Migrations in Luxembourg - A historical sketch

When speaking of immigration in Luxembourg, everyone thinks right away of the numerous Italians, who settled down in the country towards the end of last century at the dawn of the Luxembourg industrial age. One might also mention the Portugese workers, who arrived numerously from the beginning of the 1970' on. These two groups, by their mere number, are the most important ones, to have chosen Luxembourg as their adoptive homeland.
Some Luxembourg family names are in fact foreign family names, which have become so familiar that they are now commonly being considered as native. The ancestors of former prime ministers Santer (Sans Terre = without land) and Dupong (Du Pont = from the bridge) were walloon charcoal burners (also named boquillons), who in the 17th and 18th centuries settled in the forests of the Eisch valley, in order to produce the charcoal needed by the first furnaces exploiting the meadow ore in Ansembourg and Septfontaines.
Prime minister Joseph Bech counted among his ancestors Tyrolian stones masons (Zangerle, Tschiderer, Kathrein). Prime minister Pierre Frieden, whose parents originated from Nittel (Germany), only acquired the Luxembourg nationality at the age of 21. But not only Luxembourg statesmen can boast of immigrant ancestors, any Luxembourger researching his genealogy will sooner or later find foreign roots. If thus Luxembourg has always been a country of immigration (in a lesser measure than today, though), it has also been, throughout time, a country of emigration.
In fact, immigration and emigration are intimately linked together and cannot be dissociated. Over the centuries these arrival and departure movements have influenced one another, they themselves being conditioned by the economic and political context. A demographic void created by massive departures is filled out by new arrivals. Some migrations are promoted and supported by the authorities, whereas some others are frowned upon by the authorities in place, unless they are just indifferent to it, caring only about the pecuniary aspect of the question.

Trevires, Romans, Gallo-romans
We will not abide by the neolithic migrations coming from the "fertile crescent" of the Near East, nor by the arrival of the so called Danubian culture in Western Europe.
Contrarily to a largely spread belief, it's not the Italian industrial workers who were the first immigrants in Luxembourg, but their ancestors who in 52 BC came with Cesar's legions to the country then inhabited by the celtic tribe of the Trevires. They came, as can be imagined, without being invited, like so many other armies after them, but the Roman presence was more than an ephemeral military occupation. The long period of "Pax Romana" brought the eclosion of the gallo-roman civilization. As examples let us quote archeological witnesses like the site of Dalheim (Ricciacus), the mosaics of Vichten (picture)and Nennig and their road infrastructure. The close-by city of Trier (Augusta Treverorum) was the Roman capital north of the Alps. Let's not forget to mention that winegrowing was then introduced in Luxembourg.

When, pushed by incursions of the populations of Central Asia, the nations of Germania moved westward, overthrowing on their turn the frontiers and peoples of the Roman empire, the Franks settled down in the Luxembourg area. Their language (Moselfränkisch) is at the origin of the Luxembourg language. Their presence is well recorded in artifacts and in toponymy, where the history of their settlement can be documented: village names ending in -ingen, -weiler and -dorf date from the 5th to 9th centuries; suffixes in -scheid and -rodt occur in village names founded from the 9th to 12th centuries, whereas the -hausen names date from the 13 and 14th centuries.

Transylvanian Saxons- Siebenbürger Sachsen
During the period from the 9th to 14th century, an eastward movement of the populations of the Holy Roman Empire (Drang nach Osten) pushed back or assimilated progressively the Slavic populations installed East of the River Elbe and displaced the Germanic frontier towards the Vistula. More to the South, during the 12th century the Kings of Hungary Géza II, Béla III, Andreas II (father of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia) called on the "Saxons" to colonize Transylvania. Their role was the military defense of that border area and exploitation of the mining resources in the area of the Bihar mountains. The colonists' gold, silver and copper mining made 14th and 15th century Hungary one of the richest European countries. The mediaeval fortress-churches of this area bear witness to the military vocation of this colonization, their purpose was to offer shelter to the colonists in case of war. Although the settlers were known as Saxons, they were in fact Frankish populations from the Moselle and Rhine area, from Aachen and, in a lesser measure, Saxons, but the latter gave the name to this population. The great majority of these settlers comes from the Luxembourg area. Already in 1768, when travelling through Transylvania, the Luxembourg publicist François Xavier de Feller S.J. had noted this liguistic kinship. Even though subsequent historical and dialectological research on the original home-country ("Urheimat") tended towards trying to identify for each Transylvanian community the mother village in Luxembourg, it remains nevertheless that the origin of these so-called Saxons is clearly the greater Luxembourg region. The name Transylvania (= beyond the forest) is explained by its geographical situation, surrounded in the North, East and South by the wooded Carpathian Mountains. The German name "Siebenbürgen" is derived from their autonomous jurisdictional organization, subdivided into 7 seats. Among the towns founded by the colonist let us quote Braçov (Kronstadt), Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Cluj (Klausenburg), Tîrgumures (Neumarkt), Sigishoara (Schäßburg). The different names of this area (Transylvania in English, Siebenbürgen in German, Ardeal in Romanian, Erdély in Hungarian) give us a glimpse of the ethnic complexity of the mediaeval residents: the Szeklers, of Hungarian tongue but of mysterious origin, the Hungarians, the "Saxons" and the Romanians. The Saxons, the most frequent group, had acquired a large autonomy. Under King Andreas II, they received in 1224 franchise letters (Privilegium Andreanum), which recognized them as Saxon nation. Under Turkish rule from 1516 on, then under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Transylvania became part of Romania in 1918. The germanic-speaking population has strongly diminished after World War II (deportation to the Soviet Union) and even more after the fall of the Ceaucescu régime (emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany).

Walloon Boquillons
With the founding in 1624 of the iron foundries of Septfontaines and Ansembourg, the need arose for experienced charcoal burners. As the feeding of the fire in the charcoal pile, set up in the forest, needed constant attention, these people necessarily lived in the forests, a situation which made them always a bit suspect in the eyes of the wordly and ecclesiastical authorities. Let us quote some of their names names which meanwhile have become Luxembourgish: Brisbois, Dupong, Santer, Flammang, Peschon, Robinet, Lahyr. As they came, at least partially, from the francophone part of the former Duchy of Luxembourg, one cannot speak of an immigration "strictu sensu", but rather of an internal migration.

The arrival of Tyrolians in Luxembourg is due to several reasons. In Tyrol stone construction had a long tradition and these construction crafts had the particlar favours of the sovereign. On the other hand, many religious congregations developped an intense construction activity. Morevover was Tyrol largely spared from the atrocities and destructions of the Thirty Years War. However this war devastated large parts of territories North of the Alps and led to the collapse of commerce between the German towns and Italy, a transit commerce which had profited to the Tyrolians. Demographic pressure and loss of revenue forced the population to seasonal migration or even emigration. After the Thirty Years Wars with its destructions, especially in the Rhenish area, there was an enormous reconstruction task to be done as well as entire regions, deserted by its former habitants, had to be recolonized. When France declared war to Spain in 1653, Luxembourg became the operation grounds for the French and Imperial troops. Friend and foe alike devastated the country with fire, plundering and confiscations. Famine and plague aiding, the country's population dwindled down to one third. After the seizure of the City of Luxembourg by Vauban, the French King Louis XIV ordered the reconstruction of the fortress, of great strategic value, as it occupied a key position in controling the Rhineland and the Palatinate. But the demographic haemorrhage had as a consequence a cruel lack of manpower. Thus by an edict of January 1686, Louis XIV, confirming privileges already granted to the craftsmen settling down in the capital, extended them to the whole country: admittance without having to pay for municipal citizenship, free building lots for houses and workshops, excemption from the obligation to lodge soldiers, freedom of tax on subsistance and merchandise.
After the Spanish Sucession Wars, the Netherlands (including the Duchy of Luxembourg) were ceded to the Austrian Habsburgs. Luxembourg and Tyrol were then united under the authority of one same sovereign, which of course facilitated the immigration of Tyrolian masons and architects. Quite a few architectural monuments of the capital date from that period: the entrance bridge to the Castle as well as the refuge of the St. Maximin abbey (now housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) are the work of the Tyrolian brothers KINTZLE. The onion-bulb shaped steeple of St. Michael's closely resembles Tyrolian churches. Apart from the City of Luxembourg other towns of the Duchy of Luxembourg welcomed these craftsmen: the town of Echternach where the abbey undertook major constructions works in all its properties: they are mostly due the Mungenast family. These Mungenasts are also the direct ancestors of another minister: Mathias Mongenast, minister of Finance 1882-1916.
Also the imposing farm houses of the 18th century (Maria-Theresienhaus) are the works of the craftspeople, same as the parish churches of Mondercange, Flaxweiler, Eppeldorf, Itzig, Betzdorf, Alzingen, Consdorf, Weicherdange, Pintsch etc.. To remain with enumerations here are some names of Tyrolian settlers encountered in the records: Huter, Tschiderer, Handle, Zangerle, Mitten, Walser, Lenz, Mongenast, Lesle/Lessel, Nagel, Reichling, Untzen1, Stark, Schlatter/Schlottert, Baldauff, Hauser, Staud, Walch. It should be pointed out that the mention "Tyrolian" in a records did not only designate people from Tyrol but also from neigbouring alpine regions like Vorarlberg.
At the end of the French rule, Luxembourg came for a short lapse of time under Spanish authority. On July 1st 1709, Maximilan Emmanuel of Bavaria, Governor General of the Netherlands, signed a decree forbidding the Luxembourgers and other subjects of the Spanish King in the Netherlands to emigrate without permission. He had been reported that some habitants from the canton of Moselle in the Grand Duchy had left their houses with their family and furniture to settle in the Carolinas "que plusieurs Habitans du Canton de la Moselle en la Province de Luxembourg, quitteroient leurs demeures avec leurs familles & leurs meubles pour passer à l'Ille de la Caroline en Amérique". It seems that during French rule the authorities did not only promote the settlement of the devastated Duchy of Luxembourg but also tried to attract colonists to populate their vast American territories. When Luxembourg returned under Spanish rule, the authorities of His Very Catholic Majesty could evidently not tolerate that a foreign power recruted their subjects. They prohibited this emigration making it punishable with the confiscation of the belongings of the emigrants as well as of those of the purchaser of emigrants' property.

After Prince Eugene of Savoy had conquered Timisoara (Temeschwar) in 1716, which had been under Osman domination since 1552, the Banat came under the rule of the Austro-hungarian monarchy. In 1718, at the peace treaty of Passarowitz, the province was formally ceded to Emperor Charles VI. The name "banat" designated frontier provinces in southern Hungary ( march, Grenzmark) administered by a ban, a sort of military governor. After the 1718 peace, Banat was used especially to designate the Temeschwar territory, although, strangely, that territory had never been under the authority of a ban. The Hapsburgs undertook a vast program of colonization which had three aims: fortifying the country in order to protect Vienna from the Turks, clearing new agricultural land and promoting the catholic religion. The agents of the count Claude Florimont de Mercy, of Lorraine origine but at the service of Austria, who had been entrusted with the mission to colonize the Banat, offered the catholics in the Hapsburg territories advantages like fields, building plots, construction material, cattle and tax exemptions. Such offers to poor peasants, ruined by the interminable wars of the preceeding century, did not fail to find a market. The new colonists came from Baden, Würtemberg, Alsace-Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland, Westphalia and Swabia. The departure point was the City of Ulm in Swabia. Although the settlers came from different territories of the Empire, the Hungarians considered them all as Swabians and it's that name (Banater Schwaben) which remained to designate all the germanophone colonist of the Banat.
In Ulm, they embarked on boats called "Ulmer Schachtel" or "Zille", and sailed down the Danube towards Vienna to get registered and continue the journey.
The Luxembourgers were numerous to settle in Hungaria. When, in 1766, the bookbinder J.P. Maeysz, of Luxembourg origin, made his journeyman voyage from Ulm to Vienna, he found out with great pleasure that all his travel companions were Luxembourgers. Also, in a report which the Emperor Joseph II set up on a visit to the Banat, he mentioned the Luxembourgers in first place together with the colonists from Trier. The emigration flow took such amplitude that on 12 May 1764 the dowager-empress Maria Theresia prohibited anyone to recruit her subjects in the Provinces of the Netherlands under penalty of fustigation, confiscation of property and perpetual banishment as well as she forbid her subjects to follow such sollicitations. This ordinance hardly showed any effect and the following year the prohibition had to be repeated several times.
Apart from a majority of Rhenanians and Luxembourgers, francophone settlers from Lorraine could be found: In three villages founded in 1771 and named Saint-Hubert, Charleville and Seultour French was spoken until around 1850. This population melting pot can be best witnessed in the little town of Weißkirchen (Bela Crkva in Serbian, Biserca Alba in Romanian and Fehertemplon in Hungarian). In 1910 she had a civil population of 11512 inhabitants, whereof 6062 Germans (or rather germanophones), 1994 Serbs, 1806 Roumanians, 1213 Hungarians, 312 Czechs, 42 Gypsies, 42 Slovaks, 19 Croatians, 3 Ruthenians and 19 others. After WWI, at the treaty of Trianon (1920), the Banat was divided up between Romania and Yougoslavia. In 1944, when Romania switched alliance, and after the collapse of the communist régime, the "Swabians" left en masse for Germany.

South America: Brazil, Guatemala and Argentine
During the 19th century three emigration surges of smaller amplitude went for the Southern part of the New World: 1828 towards Brazil, 1844-45 to Guatemala and 1889-90 to Argentina. The common point of these three short-lived movements is their failure.
When in 1822 Brazil acceded to independance, the emperor Dom Pedro I reigned over a vast country virtually empty of inhabitants. He tried thus to attract Europeans with the admitted purpose to colonize the country and the less admitted one to incorporate them in the army. Emissaries and unscrupulous emigration agents deluded a credulous population, moaning under the fiscal pressure of the Dutch régime (we are two years from the Belgian revolution), with fabulous conditions: free passage, land, cattle and subsistance as well as tax excemption. These stories spread like a wildfire all through the Western part of Germany, Luxembourg, Lorraine and part of Belgium. Circulars of the governement warning of any rash and inconsiderate emigration had no effect whatsoever. Finally, the emigrants after having sold everything, started out for the port of Bremen. For some of them the little money they had was already used up when arriving at the port, others waiting for the deaprture of a ship spent their last cents for subsistance. When finally, they were told that they had to pay for the fare, that the quotas were filled, that the colonists had to enlist into the army for a derisory pay, when they heard the narrations of disillusioned returnees, these poor devils returned empty-handed. Some of them settled in the poorest areas of the country, like Grevels near Wahl outside the village teritory. The place name Grevels-Brasilien is reminiscent of this abortive episode in emigration history.
In 1841 was founded in Belgium the "Compagny Belge de Colonisation" for agricultural, commercial and industrial purposes. This association first bought from the English "Commericial and Agricultural Company of the Coasts of Central America" a territory of about 4000 square kilometers, which it had obtained from the Guatemala governement for the purpose of settling. Later on they treated directly with the Guatemala government. This territory was situated on the side of the Carrivean Sea, at the end of the Bay of Honduras around the port of Santo Tomas. A society named "Communauté de l'Union" was founded for establishing and constructing the colony and the city of Santo Tomas. Promotion was done throughout Belgium and in 1843 a first ship left with 54 men, whereof 23 clerks (!), for setting up the colony. In 1844, 766 settlers and in 1845, 36 settlers landed at Santo Tomas. The majority of these people were from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg or from the province of Luxembourg (a former Luxembourg territory ceded in 1839 at the end of the Belgian Revolution to Belgium). However the unfamiliar climate, the food and epidemics rapidly thinned out the ranks of the colonists. Unfortunate planning as well as the leadership of the first director, major Guillaumot, more befitting to a penitentiary, incited to settlers to desert the colony for neighbouring Honduras and Belize. On November 1st 1845 only 286 of the 846 original immigrants remained and in 1888 only 4 old settlers were still living in that area.
The third emigration attempt to South America started in 1888 when emigration to the States reached its highest-ever peak. Father J.B. Didier C.SS.R., missonary in Argentina, seeing so many Luxembourgers going to the States, wanted to reorient his compatriots to Argentina in order to colonize the properties of the rich land owner Ayerça. Together with his nephew, agronomist J.B. Kirsch, he organized this emigration and quickly found many emigrants heading towards the colony of San Antonio de Iralola. They left Luxembourg by the end of December 1888 but were quickly desillusioned. The colony was located in a swampy area, exposed to frost and improper for agriculture. The houses the owners was supposed to supply were nothing more but primitive shelters. The wall were wooden poles tied together with wire. In between straw and reed was interlaced and plastered on both sides with clay. Two bad harvests and money devaluation put the colonist in a bad financial situation, whereas the owner claimed his money. He then replaced the fist Luxembourg director, considered too lenient, by a more brutal and ruthless Luxembourger. In 1891 the colony broke up, some returned to Luxembourg, whereas others turned to areas better suited for agriculture: Jerua, province of Entre-Rios, Mar del Plata, Tres Arroyos and Bahia Blanca in the South of the province of Buenos Aires. In two years 60 of 500 colonist lost their lives through edidemics.


United States: The big exodus
If the 17th century was very prejudicial for Luxembourg demography because of war, hunger and epidemics, the 19th century has not been less catastrophic due to massive emigration. A migratory deficit of 72.000 (other authors have 86.000) for the second half of the 19th century, when population was roughly 200000 inhabitants demonstrates the amplitude of the phenomenon. This emigration to the United States , concerned especially a young and active population. But not only was the damage a demographic one, but also an economic one: loss of capital and manpower, which were then missing at the beginning industrialization around the end of the 19th century.

"Tour de France"
Emigration to France in the 19th century had as basic purpose for the men the learning and perfectionning in their craft, which they did by wandering through France frpm workshop to workshop. This was called the "Tour de France", the English word journeyman for these people conveys the same idea. The men were also employed at seasonal agricultural works of the farms in Alsace-Lorraine and in the Champagne vineyards. Women went to France to work as maid-servants and also to learn the language, the knowledge of French upon return gave the speaker a certain prestige. Generally speaking is the emigration to France considered to be temporary as a large number of emigrants returned home at the end of their wanderings. Quite a few of those emigrants, though, left because of economic necessity and made a bare living at the lowest step of the social ladder: road sweeping, garbage disposal, coach driving, excavation work. It must be said that quite a few construction sites were available in Paris: excavation of the terrain used for the Universal Exhibit in 1889, the construction of the Métro (subway).. In 1891, 31232 Luxembourgers were in France, half of them in the Paris metropolitan area (département de la Seine). If we also add the 9697 Luxembourgers in Alsace-Lorraine (then annexed by the Germans), these emigratns represent 19,35% of the Grand Duchy's population (211481). In 1910, the 12499 Luxembourgers present in Lorraine represented 2% of that population. Let us now considee more closely the departures from the capital, Luxembourg-City. According to the departures registers 1880-1884 of the city's "Bureau de la Population", 505 Luxembourgers left for France whereof 128 went to Paris. One forth of them are isolated persones, the remaining lot were entire families. Considering these numerous family departures, one notices that the journeyman departures were less numerous than the definitive departures (with families). Of the 128 family heads a bit more than half were carpenters/furniture makers and painters.
Analyzing the origins of the emigrants, the lower parts of the town (Grund, Clausen, Pfaffenthal), economically less developped, supplied 54% of the emigrants, wereas they only represent 36% of the city's resident population. The area around the newly-built railway station, in constant economic expansion, did not supply one single emigrant. One of the most famous Luxembourg furniture makers in Paris, Bernard Molitor (1755-1822) from Betzdorf had a most successful career. He survived the different régimes and had among his clientele the Royal court, the Marquis de Lafayette, Madame de Staël and Napoleon Bonaparte.

The arrival of the Italians is closely associated with the industrialization of the South of the country. But first let us mention some early Italians. The first bankers mentioned in mediaeval documents in Luxembourg, as well as elsewhere, were the Lombards. At that time Lombard is synonym with banker. The entire classical banking terminology if of Italian origin. The bank rate for loans is the "Lombard rate", Lombard street in London is home of the big banks.
In 1543 Italian military engineer Girolamo Marini arrived in the train of French King François Ier together with 120 Italians in order to repair and improve the fortification works. Joseph Pescatore, a native of Broglio, Ticino, which then was part of the Duchy of Milan, obtained the right of citizenship in the capital Luxembourg in 1741.
But let us come back to the eclosion of the iron industry. Although the first furnaces were built around 1870, it is only with the use of the Thomas system that the iron ore could be massively exploited. (Sydney Gilchrist Thomas developped a method for making high-grade steel by eliminating the phosphates and other impurities from the ore in fusion.) It was then that the emigrated manpower was missing cruelly. The Germans supplied the specialized work-force in the mines and the steel mills (they made out the majority of foreigners in Luxembourg until the time between the two wars), whereas the non-qualified labour used for working in the stell works and in construction was recruited among the Italians, who transited from close-by German Lorraine. Due to the customs union ("Zollverein") between Luxembourg and Germany and the annexation of Lorraine by the German Empire, Lorraine and Luxembourg had no economic frontier to pass. From 1892 on, an important immigration wave came from northern and central Italy. A bit later, an internal migration set in, a rural exode draining the population from the barren hilly regions of the north of Luxembourg towards the boom towns in the south, where population figures explode (Esch-Alzette 1851: 1489; 1875: 3946; 1900: 11060; and 1930: 29.429). In that same town the Italians represent 14% of the population in 1910, The migratory model is charaterized by the arrival of young men, single, very mobile and who not bring along family members. Luxembourg and Italian population stayed away from each other, the immigrants concentrated in and around the towns of the mining basin und quickly set up their proper social organization, which explains the appearance of Italian quarters: "Brill-Grenz" in Esch-Alzette, "Italia" in Dudelange and "Italien" in Differdange.
This immigration was strongly tributary to the economic situation. Hiring in case of boom, firing and repatriating in case of slump was the rule. The immigrated population was thus the first and main victim of the great depression of the 30' and the two World Wars. Italian Immigratian resumed after WWII but slowed down at the end of the 50' with vast industrialization programs in northern Italy and the final return of many immigrants. At the same time the Italians from Central and Southern Italy took over. At the same time started the era of family immigration of the foreign working force (free circulation instituted by the European Treaty of Rome).
Today it is no longer an exclusively male population, changing every season (as was typical of the first decennies of Italian immigration) that resides in Luxembourg, but well integrated families: 38% of them are born in Luxembourg and 37% reside in the country for aver 20 years. For a long time already their activity is no longer limited to iron industry and construction, but is more and more oriented towards the tertiary sector of economy.


Portugese immigration followed Italian immigration towards the end of the 60'. Different reasons should be mentioned: the strong demographic downward trend coupled with a booming economy yearning for manpower that was locally missing. The native population preferred jobs with higher qualification and wages rates in the services sector to menial and irksome jobs (a reason which was already true for Italian immigration). The fact of having lived for half a century under a dictatorial régime, the bad economic situation of small farmes and the lure of the industrial European countries explain why nowadays 3 millions Portugese live abroad. Portugese emigration at its beginning was often clandestine and directed towards France. Luxembourg laws on immigrant family reunion, an agreement with Portugal regarding labor-force signed in Lisbon 20 mai 1970, the law of 1972 on alien entry and residence tried to handle this situation, whereas at a first stage the social and administrative structures of Luxembourg were hardly prepared for these fast and massive arrival, yet desperatly needed by the local economy. Whereas a vast majority of Portugese came from the North-East of Portugal, others came from the districts (concelhos) of Figueira da Foz, Coimbra, Braga and Lisboa. Whereas the Italians had concentrated in the mining districts and the capital, the Portugese are disseminated all over the country with a predilection for ancient and modern economic cores: the greater Luxembourg City area, the Alzette valley and the mining district. Records of concentration are to be found tin the towns of Larochette (672 =41,8%) and Luxembourg (13900 = 17,84%). The vast majority is occupied in construction and public works, they can also be found in the restaurant and catering trade and in the services. On a national level, there are now 51500 Portugese, which represent 12,47% of the population.

Today's situation
Nowadays Luxembourg holds the highest percentage of foreign residents of all the countries of the European Union. The city of Luxembourg counts 53% of non-Luxembourgers, divided up in 118 different nationalities. As siege of a certain number of European institutions, the capital is the residence place for many European officials working there. Its vocation as international banking center has attracted many foreign banks and a qualified working force, which is the reason that the proportion of alien residents has never been higher than today. It is astonishing that this massive presence has not given rise to major conflicts or xenophobia. Some pretend that this is due to the fact to the lack of contact between native and alien population: little contact, little problems!
On the other hand it has to be admitted that the foreigners in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg form a relatively homogenous group and not too different culturally from the Grand Ducals. In the capital 90% of the foreigners are of european stock whereof three quartes are of Latin origin, using French as vehicular language, a foreign language also used by the natives.
We do not want to ignore existing insertion problems, very manifest for instance, in the domain of schooling, but one has to remain realistic. The melting-pot is not for tomorrow, insertition is not a short-term but a medium- and long-term process, which does not appear in the first but the second generation.
If Luxembourgers are proud that some descendants of their emigrated compatriots in the United states still speak their native tongue after 100 or even more years, they must well recognize the same right to the foreigners present on their territory. We are bound to recognize that the presence of foreigners is a constant in the demographic history of Luxembourg. The saying that finally we are all foreigners is particularly true for tiny Luxembourg: you drive for maximum twenty minutes in any direction before crossing a border and thus become a foreigner!