Switzerland and Luxembourg have a number of common features. These include a central location in Europe, French and German as national languages, multilingualism and their important position as international financial centres.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Luxembourg
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
In international organisations, Switzerland and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg often represent the same or similar positions. The two countries regularly hold ministerial-level meetings on issues relating to financial and fiscal policy. From 2012 to 2016, Switzerland and Luxembourg jointly held the chairmanship of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The volume of trade in goods amounted to approx. CHF 540 million in 2019. While the volume of trade in goods between Switzerland and Luxembourg is relatively small owing to Luxembourg's size, there is an important trade in services. According to Luxembourg sources, Switzerland exported and imported services worth a total of EUR 10.3 billion (of which EUR 8.4 billion in the financial sector). At CHF 3.6 billion, the figures for trade in services published by the SNB are significantly lower.
Swiss banks played a decisive role in the development of the Luxembourg investment fund industry and are still very strongly represented in the sector and in private banking. Luxembourg is the third-ranking destination for Swiss direct investment abroad.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
The two countries enjoy active exchanges in the field of education at the federal level and even more so at the cantonal level. Luxembourg has particularly close ties with Geneva and Fribourg (training of primary school teachers) and also with Zurich (University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education).
In Luxembourg there is a growing interest in the Swiss dual education and training system as youth unemployment continues to rise. Since 2003, Luxembourg has had its own university; previous to this, many students chose to study at Swiss universities.
Scholars and artists from Luxembourg can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Cultural exchanges between the two countries are very varied, encouraged by the two languages the countries share and a similar mentality. Consequently, Swiss artists of all types are well represented in Luxembourg.
Swiss nationals in Luxemburg
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 1,320 Swiss citizens living in Luxemburg at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
In 1309, Emperor Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg, granted imperial immediacy to the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. In 1843, Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union and consequently became economically linked to Switzerland.
In 1929, Switzerland signed an economic treaty with the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, which had been established by Belgium and Luxembourg in 1921.
The 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Luxembourg was celebrated in 2017, marking the opening of a legation by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Switzerland in November 1917. Up until a Swiss embassy was established in Luxembourg in 1970, the Swiss envoy in Brussels was also accredited to Luxembourg.
In 1947, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix came to Switzerland for a state visit. In 1989, Swiss Foreign Minister René Felber made an official visit to Luxembourg. Since then, contact between the two countries has become closer and high-level diplomatic visits have been particularly frequent.