Expat Life In Luxembourg – part 2

In the first weeks after arrival in the destination country, expats usually find the quickest connection to other foreign colleagues. This is no different in Luxembourg, where the fact that the international community is comparatively large makes things even easier.

On the other hand, many local Luxembourgers prefer to stay among themselves in their leisure time. This does not mean that they are not tolerant and open-minded towards foreign residents or guests. On the contrary! But they often find it easier to be among familiar faces and to speak Luxembourgish to each other. This is probably because during the working day they interact with so many different nationalities and switch back and forth between different languages that they have a need to live and maintain their own cultural identity particularly actively.

Moreover, Luxembourg is a small country, so that old school friends or acquaintances rarely lose touch with each other over the years and tend to keep in regular contact. Luxembourgers are also very family-oriented; much is done with the whole extended family. There is therefore often little time left for activities with new arrivals.

Apart from that, all other nationalities present in Luxembourg tend to form groups. Germans, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Brazilians, and Americans will quickly form their own cliques and do things together after work. However, this does not mean that there are not at least as many groups and circles of friends in Luxembourg in which nationalities are mixed.

One more tip: If you are not from Europe, you should pay particular attention to the fact that you are aware of and recognize the different countries of origin and cultural imprints of Luxembourgers, Germans, French, Dutch or Belgians. Do not lump them all together but show interest in the country and language of origin of your new contacts. There is nothing Europeans dislike more than ignorance of their culture and history!

It is quite possible to do something with colleagues after work in Luxembourg. However, there is a tendency in Luxembourgish companies for colleagues to meet only with people who are on a comparable hierarchical level. This may to some extent be linked to the age structure and the more similar interests associated with it, but it is simply unusual to be private friends across hierarchies.

It should also be noted that cross-border commuters in particular often have a longer way home and therefore do not want to socialize after work during the week. Many Luxembourgers also plan their leisure time well in advance, so that you will have to make appointments to meet up privately. So if you suggest that your colleagues go out together, you should not necessarily assume that this will happen on the same evening; get your calendar out.

Once appointments have been made, they are taken almost as seriously as business appointments. You must absolutely keep these appointments and only cancel if you have a really good reason to do so. If you are going to be late, you should inform your acquaintances ahead of time and apologize. Keeping this in mind, it is obvious that Luxembourgers and many other Europeans do not like it when someone “frivolously” issues vague invitations to joint activities.

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