Wednesday formed the official first day of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Theresa's second state visit to Portugal.

Relatioun tëscht Lëtzebuerg a Portugal / Rep. Lynn Cruchten

The Grand Ducal couple were accompanied on their trip by four Luxembourgish ministers. According to court protocol, a second state visit to the same country is strictly off-limits; however, Portugal was granted an exception due to the exceptionally good relationship between the two countries. RTL's Lynn Cruchten reports from Lisbon.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa spent time at the Belém national palace on Wednesday, where they were greeted by Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. De Sousa, who is serving his second term as president, participated in a state visit to Luxembourg in the first year of his mandate back in May 2017, and is said to have a close personal friendship with the Grand Ducal court.

In a speech on Wednesday, the Grand Duke highlighted the success of Luxembourg's Portuguese community, which is active in many sectors.

Prior to the appointment at the presidential palace, the Grand Ducal couple and their accompanying Luxembourg ministers were officially greeted at the "Praça do Império", where the presidential delegation was accompanied by members of the armed forces, as well as the navy and air force. A military band was on hand, and the ceremony was marked by a traditional 21-gun salute.

The royal couple then left a flower arrangement at the Santa Maria de Bélem church, accompanied by a guard of honour on horseback.

Ministers highlight the relationship between Luxembourg and Portugal

In a speech on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn said he remembered the first Portuguese immigrants coming to Luxembourg in the 1970s, when they could purchase a passport and authorisation to leave Portugal for the sum of 50,000 francs.

The 50-year-long presence of the Portuguese community in Luxembourg has fundamentally changed the country for the better with its contributions, added Asselborn. He said that Luxembourg had one of the largest Portuguese expat communities in proportion to its population, and he expressed favourable opinions towards introducing dual nationality, although he acknowledged not everything was perfect.

Luxembourg's Minister of Family and Integration, Corinne Cahen, also spoke about the different relationships between the Grand Duchy and the Portuguese republic. Cahen conducted three meetings with members of the Portuguese government. In her conversation with the Portuguese migration secretary, Cahen touched upon the reception of Ukrainian refugees, and highlighted the importance of contribution on behalf of local authorities when managing the migrant crisis.

Official press release

Franz Fayot advocates strengthening relations between start-up ecosystems during the State visit to Portugal (11.05.2022)


As part of the economic mission organised on the occasion of the State visit of TRHs the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess to Portugal, the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, made the welcome address at an event dedicated to the mutual discovery of the start-up ecosystems of Luxembourg and Portugal in Lisbon on Wednesday 11 May. Entitled "Interconnected ecosystems driving entrepreneurship and innovation", the event highlighted the strengths of the two ecosystems and introduced several Luxembourg and Portuguese start-ups who presented their innovative and technological solutions. The event brought together more than 120 participants.

With fairly young yet very dynamic start-up ecosystems, Luxembourg and Portugal have followed sometimes similar and sometimes different paths over the past 10 years to build the foundations of a favorable economic environment for innovative entrepreneurs. Following the visit of the Portuguese Minister of the Economy to Luxembourg in 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed, initiating a reinforced collaboration and today's event further strengthens the links between the two countries' start-up ecosystems.

During the event, after a video presentation of the Luxembourg ecosystem, the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, spoke about the development of Luxembourg start-ups, the number of which has grown steadily thanks to the implementation of the Fit 4 start acceleration programme. Since July 2021, acts as a platform dedicated to the ecosystem, bringing together all the players, i.e. over 500 start-ups and some 14 public and private incubators.

The Minister of the Economy said: "Luxembourg and Portugal not only share the same values but also the same ambitions. Like the Portuguese government, the Luxembourg government is committed to supporting the start-up ecosystem. After the official launch of in July 2021, it is now essential to further develop interactions with other ecosystems and Portugal is a partner of choice in this context. Today's event is a perfect opportunity to strengthen our relationship."

His speech was followed by that of Luc Frieden, President of the Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the House of Startups Luxembourg, the largest start-up hosting infrastructure in Luxembourg.

A true start-up institution in Portugal, the Lisbon incubator and accelerator, Startup Lisboa, was then invited to one of the two round tables with the participation of its Membership Manager, Pedro Teixeira. For his part, Jean-Michel Ludwig, Director of Business Development at Luxinnovation, recalled the central role of the Fit 4 Start acceleration programme in the structuring of the Luxembourg start-up ecosystem. The event was also an opportunity for Skeeled, a digital recruitment start-up based in Luxembourg, and the Portuguese bank Banco de Investimento Global to formalise their collaboration with the signing of a partnership.

Skeeled offers an all-in-one solution to help companies attract and hire the best talent, covering everything from predictive recruitment and candidate experience to employer branding and diversity and inclusion.

Crucial to the dynamism of a start-up ecosystem, the issue of financing was also discussed during a second round table moderated by Luis Galveias, chief operating officer (COO) of the Luxembourg Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (LPEA), in which investors from both countries participated.

Afterwards, several presentations of Luxembourg and Portuguese start-ups offering innovative and technological solutions animated the event.

Finally, Antonio Dias Martins, Executive Director of Startup Portugal, also co-organiser of the event, gave a closing speech, drawing a portrait of the Portuguese ecosystem, ranked 12th in the top 100 emerging ecosystems and which counts almost 2,150 start-ups and 150 incubators and accelerators.

Click here for more footage from the Grand Ducal visit!