mytopleft

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Luxembourg gives props

Sure, it took them a while, but Luxembourg came by as a first-time visitor. I was once on my way from Munich to Lucerne and passed this close to Luxembourg, but it was closed (you can drop into the consulate or whatever and get a Luxembourg stamp in your passport for a few bucks, but it was after hours.). Anyway, I might have missed Luxembourg, but Luxembourg has now visited me.

Officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the country is really fucking small but has three official languages -- German, French and Luxembourgese. It is smack-dab in the middle of Western Europe and, as I mentioned, really small. But it looks pretty cool to me:
It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. It comprises two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland ("good country") in the south.[8] Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012[9] and has an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), making it one of the smallest sovereign nations in Europe.[10]
As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by a grand duke, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the world's only remaininggrand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the United Nations in 2014. Its central location has historically made it of great strategic importance to numerous powers, dating back to its founding as a Roman fortress, its hosting of a vital Frankish castle during the Early Middle Ages, and its role as a bastion for the Spanish Road between 16th and 17th centuries.
I mean, seriously, who doesn't like an ancient Roman fortress or a Frankish castle? Really? I'm in.

Basically, Luxembourg is doing OK for itself:
Luxembourg's stable and high-income market economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation.[39] Unemployment is traditionally low, although it had risen to 6.1% by May 2012, due largely to the effect of the 2008 global financial crisis.[40] Consequently, Luxembourg's economy is forecast to have negligible growth in 2012.[41] In 2011, according to the IMF, Luxembourg was the second richest country in the world, with a per capita GDP on a purchasing-power parity (PPP) basis of $80,119.[42]Luxembourg is ranked 13th in the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom,[43] 26th in the United Nations Human Development Index, and 4th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life index.[44]
Must be nice. As a history buff, though, I'm a sucker for this kind of shit:


 I mean, who isn't? Anyway, let's give a big Eff You welcome to Luxembourg as my triumphant march through Europe continues.

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