Main article: Education in Berlin
Statue of Alexander von Humboldt outside the Humboldt University
Berlin has 878 schools that teach 340,658 children in 13,727 classes and 56,787 trainees in businesses and elsewhere. The city has a six-year primary education program. After completing primary school, students progress to the Sekundarschule (a comprehensive school) or Gymnasium (college preparatory school). Berlin has a special bilingual school program embedded in the "Europaschule". At participating schools(Dell Latitude D510 battery), children are taught the curriculum in German and also in a foreign language, starting in primary school and continuing in high school. Throughout nearly all boroughs, nine major European languages can be chosen as foreign languages in 29 schools.
The Französisches Gymnasium Berlin, which was founded in 1689 to teach the children of Huguenot refugees, offers (German/French) instruction. The John F. Kennedy School, a bilingual German–American public school located in Zehlendorf(Dell Latitude D520 battery), is particularly popular with children of diplomats and the English-speaking expatriate community. In addition, four schools ("Humanistische Gymnasien") teach Latin and Classical Greek. Two of them are state schools (Steglitzer Gymnasium in Steglitz and Goethe-Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf), one is Protestant (Evangelisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster in Wilmersdorf) (Dell Latitude D600 battery), and one is Jesuit (Canisius-Kolleg in the "Embassy Quarter" in Tiergarten).
Main article: List of universities, colleges, and research institutions in Berlin
Solar filling station at the science and technology park in Adlershof.
The Berlin-Brandenburg capital region is one of the most prolific centers of higher education and research in the European Union. The city has four universities and 27 private, professional and technical colleges (Hochschulen) (Dell Latitude D610 battery), offering a wide range of disciplines. 135,327 students were registered at the 31 universities and colleges in 2008/09. The three largest universities combined have approximately 100,000 enrolled students. They are the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin with 35,000 students, the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin) with ca. 35,000 students, and the Technische Universität Berlin with 30,000 students(Dell Latitude D620 battery). The Universität der Künste has about 4,300 students and the Berlin School of Economics and Law has enrollment of about 9,000 students.
The city has a high density of research institutions, such as the Fraunhofer Society, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community and the Max Planck Society, which are independent of, or only loosely connected to its universities. A total number of 62,000 scientists are working in research and development. (Dell Latitude D630 battery) The city is one of the centers of knowledge and innovation communities (Future Information and Communication Society and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
In addition to libraries that are affiliated with the various universities, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is a major research library. Its two main locations are near Potsdamer Platz on Potsdamer Straße and on Unter den Linden. There are also 108 public libraries in the city(Dell Latitude D800 battery).
Main articles: Culture in Berlin and 1920s Berlin
The Museum Island is a World Heritage Site.
Berlin is noted for its numerous cultural institutions, many of which enjoy international reputation. The diversity and vivacity of the Zeitgeist Metropolis led to a trendsetting image among major cities. The city has a very diverse art scene and is home to around 420 art galleries.
The artistically painted Buddy Bear is a popular figure seen around downtown Berlin (here in front of Charlottenburg city hall) (Dell Latitude D810 battery)
Many young people and international artists continue to settle in the city, and Berlin has established itself as a center of youth and popular culture in Europe.
The expanding cultural role of Berlin is underscored by the 2003 announcement that the Popkomm, Europe's largest annual music industry convention—previously hosted for 15 years by Cologne—would move to Berlin. (Dell Latitude D820 battery) Shortly thereafter, the Universal Music Group and MTV also decided to move their European headquarters and main studios to the banks of the River Spree in Friedrichshain. In 2005, Berlin was awarded the title of "City of Design" by UNESCO.
Main articles: Media in Berlin and List of films set in Berlin
Headquarters of the Axel Springer AG
Berlin is home to many international and regional television and radio stations. The public broadcaster RBB has its headquarters in Berlin as well as the commercial broadcasters MTV Europe, VIVA, and N24(Dell Latitude D830 battery). German international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has its TV production unit in Berlin, and most national German broadcasters have a studio in the city. American radio programming from National Public Radio is also broadcast on the FM dial.
Berlin has Germany's largest number of daily newspapers, with numerous local broadsheets (Berliner Morgenpost, Berliner Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel) (Dell Latitude 2100 battery), and three major tabloids, as well as national dailies of varying sizes, each with a different political affiliation, such as Die Welt, Junge Welt, Neues Deutschland, and Die Tageszeitung. The Exberliner, a monthly magazine, is Berlin's English-language periodical focusing on arts and entertainment. Berlin is also the headquarter of the two major German-language publishing houses Walter de Gruyter and Springer, (Dell Latitude 2110 battery) each of which publishing books, periodicals, and multimedia products.
Berlin is an important center in the European and German film industry. It is home to more than 1000 film and television production companies, 270 movie theaters, and around 300 national and international co-productions are filmed in the region every year. The historic Babelsberg Studios and the production company UFA are located outside Berlin in Potsdam(Dell Latitude E4300 battery). The city is also home of the European Film Academy and the German Film Academy, and hosts the annual Berlin Film Festival. Founded in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With over 430,000 admissions it is the largest publicly attended film festival in the world.
French Cathedral at the Festival of Lights (Berlin)
Berlin's nightlife is one of the most diverse and vibrant of its kind in Europe. Throughout the 1990s, people in their twenties from many countries(Dell Vostro 1310 battery), particularly those in Eastern and Central Europe, made Berlin's club scene the premier nightlife destination of Europe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many historic buildings in Mitte, the former city center of East Berlin, were illegally occupied and re-built by young squatters and became a fertile ground for underground and counterculture gatherings. Mitte and surrounding boroughs are also home to many nightclubs, including techno clubs Tresor(Dell Vostro 1320 battery), WMF, Ufo, E-Werk, KitKatClub and Berghain. The techno-music club, Linientreu, near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, has been in business since the late 1980s.
The Berlinale is the largest spectator film festival in the world.
Berlin is notable for its diverse partyscene. Clubs are not required to close at a fixed time on the weekends, and many parties last well into the morning, or all weekend. Berghain features the Panorama Bar, so named because the bar opens its shades at daybreak, allowing party-goers a panorama view of Berlin after dancing through the night(Dell Vostro 1510 battery).
The SO36 in Kreuzberg originally focused largely on punk music, but today has become a popular venue for many dances and parties. SOUND, located from 1971 to 1988 in Tiergarten and today in Charlottenburg, gained notoriety in the late 1970s for its popularity with heroin users and other drug addicts as described in Christiane F.'s book Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo(Dell Vostro 1520 battery).
The Karneval der Kulturen, a multi-ethnic street parade celebrated every Pentecost weekend, and the Christopher Street Day are both supported by the city's government. Berlin is also well known for the cultural festival, Berliner Festspiele, which include the jazz festival JazzFest Berlin. Several technology and media art festivals and conferences are held in the city, including Transmediale and Chaos Communication Congress(Dell Vostro 2510 battery).
Berlin has a long history of gay culture and influence on popular entertainment, and according to some authors, in the 1920s the city was the Gay Capital of Europe. Today, the city has a huge number of gay clubs and festivals, such as Easter fetish week Easter in Berlin, Berlin Pride (Christopher Street Day)—central Europe's largest gay-lesbian pride event celebrated on the last weekend of June—Folsom Europe and Hustlaball(Dell Vostro 1014 battery). Berlin is also leading Europe in the number of fetish clubs. Easter in Berlin and Folsom Europe Berlin are the biggest gay fetish festivals in Europe. Annual gay highlights in Berlin are also the gay and lesbian street festival in Berlin-Schöneberg (Lesbisch-schwules Stadtfest) and Kreuzberg Pride in June. The largest gay areas in Berlin are located in Schöneberg close to Nollendorfplatz, in Prenzlauer Berg at the Schönhauser Allee subway station and the street Mehringdamm(Dell Inspiron 1410 battery).
Galleries and museums
See also: List of museums and galleries in Berlin
The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), established in 1861, situated on Museum Island, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
Berlin is home to 153 museums. The ensemble on the Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the northern part of the Spree Island between the Spree and the Kupfergraben. As early as 1841 it was designated a "district dedicated to art and antiquities" by a royal decree(Dell Vostro 1014N battery). Subsequently, the Altes Museum (Old Museum) was built in the Lustgarten. The Neues Museum (New Museum), which displays the bust of Queen Nefertiti, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum were built there. While these buildings once housed distinct collections, the names of the buildings no longer necessarily correspond to the names of their collections(Dell Vostro 1015 battery).
Apart from the Museum Island, there are many additional museums in the city. The Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery) focuses on the paintings of the "old masters" from the 13th to the 18th centuries, while the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery, built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) specializes in 20th-century European painting. The Hamburger Bahnhof, located in Moabit, exhibits a major collection of modern and contemporary art(SONY PCG-5G2L battery). In spring 2006, the expanded Deutsches Historisches Museum re-opened in the Zeughaus with an overview of German history through the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Bauhaus Archive is an architecture museum.
The reconstructed Ishtar Gate of Babylon at the Pergamon Museum.
The Jewish Museum has a standing exhibition on two millennia of German-Jewish history. The German Museum of Technology in Kreuzberg has a large collection of historical technical artifacts(SONY PCG-5G3L battery). The Museum für Naturkunde exhibits natural history near Berlin Hauptbahnhof. It has the largest mounted dinosaur in the world (a brachiosaurus), and a preserved specimen of the early bird Archaeopteryx.
In Dahlem, there are several museums of world art and culture, such as the Museum of Asian Art, the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of European Cultures, as well as the Allied Museum (a museum of the Cold War) (SONY PCG-F305 battery) and the Brücke Museum (an art museum). In Lichtenberg, on the grounds of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi), is the Stasi Museum. The site of Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most renowned crossing points of the Berlin Wall, is still preserved and also has a museum, a private venture which exhibits comprehensive documentation of detailed plans and strategies devised by people who tried to flee from the East. The Beate Uhse Erotic Museum near Zoo Station claims to be the world's largest erotic museum. (SONY PCG-5J1L battery)
Main article: Music in Berlin
Sir Simon Rattle conducting the renowned Berlin Philharmonic.
Berlin is home to more than 50 theaters. The Deutsches Theater in Mitte was built in 1849–50 and has operated continuously since then, except for a one-year break (1944–45) due to the Second World War. The Volksbühne at Rosa Luxemburg Platz was built in 1913–14, though the company had been founded in 1890. The Berliner Ensemble, famous for performing the works of Bertolt Brecht, was established in 1949(SONY PCG-5J2L battery), not far from the Deutsches Theater. The Schaubühne was founded in 1962 in a building in Kreuzberg, but in 1981 moved to the building of the former Universum Cinema on Kurfürstendamm.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Berlin has three major opera houses: the Deutsche Oper, the Berlin State Opera, and the Komische Oper. The Berlin State Opera on Unter den Linden opened in 1742 and is the oldest of the three. Its current musical director is Daniel Barenboim(SONY PCG-5K2L battery). The Komische Oper has traditionally specialized in operettas and is located at Unter den Linden as well. The Deutsche Oper opened in 1912 in Charlottenburg. During the division of the city from 1961 to 1989 it was the only major opera house in West Berlin. The city's main venue for musical theatre performances is the Theater des Westens (built 1895) (SONY PCG-5L1L battery).
There are seven symphony orchestras in Berlin. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world; it is housed in the Berliner Philharmonie near Potsdamer Platz on a street named for the orchestra's longest-serving conductor, Herbert von Karajan. The current principal conductor is Simon Rattle. The Konzerthausorchester Berlin was founded in 1952 as the orchestra for East Berlin(SONY PCG-6S2L battery), since the Philharmonic was based in West Berlin. Its current principal conductor is Lothar Zagrosek. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt presents various exhibitions dealing with intercultural issues and stages world music and conferences.
The currywurst was invented in Berlin
Berlin is home to a diverse gastronomy scene reflecting the immigrant history of the city. Twelve restaurants in Berlin have been included into the Michelin guide, which ranks the city at the top for the number of its restaurants having this distinction in Germany. (SONY PCG-6S3L battery) Apart from that, Berlin is well known for its vast offering of vegetarian, vegan and otherwise sustainability-oriented food, such as fair trade goods or organic food. Berlin is one of the cities with the most vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the world.
Many local foods originated from north-German culinary traditions and include rustic and hearty dishes with pork, goose, fish, peas, beans, cucumbers or potatoes.
Typical Berliner fares include Currywurst, invented in 1949, Eisbein, the Berliner known in Berlin though as a Pfannkuchen, and Leber Berliner Art (Berlin-style liver) (SONY PCG-6V1L battery).
Turkish and Arab immigrant workers brought their culinary traditions to the city; for example, the döner kebab, falafel and lahmacun, which have become common fast-food staples. The modern fast-food version of the döner was invented in Berlin in 1971.
The Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the most visited zoo in Europe and presents the most diverse range of species in the world(SONY PCG-6W1L battery).
Zoologischer Garten Berlin, the older of two zoos in the city, was founded in 1844, and presents the most diverse range of species in the world. It was the home of the captive-born celebrity polar bear Knut, born in December 2006. The city's other zoo is Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, founded in 1955 on the grounds of Schloss Friedrichsfelde in the Borough of Lichtenberg. (SONY PCG-7111L battery)
Berlin's Botanischer Garten includes the Botanic Museum Berlin. With an area of 43 hectares (110 acres) and around 22,000 different plant species it is one of the largest and most diverse gardens in the world. Other gardens in the city include the Britzer Garten, site of the 1985 Bundesgartenschau, and the Erholungspark Marzahn, promoted under the name Gardens of the world(SONY PCG-71511M battery).
The Tiergarten is Berlin's largest park located in Mitte and was designed by Peter Joseph Lenné. In Kreuzberg the Viktoriapark provides a good viewing point over the southern part of inner city Berlin. Treptower Park beside the Spree in Treptow has a monument honoring the Soviet soldiers killed in the 1945 Battle of Berlin. The Volkspark in Friedrichshain, which opened in 1848, is the oldest park in the city(SONY PCG-6W3L battery). Its summit is man-made and covers a Second World War bunker and rubble from the ruins of the city; at its foot is Germany's main memorial to Polish soldiers.
Berlin is known for its numerous beach bars along the river Spree. Together with the countless cafés, restaurants and green spaces in all districts, they create an important source of recreation and leisure time.
Main article: Sport in Berlin
The Olympiastadion hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics and the 2006 FIFA World Cup final.
The annual Berlin Marathon is known as a flat and fast course.
Berlin has established a high-profile reputation as a host city of international sporting events. Berlin hosted the(SONY PCG-7113L battery) 1936 Olympics and was the host city for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. The IAAF World Championships in Athletics were held in the Olympiastadion in August 2009. The annual Berlin Marathon and the annual ÅF Golden League event ISTAF for athletics are also held here. The FIVB World Tour has chosen an inner-city site near Alexanderplatz to present a beach volleyball Grand Slam every year(SONY PCG-7133L battery).
Open Air gatherings of several hundred thousands spectators have become popular during international football competitions, like the World Cup or the UEFA European Football Championship. Many fans and viewers come together to watch the matches on huge video screens. The event is known as the Fan Mile and takes place at the Brandenburg Gate every two years.
Several major clubs representing the most popular spectator sports in Germany have their base in Berlin.
Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg, French: Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, German: Großherzogtum Luxemburg), is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland ("good country") in the south. Luxembourg has a population of 512,353 (as of February 2011) in an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi).
As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by a grand duke and is the world's only remaining grand duchy(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery)
. Luxembourg is one of the world's most developed countries, with an advanced economy and the world's second highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the IMF. Its historic and strategic importance dates back to its founding as a Roman era fortress and Frankish count's castle site in the Early Middle Ages. It was an important bastion along the Spanish Road when Spain was the principal European power influencing the whole western hemisphere and beyond in the 16th–17th centuries(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery).
Luxembourg is a member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, the United Nations, and Benelux, reflecting the political consensus in favour of economic, political, and military integration. The city of Luxembourg, the largest and capital city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU(SONY PCG-8Y1L battery).
Reflecting its geographic position, Luxembourg's culture is a fusion of Romance and Germanic Europe, borrowing customs from each of the distinct traditions. Luxembourg is a trilingual country: Luxembourgish, French and German are official languages. Although a secular state, Luxembourg is predominantly Roman Catholic(SONY PCG-8Y2L battery).
The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc  (today Luxembourg Castle) situated on the Bock rock by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes, in 963 through an exchange act with the abbey of St Maximin in Trier. Around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a small state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors(SONY PCG-8Z2L battery). In 1437, the House of Luxembourg suffered a succession crisis, precipitated by the lack of a male heir to assume the throne, which led to the territory's being sold by Duchess Elisabeth to Philip the Good of Burgundy.
In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery). The Congress of Vienna formed Luxembourg as a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Confederation, with a Confederate fortress manned by Prussian troops.
The Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839 reduced Luxembourg's territory by more than half, as the predominantly francophone western part of the country was transferred to Belgium. Luxembourg's independence was reaffirmed by the 1839 First Treaty of London. In the same year, Luxembourg joined the Zollverein(SONY PCG-7112L battery). Luxembourg's independence and neutrality were again affirmed by the 1867 Second Treaty of London, after the Luxembourg Crisis nearly led to war between Prussia and France. After the latter conflict, the Confederate fortress was dismantled.
The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg. (SONY PCG-6W2L battery)
During World War I, Luxembourg was invaded and occupied by Germany, but was allowed to maintain its independence and political mechanisms.
During World War II, Luxembourg was unable to maintain its policy of neutrality when in 1940 Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the country, due to its strategic location on the invasion route into France. In contrast to the First World War experience(SONY PCG-5K1L battery), Luxembourg was treated as a Germanic territory and informally annexed to an adjacent province of the Third Reich in 1940. A government in exile based in London fought alongside the Allies, sending a small group of volunteers who participated in the Normandy invasion. Luxembourg was liberated in September 1944. It became a founding member of the United Nations in 1946, and of NATO in 1949(SONY VGP-BPS4 battery).
In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and, in 1999, it joined the euro currency era. In 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held in Luxembourg.
Districts of Luxembourg(SONY VGP-BPS5 battery)
Luxembourg is a parliamentary democracy headed by a constitutional monarch. Under the constitution of 1868, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the cabinet, which consists of several other ministers. The Grand Duke has the power to dissolve the legislature, in which case new elections must be held within three months. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the Nation(SONY VGP-BPS5A battery), exercised by the Grand Duke in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, a unicameral legislature of sixty members, who are directly elected to five-year terms from four constituencies. A second body, the Council of State (Conseil d'État), composed of twenty-one ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation. (SONY VGP-BPS8 battery)
The Grand Duchy has three lower tribunals (justices de paix; in Esch-sur-Alzette, the city of Luxembourg, and Diekirch), two district tribunals (Luxembourg and Diekirch) and a Superior Court of Justice (Luxembourg), which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. There is also an Administrative Tribunal and an Administrative Court, as well as a Constitutional Court, all of which are located in the capital(SONY VGP-BPS8A battery).
Main articles: Districts of Luxembourg, Cantons of Luxembourg, and Communes of Luxembourg
Further information: Administrative divisions of Luxembourg
Luxembourg is divided into 3 districts, which are further divided into 12 cantons and then 106 communes. Twelve of the communes have city status, of which the city of Luxembourg is the largest(SONY VGP-BPL8 battery).
The districts are Diekirch, Grevenmacher, and Luxembourg.
Main article: Foreign relations of Luxembourg
Luxembourg has long been a prominent supporter of European political and economic integration. In efforts foreshadowing European integration, Luxembourg and Belgium in 1921 formed the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) to create an inter-exchangeable currency and a common customs regime. Luxembourg is a member of the Benelux Economic Union and was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (SONY VGP-BPS9 battery) (now the European Union). It also participates in the Schengen Group (named after the Luxembourg village of Schengen where the agreements were signed), whose goal is the free movement of citizens among member states. At the same time, the majority of Luxembourgers have consistently believed that European unity makes sense only in the context of a dynamic transatlantic relationship, and thus have traditionally pursued a pro-NATO, pro-US foreign policy(SONY VGP-BPS9/S battery).
Luxembourg is the site of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, the Statistical Office of the European Communities ("Eurostat") and other vital EU organs. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is located in Luxembourg, but the Parliament usually meets in nearby Strasbourg(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery).
Main article: Luxembourg Army
A NATO owned AWACS aircraft.
The contribution Luxembourg makes to its defense and to NATO consists of a small army (currently consisting of around 900 people). As a landlocked country, it has no navy.
Luxembourg also lacks an air force, though the seventeen NATO AWACS aeroplanes are for convenience registered as aircraft of Luxembourg. In accordance with a joint agreement with Belgium, both countries have put forth funding for one A400M military cargo plane. (SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery)
The largest towns are Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Dudelange, and Differdange.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and ranked 170th in size of all the 194 independent countries of the world; the country is about 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi) in size, and measures 82 km (51 mi) long and 57 km (35 mi) wide. It lies between latitudes 49° and 51° N, and longitudes 5° and 7° E(SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery).
To the east, Luxembourg borders the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and, to the south, it borders the French région of Lorraine. The Grand Duchy borders the Belgian Walloon Region, in particular the latter's provinces of Luxembourg and Liège, part of which comprises the German-speaking Community of Belgium, to the west and to the north respectively(SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery).
The northern third of the country is known as the 'Oesling', and forms part of the Ardennes. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff near Wilwerdange, which is the highest point, at 560 metres (1,837 ft). Other mountains are the 'Buurgplaaz' at 559 metres near Huldange and the 'Napoléonsgaard' at 554 metres near Rambrouch. The region is sparsely populated, with only one town (Wiltz) with a population of more than four thousand people(SONY VGP-BPL9 battery).
Countryside of Alscheid.
The southern two-thirds of the country is called the "Gutland", and is more densely populated than the Oesling. It is also more diverse, and can be divided into five geographic sub-regions. The Luxembourg plateau, in south-central Luxembourg, is a large, flat, sandstone formation, and the site of the city of Luxembourg. Little Switzerland, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests(SONY VGP-BPS10 battery). The Moselle valley is the lowest-lying region, running along the southeastern border. The Red Lands, in the far south and southwest, are Luxembourg's industrial heartland and home to many of Luxembourg's largest towns.
The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer, and the Our. Other major rivers are the Alzette, the Attert, the Clerve, and the Wiltz. The valleys of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling(SONY VGP-BPL10 battery).
According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, Luxembourg is one of the world's best performers in environmental protection, ranking 4th out of 132 assessed countries
Luxembourg has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer.
Main article: Economy of Luxembourg
Graphical depiction of Luxembourg's product exports in 28 color coded categories.
Luxembourg has been part of the eurozone since 1999(SONY VGP-BPS11 battery).
Luxembourg's stable and high-income market economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation. Unemployment is traditionally low, although it had risen to 6.1% as of May 2012, due largely to the effect of the 2008 global financial crisis. Consequently, Luxembourg's economy is forecast to have negligible growth in 2012. Nevertheless, according to the IMF, as of 2011 Luxembourg was the second richest country in the world(SONY VGP-BPL11 battery), 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, 24th in the United Nations Human Development Index, and 4th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life index. (SONY VGP-BPL12 battery)
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 center (SONY VGP-BPS12 battery) (after the United States), the most important private banking center in the eurozone and Europe's leading center 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(SONY VGP-BPS13 battery).
In April 2009, concern about Luxembourg's banking secrecy laws, as well as its reputation as a tax haven, led to its being added to a "grey list" of nations with questionable banking arrangements by the G20. In response, the country soon after adopted OECD standards on exchange of information and was subsequently added into the category of 'jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard.'(SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery)In March 2010, the Sunday Telegraph reported that most of Kim Jong-Il's $4bn in secret accounts is in Luxembourg banks.
Agriculture is based on small, family-owned farms.
Luxembourg has especially close trade and financial ties to Belgium and the Netherlands (see Benelux), and as a member of the EU it enjoys the advantages of the open European market.
With $138 billion (February 2012), the country ranks tenth in the world in holdings of U.S. Treasury securities. (SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery)The ranking is however imperfect as some foreign owners entrust the safekeeping of their securities to institutions that are neither in the United States nor in the owner's country of residence.
Main article: Transport in Luxembourg
Luxembourg has efficient road, rail and air transport facilities and services. The road network has been significantly modernized in recent years with 147 km of motorways connecting the capital to adjacent countries. The advent of the high-speed TGV link to Paris has led to renovation of the city's railway station while a new passenger terminal at Luxembourg Airport has opened (SONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery)some years ago. There are plans to introduce trams in the capital and light-rail lines in adjacent areas within the next few years.
The number of cars per 1000 persons amount to 680.1 in Luxembourg — only British overseas territory Gibraltar and the Principality of Monaco scoring higher.
The telecommunications industry in Luxembourg is liberalized and the electronic communications networks are significantly developed. Competition between the different operators is guaranteed by the legislative framework Paquet Telecom of the Government of 2005 which transposes the European Telecom Directives into Luxembourgean law(SONY VGP-BPS13/B battery). This encourages the investment in networks and services. The regulator ILR – Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation ensures the compliance to these legal rules
Luxembourg has modern and widely deployed optical fiber and cable networks throughout the country. Its location in Central Europe, stable economy and low taxes favor the telecommunication industry.
It ranks 2nd in the world in the development of the Information and Communication Technologies in the ITU ICT Development Index and 8th in the Global Broadband Quality Study 2009 by the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo(SONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery).
Luxembourg is connected to all major European Internet Exchanges (AMS-IX Amsterdam, DE-CIX Frankfurt, LINX London), datacenters and POPs through redundant optical networks. In addition, the country is connected to the virtual meetme room services (vmmr) of the international data hub operator Ancotel. This enables Luxembourg to interconnect with all major telecommunication operators and data carriers worldwide(SONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery). The interconnection points are in Frankfurt, London, New York and Hong Kong.
Several providers interconnect Luxembourg to the major European data hubs:
Teralink (P&TLuxembourg, also called EPT Luxembourg: incumbent operator)
LuxConnect (shareholder : Government) LuxConnect tested the 100G coherent transmission of data signals between Luxembourg and Amsterdam in June 2011.
Artelis/Cegecom (alternative telecommunications provider in Luxembourg and Saarland)
Satellite connectivity – Teleports (SES), Broadcasting Center Europe and P&T Luxembourg Teleport(SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery).
Luxembourg is connected through an optical DWDM network, called Teralink to several Tier 1 upstream providers like Level3 and Global Crossing. Teralink offers connectivities up to 100 Gbit/s. P&TLuxembourg established a coherent 100Gbit/s IP connection between Frankfurt and Luxembourg with live traffic in 2011(SONY VGP-BPS21B battery).
The Internet IPV6 protocol has been introduced to the country by Restena and P&T Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has two Internet exchange points and one Carrier Ethernet Exchange point.
LIX is a neutral Internet exchange operated by the RESTENA Foundation. Its aim is to easily interconnect the different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within Luxembourg. (SONY VGP-BPS21 battery)
LU-CIX is Luxembourg's neutral and commercial Internet Exchange Point which was founded in 2009 by Cegecom, Datacenter Luxembourg, Global Media Systems, INEXIO, LuxConnect, P&T Luxemboug and Root eSolutions. It offers a short, fast and efficient route to the major European Internet networks(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery).
LEX is the Luxembourg Ethernet Exchange located in the Tier IV certified ebrc datacenter 
The online portal De Guichet of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a single one-stop online shop for citizens and companies to undertake various administrative operations (procedures, online forms, downloadable forms and advice) by Internet(SONY VGP-BPS13AS battery).
PSA Peugeot Citroën, with P&T Luxembourg as its partner, has introduced an integrated mobile telecommunication solution for the development of its telematic services in Europe.
More than 17 data centers are operating in Luxembourg. Two of the ebrc data centers are Tier IV classified & certified.
The people of Luxembourg are called Luxembourgers. The immigrant population increased in the 20th century due to the arrival of immigrants from Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal, with the majority coming from the last(SONY VGP-BPS13S battery): in the 2001 census, there were 58,657 inhabitants with Portuguese nationality.
Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Annually, over 10,000 new immigrants arrive in Luxembourg, mostly from the EU states, as well as Eastern Europe. As of 2000, there were 162,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 37% of the total population. There were an estimated 5,000 undocumented migrants in Luxembourg as of 1999. (SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery)
Main articles: Languages of Luxembourg and Literature of Luxembourg
Three languages are recognised as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and Luxembourgish, a Franconian language of the Moselle region that is also spoken in neighbouring parts of France and Germany. Though Luxembourgish is part of the West Central German group of High German languages, more than 5,000 words in the Luxembourgish have their origin in the French language(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery). The first printed sentences in Luxembourgish appeared in a weekly journal, the 'Luxemburger Wochenblatt', in the second edition of 14 April 1821.
Apart from being one of the three official languages, Luxembourgish is also considered the national language of the Grand Duchy; it is the mother tongue or "language of the heart" for nearly all Luxembourgers. (SONY VGP-BPS14 battery)
Each of the three languages is used as the primary language in certain spheres. Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally use to speak to each other, but it is not often used as the written language. Since the 1980s, an increasing number of novels have however been written in Luxembourgish. Most official (written) business is carried out in French. German is usually the first language taught in school and is the language of much of the media and of the church. (SONY VGP-BPL14 battery)
Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German, while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. Proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school, but half the students leave school without a certified qualification, with the children of immigrants being particularly disadvantaged. (SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery)
In addition to the three official languages, English is taught in the compulsory schooling and much of the population of Luxembourg can speak English, at any rate in Luxembourg City. Portuguese, the language of the largest immigrant community, is also spoken by large parts of the population, but by relatively few from outside their community. (SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery)
Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg.
Main article: Religion in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a secular state, but the state recognises certain religions as officially mandated religions. This gives the state a hand in religious administration and appointment of clergy, in exchange for which the state pays certain running costs and wages. Currently, religions covered by such arrangements are Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Russian Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Mennonitism and Islam. (SONY VGP-BPS14B battery)
Since 1980 it has been illegal for the government to collect statistics on religious beliefs or practices. An estimation by the CIA Factbook for the year 2000 is that 87% of Luxembourgers are Catholics, including the royal family, the remaining 13% being made up of Muslims, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, and those of other or no religion. (SONY VGP-BPS22 battery)
According to a 2005 Eurobarometer poll, 44% of Luxembourg citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 28% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 22% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
See also: List of secondary schools in Luxembourg
The University of Luxembourg is the only university in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg sells the most alcohol in Europe per capita. (SONY VGP-BPS22 battery) However, the large proportion of alcohol purchased by customers from neighbouring countries contributes to the statistically high level of alcohol sales per capita; this level of alcohol sales is thus not representative of the actual alcohol consumption of the Luxembourg population.
Main articles: Culture of Luxembourg, Sport in Luxembourg, and Cuisine of Luxembourg
Edward Steichen, Luxembourgish photographer and painter(SONY VGP-BPS18 battery)
Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours, although, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country, it retains a number of folk traditions. There are several notable museums, mostly located in the capital; these include the National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam) (SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery). The National Museum of Military History (MNHM) in Diekirch is especially known for its representations of the Battle of the Bulge. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications.
The country has produced some internationally known artists, including the painters Théo Kerg, Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, as well as the photographer Edward Steichen. Steichen's The Family of Man exhibition is now permanently housed in Clervaux(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery), and it has been placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World register. Movie star Loretta Young was of Luxembourgish descent.
Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture twice. The first time was in 1995. In 2007, the European Capital of Culture was to be a cross-border area consisting of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland in Germany, the Walloon Region and the German-speaking part of Belgium, and the Lorraine area in France(SONY Vaio VGC-LB15 battery). The event was an attempt to promote mobility and the exchange of ideas, crossing borders in all areas, physical, psychological, artistic and emotional.
Luxembourg was represented at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China from 1 May to 31 October 2010 with its own pavilion. The pavilion was based on the transliteration of the word Luxembourg into Chinese, "Lu Sen Bao", which means "Forest and Fortress". It represented Luxembourg as the "Green Heart in Europe".(SONY Vaio VGC-LJ50B/B battery)
Sport in Luxembourg
Unlike in most countries in Europe, sport in Luxembourg is not concentrated upon a particular national sport, but encompasses a number of sports, both team and individual. Despite the lack of a central sporting focus, over 100,000 people in Luxembourg, which has a total population of only 512,353, are licensed members of one sports federation or another. The largest sports venue in the country is d'Coque, an indoor arena and Olympic swimming pool in Kirchberg, north-eastern Luxembourg City, which has a capacity of 8,300(SONY Vaio VGN-CR11H/B battery). The arena is used for basketball, handball, gymnastics, and volleyball, including the final of the 2007 Women's European Volleyball Championship. The largest, and national, stadium is the Stade Josy Barthel, in western Luxembourg City; named after the country's only official Olympic gold medallist, the stadium has a capacity of 8,054(SONY Vaio VGN-CR116E battery).
Andy Schleck and Fränk Schleck are two famous professional cyclists for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek. They are best known as climbers who excel in the mountain stages of Grand Tours like the Tour de France.
Gilles Müller is a professional tennis player, Ranked No. 56 (as of 24 July 2012). Finalist in the 2012 BB&T Atlanta Open versus Andy Roddick. Roddick won the three-set match 1–6, 7–6(2), 6–2(SONY Vaio VGN-CR116 battery).
Mandy Minella is a professional tennis player (ranked 78 as of 24 July 2012).
Main article: Luxembourg cuisine
Judd mat Gaardebounen served with boiled potatoes and Diekirch beer
Luxembourg cuisine reflects Luxembourg's position on the border between the Latin and Germanic worlds, being heavily influenced by the cuisines of neighbouring France and Germany. More recently, it has been influenced by its many Italian and Portuguese immigrants.
Most native Luxembourg dishes, consumed as the traditional daily fare, share roots in the country's peasantry, as in Germany and in marked contrast to the more sophisticated French(SONY Vaio VGN-CR115E battery).
Luxembourg is known in Europe for its radio and television stations (Radio Luxembourg, RTL Group). It is also the uplink home of SES, carrier of major European satellite services for Germany and Britain. An English language news service is also available from the Luxemburger Wort.
Due to the audiovisual law of 1988, which established a special tax regime for audiovisual investment, the film and co-production in Luxembourg has grown steadily. (SONY Vaio VGN-CR115 battery) There are some 30 registered production companies in Luxembourg.