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Moving to Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a small landlocked country in north-western Europe between France, Belgium and Germany. It’s known for its cosmopolitan cities and excellent quality of life. Due to its large foreign population, the country is a melting pot of cultures and expats should feel right at home whether living in the bustling urban centres or gorgeous rural countryside.   

Living in Luxembourg as an expat

While the entirety of Luxembourg is picturesque and provides its residents with a rich life, the majority of expats live in and around the capital. With a large foreign population, the city has a rather international feel to it and, as the economic centre of the country, it is also where the vast majority of jobs are based.

The main industries in Luxembourg are banking, steel, IT, tourism and agriculture. The financial and IT fields especially are in high demand, and expats with skills in these fields are at an advantage when it comes to looking for work in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg is home to one of the best state-sponsored healthcare systems in Europe. Healthcare of the highest quality is available for free or at subsidised rates to all legal residents, who pay compulsory health insurance each month. Private healthcare is also an option.

In 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make all public transport, including buses, trains and trams, free of charge. On top of it being free, expats can expect all networks to be quick, reliable and clean. Only those crossing the border or travelling in first class will need to purchase a ticket to use any form of transport in the country.

Cost of living in Luxembourg

Luxembourg's cost of living is relatively high. That said, the capital city is certainly the priciest part of the country, and those living outside of it will therefore at least be afforded cheaper rentals. Housing, food and, surprisingly, clothing, are expenses that will take a decent chunk out of an expat’s monthly budget. On an expat salary, however, new arrivals in Luxembourg will be able to live a comfortable life in the country.

Expat families and children

Although Luxembourg boasts one of the best education systems in the world, the language barrier may be an issue for many expats. Luckily the country is also home to several international schools that can help ease expat children into life in their new home.

With plenty of green spaces and outdoor activities available in Luxembourg, families who enjoy spending time in nature will have an array of options at their fingertips. They will be able to take advantage of every sunny day in the country's many parks, zoos, playgrounds, hiking trails and more. Inevitably, expats can also expect many rainy days, which can be spent in Luxembourg’s countless museums.

Climate in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has a moderately temperate climate characterised by cold winters and mild summers. Expats can expect temperatures of between 57ºF (14ºC) and 66ºF (19ºC) in the summertime, while winter temperatures generally hover above 32ºF (0ºC). Rain is common and plentiful throughout the year in Luxembourg, although the warmer months do generally get around seven hours of sunshine per day.

Expats moving to Luxembourg can expect to live a good life in the country. Along with its excellent healthcare and schooling systems and free public transport, crime rates are low, and expats will not have to worry when it comes to their safety and security. With so much on offer in this tiny yet absolutely beautiful country, expats are sure to live a high-quality life in Luxembourg.


Fast facts

Population: About 640 thousand

Capital city: Luxembourg City

Neighbouring countries: Luxembourg is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east and France to the south.

Geography: Luxembourg is characterised by rolling uplands and wide, steep valleys. With the foothills of the Ardennes situated in the north of the country, this region is rather mountainous. The rest of the country slopes down towards the southeast where the Moselle flood plain is situated.

Political system: Parliamentary representative democratic monarchy

Major religion: Roman Catholic

Main language: Luxembourgish, French and German

Money: Euro (EUR). ATMs are widespread in Luxembourg and expats should be able to use their credit cards throughout the country.

Tipping: A service charge is generally included in the bill at restaurants in Luxembourg. An additional tip isn’t required but most people will give a Euro or two for good service.   

Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are generally used.

Internet domain: .lu

International dialling code: +352

Emergency numbers: 112

Transport and Driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. The public transport system in Luxembourg is extensive and reliable, with trains, trams and buses travelling throughout the country, as well as networks connecting the main centres to its neighbouring countries.   

Weather in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has a moderate, temperate climate, and rarely experiences extreme weather. Winters can get cold, while summers tend to be mild. Expats can expect pleasant temperatures of between 57ºF (14ºC) and 66ºF (19ºC) in the summertime, from June to September. That said, brief periods of hot weather do occur more regularly nowadays, sometimes climbing as high as 86ºF (30ºC). 

From December to March, winter temperatures generally hover above freezing, apart from during the coldest month of January, when it regularly drops below 32ºF (0ºC). Although infrequently, Luxembourg has recorded lows of 5ºF (-15ºC) over the past two decades.

Rain is common and plentiful throughout the year in Luxembourg, although winter does tend to come with more wet weather, as well as wind. That said, summer days can bring afternoon thunderstorms, although this does not occur regularly. Cloud cover is quite common, even on dry days. The warmer months generally get around 7 hours of sunshine per day though, with July averaging 10 hours of sun a day.

Embassy contacts for Luxembourg


Luxembourg Embassies

Luxembourg Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 265 4171

Luxembourg Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7235 6963

Consulate of Luxembourg, Montreal, Canada: +1 514 398 60 63

Honorary Consulate of Luxembourg, Johannesburg, South Africa: +27 11 463 1744

Luxembourg Consulate, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 671 9811

Consulate of Luxembourg, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 378 8388


Foreign embassies in Luxembourg

United States Embassy, Luxembourg: +352 46 01 2300

British Embassy, Luxembourg: +352 22 98 64

Consulate of Canadian, Luxembourg: +352 26 27 0570

Australian Embassy, Brussels (also represents Luxembourg): +32 2 286 0500

South African Embassy, Brussels (also represents Luxembourg): +32 2 285 4400

Embassy of Ireland, Luxembourg: +352 45 06 10

New Zealand Embassy, Brussels (also represents Luxembourg): +32 2 512 1040

Public holidays in Luxembourg

 

2022

2023

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Easter Monday

18 April

10 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Europe Day 

9 May

18 May

Ascension Day 

9 May

18 May

Whit Monday

6 June

29 May

National Day

23 June

21 July

Assumption Day

15 August

15 August

All Saints' Day

1 November

1 November

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

2nd Day of Christmas

26 December

26 December

If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, it is usually observed the following Monday. 

Pros and cons of moving to Luxembourg

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.

Working in Luxembourg

Currently boasting the highest GDP per capita in the world, Luxembourg is an attractive destination for people looking to work abroad. The country’s economy is thriving, and the active and dynamic labour market is a major drawcard for expats. Tax exemptions afforded to certain expats are another bonus of working in Luxembourg.

With strict labour laws in place, expats working in Luxembourg will also enjoy a good work-life balance and high average salaries.


Job market in Luxembourg

At the heart of Luxembourg’s economy are agriculture and financial services. Manufacturing and steel production are also large industries and, in recent years, the economy has further diversified and now boasts thriving high-tech- and telecommunications sectors. 

With a low unemployment rate and a highly-skilled population, expats will discover that skills shortages are not common in Luxembourg. That said, expats with the right credentials are most likely to find vacancies in the finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, construction and hospitality industries. The trade, transport, telecommunications and IT sectors are also big employers and expats may have some luck here too.


Finding a job in Luxembourg

Those with the right skills shouldn’t struggle too much to find a job in Luxembourg. Once expats have acquired a residence visa and a social security number for Luxembourg, they can register with the Agency for the Development of Employment (ADEM). The ADEM will assist expats with finding a job in the country, provided they meet certain requirements.

Those looking to move to Luxembourg for work who don’t meet the requirements should consider applying with local recruitment agencies. Searching online job portals and in local newspapers for vacancies is also an option, but the assistance of a recruiter could prove more fruitful.

Speaking a local language will be highly beneficial for expats looking for a job, as English is rarely spoken in business in Luxembourg. 


Work culture in Luxembourg

The workplace in Luxembourg is generally formal and hierarchical. Expats should dress conservatively and formally for work. Punctuality and deadlines are taken seriously, and business meetings are generally held to formalise decisions that have already been made and therefore tend to be brief.

Luxembourg has strict labour laws in place to protect employees, meaning most people have a good work-life balance and are paid well. The working week is 40 hours, starting at 8am or 9am and ending at 5pm or 6pm, five days a week. Many companies have flexible hours though, meaning employees can arrange their work hours to suit them. Full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 25 days of leave a year, excluding the 10 annual public holidays. This may differ for fixed-term or part-time employees, however.

Doing business in Luxembourg

Expats planning to work in Luxembourg will discover that the government looks after its workforce with strict labour laws regarding work hours, leave, taxes and minimum wage. This means expats in Luxembourg will benefit from a good work-life balance and decent salaries, while some expats may even qualify for lower tax rates for their first eight years working in the country.

Luxembourg has a large international community and is highly accommodating of foreigners. While it may prove tricky to land a job at first, expats usually adjust quite easily to the workplace in Luxembourg once they find one, provided they speak one of the local languages.


Fast facts

Business language

While French, German and Luxembourgish are all official languages, French is most widely used in business. That said, German and Luxembourgish are sometimes spoken in the workplace, while English is rarely spoken.

Business Hours

Monday to Friday, 8am or 9am to 5pm or 6pm. Many companies have flexible hours, meaning employees can arrange their hours to suit them, provided they work 40 hours a week.

Business dress

The dress code in Luxembourg is formal and conservative. Luxembourgers generally wear high quality clothes while avoiding bright colours. Men wear suits and ties, while women typically dress in either a suit, dress, or a skirt and blouse.

Greeting

A firm handshake is the appropriate greeting between business associates. Three light kisses on the cheeks are typical among friends, but not between two men. Expats should continue to address everyone as Monsieur or Madame followed by their surname until told otherwise.

Business cards are exchanged when first meeting a business associate. They generally mention both the person's job title and academic title. We advise that expats in Luxembourg have their business cards printed in both French and German.

Gifts

Gifts are generally not exchanged in the business world in Luxembourg. When invited to someone's house, however, it is customary to bring a gift of flowers, chocolates or a good bottle of wine.

Gender equality

Luxembourg created the Ministry of Equality between Women and Men in 2015, whose sole purpose is to create a gender-equal society. The government also passed new legislation that enforces equal pay between genders. Despite these improvements, gender equality in Luxembourg is still a work in progress, though it is improving each year as more women join the workforce. Expat women working in Luxembourg shouldn't face any discrimination.


Business culture in Luxembourg

While work culture in Luxembourg is conservative and formal, the labour laws work in favour of employees, and expats will most likely benefit from improved work-life balance and a good salary.

Business structure

Business in Luxembourg is hierarchical and senior-level employees are highly respected. Decision-making therefore occurs at the top of the organisation. Despite this traditional structure, many businesses are adopting a management approach to increase staff participation.

Work-life balance

Workers in Luxembourg generally have a good work-life balance. Full-time employees work eight hours a day, five days a week, totalling 40 hours of work per week. Overtime is generally paid, but employees are legally not allowed to work more than 48 hours a week.

Full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 25 days of leave a year, excluding the 10 annual public holidays. This may differ for fixed-term or part-time employees.

Meetings

Meetings in Luxembourg are formal and follow protocol. The purpose of a meeting is often to formalise a decision or give instructions, as often the decision-making is done prior to the meeting. Small talk is kept to a minimum and rules of conduct are closely followed.

Time

Punctuality is taken seriously in Luxembourg, both inside and outside of the workplace. If running late, expats should call to inform whomever they are meeting. Schedules are also closely followed, and deadlines adhered to.

Communication

Expats will discover Luxembourgers to be rational and pragmatic in the workplace, generally speaking. Strong criticism and assertiveness are not appreciated; rather communicate with courtesy and an element of charm.

Expats should avoid high-pressure tactics when in negotiations and be careful not to rush decisions. Emotional outbursts are also not welcome, neither is boasting about achievements or exaggerating.


Dos and don'ts of business in Luxembourg

  • Don't arrive late to meetings or business engagements
  • Do dress formally and conservatively
  • Do greet people with their surname and honorary title
  • Do keep one's personal and work life sperate, and respect one's colleagues' privacy
  • Don't organise business meetings in July and August, or around Easter and Christmas, as many people go on leave during these times of the year

Visas for Luxembourg

Foreigners, depending on their nationality, may require a visa to enter Luxembourg, either for tourist purposes or to work and live in the country. As Luxembourg is part of the Schengen area, those with an EU passport or those from a visa-exempt country won’t need to apply for a visa. All other foreigners will need either a short-stay or long-stay visa to enter the country.


Short stay visas for Luxembourg

Short stay visas (a Visa C) for Luxembourg allow the holder to stay in the country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. The requirements are slightly different for those planning to work in Luxembourg during the 90-day stay compared to those visiting for leisure.

Nationals of countries not part of the EU or on the visa-exempt list who are travelling to Luxembourg for tourism purposes will need to apply for a Schengen visa before arriving in the country. This must be done at the Luxembourg consulate in their home country.

If planning to visit more than one Schengen country, then a visa will need to be applied for at the consulate of the country they will spend the most time in. If the duration of travel is the same for each country they will be visiting, the visa will need to be applied for at the consulate of the country which they will be entering first.

Those who wish to work in Luxembourg during their stay will need a work visa. To get a work visa, they will need a job offer from an organisation in Luxembourg.


Long stay visas for Luxembourg

Long stay visas are known as a Visa D. They allow foreigners to stay in Luxembourg for longer than 90 days. The first step to getting a Visa D for Luxembourg is to apply for a temporary authorisation-to-stay at the Immigration Directorate of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in their home country. Within 90 days of applying for this, the applicant must submit their long stay Visa D application at the Luxembourg consulate in their country of residence. Once granted, the visa is generally valid for between 90 days and one year.

Those who wish to work in Luxembourg during this period must have a valid employment contract from an organisation in Luxembourg attached to their authorisation-to-stay application. Expats can only be employed in Luxembourg if there are no suitable candidates registered with the Agency for the Development of Employment (ADEM) to fill the position.

Once arriving in Luxembourg, the expat must declare their arrival within three days of entering the country, undergo a health check and then apply for a residence permit for workers.


Residence permits for Luxembourg

Residence permits for Luxembourg must be applied for with the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Once the application is approved, the expat will be invited to make an appointment with the Immigration Directorate to get their photograph and fingerprints taken. They will then receive their residence permit in the form of a chip card, which will include their work permit.

Residence permits are generally valid for one year, after which they can be renewed.

For more information regarding short and long stay visas, as well as work and residence permits, expats can visit the government website for Luxembourg.

Cost of living in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a relatively expensive country. The capital, Luxembourg city, placed 63rd out of 209 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2021, moving up 20 places from 83rd in 2020. While much cheaper than Geneva, London and New York, Luxembourg is more expensive than Madrid, Prague and Auckland.

That said, expats do tend to earn rather well in Luxembourg. In fact, it has the highest minimum wage in the EU, and also ranked first for disposable income on the OECD Better Life Index. Expats should therefore be able to afford a comfortable life in the country.


Cost of Accommodation in Luxembourg

Housing is expensive in Luxembourg and will be an expats biggest expense. Those who are only planning to stay in the country short term should rent, while those making a permanent move would do well to buy property in Luxembourg. Renting is incredibly costly, especially in the capital. Utilities also tend to be pricey, with electricity prices in Luxembourg being higher than the EU average.


Cost of healthcare in Luxembourg

Expats working in Luxembourg will be eligible to receive public healthcare for free or at highly subsidised rates. Compulsory contributions to the healthcare system are deducted from an expats salary, while their employer also pays towards it on their behalf. The public healthcare system offers excellent services and treatment. That said, private healthcare is also available for those who want more comprehensive cover, but expats will pay quite a lot for this.


Cost of education in Luxembourg

While public schooling is free for all legal residents, the language barrier deters many expats from sending their children to one of these institutions. For this reason, international schools are generally the number one option for expats, but the fees can be exorbitant. Expats should therefore try to negotiate a school allowance into their employment package.


Food and eating out in Luxembourg

Grocery shopping is rather costly in Luxembourg. While certain supermarkets are cheaper than others, expats should expect to pay more for groceries in Luxembourg than in many other European countries.

Similarly, eating out is expensive in Luxembourg. Cheaper restaurants do exist, but even at these establishments, expats can expect to pay at least EUR 18 for a meal.


Cost of living chart for Luxembourg

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Luxembourg in February 2022.

Accommodation 

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 3,250

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 2,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,620

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 1,270

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

EUR 3.20

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.20

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.45

Loaf of white bread

EUR 2.50

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 11.25

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5.30

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.95

Cappuccino 

EUR 3.55

Local beer (500ml)

EUR 5

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 75

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

EUR 56

Basic utilities (per month for small household)

EUR 243

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

EUR 3

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

EUR 0

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.25

Culture shock in Luxembourg

Expats from western European countries shouldn't experience too much culture shock in Luxembourg, but some social etiquette may take some getting used to. That said, most expats adjust to the culture in Luxembourg easily and quickly.

Below are a few things to keep in mind before moving to Luxembourg.


Languages in Luxembourg

English is not as widely spoken in Luxembourg as in some other EU countries. 

Expats who stay long term will likely need to learn the basics of all three official languages, namely French, German and Luxembourgish, to get by comfortably in Luxembourg. But for newly arrived expats, having a decent grasp of just one of these would be sufficient in the short term.

Luxembourg is a proud country. While some locals do speak English, expats may find that they are less willing to assist if foreigners don’t at least attempt to speak in a local language, even if poorly. The effort is highly appreciated and expats will discover that the locals are much more accommodating as a result.


Greeting in Luxembourg

Another thing that may take some getting used to is the formality with which the locals greet new people. A handshake is the common greeting between new acquaintances and expats should always use someone’s surname preceded by either Monsieur or Madame until told otherwise.

Locals may be extremely quiet and reserved initially, but once a relationship is established, they tend to open up. Greeting with hugs and three kisses on the cheeks is generally reserved for close friends and family.


Cultural etiquette in Luxembourg

There are a few other social norms that may be different from an expat's home country. Family is extremely important in Luxembourg and many locals never leave their hometown and live near family their entire lives. Families are extremely close, and parents generally help with the raising of grandchildren and continue to help with the decision making of their adult children.

Privacy is also highly valued in Luxembourg, and for this reason, it may take some time for expats to become friends with locals. Personal matters are generally only discussed with one’s family, and asking personal questions may be seen as overstepping. Expats opening up about their own issues could also be viewed by locals as spoiling a good time.

Mealtimes are formal occasions in Luxembourg and when invited to the home of a local, dining etiquette should be taken seriously and protocol followed closely. Expats should only sit when instructed to do so and all guests may only begin eating after the hostess begins. The host will generally give a toast, which will be reciprocated by a guest at a later stage. Elbows must never rest on the table, although hands must always be seen.

Accommodation in Luxembourg

Expats moving to Luxembourg tend to rent accommodation, at least initially. While this is certainly the best option for short-term expats, renting in Luxembourg is expensive, which is why those who stay long term often buy property instead.

Many expats choose to rent in a neighbouring country such as France, Germany or Belgium, where rentals are often cheaper, and then commute to Luxembourg.

With that all being said, expat salaries in Luxembourg tend to be high, and most expats are able to afford rent. 


Types of accommodation in Luxembourg

Locals usually own their homes, while expats tend to rent in Luxembourg. The vast majority of rentals are apartments, as opposed to family homes. That said, townhouses, single-family homes and villas can also be found in Luxembourg, but most of these will be available for purchase only.

The types of homes available is highly dependent on where in the country an expat is based, as houses may be more easily found in small towns and the countryside, while apartments are far more common in city centres.

Furnished vs unfurnished

Most rentals in Luxembourg are unfurnished. If an expat would prefer furnished accommodation, a few specialised companies do offer this. Naturally, furnished properties are more expensive than unfurnished, sometimes up to double the monthly rent. Expats should consider the differences in cost between shipping their belongings from home, buying new furniture and appliances in Luxembourg, or renting furnished accommodation. The latter, depending on the property, might still be the cheapest solution.

If choosing furnished accommodation, expats should ensure that the landlord supplies them with an inventory of the home’s furnishings and what condition everything is in before moving in. Expats should also find out beforehand if the property is pet friendly if wanting to relocate with a cat or dog.


Finding accommodation in Luxembourg

Properties are generally rented through estate agents in Luxembourg. Expats can also search for rentals on online property portals, on agency websites and in local newspapers.

Things to consider when searching for suitable accommodation include cost, proximity to the workplace and children’s schools, and accessibility to public transport networks, among others. Hiring an estate agent who knows the area is therefore highly useful.

Expats may also want to consider hiring a relocation company. These companies offer a full suite of services, which often includes finding accommodation, shipping goods, orientating and helping expats settle in their new home, enrolling kids in schools, and more.


Renting accommodation in Luxembourg

Once an expat has chosen a rental property, there are several steps they will need to follow before they can move into their new home

Leases

Prior to signing a lease, a landlord will most likely request proof of identification and work visa, an expat’s employment status, income level and possibly also references from previous landlords.

Expats will generally decide on a fixed term with the landlord for the rental contract. A standard lease in Luxembourg is between two and three years, but expats will be able to negotiate for a shorter lease if they won’t be staying in the country that long.

We highly recommend that expats take a translator along with them to sign and negotiate the lease if they are not fluent in a local language. This will help them avoid any miscommunications regarding the contract.

If an expat needs to end the contract early, a notice period of three months is usually required, unless otherwise stipulated in the lease.

Deposits

A deposit of around two months’ rent is generally required. It can be up to three months’ rent but will not exceed this. This is usually paid into a separate account for the duration of the lease and will be returned to the tenant provided the property has not sustained any damage. On top of the deposit, tenants will also have to pay annual liability insurance.

Utilities

Utilities in rental properties are often already set up and included in the rental cost. If this is the case, expats should ensure they know exactly what the costs are and what they are paying for each month. If utilities aren’t included in the rent, expats are usually able to easily sign over the existing utility connections to their name, or sign up with a different supplier altogether.

Healthcare in Luxembourg

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. Although public healthcare in Luxembourg is excellent, private healthcare is an option too.


Public healthcare in Luxembourg

The public healthcare system in Luxembourg is first-rate. The care offered at public hospitals is of a high standard and facilities are well equipped. Citizens and employed expats can access medical treatment for free or at highly subsidised rates by making monthly contributions to the country’s social security system.

Under the state system, expats will be able to choose their doctor, specialist and hospital. The basic coverage offered includes most GP and specialist treatments, laboratory tests, prescriptions and hospitalisation.


Private healthcare in Luxembourg

All hospitals in Luxembourg are public facilities. That said, some doctors and specialists exclusively provide private care. Expats are advised to take out private health insurance if they wish to access these private practitioners as the cost of treatment can be incredibly expensive.

Thanks to the high quality of public healthcare in Luxembourg, most residents only use this system, but some may take out additional private insurance to cover treatments not included in the state insurance coverage.


Health insurance in Luxembourg

All employed and self-employed expats in Luxembourg will be able to sign up for state healthcare. They will need to register at the Joint Centre for Social Security (CCSS). An expat’s employer will generally do this for them, but self-employed individuals must do this themselves.

Once registered, expats will receive their social security card, which must be presented when receiving medical treatment. Expats must also make a compulsory contribution towards the state healthcare system each month, which will be automatically deducted from their salary.

State healthcare funds about 84 percent of the costs of treatment, the remainder of which must be paid by the patient. Many expats and locals have additional private health insurance to supplement the coverage received by the state.


Pharmacies and medicine in Luxembourg

Pharmacies are easy to find in Luxembourg and can be identified by a large green cross. Most pharmacies are open during shopping hours only, but there will always be a duty pharmacy available outside of these hours.

The state generally covers around 80 percent of the costs of prescription medication. Expats may have to pay 60 percent of the cost of non-essential medication, but if these medicines are prescribed by an expat’s doctor, they may be able to get at least a portion of the cost reimbursed by their insurer. That said, non-prescription medicine must be paid for in full.

Expats should have the generic name of any medication they take when coming to Luxembourg, as brand names can vary from country to country.


Emergency services in Luxembourg

In the case of an emergency, expats in Luxembourg can dial the European emergency number 112. Most operators on this line will be able to speak English. Ambulances in Luxembourg aren’t always staffed by a paramedic, so if faced with a life-threatening situation, expats should ensure they ask for a SAMU (Le Service D'Aide Médicale Urgente). An ambulance with a doctor on board will then be dispatched.

Most large hospitals have an emergency department that provides treatment free of charge for those with or without state healthcare. Outside of general work hours, the hospitals with emergency departments generally rotate duties. The schedule for on-duty emergency rooms can be found in local newspapers, pharmacies, hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Education and schools in Luxembourg

Luxembourg boasts an excellent education system. The government runs the vast majority of schools for free, and schooling is compulsory for all children from age four to 16.

Language teaching is central to schooling in Luxembourg. All schools teach in one of the three official languages, namely Luxembourgish, German or French, with the secondary two also forming part of the curriculum. The language barrier can be a deterrent for expats looking for a school for their children, and many therefore opt to send their children to an international school where they can continue with their home country’s curriculum in their home language.

That said, with such a large portion of the population being foreign, the government has put steps in place to help foreign students integrate into the school system. Some schools also teach English as an additional language.


Public schools in Luxembourg

Public schooling in Luxembourg is rather complicated. It is divided into different cycles and streams. Children will enrol in preschool at the age of four and move on to primary school two years later. The following six years of primary school are divided into three different cycles, each lasting for two years, and ending when the child is 11 years old.

At this stage, a choice must be made between classic secondary education (lycée classique) or a vocational education programme (secondaire générale). The first year of secondary education is the same in both streams, after which the subject matter becomes increasingly focused on the student’s preferences. Students will graduate from secondary school at either 17 or 18, depending on their course and can then either move on to tertiary education, a technical college or start working.

Schools in Luxembourg require students to be proficient in at least one of the local languages, and somewhat knowledgeable in the others before enrolling. To accommodate international students, the government has rolled out intensive home courses that the students can complete before attending a school in the country. These courses will begin with majority language lessons, which will gradually be replaced with actual school lessons in the official languages.

There are also welcoming and insertion classes for secondary school children who are new to the Luxembourg education system. These classes aim to help students learn the languages and prepare them for the transition to general classes.


Private schools in Luxembourg

There are a few schools in Luxembourg with alternative teaching methods to that of the public education system. These are either run by the government or are semi-private institutions. Private schools in Luxembourg teach an entirely different curriculum from the national curriculum, while some follow Montessori or Waldorf teaching methods. Some of these schools even teach their curriculums in English. School fees at these institutions are state-subsidised and are therefore relatively affordable.

These schools could be a good middle ground for international students who wish to learn in English but cannot afford the fees at an international school.


International schools in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is home to several international schools that teach foreign curricula in a foreign language. These schools may be the best option for those wanting to continue their home country’s curriculum in their home language. There are also several international schools teaching the International Baccalaureate programme.

Fees at international schools are exorbitant and expats should negotiate a school allowance into their employment package if wanting to go this route. We recommend expats apply for international schools well in advance, as placement is competitive. 


Special-needs education in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has many services in place to assist children with special educational needs. Depending on the needs of the child, they will either attend a mainstream school, be partially integrated into both a mainstream and a special-needs school, or attend a local or international special-needs school.

The schooling of children with special educational needs is personalised and the support the child will receive is also dependent on their needs. At every level of schooling, there are different government departments and organisations in charge of identifying children’s special needs and finding services to support them.

If attending a mainstream school, the services available to children with special educational needs include after school homework assistance, special classes and extra lessons during the holidays or after school hours.

Children with mental or physical disabilities can receive benefits from the government to pay for the care the child requires. Parents must apply for these benefits with the Family Allowance Office.


Tutors in Luxembourg

Expat parents may want to consider hiring a local tutor to assist their child with learning the local languages, adjusting to the school curriculum or helping them with any subjects they may be struggling with.

Luxembourg has a range of companies and individuals who provide tutoring services. There are options available for private at-home tutoring lessons, as well as attending lessons at a tutoring school. Luxembourg-based tutoring companies include Etic Academy, Réussit’school and Cours at home.

Before hiring a private tutor or signing on with any tutoring companies, we recommend that parents enquire at their child’s school or ask other local or expat parents for recommendations.

Transport and driving in Luxembourg

Although Luxembourg is a small country, the transport network is dense, making travelling and commuting simple and straightforward. As Luxembourg values mobility, all parts of the country are accessible via a multitude of networks, including railways, buses, and cars on the country’s excellent highways and secondary roads.

In 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to offer free public transport across the entire country. Those wishing to travel first class or across the border into certain parts of neighbouring France, Germany or Belgium will still need to purchase a ticket, but otherwise travelling on trains, buses and the tram is free for everyone, including residents and tourists.


Public transport in Luxembourg

All forms of public transport are efficient, clean and fast ways to get around Luxembourg. As they are also free, using public transport will save expats a lot of money each month. Buses, trains and trams are interconnected, making transfers from one form of transport to another easy. There are also international lines that are integrated with the transport systems of France, Germany and Belgium.

Information regarding all the country’s routes, connections and networks can be found on the Mobilitéits Zentral website.

Buses

Luxembourg’s bus service is provided by three different companies, AVL, RGTR and TICE. AVL and TICE provide bus services within Luxembourg only, while RGTR also travels across the country’s borders.

The largest network is run by RGTR, which operates 342 lines. AVL operates in Luxembourg city and its surrounding municipalities, while TICE only serves a small part of southwestern Luxembourg.

Buses travel every day between 5am and midnight. There are night bus services, but they are more limited. Timetables can be found on Mobilitéits Zentral’s app (mobiliteit.lu) or the bus companies’ websites.

Trains

Trains in Luxembourg are operated by Société nationale des chemins de fer luxembourgeois (CFL). Six lines travel across the country, and all passengers can travel on these lines within Luxembourg and to particular stations across the country’s borders without a ticket.

Announcements on all CFL trains are given in French only, but the CFL website and apps are in English, French and German. Although space can be limited during rush hours, it is free for passengers to bring bicycles, pets and luggage with them on all CFL trains.

Trains travel throughout the day but night services are extremely limited. CFL travels nationally, as well as to neighbouring countries, but there are also several other international train services in Luxembourg, such as NMBS and TGV.

Tram

Although trams were a big part of Luxembourg’s transport system in the past, they eventually stopped running and only came back into operation in 2017. Luxtram runs the country’s tram network, which currently consists of only one tram line, Line T1.

The tram operates in Luxembourg city only and runs from Luxexpo to Gare Centrale from around 4:30am to 12:30am daily, with slightly shorter hours on Sundays. Popular among tourists, the tram line has 15 stops and arrives every four to 15 minutes during running times.


Taxis in Luxembourg

Taxis are widely available in all urban areas in Luxembourg. They can be hailed on the street, at a taxi rank, by phone or through a taxi company’s mobile app. All taxi companies are free to determine their own prices; this is not controlled by the government. For this reason, taking a taxi can be extremely expensive in Luxembourg.

Ride-hailing apps such as Uber are not allowed to operate in Luxembourg. That said, taxi companies do have apps that allow people to order and prebook rides.


Driving in Luxembourg

Driving in Luxembourg is easy on the country’s excellent network of highways and secondary roads, which span the entire country and connect Luxembourg to its neighbours.  Despite the country’s excellent public transport system, the vast majority of the population own a car. While vehicle tax and insurance are compulsory and can be expensive, fuel in Luxembourg is cheaper than in its neighbouring countries.

EU and EEA driver’s licences are recognised in Luxembourg. That said, expats from these countries should register their licences after arriving in the country. If doing so, they will be issued with a Luxembourg licence if their EU/EEA country licence expires or is lost or stolen, without having to retake a driver’s test.

Expats from non-EU/EEA countries can drive using their foreign licence for one year before they will have to exchange it for a Luxembourg licence.


Air travel in Luxembourg

Luxembourg only has one airport, the Findel airport, which is situated just outside of Luxembourg city. While there is currently no train line between the city and the airport, there are bus and taxi services that travel to and from the airport.

The number of flights in and out of Findel are increasing each year as Luxembourg is becoming a more popular travel hub in the EU. While the vast majority of destinations with direct flights from Luxembourg are in Europe, there are a few North African and West Asian counties that expats will also be able to reach directly from Findel airport.

Findel is a modern airport with three terminals, all of which are run efficiently. The national airline carrier Luxair travels to a range of destinations, along with several international and budget airlines.   

Banking, Money and Taxes in Luxembourg

The finance and banking sector is one of the biggest in Luxembourg, and it represents around a third of the country's GDP. There are 136 banks in Luxembourg, including both local and international branches, making banking easy and convenient for expats in Luxembourg.


Currency in Luxembourg

As Luxembourg is part of the Eurozone, the currency is the Euro, which is divided into 100 cents.

  • Notes: 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR and 500 EUR
  • Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents and 1 EUR and 2 EUR

Banking in Luxembourg

Expats have plenty of banks to choose from in Luxembourg. Banque Centrale du Luxembourg is the country's national bank, but there are a number of other big local and international banks in the country, including Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, ING Luxembourg, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Citibank and BNP Paribas Fortis, among many others.

Banks in Luxembourg are generally open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, and some banks are also open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. They offer a range of services, including current and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, online and mobile banking, as well as specific expat services such as multi-currency accounts.

Opening a bank account

It's not a legal requirement for expats to open a bank account in Luxembourg. Foreigners can manage their money from an overseas account, but an account with a bank in Luxembourg will make an expat's life infinitely simpler when it comes to everyday money matters, drawing salaries and paying bills. 

Expats face no restrictions when it comes to opening a bank account. Most banks require expats to visit a branch in person to open an account, but there are certain banks that allow them to open an account online, meaning they can do this while overseas, prior to arriving in Luxembourg. To open a bank account online, expats may need to post or send scanned copies of required documents.

Most banks will require a form of ID, such as a passport or national ID card and a proof of address (either local or foreign). Some banks may also require proof of employment or income, and a tax number.

Once all of the required documents have been submitted, the bank account is usually set up quickly and expats receive their bank card and information within a few days.

ATMs

Thanks to the vast number of banks in the country, finding an ATM is incredibly easy in Luxembourg. They are generally situated outside of bank branches, shopping centres and supermarkets.

International bank cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, can be used at ATMs in Luxembourg. Some machines also accept American Express, but this is not guaranteed. Expats will be charged fees when using ATMs unaffiliated with their bank.

Cash is still used fairly often in Luxembourg, but it is not essential for expats to carry cash, as credit and debit cards can be used everywhere, and online and mobile payments are also popular methods.


Taxes in Luxembourg

The laws surrounding taxes in Luxembourg differ for residents and non-residents. An expat is considered a resident if they've lived in the country for more than six consecutive months. Non-residents pay tax only on the income earned within Luxembourg, while residents pay tax on their worldwide income. The amount of tax an expat pays depends on their annual income and can be anywhere between 0 and 42 percent.

Highly skilled expats who are recruited to work in Luxembourg may be eligible for the impatriate tax regime. This is a tax exemption of up to 50 percent of an amount which cannot exceed 30 percent of an expat's annual salary. An expat must earn a minimum of EUR 100,000 and be a resident of the country to qualify. This tax benefit can be enjoyed for up to eight years. Expats should talk to their employer about applying, if they think they may qualify.