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Friday, 13 December 2013

Stamminee: Luxembourg's image

The forum of contemporary art, Casino Luxembourg, organises a sort of round table on various subjects which they call Stamminee.

Stamminee is a Luxembourgish word meaning 'table of regulars' (in a pub), and by extension the regulars themselves.

This month's Stamminee was on the subject of nation branding and on Luxembourg's image in particular.

The guests were people active in the art and culture scene, business promotion, nation branding, as well as civil servants from the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of the Economy.

I actually went to provide moral support to a friend of mine, one of the representatives of the business aspect of the subject. I had to smile when she said she was not the Antichrist when she introduced herself to a crowd mainly composed of people who believe that culture and business cannot work together.

Stamminee
my notes from the Stamminee

The main ideas that I found interesting during the exchange were:

The fact that Luxembourgish people are not proud of their culture and history, so how can they convey an image of Luxembourg other than that of a tax haven?

There is even a sense of shame for what Luxembourg is and a defensive stance ('We are not just a tax haven!'), instead of a more positive proposal to describe the country.

It is important to work on the country's image at home first, so it can improve abroad.

Questions like Who are we? and What do we want? must be answered before any efficient nation branding strategy can be developed.

On a more positive ending, it was noted that people who have been to Luxembourg usually like it, find the population friendly and leave with a very different impression of the country.