Communes rank below cantons in Luxembourg's hierarchy of administrative subdivisions. Communes are often re-arranged, being merged or divided as demanded by demographic change over time. Unlike the cantons, which have remained unchanged since their creation, the identity of the communes has not become ingrained within the geographical sensations of the average Luxembourger. The cantons are responsible for the ceremonial, administrative, and statistical aspects of government, while the communes provide local government services.
The municipal system was adopted when Luxembourg was annexed into the French département of Forêts in 1795. Despite ownership passing to the Netherlands, this system was maintained until it was introduced upon independence in 1843. The province of Luxembourg, which now constitutes part of Belgium, was part of Luxembourg prior to 1839 when it possessed a low degree of sovereignty. Due to Luxembourg's incorporation into the main country by its occupying powers, the modern municipal system in Luxembourg is less than two centuries old.
|Language||Type name (sg./pl.)|
The communes have no legislative control over matters relating to the national interest, which reside solely with the Chamber of Deputies. Below this level, however, they have wide-ranging powers. The communes provide public education, maintain the local road network and other infrastructure, ensure basic public health, and provide most social security. Communes also have discretionary powers for comprehensive health care (including maintenance of hospitals and clinics) within their borders, land-use planning, funds for cultural activities, provision of care to the elderly, and providing a sufficient supply of water, gas, and electricity.
There are currently 102 communes in the 12 cantons. The 12 communes with city status are Diekirch, Differdange, Dudelange, Echternach, Esch-sur-Alzette, Ettelbruck, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg, Remich, Rumelange, Vianden, and Wiltz.
Since the country's creation in 1839, eight communes have changed their name and thirty-nine communes have been merged, resulting in the 102 communes that exist today. These defunct communes are listed in the table below.
|Arsdorf||1979||merged to form Rambrouch|
|Asselborn||1978||merged to form Wincrange|
|Bascharage||2011||merged to form Käerjeng|
|Bastendorf||2006||merged to form Tandel|
|Bigonville||1979||merged to form Rambrouch|
|Boevange||1978||merged to form Wincrange|
|Boevange-sur-Attert||2018||merged to form Helperknapp|
|Burmerange||2011||merged into Schengen|
|Clemency||2011||merged to form Käerjeng|
|Consthum||2011||merged to form Parc Hosingen|
|Eich||1920||merged into Luxembourg City|
|Ermsdorf||2011||merged to form Vallée de l'Ernz|
|Eschweiler||2015||merged into Wiltz|
|Folschette||1979||merged to form Rambrouch|
|Fouhren||2006||merged to form Tandel|
|Hachiville||1978||merged to form Wincrange|
|Hamm||1920||merged into Luxembourg City|
|Harlange||1979||merged to form Lac de la Haute-Sûre|
|Heiderscheid||2011||merged into Esch-sur-Sûre|
|Heinerscheid||2011||merged into Clervaux|
|Hobscheid||2018||merged to form Habscht|
|Hollerich||1920||merged into Luxembourg City|
|Hoscheid||2011||merged to form Parc Hosingen|
|Hosingen||2011||merged to form Parc Hosingen|
|Kautenbach||2006||merged to form Kiischpelt|
|Mompach||2018||merged to form Rosport-Mompach|
|Mecher||1979||merged to form Lac de la Haute-Sûre|
|Medernach||2011||merged to form Vallée de l'Ernz|
|Munshausen||2011||merged into Clervaux|
|Neunhausen||2011||merged into Esch-sur-Sûre|
|Oberpallen||1846||merged into Beckerich|
|Oberwampach||1978||merged to form Wincrange|
|Perlé||1979||merged to form Rambrouch|
|Rodenbourg||1979||merged into Junglinster|
|Rollingergrund||1920||merged into Luxembourg City|
|Rosport||2018||merged to form Rosport-Mompach|
|Septfontaines||2018||merged to form Habscht|
|Tuntange||2018||merged to form Helperknapp|
|Wellenstein||2011||merged into Schengen|
|Wilwerwiltz||2006||merged to form Kiischpelt|
The municipal system was created during the French occupation to mirror the systems employed in the rest of the French Republic. These were overhauled in 1823, but the system itself was retained until independence, which was granted under the 1839 Treaty of London. The law regulating their creation and organisation dates to 24 February 1843, which was later enshrined in the Luxembourgian constitution promulgated on 17 October 1868.
Upon independence, there were 120 communes. A series of mergers and partitions between 1849 and 1891 increased this number to 130. Most of these were brought about by asymmetrical population growth, as population growth in the south caused the balance of population in the country to shift. For instance, some of the communes born in that era include Rumelange, Schifflange, and Walferdange. In the pattern of Nordstad, Erpeldange and Schieren were also separated from Ettelbruck.
Since the end of the First World War, during which Luxembourg was occupied by Germany, the number of communes has dropped steadily. In 1920, Luxembourg City was expanded, annexing four surrounding communes. Another wave of mergers took place in the 1970s when sparsely-populated areas in the north and west of the country were merged to form Lac de la Haute-Sûre, Rambrouch, and Wincrange. 2006 saw the creation of Kiischpelt and Tandel from four smaller communes, further reducing them to just 116. 2012 saw the creation of Käerjeng, Vallée de l'Ernz and Parc Hosingen from smaller communes, and the merger of Clervaux, Esch-sur-Sûre and Schengen into adjacent ones. Eschweiler was merged into Wiltz in 2015. Following the mergers of Boevange-sur-Attert and Tuntange into the new commune of Helperknapp, the merger of Septfontaines and Hobschied into the new commune of Habscht, and the merger of Rosport and Mompach into Rosport-Mompach in 2018, there are now only 102 communes.