Politics and institutions

Form of government: constitutional monarchy functioning as a parliamentary democracy

Capital: Luxembourg City (coordinates: 49° 36' 36" N, 6° 7' 40" E)

107.000 inhabitants, of whom some 70% are foreigners (31 December 2014). Luxembourg City has a history going back more than a thousand years. It was founded in 963, and counts a number of historic sites, including its former fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), as well as more contemporary sites. Luxembourg is one of Europe's most important financial centres. The city is home to several European Union institutions and is one of the capitals of Europe, along with Brussels and Strasbourg.

Independence: 1839 (from the Netherlands)

Territory:

  • Administrative division: 12 cantons, 105 municipalities, 4 electoral constituencies (South, East, Centre, North)
  • Judicial division: 2 judicial districts (Luxembourg City, Diekirch) with 3 magistrates’ courts (Luxembourg City, Esch-sur-Alzette, Diekirch).

National Day: 23 June

National symbols: national flag, national anthem, national coat of arms, the Wilhelmus (the anthem of the grand ducal house)

Constitution: Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg of 17 October 1868 (as modified since). The Constitution is currently undergoing revision.

Head of State: HRH Grand Duke Henri (acceded to the throne on 7 October 2000). HRH Prince Guillaume, who will be the next Grand Duke and Head of State, has had the title of Heir Apparent since 18 December 2000.

Parliament (Chamber of Deputies): single chamber with 60 members elected by proportional universal suffrage; president of the Chamber of Deputies: Mars Di Bartolomeo

State Council: its 21 members constitute a consultative body with the moderating effect of a second legislative assembly in the Grand Duchy's single-chamber political system; president of the State Council: Viviane Ecker

Head of Government: Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister (since December 2013)

Parties in power (since 2013): three-party coalition comprising the Democratic Party (DP), the Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and the Greens ('déi gréng').

Parties in power before 2013: between 1919 and 2013, the Christian Social Party (or Right-Wing Party before 1945) led all the government coalitions except for two (1925-1926 and 1974-1979).

Legislative/executive/judicial powers: Legislative power is exercised by the members of the Chamber of Deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The Grand Duke and the government form the executive power. A third body, the State Council, is consulted as part of the legislative process. The courts and tribunals exercise judicial power. They are independent in the exercise of their functions. As in all parliamentary democracies, the separation of powers in the Grand Duchy is flexible. There are many links between the legislative and executive powers. Only the judicial power is totally independent.

Judicial power: In the Grand Duchy, there are three magistrates' courts (Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg City and Diekirch), two district courts (Luxembourg City and Diekirch), and one Supreme Court of Justice (Luxembourg City), comprising the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. There is one administrative tribunal, one administrative court and one constitutional court in Luxembourg City. There are two judicial districts (Luxembourg City and Diekirch).

Electoral system: In the Grand Duchy, voting is a compulsory act of citizenship. Parliamentary elections are held every five years. The sixty members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation. At municipal elections, municipal councillors are elected directly by the inhabitants of the municipality for a six-year term of office. Every five years, Luxembourgers elect, by direct universal suffrage, six representatives of Luxembourg to the European Parliament. Luxembourgish nationals have the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections from the age of 18.

Army: The Grand Duchy's army, a professional force since 1996, has a complement of about 1,000 soldiers. Since 2004, nationals of other European Union member states may join. The Grand Duchy's army takes part in peacekeeping operations (UN and NATO). HRH Grand Duke Henri is the head of the Grand Duchy's army.

The Grand Duchy in the world

The Grand Duchy, founding member of major international organisations

The Grand Duchy is a founding member of a number of major international organisations, including Benelux, the Council of Europe, the forerunners to the European Union (ECSC, EEC, Euratom), NATO, OECD, and the UN, and a member of all the major international organisations. From 2013 to 2014, the Grand Duchy occupied a seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In March 2014, the Grand Duchy chaired the Security Council.

The Grand Duchy — a generous country with development aid amounting to about 1% of GNI

The Grand Duchy's international commitment is reflected in its public development aid, amounting to about 1% of the country's gross national income (GNI), which makes the Grand Duchy one of the five most generous countries in terms of development cooperation. The Grand Duchy's development aid focuses on about ten target countries (Mali, Senegal, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Niger, Laos, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Salvador).

Luxembourg City, capital of the European Union

Luxembourg City is one of the three 'capitals' of the European Union, along with Brussels and Strasbourg. Luxembourg City is home to a number of European departments and institutions, including several departments of the European Commission (translation, publications, statistics), the European Court of Auditors, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Parliament's Secretariat, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM).

The Grand Duchy — one of the six founding members of the European Union

After the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the Grand Duchy became one of the six founding members of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958. Located at the heart of Europe and a founding member of the EU, home to the headquarters of several institutions and bodies of the EU and the Eurozone, the Grand Duchy has always been seriously involved in the process of building Europe.

Luxembourgers working for Europe

Robert Schuman, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, was born in the Grand Duchy. Two former Luxembourg Prime Ministers, Gaston Thorn and Jacques Santer, have been presidents of the European Commission. The incumbent president of the European Commission is a Luxembourger, Jean-Claude Juncker (2014-2019). Anterior to this position, he was Prime Minister of Luxembourg (1995-1995) and first permanent president of the Eurogroup (2005-2013). Viviane Reding was vice-president of the European Commission (2010-2014). The former Luxembourg Prime Minister Pierre Werner (1959-1974, 1979-1984) is considered the father of the euro.

Schengen, a very European Luxembourgish wine village

It was on the Luxembourg stretch of the Moselle, at Schengen, that the Schengen Treaty, one of the most important agreements in the history of Europe, was signed in June 1985. The Schengen Agreements have become synonymous with freedom of movement in Europe, since they provide for the abolition of all border controls between Schengen countries. The European Museum in Schengen recalls the origins and impact of the Schengen Agreements.

The Grand Duchy at the heart of the Greater Region

The Grand Duchy is the economic, financial and commercial focus of the cross-border Greater Region (Lorraine, Saarland, Rhineland Palatinate, Wallonia and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg). For example, about 160,000 German, French and Belgian cross-border workers come into the Grand Duchy to work during the week.

The Grand Duchy — a reliable partner within Benelux

Benelux brings together the kingdoms of Belgium and the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The three states, which have always been closely connected, have been working together since 1947 to meet a number of challenges in the fields of the economy, security and sustainable development.

  • Updated 28-04-2015