Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Report of what it's like to live there - 10/13/09
Personal Experiences from Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
2. How long have you lived here?
3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
Around 9 hours from East Coast. No direct flights, must fly to Frankfurt, Brussels, and or Amsterdam and then fly to Luxembourg's airport; Findel
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Government, affiliated with the U.S. Embassy.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Mostly apartments. Houses outside the city for families
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Very, very expensive.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Toiletries as well as cleaning supplies, as Luxembourg is a monoploy or a one-horse town. So there is not much in the way of free-market competition. Luxembourgers like to keep out any company that threatens their monopolies.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
McD's and a few Subway's, as well as two Pizza Hut's and one Chi-Chi's Mexican (though it sucks). Restaurants are very pricey, the and food isn't that great. The local dishes don't excite the palate -- if you know what I mean.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
APO or Pouch at the embassy. I use DHL even though FedEx is available.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Forget it unless you are a well-paid expat
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes, but they are not cheap.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Not an issue. But the dollar is in the tank now, so you'll love seeing your bank statements after withdrawing Euros.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Yes, for Protestant as well as Catholic services.
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
IHT is available locally.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
French is a must.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Not many though some businesses do not have ramps.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Yes, taxis are expensive, but buses are reasonable, as well as trains on the weekend. Trains are a great way to see the country on the weekends.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Any will work, but European models are easier to get repaired and are cheaper to buy.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
ADSL with local phone company, which is another monopoly, so it isn't cheap and it's not unlimited as in US.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Use pre-paid phone cards unless you know you'll be here long enough for a phone plan. iPhone is available with a LuxGSM plan.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Only one kennel in the country, and vets are never in the office. Take turns watching coworkers' pets, that works best.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
No, ISL only hires from the government unemployment office. So forget sending them a resume, as they prefer to hire unemployed locals or expats with no skills. Luxembourg's government pays a large portion of their first year's salary. So I guess it's better to sign-up with the Luxembourg unemployment office to get a job in this town. Unless you can get one with your spouse's company.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
Good. Allergies do affect many people in Spring
2. What immunizations are required each year?
A boredom shot is required.
3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
None, though crime is under-reported... as in all European countries.
4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
OK, but it's European national health care, so don't be too sick.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Normal Western European climate. Not as wet as more coastal capitals. Like Brussels or The Hague.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
International School of Luxembourg (ISL) has a US-based program, and St. George's is UK-based. Good Luck getting into ISL unless your company is a big contributer to ISL, i.e old fashioned bribery... I mean donation.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Local Luxembourg creches or ISL or St. George's pre-school programs.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
At the schools.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
Embassy morale is going into the tank. Local expats are probably okay, as they have nice jobs.
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Boring. Movies and nightclubs.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Boring for All. This town rolls up the sidewalks at sunset.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
No problems that I know of even though it is a more conservative European country.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Not that I've heard of so far.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
See the country. Great Sunday drives outside of the city. A lot of WWII history.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Villeroy and Bach. Visit neighboring countries, i.e France, and Germany.
9. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No. Big mistake. If you see this post on the bid list, pass right by it and don't look back.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
7. Do you have any other comments?
Avoid Embassy Luxembourg for next three years. It's going down hill faster then an SUV with no brakes.