With a population of less than half a million people, and sandwiched between Belgium, Germany and France, the tiny country of Luxembourg covers less than 1000 square miles (2576km2). It is the only Sovereign Grand Duchy and holds considerable power for its size, as a founder member of the European Union, a member of NATO and of the United Nations. Its strategic importance goes back to it being founded as a Roman era fortress site and lying along the Spanish Road when Spain ruled much of Europe.
Luxembourg has three official languages; German, French and the mother tongue Luxembourgish. Immigrants will do best if they speak German, as this is the language used in schools, the media and the church. Most official written business is conducted in French and Luxembourgish is used by all Luxembourgis to communicate verbally, but it is rarely written down. The currency is the Euro. The only significant town is the capital city, also called Luxembourg and is on the UNESCO Memory of the World List. The country has a marine west coast climate with a noticeably rainy season in late summer.
Immigration has been considerable during the 20th century, mainly from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. More recently immigrants have settled from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. An estimated 37% of the population are legal immigrants, with more besides who are illegal.
Luxembourg benefits from low unemployment and those with European Union residency should have no problem finding work. Jobs abound in industry, steel, chemicals, rubber and the banking sector. Luxembourg is surprisingly the world’s second largest investment fund center, after America. It is also in the Guinness Book of Records as consuming the most alcohol per capita in the world. This figure is somewhat inaccurate, as due to the low taxes, other European neighbors buy alcohol and cigarettes in Luxembourg and carry them over the border for consumption, vastly distorting the figures.
Work visas are not required by EU nationals, but visas are required for most visitors staying for more than 3 months. Check the website to confirm up-to-date details.
Property in Luxembourg is very highly priced, with family homes averaging around 450,000 Euros. Apartments for rent offer good value and are readily available with prices starting at 1000 Euros per month. Family homes start at 3500 Euros for a good neighborhood. An international mover may be required to transport your belongings.
Generally Luxembourg is a friendly country and there are many ex-pat communities particularly in areas where foreign workers are placed. Locals are polite and expect a greeting as you meet in the street. The cost of living generally is much higher than the USA, especially petrol (gas), heating and groceries. The use of a professional transition specialist may be worth thinking about, especially if language is a problem.