The Green Heart of Europe - Luxembourg

Bordered by Belgium, France and Germany is the world's only Grand Duchy, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. At the geographical heart of Europe the country lies on the crossroads of Germanic and Latin cultures.

The history of the City-State goes back to 963. Being at the crossroads of Western Europe the territory became very strategic and heavily fortified. The city you see today is dominated by impressive city walls and towers. The Habsburg family ruled over Luxembourg through the Renaissance. The Duchy was granted to the Netherlands at the end of the Napoleonic wars. As part of the German confederacy it was granted the title "Grand Duchy" in 1815.

Luxembourg City itself is geographically divided by elevation. An international highway stretches across the sky on a modern bridge while at the mid-level the Pafendall valley is arched by more ancient bridges. Finally, at the level of the Mosel river, winding through the old town it feels like an isolated village, apart from the world.

During the Second World War Luxembourg was the scene of the Battle of the Bulge and an excellent record of this can be found in the town of Diekirch.

Eating in Luxembourg is a joy. While the national dish "judd mat gaardebounen" (smoked pork neck and broad beans) is a hearty winter dish, a kind of fried potato cake called Gromperekichelchen" is almost addictive! Apart from that the main staple of Luxembourgish food is French - but usually in far more generous portions than you'd find in France. At the top end Luxembourg restaurants have 13 Michelin Stars (more per capita than anywhere in the world).

It can be fun to try learning a few words of the local language "Lëtzebuergesch" but everyone speaks French and German, and English is widely understood.

Visa formalities are aided by Luxembourg being a member of the Schengen Agreement.

Luxembourg Highlights:

  • National Museum of Military History in Diekirch
  • Vianden - a very pretty village with an impressive chateau
  • The Bock Casemates - extensive defensive tunnels dating from 1644
  • Medieval Beaufort Castle in Echternach
  • The Bank Museum (Musee du Banque)
  • The Domain Thermal - Europe's most extensive Spa, at Mondorf

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