The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a landlocked country in the Benelux bordered by Belgium, France and Germany which lies at the crossroads of Germanic and Latin cultures. It is the only Grand Duchy in the world and is the second-smallest of the European Union member states. With a successful steel, finance and high technology industry, a strategic location at the heart of Western Europe, more natural beauty than you might expect given its size, and as one of the three richest countries in the world, Luxembourg enjoys a very high standard of living - and has prices to match!
The city of Luxembourg proper was founded in 963, and its strategic position soon promised it a great fate. Luxembourg was at the crossroads of Western Europe and became heavily fortified, and you can still see the extensive city walls and towers which are the most distinctive aspect of the cityscape. Due to its key position, Luxembourg was raised up to a Duchy that included a much larger territory that stretched into present-day Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and France.
Luxembourg is a multilingual nation. However, unlike most nations, language use is usually regulated by social situation rather than by local geography. Luxembourgish ("Lëtzebuergesch") - a Germanic language that incorporates many French loan-words - is the national language. It is spoken natively by just over half of the native population, and is the main language of television and radio broadcasts.
Traditional dishes are largely based on pork and potatoes and the influence of German and central European cooking is undeniable. The unofficial national dish is judd mat gaardebounen, or smoked pork neck served with boiled broad beans. A must to try if you do get the opportunity are Gromperekichelchen (literally, Potato Biscuits) which are a type of fried shredded potato cake containing onions, shallots and parsley. Typically found served at outdoor events such as markets or funfairs they are absolutely delicious and a particularly nice snack on a cold winter's day. In most restaurants however, the typical local food would be French cuisine coming in bigger portions. Italian food has been popular since the 1960s. Home cooking has been very influenced by the recipes of Ketty Thull, apparently the best-selling cooking and baking book in Luxembourg since WW II. The Luxembourg white wines from the Moselle valley to the east of Luxembourg include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner and Elbling to name just a few and are good. In autumn, many villages along the Moselle river organise wine-tasting village festivals. Young people tend to drink local or imported beer. Luxembourg has a number of breweries, with Diekirch, from the village of the same name, Bofferding, Battin, and Mousel being the most popular. As an after dinner digestive, Luxembourgers like to drink an eau-de-vie . The most commonly available are Mirabelle and Quetsch. Both are made from plums and are extremely strong! Sometimes these are taken in coffee which may be a little more palatable for some.