There are many small countries in the European Union, that are rarely written about and even remembered. Despite belonging to a common European civilisation, they differ from each other, speak different languages, each of them – even a very small country – has its own culture. But they all huddle around the large and powerful Germany. Germany, which used to conquer them from time to time, but which is now trying to assure everyone that it is “just like anyone else”.
Luxembourg was established as a constitutional monarchy. But the country is ruled by a grand duke, not by a king. And the official name of the state is the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Such a pompous name for a tiny country does not confuse Luxembourgers. There are only 600 thousand of them, but they are reckoned with, because Luxembourg had been one of the major financial centres of the European continent for a long time, almost on a par with Switzerland.
One of the smallest countries in Europe, the Kingdom of Belgium is very interesting. Firstly, Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but also the capital of the European Union and the seat of NATO’s Headquarters. This alone attaches Belgium an importance that no other small country in the world has.
Culturally, Belgium is also great. Bosch, Bruegel, Van Eyck, Memling – they are geniuses making the history of painting simply unthinkable without them.
Maeterlinck and Kromlink are the pillars of 20th century literature.
Belgium is a small giant.
Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg represent the paradoxical difference between European nations.