Luxembourg is a small European country surrounded by Belgium, West Germany and France. Though the area was originally settled by Celts and Romans, Luxembourgers consider themselves a culturally distinct people. Historically, they have been ruled by dynasties, such as the Bourbons, Habsburgs, and Hohenzollerns, and fallen under French, Austrian and German control at times. Charles IV made Luxembourg a duchy in 1354, and in 1815, the country was granted Grand Duchy status by the Congress of Vienna. Luxembourg achieved full political independence in 1839, but was not recognized as such until 1867, when it became politically neutral. During this period, economic problems resulted in a massive emigration to the US. Germany occupied Luxembourg during World Wars I and II, and after the Second World War, Luxembourg became both a member of NATO and a founding member of the European Union. Luxembourg has become a very prosperous nation, offering tax havens to millions of investors worldwide while also engaging in a Double Tax Treaty with the US to improve trade. It also has become a diplomatic haven for contributors to the winning party in U.S. presidential elections. Only three of the last 21 U.S. ambassadors to Luxembourg have been career diplomats.
Lay of the Land: Residents of this teardrop-shaped country surrounded by Belgium, West Germany, and France consider themselves a culturally distinct people.
The history of Luxembourg dates back to Celtic and Roman times. The territory was once ruled by Charles the Great, but began its history in the year 963. Its first ruler, Siegfried, took control of the Luxembourg Castle which served as a sanctuary and watchtower. Soon a surrounding town developed under different rulers.
Le Jeudi (French)
The first Luxembourgers came to New York City (New Amsterdam at the time) with the Dutch in 1630.
In 2009, the US exported $1.29 billion in goods to Luxembourg and imported $442.6 million worth of goods. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts exports increased from the US totaled $3.21 billion to $ 4.15 billion from 2006 to 2009. Medicinal equipment also increased from $28.5 billion to $416 billion from 2006 to 2009.
Luxembourg Finally Agrees to EU Changes
Luxembourg’s government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, according to the State Department. Problems reported by US officials included prison overcrowding, domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.
Note: On Oct 8, 1931, during Gibson’s tenure (under his first appointment) as non-resident Minister, Gibson introduced George P. Waller to the Minister of State in Luxembourg, in Waller’s capacity as Second Secretary of Legation and Consul; Gibson then returned to Brussels Oct 9, 1931, leaving Waller in charge at Luxembourg, the Department of State having previously authorized the Consul and Second Secretary at that post to act as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in the absence of the Minister and First Secretary. The status of the post at Luxembourg as a resident Legation was confirmed by an instruction dated Jun 14, 1952.
Jean-Paul Senninger received two Bachelors of Arts Degrees in Political Science and Literature at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität and Freiburg im Breisgay in Germany. In 1984, Senninger attained a Master in European Studies at Collège d’Europe, Bruges in Belgium.
The American ambassadorship to Luxembourg has long been reserved as a post for rewarding political friends and benefactors of presidents. In the last 50 years, only three out of 21 U.S. ambassadors to the tiny European country have been career diplomats. Cynthia Stroum, who was sworn in as Ambassador to Luxembourg December 7, 2009, and announced her resignation on January 12, 2011 (effective January 31), was not one of them.
On June 28, 2011, President Barack Obama announced his intention to replace one top donor with another in making his latest pick for ambassador to Luxembourg: Florida real estate developer Robert A. Mandell. Mandell was sworn in on October 25, 2011.