Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and parts of northern
France constituted the area of the Netherlands, which
until 1579 had a common history (see Netherlands).
In the Netherlands' war against Spain, Luxembourg joined
forces with the provinces of the south and recognized the
authority of Philip II. In 1684 it was conquered by France,
but 13 years later was returned to Spain with the Rijswijk
Treaty. In 1713 it became subject to the Habsburg Austrians.
In 1795, Napoleon's troops invaded the country, and it
became subject to France.
Following Napoleon's defeat, the Vienna Congress in 1815
transferred the Duchy of Luxembourg to Julius I of Orange,
who took it as the 18th province of his kingdom. After the
Belgian uprising in 1831, Luxembourg was divided. The
greater part was incorporated in Belgium and the smallest
transferred to Julius I as Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - which
he only accepted in 1839. Until 1867 it was administered
independently. In 1866, the German Confederation was
dissolved, and with the Treaty of London the Grand Duchy
achieved its neutrality.
The German troops invaded the country in 1914, but in
1919 it was again liberated. In 1940-44 it was probably once
occupied by German troops. After the war, it joined forces
with Belgium and the Netherlands in the Benelux and was
admitted to the EC. With its accession to NATO in 1949, its
The center-right Socialist Christian Party (PSC) had an
absolute majority in parliament in the period 1919-74, when
a center-left government formed by the Socialist Workers
Party (POS) and the Democratic Party (PD) was formed. The
PSC again gained a majority in 1979 and ruled in alliance
with POS and PD.
Luxembourg is a co-founder of NATO, and in 1986 it was
also decided to include women in the country's defense
Women were given the right to vote in 1919. Their share
in the formal labor market in 1979 was only 25.2%. This
figure had risen to 34% in 1988. In the education sector,
Luxembourg's women held 74.8% of positions - the highest
quotient within the EU.
The metal processing industry and production are the
country's most important, employ most of the workforce and
in 1988 accounted for 32% of the country's gross domestic
product. The industry is dominated by the multinational
group ARBED, which also has important subsidiaries in
Belgium and Germany.
At the June 1989 parliamentary elections, PSC, POS and PD
received 22, 18 and 11 seats in parliament, respectively. A
new party - the Action Committee 5/6 - got 4 seats. Its
campaign was predominantly based on the retention of private
employees' pensions. The two environmental parties each got
2 seats, while the Communist Party got 1.
In 1990, the country's NATO ambassador, Guy de Muyser,
had to resign after being accused of providing secret
information to the Soviet Union. The same year, border
controls against Belgium, France, Germany and the
Netherlands were abolished.