The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with its multicultural character offers expats from overseas in particular excellent opportunities to discover Europe as a whole – on the one hand through a large number of European inhabitants, organizations, companies and infrastructure in Luxembourg itself, and on the other with the nearness of other European metropolises and holiday regions. Paris, for example, can be reached by high-speed train in just over two hours. In Luxembourg, you are therefore not only geographically, but also culturally in the centre of Europe. The unique diversity of this small country represents its true greatness.
So it is hardly surprising that Luxembourg regularly occupies a high place on the popularity scale in current expatriate surveys. In addition to good values for personal security, political stability, high pay and low taxes, this is above all due to the great quality of life, which in turn includes factors such as high-quality housing, good schools and numerous cultural and leisure facilities. The medical care is also excellent, and the shopping facilities leave little to be desired.
For those of the 160 nationalities living in Luxembourg who might want to indulge their cravings for their home cuisine, there are numerous excellent restaurants in Luxembourg and the supermarkets stock many international products as well. You can find products from almost all of the European and many non-European countries. Don’t be surprised if you see large quantities of stockfish for sale in the entrance area; this is for the large amount of Portuguese who live in Luxembourg. Freshly slaughtered poultry or rabbits are also available.
It is said that Luxembourgish cuisine is as refined as French cuisine and as quantitative as German cuisine. Your plates will be well filled even in the best gourmet restaurants. The traditional cuisine is strongly influenced by the surrounding agriculture; local ingredients are used, and all parts of the animal are eaten in meat dishes. Local specialities include dishes with innards, blood sausages or also the traditionally eaten pig’s feet stuffed for Christmas. A lot of fish from the Moselle is also eaten; this is always served whole.
Courtesy dictates that these traditional dishes be eaten and praised. The Luxembourgers, very proud of their traditional food culture and local products, will quickly see a negative attitude as an affront, especially when it comes to private invitations.
Where to live?
Those who prefer having international people as neighbours in Luxembourg will be best off living in Luxembourg City. The capital is divided into 24 districts (quartiers), with the majority of inhabitants of Luxembourg nationality only in the Cents district. At 84 per cent, the station quarter has the highest proportion of foreigners. Luxembourg City is also closely linked to the suburbs and good transport links provide easy access from almost anywhere to the city centre with numerous restaurants and cultural offerings.
In addition, there are some smaller towns with pretty old towns in the green countryside, such as Esch-sur-Alzette in the west, which is more French in character, or Echternach and Ettelbruck, which have a more Luxembourgish-German feel. The north of Luxembourg tends to be the “most Luxembourgish” and thus the least internationally oriented.
In addition, of course, there is also the possibility of gaining a foothold in the German Trier, the French Arlon or in one of the other neighbouring cities in Germany, France or Belgium and to set off daily with the other cross border workers to work in Luxembourg. Please note, however, that the east-west connection between Germany, Luxembourg and France is the best.
Renting or buying a property is not easy, especially in Luxembourg City, as the demand is high and the supply at least in the city centre is rather scarce. Also, for this reason, it can be a good choice to switch to nearby towns or villages.
Luxembourg has a lot to offer and, due to its central location, is also attractive when it comes to possible leisure activities. For example, it is easy to visit the Belgian coast as well as to go skiing in the mountains, where many Luxembourgers spend their weekends. Walking is easy both in Luxembourg itself and in the neighbouring regions. And of course, all kinds of sports can be engaged in as well.
For small talk or enthusiastic spectators, however, it should be noted that Luxembourg does not play a role in the world history of sport. This is why people are interested in German or Italian football, but not in Luxembourgish football. All international sporting events are broadcast on television.
In general, Luxembourg broadcasts not only its local multilingual programs but also a large number of other channels from neighbouring countries. Satellite dishes and cable reception are also standard everywhere so that the range of English-language programs is also extensive.
Cinema films are also always shown in the original language with multilingual subtitles. Even the theatre program is multilingual. The works of the great German and French dramaturges are performed in their original language, often with subtitles projected onto the wall. English or Spanish performances are also not uncommon on local stages.
There are also many events in Luxembourg to bring the different cultures together. Folk festivals of various kinds are generally popular and always well attended. Special attractions are the eve of the national holiday on 23 June and the Schueberfouer, a large summer fair. There are also numerous wine festivals and old town festivals in Luxembourg City or in the surrounding areas. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town of Luxembourg in particular is a special setting for numerous events. And of course, the many castles and palaces in the country are not only exciting destinations for excursions but also venues for concerts, festivals and exhibitions.
All in all, in order to settle in as an expat in Luxembourg, you should actively engage with the country and its multicultural population. Anyone who shows genuine interest will be well received and will experience the openness and receptiveness of Luxembourg. This will ultimately lead to real acceptance on both sides. This includes becoming active oneself, getting involved and taking part in offers, even if one feels strange at first.