the relocation in Luxembourg

QUALITY OF LIVE       January

Population & languages:

Of the country’s 535.000 inhabitants, some 103.000 live in Luxembourg-city and its immediate surroundings. It is the highest proportion of foreigners of any EU country. See also: Luxembourg in Figures (sub Population). Some 160.000 commuters from France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg. Luxembourg has a very stable economy with a solid annual growth rate, low inflation and one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. Since 1929 Luxembourg has developed as an important financial centre. 41.6% of the population are foreigners. It is a safe and welcoming country and is considered one of the most competitive countries in the world for doing business. Multinational companies find it easy to retain their own particular brand of corporate culture whilst enjoying the advantages that setting up a business in Luxembourg has to offer.

Luxembourg boasts the 5th largest cargo airport and an impressive logistics network and has a skilled, multilingual workforce. New businesses are welcomed and encouraged by the authorities who are flexible and open to supporting innovative ideas. It has top level financial and IT services and an excellent basic infrastructure in terms of education, research, health care and culture.

"Lëtzebuergesch" is the everyday spoken language of the people, and the symbol of the Luxembourgers national identity. Since the creation of a dictionary and a grammar, this former Mosel-Frankish dialect is now recognized as the national language (since 1984), while both French and German remain the official languages. Lëtzebuergesch or Luxembourgish is taught in schools and in language courses mostly addressed to the resident foreigners. Although of Germanic origin (around 11th century), Lëtzebuergesch has sufficiently differentiated itself from its parent language, so as no longer to be understood by many a German. Indeed many French words (and a dash of English, for good measure) have been adopted into the language and were transformed, sometimes beyond recognition.

Both German and French culture meet in Luxembourg. Franco-German bilinguism, without any language differences, is a typical aspect of the country’s social structure. If both German and French are used in the press, in political and in religious life, French is nevertheless the official language of the administration, jurisdiction, parliament, education, and of some literary circles. Public offices though are held to answer -wherever possible- in the language they are addressed in.

This peculiar language situation is a direct result of the size of the country, and its historic associations with both France and Germany. When going abroad -which after all, is not very far- the Luxembourgers have to speak other languages, simply because their own is not understood elsewhere. This it comes as no surprise that many Luxembourgers speak English too. This is obviously more the case in the capital and in other centers, than in rural areas, where there is hardly a need for more than 2 foreign languages. This site carries some more detailed information on the use of languages in Luxembourg.
(text partially copied to living in luxembourg, chambre de commerce, Luxembourg).