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Relocating to Luxembourg

(18 Posts)
GemmaWill Wed 06-Apr-16 11:55:11

My husband has just accepted a job in Luxembourg and we are relocating there. Any helpful advice on what life is like, best areas to live, best schools for children.I have 4 year old and a 2 year old daughters.
Also how easy is it to find things for us to do? Bit concerned about that bit.
Many Thanks

lifeisunjust Wed 06-Apr-16 18:16:16

Live near to work. Choose a school near home.
Schools change language, I'd go local with children that young for integration socially and linguistically.
Everyone in Luxembourg who lives there (unless they do the expat bubble thing or are EU functionnaires) speaks Luxembourgish, French and German and if you stay at school from 3 years (compulsory from 4 years) to 18 years, you'll be educated in all 3 languages.

lifeisunjust Wed 06-Apr-16 19:48:21

Here is an almost decent link to local pre-primary and primary schooling.

Pre-primary is 3 years from age 3-6, in Luxembourgish, though obligatory only from 4 years old.

Primary is 6 years, age 6-12 years, in French and then German as well.

If you choose the local system, you are allocated a school depending on your address. If you live in an affluent area (most of Luxembourg), you can expect of course an excellent education.

GemmaWill Wed 06-Apr-16 22:15:12

Thanks for the link.

Weta Thu 07-Apr-16 07:59:52

Actually from 6 the schooling is in German (closer to Luxembourgish) and later switches to French in high school.

There are international options too (private schools like St George's and the International School of Luxembourg, or the European Schools if your husband is working for the EU), but it's true you need to think through the integration issues if you go down this route. It may also depend how long you think you'll stay in Lux - some people prefer the international option for linguistic reasons if they think they'll be leaving again in a few years.

Have a look at the British Ladies Club (dreadful name but they have heaps going on for kids and it's a great place to start meetinig people - and the American Women's Club for an idea of things to do with kids.

That City Savvy website also has heaps of info about pretty much everything smile

Will your husband be working in the city or somewhere else?

Luxembourg is fairly quiet but has heaps of expats so is very international, and there is a lot going on culturally etc for a city of its size. It's also very green and you have easy access to nature and heaps of forests and cycling paths. You're also right in the middle of several countries, so there are lots of places you can visit in Germany/France/Belgium and even the Netherlands.

Weta Thu 07-Apr-16 08:06:27

The other thing I would say about the local education system is that it's fairly traditional and hierarchical, and children have to choose (or are told by their teachers) at age 12 whether they go to a 'classical' high school (leading to university) or a technical high school.

We didn't go for that option as my children were a bit older when we came, but I've heard very good feedback about the pre-primary bit (age 3-6), so you could always go for that at the start anyway and see how you feel once you're in the system and know more about it. That would mean your children learn the local language in any case, which is definitely a plus.

There's also a new European School opening in Differdange ( which is open to everyone although they give priority to people living in that region.

Good luck smile

GemmaWill Thu 07-Apr-16 11:13:28

Thanks for that. He will be working in the city. Seen the school at Differdange which looks like a good option for us. However think my eldest will be too young for this September, she will be 5 on the 3rd September. Cant work out if she would do 2 years or just one at the pre primary bit. I do want to be able to integrate think it will make transition easier for her, no idea how long we are going to stay at least 2 years possibly 5. Dont know at this point whether to come back for their secondary schooling, depends on how husbands job works out.
Thanks for all your help, nice to talk to people who have moved there.

Weta Fri 08-Apr-16 12:27:19

In the Lux state system (presumably including the new school in Differdange), the age cut-off date is 31 August so I guess your daughter would do two years in the pre-primary part.

For the two existing European Schools (which are run by the EU for its staff but do have some fee-paying places for non-EU staff), the cut-off date is 31 December. The nursery cycle starts at age 4.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions smile

lifeisunjust Fri 08-Apr-16 19:34:19

If I had 2 children, one of whom was old enough for the new European school and the other 2 years too young, I'd consider placing both at first into a local school (if the youngest will make it to 3 years by September 1st) and then once both are old enough to go to the new European school, transfer them at same time. It would give them both then enough time to be fluent in Luxembourgish and ready to learn German / then French.

I have children in French, no formal English education, their written English is on a par if not superior to children of the same age back in the UK, simply down to the rigorous French language education and transfer of reading / writing skills into English.

Linguaphile Mon 18-Apr-16 15:29:38

Gemma my DH has also just accepted a job in Luxembourg and I was coming on to ask the same questions! DH will be working in one of the EU institutions in Kirchberg, so am v curious to hear where might be the best place to live, how to go about finding housing, when exactly they can go to nursery if my twins will be turning 3 just after the 1 Sept cutoff, etc. DC are 2.5 (twins) and 6 months.

Linguaphile Mon 18-Apr-16 15:38:46

Okay, have just seen up thread that the away school cutoff is Dec... does this mean that my older girls can start preschool from January 2017 if they are 3 on the 4th of September? Would love for them to integrate on the language front but also think they'd really benefit from some time in nursery!

Linguaphile Mon 18-Apr-16 15:39:35

Sorry, meant EU, not away!

GemmaWill Mon 18-Apr-16 16:57:31

Hi Linguaphile

Glad not the only moving over there then. DH is moving over in June but we are not going till end of July as I will still be contracted at my work. We are still really undecided where to live but thinking will rent for first 2 years before my eldest start any formal schooling and see where we are. as she will do 2 years at their pre primary thinking might just go for the local school and I will teach her at home the english. As by that time she hopefully will be pretty well immersed in local langauges. You seem to get more the further you move out and a bigger garden which would really like. Hopefully DH get start having a good look and get it sorted before we arrive! EEk I am too wondering about my youngest as she is 3 on 11th Dec whether she could go from January.

Linguaphile Mon 18-Apr-16 20:28:12

I think we're looking at arriving around the end of July as well, so may be there around the same time. Been looking at Limpertsberg and Cents so far as candidates for close-ish places to Kirchberg (which looks a bit soulles as a residential area) for work and school. Don't want to be too far away from the city at first as I'm afraid it would be quite isolating, so less space will have to do for us, at least in the beginning. Cents seems to be a better bet for a house and garden than Limpertsberg though. We're in SW London at the moment and are spoiled with good transport, leafiness, pretty homes, amenities, etc, so want somewhere similar, ideally. <catches glimpse of pig flying outside window> Where in the city is your DH working?

Can anyone say when we should start looking for housing in earnest? They will be flying us in for a house hunting trip, but we need to say when we want to come. How many weeks/months ahead should we come to look?

Also, cars/licenses/etc: I can drive, but my license has expired and I now have to do everything all over again (tests, etc). Can I put this off and do it there when we buy a car, or is it a must-do before we leave?

Weta, regarding the EU preschool, do you have to put them in the one intended for their mother tongue or is there an option to put the children into the French speaking bit? Just thinking that they'll soak up new languages like sponges at that age... I might like them to do at least their first year in a local maternelle (to get a handle on Luxembourgish and help with integration) but then sync up with the international school system not terribly long thereafter (just in case we ever decide to move). I just don't want to miss any opportunities with the golden language learning early years!

lifeisunjust Mon 18-Apr-16 21:16:51

The rules of European schools are you must be educated in your dominant language so with no French, your children will have to be in English. This is why doing local school before getting to European school can be so useful.

If you have English at home IMO opting for an international school believing you may move one day is not a good reason to choose international fee paying English school. I have a 17 year old educated in French until last year now doing UK A levels and is the top performing student in his year. I have 14 and 10 year olds still educated in French who could move to a private international school in English and the 14 year old would probably have to go up a year. They are not special. They have just had a rigourous French language education where the 14 year old has covered part of A level maths already as an example. If I'd opted for international school where we are, they would still be monolingual.

lifeisunjust Mon 18-Apr-16 21:21:34

PS a year in a language which isn't used after that is not going to be of great benefit, give it 2 to 3 years. There would be no rush to choose either international or European school, if you have English at home. Where we are, many children stay in French language primary and then go to European school for secondary, some even stay in French. The European schools in Luxembourg are not so overcrowded. so no need to rush. Take advantage of being able to walk or cycle to school and have playdates with your neighbours.

GemmaWill Mon 18-Apr-16 22:35:22

Hi lingua pile
I have no idea. He will be working for Amazon so wherever the office is. Hoping he can start to look at houses first then I can come for a weekend before all move out to see too. So not narrowed anything down in terms of area yet, thinking close to work so he can cycle still and we can still get by with one car, then next day change our minds again! Hoping will all come together more once he is out there. Yes I am concerned if further out could be isolating and also concerd about not being able to speak any german and not near enough french.

Lifeisunjust thanks for your comment about schooling, as I was starting to lean towards the local so chns can intergrate more but concerned about their English learning.

Gfplux Sun 24-Apr-16 20:42:12

There are two very different education story's on this thread.
If you are working for the EU the European school is an affordable option
If you are working for a private company your options will be determined by what the "package" is.
As for housing, just like London, the closer you are to the centre the more expensive housing will be.
It really all comes down to how much money there is in your budget.
We have lived on the Kirchberg and now in Strassen. Both are close to "Town" and as Luxembourg is very small they are both very accessible to the countryside.

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