Area: 2 586 sq. km.
Cities: Capital - Luxembourg City (pop. 83 800). Other cities - Esch-sur-Alzette (pop. 29 100), Differdange (pop. 20 100), Dudelange (pop. 18 000). (2007 figures from STATEC.)
Terrain: Continuation of Belgian Ardennes in the north, heavily forested and slightly mountainous; extension of French Lorraine plateau in the south, with open, rolling countryside.
Climate: Modified continental, rainy, with mild summers and moderate snowfall in winter.
Nationality: Noun - Luxembourger. Adjective - Luxembourgian, Luxembourgish.
Population (2007): 480 222.
Annual growth rate (2007): 1,2%.
Ethnic groups: Celtic base with French and German blend; large communities of ethnic Portuguese, Italians, French, Belgians, and Germans.
Religion: Historically and predominantly Roman Catholic. However, Luxembourgian law forbids the collection of data on religious practices.
Official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German; English is widely spoken.
Education: Years compulsory - 9. Attendance - 100%. Literacy - 99%.
Health: Life expectancy (2007) - Avg. 79,03 years; males 75,76 years; females 82,52 years. Infant mortality rate (2007) – 4,68/1 000.
Labour force (2006): 203 000, of which 121 600 commute from neighbouring countries. European Union institutions employ 8 300. Services (non-financial) - 53%, (financial) - 11%; commerce - 14%; industrial and manufacturing - 11%; construction - 10%; agriculture - 1%.
Unemployment rate (2006): 4,1%, up from 3,9% in 2004 (but down from 4,2% in 2005).
GDP (2006): $33,87 billion (purchasing power parity); $34,53 billion (official exchange rate).
Currency: euro (€). Exchange rate (8. August 2007): €1 = $1,3736.
Annual growth rate (2006): 6,2%.
Per capita income (2006): $71 400.
Inflation rate (2006): 2,6%.
Natural resources: Iron ore, timber.
Agriculture (2005: 0,4% of GDP): Dairy, wine, forestry, animal feed crops. Arable land - 24%; forested land - 21%.
Services (2005: 83,3% of GDP): Banking and financial services predominate.
Industry (2005: 16,3% of GDP): Steel, chemicals.
Trade (2006): Exports - $24,22 billion: steel and other metallic products, chemicals, processed wood products, machinery and other manufactured equipment. Major markets - other European Union countries (esp. Germany, France, and Belgium). Imports - $24,22 billion: Machinery and other manufactured equipment, raw materials, chemicals, food products. Major suppliers - other European Union countries (esp. Belgium, Germany, and France).
While Luxembourg is aptly described as the "Green Heart of Europe" in tourist literature, its pastoral land coexists with a highly industrialized and export-intensive economy. Luxembourg enjoys a degree of economic prosperity almost unique among industrialized democracies.
In 1876, the English metallurgist Sidney Thomas invented a refining process that led to the development of the steel industry in Luxembourg and the founding of the Arbed company in 1911. In 2001, Arbed merged with Aceralia and Usinor to form Arcelor, which is headquartered in Luxembourg. Five years later, the company announced the acquisition of Canada’s largest steel manufacturer, Dofasco. In June 2006, Arcelor merged with Mittal Steel to become Arcelor-Mittal, the largest steelmaker in the world. The company now produces 10% of the world’s steel output. The iron and steel industry in Luxembourg comprises approximately 11% of the overall economy.
|Steel wire rope - source|
During the past few decades there has been a relative decline in the steel sector, offset by Luxembourg’s emergence as a major financial services center. The overall services sector in 2005 comprised 83,3% of Luxembourg’s GDP with it employing, in terms of percentage of workers, 78% of the labour force. The financial sector in 2005 continued to grow and made up 11% of Luxembourg’s total labour force making it identical in size to the industrial labour force. In 2006 there were 156 banks in Luxembourg employing 24 752 people. Political stability, good communications, easy access to other European financial centres, skilled multilingual staff, and a tradition of banking secrecy have contributed to the growth of the financial sector. German banks represent the largest number, with Italian, French, Swiss, Belgian, American, and Japanese banks also heavily represented. Total banking assets in 2005 were $1 trillion. The funds industry is the second largest in the world after the U.S. with $2 158 trillion in domiciled funds.
Government policies promote the development of Luxembourg as an audiovisual and communications center. Radio-Television-Luxembourg is Europe’s premier private radio and television broadcaster. The government-backed Luxembourg satellite company Société Européenne des Satellites (SES) was created in 1986 to install and operate a satellite telecommunications system for transmission of television programs throughout Europe. The first SES "ASTRA" satellite, a 16-channel RCA 4000, was launched by Ariane rocket in December 1988. SES presently operates 12 satellites. ASTRA 1H is an advanced satellite with a return channel capacity in the Ka band frequency range enabling two-way satellite communications directly to users’ terminals.
Luxembourg offers a favourable climate to foreign investment. Successive governments have effectively attracted new investment in medium, light, and high-tech industry. Incentives cover taxes, construction, and plant equipment. The recent European Union (EU) directive on services supplied electronically has caused a number of companies to look to Luxembourg, with its relatively low value-added tax (VAT) rates, as a possible location for directing their European operations. U.S. firms are among the most prominent foreign investors, producing tires (Goodyear), chemicals (Dupont), glass (Guardian Industries), and a wide range of industrial equipment. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that total U.S. direct investment in Luxembourg (on a historical cost basis) was nearly $72 billion at the end of 2005. Foreign direct investment (FDI) data for Luxembourg must be interpreted cautiously, however, because of Luxembourg’s role in financial intermediation, particularly involving Luxembourg-based holding companies.
Labour relations have been peaceful since the 1930s. Most industrial workers are organized by unions linked to one of the major political parties. Representatives of business, unions, and government participate in the conduct of major labour negotiations.
Unemployment in 2006 was 4,1%, up from 3,9% two years earlier. Luxembourg’s small but productive agricultural sector employs 1% of the total labour force, a typical figure for a highly developed country. Most farms produce milk, meat, and foraging crops. Timber is another important sector. Luxembourg, being a part of the Moselle region, produces outstanding white wines.
Due to its powerful services sector, Luxembourg maintains a favourable current account balance, with a $4,63 billion surplus in 2006. Government finances have deteriorated over the past few years, with a 2006 budget deficit of $552 million.
After 400 years of domination by various European nations, Luxembourg was granted the status of Grand Duchy by the Congress of Vienna on 9. June 1815. Although Luxembourg considers 1835 (Treaty of London) to be its year of independence, it was not granted political autonomy until 1839 under King William I of the Netherlands, who also was the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. In 1867, Luxembourg was recognized as independent and guaranteed perpetual neutrality. After being occupied by Germany in both World Wars, Luxembourg abandoned neutrality and became a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. It is also one of the six original members of the European Union, formed in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
The present sovereign, Grand Duke Henri, succeeded his father, Grand Duke Jean, on 7. October 2000. Grand Duke Jean announced his decision to abdicate in December 1999, after a 35-year reign.
The national language of Luxembourg is Luxembourgish, a blend of Dutch, old German, and Frankish elements. The official language of the civil service, law, and parliament is French, although criminal and legal debates are conducted partly in Luxembourgish and police case files are recorded in German. German is the primary language of the press. French and German are taught in the schools, with German spoken mainly at the primary level and French at the secondary level. In addition, English is taught in the local high schools. Most Luxembourgers, as a result, speak English with some level of fluency.
Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Branches: Executive - Grand Duke (head of state, ceremonial), Prime Minister (head of government). Legislative - unicameral parliament (Chamber of Deputies with Council of State serving as a consultative body). Judicial - Superior Court.
Political parties in parliament: Christian Social Union (CSV), Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP), Democratic Party (DP), Green Party, Alternative Democratic Reform Party (ADR).
Suffrage: Universal over age of 18.
Government budget (2006): $19,07 billion
Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarchy by inheritance. Under the constitution of 1868, as amended, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the Council of Government (cabinet), which includes the prime minister, who serves as head of government. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the most seats in parliament, known as the Chamber of Deputies.
Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, the members of which are elected directly to 5-year terms. A second body, the "Conseil d’État" (Council of State), composed of 21 ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation. The Council’s opinions have no binding effect, and the responsibilities of its members are in addition to their normal professional duties.
Luxembourg law is a composite of local practice, legal tradition, and French, Belgian, and German systems. The apex of the judicial system is the Superior Court, whose judges are appointed by the Grand Duke.
Principal Government Officials
Head of State - Grand Duke Henri
Prime Minister, Minister of Finance - Jean-Claude Juncker (CSV)
Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Jean Asselborn (LSAP)
Minister of Justice, Minister of Treasury and Budget - Luc Frieden (CSV)
Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade - Jeannot Krecké (LSAP)
Minister of Defence - Jean-Louis Schiltz (CSV)
Minister of Interior - Jean-Marie Halsdorf (CSV)
Luxembourg’s political system has a strong local focus. National politicians very often begin their careers and establish their base serving as mayors, and members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected from one of four regions. The political culture favours consensus, and the parties coexist within the context of broad agreement on key issues, including the value of deep European integration.
Since the end of World War II the Christian Social Union (CSV) has been part of the governing coalitions and usually the dominant party. The only exception was from 1974-1979 when the CSV was in opposition to a governing coalition led by the Democratic Party (DP). The CSV resembles Christian democratic parties in other west European countries and enjoys broad popular support. Its leader, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, in power since 1995, is the longest serving head of government in the European Union.
The Socialist Party (LSAP) is a center-left party similar to most social democratic parties in Europe. Initially founded by a worker’s movement and a main defender of universal suffrage in 1919, the LSAP defends state intervention in the economy and the sustainability of the welfare system. Part of the government from 1984 to 1999, it lost its junior coalition status to the Democratic Party but regained it in the 2004 elections. While in the opposition, the LSAP voiced opposition to U.S. action in Iraq.
The Democratic Party (DP) is a center-right party, drawing support from civil servants, the professions, and urban middle class. Like other west European liberal parties, it advocates both social legislation and minimum government involvement in the economy. It also is strongly pro-NATO. In the opposition from 1984 to 1999, the DP overcame the LSAP to claim the role of junior partner in the government from 1999-2004. It is currently again in the opposition. The Green Party has received growing support since it was officially formed in 1983. It opposes both nuclear weapons and nuclear power and supports environmental and ecological preservation measures. This party generally opposes Luxembourg’s military policies, but it has shown some openness to peacekeeping missions.
National elections are held at least every five years and municipal elections every six years. In the June 2004 parliamentary elections the CSV won 24 seats, the LSAP 14, the DP 10, the Greens 7, and the ADR 5. The ADR (Alternative Democratic Reform Party) when elected was known as the Action Committee for Democracy and Pension Rights. It now has only four members in the parliament after one member recently left the party and declared himself an independent.
Luxembourg has long been a prominent supporter of European political and economic integration. In efforts foreshadowing European integration, Luxembourg and Belgium in 1921 formed the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) to create an inter-exchangeable currency and a common customs regime. Luxembourg is a member of the Benelux Economic Union and was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (now the European Union). It also participates in the Schengen Group, whose goal is the free movement of citizens among member states. At the same time, Luxembourgers have consistently recognized that European unity makes sense only in the context of a dynamic, transatlantic relationship and have traditionally pursued a pro-NATO, pro-U.S. foreign policy.
Luxembourg is the site of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, European Investment Bank, and other vital EU organs. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is located in Luxembourg, but the Parliament usually meets in nearby Strasbourg. Luxembourg held the EU Presidency in the first half of 2005. )
Luxembourg budgeted $291 million for official development assistance (ODA) in 2007, or about 0,84% of its GNI. This places Luxembourg among the top three donor nations in the world, if calculated by percentage of GNI; Luxembourg has stated that it has a goal of eventually reaching 1% of GNI for its ODA.
Last national elections 2009
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Luxembourg) • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/luxembourg_en.html
Culture of Luxembourg: The culture of Luxembourg refers to the cultural life and traditions of the small European nation of Luxembourg. Most citizens are trilingual; speaking the Germanic national language of Luxembourgish, in addition to French and German. As such, the country has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours.
Long a deeply rural and folkloric nation, Luxembourg retains folk traditions. Notable is the Echternach Dancing Procession which happens annually.
Military band of Luxembourg Brian Molko, singer/guitarist of rock band Placebo lived in Luxembourg for most of his life, where he learned to play various instruments such as guitar, piano and saxophone.
Food and Drink
|Luxembourg’s cuisine has been influenced over the years by neighbouring France and Germany. More recently, it has had influence from its many Italian and Portuguese immigrants. Luxembourg has many delicacies. For example : pastries, Luxembourg Cheese, the fresh fish from local rivers (brown trout, pike, and crayfish), Ardennes ham smoked in saltpetre.|
In 1993 it was reported that Luxembourg had the highest worldwide per capita consumption of alcohol; an average of three beers a day for every man, woman, and child. French wine is the most commonly drunk alcohol, and fine beers from Germany and Belgium are widely available. Alcohol is available cheaper in Luxembourg than anywhere else in Europe. It’s also common to come across home-produced alcohol, called Drëpp or eau de vie, distilled from various different fruits and usually fifty percent alcohol by volume.
Jean-Antoin Zinnen is one of the most known Luxembourgish composers. He is author of their national anthem. Another composers for example are: Albert M. Marinov, Marcel Wengler, Jules Kruger.
Religion in Luxembourg
There are many active sauces in Luxembourg. The most important, in terms of size of congregation and historical importance, is Roman Catholicism, but the state does not support, or discriminate against, any one single religion.
Catholicism is the most practised religion in Luxembourg. Luxembourg was a major centre for Christianity during the Middle Ages, Roman Catholicism was sustained through the Reformation by the hierarchy, buildings, and traditions established in the preceding centuries. The Roman Catholic Church has received state support since 1801.
Protestantism is the largest minority religion in Luxembourg, with estimates of adherents ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 (1% to 3.2% of the population). They are divided across several Protestant churches and creeds, including Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, and Evangelicalism.
Luxembourg’s Jewish community dates back at least as far as the 13th century, making Judaism the minority religion that has been practised the longest in Luxembourg. Today, Luxembourg’s Jews number approximately 1,200, of whom, 650 practise actively. There are very few Orthodox Jews in Luxembourg. During the Holocaust, 1,945 Jewish Luxembourgers were killed, out of a pre-war population of 3,500. Judaism is supported by the state.
Customs of Luxembourg
Knowing the customs of a country is, in effect, a guide to understanding the soul of that country and its people. Luxembourgers cherish their independence and separate identity in Europe. Modesty, friendship and strong national pride are valued. They enjoy a slower pace of life than most of northern Europe. Family is very important. Parents influence every aspect of their children’s lives; however, this is weakening as more young people leave the country to study/work abroad.
A gentle handshake is most common and most appropriate in greeting acquaintances and when meeting someone for the first time. Close female friends may hug three times. Other close friends who have not seen each other for a long time may kiss each other’s cheeks three times. Polite inquiries about a friend’s health or a colleague’s work might accompany a greeting. Friends and relatives address each other by first names or nicknames, while acquaintances use titles and surnames. High-ranking persons may be addressed by more than one title, such as Här Minister ("Mr. Minister"), with or without the surname.
Building Relationships & Communication
Although third-party introductions are not necessary, they are recommended. It is important that you treat business colleagues with respect and not do anything to embarrass them. Luxembourg businesspeople develop personal relationships with the people with whom they conduct business. Do not brag about your accomplishments, as this is seen as a sign of poor breeding. Building a relationship requires demonstrating a sincere interest in the country and the people. This is a hierarchical culture, so it is crucial that you show proper respect and deference to those who have attained positions of importance. Luxembourgers are careful and prudent. They take time before they trust people and approach getting to know you in a deliberate, measured manner, which cannot be rushed. If you appear impatient, they will not do business with you. Luxembourgers are excellent linguists and many are sufficiently fluent to conduct meetings in English. This does not mean that they are familiar with the latest idioms or expressions. Be careful to speak slowly. Luxembourgers prefer subtlety to directness. Although their communication is more direct than many cultures, they use tact and diplomacy when speaking and expect the same in return. They will tell you what they think, even if it is not what you want to hear, but they will do so with the utmost of charm and politeness. Being blunt is considered rude. If you do not understand what has been said or want further clarification of a point, you may ask questions, as long as you do so politely. Luxembourgers prefer communication to be logical and based on reason. Business is not the place for emotions or feelings.
Business Meetings Etiquette
Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance if handled by telephone and 1 month in advance if arranged by letter. It is sometimes difficult to schedule meetings in July and August, which are common vacation times, the week between Christmas and New Year, and Easter week. Punctuality for meetings is taken extremely seriously. If you will be more than 5 minutes late, telephone and offer your apologies and an explanation. Arriving late may brand you as unreliable, since how can you be trusted to meet a deadline if you are late for a meeting? Send an agenda before the meeting. Belgians like their meetings to be well focused and to know what will be covered. Do not sit down until you are invited to do so. Meetings adhere to strict timetables. Meetings commence with a minimum amount of small talk. Once a meeting starts it will continue without interruption until it is finished. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking. Do not remove your jacket during a meeting. Presentations should be accurate and precise. Avoid hyperbole or making exaggerated claims. Present as much technical information as possible to support your position.
Meeting and Greeting
Shake hands with everyone present--men, women and children--at a business or social meeting. Shake hands again when leaving. Good friends kiss cheeks, one on each side. Greetings are reserved and formal until a relationship has been established. The most common greeting is a brief handshake. Very close friends greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks three times, starting with the left cheek and alternating. This can be between women or a man and a woman. Men never kiss other men; they always shake hands. Surnames with the honorific titles Monsieur or Madame are used in most social situations. Wait to be invited before using someone’s first name and always use the formal pronoun for you, "vous" rather than the informal "tu".
Luxembourgers take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect that you will do likewise; call with an explanation if you will be delayed. Meetings are brief. Luxembourgers usually get right down to business. People are reserved in both their business and private lives. Business/private lives are kept clearly separate. Traditionally, older, more established companies have had a strict hierarchy, but union representation on the board has become more common and a consensus-oriented decision style has been implemented.
Cleanliness and neatness are very important. For business, men should wear suits and ties, sometimes hats, or just a sports coat/blazer and dress pants. Women should wear dresses or suits.
Always bring a gift to the hostess when invited to someone’s home. It will probably not be unwrapped immediately (unless no other guests are present or expected). Give: bouquets of flowers (but not chrysanthemums), bottles of liqueur (but not cheap ones, ask the retailer to recommend one), chocolates. Small business gifts may be exchanged, but usually not at the first meeting. It is acceptable, but not expected, to give a Christmas gift to a Luxembourger colleague, but never send it to a Luxembourger’s home. Give: books, music, good quality liquor. If you are invited to someone’s home, bring a box of good chocolates or flowers to the hostess. Invitations to tea are formal and require the same gift as would a dinner party. Flowers should be given in odd numbers, but not 13, which is considered an unlucky number. Do not give chrysanthemums as they are used at funerals. A small gift for the children is always appreciated. Gifts are not usually opened when received if there are other guests present.
How to communicate with members of Luxembourg?
Three languages are recognized as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and Luxembourgish. Each of the three languages is used as the primary language in certain spheres. Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally speak to each other, but it is not much written. Most official (written) business is carried out in French. German is usually the first language taught in school and is the language of much of the media and of the church. In fact, around 65% of all articles published in Luxembourg are in the German language, 25% are in French and only 10% in Luxembourgish. Luxembourg’s education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German, while secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. However, as proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school, half the students leave school without a certified qualification, with the children of immigrants being particularly disadvantaged. In addition to the three official languages, English is taught in the compulsory schooling and much of the population of Luxembourg can speak some simple English, at any rate in Luxembourg City.
Luxembourg is an attractive country with a green and picturesque landscape and many historical sites within easy reach of one another. The northern third of the country is the Ardennes, set in beautiful forested hills and valleys.
Travel back in time as you witness 1,000 years of history in a mere 100 minutes. The Wenzel Walk takes you through Luxembourg’s oldest quarters, allowing you to experience the culture and history of this rich city. Its oldest sections were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Among other fascinating sights, you’ll view the Bock Promontory; Castle Bridge, built in 1735 from red sandstone; and the Church of St. Ulric, the city’s oldest parish church. To learn more about the development of this multi-faceted city, history enthusiasts can view audio-visual programs in the archaeological crypt of the Bock Promontory and in the Jacob Tower.
National Museum of Military History
Get the inside scoop on military operations in the Ardennes at The National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, which emerged from the Diekirch Historical Museum. The Museum offers an in-depth education about the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg. There’s an extensive collection of weapons, uniforms, military equipment, along with soldiers’ personal belongings, photographs, and maps. Another part of the museum caters to the history of Luxembourg’s own armed forces.
Wind your way through a network of several levels of underground fortifications dating back to 1644 that are known as the Bock Casemates. Originally 14 miles of underground defensive passageways, some as deep as 131 feet, the casemates have earned the title of "Gibraltar of the North." The archaeological crypt is the site of an audiovisual presentation conveying the history of this massive site, deemed the cradle of Luxembourg. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vianden Castle and Victor Hugo House
Overlooking the River Our, you’ll find the bold, brilliant, and skilfully restored Vianden Castle (photo above). Enter this enchanting 11th century gem to admire antique weaponry and armour, ornate furniture, and Gobelin tapestry. Afterwards, stroll through the charming medieval town of Vianden with its gothic churches, quaint lanes, and fortified towers. French Writer Victor Hugo stayed in Vianden during his exile. Stop by the newly renovated Victor Hugo House – operating as a museum since 1935 - where you’ll find original works and furniture, along with other personal documents. As you approach the museum, look for Rodin’s famous bust of Victor Hugo.
Beaufort Castle in Echternach
The ruins of the Beaufort Castle in Echternach are a great tribute to medieval times. The 12th century feudal case is situated near a lovely lake graced with delicate swans. For more daring visitors, there’s even a torture chamber. Summertime brings plays and concerts to this cherished area.
Nature lovers will delight in the brilliance of the Butterfly Garden in Grevenmacher. In just a single visit to this unique hothouse, you’ll discover everything you need to know about butterfly species from all over the world. You’ll even find exotic tropical plants. If you time it right, you may very well witness butterfly births in the "hatchery."
"Little Switzerland": Luxembourg is a hiker’s paradise, and there are countless opportunities to witness its many assets on foot. This is especially true in "Little Switzerland", a region with a network of marked trails that allows hikers to embark on peaceful strolls or opt for more challenging routes with rope-climbing and bold cliffs. There are also unique rock formations, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and delightful valleys. The Good Land is another area ripe for walkers who want to stroll along the Attert or Eisch rivers, or just meander from village to village. Brilliant apple trees and orchards are in full bloom every spring.
Another sights in Luxembourg: Luxembourg City History Museum, The Bank Museum , Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean , Moselle Valley
Breakfast is usually eaten between 7 and 9 am, lunch at noon, and dinner around 7 pm. Some people have coffee around 4 pm. The main meal of the day was traditionally at midday, but for most people who work, lunch is light and dinner is now the main meal. For a family meal, dishes are placed on the table so everyone can help themselves. When guests are present, each person’s plate is usually prepared in advance. Hosts expect their guests to ask for or have second helpings, and may feel offended if they do not. Both hands, but not the elbows, are kept above the table at all times. It is considered improper to have one’s hands resting in the lap during a meal. Luxembourgers insist on punctuality for most social occasions. For evening dinners, arrive 15 minutes later than what is stated on the invitation. Dinner is usually a social occasion and a time to enjoy good food, wine and discussion. When finished eating, place your knife and fork side by side on the plate at the 5:25 position. To quietly signify that you are not finished or that you would like more food, cross your knife and fork in the middle of your plate. Leaving food on your plate is impolite.
Holidays and Celebrations
Cycling and walking are popular; part of the famous Tour de France bicycle race passes through Luxembourg Religious holidays include Shrove Tuesday (February), Easter (including Monday), Ascension, Whit-Monday, Assumption (15 August), All Saints’ Day (1 November), All Souls’ Day (2 November), and Christmas (24-26 December). Christmas and Easter are the most important holidays.
In addition to some national holidays, several religious holidays are celebrated in Luxembourg. National holidays include New Year’s Day, Labour Day (1 May), the Grand Duke’s Birthday-also called National Day (23 June)-and Fair Day (early September). Fair Day occurs during fair season in the capital city, where an ancient shepherd’s market serves as the fairground and many traditional displays and events focus on sheepherding.
Here are some more ’useful’ phrases in Luxembourgish:
Moyen - Hello, good morning
Addy/Eddy - Goodbye
Merci - Thank you
Eng, svee, dree - One, two, three
Wou kann ech een Ticket kaafen? - Where can I get a ticket?
Ech hatt garen een Ticket fir op..? - Can I have a ticket to...?