April 2019 \ Cover Story \ Cover Story

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a cosmopolitan country located in the heart of Europe with a thousand-year-old history and known for its multilingualism, its hospitality and its cultural diversity ...

  • The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Jean Asselborn, welcoming the Minister of External Affairs of India, Smt Sushma Swaraj in Luxembourg in June 2018 © MFA Luxembourg

The history of Luxembourg can be traced back to the year 963, when Count Siegfried of the Ardennes, founder of the House of Luxembourg, acquired the rocky outcrop, which today is at the middle of the country’s capital. On the remains of a Roman “castellum”, called Lucilinburhuc, he built a castle, which eventually became a towering fortress, also called “Gibraltar of the North”. During the Middle Ages, the House of Luxembourg produced four Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and several Princes Elect. The country has always been in the middle of Europe’s tumultuous history and gained its status of a Grand Duchy at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and finally its independence in 1839. It is today the last remaining Grand Duchy in the world.

Luxembourg is one of the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which evolved to become the European Union. Luxembourg City is one of the three European capitals and home to a number of European institutions like the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Auditors, among others. The country has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union twelve times, with the last one during the second semester of 2015. Luxembourg has always played and continues to be a force for ideas at the heart of the European Union. It is therefore no coincidence that in 1985, the Schengen Agreement was signed in the Luxembourgish wine-producing town of Schengen, which borders on Germany and France. After Luxembourg City in both 1995 and 2007, it is the southern city of Esch-sur-Alzette, at the heart of the steel industry over last decades, which will be the European Capital of Culture in 2022.

Luxembourg is a proud member of the Benelux Union, which unites the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg since the Benelux Agreement signed in 1947, which established a customs union between the three countries and later in 1958 was extended to become the Benelux Economic Union. Luxembourg is also a member of the International Organisation of the Francophonie since 1970, as French is one of its three official languages.