Our Journey to Luxembourg (2024)

Lucilinburhuc is the ancient, Saxon name of the capital city, now called Luxembourg City, which means “Little fortress.” It was also known as, “The Gibraltar of the North” for it emulated the strategic location along an important military route, linking Germanic and Frankish territories. Luxembourg is a tiny country of just 998 square miles, located in Europe. The country is bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. Good things must come in small packages as we explore yet another country that is one of smallest, yet one of the richest.

Officially known as “The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg”, it is the only Grand Duchy that remains in the world today. It is run as a constitutional monarchy with hereditary succession. The powers of the Grand Duke are primarily formal. Executive order lies with the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Grand Duke. The Grand Duchy has belonged to many kingdoms and empires over its long history. Today the Grand Duke is Henri of Luxembourg. He and the Grand duch*ess reside in the Berg Castle and use the Grand Ducal Palace for official business.

The City of Luxembourg’s old quarters and fortifications are an UNESCO World Heritage site. From the 16th century until 1867 it was one of Europe’s greatest fortified sites. It was continuously reinforced as it passed from one great European power to the next. The Holy Roman Empire, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, French and Spanish Kings and finally the Prussians, all had a hand in its history. The Old City is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Petrusse Rivers. It is on an extremely steep outcropping, which acts as a natural fortification, and offers a spectacular setting as well.

Luxembourg is a beautiful country with a mild climate. It has lush, forested hills in the northern third, known as Oesling. These hills and valleys are home to the ruins of numerous castles which are a big tourist attraction. It is also home to a network of rivers which join the Moselle River on the border with Germany. The southern two thirds of Luxembourg are known as Bon Pays, or Gutland which means, “Good Land” in both French and German. This is the most populated area and also home to Luxembourg City. The canalized Moselle River connects them with the Rhine Waterway System, providing an avenue for the international movement of goods. The slopes of the Moselle River valley are covered with vineyards, which produce excellent wines. This area receives a substantial amount of sunshine, which is why it is called “Little Riviera.” The fertile soils of the lower Moselle and Sure valleys are rich pasturelands for livestock and agriculture.

The prosperity of Luxembourg came from the iron and steel industries, which in the 1960s represented 80 percent of their exports. Today, it is international banking and financial services, along with information technology and electronic commerce, which are the most valuable components of the economy. Many of the world’s largest companies have their European headquarters in Luxembourg; companies like Skype, Amazon and Paypal, just to name a few. Luxembourg is also known for the RTL (Radio, Television, Luxembourg). The group is Europe’s largest TV, Radio and Production Company with 34 television channels and 33 radio stations in 12 countries.

The Luxembourgers are world leaders in demonstrating the highest standard of living and per capita income. They have the highest minimum wage in the EU. Additionally, the Heritage Foundation has ranked Luxembourg first in Europe and fourth in the world, for economic freedom. It is also very safe place. According to the UN it is the least likely place you will ever be shot. They have a police force of 1300 officers and only two jails.

Luxembourg was occupied by Germany during both World Wars, despite being a neutral state. After World War II, they joined forces with Belgium and the Netherlands to form the Benelux Customs Union in 1944. It was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957, which became the European Union (EU) in 1993. Luxembourg was also a founding member of NATO in 1959. The highest court in the EU in matters, of EU law, is located in Luxembourg. The most powerful person in the EU, Jean-Claude Junker, holds the position of President of the European Commission and is Luxembourgish. He has held the position since 2014 but has not been without controversy. At the end of 2014 investigative journalists leaked some 28,000 tax agreements and other documents of about 350 companies, including Pepsi, IKEA, Proctor & Gambles, JP Morgan and FedEx, which exposed how they saved millions due to Luxembourg’s favorable tax rates. The scandal was called Luxleaks and has forced major business reforms.

The population of Luxembourg is small, with only about 563,000 calling it home. Almost half of the permanent residents are foreign. They have about 170 different nationalities living in the country. Portuguese make up the biggest minority group, at 16.4 percent. The official language is Luxembourgish, a dialect of German with French mixed in. Children are taught Luxembourgish in nursery school, then taught French and German in primary school and then English at the secondary level. All four of these languages, as well as Portuguese, are commonly spoken. The Luxembourg Parliament uses Luxembourgish, however, the laws are made in French. School attendance in the Grand Duchy is compulsory between the ages of 4 and 16. There are both public and private schools, all geared toward university and higher education. Most citizens go to other countries for their higher education but now Luxembourg offers their own university as an alternative, which focuses on business and management, the arts and healthcare.

There are lots of festivals and holidays in Luxembourg; many of them religious, as 87% of the population are Roman Catholic. The capital, Luxembourg City was actually listed twice as the “European Capital of Culture.” They do a good job of promoting their heritage, along with their leading artists, photographers, writers and musicians.

The cuisine of Luxembourg is largely influenced by its neighbors. It is often described as food that combines the rustic German heartiness, with French finesse and a little Iberian flavor thrown in, for good measure. Luxembourgish food will be large portions, lots of meat, fish, potatoes, and beans usually with cream and wine. There is a rediscovery happening of the traditional cuisine, with many chefs including recipes from their grandmothers on the menu. Some of these dishes are Judd Mat Gaardebounden (neck of pork with broad beans), Traiipen (fried blood sausage) served with applesauce and Kuddelfleck, (tripe served breaded in a tomato sauce). The Moselle River Valley is known for trout in Riesling sauce, fried fish and home-smoked ham.

So let’s enjoy a Luxembourgish meal.

The Menu


Potato Skins with Whipped Cod Roe


Bou’neshlupp (Green Bean Soup)


Salade Madame Seguin (Greens with Warm Goat Cheese)

Main Course

F’rell am Reisleck (Trout in Riesling Sauce)

Served with Gromperekichelcher (Potato Fritters)


Keiskuch (Cheese Cake)

We set the table with the colors of the Luxembourg flag; red, white and blue. Our centerpiece was a lovely bouquet of red roses, their national flower. We enjoyed the meal continental style (fork in the left hand, knife in the right) which is customary there. This meal was extra special as we were joined by my sister and her husband from Texas, whose company enhances any occasion. Dining etiquette in Luxembourg is formal. We began with a toast of a nice glass of Riesling that the country is known for and said, “Prost” which means “Cheers” and joined with a clink of our glasses.

Our starter course was a really delicious and unique appetizer that is well worth the effort. It was a fried potato skin, stuffed with a whipped cod roe and topped with caviar. This was a luxurious and wonderful appetizer and a great beginning as to what was to come.

A soup course came next; a very popular dish in Luxembourg called, Bou’neshlupp. This was an amazing green bean soup made with diced potatoes, chopped onion, and bacon bits with a dab of cream. The sliced green beans in the soup were cooked perfectly “al-dente.” We all loved it!

The next three dishes were served family style; an elegant, garden salad made with super, fresh salad greens right from the International Cuisine garden, topped with home grown tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. It was dressed with a walnut and Riesling dressing, and served with a slice of baguette, topped with melted goat cheese. Heaven!

The main course was the magnificent trout in Riesling sauce. The trout was first fried with butter in a pan for a short time. A sauce was made of chopped tarragon, chives, chervil, shallots and parsley, all from the IC Garden as well. Riesling and cream were added and the trout was cooked in the oven until tender and flaky. The trout was served in the cream sauce and was so lovely and succulent. Also served with the trout, were potato fritters, which were awesome.

For dessert, we had a cheese cake called, Keiskuch, which was actually more of a curd pie than a cake. It turned out pretty good, but I think using cream cheese instead of cottage cheese would have been more authentic and a bit tastier. The cake/pie was topped with fresh blueberries from our garden. After the meal, we set our fork and knife together in the 5:25 position, signifying we were full and satisfied.

As we say goodbye to this little country called Luxembourg, I leave you simply with their motto:

Mir wellebleiwewatmirsinn, which means “We want to remain what we are” and who could blame them!

Until next time,

Warmest regards, Darlene

Our Journey to Luxembourg (2024)


How many days is enough for Luxembourg? ›

Whether you decide to see Luxembourg in one day or longer you will find lots of options below of what to do in Luxembourg city and also many things to do in the rest of Luxembourg. Many people ask “But how many days in Luxembourg?” and my answer is that you need at least 3-4 days to see the whole country.

Is one day enough to see Luxembourg? ›

And since it's landlocked with 3 major other European countries, it's the perfect spot for a day or weekend trip! To answer the original question, one day in Luxembourg City is definitely enough time.

Is half day enough for Luxembourg? ›

Luxembourg City is small enough that you can explore the highlights in a half day, and you'll want to tack on an extra 90 minutes if you plan to include the American Cemetery in your itinerary.

Is going to Luxembourg worth it? ›

It's small — Both the city and the country are pretty small, and the choice of attractions is rather limited. Most people stay for 1 to 2 days at most when they visit. Yet, hikers and nature walk lovers will enjoy the countryside in Luxembourg.

What is the best month to go to Luxembourg? ›

Luxembourg is a breathtaking country that can be enjoyed year-round regardless of the weather. That said, June, July and August are generally considered the best time to visit.

Is Luxembourg expensive to stay? ›

While the country may be small, it packs a punch when it comes to expenses. Luxembourg is known for being an expensive city, with high costs for housing, food, and entertainment.

Which is better, Brussels or Luxembourg? ›

Brussels is expansive city with much to see and do including the Atomium, Grand Place, parks and the European Quarter. Luxembourg City is smaller and charming. Both offer good restaurants and share the same common currency - the Euro. You might want base yourself one city, while visiting the other.

What is the best part of Luxembourg to stay in? ›

As it happens, the best neighborhoods for the most common travel goals have already been identified.
  • Ville Haute (Old Town) – the ideal choice for historical tourism. ...
  • Kirchberg – the business hotspot for suits. ...
  • Luxembourg Gare – ideal for train travellers. ...
  • Grund (Lower Town) – for peace and quiet in the capital.
Apr 3, 2024

What is the best way to travel in Luxembourg? ›

By Train & Bus

The Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (tel. 49-90-49-90; www.cfl.lu), or Luxembourg Railways, operates frequent trains throughout the Grand Duchy, with connecting bus service to those points the rails don't reach. Going by train is a great way to get around.

Can you walk across Luxembourg in a day? ›

Walking across Luxembourg, though the 175th smallest country in the world, is no easy feat; compared to the rest of the European options on this list, it comes in at 2,586 sq km, with a maximum length of 82 km and width of 57 km. You have to customise a route or trail blaze to cross the country in a day or weekend.

What foods is Luxembourg known for? ›

Luxembourg has many delicacies. In addition to French pâtisseries, cake and fruit pies, local pastries include the Pretzel, a Lent speciality; Quetscheflued, a zwetschge tart; verwurelt Gedanken or Verwurelter, small powdered sugar-coated doughnuts; and Äppelklatzen, apples en croûte.

How much money do you need in Luxembourg? ›

What is the cost of living in Luxembourg? The amount depends on a variety of factors. The average cost of living in Luxembourg for a family of four can be between 6,000 and 8,000 euros per month, including rent, utilities, healthcare and childcare costs. It strongly depends on the family and the necessities, though.

Why is Luxembourg so famous? ›

Luxembourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union (alongside Brussels, Frankfurt and Strasbourg), as it is the seat of several institutions, agencies and bodies, including the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Auditors, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the European ...

Is Luxembourg a walkable city? ›

This location is Very Walkable so most errands can be accomplished on foot.

How safe is it to travel to Luxembourg? ›

We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places. Violent crime isn't common in Luxembourg and the overall crime rate is low. However, petty crime, such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing, does occur.

How many nights should I stay in Luxembourg? ›

Luxembourg is indeed a small country. You will not need more than 3 days for the basics.

How long should you stay in Luxembourg City? ›

Luxembourg City is easy to visit if you only have one day, since it is a compact city with just a few big sites. With one day in Luxembourg, visit the old town, tour the old fortifications of the city, walk the Chemin de la Corniche, and explore the Grund.

How many vacation days do you get in Luxembourg? ›

All full-time employees receive at least 26 days of paid vacation per year. Certain categories of employees are entitled to more vacation days: workers with disabilities or those who have experienced a work-related injury, workers in the mining sector, and some other specific categories of employment.

How much money do you need for Luxembourg? ›

While you will enjoy the high standard of living in Luxembourg, you should know it doesn't come cheap. As a student, you will spend between 700 and 1,500 EUR every month to cover your living costs. Luxembourg is part of the European Union, so the national currency is the euro (EUR).


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