'Multicultural', 'beautiful' and 'rich' - this is how Luxembourgers are described by their neighbours in a survey of 500 cross-border workers. All in all, the result is a very positive one, as 88% of participants in the survey are very attached to Luxembourg.
Let us fire the good news right away: cross-border workers are attached to Luxembourg. 'Multicultural', 'friendly', 'welcoming' or 'respectful' - this is the result of a survey in relation to Luxembourgers conducted in January with a sample of 500 cross-border workers from France, Belgium and Germany. While at least a minimum of participants consider Luxembourgers to be "slightly cold" or "distant", most of them have a positive image of the Grand Duchy.
In fact, cross-border workers from the three neighbouring countries have a positive opinion of Luxembourg and as time goes by, they even feel a certain bond with its inhabitants and its habits and customs.
Giving the neighbours a voice
The survey was conducted in January 2020 by TNS Ilres for Asti ('Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés', an association supporting immigrant workers). The 500 participants were cross-border workers from Germany, Belgium and France.
The topic of cross-border workers is the 3rd part of the study 'Vivre ensemble au Luxembourg' (Living Together in Luxembourg), which includes a part on 'the political and social participation of all residents' and 'the challenges of social cohesion'.
Around 200,000 cross-border workers come to Luxembourg to work on a regular basis; they account for 46% of the country's workforce.
Cross-border workers feel good in the Grand Duchy
According to the survey, 88% of cross-border workers say they feel a 'certain attachment to Luxembourg'. This observation was also confirmed by Sylvie, who took part in the survey: 'That's quite right... after 20 years as a cross-border worker, I am very attached to this country, its people, its habits, its shops, its restaurants, its customs, etc.'. The same goes for Jean-Louis: 'I agree with this observation. As time goes by, without knowing it, we get attached to this country, its customs and multicultural mix'.
According to the survey, it's mostly older and more senior people who claim to have such as strong sense of connection with Luxembourg. They say that they have made friends, have more contact with residents and feel more connected to the country. The survey shows that 86% of cross-border workers 'feel well in Luxembourg in a non-work context'. Christophe's testimony tells us that 'Luxembourg treats its cross-border workers very well. Working in the Grand Duchy is very pleasant, relationships are easy, frank and sincere... '
The language as the biggest flaw
In this context, the survey reveals that it is especially young cross-border workers who come for financial reasons: higher wages and more interesting employment prospects. It is an understandable trend given that their network of contacts is not yet as well established. Generally speaking, cross-border workers have a positive view of the Grand Duchy, even if they consider Luxembourgers to be 'a little cold at first sight', they say that they are 'very welcoming' and 'open to the world'. In fact, cross-border workers especially appreciate the multicultural factor, which is seen as a big plus.
But sometimes, their views are mixed to say the least, since the survey also reveals that cross-border commuters consider Luxembourg residents to be slightly cold or even distant. The cause of this trend appears to be related to the fact that they don't speak Luxembourgish, which is described as the biggest obstacle to having a stronger and deeper relationship with locals.