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Wednesday 13th December
Luxembourg Information - Page 2
History
The Gaulish people living in the region, now known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, were conquered by Julius Ceasar. Luxembourg became part of the Roman Empire and remains of villas and towns show a high standard of civilization.

In 963 Count Sigefroid of the Ardennes built a fortress on the Bock promontory which was to become Luxembourg city. In the years which followed a number of the rulers of Luxembourg became Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire: Henri VII, Charles IV, Wenceslas and Sigismond.

Over the centuries various European powers wanted control of Luxembourg: Burgundy, Spain, Austria and France. Strong fortifications led to Luxembourg city being known as the Gibraltar of the North.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna made Luxembourg into a Grand Duchy and William II, the King of Holland, became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg; the union between Holland and Luxembourg continued until 1890. The Treaty of London, signed in 1867, was an agreement by European countries to ensure that Luxembourg was not taken over by an individual European power.

During the First and Second World Wars the Grand Duchy was occupied by the German armed forces.

Economy
Luxembourg was known as a BENELUX country, an economic union between Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. After the Second World War, these countries together with France, West Germany, and Italy formed the European Coal and Steel Community: to substitute for age-old rivalries the merging of essential interests.

In 1957 the same countries signed The Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community (EEC), now the EU.

Although coal, iron and steel were the industrial foundations of the economy, iron and steel exports declined and Luxembourg broadened its manufacturing base: products such as tyres, metal goods, aluminium, glass, chemicals, wine and processed food are produced.

Traditionally the Grand Duchy had an important agricultural sector, however the agricultural share of the Gross National Product (GDP) has shrunk to around one percent.

Today, the highest percentage of the GDP is earned by the service sector. The city of Luxembourg is an international financial centre; many banks and financial institutions are located in Luxembourg. Insurance and reinsurance are major commercial activities. Tourism is also important to Luxembourg's services sector. The Grand Duchy attracts many visitors each year. (2008)

Arts
Luxembourg's artists of note include Joseph Kutter, Bertemes and Wercollier.

The famous American photographer, Edward Steichen, an important figure in the history of photography was born in the village of Bivange (Roeser). His major work, Family of Man, is exhibited in Clervaux castle.

Sport
Luxembourg has a number of national sports days for recreational activities such as fishing, football and volleyball. The Grand Duchy has a national triathlon (1,500 m swimming, 45 km cycling and 19 km running) and a cyclathon (8.7 km running and 36.8 km cycling). The rivers and lakes provide plenty of opportunity for water sports and there is skiing in the winter. Other sports including hot air ballooning and aviation are available.

Holidays
Luxembourg celebrates all the Roman Catholic holidays. There is a famous religious dancing procession in Echternach at Whitsun; other fairs include wine festivals in the different localities.

News
News from Luxembourg is available from Newslink.

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