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Today, we’ll continue our international removals guide series with another European relocation destination – Luxembourg. One of the smallest countries in the world and a long-renowned financial haven for the rich, Luxembourg has become a permanent home to over 6000 economically active Brits.
So, if you:
Then this guide is for you!
We’ll cover a lot of ground by digging deep into the way of life and standard of living in the country, we’ll explore visa requirements and residency rights, and we’ll share heaps of essential and interesting facts, you may want to know about this European tiny state.
Luxembourg is situated in the heart of Europe, which makes it a perfect location, close to popular capital cities across the continent.
It is the second richest country in the world and the high salaries are an attractive reason for relocating. Landlocked between Belgium, France and Germany, Luxembourg also offers the opportunity for many locals and foreign nationals to work in the country but reside in a neighbouring state. This means that you can enjoy your impressive wage, earned in Luxembourg, but live in France or Belgium, where the cost of living is significantly cheaper.
Luxembourg dates back to 10th century, in terms of first mentions, and the traces of its medieval history can be seen everywhere in architecture. The country homes over hundred castles and manor houses, which can be a magnet for history fans. The capital city – the homonymous Luxembourg – attracts all new visitors and would-be expats with its numerous casemates, fortifications and bastions. And this is to no surprise, as the name means a small fortress (deriving from Lucilinburhuc). The city’s must-see strongholds, the Archeological Crypt and various other casemates have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites for a good reason.
For the outdoors lovers, the country has a lot to offer, too. Enchanting landscapes, nature reserves and parks, lakes and rivers, popular hiking routes and biking trails will surely get you out in no time, in rain or shine. Nicknamed Little Switzerland, the craggy landscapes of Mullerthal region in the East of the country, full of valleys, gorges and waterfalls, are simply mesmerising. In the capital, you can indulge in a boat tour of the picturesque Alzette river, which flows through the city.
Did you know that almost half of the population in Luxembourg are foreign nationals? So, you’ll definitely feel welcome among mainly European expats. And as for communication, English is widely spoken. It’s the 4th most spoken language after Luxembourgish (yes, it does exist), French and German. A “home” to important European Union’s institutions as well as many international, predominantly financial companies, you’ll discover that their culturally-diverse employees from all over the world form a substantial percentage of this tiny nation.
Beer, wine and food
Luxembourg boasts a long tradition in brewing highly sought craft beers and producing a lot of white and sparkling wine, considering how small the country is. And as for food, the capital city has the most Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world, so you can count on fine dining whenever you feel like going out for a meal. The country has welcomed only a few popular food chains in comparison to other European states. This means that you’ll have a chance to taste unique Luxembourgish dishes, as well as sample a mix of different cultures and flavours, be it in a quaint family bistro or in an exquisite gourmet restaurant.
depositphotos / By Violin
British people can move freely within the EU, so you don’t require a visa to go to Luxembourg. If you are planning to stay long term, however, you’ll have to make a declaration of arrival within 8 days by visiting the local Municipal Office and filling the relevant forms. Then, you’ll have to obtain a Registration Certificate, from the same office, within 90 days of your arrival in the country.
Brits and all EU-nationals don’t require a work permit to work or to become self-employed, either. Note that some jobs may have a requirement for a thorough UK criminal records check.
With regards to Brexit and British citizens’ rights, the last year’s reciprocal agreement between the UK government and the EU commission guarantees the same rights for UK citizens in Luxembourg as those for Luxembourgers and other EU-nationals living in the UK.
For non-EU nationals migrating from Britain to Luxembourg, be it to live, study, work, join a family member or start a business, getting a residence permit is required.
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Life in Luxembourg is far from fast-paced. So, if you’re looking for the cosmopolitan feel and busy lifestyle in London, for instance, or in any other European capital, for that matter, the city of Luxembourg is not on the same page, for sure. The place is rather family-oriented, so you’ll find that night life is uneventful, even on weekends. Many working 20-30 years old with no family engagements will seek entertainment elsewhere and venture out of the country, say to a club in Paris on a Friday night, which is only an hour away on a plane.
We mentioned earlier the head-spinning mix of languages, you’ll be hearing everywhere you go. Get used to it and try to learn basic phrases in German, French, Luxembourgish, Italian and Portuguese. The latter is spoken, of course, by the largest minority in this tiny state, which comprises 16% of the population.
The “truly” locals (around 300 000 people) can be equally friendly and somewhat reserved. On that note, don’t rush to call them by their first name as soon as you’ve been introduced to a Luxembourger but remember to “mumble out” a polite Monsieur or Madame before their surname.
Weather wise, Luxembourg doesn’ differ much from Britain, so there’s no need for some major adjusting on this front. With over 190 days of rain, you’ll find yourself chirpy and excited at the glimpse of blue skies after a string of overcast days for weeks.
Transportation is well-organised, with trains and buses running regularly and on time. Still, you’ll often find that you’re better off walking to your destination in a said town as traffic can become heavy at times. As for driving your own car, expect headaches when trying to find a convenient parking spot, especially in the capital. You’ll need to learn the locations of specially built underground car parks and prepare to still walk from there to wherever you’re going.
We’ll come to this in the following section but your enviably high income (if you intend to work) will come at a price. Forget about shopping on a budget or finding cheap or discounted everyday items. The cost of living in Luxembourg is high, so ensure that you have sufficient financial resources to live on if you don’t want to get shocked by the price tag of things.
depositphotos / By birthofthequeen
The standard of living in Luxembourg is high, as we’ve already said, and moving there unprepared may prove one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made. Read on and learn about what it will cost you to rent, stay warm and eat in this country on average.
Monthly rental fees vary from one location to another, with certain neighbourhoods in the capital competing with prices in London. For instance, in Grund (located very near the centre), expect to pay on average about €2,600 per month, whereas Gasperich (a booming neighbourhood in the South, which is under continuous construction) offers accommodation for €1,650 per month.
Note that rental listings are far too limited for the growing demand, generated by international businesses relocating to the Grand Duchy and the boom of immigrants in recent years.
Naturally, after a temporary period of renting, you’ll be probably looking to buy into the property market. With the expansion of the financial economic sector, the property prices have been also steadily on the rise. On average, across the country, you’ll be paying approximately €630 000 for a family house. For an apartment, prepare to dish out between €390,000 and €510,000.
Your best deal if you want to save hard-earned cash on your monthly grocery shopping is to go a couple of times per month to a supermarket in Germany, France or Belgium. The city of Luxembourg is located at an equal distance (between 35 min and 50 min drive away) from towns in the three states. If you reside in a different region in the Duchy, then you can venture to the country that’s nearest to your location.
Just as an example, a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant in Luxembourg will cost you about €70. A small can of coke is €2,60 and a local boutique beer from one of the many microbreweries in the country comes with a price tag of €5,00. A small bottle of mineral water seems shockingly pricey – €2,30. But, hey, you’ll find that ciggies are well cheap if you’re moving from the UK. You’ll have to budget only €5,40 for a pack, which is nearly half of the price, you’ve been paying in Britain (if you smoke).
Your outgoings on utility bills will start from around €230 per month. This includes water, gas, heating, electricity and waste disposal (calculations are based on living in a mid-sized apartment). In the capital city, the main energy and water service provider is Luxembourg Energy Office. You’ll be getting your bills 6 times a year and they’ll be calculated as an estimate, based on your average consumption for one year. Your meter will be read annually when the balance of the account is adjusted retrospectively.
Other monthly service costs that you may need to consider are:
Let’s face it. Even if you’re planning to live in Luxembourg permanently, if you’ve never been there before, you’ll feel like every other tourist for at least a year with so many interesting things to see, do and visit. You can explore the Valley of the Seven Castles in Guttland region or go underground through the network of tunnels in the capital city – the only pretty much intact remnants of the stronghold below the partially destroyed Bock Casemates. The subterranean complex of pathways is 14 miles long and reaches a depth of 40 metres.
Luxembourg city is also a centre for the arts. You can visit several museums, enjoy a concert at the philharmony and see regularly theatre plays, dance shows, operas and musicals at several theatres around the capital.
The Grand Duchy also has many worth-visiting market towns, Nature reserves and beautiful lakes. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor sport activities – from rock climbing, hiking, skiing, cycling to practising water sports in rivers and lakes, such as diving, rafting and boat touring. For instance the submerged village of Liefrange is a scenic diving site, which attracts hundreds of divers from other neighbouring European countries every year.
Luxembourg is also an ideal starting point to go on an exciting city break around Europe over the weekend. The only international airport operates regular flights to many major capital cities across the continent. Or if you’re not an enthusiastic flyer, you can catch a train or travel by car.
You can also participate in various special events in different regions around the country and in the capital, be it a festival, a trade show or a sports event. Just check out the annual calendar of highlights and fun things to do and take your pick according to your preferences.
There are a few thousand UK-nationals living in Luxembourg, distributed across various regions and in the capital. And even if you settle where no one else speaks English as a mother tongue, you can still connect to many Brits and other English-speaking folks by joining various communities online.
The British Ladies Club, American Women’s Club or several international expat platforms, where Brits share advice and experiences about their new country of residence, including Luxembourg, are just an example.
BRILL is also an excellent resource for British people who live in or are about to move to Luxembourg. The community places its focus on the legal rights of expats after Brexit and offers general information about life in the Grand Duchy, as well as advice on voting and obtaining citizenship.
Let’s now move on to some important essential facts that you should consider before relocating to Luxembourg, such as planning your means of earning a living, learning about the state’s healthcare and tax systems, or finding the right school if you’re moving there with your kids.
If Luxembourg has been a major standalone player and leader in the global iron and steel production industry niche for nearly 200 years, now the Duchy is a country of service economy and boasts a dynamic job market in various service sectors (finance, banking, business administration and EU institutions). The unemployment rate is well below average when compared to other EU states. So, if your relocation is not tied to your current job, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get employment with one of the many international private companies or within the network of EU institutions, depending on your qualifications, experience and of course, your language skills. If you lack some of those and you don’t fit in with the employment market but for some personal reasons you’re moving to live in Luxembourg, you can always try to find a job placement in a neighbouring state and commute, look for an English speaking online job or come up with an idea to start making a living as a self-employed.
Before you set out on your trip to Luxembourg, ensure that you obtain your free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), which is usually sufficient as a short-term medical treatment coverage. However, if you plan to exceed your 90-days stay in the country, you should join the state’s National Health System by registering with the social security authorities and paying your contributions. Your employer can also do this on your behalf. You’ll have the same right to receive state-provided healthcare as anyone else living in Luxembourg, once you get your social security card.
In addition, you can purchase a supplemental health insurance cover, which will provide you with additional benefits, such as getting a private room during a hospital stay as an inpatient.
Unlike many other European countries, basic dental care is covered by the Duchy’s National Health System. Dentists are registered with the public insurance authorities and although you need to pay them directly for your treatment, subsequently you can file for a reimbursement.
Paying your income taxes in Luxembourg if you’re employed is straightforward, as they’ll be deducted directly from your salary, along with your social security contribution. There are no flat rates, so what you’ll be paying will depend on the annual income bracket you fall into. Ordinary families can benefit from various tax credits and allowances, depending on their particular situation and income.
After the change in the tax secrecy regime in the country in January 2018, Luxembourg is no longer a tax evasion haven for the upper-class and rich of Europe. The agreed automatic exchange of tax information between EU states and Luxembourg, however, has not had the predicted destabilising effect on the financial industry sector (representing a ¼ of the economy in the country).
If you have children and you’re locating to Luxembourg, you should know that the country is family-friendly with great social security perks in place. For instance, if both parents are working and the child is sick, you can be provided with a babysitter if you’re registered with the specially created public service, called Krank Kanner Doheem. The fee is based on your family income.
Schooling in Luxembourg is organised in three levels – primary, fundamental (up to the age of 12) and secondary (“classic”, which prepares the child for university, or technical, which offers a vocational focus, so kids can get straight into some sort of employment).
Children in Luxembourg are taught in all three official languages – Luxembourgish, French and German – during different years in school. So, you’re looking at raising a young poliglot, especially if other languages are spoken within your family. There are, of course, many international, American or European private schools, where subjects are taught in English or French, as well. Annual tuition fees vary, depending on the type of school and the level and age group it covers. Also, fees differ, based on the type of job the parents have (ex. they are EU institutions’ employees). Often, the kid’s education is subsidised or fully covered by the private company, which the parents work for, etc.
For foreign kids who have already entered school age and have just moved to Luxembourg, there is a helpful service, provided by the Ministry of Education, called CASNA. It offers assistance that emphasises on the integration of newly arrived pupils, especially if they have no understanding of any of the country’s official languages.
Various sports activities are covered within the school or by private sports clubs, so you can enrol your child and take advantage of the childcare element if you are working late and cannot collect your kid at 3pm when school finishes on most days.
On weekends and during school holidays, there’s plenty of fun activities and entertainment opportunities that you can treat your children to. The Grand Duchy has numerous outdoor and indoor amusement parks and centres, zoos, kids museums and playgrounds. And of course, you can just venture out in Nature and have a picnic or a short hike to one of the many natural sites worth seeing and experiencing.
depositphotos / By anyaberkut
There are no special requirements or conditions for British expats to drive legally in Luxembourg like in any other EU country. You can use your British licence until expires and then, renew it at the driving licence department of the National Society for Automobile Traffic. EU driving licences, issued in another country, are best registered with the Luxembourg relevant authorities, so in the case of loss or theft, it will be replaced with a Luxembourgish one much faster.
Non-EU-nationals are required to renew their driving licence and get a standard EU licence after one year if they intend to stay in the country for longer.
The speed limit in a built-up area is 50 km per hour. The drink driving limit is no different than in the UK. Also, avoid driving without winter tyres when winter conditions set in.
In Luxembourg, there’s no motorway toll payment system in place. This could have been another expense to consider if you are a frequent traveller or a commuter. Unleaded gasoline costs around €1,27 per litre, whereas diesel, will cost you about €1,13 per litre.
Note that if you wish to import your own car from the UK, you may find it a struggle to park if it’s on the large size. Parking spaces are limited, traffic jams are also a frequent affair, so consider driving a nippy and small vehicle to avoid unnecessary stress on the road, especially if you intend to reside in the capital city.
We’ve already mentioned some pretty interesting facts about this tiny country throughout our post but let’s test your general knowledge and list a few more.
There you have it – our all in one guide to moving to Luxembourg – a country of many cultures, beautiful nature and interesting history. As the Grand Duchy has always welcomed foreign nationals, you’ll probably find the transition from life in Britain to living in this small country on the main continent not too hard. And let’s not forget that you’re a stone’s throw away from Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Just prepare and plan your move well by researching, first, every aspect of the many ‘what ifs’, ‘wheres’ and ‘hows’ that will inevitably keep popping up even when you’re all packed up and ready to go. Also, polish on your French or German and learn a few Luxembourgish words, as well.
Did you read the whole article? That’s grand! We hope it provided you with helpful information that you can share with others who might find it useful, too. And if you ever need professional removals assistance, you can get in touch with Fantastic Services through this website anytime.
Did you find our guide on moving to Luxembourg helpful? Are you living in Luxembourg and have some tips? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comments below?
Image header source: Deposit Photos / Author: gevision