provinces of Luxembourg and Liège, more in particular the German-speaking Community of Belgium, to the west and to the north respectively.

The northern third of the country is known as the ‘Oesling’, and forms part of the Ardennes. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff near Wilwerdange,which is the highest point, at 560 metres. Other mountains are the ‘Buurgplaaz’ at 559 metres near Huldange and the ‘Napoléonsgaard’ at 548 metres near Rambrouch. The region is sparsely populated, with only one town (Wiltz) with a population of more than four thousand people.

The southern two-thirds of the country is called the “Gutland”, and is more densely populated than the Oesling. It is also more diverse, and can be divided into five geographic sub-regions. The Luxembourg plateau, in south-central Luxembourg, is a large, flat, sandstone formation, and the site of the city of Luxembourg. Little Switzerland, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests. The Moselle valley is the lowest-lying region, running along the southeastern border. The Red Lands, in the far south and southwest, are Luxembourg’s industrial heartland and home to many of Luxembourg’s largest towns.

The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer, and the Our. Other major rivers are the Alzette, the Attert, the Clerve, and the Wiltz. The valleys of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling.

Climate

Luxembourg has a marine west coast climate (Köppen: Cfb), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer.Many areas of Luxembourg are covered by dense fog between August and April, particularly the country’s main river valleys.

Transport

Luxembourg has efficient road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernized in recent years with 147 km of motorways connecting the capital to adjacent countries. The advent of the high-speed TGV link to Paris has led to renovation of the city’s railway station while a new passenger terminal at Luxembourg Airport has recently been opened. There are plans to introduce trams in the capital and light-rail lines in adjacent areas within the next few years.

Ethnicity

The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers.The native population has a Celtic base with a French and Germanic blend.The immigrant population increased in the twentieth century due to the arrival of immigrants from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Portugal, with the majority coming from this last country. In the 2001 census, there were 58,657 inhabitants with Portuguese nationality.

Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Annually, over 10,000 new immigrants arrive in Luxembourg, mostly from the EU states, as well and Eastern Europe. As of 2000, there were 162,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 37% of the total population. There were an estimated 5,000 illegal immigrants, including asylum seekers, in Luxembourg as of 1999.

Language

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Three languages are recognised as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and Luxembourgish, a Franconian language of the Moselle region that is also spoken in neighbouring parts of France and Germany. Though Luxembourgish is part of the West Central German group of High German languages, more than 5,000 words in the Luxembourgish have their origin in the French language

Places to Visit

Quest lists popular places to visit whilst in Luxembourg, there are an abundance of hotels and restaurants  to suit all budgets.

Luxembourg -The city of Luxembourg also known as Luxembourg City is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg. The city contains the historic Luxembourg Castle, established by the Franks in the Early Middle Ages, around which a settlement developed.

Vianden -Vianden in the Oesling, north-eastern Luxembourg, with over 1,500 inhabitants. It is the capital of the canton of Vianden, which is part of the district of Diekirch. Vianden lies on the Our river, near the border between Luxembourg and Germany.It is known for its impressive castle and beautiful location in the Our valley.

Echternach-Echternach is a commune with city status in eastern Luxembourg. Echternach lies near the border with Germany, and is the oldest town in Luxembourg.

Clervaux -The Saint-Maurice and Saint Maur Abbey is situated close to the town of Clervaux.

Larochette – is a commune and town in central Luxembourg, in the canton of Mersch. It is situated on the White Ernz river. The town is dominated by a ruined castle.

Esch-sur-Alzette – is home to the National Museum of the Resistance, which has material related to the resistance to German occupation during the Second World War. Lucien Wercollier’s sculpture The Political Prisoner is in its entrance hall. Other tourist attractions include the large park, and the Berwart Tower, built in 1621.

Bourscheid – Bourscheid is a picturesque small town in north-eastern Luxembourg. It is part of the canton of Diekirch, which is part of the district of Diekirch.

Mondorf-les-Bains – Mondorf-les-Bains is a spa town, and has the only casino in Luxembourg.

Berdorf – Berdorf is known for the sandstone rocks surrounding it.

Cuisine

Luxembourg’s cuisine has been influenced over the years by neighboring France and Germany. More recently, it has had influence from its many Italian and Portuguese immigrants.

Luxembourg has many delicacies: pastries, Luxembourg Cheese, the fresh fish from local rivers (brown trout, pike, and crayfish), Ardennes ham smoked in saltpeter, game during hunting season (such as hare and wild boar), small plum tarts in September (Quetsch), smoked neck of pork with broad beans (Judd mat Gaardebounen), fried small river fish (such as bream, chub, gudgeon, roach, and rudd), liver dumplings (quenelles) with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes, black pudding (Träipen) and sausages with mashed potatoes and horseradish, and green bean soup (Bouneschlupp). French cuisine is prominent on many menus, and to a lesser extent so are German and Belgian cuisines.

Alcohol

Alcohol is relatively cheap in Luxembourg. It is also easy to find across home-produced alcohol, called Drëpp or eau de vie, distilled from various fruits and usually 50 percent alcohol by volume.

A number of white and sparkling wines are produced in Luxembourg, on the north bank of the Moselle, which has a winemaking history dating back to the Romans. Luxembourg is known for making several different kinds of wine including: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Rivaner and  Elblin.

Luxembourg has a fair number of breweries, given its tiny size. Imported beers, however, are increasingly gaining control of the beer market in Luxembourg.

Eating out

Most hotels include breakfast, but you can buy inexpensive food whilst sight seeing in Luxembourg with breakfast from between 3 – 6 Euros,a sandwhich lunch costs around 4 – 8 Euros and an evening meal from 7 – 15 Euros per head. Expect to pay between 3 – 5 Euros for a glass of beer in a bar.

Used with kind permission Picture © Luxembourg Tourist Office – London
photographer Marlies Moes