Short background on Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a small country with a population of 626 100 of which 47,4% are foreigners. 88% of these foreigners are European, the largest foreign populations coming from Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany. Luxembourg is a wealthy country with a minimum wage of (qualified) 2570euros/month and a GDP per capita of EUR 92,600 (Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg, 2020; EACEA, 2020; STATEC, 2020).
Workers from France, Belgium and Germany come to work in Luxembourg, most of them commute more than 40 minutes each way to work. These border workers account to 45% of salaried employments in Luxembourg (Chambre de Commerce, 2019). This area is called the ‘Greater Region’ and these governments have joint agreements where the border workers pay taxes in Luxembourg, benefit from higher income and enjoy Luxembourgish benefits (Finck, 2015). This kind of cross-border movement can be considered spatial integration as the individual’s workplace is in a different country to their place of residence, but it is also social integration as they have hobbies, social networks and attitudes toward the visiting country. Further it is also economic migration, where workers seek better employment opportunities elsewhere (Drevon, Gerber, Klein, & Enaux, 2018; Fromentin, 2021). One of the reasons there is such a phenomenon is due to the high housing prices in Luxembourg (Clevers, Mathä, Pulina, Strásky, Woloszko, & Ziegelmeyer, 2020).
My own experience
Having been born and raised in Luxembourg, and later on raised in Belgium, my family was also crossing the border daily to work in Luxembourg and my siblings and I for school. For nine years we used to live just by the border of Luxembourg, my siblings and I have always attended the same school in Luxembourg irrespective of where we lived and my parents always worked in Luxembourg. The experiences of my family align with the findings of Drevon et al., as our family often did a trip of home-work/school-home. Drevon et al. found that 54% of cross-border workers did a trip of home-work/school-home. Further my family would fall under the ‘Integrated’ cross-border worker of Drevon et al.’s study. These families were living close to the border, performed most of their activities like shopping, hobbies in Luxembourg and a few activates in their country of residence. Oftentimes, we did activities in Luxembourg during the weekends such as going shopping, swimming or meeting up with friends. Our house was in Belgium, but our friends, hobbies, activities were in Luxembourg and we spent more time in Luxembourg than Belgium, and that’s why I felt very attached to Luxembourg, and my siblings felt the same way. When we moved back to Luxembourg, life got easier as commuting time shortened and the stress of traffic and planning were practically diminished. It felt like we were moving back home. Thus, I did not feel integrated into Belgium, I was very much attached to Luxembourg and saw that as my home.
Author is a student at the University of helsinki
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