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Why Luxembourg workers choose to live over the border
Culture & Life

Why Luxembourg workers choose to live over the border

2 min. 01.08.2017 From our online archive
Life milestones such as starting a family and trying to overcome language barriers are some of the motivations behind leaving Luxembourg to live in France, Germany or Belgium.

Buying power, children's education and cultural difficulties such as language barriers are the main reasons Luxembourg workers choose to live in a bordering country, according to a research study.

Analysis carried out by researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) looked into the quality of life of Luxembourg's cross-border workers, examining trends behind a move to France, Germany or Belgium while continuing to work in the Grand Duchy.

The study revealed the two main age brackets when Luxembourg employees make the decision to live over the border are under 30 years (38 per cent) and 30-39 years (40 per cent).

This proved to be substantially higher than the 17 per cent of 40-49-year-olds and the five per cent of those aged over 50 who make the same choice.

Germany top choice for education system move

The main motivations for becoming a cross-border worker were for financial gain, mainly due to lower real estate costs, reaching a point in life when settling down is a priority and cultural reasons.

While most of the people who took part in the study lived in Luxembourg city or in a dense urban area before their move, they opted for more of a rural environment as soon as they started life as a commuter.

Real estate prices in rural areas of France, Germany and Belgium are lower than in Luxembourg, even in rural areas of Luxembourg, which gives cross-border workers more purchasing power and allows them to benefit from a lifestyle choice which would otherwise be harder to achieve.

"The second reason was due to life cycle events such as moving after getting married or child birth," LISER researcher Philippe Gerber, who led the study and specialises is urban development and mobility and cross-border integration, explained.

Cultural reasons was another factor, which can be to overcome language barriers or to move to a different education system.

More cross-border workers living in Germany said they moved for the education system, mainly linked to the fact that primary school children first learn German in the Luxembourgish system, which makes the transition into a school in Germany easier than if they moved to France or Belgium.

Prepared for long commutes

The study also looked at the shift in transport choices, with a 15 per cent increase in people who travel to work by car following their move and a decrease of 6.9 per cent in those who use the bus.

"It showed that having a pleasant living environment was more important to people than satisfying travel mode choices," Gerber added.

"People know there are traffic jams for cross-border workers, they know there are commuting problems but the study shows they are prepared to make that sacrifice."

(Heledd Pritchard, heledd.pritchard@wort.lu, +352 49 93 459)