Monday, April 6, 2015


Hugo is French, but perhaps he visited the Duchy at some time

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, inhabiting a geographical space that is landlocked between Belgium, France and Germany, also inhabits a historical space that is timelocked between the end of the Roman Empire (September 4th, 476, according to Gibbon) and the founding of the Holy Roman Empire (December 25th, 800, the day on which Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne) for the latter of which it provided several emperors. It competes very closely with Liechtenstein to be up there in the top 10 of the world’s most sought after tax havens, but it ain’t got nothing on Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. And yes, it too declared neutrality in Hitler’s War - the Germans over-ran it anyway, which probably served it right.

Where Switzerland at least produced the cuckoo-clock (digital cuckoo-clocks have rendered this fact sadly obsolete), Luxembourg’s one and only contribution to human progress was a statement made by then Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, off-the-cuff and shocked that anyone thought he was remotely serious, but which led him to become the new President of the European Commission in 2014 - the nearest modern equivalent to Holy Roman Emperor. While coming out of a meeting of finance ministers to try to deal with the economic crash of 2008, he was asked if they had found a solution. “We know the solution,” he replied, “we just don’t know how to get re-elected if we implement it.” Government of the people, by the people, for the people!

In order to try to glean some marks for this tiny state, I am conducting a quiz, but citizens of Luxembourg are not permitted to enter it (to spare you the embarrassment of not knowing the answers). Answers in the comments box below please - and no comments means no marks.

1. Name any town, however small, that you have actually heard of in Luxembourg.

2. Name any person, besides Jean-Claude Juncker (bonus mark if you admit that you hadn't even heard of him until you read this page), who you have ever heard of that came from Luxembourg.

3. What language do they speak in Luxembourg?

4. Which country in the world has won the Eurovision Song Contest the greatest number of times?

5. Why does a country of 450,000 people require 155 different banks?

6. What possible reason could Skype, Amazon, Rakuten, Paypal and many other global corporations have for placing their headquarters in Luxembourg?

Marks For: 0

Marks Against: 155

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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