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Business Hours -- Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to noon and 1 to 4:30pm. Stores generally are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and many open on Sunday for shorter hours.

Drinking & Drug Laws -- Luxembourg has rigid prohibitions against the possession and use of controlled narcotic drugs, and a strict enforcement policy that virtually guarantees stiff fines and/or jail sentences for offenders. The minimum age for drinking in bars is 16; there is no minimum age for legally purchasing beer, wine, and hard liquor but stores might be reluctant to sell to children much under 16 years.

Electricity -- Like in most of Europe, Luxembourg uses 230 (220-240) volts AC (50 cycles), compared to 110 to 120 volts AC (60 cycles) in the United States and Canada. Converters that change 110-120 volts to 220-240 volts are difficult to find in Belgium, so bring one with you.

Bring a connection kit of the right power and phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable -- or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests.

Embassies -- These are all in Luxembourg City. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand do not have embassies in Luxembourg. U.S.: bd. Emmanuel-Servais 22 (tel. 46-01-23; http://luxembourg.usembassy.gov). U.K.: bd. Joseph II 5 (tel. 22-98-64; www.britishembassy.gov.uk). Ireland: route d'Arlon 28 (tel. 45-06-10).

Emergencies -- For police assistance, call tel. 113. For an ambulance or the fire department, call tel. 112.

Gasoline (Petrol) -- A gas (petrol) station is a station-service in French. Gasoline in Luxembourg is lead-free and sold in two varieties: eurosuper 95 or eurosuper 98 (for its octane number). Diesel is sold in all stations; LPG (liquid petroleum gas), is sold in many. Taxes are already included in the printed price. One U.S. gallon equals 3.8 liters, and 1 imperial gallon equals 4.4 liters.

Language -- The national language, Lëtzebuergesch, has a vaguely German base with overtones of French, yet is distinct from both of those languages. For anyone who isn't a native, forget it -- it's a tongue twister. Not to worry; while the language is widely used among Luxembourgers, and although French is most often used in official and cultural activities and German is heard frequently, virtually everyone speaks English. In other words, you'll encounter few, if any, language difficulties in the Grand Duchy.

Lost & Found -- Be sure to tell all of your credit card companies the minute you discover your wallet has been lost or stolen and file a report at the nearest police precinct. Your credit card company or insurer may require a police report number or record of the loss. Most credit card companies have an emergency toll-free number to call if your card is lost or stolen; they may be able to wire you a cash advance immediately or deliver an emergency credit card in a day or two. The American Express emergency number for Luxembourg is in Belgium at tel. 31-2/676-21-21. For Diners Club, call tel. 32-2/626-50-04, also in Belgium. MasterCard holders should call tel. 800/24-533. Visa's emergency number is tel. 0800/2012.

If you need emergency cash over the weekend when all banks in Luxembourg are closed, you can have money wired to you via Western Union (tel. 1-800/325-6000 in the U.S.; www.westernunion.com).

Mail -- Most offices of P&T Luxembourg are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Postage for a postcard or an ordinary letter up to 20 grams (.7 oz.) to the U.K., Ireland, and other European countries is 0.70€ ($1.10); to the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the world, it's 0.90€ ($1.45).

Newspapers & Magazines -- The main British and Irish daily newspapers, and the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal Europe, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Business Week, Fortune, The Economist, and more are available from news vendors at major railway stations, and from other outlets in Luxembourg City.

Pharmacies -- A pharmacy is called a pharmacie in French. Regular pharmacy hours are Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm (some close earlier on Sat). Each pharmacy has a list of after-hours pharmacies posted on its door.

Police -- For emergency police assistance, call tel. 113.

Smoking -- Smoking is officially forbidden in most restaurants and bars. Exceptions are small bars and small restaurants serving light meals, except between noon and 2pm and 7 and 9pm. Buses are smoke-free.

Taxes -- On top of a 16% service charge, there's a value-added tax (TVA) of 6% or 15% on most goods and services (for a few categories the rates are 3% or 12%). If you spend over 74€ ($118) in some stores and you are not a resident of the European Union, you can recover it by having the official receipt stamped by Luxembourg Customs on departure and returning the stamped receipt to the store. Your refund should arrive by check or be credited to your credit card within a few weeks. Not all stores participate in this scheme so it pays to ask first, particularly for major purchases.

Time -- Luxembourg is on Western European Time (WET), which is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), plus 1 hour. Clocks are moved ahead 1 hour for daylight-saving Western European Summer Time (WEST) between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October. For example, when it's 6pm in Luxembourg City, it's 9am in Los Angeles (PST), 7am in Honolulu (HST), 10am in Denver (MST), 11am in Chicago (CST), noon in New York City (EST), 5pm in London (GMT), and 2am the next day in Sydney.

Tipping -- Restaurants and hotels will almost always include a 16% service charge on the bill. If you've had exceptional service, you may want to add a little more; it isn't necessary but it is common to do so.

Toilets -- Restrooms often display an H or HOMMES for men, and an F or FEMMES for women (or a graphic that should leave no doubt either way). Be sure to pay the person who sits at the entrance to a toilette. He or she has a saucer where you put your money, usually around 0.40€ (65¢).

Water -- You need have no concerns about Luxembourg's water -- it's clear, pure, and safe.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.