When I tried to find online shops in Luxembourg (for a Google Custom Search project) a few months ago, I came across many sites which looked like they had not been updated for years. My overall impression was that e-business in Luxembourg was mostly a matter of taking advantage of the low VAT rate to serve customers in other EU countries while nothing much was happing in Luxembourg itself. Consider the absurd example of Paypal, which now holds a Luxembourgish bank license and still does not allow it’s customers here to withdraw funds to a local bank account.
However, recent developments point in a very different direction. Here’s a list of internet projects which show that the e-conomy (sorry, I’ll stop this now 😉 ) is very much alive in Luxembourg:
- Hotcity.lu: Luxembourg city is offering free WiFi access with dozens of hotspots currently spread throughout the Oberstadt and plans to cover the entire city area! I tried it last Saturday and being able to access the internet for free and at a decent speed certainly increases the attractiveness of the city. Unfortunately, my laptop’s battery didn’t last as long as my girlfriend’s “shopping stamina”. BTW, Skype seems to be blocked.
- Power supplier Cegedel lets you save money by switching to electronic invoices and by providing them with your meter readings online.
- The local subsidiary of French hypermarket giant Auchan is selling a number of electronic and entertainment products on their website (not limited to customers from Luxembourg).
- Startup epicerie.lu is working on making the trip to the supermarket superfluous.
- Schoolbooks.lu – you guessed it – lets you order the books for your kid’s next school year.
While not as newsworthy as big players moving their European headquarters to Luxembourg, these developments certainly contribute to an “internet-friendly” climate in Luxembourg. Please leave a comment if you know other interesting projects.