Which tiny country offers huge tax incentives to some of the world’s largest corporations? The tempting answer is Panama, but truth be told you don’t have to travel outside Europe to find a tax haven. Say hello to Luxembourg, the world’s last remaining Grand Duchy. Yes, you heard correctly, Luxembourg is still under the rule of a duke, the royal honourable Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume. Bit of a mouthful isn’t it.
And if you thought that was quirky, Luxembourgers also have a bizarre tradition when it comes to buying flowers. It’s apparently customary to only give an odd number, excluding 13 of course, unless you want a black widow crawling out from your roses.
But why are we telling you all this? Well, SilverDoor currently has 24 serviced apartments in the country, and a trip there was on the cards.
For a taste of all things “grand duchy”, Senior Key Account Manager, Jack Bryson and Elisa Wertgarner, Account Manager, joined forces to visit our property partners in Luxembourg. Here’s what they discovered:
Breakdown of the country
Luxembourg is a landlocked country which borders Belgium, France and Germany. It’s divided into twenty-four districts, which cover the major neighbourhoods and suburbs of the capital, Luxembourg City.
Despite being one of the smallest nations in Europe it boasts an advanced economy and has the world’s second highest GDP per capita.
Luxembourgish, French and German are the county’s three official languages, but as an international business hub, English is also widely spoken.
Work permit requirements
EU nationals don’t require work permits in order to work in Luxembourg. International/non EU residents, however, require one in order to legally live and work in the country for longer than 3 months.
Work permits are typically applied for by potential employers. In most cases you’ll need one before applying for a residence permit or long stay visa. Registration for a work permit is usually done at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, near the Gare quarter.
International/non EU residents must obtain both a valid entry visa, or temporary authorisation to stay (AST), and residence permit in order to work as an expat in Luxembourg. The AST categories include: salaried worker, transferred worker and independent worker.
When applying for an AST you must present the following:
- A certified copy of your valid passport
- Your birth certificate
- Your curriculum vitae
- A copy of your police record
- Certified copies of your diplomas and other professional qualifications, with official translations if necessary
- An employment contract dated and signed both by you and your employer
- A letter of motivation to support your application
- The original recent certificate issued by National Employment Agency, which confirms that your employer has approval to offer a foreigner the position
Residence permit requirements
Applications for a residence permit must be made within the first three days of arriving in Luxembourg. Non EU visitors are required to visit the authorities of their municipality (the town/district where they’re planning to stay long term) in order to make a declaration of arrival.
There you’ll be given an application form and be asked to present some/all of the following:
- A valid travel document
- A current health certificate
- A housing contract
- A police record of good conduct or a character reference (if required)
You’ll also require certified copies of the following:
- Identity document/passport (valid for at least six months)
- A work contract
- A marriage/partnership certificate (if applicable)
- A certificate of registration as a European citizen (if applicable)
- Proof of relationship with an EU citizen you’re accompanying/joining (if applicable)
As Europe’s leading investment management centre, Luxembourg is a popular destination for business travel, and, as such, has many serviced accommodation options throughout the country.
Of the 24 which SilverDoor provide, there are suites, corporate and studio lodgings available in one, two, three and four bedroom configurations to suit the size of your group.
All properties are equipped Wi-Fi and maid services, with additional parking and laundry services available.
Temporary housing in Luxembourg is generally more expensive compared to other EMEA cities, but the standard generally goes hand-in-hand with the cost.
Jack and Elisa’s recommended apartments
Typically on arrival at Luxembourg Findel Airport, Neudorf is the first district which visitors will enter and be able to register for residency in. But the vast majority of the county’s serviced apartments are to be found elsewhere.
After viewing several properties in Kirchberg, Limpertsberg, Gare, Belair and Strassen, and sampling some local cuisine along way, we made the following recommendations:
The Gare quarter is one of the best areas for transport links, with the train and bus station servicing the whole of Luxembourg.
The Queen Luxury Apartments
There you’ll find The Queen Luxury Serviced Apartments, which promise all the comforts of a top hotel with the freedom of a home. The apartments include Villas Fiorita, Giada, Gemma and Giorgia. Comfort arrives in the form of careful attention to decoration, colour and furniture to ensure a friendly, unique atmosphere.
All apartments are available for short or long term stays, and can easily accommodate families as well as single travellers.
The Villa Cortina Apartments offer corporate serviced accommodation that’s just a five minute walk to Luxembourg railway station.
These studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments have fully equipped kitchens with an oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Some include two bathrooms and a choice of double, twin or single beds.
The living areas include a dining table, fireplace, flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi. A maid service is provided once a week.
A minimum stay of 7 nights starts at €200 per night. For visits longer than 28 nights, the rate reduces to €175.
On the same street lies the Glesener Apartment, which, in keeping with Villa Cortina’s quality furnishings, packs a fully equipped kitchen, flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi in each of its units.
For a 7 night stay at the Glesener it’s €300 per night. For visits longer than 28 nights, the rate reduces to €250.
On the west side of the city centre is Belair, famous for the national stadium, Stade Josy Barthel, which takes its name from Luxembourg’s only Olympic gold medal winner, who, in the 1952 Summer Olympics won the Men’s 1,500 metres.
Despite being a quiet district, it’s bustling with amenities: quaint shops and good schools ensure Belair remains an upscale neighbourhood, with most of the 20 – 40 something population living in private houses with gardens.
It follows that the serviced apartment accommodation options available throughout the area cater for both single travellers and families.
These studio apartments are less than a 15 minute drive from Findel Airport. Thanks to their convenient location they’re a popular choice among business travellers.
They comprise a living area, kitchen facilities, bed and bathroom, as well as concierge and reception facilities. A maid service runs once weekly.
Each apartment has a flat screen TV with satellite channels and, although the apartments don’t have a washing machine or dryer, residents can make use of the on-site laundry facilities for free.
There’s on-site parking available at €16 per night and a welcome pack is available on request.
Rates start at €170 for minimum stay of 7 nights, decreasing to €140 over a 28 day period.
Villa Medici units provide corporate serviced accommodation in the centre of Luxemburg City. Think spacious rooms and snazzy design elements.
The property sports modern one and two bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens, expansive living/dining areas and one bathroom. On-site parking is available at the property at an additional charge.
Its living areas boast flat screen TVs, a DVD player, Hi-Fi/stereos and free wireless internet is included throughout the stay. Housekeeping is provided once a week.
The rate depends on the number of guests in the apartment, starting at €200 for 7 nights, decreasing to €170 after 28 nights.
Further west of Belair is Strassen. This small town is home to many of the Luxembourg’s banks and insurance companies. Regular transport into Luxembourg City means it’s also a popular destination to travel from.
Despite being one of the country’s most expensive towns, along with Bertrange and Mamer, a stay in a serviced apartment here can be had at a cost effective rate.
A mere 20 minute walk from Bertrange – Strassen railway station, and 8 miles from Luxembourg Findel Airport, this apart-hotel makes special allowances for infants and pets, which makes it ideal for anyone relocating or staying for an extended period.
Each studio and one bedroom apartment comes with one bathroom with a bath and a shower. The one bedroom duplex apartments meanwhile include a kitchenette.
The option of a two bedroom apartment is possible, subject to availability, by connecting a one bedroom apartment with an adjacent studio unit. This two bedroom configuration has a kitchenette and two bathrooms.
For a 7 night stay it’s €100 per night. For visits longer than 28 nights, the rate reduces to €89.
Each living area features a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a direct dial telephone. Free wireless broadband is also available within the apartments. On-site facilities include a cafe bar and free parking.
To the north – east of Luxembourg City, lie Luxembourg’s European Union institutions including the European Court of Justice and the European School of Luxembourg. The quarter also houses the multi-purpose Luxexpo exhibition centre.
The newer part of Kirchberg is very much expat oriented with restaurants, cafés, a bank, gym and a hospital in touching distance of each other. For large food shopping trips there’s Auchan which lines its shelves with all range of international produce to satisfy the cosmopolitan palette.
Housing wise, most of the properties in the area are purpose built and look very similar. Canberra Apartments keep the keep standards high with opulent individual rentals and exceptional housekeeping services.
All one bedroom units at this apart-hotel have a double bed, bathroom, open-plan living area and fully equipped kitchen.
On warm summer nights, guests can sit out on a private balcony with a locally brewed beer in hand – we recommend a bottle of Diekirch.
Costs start at €100 for 28 nights. As a new provider, full rates are yet to be agreed, and negotiable on request.
Luxembourg’s other expat hub is on the north – west side of the city.
Limpertsberg packs a strong selection of shops, a large open air car park to the south – which annually hosts the Schueberfouer fair – and adjacent to that the historic, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg.
This safe family-centric area of Luxembourg is just as homely when it comes to temporary accommodation.
One and two bedroom units at the Limpertsberg apartment come equipped with toasters, dishwashers and combination microwaves, for meals in minutes.
For the more outdoorsy business traveller, there’s the option of a terrace area; and for those that prefer to slog it out on the sofa for an evening, the 37” flat screen HDTVs provided will not disappoint.
Safety is guaranteed through office hour security, and for those with children there’s babysitting services available at an additional cost. Laundry meanwhile can be done either communally or via an additional dry cleaning facility.
For a minimum 7 night stay it’s €170. But after 28 nights the cost decreases to €140.
Even though it’s only a small country, Luxembourg has plenty to offer in the way of serviced apartments. For a list of apartments available in the country see here.