Van Luxemburg

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Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg
Groussherzogtum Vun Lëtzebuerg
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: Concordia civium murus patriae
Anthem: Junglinsterlidd
Location of Van Luxemburg
Location of Van Luxemburg (dark green)
- in Maredoratica (green & grey)
- in the Martigues Area (light green)
Map of Van Luxemburg
Topographical and Geographical map of the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg
CapitalLuxembourg
Largest city Esch-sur-Alzette
Official languages Vun Lëtzebuergesch
Recognised regional languages Dutch, German, French, Italian
Demonym Van Luxemburger
Government Constitutional Monarchy
 -  Grand Duke Konrad II of Van Luxemburg
 -  Premier Alessandro Lurani
Formation
 -  Treaty of Lëtzebuerg 1401 
 -  Confederation of Junglinster 1465 
 -  Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg April 13, 1509 
Area
 -  Total 768.40 km2
477.46 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 28.7
Population
 -  2008 estimate 88,366,000
 -  Density 115/km2
297.80/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $3.15 trillion
 -  Per capita $35,679
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $3.55 trillion
 -  Per capita $40,280
Currency Florin (VLF)
Time zone Marmorian Standard Time (UTC+4)
 -  Summer (DST) Marmorian Summer Time (UTC+5)
Drives on the right
Calling code 40
Internet TLD .vl


The Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg is a nation that is located in eastern Maredoratica. It has a population of nearly 90 million, and is a constitutional monarchy that is ruled by a bicameral parliamentary system; the Grand Duke himself has only a limited amount of executive power.

The Grand Duchy has 9 regions (Luxembourg, Zinzendorf, Enzersdorf, Sint-Annabeek, Villacoublay, Weiningen, San Giustra, Arvaglio and Levallois-Perret), which are subdivided into hundreds of cantons. The nation is primarily known for its automobile manufacturing base, but also has significant construction, electronics and banking sectors.

History

The history of the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg starts with the first tribes inhabiting the nation well before the beginning of modern timekeeping, which later formed a range of larger kingdoms and monarchies across the various regions of the nation. This eventually formed the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg through a variety of wars, annexations and treaties, the most important of which are the Treaty of Lëtzebuerg in 1401, the establishment of the Confederation of Junglinster in 1465, and finally the transformation of the confederation into an absolute monarchy where the smaller duchies (today called regions) represented an important political power. During this period, Van Luxemburg also experienced a period of extensive foreign exploration in which their contract farmers, primarily from the Duchy of Annabeek, settled parts of Hardenburgh, Viennensis, Aquileia and Ruccola, amongst others.

From the 18th century on, Van Luxemburg suffered from a period of conflict, that would eventually establish a constitutional monarchy in the nation. Today, the former leader of the Transperret Republic and later of the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg, Michel Senneville, is regarded as a national hero. Ever since the late 19th century and throughout the entire 20th century, the Van Luxemburger automobile industry and associated sectors have gained in popularity across the world, and built a solid reputation in being one of the most automobile-minded cultures in the world. Today, Van Luxemburg is a member of the Maredoratic League, and maintains important trading relations with Maredoratica and the world alike.

Geography

Van Luxemburg was created by a collision of three plates, namely the NN?, NN? and NN? plate. This caused the three Van Luxemburger mountain ranges (Zinzener Appeninen, Lëtzebuerger Alpen, Montagnes Perret) to appear. Sedimentation of soil against these mountain ranges caused the lower areas of Van Luxemburg to be created. These grounds were extremely fertile, and stimulated the growth of various plants. Several large lakes are also the result of sedimentation; these lakes were disconnected from the sea due to sedimentation at one point in history. Recent research has also shown that the Alzettemier (a large inland sea) is also suffering from sedimentation, and shrinks at a rate of about 2 centimetres per year.

Van Luxemburg is a large continent, with several known climates being evenly distributed across the continent. A oceanic climate in the north, slowly changing into a Mediterranean climate in the south. The three main mountain ranges are wrapped in an alpine climate, which causes snow to fall from late October to early April. An average of 90mm’s of snow falls in the valleys in the mountain ranges, while the north of Van Luxemburg gets 40mm’s of snow on average. Entrance to Van Luxemburg’s inland sea, the Alzettemier, is possible only by passing through the Stretto di Barriera/Détroit des Récifs. This is a treacherous passageway where coral reefs grow in shallow waters, and is hard to navigate without special maps. It is however very popular in tourism.

The highest point in the Grand Duchy would be the Trefflingerkofel in the Lëtzebuerger Alpen, at a height of 4188m. The mountain was first conquered by a climbing expedition in 1831, but research shows that a prehistoric tribe may have visited the mountain summit years before the actual discovery of the continent, as traces of primitive tools have been found near the top. The lowest point in Van Luxemburg, however, is entirely man-made. The Sint-Annabeekpolder is a section of land that was reclaimed from the sea with the help of dikes and windmills, creating a traditional Polder landscape, just north of the city of Sint-Annabeek. The polder lies at a depth of -19 metres on average.

Van Luxemburgs’ natural resources are mainly iron ore, coal, copper, silver, gold, platinum, lead, zinc, bauxite, and uranium to be found in mountaineous areas, while natural gas and petroleum can mainly be found in the areas laid down by sedimentation, the lakes, the Alzettemier and a small offshore portion. Hydropower, arable land, timber and fish are ubiquitous.


Landscapes and climates of Van Luxemburg
The Sint-Annabeekpolder, a traditional Polder landscape  
The Trefflingerkofel, at 4188 m the highest mountain  
Dusk over a vineyard in Villacoublay  
The southern coastline of Levallois-Perret  
The city of Weiningen, in the Lëtzebuerger Alpen  
A field in Arvaglio  
The northern heath in Sint-Annabeek  
The city of Neunhausen in southern Luxembourg  
A village in central San Giustra  
A town in northern Enzersdorf


 

Demographics

Van Luxemburg has an estimated population of 88,887,032 (As of early 2011), which means it is of medium size when compared to the Maredoratican average. Population growth in the Grand Duchy took an especially high flight throughout the late 19th and 20th century, with improved living and working conditions and healthcare. Over the past years, the growth of the population has again decreased significantly and will most likely stabilize in the years to come, at a small growth, mostly coming from immigration. The current growth figure is 0.589%

The fertility rate was established to be at 1.78 children per woman, which is firmly below the 2:1 ratio for population replacement. The life expectancy for newborn children is 81 for girls and 80 for boys, ranking among the highest in the region. The median age is 34.7 years, meaning that the population is still relatively young. The median age is however increasing rapidly due to the reduced population growth.

Van Luxemburg is a society which incorporates several language groups that can be considered native to the country, being Van Luxemburger, but also Dutch, French, German and Italian. 93% of the Van Luxemburger population is native, with 11% being of Van Luxemburger heritage, 25% of German descent, 23% of Italian descent, 19% French and 16% Dutch. Other significant groups within Van Luxemburg include the Sinitalians, and due to the position of Van Luxemburg within regional politics (as the host of the Maredoratic League) and regional economics, many different nationalities are represented.

Population density is rather low overall, with spikes occurring around the cities of Esch-sur-Alzette (its metropolitan area accounts for roughly 10% of the population) and Venezia (about 3% of the population). A sizeable proportion of the Van Luxemburger population resides on the countryside, as the tendency to de-urbanise has grown stronger in recent years, thanks to the rise of telecommuting and an increase in mobility.


Largest cities of Van Luxemburg
Nationalbureau fir Statistik (NBS)
Rank City name Region Pop. Rank City name Region Pop.
Esch-sur-Alzette
Esch-sur-Alzette

Venezia
Venezia

1 Esch-sur-Alzette Luxembourg 5,981,300 11 San Giustra San Giustra 454,100 Sint-Annabeek
Sint-Annabeek

Levallois
Levallois

2 Venezia Arvaglio 1,210,300 12 Weiningen Weiningen 398,430
3 Sint-Annabeek Sint-Annabeek 1,070,020 13 Châtellerault Levallois-Perret 356,290
4 Levallois Levallois-Perret 861,290 14 Beaufort Luxembourg 341,670
5 Zinzendorf Zinzendorf 787,200 15 Clemency Luxembourg 306,750
6 Luxembourg Luxembourg 724,892 16 Emmelkamp Sint-Annabeek 300,710
7 Arvaglio Arvaglio 614,650 17 Omignano Arvaglio 285,400
8 Rosny-sous-Bois Villacoublay 573,780 18 Bitterfeld Zinzendorf 270,900
9 Villacoublay Villacoublay 510,210 19 Watermaal Sint-Annabeek 260,670
10 Enzersdorf Enzersdorf 491,600 20 Rosenheim Zinzendorf 255,600

Healthcare

Healthcare is well-organised in Van Luxemburg, and is generally of high quality. Hospitals are often operated by private health insurance firms, which are compensated in two ways, namely through government funding and through health insurance.

The Atrium Sint Elizabeth Hospital in Dusseldorp, Sint Annabeek.

Health insurance is mandatory for all Van Luxemburger citizens, and is offered through various private health insurers. Every year, the Van Luxemburger Ministry of Health and Sports sets minimum requirements for basic health insurance, with a fixed price, which must be offered to all individuals, regardless of existing medical preconditions. Citizens may choose extra care packages (e.g. additional dental care) at their own discretion; prices for these additional packages may be set by the health insurance firms themselves, but it is not allowed to refuse any individuals the right to buy these extra care packages. Price discrimination (based on age and medical condition, for example) is however allowed, within certain limits.

The average price of a basic health insurance for an individual is about 500 Florins per year, usually with a deductible of about 100-200 Florins, though this can be eliminated at extra annual cost. This price is achieved through a system of risk equalization, with a common risk pool in which those that often require medical care are compensated for by those that require relatively little care. In addition, the government and the employer pay about 60% of the insurance risk pool, whereas the individual is responsible for 40% (the quoted 500 Florins). Those that have an income which is considered too low to be able to pay for health insurance, receive government subsidies.

Even though most hospitals are operated by the health insurance firms that provide insurance to the citizens of Van Luxemburg, several hospitals are funded and operated by the government in their entirety. These hospitals are mostly academic medical centres, which are connected to the medical faculties of universities and are responsible for medical research and experimental or advanced treatment of illnesses and injuries. On top of these, there are also private medical clinics, but these are not as popular as regular hospitals as they are not covered by health insurance and often provide similar service levels. However, as there often are waiting lists for several types of common surgeries (e.g. hernia repair) in regular hospitals, private clinics but also foreign hospitals (mostly in Ruccola, Monirania, De Vliggenplaat and Arnautia) see a growing number of Van Luxemburgers seeking medical treatment, despite the additional costs (even though foreign hospitals are covered by the insurance and insurance firms often provide assistance in these cases).

Emergency medical services (or pre-hospital care) in Van Luxemburg are often regarded as being one of the best in the region. Paramedics on ambulances are required to have completed a four-year basic training and an additional year of experience in a hospital first aid department, onboard an ambulance or in any other field that results in experience in emergency medical treatment. Becoming a driver foregoes with the requirement of practical experience in EMS, but adds an extra one-year driving course. Paramedics in the Van Luxemburger system are allowed to operate independent of a physician, and may make decisions required for the treatment of a victim without prior consultation of a doctor. An ambulance crew will always attempt to stabilize the victim before taking him/her to a hospital, and ambulances have a required basic equipment level that allows such treatment. In many more serious cases, an emergency physician will accompany the ambulance with a vehicle of his own, allowing him to perform more complex lifesaving measures on the scene. Ambulances have to adhere to strict requirements in terms of response time, usually requiring a response time of at most 15 minutes, even though attempts to reduce the response time and improve the medical care are continuously implemented: for example, in the case of cardiac arrest in an urban area, a minimum of two ambulances, an emergency physician, a fire engine and nearby police units will be alerted, to allow for a swift operation with enough personnel for CPR duties.

For extremely urgent situations, the Van Luxemburger government has established a nationwide network of air ambulances, staffed by medical teams consisting of a physician, a nurse and a pilot, which can deploy to more remote situations within the required 15 minutes. The primary role of these units is to stabilize the victim to allow for an ambulance to take him/her to a hospital, rather than the helicopter. Medical transport by helicopter is only done in exceptional cases.

Education

Education in Van Luxemburg is compulsory between the ages of 4 and 17, with an additional requirement that an individual takes part in some kind of education (at least part-time) between the ages of 17 and 21. It is however also very common to enter children into kindergarten from the age of 2.5, in order to socialize. Following kindergarten, children will usually start their school career at primary school from age 4. Level 1 and 2 (or the first two years of primary education) usually focuses on the development of cognitive and motor skills, as well as some ‘ light’ language and mathematical education. From level 3 on (at the age of 6, usually), the children learn to read and write in both Vun Lëtzebuergesch and their regional mother tongue. On top of this, they receive education in English from level 5 on.

A secondary education school in Sint-Annabeek, offering VGBU, VHBU and VUU.

Primary education ends after level 8, usually at the age of 11/12. Pupils take an aptitude test that grades their abilities on a scale from 1000 to 1,600 points. This, combined with the recommendation of the teacher, is used to divide the pupils among the three subtypes of secondary education:

  • Those with a score below 1300 usually carry on to Virbereedende Gemëttelde Beruffs Unterricht (VGBU, preparatory middle vocational education), a type of vocational education that lasts 5 years and will allow the pupil access to GBU.
  • Those with a score between 1300 and 1500 will go to the Virbereedende Héie Beruffs Unterricht (VHBU, preparatory higher vocational education), a type of higher vocational education that lasts 6 years and allows access to HBU, otherwise known as a university of applied sciences.
  • Those who score above 1500 will take Virbereedende Universiteets Unterricht (VUU, preparatory university education), which lasts 7 years and will prepare the pupil in question for studying at a research university.

Secondary schools are required to have a system in place that allows pupils to switch school types without delay in the first few years of their secondary education, should this be necessary. Later in their secondary education, usually around the 3rd or 4th year, students will be asked to specialize their education by taking one of four directions:

  • Social, a direction in which languages and culture are especially important, and the student is required to take four languages (three for VGBU), along with creative and cultural courses, such as art, music, or advanced history.
  • Economic, a direction in which the student will focus on economics and business. Once again, languages are important and four languages (three for VGBU) are required. Other required courses include economics and advanced mathematics. If a ‘ Social’ course is chosen as an elective, the student is said to have a ‘ bidirectional profile’ , as his education covers two directions.
  • Biological, which focuses on biology and nature, and often required for medical courses. Required are at least three languages (Van Luxemburger, regional mother tongue and English, plus another basic language course in the case of VUU), but also courses such as biology and advanced mathematics.
  • Technical, usually regarded as the hardest of all directions, has the same language requirements as Biological, and requires the student to take courses such as physics and chemistry, as well as advanced mathematics. With this direction, is is possible to create a bidirectional profile by taking biology and thus combining the biological and technical directions.
The faculty of social sciences on the University of Esch-sur-Alzette's VLT Campus.

After final exams in secondary education, and obtaining a diploma in either of the schooltypes, students are required to choose tertiary education (or, alternatively, move up the ladder by taking the last year of the subsequent kind of secondary education, e.g. from VHBU to VUU). This kind of education will last 4 years, in all subtypes (though some types of education, such as medical tracks, may take up to 10 years or more to complete), with universitary education typically consisting of a 3-year bachelor's degree and a 1-year master's degree level. Due to the growing internationalisation of Van Luxemburger education, there is a growing number of HBU and university programmes being taught in English. In recent years, an increasing number of secondary schools has also started offering bilingual education (Van Luxemburger/English, usually). It is important to note that attending a university of applied sciences does not yield a diploma similar to that of a univeristy bachelor's degree or master's degree, but is rather of a lower level. Those who have a diploma from a HBU are however allowed to follow education at a university afterwards, even for a master's degree, provided they have followed a premaster year.

Education in Van Luxemburg is provided free of charge in the case of state-accredited schools and universities, and there is no annual tuition fee for universities and universities of applied sciences (HBU), nor is there any form of fee for vocational education (GBU). Before their 18th birthday, children are under the care of their parents or caretakers and these are provided with a monthly amount to pay for the education of their children (e.g. for books). This monthly grant is dependent on the income of the parents; those who make less receive more money. After their 18th birthday, students will receive a study grant dependent on their performance at school and the income of their parents. This system favours excelling students and rewards students for effort shown (usually measured through the school's grading), whilst also supporting students from less affluent environments (Students that come from families with lower income receive a higher grant than those from families with higher incomes). Students are fined in case their studies are delayed more than two years, to avoid slacking, even though there are a number of exceptions for this rule (e.g. illness, or participating in the board of a study or student association).

Several Van Luxemburger universities have a very good reputation internationally, including the University of Esch-sur-Alzette, which receives funding from VLT, allowing them to offer education to foreign students, free of charge. Most other universities request fixed tuition fees of ƒ4000 per year for foreign students, even though the Van Luxemburger government (in cooperation with the national industry, which requires many highly educated individuals) has actively encourages foreign students to study in Van Luxemburg and has set up a programme offering free tuition for excellent foreign students. There are also programmes that stimulate Van Luxemburger students to take part in exchange programmes with foreign university, by providing funding for those who take the opportunity, and by actively advertising the possibility at universities and universities of applied sciences.

Government

See also: Foreign relations of Van Luxemburg

Even though Van Luxemburg has a Grand Duke, the government of the nation is chosen via a democratic process and the Grand Duke officially has little influence beyond the requirement of having to sign every law that in order for it to come into effect.

Zweete Zëmmer

Van Luxemburger politics primarily take place in the Zweete Zëmmer, usually abbreviated as ZZ. Here, a total of 300 seats are to be divided among the political parties of Van Luxemburg. It is common that the cabinet, usually consisting of about 14 ministers, sits opposite to the rest of parliament, even including their own political party. The Zweete Zëmmer has several tasks, including their three main tasks, being:

The exterior of the Demokrätiepalast by night.
  • Keeping check on government policies
  • Co-lawmaker (together with the government and the Nationalzëmmer, NZ)
  • Representation of the Van Luxemburger citizens

In order to control the government, the ZZ has several rights and tools at her disposal:

  • The Budget right, that allows her to accept or decline ministerial budgets, or to change them accordingly
  • The right of amendment, that allows her to make changes in laws. A majority vote is used to ratify these changes; the minister has no choice but to accept these changes.
  • The right of initiative, of individual members of parliament to propose the creation of a law. This right is only used several times per year, even though it could be considered the ZZ’s primary task.
  • The right of interpellation; This means that the ZZ has the right to ask questions, either during the bi-weekly question hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or on paper. In both cases, the minister in question must answer the question.
  • The right of hearing; The right of hearing is essentially a more powerful version of the interpellation right. A commission, that will be gathered for the task, will research the question at hand. For this, it can call up any person related to the question to testify.
  • Finally, it has the possibility of filing motions. Motions are a way of voicing the opinion of the ZZ, or can ask the government or a certain minister to do (or not do) something. These motions are however not legally binding, and the government has the ability to ignore these motions. However, the most important of all motions, the Motion of No Confidence, will almost certainly lead to the collapse of the government, as the ZZ has the opinion that they no longer have any confidence in the current government.

Elections

Every four years, there are elections for the ZZ, done via a system of proportional representation. These elections also form the government, as the party which has received the most votes will get the right of formation, meaning they can start the formation of a cabinet (In the more than 150 years the Van Luxemburger parliament has existed, no single party has ever gotten enough votes to form a government with just its own party). To make use of this right of formation, the leader of the winning party will have to visit to the Grand Duke on the fifth day after the election results have been made public, after which the Grand Duke will make him the Formateur of the new government. He will then be given fourty days time to create his cabinet.

The Formateur will eventually become the new Premier of Van Luxemburg. In case the Formateur can reach no agreement within fourty days, he can apply for another seven days of extra time, if an agreement is close, but if the party fails to create a cabinet by that time, there are generally two options: A minority cabinet (representing less than half of the seats in the ZZ) can be formed under the winning party, or the Grand Duke will appoint the leader of the party which came in second as Formateur in an attempt to create a cabinet. If this formation attempt also fails within 47 days, new elections should be called. This has however never happened in Van Luxemburger history, yet.

Nationalzëmmer

The Nationalzëmmer consists of 150 randomly chosen volunteers (with the pool of volunteers having been screened first), and always needs to be negotiated when a new law is to come into effect; When the NZ has not given its approval, it cannot be offered to the Grand Duke for signing. In order to do their job, the NZ has mostly the same rights as the ZZ, but has no right of amendment. In practice, however, the NZ can force the minister to create a novelle, a new amendment proposal. Furthermore, if the majority of the NZ agrees, a new proposal for a law can be filed with the ZZ. This is a major advantage of the NZ, as it does allow regular citizens to create laws to be voted upon by the ZZ. Another possibility is to place a subject on the political agenda by gathering at least 40,000 signatures, but this is no guarantee for a proposal to become a law.

Grand-Ducal influence

After the NZ has ratified a new law by having a majority approve the law during a vote, the law is then offered to the Grand Duke for signing. The Grand Duke has the ability to refuse to sign the law. Also, the Grand Duke has the power to send the ZZ and the government home after such a proposal is accepted by a 75% majority of the NZ. The Grand Duke however cannot fire the NZ. Neither of the two possible actions (refusing to sign a law and dissolving parliament) have ever been used by the Grand Duke.

Administrative Divisions

The Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg is a state that consists of a variety of historical kingdoms, duchies and principalities. These monarchies still retain some independence in their own domestic affairs, even though this has been reduced by the constitution of 1854 to responsibilities in terms of infrastructure, education, the environment and administrative duties, amongst other things. Defence used to be the responsibility of each monarchy until the Arméi reform of 1671, when the defence of the nation was passed on to the Grand Duchy as a whole. Each region has a government, with the president of the region being a ceremonial function often occupied by the descendants of the old monarchies that used to rule the area. The parliament of the region is chosen through the regional elections taking place every 5 years.

Regions of Van Luxemburg
Name Regional Language Population
Luxembourg Vun Lëtzebuergesch 17,200,000
Zinzendorf German 11,110,000
Enzersdorf German 5,423,000
Sint-Annabeek Dutch 13,329,000
Villacoublay French 10,681,000
Levallois-Perret French 6,925,000
San Giustra Italian 8,241,000
Weiningen German 4,228,000
Arvaglio Italian 11,674,000

In total, Van Luxemburg has 9 regions, all named after their capitals, being Luxembourg, Enzersdorf, Zinzendorf, Sint-Annabeek, Villacoublay, Levallois-Perret, San Giustra, Weiningen and Arvaglio. They are divided into hundreds of cantons, subdivisions responsible for mostly administrative tasks such as vehicle registration, waste disposal and the issuing authority for a variety of licenses, such as driving licenses, hunting/fishing licenses and weapon licenses. Even though there is usually a head office for the Cantonal authorities, many of these services can be requested on-line and picked up at the nearest municipal office nowadays. It could therefore be said that the Canton as an administrative division has largely disappeared from public life nowadays and has integrated with municipal authorities, even though it still exists. Since it fills mostly administrative roles, there are no cantonal elections.

The municipality is the lowest form of administrative division. A municipality can be very small or very large, depending on the size of the town and whether or not it has chosen to merge with other municipalities. This means there are municipalities with only a few hundred inhabitants, but also with several hundred thousand. A municipality has a government consisting of a council (who fill the role of a parliament), and the executive board, consisting of the mayor and the executive members, otherwise known as secretaries, each of whom have their own field of responsibility. municipal elections take place every four years, generally in the even year between national elections. Mayors are chosen at the same time, though only every 8 years.

Economy

Automobile assembly at a VLT plant.

Van Luxemburg is said to play an important role in the regional economy, as one of the largest exporters of goods, and its citizens are known to have been trading across the world for centuries. The country has a mixed economy in which the government still holds shares in several important firms, but has otherwise privatized multiple companies over the last decades and improved competition in several sectors. Major features of the Van Luxemburger economic model are collective bargaining between national workers’ unions and national organizations of employers, also taking into account the position of the unemployed, a social welfare model, regulations on good working conditions and minimum wage, and many public services being state-owned or semi-private.

The Van Luxemburger economy has been said to rely on foreign investments, made in times of foreign need, under the condition that loans were spent with Van Luxemburger firms. Historically, the willingness to trade with both sides in a war, as well as its position as a neutral state, have furthered the growth of the Van Luxemburger economy in hard times. Over the last decades, the average growth in GDP has been above 4%, with an inflation of around 1% and an unemployment of roughly 3%.

An important export of the Grand Duchy are automobiles, of which over 400 million are exported every year, with companies such as VLT, Automobili Monteluci, Courtemanche and Müller (the ‘Big Four’) ranking well in regional sales figures. Total sales of Van Luxemburger automobiles surpass the billion vehicle mark quite easily, but foreign production has taken a high flight in recent years. Thanks to increased mechanization, Van Luxemburg and in particular the region of Sint-Annabeek serve a role in the provision of food to the region. High agricultural efficiency means the area is one of the larger exporters of agricultural goods whilst employing relatively little people. Other exports from the Van Luxemburger economy's primary sector are less prominent, such as timber, fish, and the commercial growing of flowers. When it comes to the mining of metals and drilling of oil, the nation does not have enough resources to fill its own demand, and requires (often massive) imports of these products. The Van Luxemburger government maintains a 3-month stockpile for these products, to prevent shortages in case of a disruption of supply.

Other products, such as plastics, advanced industrial machinery, chemicals, electronics and ships are exported on a limited basis, while often receiving equally large supplies of these goods. This is also the case with textiles and clothing, aircraft, medical supplies and low-tech industrial machinery. The nations' consultants are primarily active abroad when it comes to advising foreign entities about infrastructure, transportation and mobility.

The fact that Van Luxemburg exports mass numbers of automobiles and large numbers of other goods, and also trades various goods using its position as a neutral nation, means that its ports serve an important role. Esch-sur-Alzette is the largest port in the region in terms of automobiles transported, but also serves as a regional hub in terms of container transport. This position was further strengthened with the opening of the Beryl Bay Bridge and the Bonaventure Straits Tunnel between Van Luxemburg and Ruccola, allowing rapid transportation of goods flooding into the region through Van Luxemburger ports.

A 50 Florin note.

The national currency of the Grand Duchy is the Van Luxemburger florin, commonly abbreviated as VLF or simply ƒ. The exchange rate was ƒ 0.6626 per USD at the time of writing, which makes it a reasonably strong currency that has had a rather long history. The average Van Luxemburger earns a reasonably high income when compared to the outside world, and only 7.1% of the population lives below the national poverty line (set at $12,600 of income for singles, and $16,700 for couples with children) according to recent estimates. Most homeless and unemployed people are supported by the Grand Duchy´s social services.

The main index of the Van Luxemburger economy is the ESAX, which lists 25+ of the most important public firms headquartered in the nation. ESAX and other shares are generally traded at the Esch-sur-Alzette stock exchange, or BESA, one of the more important stock exchanges in the region.

Energy

Renewable energy is the fastest growing source of electricity in van Luxemburg. Large offshore wind farms are under construction

The energy in Van Luxemburg remains mostly sourced from fossil fuels, with coal having the largest single share. The predominance of coal mostly stems from the presence of this resource in Van Luxemburger soil, as opposed to other fossil fuels.

Building on this lack of fossil fuels, and the expected depletion of coal sources in the nearby future, the government of Van Luxemburg has strived for the implementation of alternative sources of power. Not only has it invested significantly in nuclear power, it also runs a significant programme to subsidise renewable energy. With its renewable energy policies, it has gained the support of several major industries and has made progress in substituting some of its fossil fuel energy sources with renewably energy. Grand Ducal Coal and Petroleum (GHKP) is the main contractor for the changeover, even though Imperial Oil is also planning several renewable energy plants. Both companies already operate the majority of fossil fuel plants in Van Luxemburg.

As of 2014, Van Luxemburger electricity is mostly sourced from coal-fired power plants, which provide 35% of power. Another 30% is provided by nuclear power. Renewable energy counts for roughly 20% of the total, with another 15% coming from other fossil fuels (natural gas, oil) and waste. The Ministry of Housing and The Environment has stated that it aims to eliminate the reliance on imported fossil fuels for the generation of electricity by 2030. At the same time, the renewable energy programme, combined with an expansion in the number and capacity of nuclear power stations, will need to significantly reduce coal usage as the proven domestic reserves are running out.

To achieve this, new wind farms will be constructed in the Alzette Sea as well as off the eastern coast of the country. The construction of a new hydroelectric dam in the Lëtzebuerger Alpen, biomass-powered CHP plants in Sint-Annabeek, Enzersdorf and Arvaglio and finally the promotion and subsidizing of domestically produced solar power will also add to the significant growth of renewable energy. More ways to improve power generation are currently being studied, such as proposals for the utilization of tidal and wave power as well as the generation of geothermal energy.

Communications and Media

See also: Culture of Van Luxemburg

An example of the Zeitong Mateneen, the most popular newspaper in Van Luxemburg.

Van Luxemburg has a highly-developed and well-maintained communications network, that branches out over all parts of the nation. If Cable TV is not available (farms or extremely rural areas suffer from this every once in a while), one can get TV via satellite or digital broadcasting. Telephone and internet can also be offered from the same digital system television broadcasters use. There are 71 TV broadcasting stations in Van Luxemburg.

The main Van Luxemburger media company is the public RTVL service, which broadcasts over several TV and radio stations, and attempt to cater to all age groups and cultures. Most of their programming is orientated on the domestic viewer, but RTVLI (Radio and Television Van Luxemburg International) provides programming for Van Luxemburgers abroad and foreigners. Several commercial broadcasters offer their services in Van Luxemburg, including some foreign news services.

Newspapers in Van Luxemburg are still very popular, even though Radio, TV and Internet have caused somewhat of a decline of sales. The most popular newspaper is the objective Zeitong Mateneen, followed by the sensation newspaper Den Lëtzebuerger.

The communications in Van Luxemburg have taken a high flight in the last 30 years. In 2007, 86 million main telephone lines were registered as in use, along with 95 million cellular telephones being registered as in use; Van Luxemburger telephone numbers can be reached by dialing +134, and then the local number. The Grand Duchy also has 87 million Internet users. Van Luxemburger websites commonly use the .vl TLD.

Transportation


The A1 Autobahn between Luxembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette.

Van Luxemburg is a nation in which transport by road is very important. Every family owns one or more automobiles, and large amounts of goods are transported by Van Luxemburgs’ excellent network of Autobahns, which have no speed limit. This makes Van Luxemburg a very car-minded nation, in which the automobile industry is not only very important in terms of economy, but also in terms of culture. In total, Van Luxemburg has xxx km of roadways, including xxx km of Autobahnen.

Even while the automobile is the most popular form of transport, public transport in Van Luxemburg is well-organised, and the high-speed trains of the Nationaleisenbunn (NEB) are direct competitors to the cars that are allowed to travel at derestricted autobahns. With speeds of 300 km/h upwards, the HST’s of the NEB are frequently used by businessmen that want to keep their hands off the wheel and do some work for their business while travelling. There are xxx km of railways, using 1435mm standard-gauge rails, most of which is electrified.

Two platforms of the railway station at Luxembourg-Courtemanche International Airport.

For larger distances, a large domestic network of airports is connected by the GFG (Groussherzogliche Fliger Gesellschaft), but also by several domestic budget airlines. The Grand Duchy has xxx airports, along with xxx designated heliports. By far the most important airport internationally is Luxembourg-Courtemanche International Airport, receiving all international flights, as well as an important amount of regional and national flights. From this airport, it takes roughly 30 minutes to reach either Luxembourg or Esch-sur-Alzette, by train or by car.

Due to the unusual natural obstacle that is the Alzettemier, a large amount of shipping is active on the inland sea. Large passenger ships, also able to transport automobiles and even trains, cross the Alzettemier in every direction. High-speed hovercrafts and hydrofoils can make the trip in just several hours, while it can take up to a day for a normal ‘rapid’ ship to cross the sea. Inland, there are xxx km of waterways navigable for ships over 50 tons. Furthermore, the ports of Arvaglio, Sint-Annabeek and Esch-sur-Alzette are major trading ports for the nation, bringing in goods from across the globe, as well as exporting the majority of Van Luxemburger products. Several other ports offer ferry connections with other nations in Maredoratica.

Law Enforcement

A counterterrorism unit of the Marechaussee in action.

The Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg is policed by three uniformed law enforcement agencies, of which the Kommunalpolizei represents the largest amount of police officers, being responsible for the law enforcement in the entire Grand Duchy, except for major arteries and all law enforcement related to military affairs and border patrol, which is the responsibility of the Autobahnpolizei and the Marechaussee, respectively. Both the Kommunalpolizei and the Autobahnpolizei are the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and are incorporated into the Groussherzogliche Polizei. However, the two are usually separated as far as the public is concerned; their uniforms and vehicle livery differ. Furthermore, the Groussherzogliche Polizei also incorporates the Nationalrecherche, which is responsible for investigative police tasks, such as homicide investigation and research into criminal activities. The Nationalrecherche does not wear specific uniforms, and only make use of unmarked police vehicles.

All four law enforcement agencies that have been described operate a separate counter-terrorism unit; Van Luxemburger politics have been calling for a single intervention team for years, but the agencies have so far refused to merge their counter-terrorism team into one. It should also be noted that, in case of IVD involvement, the Arméi's Reebouwuecht is often employed for these missions.

Military

With a total strength of 262,000 employees, the Van Luxemburger armed forces are a highly developed and modern military, incorporating an army (Arméi) and a navy (Marine). Both the army and the navy have their respective air wings, due to the absence for a separate air force. The Arméi is by far the largest branch of the armed forces, with 175,913 personnel. The second largest branch is the Marine with 45,000 personnel, followed by the Central Support Agency with 30,000 employees. The Marechaussee is on par with the central support agency, with 30,000 employees.

Historically, the Van Luxemburger defense spending has been rather modest, focusing purely on self-defense through a small professional core of volunteer troops, supplanted by a large pool of home defense volunteers. More recently, the Ministry of Defense has gone through several rounds of budget increases, rising from 2.3% of GDP in 1990, via 2.5% in 2005, to a total of 3% in 2014, following the election of the more interventionist Lurani/Fassbinder government. The main reason given for this increase in spending is the potential threat of other nations to Van Luxemburg and its trade interests, chiefly coming from Prekonate but also Questers to a lesser extent. Another often-heard reason is that the defence forces would have to stay in tune with Maredoratican average defence spending, which was previously much higher than that of Van Luxemburg.

Arméi

Main article: Arméi
A soldier of the Arméi in full combat gear.

The Van Luxemburger Arméi (Ground Component, Army), is the well-equipped and well-trained, but very small defence force of the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg. Even though it can support small-scale operations abroad, it’s prime task is the defence of the Grand Duchy and it’s assets. The makeup of a regiment can vary. The Arméi currently subdivides it’s mainstream troops into five categories: Mechanised (Karabinéier), Armoured (Kavaléier), Mountain (Biergjeeër), Amphibious (Marinekarabinéier) and Airmobile (Fallschiermjeeër). These are mostly battalion-sized forces that are combined together to form a regiment. Even though regimental organisations are fixed, some battalions may temporarily be relocated or exchanged with other troops, to create the required force.

Marine

The ZMS Harlekijn, a Diesel-electric submarine of the Van Luxemburger Marine, is moored in the port of Arvaglio.

The Van Luxemburger Marine is a typical green-water navy. Its primary focus is the defence of the Van Luxemburger islands, and therefore has a large amount of relatively small ships. It however also has a considerable amphibious capability, making it intervention-capable. For this task, it has 1 large LHD that also allows for CATOBAR aviation, along with 4 smaller amphibious ships, most of them of the same type. Furthermore, 2 of its support ship also have amphibious landing capabilities. The reason why the Van Luxemburger Marine capitalises upon amphibious capabilities is the piracy threat off the coast of Arvaglio, for which these ships are often used as mobile naval bases.

Next to the amphibious capabilities, the Marine operates one supercarrier, the ZMS Weiningen. It shares its base design with the largest LHD in Van Luxemburger service, but is equipped with catapults and a larger aviation hangar, making it an actual aircraft carrier, as opposed to her cousins. Furthermore, the Marine operates two cruisers, which have recently replaced the last gun cruiser in Van Luxemburger service. The Marine also operates 4 destroyers, 20 frigates and 10 corvettes. The submarine service consists of highly advanced AIP Diesel-Electric submarines and less advanced regular Diesel-Electric submarines, of which there are a total of 10. 2 out of 80 warships in Van Luxemburger service have nuclear propulsion.

ALD/MLD

The Van Luxemburger Airforce does not exist, theoretically speaking. It was never made an independent component of the armed forces, and has remained divided in two services: the Army Air Arm (Arméi Loft Divisioun, ALD) and the Navy Air Arm (Marine Loft Divisioun, MLD). Even though the two services often cooperate, they remain part of their respective military components and thus also adhere to the ranking systems used in either the Arméi or the Marine. The division of reponsibilities between the two organisations is clear, as the MLD is largely responsible for naval aviation and support of the Marine, while the Arméi is mostly responsible for ground support and air superiority in case of homeland defence.

In terms of transport capabilities, the ALD and MLD maintain a joint pool of strategic transport aircraft. The tactical transport aircraft remain the responsibility of the ALD, with the MLD operating several of their own tactical transports in order to move Marine personnel.

Marechaussee

The Groussherzogliche Marechaussee (or Van Luxemburger Marechaussee) is a Gendarmerie-style police force that is not only responsible for the law enforcement within the Van Luxemburger defence forces, but also for customs duties and border patrol. Therefore, the Marechaussee is often the first Van Luxemburger law enforcement agencies foreigners encounter when they enter the Grand Duchy. The Marechaussee has an approximate strength of 30,000 employees.

The Marechaussee is often referred to as the 'Blue Mafia' by other military personnel, because of their arrogant and authoritarian behaviour.

Gemengliche Verdeedegengs Truppen

Due to it’s size, the Van Luxemburger Arméi is supposedly unable to completely defend it’s territory when several regiments are fighting overseas in a war situation. Therefore, the Gemengliche Verdeedegens Truppen were founded in 1896 as a military unit that primarily consisted of voluntary reservists that would defend the Grand Duchy in times of need.

The GVT’s are organised on a municipal level, and commanded mainly by local police officers (sometimes firemen as well), which had a one-year military training at the start of their own training. The mainstream of it’s soldiers are voluntary civilians in the age category of 18-55 years old. As soon as a Van Luxemburger turns 18, he or she is sent a letter explaining the purpose of the GVT, and what they can do for their local unit. He or she is later contacted by the local GVT commander, with the question if the person in question is willing to join their local unit. If accepted, a 4-week military training at the nearest military base will take place during the summer holidays, after which the person receives his uniform, a personal defence weapon with vault (+ personal code) and ammunition, to be stored at home, and a Müller G-66 assault rifle, which is stored at the local mobilisation storage. From now on, the GVT’er has to show up for training one weekend per month, and receives a compensation based on the number of hours he or she works for the GVT. The GVT also often serves an important role for disaster relief and as a backup for local fire departments. To this end, a lot of training hours are also spent on training for emergency situations, search-and-rescue operations, disaster relief, firefighting and first aid.

The local GVT’s mobilisation storage and arsenal is housed in an NBC-secured underground bunker, constructed in the municipality. If all vehicles and weapons are removed, it should house all inhabitants of the municipality: this is sometimes solved by constructing multiple underground bunkers. Most GVT’s have several trucks or jeeps, but larger or better equipped GVT’s receive various armoured and armed vehicles. These local storage facilities are also often used by the Arméi to store unsold decommissioned vehicles or equipment that is in long-term storage.

Sometimes, companies that can be considered strategical industrial targets have their own partly-government funded defence force. Technically, they do not belong to a GVT, but often operate under the command of the local defence department. These companies often oblige a certain percentage of their personnel to take part in their defence force, exempting personnel that is already part of a local defence unit. These men and women are also often trained in the usage of anti-air systems. Industrial Defence Units are operated by (e.g.) VLT Automotive, Walter Technologie and Müller Waffenwerke.