Luxembourg Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

Luxembourg – geography

Luxembourg is mountainous. It has a diverse industrial sector, it is an important financial center and it has a central location in the EU.

Natural conditions

Luxembourg is a mountainous country, one third of which is covered by coniferous forests. The climate is characterized by the westerly wind belt and is continental with a lot of precipitation. The capital has an average of 18 °C in July and 2 °C in February, and the annual rainfall is 760 mm. The northern part, Ösling, is located at an altitude of 400-500 ms in the Ardennes. The highest point, Huldange, is 559 m high. The area is dominated by coniferous forests and is flowed by the rivers Sûre (Ty. Sauer), Clervé (Ty. Clerf) and Wiltz and Our, all of which flow into the Rhine. The central and southern part, Gutland (‘the good land’) with fertile clay soil is part of Lorraine’s flag landscape. In the southwestern part, large iron ore deposits are found. The lowest point of the country (121 m) is where the Sûre flows into the Moselle (fr. Moselle), which forms the border with Germany.


The viticulture in the Moselle Valley was reorganized in the interwar period; replacement of the grape varieties, establishment of cooperative wine warehouses and implementation of state controls meant that a larger share of the wine production could be exported. Other agriculture has also been greatly rationalized after EU membership, but it still consists of many small family farms. 1% of the workforce is employed in agriculture.

The economy has since the mid-1800’s. has been dominated by the steel industry, especially around the town of Esch-sur-Alzette in the SW. In the mid-1900’s. it accounted for 75% of industrial production, 88% of exports and 25% of employment. In 1974, 6.5 million were produced. t steel. Since then, Luxembourg, like other countries, has been hit by the crisis in heavy industry. The extraction of iron ore stopped in 1981. In 1987, steel production fell to 3.1 million. t, and its share of GDP had fallen from 30% to 10%. Only with state support has the steel group ARBED been able to survive. The crisis has been partially remedied by public support for other industries and favorable investment conditions. Where the steel industry previously dominated, the industry, which employs 13%, now offers a much more diverse picture with rubber, plastics, chemical, metal and IT industries.

Since the mid-1960’s, the country has gained a reputation as an international banking and financial center. Lower taxation than neighboring countries, legally guaranteed banking secrecy, political stability, the absence of a genuine national bank and the presence of several EU financial institutions are the reasons why the number of established banks increased from 17 in 1960 to 174 in 1990, when banks became Luxembourg’s largest employer. with 15,800 employees against 14,600 in the public sector and 11,000 in the steel industry. The tertiary occupations employ more than 80% of the employed. Unemployment is 4.8% (2006).

The scope of international banking in Luxembourg has been growing, but from the end of the 1990’s there has been, among other things. from the EU have been increasing criticism of the banks’ pronounced discretion around financial transactions. Critics have pointed to the possibility of tax evasion and money laundering, so the country is under pressure to tighten banking laws.

Another important business sector is tourism. In addition to the city of Luxembourg, the many picturesque river valleys are sought-after tourist destinations, as are the cities of Clervaux, Diekirch, Echternach, Vianden and Wiltz. In several of these lie medieval castle ruins.


Ever since the rise of the steel industry, Luxembourg has had to make use of foreign labor. Immigration has also been and still is significant; in the beginning it was dominated by Germans, most of the 1900-t. by Italians and after 1965 especially by Portuguese. Wars in the Balkans in the 1990’s brought immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro as well as people from Eastern Europe. At least 10,000 new immigrants arrive each year – as well as a few thousand illegal immigrants.

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The population is 465,000 (2006), and the number of foreigners, ie. persons without Luxembourg citizenship, approaching 40% (2005), ranging from Portuguese farm workers to well-paid international employees from EU Member States. Just over half of the capital’s population are foreigners. More than 110,000 commuters to work in Luxembourg from neighboring countries; over half from Lorraine and approximately 27% and 20% from Belgium and Germany respectively. 7500 work in the EU and other European organizations.

Luxembourg – language

Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German and 1984 Letzeburgesh (Lëtzebuergesch). Letzeburgsk is originally a Moselle Franconian, ie. German dialect, but unlike most other dialects, it has a standard spelling and is spoken in all sections of the population regardless of social status. Luxembourgish is the mother tongue of almost all native Luxembourgers, but despite the official status of the language, it is used almost exclusively in informal oral contexts, where it is the preferred language. Latvian is of great importance for the marking of national identity. There is therefore an increasing tendency to also use Latvian in radio and television as well as in advertisements and other small texts. For culture and traditions of Luxembourg, please check aparentingblog.

In writing, French and German are mainly used. French is the language of law and is used in administration and teaching at higher levels, while German is dominant in the municipal administration, as the language of instruction and in most newspapers and magazines. Private reading and writing is mostly in German. Thus, French generally has an elitist status, while German is used when one wants to speak to all sections of the population.

Luxembourg – religion

Almost 87% of the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church (2000); the others are Protestants, Jews and Muslims. The Reformation in the 1500’s. never gained a foothold except in some fringe areas. In 1666, the Virgin Mary was elected the patron saint of Luxembourg under the title “Consolation of the Declined”, and a pilgrimage in her honor is still an annual religious highlight.

Luxembourg Constitution

Luxembourg is a hereditary, constitutional monarchy with a Grand Duke as head of state. The constitution is from 1868 with a number of later amendments. Legislative power lies with the Chamber of Deputies, which has a maximum of 60 members elected for five years by ordinary election according to the proportional representation method. There is universal suffrage. The Grand Duke appoints a Prime Minister and the other ministers of the seven-member government and participates in both the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The government is collectively responsible to the Chamber of Deputies. An advisory body, composed of 21 members appointed for life by the Grand Duke, has the task of reviewing and advising on all bills before they are submitted to the Chamber of Deputies; the Chamber may reject any proposal of the Council.

Luxembourg Geography