The city of Luxembourg is one of the main financial centres in Europe – largely due to the country’s banking and privacy laws. Tax rates are lower than pretty much anywhere in the EC. Situated about 230km south of Brussels, the city is tiny by capital standards: the population is not much more than a hundred thousand people. It is very beautiful, very clean and well worth seeing. It is spread across a deep gorge – the Grund – and the views are quite breathtaking.
For those who don’t know (I didn’t), the country has its own language, Luxembourgish – largely a melange of German, French and Flemish but quite distinctive nonetheless. The Luxembourgers will warm to you if you make an effort to speak in their native tongue, and although any company worth its salt will deal in English, French and German at the very least, many of the staff in the city centre shops are French and may not like speaking English!
If you’re staying in hotels, you’ll find them on a par pricewise with most capital cities around the world. Do find time to check out Sir Nadhmi Auchi’s Le Royal, Luxembourg’s premier five-star hotel. It’s currently undergoing a major refurbishment to the tune of some 40million euros, but you’ll still find the best service in town from the wonderfully friendly and attentive staff, proud members of the International Association of Hotel Concierges known as the Golden Keys. If you’re self-catering, a decent one-bed apartment will set you back from around €70 a night, but budget for €150 and upwards if you want a two-bed inside the city.
Luxembourg is a great place to go if you have a family as crime is low and the standard of living high. The country has plenty of parks, playgrounds and forests to explore and dozens of castles and Roman ruins. There’s also loads of local fairs and fetes and well-organised activities for the kids to get stuck into. If you’re on a fixed-term job contract and don’t fancy the local education system (many don’t!), for expats and wealthy ‘Burgers alike the city boasts two International Schools – one running the British curriculum with IGCSEs and A Levels and the other the International Baccalaureate – as well as the vast European school, which caters primarily for the EU Commission workers’ families, and numerous polylingual crèche facilities. The public transport system is good, with excellent bus and train routes from the city centre and the main station to the further reaches of the country and on to the rest of the continent, plus a small but very busy international airport. Car rental is not a problem and fuel is the cheapest you’ll find in western Europe!
For the best night out in buzzing Luxembourg, you’re really spoilt for choice. Urban, The Tube and Konrad are great places to meet people and have fun near the main shopping streets in the centre or for the coolest clubs in town try Melusina, Apoteca, Bypass or if you’re feeling upmarket The White House. For those who just want to sit and enjoy a good beer, go down to the Grund and check out such pubs as the Britannia and the Pyg, or try Oscar’s, Maybe Not Bob’s and Scott’s for more English-speaking fun. And when you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world, plus a Chinese in almost every town.
So go on, enjoy Luxembourg!
Ned’s Tip: If you’ve got a bit of time in the area, check out this post for cool stuff to see and do in neighbouring Belgium