Luxembourg's quality of life ranks consistently highly among the world's most popular expat destinations. With a government that looks after its residents and values wellbeing, Luxembourg has an extraordinary number of pros that could convince any uncertain expat to make the move to this small, landlocked European country.
That said, as with any country, there are downsides to life in Luxembourg too. We’ve put together a list of pros and cons so expats can come prepared for both the perks and the drawbacks of life in the country.
Accommodation in Luxembourg
+ Pro: Expats face no restrictions when buying homes in Luxembourg
While renting is the better option for those not planning to stick around for the long term, those moving to Luxembourg permanently should certainly consider buying property in the country. They will face no restrictions when doing so, and purchasable homes are also much more ubiquitous and varied than rentals.
- Con: The number of rentals available are limited
Luxembourg is a country with a large foreign population who prefer to rent rather than buy accommodation. Sadly, the demand for rentals exceeds the supply, and the vast majority of available properties in the country are for purchase only. Those wanting to rent in Luxembourg are generally limited to apartments in the country’s urban centres, which they will have to apply for quickly to secure.
- Con: Rentals are extremely expensive
On top of it being difficult to find accommodation in the first place, renting is extremely expensive in Luxembourg. In the long term, buying property is much cheaper, but this is not an option for those only staying for a short time. For this reason, many expats decide to rent property more cheaply in a neighbouring country and commute into Luxembourg.
Transport in Luxembourg
+ Pro: Expats can easily travel to neighbouring countries
Luxembourg has a dense and efficient transport system that covers the entire country and extends into neighbouring France, Belgium and Germany. Expats will be able to hop on a bus or train and cross Luxembourg’s border for a weekend or day trip, or for commuting. Cross-border trains and buses run regularly and tickets are cheap.
+ Pro: Public transport is free
Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make public transport free for all, including both residents and tourists. Tickets will only need to be purchased when travelling first class or across one of the country’s borders. This includes all trains, buses and Luxembourg City’s tram line.
- Con: Luxembourg has only one airport
Fortunately, Luxembourg is quite compact, and therefore well served by its single airport, but the Findel airport also travels to a very limited number of destinations. This list is expanding but it currently only covers Europe, four north African countries, and the UAE.
Lifestyle and culture in Luxembourg
+ Pro: Stunning landscapes to explore
With mountains, deep valleys and grassy plains, Luxembourg’s rural countryside is well worth exploring. While the urban centres are also picturesque, its beautiful rural scenery and landscapes can be discovered just minutes from the country's cities.
+ Pro: Luxembourg is safe
Luxembourg is both economically and politically stable, and crime rates are low. Opportunistic thieving does occur, but not nearly as regularly as in other European countries. Expats will therefore feel safe and secure in Luxembourg, although general awareness of their surroundings is still recommended.
- Con: The language barrier
Luxembourg has three official languages, namely Luxembourgish, French and German. The locals will generally speak all three languages well, if not fluently. Luxembourgers are a proud nation and, although some locals may also speak English, they will not always be willing to assist foreigners who don’t attempt to communicate to them in a local language. Even the smallest effort is appreciated, but those who move without any knowledge of either French, German or Luxembourgish may struggle initially.
- Con: Making friends with locals can be tricky
Luxembourgers are generally quite private people. This cultural nuance may be difficult for expats to navigate at first, as they may find locals to be reserved and not always willing to share personal information. It worth studying some of the country's social norms before moving.
Working in Luxembourg
+ Pro: Good work-life balance
Expats moving to Luxembourg for work will benefit greatly from the country’s strict labour laws. They protect workers and ensure they enjoy a good work-life balance. Full-time employees work eight hours a day, five days a week. Any overtime is generally paid, but employees are legally not allowed to work more than 48 hours a week. They are also entitled to a minimum of 25 days of leave a year, excluding the 10 annual public holidays.
- Con: It’s difficult to get a job as a foreigner
With a low unemployment rate and a highly-skilled population, expats will discover that skills shortages are not common in Luxembourg. Expats can only be employed if there are no suitable candidates registered with the Agency for the Development of Employment (ADEM) to fill the position. Due to this, it can be difficult for expats to find a job in Luxembourg. That said, it’s not impossible and those with the right credentials may find vacancies in a number of fields.
Cost of living in Luxembourg
- Con: Luxembourg is relatively expensive
Luxembourg is a rather expensive country. While cheaper than some other Western European destinations, expats should not underestimate how costly life in the country can be. For one, accommodation comes at a hefty price and food, whether shopping for groceries or eating out, is also pricey. That said, one way expats will save money is by using the free transport system to get around.
+ Pro: Generally high salaries
High salaries tend to offset the high cost of living in Luxembourg. Although a luxurious life may be out of reach for some expats, they will definitely be able to live comfortably in the country on a local salary.
Schools in Luxembourg
+ Pro: The education system is excellent
Luxembourg boasts an outstanding education system. Children will be able to choose between a traditional or vocational route from the age of 11 and, by the time they reach the end of their schooling, they will be well set up to go on to university or college or to start working.
- Con: The language barrier in schools
Language teaching is at the heart of the education system in Luxembourg, and by the time school is complete, all children in Luxembourg will be able to speak all three local languages well if not fluently. Expats moving to Luxembourg with no prior knowledge of any local languages will therefore have quite a big obstacle to overcome if they wish to attend a local school.
That said, there are courses and classes expats can attend that will help with the transition. Alternatively, there are private English-medium schools in Luxembourg, some of which are government subsidised. International schools are also an option, although these charge high fees.
Healthcare in Luxembourg
+ Pro: Luxembourg has a high standard of healthcare
Luxembourg is home to one of the best state-sponsored healthcare systems in Europe, which is available for free or at subsidised rates to all legal residents. Compulsory contributions to the healthcare system will be taken from an expat's salary each month, and this system will pay for around 84 percent of all treatments included in state coverage. Expats will also be able to choose their doctor, specialist and hospital, and emergency care is given for free at all large state hospitals.