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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Luxembourg Luxembourg

Country Information & Lifestyle

 One of Europe's Jewels

One of Europe's Jewels

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the only constitutional monarchy in the world with Belgium, France and Germany as neighbours. Covering less than 1,000 square miles the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was formed in 1815 by agreement of the European powers at the Congress of Vienna.

Luxembourg was originally ruled by the King of The Netherlands, but in 1890 official ties was severed when the King died with no male heir. The Grand Duchy has had its own monarch ever since and Grand Duke Henri is the youngest European Monarch.

Luxembourg ranks as the world's top city for personal safety and security. The climate is moderate, although be prepared for a little rain. The three primary languages are Letzebuergesch or Luxembourgish(recognised as the national language), German and French, English is also spoken. Luxembourg residents have the highest income per capital of any country in the world.

Luxembourg has the greatest concentration of banks in the European community. More than 220 banks, along with the European Investment Bank headquarters, are here. A strong steel and iron industry further contribute to the healthy economy of the country, as does agriculture, tourism, plastic and rubber, and electrical equipment.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a fascinating place, with a touch of difference! The country is divided into two clearly defined regions. The Eisl or 'Oesling' in the north, covering one-third of the territory and is wooded area of great scenic beauty. It is part of the Ardennes, on the western rim of the Eifel. The 'Good Country' in the centre and the south, covering the remainder of the territory, is mainly rolling farmland and woods and is bordered in the east by the wine-producing valley of the Moselle, and in the extreme south west by a narrow strip of red earth which forms the Luxembourg iron-ore basin.

The name Luxembourg appeared for the first time in the year 963 when it denoted a simple castle built by Count Siegfried on a hill known as Bock. Today you can see some of its remains and the archaeological crypt of the Count's castle. As you explore the old city with its cobbled streets and imposing walls, feast your eyes on ornate windows or jewel-like medallions, pass contemporary constructions of glass and steel that house many of the banking institutions, or walk on the Chemin de la Cornich, commonly known as Europe's most beautiful balcony Take a stroll through Useldange where you can't miss the feudal castle surrounded by rolling plain.

For a small country Luxembourg has so much to see and do. Breathtaking views, fine wines and plenty of history, Luxembourg has it all. Wend your way through the old town where you will discover magnificent castles from the Middle Ages, travel back in time as you take the Wenzel Walk through the city of Luxembourg's oldest quarter allowing you to experience the culture and history of this rich city. The name pays tribute to Wenceslas II, Duke of Luxembourg between 1383 and 1419. Get the inside scoop on military operations in the Ardennes at The National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, which emerged from the Diekirch Historical Museum.

In Ettelbruck the General Patton Memorial Museum contains more than 1,000 photographs and documents pertaining to the German invasion in May 1940, the period of occupation of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, and the liberation of the country by American troops in September 1944. You'll find weapons and equipment that were discovered or excavated on the Ardennes battlefield. Many have come to know Ettelbruck as Patton Town.

Wind your way through a network of several levels of underground fortifications dating back to 1644 that are known as the Bock Casemates. Originally 14 miles of underground defensive passageways, some as deep as 131 feet, the casemates have earned the title of Gibraltar of the North.

Mullerthal, situated on the River Sure, is known as Little Switzerland and is an explorer's paradise. Little Switzerland's expansive valleys, rugged cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls, and unusual rock formations make it the perfect setting for hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. The region centres on the medieval town of Echternach and history enthusiasts can tour the remains of the 12th century Beaufort Castle, a great tribute to medieval times. Here you'll find everything from graceful swans to a torture chamber. After leaving the throne, opt for a glass of Cassis black currant liquor, a Beaufort specialty.

Many consider the Ardennes to be synonymous with magnificent landscape, winding valleys, endless rivers and invigorating green landscapes. The restored Vianden castle was constructed between 11th and 14th centuries and is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Europe. Until the beginning of the 15th century it was the seat of the influential counts of Vianden but in 1820 it was sold piece by piece and fell into disrepair. It was a pile of rubble until the family of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg transferred it to State ownership in 1977 and the castle has now been restored to its former glory.

Afterwards, stroll through the charming medieval town of Vianden with its Gothic churches, quaint lanes, and fortified towers. French Writer Victor Hugo stayed in Vianden during his exile. Stop by the newly renovated Victor Hugo House operating as a museum since 1935 - where you'll find original works and furniture, along with other personal documents. As you approach the museum, look for Rodin's famous bust of Victor Hugo.

Take the chairlift for unforgettable views of this scenic region and then head to the city of Clervaux where you'll find yet another castle with parts dating back to the 12th century. The Castle was restored after its destruction during the Battle of the Bulge in the mid 1940s. The German-Luxembourgish natural park runs along the river. Take a stroll through Diekirch with its old world charm and big open terrace square that has public concerts in the summer and drink Dierkirch beer all year round. The area's churches and chapels are worth a look with their beautiful frescoes, sculptures, and mosaics.

Land of the red rocks has sophisticated mansions boasting Art Nouveau and Art Deco style giving this region a touch of class. This coloured earth mining region gave way to the development of the iron and steel industry that is responsible for much of Luxembourg's affluence. Extensive hiking trails run through awe-inspiring wooded and grassland areas, as well as through challenging plateaus. Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest town in the country, is a prominent business centre, and is also known for its local theatre and expositions.

The Good Land is another area ripe for walkers who want to stroll along the Attert or Eisch rivers, or just meander from village to village. Brilliant apple trees and orchards are in full bloom every spring.

The Moselle Valley is well known for its dry white wines such as Pinot Gris and Riesling and there are many wine cellars where it is possible to sample excellent wines and then follow up with a lunch of small fried fish or baked pike, two of the area specialities. In spring and fall there are colourful grape and wine festivals, complete with parades, and a great way to spend a day.

Luxembourg has more Michelin-star restaurants per capita than any other country in the world. Many describe the country's cuisine as a blend of French finesse and German heartiness. Local dishes include Judd matt Gaardebounen (smoked collar of pork with broad beans), Friture de la Moselle,(small deep fried river fish), Pike in Riesling Sauce, Ardennes Ham, Wild Boar, among other sumptuous specialties. Don't forget to order a side of sausage and sauerkraut, and a bottle of wine. Or, opt for a beer, preferably Diekirch, Mousel, or Bofferding.

The Good Land is another area ripe for walkers who want to stroll along the Attert or Eisch rivers, or just meander from village to village. Brilliant apple trees and orchards are in full bloom every spring.

Vianden Castle was constructed between 11th and 14th centuries and is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Europe. Until the beginning of the 15th century is was the seat of the influential counts of Vianden. In 1820 the castle was sold piece by piece and fell into a state of ruin. It was a pile of rubble until the family of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg transferred it to State ownership in 1977 and the castle has now been restored to its former glory.

In the North of Luxembourg, the market town of Esch-sur-Sare is nearly completely surrounded by a natural moat of the river Sare. A couple of miles further upstream are the lakes used for water sports. Clervaux is a medieval market town sunk into a narrow and tortuous valley, surrounded by rugged hills covered with woods. The imposing, feudal castle dates back to the 12th century and still appears to protect the town. It is age-old witness to the prestige and power of the knights and counts whose estates stretched far across country from St.Vith and Vianden and Prum.

The castle now houses the offices of the local government, the tourist office, a small war museum, a marvellous collection of models of Luxembourg's old fortified castles and the remarkable collection of photography the Family Man by Edward Steichen.

Bourscheid castle, an excellent example of the medieval castle tradition, is located on an isolated promontory, accessible only from the north-west, 150 meters above the level of the river Sare and 370 meters above sea level. Even today the ruins testify of an impressive fortification surrounded by a massive ring wall with 11 watchtowers.

In 1972 the Luxembourg State acquired the ruins, which had been declared a national monument in 1936. While some restoration work had been done since the thirties, the Stolzembourg house was reconstructed after 1972, while archaeological excavations probed into the ancient past of the castle. This restoration work has rendered Bourscheid castle accessible to visitors.

Luxembourg is a beautiful, historic country, one of Europe's jewels. You can live in castle and imagine the history within the walls or maybe have an apartment overlooking the river or Moselle Valley, whatever you chose you will not be disappointed.

Purchasing a Property

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership.

When you have found the right property for you a written contract, or "sales agreement" is used to conclude a buyer/seller agreement, which is also governed by the law. Oral contracts to bind both parties are also accepted.

The property transaction is always registered and recorded in the notary's deed. A public notary will present the sale deeds for recording in this register. You would then be expected to pay duty within 15 days of signing.

The parties visit the notary to draft and authenticate the sale agreement (Compromis de Vente)
After signing a compromis de vente agreement between themselves, as per common practice, the parties will visit a notary so he can draft and authenticate the notarial deed.

The sale is complete between the parties, and ownership is acquired as of right by the buyer with respect to the seller, as soon as the thing and the price have been agreed upon, although the thing has not yet been delivered or the price paid (Article 1583 of the Civil Code).

As a sale of real estate must be registered (which triggers the payment of registration taxes) and recorded in the mortgage registry in order to be enforceable vis-a-vis third parties and as only duly certified deeds may be entered in the register, the sale must be recorded in a notarial deed (acte de vente).

It is sometimes preferable for each party to appoint its own notary (in which case, the notaries fee is split between the two notaries). The notary is deemed a public official with powers delegated by the state to authenticate the deeds he drafts and provides complete security to the contracts he supervises. The authenticity of the deeds grants the parties an indisputable date and content in Court. The law imposes a personal liability on the notary for his professional acts which is more extensive than that of other branches of the legal profession.

The notary conducts full search (recherche per case hypothecaire) at property registry (Bureau des Hypotheques). He will receive either a releve des inscriptions hypothecaires (containing a list of mortgages) at a cost of EUR 0.50, or a recherche par case hypothecaire (containing a list of all land transactions effected by the landowner together with that of every mortgage or charge burdening the property) at a cost of EUR 2.48.

The notary conducts search at the cadastre and also checks the status of the property at the cadastre.

The notary notifies tax administration of transfer and obtains tax clearance, stating all property taxes are settled and informs them that the property will be sold. The tax administration office confirms that the property has no claims or unpaid taxes on it. If there are outstanding claims or taxes, the tax administration may register a judicial mortgage on the property.

The buyer then sends funds, fees, taxes and anti-money laundering documents to the notary. and the parties return to the notary to sign the transfer deed.

The notary registers transfer deed at the Administration de la Enregistrement et des Domaines which registers the transfer deed at the Administration de la Enregistrement et des Domaines, which charges the transfer duty to the notary. The Administration will record the transfer, making it opposable to third parties, after two to five days. The Administration will also send the deed to the Administration du Cadastre for registration of the new owner there. It will take the Cadastre about two weeks to record the new owner.

At the same time, the Administration will take about two weeks to send a copy of the registered deed, with the stamp of the Administration and a reference number on it, back to the notary. This document would be needed in practice to use the property to obtain a loan from a bank. The registration, municipal and inscription fees are paid by the parties to the notary, who pays the Administration.

The notary will then send the registered, recorded transfer deed to the parties.

Fees & Taxes

The buyer will pay the taxes, fees and funds for the property wire transfer to the notary, in addition to notarial fees. These are determined by the Regulation of 24 July 1971 on the revision of notary fees. The buyer must also send anti-money laundering documentation to the notary at this time, regarding origin of the funds he is using.

Completion costs 4 EUR stamp per page of the deed (2-3 pages).

EUR 2.48 for full search.

Notary fees 4765 + 6% market value of property

Registration fee 6% + 1% transcription tax and is based on the acquisition price which is expected to be not lower than the market value. If you are to declare in the purchase deed your intention to resell the property the registration tax would be raised to around 7.2% however up to 5% can be recovered if resale is registered within a four-year period,(the taxes due within Luxembourg City can be up to 50% more).

V.A.T. would not normally be applicable, the current rate is 15% years lower+ 3% market value of property.

Municipal surcharge within city of Luxembourg + 1% market value of property.

Tax is payable for municipal services and vary between 0.7-1% per annum but can be multiplied for co-efficient is based on the official value of the property. Net wealth tax at a rate of 0.5% can also be levied annually.

Capital gains tax is chargeable at a maximum rate of 35.5% but if you pay local taxes and the sale is of your principal home you would normally be exempt.

Visas

All nationals visiting Luxembourg must be in possession of a passport valid for at least three months beyond length of stay required with the exception of EU nationals holding a valid national ID card. Luxembourg is a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement.

It is advisable to have a return ticket, but not obligatory. If a visitor is not in possession of a return ticket, proof of sufficient means of support may be required.

Visas are not required by British nationals and nationals of USA, Canada, Australia and EU countries for periods not exceeding three months and as long as the passport is still valid for three months beyond length of stay.

Other nationalities are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements. 90-day visa-free stay commences from entry in to any country in the Schengen area.

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