Languages at work

The linguistic situation in Luxembourg is complex. The three languages used in daily life are Luxembourgish, German and French. In the world of work, depending on the origin or nationality of the company, the working language may be Luxembourgish, French, German, English or even Portuguese. French and English predominate, especially in the services sector.

Since the working population is mostly made up of foreign residents and French, Belgian and German cross-border commuters, French is the main vernacular language, followed by Lëtzebuergesch, German, English and Portuguese.

French is used particularly in trade, hotels, restaurants and cafes, mainly in the capital and surrounding area. The north of the country is the exception to the rule as it is the only region where Luxembourgish is more widespread than French.

Les langues parlées au travail, à l'école et/ou à la maison (The languages spoken at work, at school and/or at home) was the subject of a study published by STATEC in 2013, following the 2011 population census. The study showed that 70.5% of the population use Luxembourgish at work, at school and/or in the home, 55.7% use French, and 30.6% German. On average, 2.2 languages are used.

According to a study by the University of Luxembourg in 2010, French is the language most asked for in job vacancies advertised in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourgish is an essential requirement in nearly 45% of the vacancies advertised.

English is the lingua franca of the large international community working at the European institutions and of people employed in the banking and industrial sectors. English has become the language for business and finance, and it is very frequently used at meetings among people of different nationalities.

Because the community of Portuguese immigrants is so large, they often use their mother tongue in the workplace (especially in the construction, hospitality and cleaning industries) as well as during their leisure time (clubs, societies, cafes, etc.).

  • Updated 28-04-2015