6th February 2020

Moving to Luxembourg? A story about living and working in the Grand Duchy as an expat

Simône van Schouwenburg, Head of Expat Services at Spuerkeess gives you a unique insight into the experiences she has made. Advantages, challenges and tips from an expat for expats.

Arriving for a short assignment and ending up staying: this is Luxembourg!

After having lived in the Netherlands, the U.S., France and the UK, I arrived in Luxembourg and I have been happily living here ever since. As most new arrivals to the Grand Duchy, my initial assumption was that there would not be much to do in this little scenic country. I could not have been further from the truth.

If you enjoy pristine nature, long standing history and culture, going out, fine dining, elegant shopping, sports, etc. all this and more you can find in Luxembourg and very close by. If you want to experience the sights and excitement of larger cities, you have Paris, London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Frankfurt nearby.

The Luxembourg Findel airport will offer you continuous flights to destinations such as London or Milan, making sure that you stay on top of the latest trends. Given the fact that either the central train station or the airport are very close by, your entire travel journey is by far more relaxed than in any of the other European capitals.

One of the most attractive features of Luxembourg is the fact that you live with a sense of security and peace of mind. Indeed, Luxembourg just recently was voted safest country to live and work by the renowned firm Mercer Consulting (2019 Mercer Quality of Living Survey).

Whether you arrive as a single, with a partner or your family, a wide range of services has been set up in order to help you getting settled.

In most cases, you will arrive in Luxembourg because you and/or your partner have signed for a work contract to start a new professional adventure, as well as a new chapter in your personal life.

Sounds very exciting but can be challenging at times, as you do not necessarily know where to start. There is however no reason to be lost!

Having moved to Luxembourg as an expat, I had to learn and overcome initial challenges on my own, provided me with first-hand experience of what is required to ensure a smooth transition to the Grand Duchy.

I have been able to put all of my personal experience to good use by contributing within Spuerkeess, one of the safest banks in the world, to the set-up of a new expat service fully dedicated to new arrivals to Luxembourg.

Spuerkeess was recently selected as top 2 of the “most favorite brands” in Luxembourg, Spuerkeess provides a “one stop shop” solution for new arrivals to Luxembourg (2019 KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Report). Even though we concentrate on the financial aspects of your transition to, and settlement into, Luxembourg, we have developed an attractive welcome package, providing the expat with all of the essentials upon arrival. We understand that the particular circumstances of a new arrival require that bank accounts need to be opened and active prior to the actual move: indeed when renting an accommodation, tenants need to provide the landlord with adequate guarantees such as a “garantie locative” which is a rental guarantee which can only be drawn up by a local bank.

Spuerkeess offers a variety of digital tools through its digital experience and online banking facilities, award winning applications, such as S-Net and S-Net-Mobile, enabling you to manage your main banking transactions anytime, anywhere.

Furthermore, Spuerkeess offers its customers the largest ATM network in the Grand Duchy and a large variety of payment cards as well as top-notch mobile payment solutions (Digicash by Payconiq and Apple Pay).

Besides the banking services, we work closely with several relocation offices that will happily assist you with getting you settled: they will guide you in the event a work permit is needed, coordinate your moving, as well as help you in finding the most adequate housing options for rent or purchase,

locating the most suitable schooling opportunities for your children, and finally making sure that you are properly registered with the local authorities.

Having painted Luxembourg as the most pleasant place to live in Europe, are there any challenges which need to be considered?

Indeed, there are! One of the most challenging parts of coming to Luxembourg will definitely be housing. The real estate market in Luxembourg is very tight and nice places rent out quickly, especially if you desire living in the city or its immediate vicinity.

When I initially arrived in Luxembourg I found myself thrown back 20 years to when I had arrived in Paris. Looking for a place to rent and having to line up amongst many other candidates to visit an apartment, my salary slip in hand and ready to hand it over in case the flat met my expectations. However, this did not necessarily mean that I was the selected candidate as several more interested parties stood behind me! So finding the right place may take some time and research.

I often explain to my clients that they should consider buying a property in the Grand Duchy, even if it is small and not as ideally close to the city center, but at least it will provide them with the first anchor in the local property market. In combination with the relocation offices, as well as local real estate professionals, the Spuerkeess expat team will act as your trusted guide in a still foreign country but making sure that your transition to your new home and culture will run smoothly.

Have we left some questions unanswered? Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information on how we can assist you.