Founded in 963, Luxembourg
became a grand duchy in 1815 and an independent state under the
Netherlands. It lost more than half of its territory to Belgium in
1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy. Full independence was
attained in 1867. Overrun by Germany in both World Wars, it ended its
neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and
when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luxembourg became one
of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later
the European Union), and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area.
Luxembourgish is the national language; German
are administrative languages.