Introducing 🇱🇺Luxembourg [The Atlantic Community Series – NATO Documentaries, 1954]

Morning in Luxembourg City. The national habit of walking to work extends equally to the Prime Minister
as to his fellow citizens, some of whom he greets regularly
along his route. Like most of Luxembourg’s 300,000 citizens, the Prime Minister can express himself equally well
in any one of three languages, Luxembourger,
German or French. The Prime Minister begins his daily task of
administering good and democratic government to the subjects of Her Royal Highness
The Grand Duchess Charlotte, member of the Royal House that began with
Siegfried, founder of Luxembourg a thousand years ago. Luxembourg,
sovereign since 1919, the Grand Duchess shares legislative power
with the Chamber of Deputies. The Prime Minister’s day opens with
a review of Luxembourg’s press. Watchful and informed in French,
German and Luxembourger. This country’s trilingual quality
is apparent everywhere. A poster may start off in French,
and print the punchline in Luxembourger. And in schools the children change readily
from one language to another. All education is public, private schools are unknown. And healthcare for children is just part of
Luxembourg’s longstanding and highly developed social security system that goes to work well before
a child is even born. Benefits are extended to all who live in the country,
including foreign workers – Italian, Belgian,
German or French, who are attracted to Luxembourg industries
by high living standards and fair employment practices. These men are peaceful and
constructive visitors, but in past centuries their ancestors may have
passed this way on missions of war. In the course of 700 years, this Gibraltar of the North
was besieged 59 times. Once Europe’s greatest power,
Luxembourg is today small in area, a compact thousand square miles. A touch on Germany, Belgium, and France and just missed the Netherlands. The only nation within the Atlantic Community
without a coastline, Luxembourg’s central and
landlocked position makes her a natural headquarters
for international organisations. It was here that in 1950 Europe’s
Coal And Steel Community set up the offices of
its High Commission, grouping together the coal,
iron and steel industries of France, Germany, Belgium, Italy,
the Netherlands and Luxembourg. One common production unit
and one common market. Associated in this work with Britain, the CSC
also maintains its own information services to record the advances that are being achieved
by this unique act of cooperation. In 1950, the Community’s President
tapped the first batch of truly European steel, mixed from Dutch, French and German iron ore
and fired in a Luxembourg furnace. From its own highly efficient steelworks,
Luxembourg turns out 3 million tonnes of steel a year, a total that makes this small country
the 7th steel producer in the world. One Luxembourg worker in three finds a well-paid job in the steel industry
that supplies customers in a dozen countries. Number one buyer is neighbour Belgium, linked to Luxembourg since 1922
by an economic union. Ten years ago, the Netherlands joined
Belgium and Luxembourg to form Benelux – three nations united
in a single international market. In the same spirit,
the Coal and Steel Community has already ended customs control over steel,
iron and coke along six frontiers. This facilitates vital imports of German coke
needed by Luxembourg, as well as smaller quantities
from the mines of the Netherlands. Coke from the Netherlands, and Luxembourg iron ore: a practical example of
Benelux cooperation, resulting in steel ordered by Belgium. The local iron mines also supply a valuable
by-product: potash fertilizer, used extensively in the rich and varied
agriculture of Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy is one of the
fortunate nations of Europe that are largely self-sufficient
in food supplies. Highly mechanised mixed farming provides
wheat, potatoes, fruit and dairy products. In eastern Luxembourg are some of the finest
vineyards along the whole of the Moselle Valley. This is the land of Elbling,
Riesling and Silvaner. Fine white wines enjoyed
by gourmets everywhere. Before the age of steel, the wealth
of Luxembourg depended on her foresters. Today the woodcutters are still at work,
though timber is a minor industry. A third of the country is still rolling woodland,
unrivalled in Europe for its beauty. Most of the wood cut
goes into local furniture factories, and the bark of oak trees is the basis
of an ancient tanning industry which still sends its high quality
finished skins around the world. Pottery is another old craft that has survived
as a modern artisan industry. Not surprisingly,
some of the hand painted designs reflect the more romantic
traditions of the country. Castles come as naturally to
the Luxembourg landscape as a cottage in Cornwall or
a ranch house in the Rockies. Castles that mark the history of Europe and of a country that was
once a great military power. The strongholds of rival dukes
have become youth hostels and their feudal domains are now
a playground for tourists. Nevertheless, Luxembourg still keeps military
traditions alive in modern style. Ending a long period of neutrality in 1948,
Luxembourg joined with 14 other nations of Europe and North America
in the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. Her active contribution to this
concept of mutual defence is a highly trained combat force in which every able bodied man must
undergo service and training. This regimental force is a highly mechanised
and mobile defence group, ready for service within Luxembourg or
with other Allied troops under NATO command. A modern aircraft can cross the territory
of Luxembourg in three minutes. Nevertheless to assist the defence
of her partners, the Grand Duchy is currently extending her
main civil airport by filling in an entire valley. This will provide an additional
defence base for NATO aircraft. In the same spirit of
international cooperation, Luxembourg has agreed with her neighbours
to widen through highways in conformity with those of Belgium,
France and Germany – a practical gesture in facilitating
travel and defence. One unique contribution of
Luxembourg industry is the design and prefabrication
of steel structures. Built in Luxembourg, these ready made
buildings, cranes and bridges are taken apart again
for shipping out to the final sites, where they can be reassembled
like giant toys. In the very centre of the country, this skill with steel is
being used on a project that will remain
within Luxembourg. New 800-foot radio masts
of ultra-modern design for an international radio
and television station. Here as in all her industries, Luxembourg practises what is probably
the most liberal employment policy in Europe. Foreign workers are welcomed and guaranteed
the same high living standards and social welfare benefits as Luxembourg workers. Luxembourgers do not fear any loss of identity
by entering into a larger international framework. They have confidence in the strength of
their national character. The smallest of the Atlantic nations,
Luxembourg lives, thinks and plans internationally. A lively example to her partners in the task of
building a true community of the 15 Atlantic Nations.


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