Moving to Luxembourg as a SAHM(29 Posts)
Initially posted in Chat – thank you TarquinMoriartyGrunt
DH has just been offered a job in Luxembourg. It’s with a company he used to work for, so the idea of relocating is not new, but now it is all frighteningly real (and exciting).
Currently I work full-time and DS (18 months) goes to a local nursery. We’re trying for number 2, so if we did move the idea is for me to be a SAHM for a few years, although ideally we would like to keep DS in nursery part-time as he’s been thriving there. Recently we’ve been in tentative discussions about me doing a part-time MA and retraining as a teacher in my undergrad subject (Creative Writing).
I’d love to hear from any SAHM’s (or SAHD’s) whose partners work in Luxembourg. Where do you live? What’s the standard (and cost) of living like? Did your DC adapt well?
Basically, I’m worried that it will be a really isolating experience as we won’t know anyone out there beyond DH’s work colleagues. At the moment we have lovely neighbours who are also close friends, and although we don’t get out much we have a fairly social life. When I was on maternity leave with DS we often hopped on the bus and spent our days in the local park / soft play / museum / library or with friends who had babies at around the same time. Will that still happen in Luxembourg? Will DH be able to keep up his cycling and rugby union? Are there nice coffee shops / cafes where I can write in the few hours I get to myself? Do they have CBeebies?
We speak very, very basic French. That is all.
My DH was a SAHD for our first year in Luxembourg... I think the main thing is to make sure you have a good salary as the cost of living is high, but at the same time the living is good There are loads of opportunities for SAHPs to meet others in a similar situation - check out www.blc.lu as they have lots of groups for mums with young children. And you will find lots of intelligent women who have moved here for their partner's career and are now at home with kids, for a while anyway.
Children of that age will adapt fine, though the issue you will need to think about in the future is schooling and whether you are happy to put them in the local system (the main problem for expats being the languages) or whether you have other options.
Creches are quite expensive here although the government does offer some subsidies (chèque service accueil). Child-teacher ratios tend to be quite a bit higher than in the UK, but I don't think that matters so much if your child is only there part-time (my youngest was nearly 2 when we came and just went in the mornings).
Cycling is pretty popular here, with lots of cycle paths and beautiful forests to cycle in. And there are a couple of rugby clubs, check out www.rcl.lu, which is apparently a friendly, family-oriented club with lots of expats.
I think lots of expats get by ok with minimal French, although many try to learn it properly too - try www.inl.lu for cheap classes, though you have to get in early at enrolment time.
There aren't loads of quirky cafes but there are a few nice places (www.konrad.lu is at the quirkier end of the scale) and some gorgeous teashops (try www.oberweis.lu).
No problem for Cbeebies - you need to buy a decoder in the UK and then get a small satellite dish installed here and you will have it for free. You just need to get your landlord to agree to having the dish installed when you sign the lease.
We wanted to be in Luxembourg-ville at the beginning, which was the right move for us, but other people are happy to be in villages straight away. The villages can be very quiet (and you definitely need a car for most of them) but housing is cheaper and it's easier to get a proper garden, so you need to work out what it is you want really.
Oh and there are loads of amazing playgrounds here - a life-size pirate ship one in the centre of town and heaps of others: yourlivingcity.com/luxembourg/lifestyle/kids-in-the-city-playgrounds-2/
In fact the rest of this site would be a good resource too: yourlivingcity.com/luxembourg/
Good luck with your decision!
oops the Konrad cafe link has changed, should be https://www.facebook.com/Konradcafe
and for TV you can get all the BBC channels, ITV channels, Channel 4 etc for free the same way as Cbeebies. I think some people also get Sky decoders and continue having it billed to a UK address.
Wow, Weta, thank you for taking the time to reply so thoroughly – and reassuringly. I think half the problem has been not knowing where to look for information so your links are tremendously helpful.
Those parks look immense. DS would love them!
Off to check out your links in more detail
Hi we moved to Luxembourg in August. I was working full time before and now I'm a SAHM. My dc are a little older at 3 and 6. I didn't know anyone either but fortunately quite a few other families were moving here (DH's colleagues) at a similar time so that has been great. I've also as Weta suggested joined the BLC. There are plenty in a similar situation.
We live in a house outside of the centre. Rent is high and we wanted somewhere with a garden. Public transport is pretty good and the bus/train network seems quite well connected. As for cost we didn't move from the UK and so it seems not too expensive for me (especially cheese and wine) but some people shop over the border in Germany as it is cheaper, ditto France. Petrol is cheaper here.
DD (3) is at Private Nursery (French speaking). We don't really know how long we are going to be here and so thought it would be more worthwhile for her to learn French as opposed to Luxembourgish. She has found it quite tough and there were lots of tears (from both of us) initially as she was frustrated by the fact she couldn't communicate with the other children. Now she's fine and has started to speak in French and understands a lot more. I speak reasonable French but there are plenty who manage to get by without. There are English speaking creches as well. Sorry I've rambled a bit but feel free to PM me if you want any more info and if you do come I'm more than happy to meet up.
If you need to look for property try
Where will your partner be working, I mean where is the company located. This may have a bearing on where you want or can live.
My DH works in Lux and we live in France. If you can afford it though there are some advantages to living in Lux - namely the cheques services.
There is a FB group called Parents In Luxembourg where you will find lots of advice and Sahms who do meet ups etc. The BLC is good too I believe though I haven't joined.
It's a great place to live with a thriving expat community. Capital city with all the advantages of one (at least nearby) but small town feel.
I rarely walk through the city centre without running into someone I know and I have been working from home in France for quite a while now.
I moved here whilst pregnant with DS1. We were shoved off again after a year due to work but chose to move back and have DS2 here. A very positive experience of living here.
My tip is to already stump up a bit of cash and join the American Womens Club in Lux - they have a great book (living and working in Lux) and have just released a new edition. Despite the name, most members are not American. Also, they have one of the better and more active facebook pages (though the Lux parents one mentioned above and Mums, Bumps and Babies are also good to join). The AWC FB page is good with tips etc. on moving here.
For those above who talk about speaking French, it is not the only language here (Luxembourgish and German are also official languages), and you can get by with very little French depending on which commune you live in. For example, in our commune (contern) the main second language is English and the staff at our school and creche speak pretty much everything. I get by with good German and middling French (the latter mainly used for shopping and restaurants).
We moved here with my son at pretty much the age of your DS and he adapted to the local Luxembourgish creche quite quickly and well. You'll get loads of tips on the facebook page but please consider the Luxembourgish creches - IMHO they are usually better staffed and cheaper than the French-language creches and they give your child a better start if you choose to put them into the local school system (age 4 - they start in Luxembourgish).
We have been here for two years and last night here was "liichten" - all the local kids got together in a group and go around the houses with lanterns and collect sweets (a bit like trick or treating). My son (now 4) went around with a big bunch of friends and parents in our local village and I really now feel like we have 'arrived'.
Apologies for not replying sooner - I've haven't been online much due to a wretched chest infection.
Thank you everyone for your replies. They are really helpful!
We're still waiting for his salary details to come through (which will go a long way to making the decision for us) but he would be working in Grund / Gronn.
Intitially we'd thought we might like to live in the centre, in a 2 bedroom flat, or a 3 bedroom ground floor flat with a garden a bit further out, but with in easy reach of the centre. I don't know if that will be possible on DH's salary. He's on 60K in the UK and this role would be a step up so hopefully the offer will be enough for me to give up work and have another baby. We're trying now so I may well be pregnant when (or if) we move.
As for the creche issue... DS doesn't speak much at the moment, compared to the other kids his age at the nursery he currently attends. We're not at all worried about this but it would make me a little nervous of putting him in a non-English speaking creche in the mornings, as I don't want to confuse him with a second language when he's only just grasping his native tongue.
But maybe it would be good for him? I'm no expert in language development
Luxembourg is very very family friendly, very safe, very clean, fantastic parks, forests, lakes, rivers, family friendly restaurants, networks for sahm expat through blc and awcl. Short commutes to work in general on great roads and transport links for the working parent. Try the chocolate house by the palace for the most amazing cakes and goodies, golden bean does good coffee. There are a lot of communes just outside the city popular with foreigners-niederanven, contern, schuttrange, walferdange. In the city limits strassen and bertrange merl belair have a lot of expat families. The big moan I hear about lux is the city closing down by 7pm and nothing open on a Sunday (shops)but it's changing and enforced relaxation in a Sunday is not always a bad thing. The life quality with a family is good and financiallyyou will find something's on a par with London (rent/property) and some things cheap (petrol, booze, coffee). One of the nicest things about luxembourg is how easily you can jump in the car and explore neighboring countries. Good luck!
Everything being closed on Sundays is in a lot of places in Europe though tbf. Lux supermarkets are often open on Sunday mornings which is handy. But even in Paris the vast majority of shops are closed on Sundays.
I think it is a good thing.
I second the positive of Shops normally closed on a Sunday.
Oh yes me too, it's just an adjustment if you are used to for example UK where everything is open all of the time night and day!
I agree the parks and lakes and places to just go and be are wonderful. For such a tiny country there is so much variety in the scenery.
There is one place you will get to know very well with small children: the Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg. Google it, you may as well, you're about to move in pretty much full time over spring and summer
I also discovered a free animal park (nothing exciting, a few deer and highland cattle, that kind of thing) a few weeks ago. Right next to a HUGE park and forest just outside Esch sur Alzette. Looking forward to going back there to exhaust the toddlers.
Then there is Echternach, a nice little town with a great lake and woodland walk area just outside it.
Up in the north or the country the landscape changes again, and there is a fab farm discovery park in the middle of nowhere up there.
When I think about it actually there is so much packed into this tiny little corner of Europe. We are very lucky.
The local daily newspaper has an English version online daily which can keep you up to date with local news.
You will find it here www.wort.lu/en
The local police also do a summary weekend mornings of the overnight crime from Friday and Saturday evenings.
Normally reads: there were two burglaries, a few people caught drink driving or speeding, a traffic accident or two and a bit of a kerfuffle somewhere in a bar near the City station.
And that is the entire country's crime report for the day.
It is very safe here.
Yes your DH can play rugby. There is a thriving English speaking rugby club www.rcl.lu
They also run a junior programme so once your DS is 4 he can play too! Great way to meet lots of parents too.
My kids play there but are a little older now.
Would also suggest the British Ladies Club, used to have (going back a few years) a very active scene for stay at home parents.
I met friends there over 10 years ago.
If you do have another baby Mums Bumps and Babies is good. They run English language pre natal classes but also a drop in coffee morning for pregnant mums and new mums.
I also made great friends there and we still meet up with our teens!!!
Welcome to Luxembourg.
I would also suggest if you like gardening, the English speaking
Thank you everyone - all this information has been really well used and I've spent the last few days researching your suggestions.
DH's salary details have finally come through and after various calculations we've worked out that it will be 4500 euros a month after tax. That is his base salary so there will be extras that we plan to pump into our (presently very small) savings account.
Realistically, would we have a good standard of life on that income?
- a 2 (ideally 3) bedroom flat with a garage close to the city centre.
- part-time nursery for 18 month old DS, ideally English-speaking.
- Sky TV (sad, but true)
Is that doable?
Search on 3 bed flats with garage in lux: www.athome.lu/recherche/resultats/br/3,3/gc/1/tr/rt/w/c,Luxembourg/ig/f/st/bg,asc/fu/0/md/0
Bugger. Athome.lu links never work. Have a look at that site though. Remember that depending on where he will be working there are many towns and villages outside the city which are a lot cheaper and the commute is still very doable. There isn't much advantage to being city centre or even suburbs.
Close to town a 3 bed with garage could cost €2000
Strassen is not far from Town and it looks like you can get 2/3 beds with garage for about 1600. However their are usually charges on top that could be 180/250.
Do you want furnished or unfurnished.
Satelite TV is an easy one but can cost.
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