Grand Duke Henri Religions: 87% Roman Catholic 13% Protestants, Jews, and Muslims Currency: Euro (EUR)Capital: Luxembourg Languages: Luxembourgish (national language) German (administrative language) French (administrative language) Legal System: Grand Duchy National Symbols Traditions: New Year's Day Carnival (only celebrated in the city of Luxembourg) Good Friday Easter Monday May Day / Labour Day Ascension Day White Monday National Day Assumption Day Luxembourg City Fete (only celebrated in the city of Luxembourg) All Saints Day Christmas Eve Christmas Day St. Stephen's Day Rieslingspaschtéit Cuisine Warm lobster salad Potato patties Judd mat gaardebounen served with boiled potatoes View from Luxembourg Famous People Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (ruled Luxembourg from 1964 to 2000) Léon Krier (an architect, architectural theorist and urban planner) Georges Lentz ( contemporary classical composer) Désirée Nosbusch ( television presenter and actress) Fränk Schleck (professional road bicycle racer) History The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today Luxembourg Castle) by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes in 963. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and, in 1999, it joined the euro currency area. In 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was held in Luxembourg.
Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta Religions: The religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic apostolic religion. Currency: Euro (EUR) Capital: Valletta Languages: Maltese, English Traditions: New Year's Day Saint Paul's Shipwreck Feast of Saint Joseph Freedom Day Friday before Easter Sunday - Good Friday 1 May - Feast of St. Joseph the Worker Sette Giugno Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (Mnarja) Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady Victory Day Independence Day Feast of the Immaculate Conception Republic Day Christmas in Malta Legal System: Republic National Symbols Maltese Octupus cooked in its own liquid with parsley, garlic and citron Cuisine Rabbit pan fried and braised with wine and garlic Ravjul filled with ricotta and topped with Grated GnejNA Two varieties of Maltese Pastizzi View from Malta Famous People Etienne Barbara (football player) Jason Kent Bateman (actor) Britney Jean Spears (singer) Bryan Guy Adams (singer) History Malta has been inhabited since it was settled around 5200 BC from the Italian island of Sicily. Later came the arrival of the Phoenicians and the Greeks who named the island Μελίτη (Melite) meaning "honey sweet" in reference to Malta's endemic variety of bee. The island was known as Maleth meaning 'safe-haven', by the Phoenicians. On 21 September 1964, Malta became an independent state. This is celebrated as Independence Day or Jum l-Indipendenza in Maltese.Malta became a republic on 13 December 1974, with the last Governor-General, Sir Anthony Mamo, as its first President. The Gieh ir-Repubblika Act, promulgated the following year, abolished all titles of nobility in Malta and mandated that they not be further recognized. The Nationalist Party advocated Malta's membership in the European Union presenting an application on 16 July 1990. This became a divisive issue, with Labour opposing membership. Labour won the 1996 general election and Malta's application was frozen. On being returned to office in 1998 the Nationalist Party reactivated the application. Malta was formally accepted as a candidate country at the Helsinki summit of December 1999. Population: 0.4 million
Lech Kachinski Religions: Christian %89.9, Orthodox % 8 Capital: Warsaw Languages: Polish (język polski, polszczyzna) Legal System: Unitary state National Symbols Traditions: New Year's Day Easter Sunday Easter Monday 1 May - Labour Day Constitution Day Pentecost Sunday Corpus Christi Assumption of Mary All Saints' Day Independence Day Christmas Currency: Złoty (PLN) Pierogi Cuisine Sernik Bigos Pastries View from Poland Famous People Szymon Askenazy, historian and diplomat Chopin (composer) Marie Skłodowska Curie ( physicist and chemist) Copernicus History Historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now known as Poland. The ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of these groups has been hotly debated; in particular the time and route of the original settlement of Slavic peoples in these regions has been the subject of much controversy. During World War I, all the Allies agreed on the reconstitution of Poland that United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in Point 13 of his Fourteen Points. In 1991, Poland became a member of the Visegrád Group and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance in 1999 along with the Czech Republic and Hungary. Poles then voted to join the European Union in a referendum in June 2003, with Poland becoming a full member on 1 May 2004. Population: 38,116,000
Aníbal António Cavaco Silva Religions: 84.5% Roman Catholic 2.2% Other Christian faiths Currency: Euro (EUR) Capital: Lisbon Languages: Portuguese Legal System: Republic National Symbols Traditions: New Year's Day Carnival (Facultative) Good Friday Easter Carnation Revolution 1 May - Labour Day Corpus Christi 10 June - National Day Assumption of Mary Republic Day (Implantation of the Republic) All Saints' Day Restoration of Independence Immaculate Conception Christmas Day Queijo mestiço de Tolosa Cuisine Portuguese Stew Clam Dish Traditional dry Codfish View from Portuguese Famous People Fernão Mendes Pinto ( writer and one of the first to travel to Japan) Christiano Ronaldo (football player) Carlos Parades (musician) Eça de Queirós (writer) History The history of Portugal, a European and an Atlantic nation, dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire including possessions in South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. In the next two centuries, Portugal gradually lost much of its wealth and status as the Dutch, English and French took an increasing share of the spice and slave trades (the economic basis of its empire), by surrounding or conquering the widely-scattered Portuguese trading posts and territories, leaving it with ever fewer resources to defend its overseas interests. In 1910, there was a revolution that deposed the monarchy; however, the subsequent republic was unable to solve the country's problems. Amid corruption, repression of the church, and the near bankruptcy of the state, a military coup in 1926 installed a dictatorship that remained until another coup in 1974. The new government instituted sweeping democratic reforms and granted independence to all of Portugal's African colonies in 1975. Portugal is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It entered the European Community (now the European Union) in 1986. Population: 10,707,924
Traian Băsescu Religions: 86.7% Eastern Orthodox 4.7% Roman Catholicism 3.7% Calvinism 1.5% Pentecostal denominations 0.9% Romanian Greek-Catholic Church Currency: Leu (L)2 (RON) Capital:Bucharest Languages: Romanian ) Legal System: Representative Democratic Republic National Symbols Traditions: New Year’s Day Easter Pentecost Labor Day Dormition of the Theotokos Great Union Day Christmas Frigarui Cuisine Amandine Mititei, mustard and bread A plate of sărmăluţe cu mămăligă View from Romania Famous People Traian Trestioreanu (painter, sketcher, and muralist.) Zdob şi Zdub (musical group) Gheorghe Dumitru Mureşan (NBA player) Dimitrie Paciurea (sculptor) History The oldest modern human remains in Europe were discovered in the "Cave With Bones" in present day Romania. Romania emerged as a personal union of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia under prince Alexander John Cuza in 1859 and as the Kingdom of Romania under the Hohenzollern monarchy, it gained recognition of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. In 1918, at the end of the World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the Kingdom of Romania. At the end of World War II, parts of its territories (roughly the present day Republic of Moldova) were occupied by the USSR and Romania became a socialist republic, member of the Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Romania started a series of political and economic reforms. After a decade of post-revolution economic problems, Romania made economic reforms such as low flat tax rates in 2005 and joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. While Romania's income level remains one of the lowest in the European Union, reforms have increased the growth speed. Romania is now an upper-middle income country economy with high human development. Romania has the 9th largest territory and the 7th largest population (with 21.5 million people) among the European Union member states.Romania also joined NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union, of the Francophonie, of the OSCE and of the United Nations, as well as an associate member of the CPLP. Romania is a semi-presidential unitary state. Population: 22.215.421
Jan Peter Balkenende Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, other. Currency: Euro (Netherlands), Aruban florin (Aruba) and Netherlands Antillean gulden (Netherlands Antilles) (€ EUR, AWG and ANG) Capital: Armsterdam Languages: Dutch Legal System: Parliamentary Representative Democracy National Symbols Traditions: New Year’s Day Good Friday Easter Queen’s Day Remembrance of the Dead Liberation Day Ascension Day Pentecost Saint Nicholas' Eve Kingsdom’s Day Christmas Hollandse Nieuwe, "new" raw herring Cuisine Oliebollen, a Dutch pastry eaten on New Year's Eve Boerenkoolstamppot, with rookworst Cheese View from Netherlands Famous People Vincent van Gogh (artist) Anne de Vries (writer) Sharon Janny den Adel (singer and composer ) Jan de Bont ( cinematographer ) History The Netherlands have been inhabited since the last ice age; the oldest artifacts that have been found are from the Hoogeveen interstadial of the Saalian glaciation. The Netherlands were a valuable part of the Spanish Empire. During the Eighty Years' War the Dutch provinces became the most important trading centre of Northern Europe, replacing Flanders in this respect; Dutch ships hunted whales off Svalbard, traded spices in India and Indonesia (via the Dutch East India Company) and founded colonies in New Amsterdam (now New York), South Africa and the West Indies. The Netherlands had been neutral for a long time after the Seven Years War since their wealth had grown but their military had done quite the contrary. The Dutch were unable to defend themselves in case of war and therefore chose the policy of Neutrality, a choice that would influence the Dutch involvement in the wars to come. In 1952, the Netherlands were among the founders of the European Coal and Steel Community, which evolved into the European Union. The Netherlands is an industrialised nation but also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In recent years the Dutch have often been a driving force behind the integration of European countries in the European Union. Population: 16.4 million
Ivan Gašparovič Religions: 60.4% Roman Catholics 9.6% Nonreligious or atheist 6% Protestant 5% Eastern Orthodox 19% Other Currency: Euro (EUR)Capital: Bratislava Languages: Slovak Legal System: Parliamentary republic National Symbols Traditions: Day of the Establishment of the Slovak Republic Epiphany Good Friday Easter Monday International Worker’s Day Day of Victory over fascism St. Cyril and Methodius Day Slovak National Uprising anniversary Constitution Day Day of Blessed Virgin Mary, patron saint of Slovakia All Saint’s Day Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day Christmas St.Stephen’s Day Kapustnica Cuisine Kuracie prsia (Chicken dish) Christmas dish (fish and potato salad with mayo and veg) Bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with sheep's-milk cheese) View from Slovakia Famous People Eugene Andrew Cernan (NASA astronaut and engineer "the last man on the moon") Paul Newman (actor,director) Jozef Murgaš (inventor, architect, botanist, painter, patriot, and Roman Catholic priest. He contributed to wireless telegraphy) Vašo Patejdl (musician, singer, and composer) History The Slavs arrived in the territory of present day Slovakia in the fifth and sixth centuries AD during the Migration Period. In the course of history, various parts of today's Slovakia belonged to Samo's Empire (the first known political unit of Slavs), Great Moravia, Kingdom of Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Habsburg Empire, and Czechoslovakia. An independent Slovak state briefly existed during World War II, during which Slovakia was a dependency of the Nazi Germany 1939–1944. From 1945 Slovakia once again became a part of Czechoslovakia. The present-day Slovakia became an independent state on January 1, 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of its federation with the Czech Republic. Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the EU and OECD. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on January 1, 2009. Slovakia together with Slovenia are the only former Communist nations to be part of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area and NATO simultaneously. Population: 5,379,455
Nicolas Sarkozy Religions: Roman Catholicism Currency: Euro (EUR) CFP Franc (XPF) Capital: Paris Languages: French Legal System: Unitery Semi-Presidential Republic National Symbols Traditions: New Year’s Day Easter Monday Labour Day Victory in Europe Day Ascension Day Whit Monday Bastille Day Assumption of Mary All Saints Day Veterans Day/ Armistice Day/ Remembrance Day Christmas Basil Sallamon Terrine Cuisine Croissant Black Terrigort Truffel Escargot View from France Famous People Isabelle Adjani (actress) Claude Monet ( a founder of French impressionist painting) Georges Bizet (composer and pianist of the Romantic era create the opera Carmen) Maurice-Marie-Émile Leblanc (novelist and writer of short stories, known primarily as the creator of the fictional gentleman thief and detective Arsène Lupin, often described as a French counterpart to Conan Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes) Honoré de Balzac ( novelist and playwright) History The history of France goes back to the arrival of the earliest human being in what is now France. Over the course of the first millennium BC the Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians established colonies on the Mediterranean coast and the offshore islands. The Roman Republic annexed southern Gaul as the province of Gallia Narbonensis in the late 2nd century BC, and Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of 58–51 BC. Afterward a Gallo-Roman culture emerged and Gaul was increasingly integrated into the Roman Empire. In the later stages of the Roman Empire, Gaul was subject to barbarian raids and migration, most importantly by the Germanic Franks. The Frankish king Clovis I united most of Gaul under his rule in the late 5th century, setting the stage for Frankish dominance in the region for hundreds of years. The medieval Kingdom of France emerged out of the western part of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire, known as West Francia, and achieved increasing prominence under the rule of the House of Capet, founded by Hugh Capet in 987. A succession crisis following the death of the last Capetian monarch in 1337 led to the series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years War between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet. The wars ended with a Valois victory in 1453, solidifying the power of the Ancien Régime as a highly centralized absolute monarchy. During the next centuries, France experienced the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, as well as recurring religious conflicts and wars with other powers. In the late 18th century the monarchy and associated institutions were overthrown in the French Revolution, which forever changed French and world history. The country was governed for a period as a republic, until the French Empire was declared by Napoleon Bonaparte. Following Napoleon's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars France went through several further regime changes, being ruled as a monarchy, then briefly as a republic, and then as a Second Empire, until a more lasting Third French Republic was established in 1870. France was one of the Triple Entente powers in World War I, fighting alongside the United Kingdom, Russia, and their allies against the Central Powers. It was one of the Allied Powers in World War II, but was conquered by Nazi Germany within two months. The Third Republic was dismantled, and most of the country was controlled directly by the Axis Powers, while the south was controlled by the collaborationist Vichy government. Following liberation, a Fourth Republic was established; this was succeeded by the French Fifth Republic in 1958, the country's current government. After war decolonization saw most of the French colonial empire become independent, while other parts were incorporated into the French state as overseas departments and collectivities. Since World War II France has been a leading member in the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, and remains a strong economic, cultural, military and political influence in the 21st century. Population: 65,447,374 André-Marie Ampère( physicist and mathematician discoverers of electromagnetism. The SI unit of measurement of electric current, the ampere, is named after him) Thierry Daniel Henry ( French footballer)
Education and Culture Lifelong learning programme COMENIUS
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