Knowing the language and having a job are not enough to get you settled in Luxembourg easily, it's also important to adjust to the rhythm of life and the habits of the locals. We will talk about those habits and traditions in this article.
This is taught almost from the kindergarten level. Everyone in the Grand Duchy is aware of which bin to put their waste in. The municipal utility services here are quite strict, and if your waste is not sorted correctly, they simply won't take it away. But they will leave a nice sticker with notes on it.
Want to know more about recycling in Luxembourg so this will not happen to you? Read our article covering the topic:
It's actually not that hard to get used to recycling. Paper, plastic, glass, and all sorts of other things, like batteries, are collected separately. You can put clothes that you won't be wearing anymore in separate containers. They will be sorted and given to those in need. The main requirement is that they have to be in good condition.
It goes without saying that Luxembourgers also clean up after their pets!
Business etiquette is in place
The workday in Luxembourg starts at 8 a.m. for most people. Telephone appointments are usually made 1-2 weeks in advance. Appointments by post can be made up to a month in advance. Late arrivals are also not welcome. If you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, it is better to say so. But ideally, you should not be late at all.
It's useless to schedule meetings, lunches, and even informal hangouts in July and August. This is the traditional time of holidays. There is even a joke that children born at this time are condemned to celebrate birthdays alone — their friends will always be away.
You can only go to someone's house uninvited if it is a matter of life and death. The host is likely to feel uncomfortable.
When you address someone, use their surname and the prefix Mr or Mrs. This should be done until someone suggests using their first name. You should also maintain a formal tone in a formal setting.
Rules of greeting
It is traditional in Luxembourg to greet each other with a handshake. This applies to both formal and informal encounters.
When getting to know each other better, e.g. in the company of friends, a kiss on the cheek is common. They are purely symbolic. Two kisses are most common, although three are customary. The first kiss is supposed to be made on the right cheek.
Lunch and dinner parties
If you are invited as a guest, it is customary to give the lady of the house flowers or candy from a well-known, trusted brand.
Sitting down at the table without an invitation is not acceptable, even if you like the seat in question very much. It is also considered bad manners to start eating before the host. Unless, of course, they suggest it themselves. Refreshments should be requested from the host, not taken by yourself.
Luxembourgers are very private and rarely discuss personal subjects unless you are a close friend. It's difficult to get close to them, though, and it doesn't happen immediately or quickly.
The vast majority of the population is Catholic. Christmas is celebrated very widely on December 24. The second biggest holiday is Luxembourg's National Day. It is celebrated on June 23 with great festivities, fireworks and many activities.
Celebrating a birthday in Luxembourg is usually different from celebrating it in most of the other countries. Here, it is not common to have a huge table full of salads and other dishes.
Instead, it is usual for guests to bring their own food. It can be a snack, a homemade pie, or even a pizza from a nearby restaurant. The main thing is that they do not arrive empty-handed.
Gifts are often symbolic. Even the richest families can easily give socks or a statue for the fireplace shelf for an anniversary — and that's fine.
Visiting a restaurant
It is better to invite people to the restaurant in advance. As a rule of etiquette, invitations are usually sent 1-2 weeks in advance.
If you want to choose the best place to eat according to the price, location or ambiance, you can use our favorite picks in the Restaurants section:
Anyone can pay for the meal. It doesn't have to be the person who invites you. For example, at a dinner party with colleagues, it is not unreasonable to cover some or all of the expenses. Although the bill may be paid in full by the person inviting you. This is also fine.
Personal meetings, dinners, and trips do not have any clear-cut requirements either. Don't be surprised if a Luxembourgian young lady spends her own hard-earned money on fries and a burger. And certainly don't try to talk her out of it — it's perfectly normal and doesn't mean it's your last meeting.
When traveling, it is only natural for one person to pay for, for example, accommodation and the other person to pay for petrol and food.