Luxembourg is a landlocked nation in western Europe, formally known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is bounded on the west and north by Belgium, on the east by Germany, and on the south by France. Luxembourg City, along with Brussels and Strasbourg, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union and home to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court. Its culture, people, and languages are inextricably linked to those of its neighbors, resulting in a synthesis of French and Germanic civilizations. The country’s recurrent invasions by neighboring nations, particularly during World War II, resulted in a strong need for mediation between France and Germany, which ultimately culminated in the establishment of the European Union.
It is divided into two distinct regions: the Oesling (part of the Ardennes massif) in the north and the Gutland (“Good Land”) in the south. It is one of Europe’s smallest sovereign nations, with a territory of 2,586 square kilometers (998 square miles) (about the same size as the state of Rhode Island or the English county of Northamptonshire). Luxembourg has a population of 524,853 people in October 2012, placing it as Europe’s eighth least populated nation. As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, Luxembourg is led by a grand duke, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the world’s last surviving grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed nation with an advanced economy and the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world, the United Nations said in 2014. Its strategic significance to many nations dates all the way back to its foundation as a Roman stronghold, its hosting of an important Frankishcastle throughout the Early Middle Ages, and its function as a bulwark for the Spanish Road during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, the OECD, the United Nations, NATO, and Benelux, demonstrating its political alignment with economic, political, and military integration. Luxembourg City, the country’s capital and biggest city, is home to numerous EU organizations and agencies. Luxembourg sat on the United Nations Security Council for the first time in the country’s history in 2013 and 2014. Luxembourgish residents were granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to 172 countries and territories in 2016, placing the Luxembourgian passport sixth in the world, with Canada and Switzerland.