UMS United Management Services
Presentation Scope Luxemburg Contact
Specificities in the Grand Duchy
International Relations
Founded in 963, Luxembourg became an important military stronghold in the course of history due to its strategic geographical situation in the heart of Europe, between what nowadays is France, Belgium and Germany. Called the “Gibraltar of the North”, it thus became a prey to regular invasions and occupations. After the rule of the Holy Roman Empire – three of whose rulers in the 14th and 15th centuries came from the House of Luxembourg – the country owed its continued existence to a mixture of good fortune and diplomacy, which prevented it from being permanently absorbed into the territories of its larger neighbours. However, by the time that it finally was granted the status of a sovereign state in 1815 and gained its real independence in 1839, Luxembourg was left with such a tiny territory that its people had to look outside its borders for economic survival.
By the force of circumstances Luxembourg has thus been led to a cosmopolitan attitude, which has characterized the country up to the present day. This is exemplified not only by the fact that the Grand Duchy has the highest percentage of foreigners of any EU country – more than one third of its 440,000 inhabitants - but also by the fact that its people speak at least three languages. After being liberated from the German occupation in World War II by the Americans in 1944, the modest Luxembourg both has experienced a spectacular economic growth and has emerged as an important actor in international politics.