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Home > New Posting > Cultural Etiquette

The 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.

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.

Body Language

  • Luxembourgers are friendly but reserved.
  • Do not put your hands in your pockets.

Corporate Culture

  • 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.

Dining and Entertainment

  • 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.


  • 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.

Helpful Hints

  • Recognize Luxembourg's uniqueness and its nationality. Do not lump the Luxembourgers together with the French or Belgians, and especially not with the Germans.
  • Expect the pace of life to be less hurried than most of Europe.
  • Don't chew gum in public.

Especially for Women

  • Foreign women will have no problem doing business in Luxembourg.
  • A foreign woman does not have to think twice about inviting a Luxembourger man to dinner.
  • Make arrangements in advance with the waiter to pay for business dinners.
Adapted from material compiled by Window on the World, a cross-cultural training and consulting firm. Originally based on material contained in the "Put Your Best Foot Forward" series of books by Mary Murray Bosrock.
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