Cultural Etiquette: How to Adapt and Thrive in Luxembourg as an Expat

LuxembourgPosted on 22 April 2024 by Team

Luxembourg, a small yet mighty country in the heart of Europe, is a blend of cultural influences from its neighbors—France, Germany, and Belgium. Known for its wealth, picturesque landscapes, and as a prominent financial hub, Luxembourg is also a melting pot of languages and traditions. For those looking to visit, move, or do business in Luxembourg, understanding local etiquette can greatly enhance your experience. Here’s a guide to help you adapt and thrive in this unique country.

Language and Communication

Luxembourg is a trilingual country, where Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch), French, and German are all official languages. While Luxembourgish is the national language, French is commonly used in business and official communications, and German is often seen in media. English is also widely spoken, especially in business contexts.

When greeting, a firm handshake is common. Friends may greet each other with three kisses on the cheeks, starting with the right cheek. Address people by their titles unless invited to use first names, as Luxembourg society values formality in initial interactions.

Social Etiquette

Luxembourgers value privacy and discretion in social settings. When invited to a home, it is polite to bring a gift such as chocolates, wine, or flowers. Be sure to arrive on time, as punctuality is seen as a sign of respect. During meals, keep your hands visible, resting wrists on the edge of the table. It is customary to wait until the host starts eating or toasts before you begin.

Dress conservatively, especially in business settings. Casual attire is acceptable in social situations, but it’s best to err on the side of smart-casual unless otherwise specified.

Business Etiquette

In business, Luxembourgers are straightforward but polite, valuing brevity and clarity. Meetings are generally formal, with a clear agenda and adherence to schedules. Business cards are exchanged at the initial meeting. Make sure to have one side of your card translated into French or German, depending on whom you are meeting.

Negotiations in Luxembourg are usually quite reserved, with a focus on long-term benefits and mutual respect. Decision-making can be hierarchical, so it is important to be patient and understand that senior executives may need to be consulted.

Dining Etiquette

When dining out, “Bon appétit” is a common phrase to express before eating. Tipping is customary in restaurants, usually around 5-10% of the bill, as service charge is often included. At someone's home, do not begin eating until the host has invited everyone to start, typically signaled by saying "Gudden Appetit."

Cultural Sensitivity

Luxembourg celebrates a rich array of traditions and festivals, many of which are influenced by Christian religious observances. Being respectful of these traditions, regardless of your personal beliefs, is important. The country also hosts various internationally attended events like the Schueberfouer fun fair and the Echternach dancing procession, showcasing its cultural diversity.

Luxembourg is known for its strong sense of community and environmental consciousness. Demonstrating respect for nature and participating in local recycling programs and environmental initiatives can help you integrate more smoothly into the community.


Living or visiting Luxembourg calls for an appreciation of its complex cultural tapestry. By understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette, you can effectively engage with the community, whether for leisure, business, or extended stays. Luxembourg offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, making it a fascinating country to explore and adapt to.

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