If most people might only see it as this country not really worth visiting, Luxembourg might well be one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, offering more than just a place for diplomats. In fact, as a knowledge hub tucked away between Germany, France and Belgium, the Grand Duchy has many assets up its sleeves, attracting the attention of European and international associations.
A country full of contrasts, where tradition and modernity coincide in a harmonious manner, Luxembourgis well connected to the major European cities and hubs, whether by car, train or plane. Boastinga trilingual and multicultural population of more than 600,000, it has historically been open to the world: thanks to the country’s role as a centre of business, European capital and home to the European Court of Justiceand the European Court of Auditors and the Secretariat of the European Parliament, it’s hosted EU summits and diplomats from around the world, and is no stranger to organising large-scale events. A founding member of the Benelux, the Grand Duchyhas, over the years, become more than aware of what a successful meetings destination has to offer.
If modern and well-equipped conference infrastructure to suit any requirements are to be found all over, Luxembourg prospers today from the talent of its people and their ability to innovate. The country has understood that its competitiveness in a modern world is increasingly reliant upon effective innovation networks. With competition from all corners of the planet, Luxembourg has been facing rapid economic changes, to which it has adapted. In this regard, the reinforcement – or creation – of its competitiveness clusters reflects a creative way of thinking about the economy.
As early as 2012 indeed, the Luxembourg government launched the Luxembourg Cluster Initiative, a key element of the national research and development and innovation policy, bringing together several clusters and innovation networks established throughout the country and reinforcing private-public partnerships in order to boost innovation. The initiative aims to develop state-of-the- art technologies, while supporting Luxembourg’s existing technological expertise, as well as promoting the development of centres of excellence.
In this context, major corporations, small and medium-sized companies and public research institutions all benefit from a comprehensive range of individualised services offered by the clusters. They are able to leverage their know-how and expertise via access to the pooled knowledge, resources and networks of cluster members.
“The clusters included in the initiative were not chosen at random. They focus on selected strategically key technologies and aim to strengthen already flourishing economic sectors in Luxembourg, as well as to develop new business sectors with the greatest potential for the sustainable development of the national economy. Between 2002 and 2016, five clusters were created bringing together leading companies in the biomedicine, environmental technology, information and communication technology, material sciences and automotive fields. In 2016, the Luxembourg Cluster Initiative continued its development with new members joining its ranks. To the five existing clusters were added two new clusters active in the timber and the creative industries sectors.” writes Marie-Hélène Trouillez in an article published this summer in Merkur magazine.
This support for development and commitment to growth can also be seen in the way Luxembourg is one of the largest contributors to development aid in the EU. Following the peer review of Luxembourg carried out by the OECD’sDevelopment Assistance Committee (DAC) at the end of last year, the country was indeed praised for its generous contribution to official development assistance, allocating 1% of its gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) and thereby exceeding the international target of 0.7%. Around half of Luxembourg’s bilateral aid targets health, education and local development. “The DAC peer review clearly confirmed that our efforts to eradicate poverty are producing sustainable results,” noted Romain Schneider, Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, in a press release. “We are seen by our peers as a reliable, flexible contributor of funds.”
In this regard, Luxembourg collaborates extensively with many NGOs. Since the adhesion of the country’s to the DAC in 1992, the Grand Duchy’s development cooperation policy has undergone significant change, both in terms of funds made available to it and with regard to its organisational and qualitative aspects. It now works with multilateral organisations in the framework of a development cooperation characterised by a strong commitment to poverty reduction, humanitarian aid and effective work with its new privileged partner countries, such as Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Senegal,Nicaragua and Laos. A platform like one-of-a-kind Le Cercle for instance facilitates exchanges and learning between Luxembourg’s various actors in international solidarity and creates a dynamic of change.
This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More information: www.visitluxembourg.com/meetings
Picture: European Convention Centre Luxembourg (ECCL)