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Luxembourg is a tiny country in western Europe. It covers a mere 1,000 square miles (2,500 sq. km), making it smaller than the state of Rhode Island. It shares borders with Belgium, France, and Germany.
Luxembourg is a remnant of a period in Europe’s past when many smaller states existed, before the larger nation states formed over much of the continent. Luxembourg belonged to many different people, including the Habsburgs, Burgundy, the Bourbons, France, Prussia, and the Netherlands. Luxembourg first proclaimed independence following Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, although it remained contested by different powers. Eventually Luxembourg became a part of the German Confederation and was in union with the Netherlands, before having a large chunk of its land go to Belgium following the Belgian Revolution.
In 1839 Luxembourg again proclaimed its independence, proclaiming it again in 1867, and yet again in 1890. The proclamation of independence in 1890, following the death of the King of the Netherlands and the passage of sovereignty to his daughter — who by Luxembourgish law could not be king — finally separated Luxembourg entirely from the Netherlands.
Luxembourg was one of the founding members of the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union. Although an incredibly small country, Luxembourg has a relatively strong GDP, and the RTL media group that operates from Luxembourg is the largest TV and radio company in Europe. Due to its small population and strong banking and financial markets, Luxembourg has the distinction of having the highest GDP per capita in the entire world: more than $90,000 US Dollars (USD) per person.
Luxembourg continues to operate under the auspices of a constitutional monarchy, and is technically a Grand Duchy — the only remain sovereign Grand Duchy in the world. It is the grand European traditions and historical remnants that draw most people to Luxembourg — the national motto is Mir welle bleiwe wat mir sinn, literally “We want to remain what we are,” and this philosophy definitely influences the way the country presents itself.
Historic hamlets dot the countryside, with lush green valleys intersected by babbling rivers crossed by scenic bridges. It is the sort of fairytale setting many people associate with Western Europe, and for those who wish to immerse themselves in this sort of environment, Luxembourg is ideal. Thousand-year old castles, such as the Chateau de Bourscheid, can be found throughout the country, and museums abound. Amenities in the country are not particularly cheap, but they are of consistently high quality.
Luxembourg is easy to reach overland from any of the neighboring countries, and airlines fly direct to Findel airport from most major European cities as well as locations in the United States.
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