Tom was born and raised in the small village of Bech in the Eastern part of Luxembourg. Since his teenage years, he has been passionate about books, foreign languages and traveling. In 1999, he moved to London to pursue his university studies. After having completed his BA, he moved to Sweden to take a second degree. In 2008, he returned to Luxembourg where he took up a job as a researcher at the Department for Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Luxembourg. He has been involved in local politics in his home municipality between 2011 and 2017. He now lives in Luxembourg City.
What studies did you do and what is your main activity?
I studied History at Queen Mary, University of London. After completing my BA, I decided to continue my studies and move to Umeå, Sweden. Here, I took a degree in Human Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Umeå. In 2008, I returned to Luxembourg and found a job at the University of Luxembourg. I have been working as a researcher at the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning ever since. My main fields of research are European urban policies, urban development and housing in Luxembourg, urban sustainability, best practice transfer and urban policy mobilities. Currently I am also doing my PhD at Ghent University (Belgium).
How long have you been in Luxembourg?
I was born and raised in Luxembourg. As Luxembourg did not have a university at the time I took my A-levels, I decided to study abroad. I came back to Luxembourg after having lived in the UK and Sweden for almost 9 years.
Tell us a few things that have surprised you after you came back to Luxembourg?
After coming back to Luxembourg, I had the impression that the Grand Duchy had become even more internationalized compared to when I grew up here. More foreign languages were spoken in the streets of the capital and there were more cross-border commuters from Germany, Belgium and France.
Can you give me 3 adjectives to describe your life in the Grand Duchy?
Multicultural: every day I meet a broad mix of nationalities and cultures, which is reflected in all aspects of society, whether in restaurants, the arts, entertainment and sports.
Multilingual: every day I speak at least four different languages, both at work and outside of work.
Open: every day I try to be open and to accommodate different attitudes or opinions with regard to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments and experiences. I see openness and respect as prerequisites for multiculturalism and multilingualism.
What aspects of Luxembourg did you miss when you lived abroad?
I really missed the cross-border interconnections that you find in the Greater Region. Crossing borders is part of your everyday life when you live in Luxembourg whereas it is a much bigger deal when you live on an island (like the UK) or in the north of Sweden (periphery).
What is your preferred district in Luxembourg and why?
I absolutely adore Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland (Müllerthal or Mëllerdall), not only because I grew up in this part of the country, but because the hilly landscape reminiscent of Switzerland in the East of the Grand Duchy is simply adorable. For thousands of years soil erosion has created this unique landscape with its very rare biotopes.
Why have you decided to join the JUST ARRIVED Ambassadors club?
I joined the Just Arrived Ambassadors club because I felt Luxembourg as the hosting country needed to be represented in this network. Apart from this, I love to interact with people from different communities and cultures and to learn from their experiences.