Typical Luxembourgish – at least for an expat…
Luxembourgers value their holidays highly. As luck has it, Luxembourg is blessed with quite a few weeks of annual holiday, so once one holiday is over, it’s time to plan for the next!
The planning often centres on a certain level of comfort – key word Fënnef -Sterne – and to this 5-star hotel you travel either by plane or comfortably in your own car (we will get back to the car thing). Winter destination some fairly nearby Alps; summer destination sunny Spain.
Statistics quite confirm this impression. In 2013, 83% of the population over 15 years made at least one trip, spending on average EUR 712. A fair chunk of this was indeed spent on hotels, being the preferred type of accomodation by far – in contrast a mere 1.9% went camping. More than half of the travellers reached their destination by car, and the majority of the other half got on a flight. Car is a natural choice because Luxembourgers don’t necessarily travel very far, mostly to other European countries, with France being the first choice followed by Spain, Germany and Italy.
The popularity of the annual Vakanz fair also confirms the image of Luxembourgers as holiday enthusiasts, with some 30 000 visitors last January.
It doesn’t take long for an expat to adopt this pattern! Can’t wait for Easter! For ideas on where to go, an easy drive or short flight away,click here.
Luxembourgers also value their spare time in other ways:
Used to grabbing a quick sandwich at your desk during lunch break? In Luxembourg, you might change your ways. Luxembourgers are often very loyal to their Mettespaus, making sure they have a real break enjoying a warm meal at a restaurant, lunch vouchers value EUR 8.40 at hand.
Mettespaus is also a time to be social, and #mettespaus on Instagram disiplays as many cheerful friends as food pictures. And Mettespaus on Sunday is a time to be with family and gather generations around the table, which is why you should book your table well in advance for that Sunday lunch.
Traditionally, lunch is the main meal of the day and supper will be light. Nothing wrong with adopting that tradition, it’s the healthier way around!
Luxembourgish specialties to be enjoyed for Mettespaus (no, they’re not chosen for their funny names) could be:
- Bouneschlupp, a green bean soup with additional veggies and bacon
- Judd mat Gaardebounen, neck of pork with broad beans
- F’rell am Riesling, (local) trout cooked in (local) Riesling and cream, especially for Mettespaus by the Mosel
- Feiersténgszalot, a cold beef salad – recipe here
- The incontournable Mettwurscht sausage
- The equally incontournable Gromperekichelcher, fried potato pancakes with onion and parsley.
Click here for more local specialties.
Now, let’s not loose touch with the holiday planning, more precisely how to get there – by car.
Honk if you’ve ever been stuck in traffic at any odd hour in Luxembourg! Or if you’ve had to wait 3 minutes for traffic from the right to cease so that you can get onto the road (or for the light to turn green, but that’s for some other chapter).
There are a lot of cars in Luxembourg, about 1.7 per household, placing the country on the top 5 list of number of cars per capita in the world. Almost 40% of them are of a German brand.
Most of these cars are highly comfy – which is why it’s an easy choice for going on holiday. Now there might be a disproportionate number of possibly comfy but way too big and broad cars, given the good road quality, the often tight parking spaces and the fairly modest number of steep slippery slopes – but that’s for some other time too.
Luxembourg is the country of vanity plates. To pass time while you’re waiting in traffic, you can always have fun guessing what plates mean. Some are actually meaningful. Lately, and somewhat strangely, 4-digit plates have become the most prestigious ones, and currently you have to wait 1 ½ – 2 years to get one.
Now, whereas Luxembourgers seem to have a love for cars in general and their own (most often in plural) in particular, there is more of a love-hate relationship with the strict regime of the annual contrôle téchnique at Sandweiler – also known as Macho HQ. Luckily, you can now get it done at your own convenience at your garage – and have an espresso and read a paper while you wait.
By the way, Macho HQ might possibly be the exception to the below:
Last but not least, it’s unquestionably very Luxembourgish to switch rather effortlessly and willingly between Lëtzebuergesch, French, German and often English – much to the convenience of all us expats. Still… want to learn Lëtzebuergesch? Check here.
Feel free to add to or comment on these visions of what’s typical Luxembourgish – we all have different glasses on!
By Unni Holtedahl, March 2015