Lydie Polfer

Lydie Polfer

Mayor, Luxembourg City

Tourism / Luxembourg

“We draw on our multiculturalism to build something new”

Over two-thirds of Luxembourg City’s resident population are non-Luxembourgers, coming from more than 160 countries. This vibrant, picturesque capital is thus one of the most diverse, multicultural places in the world. It is the location of the financial centre and is also a growing, tourist destination. City mayor Lydie Polfer explained what makes her city special.

Yours is a very international city.
We have nearly 110,000 residents in the capital, of whom 69% are non-Luxembourgers. Mostly people come from Europe, but nearly the whole world is represented, including 700 Chinese making their homes here. We all live together in harmony, producing many social, cultural and sporting benefits, as well as contributing to our international economy. This is the country’s business hub, with 200,000 people working here. They come from around the country and neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium.

Why is Luxembourg such a welcoming place?
We have been exposed to Europe’s turbulent past, which has brought armies and rulers from around the continent. This experience has taught us the need to be pragmatic, to adapt and make the best of everybody who comes here. We do not impose, but draw on our people’s multicultural and multilingual background to building something new. This enables expats to feel at home here. English is widely spoken, even though it is not one of our three national languages, and we have shops selling products from every continent.

What are the main businesses in the city?
We are a services oriented town. Finance is the main industry, with many banks, investment fund servicing companies, international legal practices and other service providers. Four Chinese banks have already set up European headquarters in our city, with two more due to open soon. There is much more than finance though. For example, we are home to the EU operations of many major international internet firms including Alibaba, Amayon and Skype.

For a small city there is a lot going on.
On a professional basis, our economy is very varied so people with every type of skill will find professional fulfilment. For culture, we are able to invest heavily to attract internationally renowned names in the performing and visual arts. Luxembourg is over 1,000 years old and is a World Heritage Site, so the streets and museums are full of history. Plus this is a great place to stroll around, with our dramatic valley, extensive parks and attractive town squares. We want to preserve this way of life, but not at the expense of growth, hence the City’s on-going, ambitious expansion plans.

Why is Luxembourg attracting increasing numbers of Chinese tourists?
We are seeing shops hiring Chinese-speaking staff in order to cope with the rising number of visitors from the People’s Republic. First of all, Luxembourg is an attractive place, with the spectacular valley being the natural backdrop to the historical town. We have great restaurants, cultural events and first rate shopping with many high class international brands. This is a small town that is great for strolling, and the streets are safe because there is virtually no crime. We would be delighted to welcome anyone who is keen to find out more.