Luxembourg is Little Europe

Luxembourg is a tiny land locked country in Western Europe and has the pleasure of being the world’s only Grand Duchy.  Being a Grand Duchy means that Luxembourg has a royal Head of State whose stature is below that of a monarch, such as a king or queen, but who carries the title of Grand Duke or Duchess, making them higher than a Prince of Princess.  It means nothing to me, but I’m sure that if I was a Grand Duke I’d be very honoured indeed.

What this means is that the Head of State, Grand Duke Henri, is also the Head of Government, so it gives him a lot more political power than your usual run-of-the-mill monarch.  Which is important, because the main industry in Luxembourg is banking, and they control a lot of the world’s money because of their very low tax system and their propensity for keeping secrets.

Luxembourg is a tiny slip of a place, being only 84 kms (51.7 miles) long and 52 kms (32.5 miles) wide.  It is one of the Benelux countries, which comprises Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg and is one of the founding countries of the European Union.  The country has a population of just over 500,000 and the Capital is called Luxembourg (to be fair, in a place this small you can’t have too many confusing names).

Luxembourg (the city) is quite a small but attractive place which boasts many historical buildings.  It has many public squares, such as the Place D’Armes, which forms part of the pedestrian zone in the city, and is filled with cafes and shops.  William Square used to be a fortification, but was pulled down by the French, and then re-designed.  Today it is the site of Luxembourg’s Town Hall, and it is where you will find the Luxembourg Tourist Office.  The Square also has open air markets, and a number of concerts are held there.

One of the best ways to enjoy Luxembourg is to catch the Hop On Hop Off Bus, which does a grant tour of the city.  A ticket costs 14 Euros and is valid for 24 hours, so with some planning you should be able to use for most of your sightseeing.

If you like walking, you can also do an iTour, which is a personal iPod-type device that is loaded with commentary in a number of languages.  Just begin walking and follow the instructions for an educational trip around Luxembourg.

As it is an international centre for banking, accommodation in Luxembourg can be quite expensive as the hotels really do cater for the business traveller who generally has a generous expense account.  Apart from the hotels Luxembourg has one youth hostel plus camping facilities.

Luxembourgians, or whatever you call them, are, per head of population, the world’s highest paid workers, so this is not a destination for the budget minded.  On a good note, you possibly won’t be in any danger if you walk the streets at night as Luxembourg has been voted as the world’s safest city.

Luxembourg is easily accessible from many places in Europe by road, air and rail.  It is a neutral country with quite a good climate for Europe.

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