Luxembourg

Luxembourg

Luxembourg officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennesmassif, and the Gutland ("good country") in the south. Luxembourg has a population of 524,853 (as of October 2012) in an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi).

As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by a grand duke and is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the World Bank. Its historic and strategic importance dates back to its founding as a Roman era fortress and Frankish count'scastle site in the Early Middle Ages. It was an important bastion along the Spanish Road when Spain was the principal European power influencing the whole western hemisphere and beyond in the 16th–17th centuries.

Luxembourg is a member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, the United Nations, and Benelux, reflecting the political consensus in favour of economic, political, and military integration. The city of Luxembourg, the largest and capital city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU. On 18 October 2012, Luxembourg was elected to a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, for the first time in its history

The country will serve on the Security Council from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2014, and will be, at least until the end of 2013, the only EU non-permanent member.

Reflecting its geographic position, Luxembourg's culture is a fusion of Romance and Germanic Europe, borrowing customs from each of the distinct traditions. Luxembourg is a trilingual country: Luxembourgish, French and German are official languages. Although a secular state, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic.

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked 170th in size of all the 194 independent countries of the world; the country is about 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi) in size, and measures 82 km (51 mi) long and 57 km (35 mi) wide. It lies between latitudes 49° and 51° N, and longitudes 5° and 7° E.

To the east, Luxembourg borders the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and, to the south, it borders theFrench région of Lorraine. The Grand Duchy borders the Belgian Walloon Region, in particular the latter's provinces of Luxembourg andLiège, part of which comprises the German-speaking Community of Belgium, to the west and to the north respectively.

The northern third of the country is known as the 'Oesling', and forms part of the Ardennes. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff near Wilwerdange, which is the highest point, at 560 metres (1,837 ft). Other mountains are the 'Buurgplaaz' at 559 metres near Huldange and

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