7 things you need to know when you're invited for dinner in Luxembourg

Cultural codes can sometimes be tricky to understand. While this may be less the case in Luxembourg, with its many cultural influences, it may still come in handy to know the basics when you've been invited by your Luxembourgish friends. So, here are seven things ou ought to do (or not, as it may be) in Luxembourg when you're turning up for dinner.

If you have recently moved to Luxembourg, and haven't been invited yet, do not despair. Luxembourgers are very friendly and welcoming to outsiders, but it might take some time for them to warm up to you and invite you over for dinner. If they do, consider it an honour.

Luxembourgers are easygoing, especially at informal get-togethers. So, here's our list of the top things to do - or not to do when you've been invited for dinner.

Don't leave your hosts waiting

Luxembourgers do not like to be kept waiting. Evening dinners usually start at arount 8 p.m., although that is not a strict rule of course. In any case, be punctual, as turning up late may brand you as unreliable, not to speak of the hosts' carefully laid-out dinner plans that you just ruined. Arriving up to a quarter of an hour late will be judged acceptable (the famous quart d'heure académique, the academic fifteen minutes), but arriving any later than that without having called in advance will be considered – well, inconsiderate.

A little something will go a long way

It is usual for invitees to bring a gift for the hosts, usually a flower bouquet or a good bottle of wine, if it's a formal dinner invitation. For a movie evening, some snacks and beer will be more adapted, but a bottle of sparkling Crémant will always be welcome. If you are looking for some inspiration, check out our article about wines in Luxembourg.

If your gift is set aside for the time being, don't be offended. Gifts are usually not opened in the presence of the guests, especially when many are present. Instead, the host(s) will take great pleasure to open them after the guests are gone.

The 3-kisses rule

If you are invited to a private get-together at someone's house, the 3 cheek-kisses are customary between women, and between women and men as a greeting. Men greet each other with a firm handshake – although, make sure you get the difference between 'firm' and 'crushing'. The latter is seen as extremely impolite. Since the pandemic however, handshakes or fist bumps have become acceptable as well.

Whether it’s for a formal evening dinner or a get-together among friends – Luxembourgers will go to great lengths to prepare an enjoyable experience for their guests.
© iStock / Alessandro Biascoli
Crémant, Luxembourg's bubbly surprise, is served at many occasions, from wedding receptions and state dinners to game nights and late night chats among friends.
© Paul Frantzen / Commission de Promotion Vins et Crémants Luxembourg

Respect your hosts' privacy

Nobody likes people nosing around, especially Luxembourgers, who value their privacy. Making comments about stylish dining room furniture is going to make your hosts beam. Making the same kind of comments about the bedroom furniture is not. House-warming parties might be the exception to the rule here.

Show good table manners

Mind your table manners! Luxembourgers are very sensitive when it comes to bad table manners. So, keep your elbows off the table and don't gulp that wine down in one go, never mind how good it is.

Enjoy your time and don't rush

Dinner usually starts with a glass of Crémant and some hors d'oeuvres, followed by the actual meal, which can be anything from a main course and dessert meal to a 5-course traditional Luxembourgish Kiermes-meal. In any event, plan enough time. Luxembourgers enjoy being together and schnëssen (chatting), and it is not unknown for even a small informal get-together to last several hours.

Don't overdo the drinking

In all probability, your hosts will have put quite a bit of thought into which drinks to serve, from the Crémant at the apéritif, via the wine(s) and up to the spirits at the digestif. Politely refusing alcohol will lead to you being offered alternatives, so don't be afraid to decline alcohol if you don't feel like drinking. Indeed, because of the strict laws against DUI, many invitees will stick to one glass of wine over dinner, and spirits are only occasionally served these days. If they are, Luxembourgish Drëppen (fruit brandies) are just as popular as Cognac, Whisky, Limoncello or a Grappa. The country's international openness translates into the choice of spirits.

In any way, don't overdo the drinking – you might get away with being tipsy, but being stone drunk is going to seriously ruin your reputation and your host's evening.

So, this is our advice to a successful evening at a Luxembourgish dinner. As for the food, rest assured that Luxembourgers love good food and if an actual dinner is being prepared, most will go to great lengths to treat you to something special.

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