I am an expatriate in Luxembourg. I moved to Luxembourg with my family last year and I think that living here is great. Anyway, at the beginning I found some difficulties, most of all due to the language and to some administrative procedures to follow.
Below, my to do list with some practical tips before and after your moving to Luxembourg and one cultural suggestion!
This point may seem not so important as it appears, but for me it has been my lifeline: get in contact with more people as you can.
When you arrive in a new city and a new state, at the beginning integrating may be difficult if you don’t know anyone. Both if you are alone or with your family, you have to rely only on you.
To be prepared, before moving to Luxembourg I suggest you to adhere to some group on Facebook or other platforms to get in contact with more people as you can. There are so many groups like those if you search in the web! This would help you a lot, getting some information and tips from people who have been living here for years.
Then, once you are in Luxembourg, don’t hesitate and attend lots of training courses (language or anything else) and try to start new friendships with more people as you can, shameless. Remember that we (strangers) are all in the same boat. You can’t imagine how many nice and yes-persons you can meet.
I am Italian, and as everyone knows, Italian people are a little complicate with food. It may be because we have lots of different and fantastic dishes (I know, I am a bit partial!), but sometimes we are quite judgmental of foreign food…
Well, believe me, I think that here in Luxembourg you won’t have any problem. Food is really good and you can find lots of places to eat (restaurants, café, etc.), where to buy good meal and also where you can find a lot of ethnic food.
So, don’t be afraid: you won’t be starved, far from it! In fact, at the restaurants, portions are always very big. So, be warned…
Cleaning products are undoubtedly one of the very expensive thing in Luxembourg. For these products, as for nappies for babies, shampoo etc. the best thing is to go shopping in Germany, or if you prefer, France and Belgium. It could be also a nice opportunity to go away on a trip with your family!
If you are moving to Luxembourg it is really important to learn more languages as you can.
At least English, but also French or German, as they are national languages. More than in other countries it is an advantage and a duty to be able to speak several languages, most of all if you are looking for a job. Here in Luxembourg people are very smart in languages and most of them speak almost fluent at least three languages. So, if you are already multilingual, good for you. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves and start a language course!
If you are planning to stay in Luxembourg more than 6 months, you have to change your license plate and to do some other administrative procedures for your vehicle (customs clearance of your vehicles, Motor Vehicle Roadworthiness testing, assurance, etc.).
No panic: even if it seems to be a hard thing to do, it is quite simple and fast.
First, you have to go the SNCA (National Society of Automotive Traffic) in Sandweiler and take with you your license drive, your ID card and all the documents required. After that and once you have a new license plate code, you have to go to the custom house to clear your car and go to an assurance. Then go back to the SNCA to give them all the papers and, if your car needs it, to do a roadworthiness test. You will find all the information at this link and all the formularies here. I suggest you to take an appointment before doing anything, if you don’t want to wait for hours.
If you have children, one of the important thing you must do, as soon as you arrive here in Luxembourg, is the cheque service card. It permits you to have an economic help from the state, which pays you a part of the tuition and registration fees at the créches, schools or other activities (sport, music etc.) You can find a lot of info on this website Cheque Service Accueil and ask it directly at the municipal administration of your city.
If you have a pet and you are moving to Luxembourg (or other of the UE countries), there are some practices you have to do.
First of all, when you are still in your home country, go to the vet and explain him what is going to happen. He will be capable to help you, telling you which are the steps to follow (microchip, vaccinations, passport). Once you’ve arrived here in Luxembourg, take an appointment with a local vet to finish all the administrative practices requested.
Instead, to take care of your furry friends when you move out of Luxembourg for few days, there are a lot of structures or, if you prefer, cat or dog sitters. And, otherwise, don’t hesitate to ask your new Luxembourgish friends for advice!
At last, one cultural tip…
Even if it is a small country, Luxembourg is very rich of interesting things to visit and there are always amazing exhibitions to see. If you like photography like me, you can’t miss the great permanent exhibition of the Family of man by Edward Steichen in Clervaux. This important collection, had been created for the MOMA of New York in 1955 by Edward Steichen, a famous photographer born in Luxembourg. Restored last time in 2011 by an Italian team, the permanent installation of the exhibition, today at the Clervaux Castle, follows the layout of the original exhibition at MoMA in order to recreate the original viewing experience : a series of temporary walls which guide visitors past the images, encouraging them to pause at those which attract their attention. However, open spaces within the layout require viewers to make their own decisions about their passage through the exhibition, and to gather to discuss it!
Knowing that things to do and to learn are always many and more, I hope to have helped you some way!
Italian Ambassador for the Just Arrived Ambassadors Club