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).
While the volume of trade in goods is traditionally rather small (CHF 600 million in 2016), trade in services between Switzerland and Luxembourg is intense: in 2016 services exported to and imported from Luxembourg each amounted to EUR 5.74 billion. This corresponds to about 10% of Luxembourg's total trade in services and financial services. Swiss banks played a pivotal role in establishing Luxembourg as an international centre for investment funds. They have a market share of 14% for funds and a significant share of private banking. In 2016, eleven Swiss banks and one bank from Liechtenstein were represented in Luxembourg.
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 Luxembourg
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 1,297 Swiss nationals were living in Luxembourg at the end of 2016.
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 two countries have maintained diplomatic relations since 1938. The Swiss envoy – from 1957 the Swiss ambassador – in Brussels was also accredited to Luxembourg when the Swiss embassy opened there.
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.