I got up very early to explore Luxembourg City and the pale buildings looked incredible in the morning light.
The tourism slogan for the country is ‘Live your unexpected Luxembourg’. It’s a terrible mantra as it means nothing but there are worse mantras.
I was on a backpacker budget, so while we look around this petite capital’s buildings I will tell you a bit about the country.
This country got cash, the second highest GDP per capita in the world after Qatar. Its economy is of course much more diverse than that oil state.
Almost of half of its workers are from other countries and they commute in for the day from neighbours Germany, France and Belgium.
Almost half of its residents are immigrants with 170 nationalities represented. It is proof of how immigration can really drive an economy as it would flatline without them.
Banking, steel, telecommunications, tourism and agriculture are in that order the ways that it makes money.
It also has the highest minimum wage of 1,923 euro per month, which is not to be sniffed at.
However, it was put on the G20 naughty list for its dubious banking arrangements. It does love to exploit a loophole and many global organisations were happy for them to do this. Later it was commended for increasing its transparency after many banking groups were told to pull their proverbial socks up.
One sign of its richness is the wine list at Restaurant Chiggeri, which is the longest in the world with a whopping 2,200 wines.
You can sip your wine safely as Luxembourg is the country that you are least likely to be shot in the whole world.
Besides dough, another thing that marks it out is that it is the only country in the world to be run by a duke, which makes it the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The current duke is Crown Prince Henri.
It was a funding member of the European Economic Community which isn’t surprising given its closeness to its neighbours as well as its love for financial growth.
L’borg was a neutral country but that changed when it came off very badly in both world wars as it was occupied in both of them. Lest we forget one of the more ferocious conflict which was the Battle of the Ardennes, or the Battle of the Bulge.
Belgium and Luxembourg were liberated by the Americans in 1944 and attempted to push back with the forested section of the Northern Luxembourg the least guarded. In December Hitler’s troops got through the Belgium, forming a ‘bulge’ in the line of defence, however the Americans based their push back until the battle ended in January 1945.
The loss of life was huge with 80,000 on the American side and 120,000 on the German side. Bastogne in Belgium was the staging post for much of the invasion. The main square was renamed Place McAuliffe after the American General who replied to the German demand for surrender with a shout of ‘Nuts’.
The city is, of course, a UNESCO heritage site as it has incredible buildings as well as a beautiful setting between two river gorges.
I took a lot of photos of the roofs of the buildings as I loved how they all matched.
I also loved the stained glass windows in Saint Michel’s church, I thought they were so usual that I took a lot of pictures of them.
What intrigued me about these windows was that they were not explicitly religious scenes as is traditional, although they could be construed as having certain symbolism.
I definitely recommend having a poke around the city walls as you never know what you might find!
Luxembourg City is full of intrigue and what could be purely a place of finance and bureaucracy is actually a stunning setting to spend time.