Luxembourg is a small EU country in Western Europe, also part of the Schengen Zone. The country’s official name is Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and its territory is surrounded by other Schengen Member States – Germany, Belgium, and France.
Luxembourg’s geographical position is extremely favourable for economic activities with major European countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium. Hence, Luxembourg stands out as an international financial centre, noted for its political and economic stability.
The country has great economic development and receives foreign investment in the service sector and industry. Until the 1970s, the industrial sector was based on the steel industry. However, this activity has been declining. On the other hand, the financial sector has been strengthening and is responsible for a big share of the national GDP.
As with most EU countries of Western Europe, Luxembourgians enjoy an excellent standard of living, and according to UN data, Luxembourg ranks 24th in the world ranking of Human Development Index (HDI).
The region where Luxembourg is located – between Germany, Belgium and France – was historically inhabited by Frankish tribes and later incorporated into the Holy Roman-German Empire of Charlemagne.
In 963, the Count of Ardennes founded the country, which decades later gained independence as a Grand Duchy. In 1948, Luxembourg established a customs union with Belgium and Holland, known as Benelux.
In the capital, Luxembourg City, lies the Grand Ducal Palace, a beautiful palace located next to Place Guillaume, the main square of the city. The Church of Notre Dame is not as famous as the French one but retains the charm of a 17-century building. Visitors who enjoy hiking should check the Chemin de La Corniche, a promenade that features breathtaking views of the city.
Despite being Schengen territory, Luxembourg is not usually the first or final destination foreign travellers, like Canadians or Americans for example. Thus, most visitors arrive in Luxembourg by train, often coming from Paris, Amsterdam, or Brussels.
In 1958, after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Luxembourg became an active part of the EU together with Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. In 1985, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed the Schengen Agreement, and by 1995 the Schengen Area was established. Since then, Luxembourg has played an important role as one of the founding members of both the Schengen Area and the European Union.
Europe has been compelled to redesign its immigration policies following the 2015 series of terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, as well as the escalation of the Syrian immigration crisis in 2016. As a means to address immigration-related issues, Luxembourg and other European nations began discussing alternatives to enhance internal security. One of the measures proposed by the European Commission was a reform in legislation and the introduction of a new entry/exit system, the ETIAS.
The government of Luxembourg has supported the implementation of the ETIAS and together with the other Schengen Member States it plans to introduce the new systems in 2021. Similar to the U.S. ESTA, the European Travel and Information Authorization System will gather personal and travel information from non-EU travellers before they arrive in the Schengen territory. This will allow authorities from Luxembourg and other EU nations to identify potential threats to the health and safety of the European community.
The ETIAS system will be directed to nationals of countries which are part of the Schengen visa-waiver agreement, like Canada and Australia. Hence, EU citizens travelling to Luxembourg will not need an ETIAS and can continue to visit the country visa-free.