You Won’t Believe These 10 Incredible Facts Are True In Luxembourg – Mertet River
Mertet River Port, Luxembourg
The only trimodal platform (water highway) that connects Luxembourg to the outer seas, Mertet River Port is located between Grevenmachen and Trier locks. It plays a significant role in the import of oil into Luxembourg as well as the export of agri-food products and construction materials. Ships use the ARA ports (Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam) and other inland ports in Central Europe to connect into this port of Mertet River.
An Overview On Luxembourg:
It may look like a dot on the map of Central Europe but Luxembourg is the 3rd richest nation (next to Qatar and Macau) and one of the top 10 safest countries in the world. Founded in 963 A.D. by Sigefroid, Count of Ardennes (now a part of Belgium), he named the place Lucilinburhue (“little fortress”). He built a fort on this site and in the next years, the little fort would become a major one and be called County of Luxembourg.
For centuries, Luxembourg was a pawn of 3 European powers – France, Spain and Austria – until it became independent in 1815 right after the fall of Napoleon. The Congress of Vienna gave the power to the King of the Netherlands to possess Luxembourg. Then it lost half of its territory to Belgium in 1839. With the remaining lands, the state gained its full independence in 1867 after the signing of the Treaty of London.
It was made into a Grand Duchy which remained up to this day. Luxembourg is ruled by a duke/duchess and the reigning ceremonial head is Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The territory’s full name is Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the only one existing as such in the world.
A tiny, landlocked country in Western Europe, we were in Luxembourg in January 1999 aboard the tanker Knock Muir. And because it’s enclosed by Belgium, France and Germany we used a single bouy mooring from the Port of Antwerp (Belgium) thru Luxembourg’s Mertet River to discharge crude oil into this territory. Small in area but huge in greatness it has quite a lot to offer. Let’s dive into these 10 incredible facts you won’t believe are true in Luxembourg.
1. It PAYS the highest minimum salary in the European Union.
You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg but it’s the second country in the world (first in the EU) that pays the highest minimum salary for workers. Next to Australia, workers receive 2, 141.99 Euros per month. Unemployment in Luxembourg is the lowest in the whole of Europe.
2. Most of its workforce are NOT actually from Luxembourg.
And since the territory pays the highest minimum salary in the EU, most of the workers come across its borders (France, Belgium and Germany). You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg. Indeed, these non-Luxembourg nationals commute daily into the country making up to almost half of its workforce.
3. It’s the first country in the world to offer FREE rides to commuters.
You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg – the only country in the world with a public transport free. As a very wealthy nation, Luxembourg offers free public rides. This is to help its less well-off workers and to reduce traffic.
4. UNDERNEATH the city of Luxembourg is a 17-km tunnel used once as a shelter.
Cut from a solid rock that served as a shelter in the last two World Wars is Bock Casemates, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg, this honeycomb of tunnels protected the city for centuries. Dug as early as 1644, this tunnel runs under the ruins of an old fortress. And you can actually wander through all the open passages to experience the underground world.
5. It is a TAX HAVEN for some of world’s top corporations and the wealthy.
You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg but it’s one of the world’s major tax havens and a financial center for big corporations. Since the 1960s, due to its banking secrecy laws, this country rose as a financial center for the off-shore trade f European bonds. Amazon, Skype, Paypal, Pepsi, these are just some of the corporations that have headquarters in Luxembourg for its favorable tax laws.
6. Luxembourgers are MULTI-LINGUAL.
The people of Luxembourg use 3 languages- French, German and Luxembourgish. You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg. In addition to these 3 languages, English and Portuguese are also widely used. Whew!
7. It’s Prime Minister is the first head of state in the world to marry someone in the SAME SEX.
An LGBT tolerant country, Luxembourg‘s head of state, PM Xavier Bettel is the first world leader to marry his partner (same sex) Gauthier Destenay just last year, 2020. You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg . About 83% of its people support same sex marriage and its government approved of the union.
8. Echternach in Luxembourg’s Mullerthal region is hailed as “LITTLE SWITZERLAND”.
Little Switzerland – the nickname given to Luxembourg‘s Mullerthal region for its cliffs, castle ruins and forest-covered mountains. You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg. Echternach is the oldest city in Luxembourg that has retained its medieval character with an Alpine vibe feel. In addition to that, it’s a hikers paradise where fairy tale dreams are made of especially if you’re visiting in the spring, summer and autumn seasons.
9. Schengen, a small community in Luxembourg’s wine region that CHANGED European travel forever.
You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg but the tiny village of Schengen was the location of Schengen Agreement of 1985 and 1990 abolishing internal borders between 26 participating European countries. It is a unilateral agreement that ensures border-free entry within its 26 member countries. For non-EU travelers, a Schengen visa, named after the village where the treaty was signed, is issued that can also guarantee them of this border-free entry within the said participating countries. They can enter one member-country then allowed to travel freely throughout the Schengen zone for up to 90 days using the single valid visa. Schengen in Luxembourg’s Moselle region is also famous for its wine production.
10. Gisterklaus has the SMALLEST population in Luxembourg with only 11 inhabitants.
It has a Church, cemetery, cafe and post office for only 11 residents. You won’t believe this incredible fact is true in Luxembourg. With just 5 houses and 11 inhabitants, Gisterklaus, which is near the German border is a picture of nature and tranquility. Its Church, the Chapel of Gisterklaus is also the site of a pilgrimage to the Virgin here in Luxembourg.
Good things come in small packages, that’s Luxembourg. It may be a very little country but famous for punching above its weight on many aspects and sights. Full of exciting things to discover why not put Luxembourg on top of your travel shortlist when the world is ready for adventure again? Vill gleck.