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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Historical developments
  2. National definition or understanding of Youth Work

Historical developments

The historical origins of youth work in Luxembourg go back to the beginning of the 20th century when youth movements evolved. At that time, youth movements were strongly related to the church, and youth work was mainly provided by people doing voluntary work for young people. Over time, youth work in Luxembourg has moved from a political role to a more educational and social work role, due to the professionalisation of and growing public support for youth organisations.

The foundation of the National Youth Council in 1960 and the National Youth Service in 1964 were important milestones in the context of this professionalisation of youth work in Luxembourg (Schroeder, 2014).

At that time, youth organisations were not enthusiastic about the idea of a government youth work office. In the 1990s even, the leaders of the National Youth Council still demanded the dissolution of the National Youth Service and the reallocation of the support directly to youth organisations. Because of the ongoing professionalisation, the field of youth work has separated into two branches: the youth organisations with their volunteering members and the professional youth work (which is mainly offered by youth centres on the regional or local level, commonly known as open youth work) (Schroeder, 2014).

During the 1990s, the professionalisation of youth work progressed further. The creation of a ministry for youth and the introduction of the occupation of child and youth care educators consisting of individuals who work in this field contributed to this development. The designated salaries of the various occupations in this field were defined in a collective agreement between trade unions and social work employers. Furthermore, this agreement allowed for numerous opportunities for mobility within the field of social work.

After the 1999 elections, youth policy and youth work were integrated into the Ministry of Family. This Ministry was a 'generational' Ministry, which was responsible for policies pertaining to children, young people, elderly people and disabled people. Youth work policy had thus moved closer than ever to social work policy, but was yet still seen as being situated between education, social security and employment policies.

After the 2013 elections, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth became responsible for youth and children's policy and the educational and employment agenda of youth work gained importance. With the adoption of a law in 2017 by which a framework of non-formal education for open youth work (règlement grand-ducal du 28 juillet 2017 portant établissement du cadre de référence national 'Éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes') was introduced, quality assurance and a systematic monitoring of youth work was established.

National definition or understanding of Youth Work

There exists no official definition of youth work in Luxembourg. According to Schroeder (2014), youth work includes professional youth work provided mainly by youth workers in youth centres and voluntary youth work provided mainly by youth organisations. This means that youth work is delivered by paid as well as unpaid and volunteer youth workers. Generally, youth work is based on non-formal and informal learning processes focused on young people and on voluntary participation.

The main objectives of youth work in Luxembourg include (Schroeder, 2014): (1) Promotion of social integration of young people, (2) Organisation of leisure activities, (3) Promotion of the political participation in a democratic society.

The 1999 grand-ducal regulation (règlement grand-ducal du 28 janvier 1999 concernant l'agrément gouvernemental à accorder aux gestionnaires de services pour jeunes) defines the objectives of youth services (and open youth work as a part of youth services) more specifically. These objectives are defined as follows:

  • Contributing to the development of young people in order to enable them to become aware of their abilities and to develop them, to experiment, to express themselves and to develop a critical, active and responsible citizenship
  • Participating in the prevention, social and professional integration and integration at local and regional level
  • Encouraging users to organise themselves in groups, by promoting attitudes of self-confidence and solidarity and by fostering the integration of individual problems in a collective momentum
  • Participating in the development of a socio-collective democratisation policy by providing tools for participation by focusing particular attention on social groups with less favourable economic, social and cultural conditions
  • Ensuring, through various measures, young people's active participation in the design, implementation, management and evaluation of actions. These measures promote young people's involvement and work to implement projects on socio-cultural development at local or regional level.