For many expats, where you decide to live can make or break your experience of living in a new country. After all, different cities offer different opportunities for nurturing personal and professional growth, as well as developing relationships and embracing a new culture.
However, fortunately for those moving to Luxembourg, the main cities in the Grand Duchy are diverse and multilingual. As a result, they offer something for every kind of expat; from singles and young professionals to families and those looking to retire.
To give you more idea of your options, this article provides the following information:
- The best cities in Luxembourg
- Where to live in Luxembourg
- Places to avoid in Luxembourg
- Useful resources
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The best cities in Luxembourg
Luxembourg may be a small country, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to diversity. Indeed, almost half (47.4%) of its population are foreigners who represent more than 170 different nationalities.
With an average of 255 inhabitants per square kilometer, the Grand Duchy is also one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. In fact, in January 2022, 660,809 people lived in the country which is around ten times smaller than Belgium and twice the size of Los Angeles. And that doesn’t even factor in the 197,000 cross-border workers who commute to Luxembourg from neighboring countries each day. Needless to say, the little nation is unique in more ways than one.
Luxembourg’s location plays a major role in its demographics. Landlocked by Belgium, Germany, and France, it sits at an intersection of several major European countries and attracts expats from all over the continent. They are drawn to its low corporate taxes, lucrative economic sectors, and high-quality healthcare system, which ranks in 11th place in the 2022 Bloomberg Global Health Index.
With 102 municipalities, 12 of which are cities in their own right, there are also plenty of options when it comes to finding a place to call home in the Grand Duchy. And to help you make an informed decision, below is an overview of the most popular cities in Luxembourg among the international community.
A former industrial hub, Esch-sur-Alzette is now Luxembourg’s second-largest city and a growing expat destination. Indeed, it has the third-biggest foreign population (56.8%) in the country. As a result, you will hear various European languages on the streets, including Portuguese, French, German, and Italian.
Located in the southwest of the country, the city was voted a European Capital of Culture in 2022. This was in celebration of its evolution from the industrial age – when it was a key player in steel production – to its future potential in the era of digital revolution. Esch-sur-Alzette also hosted Luxembourg Pride in 2023, placing it firmly on the LGBT map.
With an attractive job market, moderate property prices, and a good selection of schools on offer, Esch-sur-Alzette offers many advantages over its neighboring cities. It is also an appealing option for those looking to balance the joys of urban living with beautiful natural surroundings. Indeed, more than 50% of the city is covered in greenery. This includes Park Gaalgebierg which features a natural ice rink.
There is also plenty to keep you busy in the city; from shopping along the Rue de l’Alzette and visiting the music conservatory to catching a performance at the Kulturfabrik; a former slaughterhouse-turned-cultural center. With good public transport connections to Luxembourg City and the rest of the country, there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy a weekend away.
More than half (55.3%) of Larochette’s residents are foreign, making it the fourth most cosmopolitan commune and town in Luxembourg. This is largely due to its large Portuguese community, which makes up 38.6% of its population.
Expats seeking an international community will also find plenty to explore here. Situated on the White Ernz River, the Medieval town boasts some beautiful architecture, including the imposing Larochette Castle. Meanwhile, the surrounding areas offer stunning natural landscapes in which to enjoy some scenic hikes.
Interestingly, the average age of residents in Larochette increased by 4.1 years, from 34.5 to 38.6 years, between 2011 and 2021. This reflects its growing popularity among young families looking to settle down. This is partly due to the fact that it has several primary and secondary schools, and is a mere 15-minute drive from the prestigious Mersch International School Anne Beffort.
Notably, while rental costs in Larochette increased between 2021 and 2023, property prices decreased. Therefore, those looking to move to the town might want to consider getting on the property ladder and making a long-term investment.
With its beautiful green spaces, idyllic old quarters, and stately cathedrals and palaces, Luxembourg’s capital is a beautiful place to call home.
Luxembourg City is the largest city in the Grand Duchy with almost 200,000 residents. This represents nearly a third of the country’s total population. It also has the largest expat community, with 70.6% of residents coming from overseas. This is largely owing to the fact that it is the political, economic, and cultural center of the country.
Some of the city’s main attractions include the National Museum of Archaeology, History, and Art and Luxembourg Casemates; a large network of underground passages that was originally used as a defense. It is also home to the Grand Ducal Palace, which is open to the public for part of the year.
Luxembourg City is full of cultural and outdoor events, too. This includes the Summer in the City program of markets, open-air film screenings, and live music performances. Meanwhile, Nuit des Musées (Night of the Museums) invites the public to explore a variety of exhibitions until the early hours of the morning. Needless to say, the city boasts a rich cultural calendar to keep curious expats entertained.
However, as you might expect of any capital, the cost of living in Luxembourg City is higher than in other parts of the country. That said, it might be worth the investment if you plan to enroll your child at an international school, as many of them are located in and around the city. Because of this, the nation’s capital is a desirable place to call home among expat families.
With a foreign population of 61.2%, the second-largest in Luxembourg, Strassen is a strong contender for those looking to live in a multicultural environment with plenty of entertainment. Ironically, while Strassen is one of the smallest cities in Luxembourg, it also has arguably the most to offer. This is perhaps why is it home to more than 10,000 residents, representing 112 different nationalities.
Strassen boasts a variety of sports facilities, playgrounds, and a skate park, as well as a plethora of shops and restaurants. It also features a popular aquatic center which includes several swimming pools and a wellness area.
Aside from this, Strassen is home to an abundance of forests and parks, making it an attractive destination for families. Its close proximity to several reputable schools, including International School Gaston Thorn, also makes it an appealing option for parents.
All of these factors are, however, reflected in the local property prices which can be as high as those in Luxembourg City. Therefore, you will need to have a generous budget if you plan on settling down in this idyllic location.
Where to live in Luxembourg
Where to live in Luxembourg as a family
Esch-sur-Alzette is a great option for young families looking to live close to, but not in, the hustle and bustle of Luxembourg City. Residents can enjoy access to various public sports facilities including a swimming pool, skate park, ice rink, soccer stadiums, volleyball courts, and more.
Families can also benefit from a range of primary and secondary schools, as well as an international one that teaches in English, French, and German. Notably, the city also offers affordable language classes for adults.
Another great option for families to consider is Mersch. While the town is relatively small, with a population of around 10,500 people, it is only a 20-minute train journey from Luxembourg City. It also has good public transport connections to the rest of the country.
More than 40% of the population in Mersch is foreign. This makes it a good option for expats looking for an international community while also having the opportunity to mix with locals. It also has several public schools that teach in French and German, as well as an international school that offers classes in English, German, and French.
Mersch is also home to a stunning 13-hectare community park which is ideal for enjoying picnics, jogging, or a day out with the family. Elsewhere, the Krounebierg Mersch Aquatic Center, camping grounds, walking trails, and a variety of restaurants provide plenty of entertainment.
Where to live when you retire
If you are looking for somewhere to live out your golden years, you will naturally want to consider what you want or need in a city or town.
For instance, do you prefer a warmer climate or are you happy to live in northern Luxembourg where the temperature is a bit cooler due to a higher elevation? Do you prefer a more rural or urban setting? How flexible or rigid is your budget? And how close is the nearest hospital? Of course, if don’t drive, you will also want to make sure that your chosen location has a good public transport network.
Once you have taken the answers to these questions into account, you should be left with just a few options in Luxembourg. It is then wise to visit each location to get a feel for it before committing.
If you are looking to surround yourself with nature and be in close proximity to Germany and France, then Remich is a great choice. Located in the famed Moselle Valley, the small tourist town offers access to beautiful vineyards and wine festivals, as well as numerous boat trips and bike rides.
It also has a popular social club for those aged 50 and above as well as a supportive retirement community. With its mild climate, you can also enjoy a range of year-round outdoor activities and cultural events, while still being just a 45-minute drive from Luxembourg City.
Where to live when you are single
As a single person, your preferences regarding where to live will naturally be different. For instance, if you are looking to date and meet other singles, you will probably be drawn to Luxembourg’s larger cities where the majority of expats and young professionals live. Of course, these cities also offer more entertainment and cultural diversity, as opposed to more remote areas which are somewhat limited.
Given that the vast majority (70.6%) of Luxembourg City’s population are foreigners, this might be your best option if you wish to live in an international hub with plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded individuals of all nationalities. The nation’s capital is also very walkable and bikeable, meaning you won’t need a car to get around or explore its vibrant nightlife scene.
Moreover, if you don’t have a family to support, you may be able to afford the higher property prices in the capital which are comparable to Paris or Munich. On the other hand, if you want slightly lower prices, but still want close access to the city, you can consider living in a surrounding town such as Strassen or Bertrange.
Where to live on a budget
It is a well-known fact that Luxembourg is not a cheap place to live or travel. In fact, many residents actually cross into Germany or France to purchase certain items at a lower price. That said, if you are looking to live in Luxembourg on a budget, you do have some options.
If you work remotely and are not limited by location, you might want to consider living in the north of the country, away from Luxembourg City, to save money. One option is Wiltz, where housing prices can be fairly affordable.
Although the scenic riverside city is located quite far from the capital (around 56km) it still offers a multicultural environment with plenty of opportunities to meet other expats. In fact, almost half of its population is foreign.
The best cities for job opportunities
Given that Luxembourg City is the political, economic, and cultural center of the country, it is hardly surprising that most job opportunities can be found there.
Those working in the finance, banking, and IT sectors, in particular, will find more vacancies in the capital. That said, if you are able to work remotely, you have the freedom to look further afield.
Either way, it is worth noting that your nationality is a factor when it comes to looking for work in Luxembourg. If you are an EU citizen, you don’t need a work visa to live and work in the country and can search for a job anywhere. That said, you may need to speak one of the nation’s three official languages to improve your career prospects.
If you are a non-EU citizen, on the other hand, you will usually need a job offer before you can obtain a work visa. Your decision regarding where to live will likely then be limited by distance from your employer and your monthly salary.
The best cities in Luxembourg for business
Luxembourg is a business hub, with a focus on investment and private banking. In fact, the small country is home to 136 working banks, of which nearly a third are international.
Most of these banks – and large companies – are located in and around the capital, so if you are interested in working in the business world, you may want to live somewhere within commuting distance of Luxembourg City.
Notably, innovation is also highly valued in the Grand Duchy, which ranks 19th in the 2022 Global Innovation Index.
Places to avoid in Luxembourg
However, if you move somewhere rural, and don’t speak Luxembourgish, French, or German, you may face a language barrier. This can, in turn, make it difficult to integrate into your new home and make new friends.
With this in mind, you may want to stick to the southern part of the country, where many people speak English and other European languages. Alternatively, you can learn one or more of Luxembourg’s official languages.