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(17) - Grand Duché de Luxembourg - Grousherzogdem Letzebuerg - Grossherzogtum Luxemburg


inhabitants: 400.000
size: 2600 qkm
capital: Luxembourg-Town (approx. 85.000 inhabitants)

The linguistic situation in Luxemburg is somewhat confusing: if you expect a bilingual area like Brussels or Southern Tyrol, you will be surprised to witness an ever changing mix of two (or three) languages:

Street names in Luxemburg Town are in French, yet in Diekirch and Esch-Alzette they are in French and German, go the village of Wasserbillig and they are French and in Luxemburg dialect.

The local bookshop is likely to have a French name, and also the information boards on the shelves (Novels, Science, 'House + Garden') are most probably French: grab any book and you will be surprised to see it's in German.

In the Restaurant pls expect a French menu and a French speaking waiter only, yet the local press/newspapers at the reception desk will be in German, so are the two only magazines (with French names - of course - yet contents) in German.

Local radio is in Luxemburg dialect (and sometimes French), yet don't be surprised to hear German or Belgian (Wallonian) radio stations in the background when entering a pub or local take-away.

At the first intersection they will warn you about the upcoming railway-crossing in French, the reminder 100 yards further may be in German.

In Echternach warnings like "beware of the dog" or "keep clear" might either be French or German, depending on the landlord. You never know.

Only place name boards seem to follow a logical pattern showing the official name followed by place name in local dialect.

So grab two dictionaries (no, make it three) and depart...

   Ville de Luxembourg-Centre:

City information in Luxemburg dialect.


close to the French border: Street names in French and German.


information from the CFL (=Luxemburg Railways) in German only.

   The place name sounds Germanic indeed, but in daily practise French is preferred.

Street names in French and Luxemburg dialect.

Typical Luxemburg:

Entrance ticket for Larochette Castle: in French; yet the additional information that visit is at own risk, is added in German only.

BK February 2001

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