After postponing the trip for 3-times, I finally went to visit Luxembourg city, the capital city of Luxembourg. This is a small country situated between France, Belgium, and Germany. It has about 600,000 people and its surface area is approximately 2, 600 square miles.
After driving for 2-hours to get there, my plans were to sight-see the city, hang out and relax. To my surprise, I found out that there was a marathon going on upon reaching there. The whole city seemed to be partying and having a good memorial saturday weekend. I did some explorations and visited a few main sites I wanted to check out. I love small cities and Luxembourg made my top list for sure. It is very beautiful topographically and lots of history to explore especially around the summer. What an amazing city, very French and English friendly too.
The country is visibly very wealthy. Like any finance nerd with my interests in business and finance, I could not help but learn about how such a small country is able to generate large amounts of money. Luxembourg is the 2nd wealthiest country on Earth when looking at GDP per capita ( the average income per year). After Qatar, Luxembourg comes 2nd with an average GDP per capita of a hundred and two thousand dollars ($ 102, 000.00). However, unlike Qatar, this country is landlocked and does not have any mineral resources.
You have got to admire the people of Luxembourg for their innovation and creativity in the service and financial sectors. Their economy depends on these two sectors heavily. They have attracted remarkable foreign direct investments. Big international banks, and hotels along with the tourism industry have made this small country what is today.
- 86% of the country’s economy comes from the financial and services sector.
- The European Investment Bank, which is the financial institution of the European Union is headquartered in the heart of the city.
- The country is one of the international banking centers of the world. After the United States, Luxembourg has the 2nd largest investment fund, with $ 4 Trillion (with T) worth of investment assets. Remember, that is $ 4, 000, 000, 000, 000.00 (serious amount of money!).
- Luxembourg investment portfolio is rated triple AAA by all the rating agencies (Standard Poor, Fitch, and Moody).
- As a future investment banker and a venture capitalist, working in this country would offer some good skills in business and finance. Their financial sector is rock-solid and they seem to know what they are doing for sure. What am I waiting for?
Education, Healthcare, and Taxes
- Luxembourg offers free primary and secondary education for all of its citizens. The university education is also subsidized at the University of Luxembourg, the only public school in the country. Students pay about 400 euros in first two semesters and 2, 200.00 for other semesters. All undergraduate students are required to do one semester abroad upon graduating with their bachelor’s degrees. Bilingual education in French/English & Dutch/German are also offered.
- As many European countries, Luxembourg offers “free” healthcare to all citizens through a single payer healthcare system. They have one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. Apparently, all citizens have the right to choose their doctor, specialist, and hospital. This sounds too good to be true until you notice that they have one of the highest life expectancies in the world too: 85 years old. Their healthcare system must be legit and solid.
- As you can imagine, they have a big tax rate. Personal income tax is about 42% on average. This sounds very high of course, but if your education and healthcare costs are covered, what else are you looking for? It sounds too high for me, but it works for them. Their social security for retirees is quite generous and with 85 years of life expectancy, they should be fine.
- Corporate Tax is around 20%. Very generous tax rate probably to encourage big banks to set up their headquarters in the city and attract foreign direct investments.
World War II and Horrific Past
Thirty minutes away from the city, there is a National Museum of Military History in Diekirch. Due to its geographical location between France and Germany, this country was the center of some of the most life-threatening battles in world war II: notably the battle of the Bulge in Winter of 1944-1945. Lots of American lives lost in this part of the world, reminding us of a very horrific past. There is also an American Cemetery and Memorial, 3-km away from the city where lots of World War II American troops are buried. Some roads, in the heart of the city, are even named after US presidents and world War II American generals for their help to restore the city in difficult times. Luxembourg was invaded by the Germans in 1940 and was forcibly made part of Germany by 1942. However, in September of 1944, part of Luxembourg was restored and by December 1945, the whole Luxembourg was restored and had become an independent state again. Luxembourg is a member of NATO and is part of the Benelux countries along with Belgium, and Netherlands.
It was fun visiting and learning about Luxembourg. Lots of things to do around the summer if you are an outdoor person. Lots of nice restaurants downtown. By far, the best African restaurant ( outside of Africa) I have been to. I ended up eating too much that the waitress asked me to finish what I had first before ordering more. I will definitely come back. By the time I finished, I was ready for a nap.
I hope you learned something new today.
Until then, stay on top your ( personal ) finances.
Peace and Love