ONE OF THREE HEADQUARTERS for the European Union — along with Brussels, Belgium, and Strasbourg, France — Luxembourg City’s location, natural resources and diversity make it one of Europe’s most important business cities. Amazon, Skype, iTunes, PayPal and similar multinationals maintain European headquarters here, not to mention many others who operate offices in the city.
The Gibraltar of the North, however, had much humbler beginnings. Initially it was just a castle; but because that castle was surrounded by ravines, it evolved into a strategic fortress fought over by the French, Germans, Dutch and others.
Every time a new country took control, the city absorbed some of the conquering country’s customs and people who remained behind. In fact, control shifted so regularly, the country of Luxembourg didn’t really have its own cultural identity until the 1867 Treaty of London forced the destruction of the city’s fortifications.
Soon after the discovery of iron ore here in the late 1800s, Luxembourg became one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and, as its capital, Luxembourg City became the country’s economic epicenter. International banking began to flourish in the city, followed by other industries including telecommunications and agriculture.
Today more than 160 nationalities live and work in Luxembourg City. Since real estate is expensive, many workers commute from elsewhere in the country or nearby France, Germany and Belgium. As a result, the city’s population swells from roughly 120,000 to more than 200,000 on weekdays during business hours.
Many of the commuters drive, making traffic a major issue. In an attempt to reduce congestion, Luxembourg City is investing heavily in public transportation. An extensive bus system already connects most of the city, including the Old City, once protected by the fortification’s now-destroyed walls; the Grund in the ravines below; and the business district of Kirchberg. The new 600-foot funicular, opened in 2017, connects the Grund to Kirchberg.
Plans are underway to eventually connect public trans-portation to the city’s central bus station and Luxembourg International Airport, less than four miles away in suburban Findel. By 2020 all existing public transportation will be free of charge in this small, safe and walkable city. It’s worth noting Luxembourg does not permit Uber to operate in the country, and taxis are extremely expensive.
Most Luxembourg citizens speak at least three languages, making it easy to navigate the city and conduct business in it. In grade school students begin lessons in Luxembourgish, a German dialect with French words, and later learn German and French. They often study English, and some even speak a native language, like Portuguese, at home.
Business etiquette in Luxembourg is formal. Luxembourgers expect business meetings to begin on time and be brief unless conducted over a meal. Choose from several meeting spaces available for rent throughout the city, including ones at Neumünster Abbey and hotels like Le Place d’Armes and Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal. Meetings generally are not conducted in informal places like coffee shops.
For a business meeting over lunch or dinner, head to Place d’Armes, a centrally located square in the Old City known as “the parlor of Luxembourg.” Brasserie du Cercle, Le Grand Café and the restaurants inside the Hotel Le Place d’Armes all offer good choices. Am Tiirmschen, located near the Bock Casemates fortification walls in the Old City, serves traditional Luxembourg dishes such as smoked pork with beans, bacon and dumplings.
Business lunches typically begin at 1 p.m. and last two hours, while dinners usually begin at 8 p.m. or later and last even longer. This allows time to get to know associates, but avoid getting too personal. Luxembourgers are private and find personal questions intrusive.
Restaurants in Luxembourg tend to serve French dishes in large portions, so after lunch or before a heavy dinner schedule time for a workout. Green spaces comprise nearly one-quarter of the city, providing plenty of opportunities for walking and jogging. If you are based in the Kirchberg business district, the trails behind Fort Thüngen and the Museum of Modern Art lead into a forested area that feels miles from the surrounding city.
Or get your steps in on the 3.5-mile Circuit Wenzel, which begins at the Bock Casemates. You can walk or jog the well-marked circuit with the stairs down into the Grund and back out, without stopping, or make it a sightseeing tour with a visit to the casemate fortifications and a detour through the Old City.
If you have additional downtime, purchase a one-, two- or three-day Luxembourg Card, allowing free access to more than 60 attractions as well as free second-class transportation throughout the country. Or focus on free local sites like Cathédrale Notre- Dame; the Grand Ducal Palace; or the outlying Luxembourg American Military Cemetery, the final resting place of U.S. Gen. George S. Patton.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.
Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.