BELGIUM, Wis. — It's a country that historical experts say is half the size of Rhode Island with a population of a little more than 600,000. And soon, it could become the new home for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
"They still have castles, and they also are very modern and have a lot of modern steel buildings, glass buildings. The people there speak many languages. They learn German, French, English, and Luxembourgish," said Patricia Lutz, the executive director of the Luxembourg American Cultural Society.
Luxembourg, which sits between Germany, Belgium, and France, also has historical ties to Southeast Wisconsin.
"The town of Belgium was originally started by Luxembourgers who were Luxembergish in culture and language, but technically were from the country of Belgium," said Serena Stuettgen, the museum curator at the Luxembourg American Cultural Society.
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"There were some very prominent people in this area who decided that they wanted to preserve their history," said Lutz.
Experts say the country has been working with Wisconsin and the United States for years when it comes to trade and export opportunities.
"Whether that's our agriculture sector or our manufacturing sector, those are some of our bigger exports. They also have a pretty dynamic economy and a dynamic business ecosystem, and that's what we have too," said Sam Rikkers, the deputy secretary for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
And now that Mayor Tom Barrett could become the next United States Ambassador for the country, business leaders in Wisconsin say the move could help the state make stronger relationships with other countries as well.
"It's a really exciting part for Wisconsin to deepen our relationship, because we're not only tying deeper into Luxembourg, it helps us and our businesses make stronger ties across Europe," said Rikkers.