Luxembourgish, Letzeburgesch, or Luxembourgian is a West Germanic language, spoken in Luxembourg. About 390,000 people speak Luxembourgish worldwide. A variety of the Moselle Franconian dialect group, Luxembourgish has similarities with other varieties of High German and the wider group of West Germanic languages; the status of Luxembourgish as an official language in Luxembourg and the existence there of a regulatory body, has removed Luxembourgish, at least in part, from the domain of Standard German, its traditional Dachsprache. Luxembourgish belongs to the West Central German group of High German languages and is the primary example of a Moselle Franconian language. Luxembourgish is the national language of Luxembourg and one of three administrative languages, alongside French and German. In Luxembourg, 50.9% of citizens can speak Luxembourgish. Luxembourgish is spoken in the Arelerland region of Belgium and in small parts of Lorraine in France. In the German Eifel and Hunsrück regions, similar local Moselle Franconian dialects of German are spoken.
The language is spoken by a few descendants of Luxembourg immigrants in the United States and Canada. Additionally, in the German Eifel and Hunsrück regions, similar local Moselle Franconian dialects of German are spoken. Other Moselle Franconian dialects are spoken by ethnic Germans long settled in Transylvania, Romania. Moselle Franconian dialects outside the Luxembourg state border tend to have far fewer French loan words, these remain from the French Revolution. There are several distinct dialect forms of Luxembourgish including Areler, Kliärrwer, Stater, Veiner and Weelzer. Further small vocabulary differences may be seen between small villages. Increasing mobility of the population and the dissemination of the language through mass media such as radio and television are leading to a gradual standardisation towards a "Standard Luxembourgish" through the process of koineization. There is no distinct geographic boundary between the use of Luxembourgish and the use of other related High German dialects.
Spoken Luxembourgish is hard to understand for speakers of German who are not familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects. However, they can read the language to some degree. For those Germans familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects, it is easy to understand and speak Luxembourgish as far as the everyday vocabulary is concerned. However, the large number of French loanwords in Luxembourgish may hamper communication about certain topics, or with certain speakers. There is no intelligibility between Luxembourgish and French or any of the Romance dialects spoken in the adjacent parts of Belgium and France. Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, President of the Christian Social People's Party of Luxembourg 1995–2003, was active in promoting the language beyond Luxembourg's borders. A number of proposals for standardising the orthography of Luxembourgish can be documented, going back to the middle of the 19th century. There was no recognised system, until the adoption of the "OLO" on 5 June 1946; this orthography provided a system for speakers of all varieties of Luxembourgish to transcribe words the way they pronounced them, rather than imposing a single, standard spelling for the words of the language.
The rules explicitly rejected certain elements of German orthography. New principles were adopted for the spelling of French loanwords. Fiireje, rééjelen, shwèzt, veinejer bültê, âprê, ssistém This proposed orthography, so different from existing "foreign" standards that people were familiar with, did not enjoy widespread approval. A more successful standard emerged from the work of the committee of specialists charged with the task of creating the Luxemburger Wörterbuch, published in 5 volumes between 1950 and 1977; the orthographic conventions adopted in this decades-long project, set out in Bruch, provided the basis of the standard orthography that became official on 10 October 1975. Modifications to this standard were proposed by the Conseil permanent de la langue luxembourgeoise and adopted in the spelling reform of 30 July 1999. A detailed explanation of current practice for Luxembourgish can be found in Lulling; the Luxembourgish alphabet consists of the 26 Latin letters plus three letters with diacritics: "é", "ä", "ë".
In loanwords from French and Standard German, other diacritics are preserved: French: Boîte, Enquête, Piqûre, etc. German: blöd, Bühn, etc. Like many other varieties of Western High German, Luxembourgish has a rule of final n-deletion in certain contexts; the effects of this rule are indicated in writing, therefore must be taken into account when spelling words and morphemes ending in ⟨n⟩ or ⟨nn⟩. For example: wann ech ginn "when I go", but wa mer ginn "when we go" fënnefandrësseg "thirty-five", but fënnefavéierzeg "forty-five"; the consonant inventory of Luxembourgish is quite similar to that of Standard German. /p͡f/ occurs only in loanwords from Standard German. Just as among many native German-speakers, it tends to be simplified to word-initia
Geography of Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a small country located in the Low Countries, part of North-West Europe It borders Belgium for 148 kilometres to the west and north, France to the south, Germany to the east. Luxembourg is separated from the North Sea by Belgium; the topography of the country is divided clearly between the hilly Oesling of the northern third of the Grand Duchy and the flat Gutland, which occupies the southern two-thirds. The country's longest river is the Sauer, a tributary of the Moselle, the basin of which includes all of Luxembourg's area. Other major rivers include the Wiltz in the north; the capital, by far the largest city, is Luxembourg City, located in the Gutland, as are most of the country's main population centres, including Esch-sur-Alzette and Differdange. Besides Luxembourg City, the other main towns are located in the southern Red Lands region, which lines the border between Luxembourg and France to the south. Despite its small size, Luxembourg has a varied topography, with two main features to its landscape.
The northern section of the country is formed by part of the plateau of the Ardennes, where the mountain heights range from 450 to 600 metres. The rest of the country is made up of undulating countryside with broad valleys; the capital, Luxembourg City, is located in the southern part of the country. The most prominent landmark, the high plateau of the Ardennes in the north. At its highest point, it reaches a height of 559 m. Known as the Oesling, the Ardennes region covers 840 square kilometres, about 32% of the entire country. Rugged scenery predominates because river erosion over thousands of years has left a varied, low mountain landscape, densely covered with vegetation, sometimes with considerable variations in height; these differences in relief, together with stretches of water interspersed with forests and pastures are the main features that make the landscape so distinctive. Typical of this high area, however, is the infertile soil and poor drainage resulting in numerous peat bogs, which were once exploited as fuel.
These factors, combined with heavy rainfall and frost, made this an inhospitable environment for the first settlers. Today, the living conditions in such an environment are not favourable; some 7,800 people make a living of the land through either forestry, small-scale farming, or environment work. Because the soil is so difficult to cultivate, most of the land is used for cattle pasture; the Ardennes region includes the Upper Sûre National Park, an important conservation area and a hiker's retreat. South of the Sûre River, the country is known as the Gutland; the region covers over two-thirds of the country. The terrain rises and falls with an average height of 200 m. Agriculture is the main activity as term Gutland arises from the fertile soil and warm, dry summers experienced is this part of the Duchy compared to the Oesling region; as a result and fruit, such as strawberries, apples and cherries, are grown in large quantities. River erosion in this area has created deep caves, resulting in some spectacular scenery.
In the extreme south of the country lies "the land of the red rocks" – a reference to the deposits of minerals found here. Rich in iron ore, the district has been a mining and heavy industrial region since Roman if not earlier times and stretches for over 19 km; the tall chimneys of the iron and steel works are typical landmarks of the industrial south. To the east lies the grape-growing valley of the Moselle. Numerous villages nestle behind the vineyards along the river banks. Most villages have at least one winery. In the east is the "Little Switzerland" area, characterized by wooded glens and ravines in unusual rock formations. Luxembourg has a number of minor rivers, such as the Eisch, the Alzette, the Pétrusse, but the main river is the Moselle with its tributaries-the Sûre and the Our. Together, their courses serve as a natural boundary between Germany. Along their banks, many of the country's medieval castles can be found; the Moselle rises in northeast France and flows north through Luxembourg for 31 km to join the mighty Rhine at Koblenz, Germany.
The Moselle is 510 km long, is navigable, due to canalization for 64 km. Green slopes, covered with vines, flank the meandering course of the river. Rising in Belgium, the Sûre River flows for 172 km in an easterly direction through Luxembourg and into the Moselle, its sinuous course cuts Luxembourg from east to west. The Our River, flowing along the northeastern border, is a tributary of the Sûre, its valley is surrounded by unspoiled countryside. The Upper Sûre lake is the largest stretch of water in the Grand Duchy. Surrounded by luxuriant vegetation and peaceful creeks, the lake is a centre for water sports, such as sailing and kayaking; such outdoor activities, which has made it an attractive spot for tourists, have led to the growth of a local crafts industry. The town of Esch-sur-Sûre nestles at one end of the lake. Above it, the river has been dammed to form a hydroelectric reservoir extending some 10 km up the valley; the Upper Sûre dam was built in the 1960s to meet the country's drinking water requirements.
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Moselle in Wasserbillig 133 m highest point: Kneiff in Troisvierges 560 m Luxembourg is part of the West European Continental climatic region, enjoys a temperate climate without extremes. Winters are mild, summers cool, rainfall is high. Seasonal weather is somewhat diffe
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
German occupation of Luxembourg during World War I
The German occupation of Luxembourg in World War I was the first of two military occupations of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by Germany in the 20th century. From August 1914 until the end of World War I on 11 November 1918, Luxembourg was under full occupation by the German Empire; the German government justified the occupation by citing the need to support their armies in neighbouring France, although many Luxembourgers and present, have interpreted German actions otherwise. During this period, Luxembourg was allowed to retain its own government and political system, but all proceedings were overshadowed by the German army's presence. Despite the overbearing distraction of the occupation, the Luxembourgish people attempted to lead their lives as as possible; the political parties attempted to focus on other matters, such as the economy and constitutional reform. The domestic political environment was further complicated by the death of Paul Eyschen, Prime Minister for 27 years. With his death came a string of short-lived governments, culminating in rebellion, constitutional turmoil after the withdrawal of German soldiers.
Since the 1867 Treaty of London, Luxembourg had been an explicitly neutral state. The Luxembourg Crisis had seen Prussia thwart France's attempt to purchase the Grand Duchy from the Netherlands. Luxembourg's neutrality was accepted by Prussia's then-Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who boasted, "In exchange for the fortress of Luxembourg, we have been compensated by the neutrality of the country, a guarantee that it shall be maintained in perpetuity."In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated by pan-Slavic nationalists, leading to a sudden deterioration in relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Austria-Hungary was supported by the German Empire, while Serbia had the backing of the Russian Empire. On 28 July, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, which, in turn, required the mobilisation of Russia, hence of Germany, thanks to its responsibilities under the Dual Alliance. Anticipating a retaliatory declaration of war from Russia's closest western ally, Germany put into action the Schlieffen Plan.
Under this military strategy, formulated by Count Schlieffen in 1905, Germany would launch a lightning attack on France through the poorly defended Low Countries. This would bypass France's main defences, arranged to the south. Germany's army would be able to encircle Paris, force France to surrender, turn its full attention to the Eastern Front. Since the 1860s, Luxembourgers had been keenly aware of German ambition, Luxembourg's government was well aware of the implications of the Schlieffen Plan. In 1911, Prime Minister Paul Eyschen commissioned an engineer to evaluate Germany's western railroad network the likelihood that Germany would occupy Luxembourg to suit its logistical needs for a campaign in France. Moreover, given the strong ethnic and linguistic links between Luxembourg and Germany, it was feared that Germany might seek to annex Luxembourg into its empire; the government of Luxembourg aimed to avoid this by re-affirming the country's neutrality. On 1 August 1914, Germany declared war on Russia.
On the outbreak of war with its eastern neighbour, Germany put the Schlieffen Plan into action, Luxembourg's government's fears were realised. Luxembourg was only a transit point for Albrecht von Württemberg's Fourth Army. One of the railways from the northern Rhineland into France passed through Troisvierges, in the far north of Luxembourg, Germany's first infringement of Luxembourg's sovereignty and neutrality was the unauthorised use of Troisvierges station. Eyschen could do nothing to prevent Germany's incursion; the next day, while French troops were still at a distance from the German frontier, Germany launched a full invasion. German soldiers began moving through south-eastern Luxembourg, crossing the Moselle River at Remich and Wasserbillig, headed towards the capital, Luxembourg City. Tens of thousands of German soldiers had been deployed to Luxembourg in those 24 hours. Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde ordered that the Grand Duchy's small army, which numbered under 400, not to resist. On the afternoon of 2 August she and Eyschen met the German commander Oberst Richard Karl von Tessmar on Luxembourg City's Adolphe Bridge, the symbol of Luxembourg's modernisation.
They protested mildly, but both the young Grand Duchess and her aging statesman accepted German military rule as inevitable. On 2 August, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg justified the complete occupation of Luxembourg in terms of military necessity, arguing that France was ready to invade Luxembourg itself; the French minister in Luxembourg dismissed this argument, claiming that it would not have considered violating Luxembourg's neutrality unless Germany had done so first. Bethmann Hollweg attempted to prove his country's regret by offering Luxembourg compensation for the losses due to the military presence. On 4 August, Bethmann Hollweg told the Reichstag: However, when it seemed that Germany was on the verge of victory, the Chancellor began to revise his statements. In his Septemberprogramm, Bethmann Hollweg called for Luxembourg to become a German federal state, for that result to be forced upon the Luxembourgish people once Germany achieved victory over the Triple Entente.
However, the British and French halted the German advance at the Battle of the Marne in mid-September. This resulted in the indefinite continuation of German occupation. Just as the war was in the balance on the Western Front, so the fate of Luxembourg was see-sawing back and forth, it was clear to all that the good conduct of the Luxembourg
The Luxembourgish franc was the currency of Luxembourg between 1854 and 1999. The franc remained in circulation until 2002. During the period 1999–2002, the franc was a subdivision of the euro but the euro did not circulate. Under the principle of "no obligation and no prohibition", financial transactions could be conducted in euros and francs, but physical payments could only be made in francs, as euro notes and coins were not available yet; the franc was subdivided into 100 centimes. The conquest of most of western Europe by Revolutionary and Napoleonic France led to the French franc's wide circulation, including in Luxembourg. However, incorporation into the Netherlands in 1815 resulted in the Dutch guilder becoming Luxembourg's currency. Following Belgium's independence from the Netherlands, the Belgian franc was adopted in 1839 and circulated in Luxembourg until 1842 and again from 1848. Between 1842 and 1848, Luxembourg used the Prussian Thaler. In 1854, Luxembourg began issuing its own franc, at par with the Belgian franc.
The Luxembourg franc followed the Belgian franc into the Latin Monetary Union in 1865. In 1926, Belgium withdrew from the Latin Monetary Union. However, the 1921 monetary union of Belgium and Luxembourg survived, forming the basis for the full Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union in 1932. In 1935, the link between the Luxembourg and Belgian francs was revised, with 1F = 1 1⁄4 BF. In May 1940, the franc was pegged to the German Reichsmark at a rate of 4 francs; this was changed to 10F = 1 Reichsmark in July 1940. On 26 August 1940, the Reichsmark was declared legal tender in Luxembourg and on 20 January 1941, the Reichsmark was declared the only legal tender and the franc was abolished; the Luxembourg franc was reestablished in 1944, once more tied to the Belgian franc at par. The Luxembourg franc was fixed at €1 = 40.3399F on 1 January 1999. Euro coins and banknotes were introduced on 1 January 2002. Old franc coins and notes lost their legal tender status on 28 February 2002. Between 1944 and 2002, 1 Luxembourg franc was equal to 1 Belgian franc.
Belgian francs were legal tender inside Luxembourg and Luxembourg francs were legal tender in Belgium. Payments in Luxembourg banknotes were refused by shopkeepers in Belgium, either through ignorance or from fear that their other customers would refuse the banknotes, forcing them to go through the hassle of a trip to their bank to redeem the value of the banknote. With a few early exceptions, the coins were identical in size and composition. Although they had distinct designs, the coins circulated in both Belgium; the first coins were issued in denominations of 2 1⁄2, 5 and 10 centimes. In 1901, the bronze 5- and 10-centime pieces were replaced by cupro-nickel coins. In 1915-1916, zinc 5-, 10- and 25-centime coins were issued by the occupying German forces. After the First World War, iron coins were issued in the same denominations before cupronickel was reintroduced in 1924, along with nickel 1- and 2-franc coins; the franc coins bore the inscription "Bon Pour", implying that they were tokens "good for" 1 or 2 francs.
Such inscriptions appeared on contemporary French and Belgian coins. In 1929, Luxembourg's first silver coins since the late 18th century were issued, 10 francs. Bronze 5, 10 and 25 centimes and nickel 50 centimes were introduced in 1930; the last coins before World War II were cupronickel 25-centime and 1-franc pieces issued in 1938 and 1939. The first coins issued after the war were bronze 25-centime and cupro-nickel 1-franc coins introduced in 1946; these were followed by cupronickel 5-franc coins in 1949. In 1952, the size of the 1-franc coin was reduced to match that of the Belgian 1-franc coin introduced in 1950. From this time on, all new Luxembourg coins matched the sizes and compositions of their Belgian counterparts, although the 25-centime coin was not changed to match the Belgian counterpart introduced in 1964. In 1971, nickel 10-franc coins were introduced, followed by bronze 20-franc coins in 1980 and nickel 50-franc coins in 1987; the size and composition of the 1- and 5-franc coins were again altered in 1988 and 1986 to match their Belgian counterparts.
A combination of being a small population and with Belgian coins so abundantly circulating in Luxembourg meant it was necessary for Luxembourg to issue coinage on a year by year basis in years during design changes when large numbers of coins were minted in Brussels to supply the small country for many years at a time. As a result, some dates appear in mint sets only while many other dates saw no standard issue coins minted at all. Many earlier dates changed with larger denominations being single year designs. Before the First World War, notes were issued by the International Bank in Luxembourg and the National Bank, denominated in Thaler and francs, with an exchange rate of 1 franc = 80 Pfennig used on bi-currency notes. In 1914, State Treasury notes were issued; the first series was denominated in francs and Mark but these were the last Luxembourg notes to feature the German currency. Denominations were of 2, 5, 25 and 125 francs. In 1919, a second series of State Treasury notes was issued, with new denominations of 50 centimes and 500 francs.
In 1923, the Internationa
Elections in Luxembourg
Elections in Luxembourg are held to determine the political composition of the representative institutions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a liberal representative democracy, with universal suffrage guaranteed under the constitution. Elections are held and are considered to be fair and free. Separate elections are held to elect representatives at communal and European levels; the main institution to which members are elected is the Chamber of Deputies, the national legislature and the sole source of membership and supply of the government. Luxembourg is represented by six MEPs to the European Parliament, who are elected with elections held in other European Union member states; the country has a multi-party system, traditionally defined by the existence of three large political parties: the Christian Social People's Party, the Democratic Party, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party. The three parties have won a large majority of the votes between them, but their total percentage has fallen such that two additional parties, the Greens and the Alternative Democratic Reform Party have recorded over 9% of votes at each of last two legislative elections.
The CSV has provided the Prime Minister for all but six years since 1918, has always been the largest party in the legislature. In this respect, Luxembourg has certain features of a dominant-party system, although coalition governments are the norm. Luxembourg's national legislature is the unicameral Chamber of Deputies; the Chamber has 60 members, known as'deputies', elected for a five-year term in four multi-seat constituencies, known as'circonscriptions'. Seats are allocated by proportional representation. Voting is compulsory for all voters on the electoral register. To be eligible to vote in elections to the Chamber of Deputies, one must fulfil the following criteria: One must be a Luxembourgish citizen. One must be eighteen years of age on election day. One must never have been convicted of a criminal offence. One must otherwise be in full possession of one's political rights. In addition to the criteria outlined above, to stand for election to the Chamber of Deputies, one must be resident in Luxembourg.
Furthermore, one can not be a candidate if one is a member of the Council of State. Deputies are elected from four constituencies, they are arranged geographically, as combinations of the twelve traditional cantons. The four circonscriptions are Centre, Nord, Sud; as the constituencies are based on geographic region and traditional borders, they have differing populations. To reflect this, each circonscription elects a different number of deputies. Voters can cast as many votes as their circonscription elects deputies, which can be spread across party lists or concentrated behind one single party; the seats are allocated according to the Hagenbach-Bischoff system. Since 1979, Luxembourg has elected members to the European Parliament, the primary representative organ of the EU, with the Council of the European Union, forms its legislative branch. Due to its small size, the Grand Duchy elects just six members out of a total of 732, more than only Malta. MEPs are elected to five-year terms; the exact date of elections is decided by Luxembourg, allowing it to schedule them on the same date as elections to the Chamber of Deputies.
To be eligible to vote in elections to the European Parliament, one must fulfil the following criteria: One must be a citizen of the European Union. One must be eighteen years of age on election day. One must never have been convicted of a criminal offence. One must otherwise be in full possession of one's political rights in one's own country of citizenship. If not a Luxembourgish citizen, must have been resident in Luxembourg for at least five of the past six years when enrolling on the electoral register. In addition to the criteria outlined above, to stand for election to the European Parliament, one must be resident in Luxembourg. There are extra requirements if one is a non-Luxembourgish citizen, in which case, one must be in full possession of one's political rights in both Luxembourg and one's country of citizenship, have resided in Luxembourg for the past five years; the seats are allocated according to the D'Hondt method. 1999 European election 2004 European election 2009 European election Each commune has an elected communal council.
The number of councillors varies from 7 to 19 based on the number of inhabitants. The councillors are directly elected every six years on the second Sunday of October; the last elections were held on 8 October 2017. The law of 15 December 2017 further defines that, in case the parliamentary and communal elections coincide, the latter are held in June of that year; the referendum was introduced into the Constitution of Luxembourg by the constitutional revision of 1919. The Constitution mentions
The Luxembourg Army is the national military force of Luxembourg. The army has been an all-volunteer force since 1967, it has a current strength of 450 professional soldiers—340 enlisted recruits and 100 civilians—with a total budget of $369 million, or 0.9% of GDP. The army is with the Grand Duke as Commander-in-Chief; the Minister for Defence François Bausch, oversees army operations. The professional head of the army is the Chief of Defence, who answers to the minister and holds the rank of general. Luxembourg has participated in the Eurocorps, has contributed troops to the UNPROFOR and IFOR missions in former Yugoslavia, has participated with a small contingent in the current NATO SFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Luxembourg troops have deployed to Afghanistan, to support ISAF; the army has participated in humanitarian relief missions such as setting up refugee camps for Kurds and providing emergency supplies to Albania. On 8 January 1817, William I, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, published a constitutional law governing the organization of a militia, the main provisions of which were to remain in force until the militia was abolished in 1881.
The law fixed the militia's strength at 3,000 men. Until 1840, Luxembourg’s militiamen served in units of the Royal Netherlands Army. Enlisted men served for five years: the first year consisted of active service, but during each of the subsequent four years of service they were mobilised only three times per year. In 1839, William I became a party to the Treaty of London by which the Grand-Duchy lost its western, francophone territories to the Belgian province of Luxembourg. Due to the country's population having been halved, with the loss of 160,000 inhabitants, the militia lost half its strength. Under the terms of the treaty and the newly formed Duchy of Limburg, both members of the German Confederation, were together required to provide a federal contingent consisting of a light infantry battalion garrisoned in Echternach, a cavalry squadron in Diekirch, an artillery detachment in Ettelbruck. In 1846, the cavalry and artillery units were disbanded and the Luxembourg contingent was separated from that of Limburg.
The Luxembourg contingent now consisted of two light infantry battalions, one in Echternach and the second in Diekirch. In 1866, the Austro-Prussian war resulted in the dissolution of the German Confederation. Luxembourg was declared neutral in perpetuity by the 1867 Treaty of London, in accordance its fortress was demolished in the following years. In 1867, the Prussian garrison left the fortress, the two battalions of Luxembourgish light infantry entered the city of Luxembourg that September. A new military organization was established in 1867, consisting of two battalions, known as the Corps des Chasseurs Luxembourgeois, having a total strength of 1,568 officers and men. In 1868, the contingent came to consist of one light infantry battalion of four companies, with a strength of 500 men. On 16 February 1881, the light infantry battalion was disbanded with the abolition of the militia-based system. On 16 February 1881, the Corps des Volontaires was established, it was composed of a company of gendarmes and one of volunteers.
In 1939, a corps of auxiliary volunteers was attached to the company of volunteers. Following the occupation of Luxembourg by Germany in May 1940, recruitment for the company of volunteers continued until 4 December 1940, when they were moved to Weimar, Germany, to be trained as German police. In 1944 during World War II, the Luxembourg Government, while exiled in London, made agreements for a group of seventy Luxembourg volunteers to be assigned to the Artillery Group of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade known as Brigade Piron, Jean-Baptiste Piron being the chief of this unit; this contingent was named the Luxembourg Battery. It was built up and trained by two Belgian officers. From August 1944, these were joined by Luxembourgish officers, who had received training in Britain. Several Luxembourgish NCOs and half of the country's troops had fought in North Africa in the French Foreign Legion; the rest were people who had escaped from Luxembourg, young men evading forcible conscription into the Wehrmacht by fleeing to Britain.
The Luxembourg unit landed in Normandy on 6 August 1944—at the same time as the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade and the French 2nd DB commanded by General Leclerc—two months after the D-Day landings. The Luxembourg Battery was equipped with four Ordnance QF 25 pounder howitzers, which were named after the four daughters of Grand Duchess Charlotte: Princesses Elisabeth, Marie Adelaide, Marie Gabriele and Alix. In 1944, obligatory military service was introduced. In 1945, the Corps de la Garde Grand Ducale garrisoned in the Saint-Esprit barracks in Luxembourg City and the 1st and 2nd infantry battalions were established, one in Walferdange and the other in Dudelange; the Luxembourg Army took charge of part of the French zone of occupation in Germany, the 2nd Battalion occupying part of the Bitburg district and a detachment from the 1st Battalion part of the Saarburg district. The 2nd Battalion remained in Bitburg until 1955. Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Brussels in March 1948, the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949.
Setting up an army after the war proved more difficult than predicted. To a certain extent, the authorities could rely on escaped German conscripts and Luxembourgers who had joined Allied armies. British military advisers came to Luxembourg, where training was carried out by British officers and NCOs, but officer training, in