Luxembourg – Traditional and Cautious
Luxembourg is a small land-locked country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium, Germany and France and is ranked as the second safest tax haven in the world, behind Switzerland. It has a population of over half a million which was boosted in the 20th century by the arrival of immigrants from Belgium, France, Italy, Germany and Portugal.
Luxembourgish, French and German are the official languages, although most official business is conducted in French. English is taught in the compulsory schooling system and much of the population can speak English.
Communication style in Luxembourg is more direct than in many cultures and is based on logic and reason rather than emotions. Tact and diplomacy are needed and bragging about personal accomplishments is considered rude. Business transactions can take longer than expected because Luxembourgers are cautious and reserved and like to develop relationships based on trust and respect. Impatience or bluntness may be grounds for terminating a business deal.
Punctuality at meetings is essential and professional business attire should be worn. Meetings typically begin with brief small-talk then follow a strict agenda and are not interrupted. Direct eye contact is necessary and Luxembourgers appreciate technical information rather than exaggerations and flamboyance.
Small business gifts can be exchanged but not usually at the first meeting. If invited to someone’s home, always take a gift for the hostess. Flowers (never chrysanthemums) should be in odd numbers although not 13 as it is considered unlucky. Chocolates and alcohol are also acceptable.
Formal table manners are required at business meals and utensils should always be used, even for sandwiches. It is acceptable for business women to invite business men to a dinner meeting.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Luxembourg For Business, USA Today