2006-12-19

Some recommendable Excursions from Luxembourg

I don't know if this will help somebody or not, but since I always repeat the same excursions for people coming to visit Luxembourg, I decided to write them down. Here they are:

- Trier (Germany): Kajus already wrote something about Trier - Beautiful Days in Trier (40 min away) - so I won't say anything. Just worthseeing! Don't miss it!!

- Nancy (France): Nancy is a French city situated at some 100 km away from Luxembourg. You can go by train (20 €) or just rent a car (Kajus already wrote that you can get a car in Hertz for only 20 or 30 € a day (unlimited km) just by showing your EU badge! : )
In Nancy you must visit the "Place Stanislas" (I think the most beautiful place I ever saw) (webcam), the "Place de la Carrière", the "Arc de Triomphe", the "Porte de la Craffe", the "Palais Ducal", the "Place et Basilique Saint-Epvre" and much more! You can find a lot of useful tourist information about Nancy in: www.ot-nancy.fr

- Bernkastel-Kues: There is a very nice excursion by car from Luxembourg, just following the river Moselle in Germany visiting the small towns to finally arrive in Bernkastel-Kues, a small village but very pitoresque! I really recommend you to visit it. If you can do it in December you will also enjoy the Christmas market. It's a place issu from a fairy tale! : )
More information: www.bernkastel.de

- Tour of Luxembourg castles. There are a lot of castles in Luxembourg (more than 20), but the most interesting are in my opinion those from Vianden, Beaufort and Bourgscheid. You can also find interesting castles in Esch-sur-Sûre (not Esch-sur-Alzette!!!) or Bourglinster.

The best way to visit the Luxembourgish castles is renting a car and plan your visits according to a map of the country. You can get more information on:
www.gouvernement.lu

- Metz (France). In my opinion, Nancy is more interesting, but Metz has also some interesting things to visit, like the Cathedral or the river surroundings. Find more about Metz in: www.mairie-metz.fr

I would say these are the musts near Luxembourg. Of course, you can also go a little bit further into Germany, France or Belgium. It's up to you!
You can arrrange nice visits evey weekend if you and your friends rent a car together. That's one of the advantages of Luxembourg. It's in the heart of Europe!!!
Have fun : )

Overview of the European Institutions (Structure)

One useful thing when trying to apply for the European institutions is to know something about them! : )

Here I will try to provide a very general overview of the main institutions and their role in the European Union.

First of all: What is a European Institution? It is difficult to define and you won't find the definition easily. In fact, I never found it! If you do, please post a comment! : )
The only thing I can say is that a European institution is a branch or an organisation taking part in the European Union normal working process. But attention, not all of the organisations corresponding to this definition are European institutions. Nowadays, the main European institutions are the following:

· European Parliament (seat in Strasbourg and Brussels, with offices in Luxembourg, it has 732 deputies and the president is Josep Borrell).

· Council of the European Union (seat in Brussels, it has 25 representatives and the current presidency is held by Finland and from January on by Germany).

· European Commission (seat in Brussels and some offices in Luxembourg, it has 25 commissioners and Durao Barroso is the President).

· European Court of Auditors (seat in Luxembourg, one member of each EU country and a lot of auditors and translators. The president is Hubert Weber).

· Court of Justice of the European Communities (seat in Luxembourg, it has 25 judges and 8 Advocate-Generals. The president is Vassilios Skouris).


Now I will try to explain briefly but clearly (please complain if I don't get to do it!!) how those institutions work and what they do.


European Parliament:
The European Parliament (EP) is elected by the citizens of the European Union to represent their interests, that's it, the same we do in our countries to elect our governments. There are 732 deputies from all the European Union countries, and they belong to different parties. The party with the biggest number of deputies is Christian-Democrats and European Democrats (conservative) followed by the European Socialist Party.
Apart from the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) there are a lot of officials working in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg in many offices, belonging to different services and units, not dependent from the parties.

The European Parliament takes an active role in the European Union legislation process. It means that European laws are approved by the European Parliament in collaboration with the Council of the European Union (in the so-called co-decision process).


Council of the European Union:
The Council is the EU's main decision-making body (more even than the European Parliament). It represents the member states, and its meetings are attended by one minister from each of the EU’s national governments. But which minister? Always the same? No! Which ministers attend which meeting depends on what subjects are on the agenda. If, for example, the Council is to discuss environmental issues, the meeting will be attended by the Environment Minister from each EU country and it will be known as the ‘Environment Council’. It is quiet simple. In those meetings important issues are discussed and a lot of European legislation is approved in collaboration with the European Parliament (co-decision, as I stated before).


European Commission:
The Commission is independent of national governments. Its job is to represent and defend the interests of the EU as a whole. The European Commission write proposals for new European laws (that will be later discussed by the Parliament and the Council to decide if they are approved or not). The Commission is also responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. That means implementing its policies, running its programmes and spending its funds. Not bad! : )


European Court of Auditors:
The Court’s job is to check that EU funds, which come from the taxpayers, are properly collected and that they are spent legally, economically and for the intended purpose. Its aim is to ensure that the taxpayers get maximum value for their money, and it has the right to audit any person or organisation handling EU funds (including the institutions, of course!).


Court of Justice of the European Communities:
Its job is to make sure that EU legislation is interpreted and applied in the same way in all EU countries, so that the law is equal for everyone. It ensures, for example, that national courts do not give different rulings on the same issue. The Court also makes sure that EU member states and institutions do what the law requires. The Court has the power to settle legal disputes between EU member states, EU institutions, businesses and individuals. Everything under control!!!

I hope your vision about the European Union is bit more clear now. Of course, there are a lot of things to learn about the institutions I mentioned and also about those I didn't mention, as well as from other EU bodies and EU-dependent agencies. You can find more information on: europa.eu/institutions/inst/index_en.htm

or just in Wikipedia!

If you post a lot of comments asking for a more detailed information concerning this topic, I will write more about it : )

Cinema in Luxembourg

Hi!
This post aims to offer some information to those who like cinema. In Luxembourg City there are two main places for cinema: Utopolis and Utopia.

Utopolis is located in Kirchberg (Avenue John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in front of Auchan, one of the most popular shopping centres in Luxembourg). To go there, just take bus number 18 and go down in the last stop. In Utopolis you can find 10 big rooms. Most commercial films are offered here. The majority of films in Luxembourg are Original Version with subtitles, usually in French and Dutch or German. The seats are quite comfortable and there's space enough for both arms at the same time (much better than in Spain)!

Utopia is smaller than Utopolis and films are less commercial, suitable for fans of independent cinema! If you want to go to Utopia ("Rue de la Faïencerie"), just go to the big parking Glacis (in Limperstberg and close to the Pescatore bus stop) and the cinema is just after the corner.

Tickets are quite expensive in Luxembourg. They cost 7.5 € and 6 € if you have a student card. But if you are really interested in cinema I can give you an advice: there is a cheaper way for cinema in Luxembourg. If you are less than 26, then get the EU-25 card and buy special tickets (ciné-cheque) in "Service de la jeunesse - Info-Jeunes". You can find it in place Guillaume II, 28 or just in front of the railway station ("La Gare") inside the Gallerie Kons. These special tickets cost 5 € each and you pay them in the "Service de Jeunesse". You can buy as many as you want, or just only one : ) Then you must go to the cinema's counter and give it to receive the real ticket. You will need to specify the film (of course!) and show your EU-25 card.

And that's all you have to know about cinemas in Luxembourg. Enjoy the film!!! ; )

2006-12-15

Kirchberg 3D - for Orientation

Hello everyone! Since it is difficult to orientate on the Kirchberg I did a 3d map with SketchUp. In the following you can click on the images to enlarge.

Hopefully, it will help you!





Blue buildings are active EU institutions. The two white buildings in the middle of the picture are the hotels Sofitel and Novotel. The skyscraper on the right (resp. in the south) is the ADG building (= Alcide De Gasperi) that was used in the past but now it is empty.

The white buildings in the end (the Court of Auditors) should be blue, but I forgot to color them :)


On Flickr I have uploaded about 100 photos of the buildings.
If you are intersted, have a look at: Kirchberg (Luxembourg) Photo Set

How You can Contribute to this Blog

This blog is visited by people from all over the world (Germany, United States, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands...).
In average, we have 900 unique visitors per month.

More than 100 web pages are referring to this blog!

YOU can contribute:

1. Write comments to help other people orientate within Luxembourg!

2. Link this Blog on your homepage, or send the link http://luxembourgish.blogspot.com to your friends.

3. Send us an E-mail if you have proposals for new topics. You can also get permission to write your own posts here.

4. Advertisement / Marketing / Sponsors:
If you are interested in advertising here, please contact us! We can offer you an exclusive place for your logo on top of the Blog.


5. Consider a little donation for the work done!


If you contribute in which way so ever -> thank you :)

All the best!
Kajus & Team


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Added Blog-Members:
Fernando Diaz Alonso
Bianca Szabo
Sylvia Maria da Fonseca



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2006-12-14

A little bit about the European Union

The aim of this post is to offer a little overview of the story and main characteristics of the European Union.

First of all it would be interesting to know what is the European Union (EU) and why it exists. The EU is an intergovernmental union of 25 (27 as of 1st January 2007) independent, democratic member states. The European Union is the world's largest confederation of independent states, they all defending peace, democracy, freedom and human rights. It was created in 1957, by means of the Treaty of Rome. But why?
To understand the main reason of the European Union, we only need to look to our past. Europe has always been a continent in war. We need to go far, far away in the past to see a period of peace in the whole continent. After the II World War a group of 6 European countries decided to put their steel and coal industries under the control of a common authority. It sounds strange, doesn't it? But if we think that those two materials are indispensable for war, we will immediately understand the reason for that union. Under a common authority, those six members would defend the same interests in the steel and coal markets and thus, war would be senseless. In fact, EU has ensured that there has been no war between its members for last 60 years and thinking now about a possible war between France and Germany, for example, sounds really weird!!

The idea of EU was so successful that this supranational authority would gain more and more responsibilities in new areas (nuclear power, economy, agriculture, etc) and new countries would join them in a continuous process.
In 1973, UK, Denmark and Ireland; in 1981 Greece; in 1986 Portugal and Spain (hallellujah for us -Spain-, since our economy and well-fare have grown without stop from that moment); in 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden and in 2004 Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. And in 2007 Bulgaria and Romania!!! Welcome!!

Through richly diverse (do you know the motto of the EU? "United in Diversity"!!. Suitable, isn't it?) EU countries are united in their commitment to peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. They seek to promote these values in the wider world.
The EU is, for example, the biggest donor of aid for development around the world.

But we must be realistic, sometimes there are problems to make EU go forward. The last one is the problem to approve the Constitution. Since France and Netherlands rejected it, now the EU is suffering a period of uncertainty. But let's be positive. Great things are achieved by solving big problems!!!

If you are interested in the EU and would like more about it, you can get a lot of information in the official website:

europa.eu

Or you can find a good guide on European Union topics in:

ec.europa.eu/publications/booklets/eu_glance/22/en.pdf

2006-12-13

Luxembourg's Top Highlights (from a brochure)

From a brochure of Deutsche Bahn & CFL & SPNV-Nord:
Personal PS @ Deutsche Bahn: You are toooo expensive, when do you reduce your prices!!!

Europe-Marathon Luxembourg !
www.ing-europe-marathon.lu

Blues'n Jazz Rallye
www.bluesjazzrallye.lu
every July

Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
www.mudam.lu
- situated on Kirchberg Plateau / ...strange website

Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art
www.mnha.lu
- currently showing a special Exposition about "Sigismundus, Rex et Imperator"

Philharmonie Luxembourg
www.philharmonie.lu
- opened in 2005, constructed by Paris' architect Christian de Portzamparc
- search this blog for more information

- Flower-Power: Parks and Gardens
- under the earth: Casemates (town was .. 8 months against France in 1794/1795)
- Casemates opened 1 March - 31 October
- Hauptmann von Koepenick (1849 - 1922) - his graveyard
- Safari Tour (on foot)

Visit the Tourist Office for more information on these sights!

2006-12-12

GDP per Capita / Luxembourg N° 1

GDP - Gross Domestic Product
- one of several measures of the size of its economy
- GDP of a country is defined as the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time
- GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + (exports−imports)

"per capita"
- means per inhabitant (average)


GDP per capita (nominal) in US dollars for the top 20 countries:


source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a5/Top_20_GDP.png


Little difference in order, but Luxembourg still on the first position:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

2006-12-10

Applying for a Traineeship in the European Parliament

This website is your access for the application:

www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/public/

Do not forget to print your data out because you have to show the application in hardcover later, if you are accepted.

It can take them more than four month to answer due to a big number of applications, so be patient!

2006-12-09

Uranami at Viking Bar

We decided to visit the concert of Uranami on Thursday, 7 dec.

On their website www.myspace.com/uranami you can listen to their hip-hop music!

It was really a big event! Okay, the visitors were maybe too quiet for Hip-Hoppers but summed up I must confess we were seeing a fantastic gig! They use gitarres for their music, too, and they rap in Italien language.

By the way some breakdancers showed us their turns to the music :)

The Viking Bar is not bad. 7 Euros for a Caipirinha, 3 to 4 Euros for a beer. Friendly people!

But the only thing: It's hard to find it! You may see the four flags from the street, but the pub is next to a big parking place, on the left, a bit hidden.

Anyway, we found it, could enjoy a concert for free, drunk slightly, and were happy!

Two photos:

2006-12-05

Luxembourg City - European Capital of Culture 2007

Today and tonight the Opening Parties for Luxembourg as a European capital of culture will take place. Yesterday some parts of the centre were blocked because of the preparation.

The Philharmonie gave tickets for free, so they were gone very quickly - hard to get one.

The flyer/booklet that they hand out in town has the following design (you can click on it to reach the English website):



You can see the schedule and further information on the web: luxembourg2007.org

If you are from Germany, Rheinland-Pfalz, you might be interested in the travel offered by der-takt.de.




The official logo for Luxembourg as a cultural Capital in 2007 is the elk:

2006-12-04

Shopping Centre Marques Avenue (France)

Just to mention shortly for all the people who adore to go shopping like my Brazilian colleague who gave me this tip!

Address:
Outlet Shopping Centre Marques Avenue
Z.I. de Talange-Hauconcourt
57525 Talange (France)
phone 0033 387173550

with a number of 220 brands.

About 40 - 60 car minutes away from Luxembourg City.

On the web:
www.marquesavenue.com

Have fun! & Good Shopping ;)

Facilities in the KAD-Building (EU-Parliament)

Facilities and connected information

Supermarket
Wonderful, a diversity of products they sell (from all countries of the EU and more) - like the European Union says: "United in Diversity" ... I love this motto!
Prices are not high, I would say even normal.

Coffee & Drink Dispenser
A coffee costs 0,60 Euro and it tastes okay. The drinks are standard soft drinks, same price. BUT I recommend you the:

Restaurant/Cafeteria:
Excellent Cappuccino for just 0,90 Euro. At lunch time the food is terrific! It costs between 4 and 7,50 Euros. A salad costs 1 - 2 Euros. They cook special food, often French, but very various menus! One of the best restaurants I have eaten in (concerning offices)!
Some people adore the desserts (I remember a Brazilian girl :) - she was always eating Mouse au Chocolate).

Offices etc.
Please find out on your own! As a trainee you will be provided with specific information of the "Stagiaires Office".

Please feel free to ask me more about the facilities... just write a comment!

2006-12-03

Visit in d:qliq - Concert of The Isles

Thursday, 30 November, the Isles from the USA were in our town. The band is making BritPop music, and this not too bad. They had their gig in the small club called d:qliq.

Okay, the accustic was not particular good in the dqliq club, so we could not understand the lyrics. But we liked the rhythm and the sound in general.

The singer of the Isles is really great, singing all the time with a smile in his face!

The entrance was 10 Euros. It was a pity that they played just one song as bonus. The show was a bit too short, I would say.

I found out that it is really hard to dance to pop! So I prefer other kinds of music... For a relaxed evening it was convenient.

The band's website and their website on myspace. There you can download some stuff of the band.

International Bazar at LuxExpo

First of all: The Bazar is a charity project! All the money that is earned from the sellers is given to projects that try to improve the situation of 'disadvantaged' people (e.g. for developing countries from Africa and Asia).

The visit is worthy! You will find stands full of food and little things from different cultures. It is a benefit to the international community and supports understanding of differences.

We ate Falaffel at the stand of Israel, and also Lebanese and Pakistani food (see picture below).

You were offered lots of things, e. g. I bought a wooden spoon from Mauritius!

Take your chance and go to this market, it takes place once a year as far as I know... You gonna love it!!








Circuit De La Foire Internationale 10 in L-1347 Kirchberg (Luxembourg)
www.luxexpo.lu

Rondas in Luxembourg

If you are a trainee or if you are visiting Luxembourg, it can be a good idea to eat a pizza at Fragolino - best Italian restaurant in Grund and also the last to close on this area. Besides the delicious food you will feel comfortable to talk and spend some time with good friends and to be well served by nice Italians waiters.
Pizza there is really very good but you should take care because they serve olive's oil with a lot of hot pepper. Impossible!!!
As a general rule, ask olive's oil without pepper. A traditional pizza there is the best choice but they have also good dishes like pasta and risotto.

Knight Club in Foetz
Our first stop this evening! Besides the club is a big bowling centre. We stayed there till 23.30h and then we went to Knight Club. Unfortunately just a few people were visiting the Knight Club :( It has a nice stage with a fat music and light engine. The disco visitors are offered enough space and two cages on the stage. It provides you with drinks from a bar on the right. The music they played was also very 'delicious' for dancing, but without people on the dancefloor and just 20 around you, you do not go.
My suggestion: Check the website for BIG events and go if something is on fire.

Scott's Bar in Grund
Young, funny and animated people. Seems a very good place to single girls: lots of guys but we cannot breathe. The windows were closed and we left quickly.

Melusina in Grund
Funk , funk and funk
Entrance 7,50 Euros was okay, but a tiny glass of water for 3,50 Euros, as well as an apple juice for the same price, no thanks! Music was all the time Funky House, about half an hour Hip-Hop.


Check out the disco overview in this blog:
Nightlife - Clubs and Bars



Thanks for the support of Sylvia Maria Fonseca providing the rented car for that evening and the help to write this Ronda Blog-Entry :)

And thanks for the word "Ronda" that describes people who are driving around searching the right party... our destiny this special evening :)

"Is God Brazilian?"

La fête des Vins et Crémants

From 30 November to 3 December 2006 the Vins & Crémants Party (Wine & Sparkling Wine Party) took place in Luxembourg City.

And we were part of it (the Brasilian-Italian-German-Trio). Buying a glass "de dégustation" for 5 Euros and trying a lot of different sorts of wine!

www.vins-cremants.lu



After one hour going from one stand to another, we were invited to join an official wine-testing which took place on a long table :)

It was absolutely funny, Mr 'Linden' was sitting next to us (one of the most important wine producers here, I was told). When we got the 5th glass, we couldn't stay anymore and left this nice place.

The wine testing was called "Les vins luxembourgeois peuvent très bien vieillir" and it was well entertained by Mr Prudhon de Vinissimo, Livange :)

Anyway, if you have the chance to be at the right time in Luxembourg, I strongly recommend you to visit this event. You will not regret it!


PS: I nearly forgot (shame on me): The best tasting wine was "Riesling Palmberg 2005" and the 2nd place "Gewürztraminer Göllebour 2005". Both produced by Domaine Viticole, >Max-Lahr et Fils< located in L-5401 Ahn.

... at least the best vines for me, very fruity ;)