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‘Mir wölle bleiwe wat mir sinn’ is a Luxembourgishmotto that translates to ‘we want to remain what we are’ (figure 1). Luxembourg is a very small European Union member state with an area of 2586 km2, but has by far the highest proportion of foreigners. Today, more than 40% of the population of the Grand Duchy do not have Luxembourgish nationality. Speaking Luxembourgish remains one of the most important cornerstones for maintaining a strong national identity (which primarily resulted historically from two German invasions during the First and the Second World War). Therefore, ‘we want to remain what we are’ historically means protection from linguistic or other imperialism. This traditional saying, however, should not be taken to imply that the 511 000 inhabitants are not looking towards and, in fact, helping to mould the future of medicine. This was recently highlighted with the announcement of the Luxembourg-born Jules A Hoffmann as co-winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking research in the fundamentals of activation in innate immunology (figure 2).
Healthcare system in Luxembourg
Universal healthcare coverage is provided by the well-organised national social …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Colin Mumford, Edinburgh, UK.