Between Germany, France, and Belgium, a small country named Luxembourg hides. Famous for its medieval castles, beautiful landscapes (forest areas take up one third of the country) , and valleys that are used to grow grapes for the production of one of the finest wines in the world, it is still not one of the more popular tourist destinations. And that is a shame, because it has much to offer.
Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in Europe. Its citizens value cleanliness and have a high level of cultural awareness, and it is interesting that the public transport has recently been made free for everyone in an attempt to decrease usage of cars and therefore pollution of the air. The average age of the vehicles on the streets is three years, and although Luxembourgers like cars, they do not drive them when they do not have to. Luxembourg is famous for the ore processing and export, so the railway transport is also very developed.
The architecture of the city is quite unique. It is positioned on many low hills and there are many bridges connecting different areas. The old part of the city looks like it came to life from a historical book about Habsburg dynasty. It looks completely different from the rest of the city and is used for administrative and jobs related to banking. The ‘Old Quarters and Fortifications’, as they are called, are registered on the UNESCO world heritage list. The city is also the first one to be designated as the European Capital of Culture twice, in 1995 and 2007. The land is good for grape vine growing, especially when it comes to white grapes, so there are many small local wineries around.
Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy, with a monarch called Grand Duke, but, of course, parliament and the Prime Minister hold the real power. Luxembourgers are quite traditional, and the country’s national motto is “We want to stay what we are.” It is the country with the smallest number of citizens of all the European Union countries – just a bit over 600 thousand. Almost 45% of them come from foreign backgrounds, interestingly enough.
There are a lot of smokers in the city, but like in all the other European towns, it is forbidden to smoke inside. It is not surprising to see people on the street enjoying tobacco products. Cannabis is also legal for medical use, so you might feel the recognizable smell of weed in the streets.
The drivers pay a lot of attention to pedestrians in this country. Even if you are just standing at the crossing, every car will stop and wait for you to decide whether you will cross it or not. Luxembourg has three official languages – Luxembourgish, French, and German, and the people often also know English and Portuguese. The cuisine is a mix of French, German, and Belgian influences, and the Chinese cuisine has also been popular recently.