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 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 November 2012 to 2016, Switzerland and Luxembourg jointly hold the chairmanship of the European Space Agency (ESA).
While the volume of trade in goods has traditionally been small, the trade in services between Switzerland and Luxemburg has been intense: In 2015 Switzerland’s exported services to Luxemburg amounted to 6.109 billion EUR, while imported services amounted to 5.88 billion EUR. This corresponds to about 10% of Luxembourg's total trade in services and financial services – making Switzerland the fourth largest exporter of services to Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy was the largest direct investor in Switzerland in 2014, Switzerland ranking second after the United States.
Swiss banks have played a pivotal role in establishing Luxembourg as an international centre for the investment of funds. They account for 14% of the market share in funds and a significant part of the private banking sector. In 2015, twelve Swiss banks and one Liechtenstein bank had branches in Luxembourg.
Energy, sustainable construction and space technology are areas where cooperation can be further developed.
Cooperation in the field of education
The two countries maintain lively exchanges in the field of education at the federal level and especially at the cantonal level. Luxembourg has particularly close ties with Geneva, Fribourg (primary school teacher training) and 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.
Cultural exchange between Switzerland and Luxembourg is very varied, encouraged by the two languages the countries share and a similar mentality. There are also many Swiss artists in Luxembourg in all areas of the creative arts.
Swiss nationals in Luxembourg
At the end of 2015, there were 1277 Swiss nationals living in Luxembourg.
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 made a state visit to Switzerland. In 1989, Swiss Foreign Minister René Felber made an official visit to Luxembourg. Since then, contact between the two countries has become closer and diplomatic visits have been particularly frequent. Besides regular meetings between ministers and federal councillors, in 2014 Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was invited to Neuchâtel by President Didier Burkhalter.