Country Profile: Luxembourg
Capital and largest cityLuxembourg
Official languagesGerman, French, Luxembourgish
Area2, 586 sq km
Population480 222 (2007 est.)
French, German and Luxembourgish all have official status in the country of Luxembourg. Luxembourgish itself is a Franconian language, very similar to a German dialect spoken in the part of Germany bordering Luxembourg. Luxembourgish has unofficial national status, as the first language of almost all of the population. The education system puts stress on trilingual learning, with all three languages having equal prominence in schools.
Luxembourg, though a vey small country, has a small, and stable economy, with a high-income and high GDP. The labourforce is overwhelmingly employed in the service sector, after the reliance upon industries such as steel and other metals waned. The country's agricultural output includes wine, grapes, barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits; dairy products, and livestock products. The main industries now are banking and financial services, IT, telecommunications, food processing, chemicals and tourism. The country has received much foreign investment in recent years.
At present, Luxembourg relies upon imported fossil fuels, oil and natural gas, for almost all of its energy production. In the past it put forward plans to build a nuclear power station, but had to abandon construction due to widescale protests. In the future, the country will need to find ways to address the problems of climate change, and the non-sustainable and damaging effects on the environment of relying upon fossil fuels for energy, especially when their country relies upon its beautiful landscape in order to attract money from the tourist trade.
Although Luxembourg's culture has suffered from the overshadowing dominance of its neighbouring European countries, it still has a wealth of cultural attractions as well as a rich historical heritage which attracts millions of visitors every year. There are several important museums in the capital, including the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Military History - while the city of Luxembourg itself has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The country has produced some renowned artists, especially in contemporary art, including Edward Steichen, Joseph Kutter, and Michel Majerus.
Popular sports in Luxembourg include athletics, tennis, cricket and football. The country's terrain lends itself to the sport of cycling, and the Tour de Luxembourg is a cycling course which acts as a precursor to the more famous Tour de France. The largest sports venue is d'Coque, an indoor sports stadium in north-east Luxembourg City.
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