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moving to Luxembourg (feedback required on house, school, job)

(11 Posts)
NayDS Thu 02-Mar-17 22:12:30

Hello all,
We are in process of moving to LUX from London in couple of months’ time, DP has recently received a job offer from EU. Wondering if I could some feedback on following points:
- This would be our first time in LUX and we are going there in April to get a feel for housing and other stuff. Sooner rather than later we would like to buy a house and hence don’t want to sign a long rental lease. Any idea what is the typical lease for a flat in LUX and whether it has any breakage clause e.g. in UK it is typical to have 1 year lease but with 6 months breakage on two months’ advance notice? I have picked up somewhere that landlords there prefer to sign long term, multiyear, leases there.
-I work in IT and have strong experience with blue chips in UK but I don’t know any French or German. How easy or difficult would be to find a job for me there? I’m already extremely nervous about this.
-DS, who’s in Reception, will be joining European School there. As both DH and I’ll be working full time like in UK, does it matter from logistics perspective if DS goes to ESL1, Kirchberg (?) or ESL2, Mamer? In terms of quality of education and infrastructure which one is better ?

Many thanks in advance

Gfplux Tue 07-Mar-17 19:25:10

For property rental and buying look at
Many rental contracts are for three years but I am sure you could find one for less.

Weta Thu 09-Mar-17 15:15:33

Typical lease is 3 years minimum but we managed to negotiate 2 years, you could try to negotiate less if you wanted to (we tried initially but the agency spoke to us like we were aliens).

The really key thing is that normally there is no breakage clause ie you have to complete that minimum period, and - very important - it is then renewed for a full year at a time, again with no breakage clause. Even to stop the renewal happening, you have to give 3 months' notice, and once it is renewed you are bound until the yearly renewal date. You may be able to get out of it if you find tenants the landlord deems suitable.

What we did was to agree on a 2-year minimum and then insist on a clause which said that after that 2 years we could give 3 months notice at any time. We explained that we would only be wanting to move in order to buy a house...

You should also include a 'diplomatic clause' which says that if your husband has to move for his job (unlikely with the EU but it's possible he may not like it, and of course things are a bit unstable right now) you can break the contract.

Not sure about the IT field though I would imagine there would be jobs in that area even without French or German - try to do some research.

For the schools, in theory there is no difference, the curriculum is the same for all European schools. Bear in mind though that there are difficulties in the English section as they struggle to recruit native-speaker teachers, and the impact of Brexit is very unclear.

The Mamer school is only a few years old and has very nice sports facilities, but I think either school would be fine. The advantage of Kirchberg is that your child may be very near your husband's workplace (if he's in Kirchberg) which makes things easier for picking up a sick child, attending school events etc.

Personally I would look more at where you want to live in terms of commuting, cost, managing school runs (possibly including school bus routes for later) etc.

Also, look at the enrolment policy:
- it says that new residents (ie who are not resident in Lux at the time of making the application) are automatically enrolled in the Mamer school.

Good luck!

Gfplux Fri 10-Mar-17 16:54:35

This might be interesting.

NayDS Sat 11-Mar-17 00:34:40

Many thanks Weta, quite helpful.

We are planning to visit LUX in April for couple of days to finalise accommodation and will keep your points regarding the lease under consideration.

I have been told commute between Strassen and Kirchberg is pretty straightforward with good bus service. Do you have any view whether it makes sense to live in Strassen which I'm guessing is couple of miles from EL2 or in Mamer ? Not sure how the peak time commute from Mamer to Kirchberg is though. And on the same note, how long does it take to drive from Kirchberg to EL2 during peak hours.

I have had dialogue with couple of job agencies, so far positive discussion and as a next step need to send my CV. Fingers crossed.

Gfplux Sat 11-Mar-17 10:01:45

I live in Strassen. You are right there is a regular bus service direct to the Kirchberg. With bus lanes the journey is very quick and not expensive.
Going to Mamer from Strassen at peak times you are generally going against the heavier traffic as you are heading out of town in the am when most are coming in. In the pm the reverse is true. Of course you are making a return journey each time (if you are dropping off) so you will get into heavy traffic one way. You could also do the school run by Bus!
In my opinion "heavy traffic" in Luxembourg is not the same (believe me) as London heavy traffic.
Coming over the border to work in Luxembourg (150,000 every day) is a different matter.

Weta Mon 13-Mar-17 12:52:05

Kirchberg is obviously a shorter commute from Strassen than from Mamer. From Mamer you have the same direct bus to Kirchberg but longer on the road - it also depends which institution your husband is going to. I changed a few months ago and found that my previous 40 mins from Mamer on the bus had become an hour or more even though it didn't seem that much further. In the end I decided to drive instead, there's a non-motorway route that takes 20-30 minutes, max 40 minutes at absolute peak time.

Strassen is more expensive for housing though. There may not be that much choice in either - I would advise being open to both and seeing if you find a flat you like in either one.

Problem with the school run from anywhere is that it is extremely congested and can take a very long time to get out of the little road up to the school. From Strassen there is a public bus that goes right up to the school, from Mamer it's a 5-10 minute walk from the bus stop - or you could even walk if you're at the right end of the village. There are school buses to both.

NayDS Tue 14-Mar-17 22:41:29

Many thanks Weta and Gfplux, appreciated.

Based on the feedback, seems logical to live close to the school in Mamer. Would prefer to use public transport to the extent we could but given avg 40-50 min commute time not sure how to coordinate the school run. Am guessing there would be many other parents in the same boat!

By any chance do you or anybody you know of have any insight to ESL 2? It would be helpful to get some info on care and staff from a parent's perspective. DS is in Reception grade, very comfortable in reading, writing & numbers, in UK but there he would be enrolled in Nursery-2 which by looking at the curriculum (phonics, shapes) seems like a kindergarten. It is not fair to compare two completely different curriculums on basis of just 1 or 2 yrs, but want to see how other children from UK curriculum have programmed themselves and coped there.

kind regards,

Weta Wed 15-Mar-17 08:30:00

Some parents use the school buses already from the age of 4 (this is very normal in Lux), but it depends what you're comfortable with. An adult meets the buses and takes the nursery children to a reception area until it's time to go to their classes - it is all a bit impersonal but might be a good option in a year or 2, I think from age 6 it's really fine.

I am familiar with the English section at the school, it's true it's a bit tricky for children moving from the UK between age 4-6 as you start reading much earlier whereas here in Lux and many other European schools they don't start until 6.

So in nursery 2 the curriculum doesn't involve reading but does have some phonics, although my son's teacher did have some readers available and encouraged children who were interested to move through those. The teachers will have encountered the issue before, I think you just need to be clear about where your child is at and see what you can sort out with the teacher.

The next year in P1 is when the reading officially starts, but they put the kids in different groups and it's done using the Oxford Reading Tree so each child can move through at their own pace.

I have also seen families where the child has been put up a year at age 4-6 for this reason, but it doesn't necessarily work out as they may be more advanced at reading because of early exposure but not actually super-advanced for other subjects or mature enough socially. I've seen one case where the family then had to fight hard for the child to go back down a year. Also there tend to be quite a few kids who are a year older than the others because of changing languages etc, so the child in question was suddenly with several kids 2 years older.

Personally I think starting reading at 6 is great, the kids get to be kids and the nursery section is fun. What I've seen is that most kids are really ready for reading by 6 and they learn quickly. Both my sons started reading at 5 anyway but it wasn't a problem in relation to the class work.

Let me know if you need any more info.

NayDS Tue 21-Mar-17 21:04:28

Many thanks for your feedback Weta. Big big help !

henstooth Sat 01-Apr-17 08:31:04

Hi all, I just posted on the other thread but spotted this one. We're also moving out in the summer - very useful info thank you smile

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