Dear Amcham Members, Partners and Friends,
My friends in New York tell me that they hear that Luxembourg is boring with nothing going on… I tell them that they could not be more wrong!
It is true that New York could well stand as an extremely powerful and amazing country all on its own: it has the population size of many countries within its borders and as many resident nationalities as there are countries in the world; it is the largest financial center on the planet and hosts the United Nations; it has more hospital, libraries and universities than any other city in the United States (and perhaps the world!); it has more billionaires living within its borders than any other city on the planet: its zoos and botanical gardens are amazing; its theatre offerings are equal to or better than London; its sports teams, music scene and clubs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week; it has a bigger police force than Luxembourg has an army…. and even has its own air force; it has both great parks and beaches; New York’s food scene has planetary reach and its shopping has EVERYTHING you could possibly want to buy. People, young and old flock to New York for adventure, job and personal success… and they stay for their entire lives, with more post-retirement older people moving into the city than moving out! It is absolutely amazing and I loved growing up there!
So why do I, as a Native New Yorker, prefer to live in Luxembourg?
The answer for me is that Luxembourg, especially Luxembourg city, is like a mini-New York, a thriving, successful, multi-cultural, international city… at a much more manageable size! I have all of the international contacts and friends I love; the tram is safe and reliable; the food and shopping are great…; the international business sector is vibrant; we have 1/3rd of the EU bureaucracy which runs Europe; and in 15 minutes I can be driving in my sports car through forests and fields into the countryside (listening to the Beach Boys on my car stereo!).
And there are two more reasons I love and live in Luxembourg at this time in my life…
The first of these is that the Luxembourg people are wonderful! Is there any other country on the planet so welcoming to foreigners? I am sure having so many foreigners in this country is a bit unnerving and perhaps even frightening to the native Luxembourg population (especially with a national motto which says “We want to remain as we are!”).
Like many of you, during the first few years after my arrival in Luxembourg in September of 1992, I had friendly but shallow friendships with most of the many Luxembourgers I met and lived mostly in a foreigner bubble with other international people. I did in those early days after first arriving manage to have (and still have) several (but not many) deeper Luxembourgish friendships, by whom I did not feel fully accepted and who kept me a bit at arms length. Amazingly this all changed overnight after I had been here for ten years. Suddenly, I was regularly being invited into the kitchens and back yards of my native Luxembourg acquaintances and to other more personal activities. When I asked why I was suddenly more welcomed than before, more inside the tent, more treated as family, they all said the same thing… they said they had waited until they were sure I would stay with them because at other times in their lives they had been hurt by foreigner friends who suddenly and abruptly left… and preferred to have more intense and deep friendships. It goes without saying that this touched me deeply and makes me absolutely appreciate and cherish my special Luxembourg friends who so kindly have made me feel almost like family! This is something really special about Luxembourg people….and something very hard to find in the hustle and bustle of a mega and more transactional New York!
The other reason I love living and working in Luxembourg now is because I have the opportunity, privilege and pleasure to serve you all as the Chairman and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce! I am deeply honored to have your respect and the privilege to serve you, to be able still to make a contribution, to feel valued. I am very grateful and sincerely thank you all!
Wow, I did not really plan on saying all of that…
For the past 20 plus years I have lived in Howald in the Hesperange Commune – just outside the city, over the train tracks from the central railroad station. My neighborhood is terrific and my commune is of the highest quality. I have always felt a very warm and highly professional welcome whenever I have gone to the town hall. To a large degree the credit for this goes to the guy at the top, Mayor Marc Lies. He is running for reelection over the summer and has my full support for his professionalism, smart and caring leadership and welcoming friendliness. He does a great job getting things done and is hyper focused on serving his constituents. I have asked him and he has graciously accepted to be interviewed in this week’s Newsletter. I consider him a great mayor and hope he will be reelected to continue to serve. Enjoy his interview.
Please also enjoy our other great business focused articles, sign up to attend our next town hall communal election meeting and find out the current update about the wonderful Barnes International 10th Polo International tournament, which we co-sponsor with Polo Club Luxembourg on 7,8,9 July.
If you have any problems, let me know HERE and we will try our best to help. And, if you are not yet an AMCHAM member, contact me HERE so I (or another member of our team), can contact you and explain all of the benefits of AMCHAM membership (regardless of your nationality, you will be most welcome to join and thrive as part of our family!). If you do not have a FREE subscription to this digital weekly AMCHAM Newsletter, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details saying you want to be subscribed and we will sign you up with pleasure. If you are not yet an AMCHAM Member Benefits Card (MBC) participant or partner, please contact Jorge HERE and he will explain everything to bring you on board!
Thanks for allowing the AMCHAM team to serve you!
With my respect and very best wishes,
Paul Michael Schonenberg
Chairman and CEO