National Geographic : 1970 Jul
Luxembourg, the Quiet Fortress Great Britain, France, Prussia, Austria, Italy, Russia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Lux embourg's sovereignty was reaffirmed and her neutrality guaranteed; Prussia-the ten ant at the moment-took her 7,000-man gar rison home, and demolition of the fortress began. Only a few crumbling towers, a couple of gates, and the tunnels would survive. Another Kind of Rock Wins Fame The tunnels. If you knew exactly which one to pick out of the maze, and groped your way through it for an hour or so, you would come up in the basement of the most amazing place in Luxembourg, and the most famous. The site where it stands once held one of the city's ring of forts-hence the connecting tun nel. But the fusillades it fires now are en tirely electronic, and a lot more cheerful than the booming of cannon. This is Radio Luxembourg, the noisiest, brassiest radio station in all Europe, and a strangely incongruous phenomenon to find thriving in so quiet a country. It broadcasts in 11 different languages, on AM, FM, short wave, long wave, and medium wave. Its main transmitter, 600,000 watts strong, car ries its cheerful voice throughout Europe and North Africa, and deep into the Communist bloc. Its English-language disc jockeys call it "Radio-Lucky-Luxembourg"; its staple is rock music. It was not always so cheerful. During the dark years of World War II, the Nazis seized Radio Luxembourg and used it for propa ganda. One of its best remembered and most Smug porker ogles passers-by at a market, while owner and buyers haggle over price. Hams from the Ardennes region are widely popular on gourmet tables. Luxembourg, often impoverished by the tides of war, now produces three-fourths of its own food. Her smile as bright as her apron, a vege table vendor awaits customers at an open air market in Luxembourg City. She deals with her countrymen in Letzeburgesch; the distinctive tongue has long been a binding force for the nation, though French is the official language. Despite powerful neigh bors, Luxembourg-in the words of elder statesman Joseph Bech (page 96)-"main tains, as if by a miracle, its national and political individuality and independence." hated programs was that of a renegade English-language broadcaster named Wil liam Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw. His commentaries were among the most vi cious poured out by the Nazi war machine. After the war Joyce was arrested, taken to London, convicted of treason, and hanged. By the nature of things, Radio Luxembourg is the country's most famous industry-but far more important to its economy, its big gest employer, and the basis for its prosperity, is steel. The steel industry began to have an impact in the 1880's. Before that Luxembourg de pended on a faltering agrarian economy; it was poor, and Luxembourgers were emigrat ing in large numbers each year. Thousands moved to the United States, where they set tled principally in the Middle West; there are still active Luxembourg-American soci eties in and around Chicago.