5 strange Luxembourgish laws

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So you’ve got used to the three official languages, know which days to put out your bins, and how to recycle your Christmas tree, but did you know the more unusual rules in Luxembourg. OK, so not all these are enshrined in the law, but before you start mowing your lawn on a Sunday afternoon……….read on.

 

Snow must go

In many parts of the Duchy it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to shovel a path not only to the doorway, but to clear the public paths in front of their house.

While it’s not enshrined in the constitution that you must shovel snow, you’ll see “pelle à neige” and bags of salting grit appearing in supermarkets in the winter season.

Luxembourgers themselves are divided on this point. Upstanding citizens are out creating snow-free zones almost as soon as the white stuff has fallen. The lazier ones like me tend to take a “wait and see approach”. Why do a job if the sun might do it for you? Beware though, once that snow turns to ice, it’s less a case of shovelling and more a case of back-breaking scraping.

No Mow

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday – what should you do? If you were raised in the UK, Sunday is not a day of rest, it’s a day to get out the secateurs and plug in the electric mower to primp and preen your garden. Here in the Duchy, Sunday is about dining al fresco in the warm rays. And there is nothing worse than sitting down to a juicy BBQ bratwurst, than the sound of a lawnmower motor starting up.

In many communes, you are simply not allowed to cut your grass after 12 noon on a Sunday or bank holiday. This enforced day of rest may seem irritating at first, but you’ll soon get used to replacing the annoying sound of buzzing with the “clink, clink” of a Crémant glass! This is one rule you’ll learn to love.

Dogs must pay on the bus

No matter what size of dog, all dogs except guide dogs must pay full adult fare on the bus, according to the transport office. I’ve never actually seen this in action (unless all the dogs I’ve seen on buses happen to have a bus pass), so I’d say it’s a random law and you’d have to be unlucky to be caught out.

I can think of more annoying things than free bus travel when it comes to dogs. Sadly there is no law in Luxembourg that requires dog owners to scoop poop, except possibly in parks where bins and bags are provided. For some reason, dog owners particularly like to let their dogs “go” in open car parks, so watch out that you don’t step on an unexpected package as you get out your car.

Say it with “odd” flowers

Not a rule, more of a tradition, is to bring flowers for the host when you are invited to dinner. He or she has probably spent a few hours slaving over a hot stove (or an IKEA energy-saving induction hob).

If you do bring flowers, make sure they are in odd numbers (except 13) and never bring Chrysanthemums– these are reserved for funerals (unless your host is such a dreadful cook you need to give them a clear message about what will happen to everyone if they eat any food).

You don’t need a windscreen but you must have wipers

It is legal to drive in Luxembourg without a windscreen, but not without windscreen wipers. Quite what you’d need those wipers for if you don’t have a screen is unclear. Perhaps you can save time and money by skipping your morning shower, and just squirting and wiping your face on your windscreen free car? This system will also work if while driving without a windscreen your face gets covered in dead flies.

©Sarita Rao

Feature photo: Filip Mroz/unsplash (this photo has been cropped)

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Sarita Rao
Sarita ditched the day job in London for a less hectic life in Luxembourg in August 2013. She spends her days freelance writing, arbitrating fights between her children, and waiting for ‘wine o’clock’ time (that’s 6pm for most mothers).

8 COMMENTS

  1. The store about the wipers is BS. The law says that vehicles equipped with windshields must have two wipers, but one wiper is sufficiant if a large enough sector of the windshield is cleared. I wonder whence this “fake news” originated.

  2. Only dogs paying on the bus? What about cats, birds or other pets? Love it, thanks for a fun and interesting article, even if not 100% accurate!

  3. I needed this article last June when we first moved here. My husband fired up the lawn mower on June 23 and got yelled at by the neighbour. We know now. 🙂

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