Discovering Deutschland: 7 Reasons Why Germany Attracts So Many Expats – For many expats, Germany serves as the prime example of what a great life abroad can look like. The strong economy, democratic values, diverse population, and great social benefits are all magnetic pulls for people from around the world. Major cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich sit among the upper echelons of the global economy and host increasingly international populations. Meanwhile, many expats have settled in medium cities and small towns throughout this fascinating country to experience traditional German life and culture.
Expat Empire has a special connection to Germany as it’s where our founder, David McNeill, first started building the company. We’ve written about various negative experiences based on David’s three years living and working in the capital Berlin before he and his wife fell in love with Porto, Portugal. From the experiences of getting hit with unexpected €1,000+ fines to struggling to establish an internet connection at home to navigating maddening banking bureaucracy to battling the apathy of local government officials in becoming a legal resident to chasing down landlords to sign paperwork before deadlines, we’ve done our fair share of cautioning expats about the unexpected troubles someone may experience with German bureaucracy.
Though you may experience some struggle along the way to making Germany your home, there are also many benefits to living in Germany that make the country a great place to settle within Europe. We will walk you through many of the top reasons people around the world are flocking to Germany in this blog post. There are plenty of great reasons that people around the world are setting their sights on Germany.
Prioritizing A Great Work-Life Balance
Germany’s industrious culture is partly responsible for the excellent international standing the country is in today. While clearly a stereotype, the image of precise and hardworking Germans has some truth to it. What might be somewhat of a surprise is how much value Germans put in a long and relaxing holiday.
By law, all German citizens and residents are entitled to a minimum of 24 days of vacation time per year. With weekends not included in the number, the majority of this block of time typically gets dedicated to most of the months of July and August. In fact, it may seem like the majority of the country skips town for a month of summer to head to Spain, Italy, Greece, or Turkey, getting the most out of the hottest part of the year. Some parts of the country such as Bavaria enjoy more than 30 days of annual vacation leave due to their celebration of additional religious holidays.
Knowing What to Expect: Clearly-Outlined Standards and Rules
Hardly anyone looks forward to the day when they need to visit a government office for something and the same is true for German citizens and residents. It’s no secret that German bureaucracy can be a huge pain to navigate if someone isn’t prepared when they arrive. This is often simply due to a strong sense of civil duty and relatively low amount of corruption in government. Although it may seem nitpicky or even cruel at times, the government workers have to abide by strict rules and protocols.
Thankfully, this also results in a predictable system. When getting an appointment at a government office, the times are specific down to the minute. If your appointment is at 9:24, you can be sure that they will be waiting for your appearance at 9:24, no earlier and no later. With proper preparation done beforehand and a strict adherence to appointment times, visits to government offices can be just another normal part of the day.
Connection to Nature: Germany’s Love for Green Spaces
Getting out of the city and spending time outdoors in the summer is an important pastime for Germans. Parks make up approximately 27% of the entire land area of Germany and are well within reach of every city and town in the country. Even with Germany’s extensive urban areas, industrial zones, and agricultural regions, you can always bet that there is a place close by where you can take a breath in serene silence.
Even big cities like Berlin are also well known for their extensive city park system. Berlin’s city parks have a great reputation of being clean, safe, and full of a wide range of plant species. Berlin’s Botanischer Garten is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world. In 2007, Berlin’s first airfield, Tempelhof Airport, was closed and converted into a massive open green space. In recent years, it has become the site of many outdoor events throughout the summer.
The Power of the Brew: A Strong Appreciation for Beer
It would be foolish to consider all the wonderful things about Germany without mentioning the omnipresence of delicious beer. In 1516, the first law dictating the ingredients of beer, known as the Reinheitsgebot, was passed in Bavaria. This helped to cement the standard of quality demanded by the German people. For many years, it’s easy to find a high quality brew poured from tap to glass virtually everywhere.
The cultural reliance on high-quality beer actually stems from the medieval ages, when water was often contaminated and unsafe to drink. Beer, on the other hand, is sterilized during the brewing process. The standard German lagers, for instance, typically have a water content of around 95%. Meanwhile, that remaining 5% is well-known to help make social gatherings just a bit more fun.
Great Connectivity: Advantages of Being Based in Central Europe
Germany’s geographical position near the middle of Western Europe makes it a great hub to travel from. With an incredibly dense network of high-speed trains and Autobahns, travel to every part of the country can be done within a day. Germany also borders nine countries by land, namely Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, and Poland. Each one of these countries is a member of the Schengen Area, which allows for free travel across borders within the zone.
Germany is also a hub for air travel, containing the fifth largest air passenger market in the world. Major airports such as those located in Frankfurt and Munich have nonstop flights to hundreds of destinations around the world. Secondary airports in Germany, such as those in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Cologne have many daily flights to all corners of Europe and vacation destinations in the Mediterranean.
Taking Global Influences: Germany’s Inclusive Attitudes
From the rebuilding of West Germany after World War II and after the reunification with East Germany, the country adopted an inclusive stance on immigration. This was largely in response to a need for workers and a low birth rate among citizens. Eventually, millions of immigrants from Turkey, Poland, Syria, and countries around the world have added their own threads to the densely-woven fabric of German society.
Regardless of their social standing, country of origin, or native language, immigrants ranging from expats to refugees have found an open society willing to move forward together. Since Germany has a liberal immigration regime compared with other European Union (EU) states, it is often the springboard for immigrants to disperse elsewhere in the EU once they’ve achieved permanent residency or citizenship. One of the most popular residence permits for non-EU citizens with good jobs wanting to live in Europe is the EU Blue Card, and Germany makes it relatively easy to get one while providing an easier route to Blue Card holders to get permanent residence in Germany.
A High Quality of Life: Finding An Excellent Place to Settle
Germany continues to rank higher and higher year after year in measures for quality of life. The United Nations ranks Germany as the 6th most developed country in the world in its most recent report. The average yearly income was over €42,000 in 2019, placing Germany as the 16th richest country in the world per capita. While the cost of living in large cities is high compared to many places in the EU, salaries are some of the highest in the world.
The German economy attracts companies and employees from all over the world, making Germany an excellent place to seek out a new job, continue a career, or open a new company. In the wake of Brexit, Germany has become Europe’s new technology hub due to well-established industry and infrastructure, a high percentage of English speakers, and access to the entire EU economy. Many native English-speaking expats have been able to use their unique skill sets to become valuable assets for German companies.
Working with the Best: Taking Advice from Experienced Expats
Despite some of the challenges some of us have experienced in the past while setting up a home in Germany, it has always been the start of something wonderful. The strong work ethic and desire for a healthy work-life balance as well as good social benefits all make for an attractive place to build your career. For time away from work, Germans really appreciate the outdoors and socializing. Germany can be an incredibly fulfilling place to live. We can help you get there.
Expat Empire is composed of expats that want to help other expats in their moves abroad. Our consultants and partners know the ins and outs of moving to Germany as well as many countries around Europe and the rest of the world. We offer a range of personalized consulting services that will help you move to Germany or wherever you want to go!