Capital: Luxembourg City
Location: In western Europe, enclosed by Belgium to the west, France to the south and the Federal Republic of Germany
Area: 2,586 sq km
National composition: Mainly Luxembourgers, some foreign nationals, including French and Italians
Religion: Roman Catholic
Official languages: French, Letzeburgesch
Currency: Franc = 100 centimes
Administrative divisions: The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is divided into cantons, which group the communes (=municipalities). A dozen of the communes have official city status, and one, Luxembourg City, is further divided into quarters (unofficial subdivision).
Chief river: Moselle
Climate: Mild and moist; a transition zone between the temperature maritime and severe continental types
Northern Luxembourg contains part o the rugged Ardennes plateau, while the warmer south includes the fertile valleys of the Moselle and its tributaries. Farmland covers about half of the country. The chief crops include barley, oats and potatoes, grown mainly in the north, and fruit and wheat in the south. The country also has a major wine industry.
However, Luxembourg is one of the world’s most developed countries because of its thriving iron mines and its iron mines and its iron and steel and associated industries. But despite Luxembourg’s huge deposits of iron ore, high-grade ores are imported from Brazil, France and Sweden. Engineering, chemical and other manufacturing industries are also important.
The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg form a customs and economic union known as Benelux, and all three countries were founder members of the European Economic Community. Lenient tax and corporation laws have attracted about 100 large banks and many corporations to establish their headquarters in Luxembourg. A measure of its prosperity is that, in 1981, Luxembourg had a higher per capita GNP than any other EEC nation.
The country has an excellent road system and is crossed by major railway lines connecting France with Belgium and Germany. Radio Luxembourg, a pop music station favoured by many young people throughout Europe, is situated in the country.