Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a landlocked country inWestern Europe. 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. Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012, and has an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), making it one of the smallest sovereign nations in Europe.
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 remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's second highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the World Bank. 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.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, the United Nations, and Benelux, reflecting its political consensus in favour of economic, political, and military integration. The city of Luxembourg, which is the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU. On 18 October 2012, Luxembourg was elected to a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council for the first time in its history. The country served on the Security Council from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2014. Reflecting its geographic position, Luxembourg's culture is a fusion of Romanic and Germanic Europe, integrating customs of each. Accordingly, Luxembourg is a trilingual country:Luxembourgish, French and German are official languages. Although a secular state, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic.
Luxembourg's stable and high-income market economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation. Unemployment is traditionally low. 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.Luxembourg is ranked 13th in the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, 26th in the United Nations Human Development Index, and 4th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life index.
The industrial sector, which was dominated by steel until the 1960s, has since diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. During the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than compensated for the decline in steel production. Services, especially banking and finance, account for the majority of economic output. Luxembourg is the world's second largest investment fund centre, the most important private banking centre in the eurozone and Europe's leading centre for reinsurance companies. Moreover, the Luxembourg government has aimed to attract internet start-ups, with Skype and Amazon being two of the many internet companies that have shifted their regional headquarters to Luxembourg.
Agriculture is based on small, family-owned farms.
With $147 billion (April 2013), the country ranks eleventh in the world in holdings of U.S. Treasury securities