Some Additional Background
In general Luxembourg is one of the more stable European countries with a high standard of living and low crime. There are a few misconceptions, for example there are no taxes to pay, this myth is just that a myth. Another popular one is that companies come here just to avoid tax. The latter is also changing, Amazon for example have a large number of employees here due to the good multilingual skills base which is available. As a private person you will pay tax and other contributions if you are a resident here and frankly I don’t mind. In return for this you do get very good public services, for example the health system functions well and public transport mainly in the cities is accessible and cheap.
The country has a Monarchy which is generally well liked and seems much more down to earth than those in other European Countries.
As a relatively new arrival I don’t think it’s fair of me to criticise any political structures or people so I won’t and to be honest there is little reason to do so. I have found the National Government here to be surprisingly competent and dynamic, certainly more so than the UK. This is quite surprising given they have been in power for so long! In general though they are pretty enlightened especially when it comes to setting up a university and trying to diversify the economy away from banking. If the university & research experience is anything to go by and a similar dynamism exists elsewhere in Government then I’d give them good marks. Strange as I am not normally a fan of Governments. As one Luxembourger said to me, the PM is rather like a CEO of a very large company. The small size of the country probably means they can be more responsive than in many other countries. Also the politicians in general here seem to be pragmatic rather than dogmatic which is a marked change from say the UK or US.
There is a parliament here which is elected every few years, the main political parties being the CSV, LSAP and the Democratic Party. The Greens and ADR also kick around. There is currently a coalition Government and as I said the results so far have been a pretty stable country. There are a number of big issues which need to be tackled so we shall see how these are handled over the coming years.
On a local level Luxembourg City is run by the Democratic Party in coalition with the Greens who from what I can see have also done a good job. Services function, the streets are clean and they do try to make sure a range of interesting events are available throughout the year. Again I’d give them good marks.
The only criticism that can be made against things here is that when politicians local or national do try to do something which is necessary they are often blocked by vested interests very quickly. This applies to planning permission as much as it does to reforming education. In general from what I have seen the politicians do try to do the right thing but it does not take long for a handful of people to disrupt plans. Basically as the population here is much smaller it takes far fewer people to cause mayhem and block something than it does in say the UK. This does result in things becoming deathly slow or often being killed off.
Luxembourg has a free press which so far does not seem to copy the rubbish style of celebrity journalism that is an acute problem in the UK and Germany – you won’t for example find a Boris Becker equivalent on the front page in some sex scandal everyday. Wort is probably the largest newspaper here and provides also an English language section online. There are also a variety of radio channels which broadcast in various languages plus many channels are available from the surrounding countries.
So overall I’d say come here, Luxembourg often gets the wrong press and is described as one giant bank or as many German politicans call it “bandit country”. This is totally unfair in my view and the country has a lot to offer people.