Luxembourg is a wonderful yet small country that cherishes its independence. Despite its small size it has a long, rich history and its own unique customs and culture. Due to these factors Luxembourg has also created its own unique business etiquette. So if you decide to do business in this wondrous little country then just make sure you remember that these rules must be followed.
Luxembourgers are a friendly but reserved people. They take a no nonsense view towards business. You should expect your counterparts to be straight and to the point at business meetings. Small talk is frowned upon as it is viewed as an unnecessary waste of time and most meetings are short when compared to many other countries.
When greeting men or women unless you know them personally, you should greet them and say goodbye with a handshake. Kisses on the cheek are reserved for friends. When addressing Luxembourgers you should not use their first name until invited to do so. They are quite fond of titles except for academic titles. It is best to use honorific titles followed by someone’s last name.
Although German, Luxembourgish and French are spoken; French is often used in business so “Monsieur”, “Madame” or “Mademoiselle” is the normal method of addressing someone that you do not know. This may also mean that it is a good idea to hire an interpreter unless your French is extremely good, or you have been informed that your counterparts speak excellent English.
As Luxembourgers frown upon time wasting it is no surprise that punctuality is extremely important to them. You should arrange all meetings in advance and arrive slightly before you are expected for a meeting. If you are going to be late it is considered polite to phone in order to explain why you are going to be delayed.
The dress code in Luxembourg for business occasions is conservative. Men should wear suits and ties and women should wear suits or dresses. Depending on the occasion it is also acceptable for men to wear a sports coat and dress pants.
Although punctuality is extremely important to Luxembourgers it is considered polite to arrive roughly 15 minutes later than the time stated. It is a social occasion so it is best not to discuss business there. Leaving food on your plate is considered impolite and the last thing you want to do is insult your host. Make sure to clear your plate and then place your knife and fork side by side to signify that you are finished.
If you are invited to your counterpart’s home then you should bring a gift for the hostess. Flowers, good quality liquor, books, chocolates and music are all acceptable gifts. The gift will usually be unwrapped immediately in your presence. It is not normal to exchange gifts at business meetings.
The key to having a successful business venture in Luxemburg is to recognise that they are unique and independent. Follow the basic rules outlined above and you should be fine. If you just assume that they are the same as the Belgians, French and German, you will not have a positive experience.