Notes from the Field
- While I knew that both French and German were official languages in Luxembourg, I was surprised how much French and how little German was in practical use. Other countries that have two official languages, just have things labeled in both languages. In Luxemburg it seemed most things were in French while some things were in German. In the Hotel and supermarket, people addressed you in French but in casual conversation they seemed to prefer Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch).
- Speaking of Luxembourgish, the guide book I had specifically pointed out that it was not a German dialect, but its own language and that under no circumstances one should say otherwise. The Luxembourg City History Museum, however, called it a Germanic dialect. The Luxembourg City History Museum (Musée d’histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg) by the way is an excellent museum. Really nice building and well structured exhibit.
- Equally excellent was the Museum of Modern Art (Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean). The building, designed by I. M. Pei, itself is probably worth a visit.
- It was a really good idea to bring my hiking boots on this city tour. They worked great on the cobblestone and without them I couldn’t have done the walk across the valley and through the forest between the city center and the Museum of Modern Art.
- While today Luxembourg is known mostly as a financial center, steel used to play an important role in the Luxembourg economy in the late 19th and 20th century (Luxembourg was a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community, one of the predecessor organizations of the EU). Hence the beautiful ARBED building in the city (see pictures above).