In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Luxembourg, a small, landlocked European country at one of the central crossroads of Europe, bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. Officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the country has around 600,000 inhabitants and spans a total area of around 2,500 square kilometres or 1,000 square miles, making it roughly the same size as Hong Kong and about two thirds the size of the smallest US state – Rhode Island. The world’s only remaining Grand Duchy, it has been referred to throughout history as the ‘Gibraltar of the North’ for its strong fortifications and although that fortress has been occupied many times throughout its long history, since the 10th century it has always been a separate, if not autonomous, political entity. Today, the capital city of Luxembourg is one of three capitals of the European Union and is much better known for its financial prowess rather than its military fortifications. Most citizens here are at least trilingual, speaking French, German and Luxembourgish, and although it has one of the EU’s smallest populations, Luxembourg also has the fastest-growing population in Europe.
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Joe visited Luxembourg for us to do some research. Here are some photos from around the city and its fortifications:
Some further reading:
- World Atlas’ Luxembourg History timeline
- Book: “Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands” (Britannica Educational Publishing)
- An article from Carlow Museum about St Willbrord of Echternach and his connection to Carlow, Ireland (With videos of the ‘hopping’ traditions)
- Siege engineer Vauban oversaw the siege of Luxembourg by the French and its re-fortification afterwards
- ‘La muette de Portici’ is the name of the opera that played an iconic role in the Belgian Revolution, which also threw much of Luxembourg into turmoil
- UNESCO entry on Luxembourg’s “old quarters and fortifications” and their history, enrolling them as a world heritage site – dismantled as the price for neutrality. All that remains are the underground Bock Casemates, an important tourist attraction
- Robert Schumann, one of the founding fathers of the European Union was born here, quite near to the new district of Luxembourg city where a number of EU institutions are now based
- Expatica has a list of little-known facts about Luxembourg
- International Encyclopedia of the First World War – Luxembourg
- The Interwar Years – Luxembourg.public.lu
- Joe visited during the Cavalcade carnival in Diekirch. Here are a selection of photos he took at the celebrations: