This year, I decided to visit the Luxembourg Christmas markets with my girlfriend to see how they compared to the Edinburgh Christmas Market. We then continued on through Germany to see where Christmas markets originated from. Here are my observations on how the markets compare.
First of all, I should explain where Luxembourg is, as I had no idea myself when I left the USA. This small country is located in western Europe between France, Belgium and Germany. Their language and culture are largely influenced by Germany and France, and this is definitely evident in their Christmas markets.
The capital and largest city of Luxembourg is Luxembourg City (also just called Luxembourg), which has three main Christmas markets. The country only has about 600,000 people. Some other cities and towns in the country have small Christmas markets, yet most citizens go to the markets in the capital. So do the 200,000 workers in the country who live in surrounding countries but commute to Luxembourg every day to take advantage of the better wages and taxes.
Three Christmas Markets in Luxembourg City
There are three markets in the center of Luxembourg City, all within a few minutes of each other. The main Christmas market is in Place d’Armes, the parade square in the center of the old town. This market has a band stage for nightly performances.
A couple streets away is the Kneudler Square Christmas Market in front of the City Hall. This market is just selling food and drinks, and it’s also where you’ll find the traditional ice skating.
Finally, there’s the Constitution Square Christmas Market on the cliff that used to have the fortress of Luxembourg. This one is the biggest and also had a bunch of rides and activities for the kids.
As permanent travelers, we weren’t really shopping for souvenirs or trinkets. We could have perhaps purchased one of the cute hats, but one thing we discovered is that Luxembourg is really, really expensive. As such, we ended up just getting food at the Christmas markets, which turned out to be cheaper than anything else in town. We went through several of the options, such as bratwurst (typical German sausage), mettwurst (a sausage with more flavor of southern Germany and Luxembourg), bacon-wrapped sausages, gromperekichelcher (Luxembourgish potato pancakes), and churros.
Neither Laura or I drink a lot of alcohol, so we didn’t sample any the winter drinks of the Christmas markets. Glühwein (German mulled wine) is the most popular. Beers, hot chocolate with rum, and champagne were other drinks available. To save money, we got our drinks at supermarkets.
Differences with German Christmas Markets
The first Christmas market in the world is attributed to Dresden, Germany back in 1434. They have since spread to many places in the world, but still have a very genuine feel in their home country. Laura and I visited several in Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin after leaving Luxembourg.
All of the Christmas markets we visited had several stalls for local crafts, clothing and confectionery. They were similar but still particular to each region. The food was also “same, same, but different,” as they say in Southeast Asia. While bratwurst was more popular in Germany (and currywurst in Berlin), mettwurst was the primary sausage in Luxembourg. The gromperekichelcher was slightly different from kartoffelpuffer, their German counterpart. In Germany, they were fluffier and made from scratch as we watched, while the Luxembourg variety was thicker (denser).
Overall, we loved both markets, but I think I preferred the German markets, if only slightly more. I’d still highly recommend visiting Luxembourg, especially during the holiday season. It’s a beautiful city with a lot of history, and I think we’ll have to go back someday in the summer to see more of it.