6 In Europe/ Expat Life/ Luxembourg

Living Abroad In Luxembourg: Expat Life Differences (Vs The Netherlands)

Sunset in Luxembourg with an old fashioned lamp

Living abroad in Luxembourg is a wonderful thing, being able to live in a city within the middle of a forest. The city of Luxembourg is a beautiful place and we were lucky enough to experience living there for a few months. Since there are so many expats in the country, I have been inspired to write this post based on my own expat experience in Luxembourg compared to the Netherlands – where I have lived for 9 years previously.

Living Abroad In Luxembourg Vs The Netherlands

As I have been living abroad since I was 18, I’m a little used to different languages, cultures and environments. However like the title shares, this is compared to the Netherlands (where I have spent at least 9 years living) and Luxembourg where I have been temporary living for 2 months.

Comparisons Of Luxembourg Life to Netherlands Life

There are many differences (and similarities) of living abroad in Luxembourg vs the Netherlands. Many of these you may already know, but many are what I also experienced as a foreigner in Luxembourg.

The Country Flag

This one might be silly to start with, but so many people make the mistake of using/sending the wrong flag emoji to me on social media. The red and blue are definitely a different colour! But it is an easy mistake since it’s not that much different. Below shows the Netherlands on the left and Luxembourg on the right.

Netherlands flag vs the Luxembourg flag

The Public Transport

Firstly, how amazing is Luxembourg for having free public transportation!? You can step onto any bus, train or tram and you won’t have to pay a single thing. Unless you want 1st class for a few euros on the train – thats about it. Of course flying is still the same, so we cant enjoy a free flight anywhere.

Secondly, most buses look different. Either more like a coach, or a bendy bus, they are all from different companies or with different advertisements. There does seem to be one type of bus with same design on, but not for the whole of the city or for every route. Unlike the Netherlands where you have all one set colour/style for that region no matter where you are. Also the NS trains, which are all blue and yellow trains.

Thirdly, its always clean. During my short stay and using the public transportation, I think Luxembourg has the cleanest, non-graffitied public transportation I have ever seen.


The Size Of The Supermarkets…

As a Brit, I grew up visiting huge supermarkets with the car and getting the weekly food shop. In the Netherlands this changed since there are SO MANY small supermarkets everywhere. Unless you really live in the countryside somewhere. In all big cities you can find a little supermarket in every neighbourhood, maybe even two or three!

Now that we’re in Luxembourg, we are back to big supermarkets again. And I’m loving it – as they have British goodies here too, such as custard cream biscuits, crumpets and dairy milk chocolate.

…And The Way Supermarkets Are With Fresh Produce

Following the previous paragraph, Luxembourg is great at providing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs without being packaged in any unwanted plastic. I hate that in the Netherlands (such as in Jumbo and Albert Heijn) you may want only one item such as a red pepper or cucumber but that it is covered in plastic packaging. This is of course not always the case and it has been improving, but it depends on the availability and what the shop offers. For Luxembourg, you can simply grab and go.

Just don’t forget the weigh the items and get the price sticker – something I forgot the first time shopping in Luxembourg!

The Landscape

Walking up and down the hills in Luxembourg city and the countryside is amazing. Something you definitely cannot experience in the Netherlands with it being so flat. There are so many hiking routes in the country that has elevation differences up to 500meters.  One of my favourite hiking routes I’ve discovered so far is the Mullerthal Trails.

The Self Car Washes

Living in the Netherlands, you would be living very close to a Do-It-Yourself car wash boxes. An easy open place where you drive up, stop in the center and stick some coins in the machine for the power jet and soap options. They are very popular in the Netherlands, with often a good 20min wait at the weekends. These are the ones that you wash the car yourself.

In Luxembourg there are only two. That’s right, only two of these DIY places available in the whole country. One in the North and one in the South. So it’s not as popular here it seems. I’ve been to both since being in Luxembourg, and they both had free spots each time – so at least there wasn’t any waiting time!

However there are of course standard car wash locations where you drive in and they wash your car while you sit inside. For those who like the machines to do it for you.

The Language

I have grown to LOVE the Luxembourg language of Luxembourgish. I think it was just as hard to learn as Dutch, but since I’ve mastered the pronunciation of Dutch, that has helped learn the pronunciation of Luxembourgish.

Some of the most useful words I’ve learn’t are:

  • Moien – Morning
  • Prost – Cheers!
  • Äddi – Goodbye
  • Jo/ Neen – Yes/No

Getting Post Delivered

In Luxembourg, getting post and parcels delivered by the local La Post Luxembourg is extremely difficult if your name is not on the post box. Thats right, you might have the address and number perfectly written, but if your name is not on the postbox or your door this will cause issues.

Since I have only lived for 2 months temporary, I didn’t get much delivered luckily. But the odd things I did order during my stay (which also includes food deliveries) they all had a problem due to name missing.

Now if we compared to the Netherlands, they like to just leave parcels literally anywhere. Whether its with a neighbour so they dont have to take it back with them, at a pick up location or even just on the floor outside your house if its possible. They definitely don’t care about what name is on the postbox as long as the address is correct.

air mail letter sticker

The Coins

Luxembourg still uses the little 1 cent and 2 cent coins, which was a surprise when I got them as change from the supermarket.

Many shops in the Netherlands will actually refuse to accept the 1 cent and 2 cent euro coins as payment on the grounds that they are not used anymore – which is true. When shopping in the Netherlands, everything gets either rounded up or down to 5 cents or 0 cents. So you will hardly see these tiny coins!

The Kitchen Roll

This might be a funny one, but the kitchen roll paper I ended up buying is half the size of the usual kitchen roll in the UK and in the Netherlands. I think this is good, like do we really need a whole sheet when half the sheet is normally fine? Definitely one to look out for when your living abroad in Luxembourg.

2nd Hand Shopping Stores

I’m personally a big fan of 2nd hand shopping and would rummage through any store any day for a good bargin or unique antique item. So far in Luxembourg I’ve found only 2 clothes-related shops for this. I’m sure there are more in the country, but it’s definitely not the same as in the Netherlands. For example, the city of Rotterdam easily has 6 or 7 locations I can think of easily that sell 2nd hand items – so I miss that a little!

The Weather

Luxembourg weather is I think pretty comparable to the Netherlands. It rains a lot, the sun shines, it can get warm in summer and cold in winter. Seeing as Luxembourg is only 2 hours from the border of the Netherlands, it’s not that far away for much difference.

As an extra though, when it snows, it seems to stay much longer and much prettier in the higher altitudes. Which would make sense since the Netherlands is so flat and mostly below sea water. Our Snow In Luxembourg and Winter Luxembourg City posts are a great example of the winter snow in the northern region as well as in the capital city!

heart shaped snowball with Luxembourg in the background

The Cleanest City

A little the same as the third comment about the public transportation. This time about the city of Luxembourg! From my 25+ years of travelling abroad all over the world, Luxembourg I think is the one of the cleanest cities I have ever visited. I don’t see anyone littering, bins are kept clean, local parks have no dog litter, nature reserves are pure nature and the main city square never had a piece of McDonalds trash on the floor.

The Supermarket Trollies

In the Netherlands, you don’t need a coin or special token to use one of the shopping trollies. You can simply take one from the storage area and off you shop. In Luxembourg, my first week was having to find a coin to get a trolley, since baskets were simply not big enough for bigger shopping trips. Plus I NEVER had any coins!

Check Out My Other Luxembourg Posts!

Day Trip In Luxembourg City

Christmas In Luxembourg

The Mullerthal Trail: Hiking, Waterfalls & Forest Fun!

Snow In Luxembourg

Luxembourg Gift Guide: Local Luxembourg Presents and Ideas

Snow In Luxembourg Capital City: Winter White Wonderland

20 Practical, Pretty and Useful Luxembourgish Words

Summary Living Abroad In Luxembourg Vs Netherlands

From my short stay in Luxembourg, I can most definitely say I love living in the country as while Expat In Luxembourg. I’m sure there are a lot more differences compared to the Netherlands, which I will add more when I spot them. If you know some fun, unique or weird differences between Luxembourg and the Netherlands yourself, add them in the comments!

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  • Reply
    13th March 2021 at 11:18 am

    I went to Luxembourg for a weekend back in 2018 when I lived in Frankfurt. I found it to be very lovely, clean and pretty city! It’s nice to read about your experience as an expat 🙂

    • Reply
      14th March 2021 at 10:24 pm

      I love all these comparisons right down to the shopping trolley! I’d really like to visit Luxembourg one day

  • Reply
    13th March 2021 at 12:58 pm

    Great to read your comparison between the Netherlands and Luxembourg. I’ve only been to Luxembourg for a few vacations, but have lived my whole life in the Netherlands. The kitchen roll is a fun one. I remember them being larger in the US.

  • Reply
    13th March 2021 at 2:49 pm

    I love reading comparisons between different countries. I haven’t been to Luxembourg yet but it’s on my list for this year (hopefully)!

  • Reply
    13th March 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Really interesting comparison. I’ve never been to the Netherlands, but I have been to Luxembourg so found myself nodding along with many of these things. I loved that the city was super clean and the transport was great. You’re making me want to visit Luxembourg again. Although the one thing I noticed there was it was so quiet and everything closed quite early. Very strange as a tourist coming into a capital city. I never knew some European countries had cut out the 1c and 2c coins. I’m in Canada and we did that a few years ago, it’s much better now.

  • Reply
    13th March 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Loved reading about your experience in Luxembourg. I’ve never personally been but its so cool to see the different cultural components!

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