The small landlocked country of Luxembourg, officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, covers a total land area of less than a thousand square miles (998.6). Located in the western portion of Europe, the nation of Luxembourg is home to approximately 593,921 people, a figure which represents a mere 0.01% of the world’s total population. A large majority (about 87%) of the country’s citizens live in urban areas of Luxembourg.
The nation’s capital, Luxembourg City, along with Brussels (Belgium) and Strasbourg (France), serves as one of three capital cities of the European Union. Luxembourg is a democratic country led by a constitutional monarch, a post currently held by Grand Duke Henri. Luxembourg holds the unique distinction of being the only grand duchy left in the entire world. Luxembourg shares a border with three larger countries; Belgium, Germany, and France.
The s-shaped borderline between Luxembourg and Belgium was established in 1839 but didn’t take its current form until 1919. The border runs for a total of 91 miles and includes 507 border markers. The southern portion of the borderline begins at the intersection of the national borders of France, Belgium, and Luxembourg and ends in the north at the intersection of the borders of the countries of Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
Border crossing between Luxembourg and neighboring Belgium regularly take place through various towns and municipalities in the general vicinity including Athus, Aubange, Gouvy, Leithum, Pétange, Rodange, and Martelange.
The Luxembourg-Belgium border was initially established after Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands following the London Conference in 1831. At that time, part of the territory under the jurisdiction of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was given over to Belgium. During this period in its history, Belgium still governed the French speaking portion of Luxembourg as well as the Arlon region.
The Belgium-Luxembourg borderline underwent an official change after the 1919 implementation of the Treaty of Versailles. The most significant development which resulted from this was the fact that Luxembourg once again took control of its French speaking region.
The border that separates the European countries of Luxembourg and Germany spans a length of 85 miles and runs through the German areas of Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland. This international border runs from the southern area near Schengen and ends at Ouren. In part it’s due to this region’s long history of political and military conflict that the borderline has undergone a variety of changes throughout the years. Initially established in 1816, the border was redrawn in 1890, then once again in 1959, and only to take on its present form in 1984.
In terms of geography, the Germany-Luxembourg border strictly follows the paths established by the regions waterways. In the north, this body of water is the Our River which runs a length of 48 miles through the nations of Luxembourg, Belgium, and Germany. To the south the border follows Moselle, a 339 mile long tributary of the larger Rhine River. The middle portion of the border follows the Sauer, a 107 mile tributary of the Moselle river.
The border between Luxembourg and Germany has undergone many changes over its history. In 1815 the border was established by the Vienna accords but this changed in 1815 and 1816 following agreements between the governments of Luxembourg and Prussia. In World War II, German forces succeeded in annexing Luxembourg but this ended in 1944 following the end of the war. In 1949, Luxembourg was given control of several German territories including Kammerwald but this only lasted for ten years until the disputed territory went back into German control. The current international borderline between these two countries was established in 1984 according to the Grenzvertrag Boundary Treaty.
Among popular sites located on the Germany-Luxembourg border is the German town of Trier which is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as the site of various structural remains dating back to the Roman era. The town also draws visitors due to the fact that it was the birthplace of economist/political theorist/social revolutionary Karl Marx. In Trier visitors can tour Karl Marx House which in 1818 was the building where the father of communism and socialism was born. The property has now been turned into a museum.
The present day border between Luxembourg and France was established in 2007 and runs a length of 45 miles. In France, the towns and regions that directly border Luxembourg include Lorraine, Moselle, and Meurthe-et-Moselle. Among the many border crossing areas between Luxembourg and France are the towns of Mondorf-les-Bains, Pétange, Rumelange (in Luxembourg), and Mondorff (in France).
Unlike many international borderlines the border between Luxembourg and France is known as a "melting pot-border" or open border which allows for a large number of citizens to cross from country to country on a regular basis. It’s been estimated that approximately 94,697 French citizens actually work in the nation of Luxembourg. This degree of cross border cooperation is achieved due to the implementation of the Karlsruhe Agreement which involves the nations of Switzerland, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. The region also benefits from the France-Luxembourg Intergovernmental Commission within the so called Greater Region (Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg).
The Luxembourg-France border is characterized by a large degree of mutual cooperation between the two neighboring countries. Because of this both nations benefit economically as well as in terms of ease of transportation and the overall quality of life enjoyed by residents of both nations.
Popular spots to visit along the Luxembourg-France border include the French cities of Metz and Verdun. Metz is located at the intersection of the Moselle and Seille rivers. The city has become well known for its emphasis on urban ecology including extensive public gardens and green public transportation. The small city of Verdun near the border first gained worldwide attention during World War I when fierce fighting in the area lasted for eleven months and resulted in heavy German losses estimated to include 400,000 deaths. The historic city was also the site of the Battle of Verdun which was fought in 1792 between the French and Prussian armies.
About the Author
C.L. Illsley hods a BA degree in English and a BFA. in Film Studies. She has written for various publications & websites including Montreal Rampage where she currently contributes film reviews & entertainment related articles.
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