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Is Germany A Good Place to Live? What You Need to Know

Is Germany A Good Place to Live? What You Need to Know

Germany is an enchanting land full of magical forests, legendary folklore, and some of the best Käsespätzle I’ve ever had. It ranks as the 15th most peaceful country, and the ambiance when you roam the streets is truly unmatched.

Germany is thriving with history, and culture, and is quite the hotspot for travelers. This wonderful country sees 163 million tourists annually. With its bumping atmosphere and world-famous brews, you may have thought about becoming a permanent citizen.

After all, it’s a first-world country and a member of the European Union, which are attractive selling points. Let’s get into a breakdown by city and explore this magnificent country.

Germany’s Major Cities

Berliln view over the River Spree to Nikolaiviertel and Alexanderplatz

It’s no surprise that Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne are some of the biggest cities in Germany. They are the holy grail of culture, entertainment, and job opportunities.

Berlin, the country’s capital, is ranked as the eighth-best city globally. Munich scores an impressive fourth place spot as the most livable city worldwide. Who would’ve thought that the home of the hamburger, Hamburg, ended up being Germany’s most livable city? Cologne also has a very high rating when considering quality of life.

Pros of Living in Germany

Aerial of Munich, Germany
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Germany, like many other countries, has its pros and cons. Let’s explore the good and the bad of this magnificent European country.

1. Natural Beauty

Aerial autumn panorama of Chempark (Bayerwerk) plant in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
uslatar / Adobe Stock

The landscape in Germany is truly breathtaking. Escape and wander through the endless stunning green hills.

There are plentiful Bavarian forests for you to explore. And who can forget the iconic Black Forest? Let’s not forget the majestic mountainous regions and the epic Rhine River Valley.

Germany is filled with many medieval castles, cathedrals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hiking trails, and panoramic spots. Hopefully, you have a lot of space on your phone to take pictures.

Germany has over 1,000 different types of forests, and almost 13% of the country is made up of forests. There are also many parks throughout the country for people to enjoy.

There are many lakes in Germany, which makes it a great place to go swimming or boating during the summer months. According to a study by Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index, Dortmund in North-Rhine Westphalia is the fourth greenest city on the planet.

The Black Forest region is the largest forested area in Germany. The Black Forest is named after its main feature, black pine trees. Many types of plants and animals live in the forest including the European wildcat and Eurasian Lynx.

However – it’s not all sunshine here. Germany has some of the largest CO2 emissions in Europe, about twice those of France. Nonetheless, the government has successfully reduced pollution in air and water over the last decade.

2. Plenty of Nearby Countries

It’s pretty hard to get bored of Germany. If you’d like a change of scenery, you can head over to see other European countries in just a few hours’ drive. As a child, my family would frequently hop over to the Czech Republic.

Check out the beauty of Eastern Europe by visiting Poland or Hungary. Head to southern Europe for a delicious adventure in Greece or Italy.

For a more extended road trip, check out Belgium or Denmark. The possibilities are truly endless.

3. Phenomenal Public Transportation System

Red tram going on Hallmarkt square in front of Marktkirche church in old town
bbsferrari / Adobe Stock

Germany has an excellent public transportation system. The country has a well-developed network of German trains, buses, and subways.

Not only can you easily get around the country, but you can also check out different countries in Europe. All possible without owning a car. The easy access to public transportation fits the active German lifestyle.

4. Fascinating Culture And Lots of Entertainment

Polka Band Playing at Marienplatz, Munich
Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock.com

Germany has a rich culture reflected in its art, music, food, and architecture. The country has several world-renowned museums, concert halls, and theaters.

German food is hearty and includes a lot of meat and potatoes. But there are also many vegetarian options available.

Beer is the most popular drink in Germany, and there are many different types of beer. A lot of people in the world like to drink beer that is made in Germany.

Gutenberg Museum, Germany

German architecture is diverse and known for its use of wood and stone. The country has many well-preserved medieval villages and castles. Some museums are free in Germany on the first Sunday of every month, but almost all the shops in Germany are closed on Sundays.

See related articles: Best Museums in Germany

5. High Quality Food

Maybe I’m a bit biased with this one since I’m a foodie, but European food is top tier. It looks and tastes incredible, plus the ingredients are a much higher quality. Europe has banned quite a lot of terrible ingredients that are readily available in the United States.

Let your tastebuds discover why German beer is world renowned. Dig in to some Berliner Currywurst or a Döner. You can also keep it simple with Butterspätzle, the adult version of the kid-friendly favorite.

6. Strong Education System

Students in University of Bonn grounds
Sina Ettmer / Adobe Stock

Germany has a strong education system. Some of the best universities in the world are located in the country.

Students can access high-quality education at a fraction of the cost of studying in other countries. Some public universities even offer free tuition.

For example, Heidelberg University ranks in the top 100 universities in the world. Germany has a strong research focus in its university programs. Universities specializing in applications provide a wide range of practical courses emphasizing learning about technology and business operations.

student for education in Germany

Some schools in Germany may not accept a non-European school certificate. You may be required to complete a course known as Studienkolleg before studying in Germany.

7. Phenomenal Healthcare

Hand holding umbrella wood block cover Insurance icon
Jo Panuwat D / Adobe Stock

Public health care is very well funded, and accessible, and ranks as 4th globally by the World Index of Healthcare Innovation. Health insurance is mandatory for everyone living in Germany, regardless of their income level.

8. Employment Opportunities

Friendly receptionist woman working at desk in hotel lobby
NVB Stocker / Adobe Stock

Germany is an incredible place to work. The country has a strong economy and houses some of the world’s largest companies.

Think Volkswagen, Aldi, and BMW. Some companies have opportunities for non German speakers as well.

The minimum wage in Germany is €12.00 per hour, higher than the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25. On average, Germans make around €45,457 per year.

A lot of Germans are self-employed. Although starting a business in Germany can be challenging, the process is straightforward. Understanding the ropes might even save you money in the long run.

Among Germany’s most lucrative industries are pharmacy, banking, medicine, dentistry, business, law, and technical services. (Many factors, such as region, will come into play when determining wages.)

German firms are subject to two taxes: corporation tax and trade tax. This website provides a complete step by step guide for finding employment when moving to Germany.

9. Low Crime Rate

Kids participate in games, sweepstakes and learn new things in Germany
Igor_PS / Shuterstock

Overall, the crime rate is low in Germany and has been declining since 2016, according to statistica.com. The country did, however, see a spike in 2022.

If you decide to live in Germany, rest assured it’s a safe place. Pickpocketing can be an issue in places like airports and public transportation. But at the same time, violent crimes are rare.

Munich is ranked as one of the safest cities in Germany. The city has a crime index of 21.

See Related: Is Germany Safe to Visit? Things to Know

Cons of Living in Germany

Aerial view of Boppard, Germany
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

1. Language Barrier

Book German All-in-One For Dummies

As a tourist, you may be able to get by with just knowing some basic words. However, if living abroad is a part of your plans, learning a new language is essential, especially if you’re visiting smaller cities where there could be a language barrier.

Making friends might be a bit difficult without knowing the local language, although many Germans know some English. Let’s be honest. You don’t want to be the only person in an entire friend group who doesn’t know German, making the entire group speak English for you.

The German language is not as difficult to learn as some people think. It’s a phonetic language, meaning the pronunciation is similar to how German words are written.

The best way to learn German is by taking a language course at a school or university. Many online resources can help you learn the language. We recommend trying Babbel or Rosetta Stone before you leave for Germany to start getting the basics of the language down.

German language courses are also offered in Germany and around the world. Many foreign tourists and international students can speak German.

2. Weather

Panorama of the Rhine Valley from Fünfseenblick
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Germany has a temperate climate, which is ideal for those who don’t like extremes in weather. As in any country, the average weather typically depends on the region and time of year.

Germany experiences its fair share of wet and grey weather, especially in mountainous regions. The winters are cold and snowy, but it makes up for it when it’s summertime when the weather is warmer.

3. Stores Close Early

On weekdays, stores tend to close earlier. Most retail shops typically close around 6:30 pm.

However, some may stay open until 8 or 9 pm. You can forget about Sundays, though.

Germans are strict when it comes to their rest day (Ruhetag). Unless you’re venturing into a tourist area, you won’t find anything open on a Sunday. You’ll have to plan your shopping in advance.

4. Long Flight Time to the United States

The one thing I wasn’t a fan of was the long flight time from Toronto to Germany. I hated flying as a child, and still do to this day. This is something to consider when moving abroad.

An average flight from Germany to the East Coast of the United States will take around eight or nine hours. This isn’t exactly ideal if you plan to visit home often since traveling can be hectic.

Are you from the West Coast? A non stop flight from San Diego to Munich is around 11 hours.

If you plan to do layovers, you’re looking at around 14-23 hours of travel time. That’s quite the journey.

5. Higher Taxes

Most expats from the United States are required to pay taxes in Germany. Similar to North America, the amount of taxes you pay is determined by your marital status and living situation.

In Germany, the top income tax rate is 45%, as compared to 37% in the United States. If you have a furry friend, Germany has a dog tax, also known as Hundesteuer.

The Cost of Living in Germany

Old town of bamberg in Germany
fottoo / Adobe Stock

The cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable, but this varies depending on which city you choose to reside in. Rent, restaurants, groceries, and consumer prices are actually lower compared to what you’re paying in the United States.

The living costs in big cities can be high, especially for those not used to it. Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf, and Bonn are the top five expensive cities to live in Germany.

It may surprise you that sometimes, a big city can be an ideal place to live. Berlin, for example, is one of the most affordable capital cities in Europe.

You get what you pay for, though. Germany offers a high standard of living.

The country has a thriving economy and is a great place to work. Many social benefits come with living in Germany.

See related articles: Culture Shocks In Germany You Might Not Expect

Government

Interior of Plenary Hall (meeting room) of German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag).
katatonia – stock.adobe.com

After the Second World War, there were many changes regarding the government system. Germany’s government and legal systems are similar to other Western countries. Germany is a federal republic with 16 states, each with its own political system.

Germany has a strong social market economy. This means that government offices provide many services to their citizens to avoid creating large income inequality.

There are also several laws and German rules against discrimination because of factors such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. Germany also has laws to protect the environment.

The German government offers up to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave and strong job protection for new mothers. There are also state-sponsored daycare centers accessible to everyone in Germany.

Is Germany A Good Country to Live?

Aerial View of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley at Sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Overall, if you choose to live in Germany, you won’t be disappointed. The country has a fantastic social welfare system to help Germans in need. With endless activities for people of all ages, you’ll be immersed in German arts, culture, and entertainment.

Germany is a beautiful country to live in because of the quality of life and the sustainability of the cities and regions. Although the costs of living in Germany could be higher compared to other countries, the employment opportunities make a good work-life balance.

FAQ

What is the safest city in Germany?

The country itself is very safe and boasts a low crime rating of 38. Munich, Stuttgart, and Dresden have the lowest crime rates and are amongst the safest cities in Germany.

Is it easy to get a job in Germany?

As with any country, finding a job can pose it’s challenges. Germany has a strong economy, and many jobs are available.

Your ability to find work will depend on what sector you’d like to get into. You can branch out to even more jobs if you are familiar with the German language.

Is Germany a good place to raise children?

Yes, Germany is a fantastic place to raise children. In a 2020 study by Asher & Lyric, Germany was ranked as the 7th best country to raise a family.

The country has affordable daycare options and a plethora of playgrounds and parks. Germany has a rich culture that children will love learning about.

What is the healthcare system like in Germany?

Germany has a high quality healthcare system that provides universal coverage for all its residents. The system is one of the best in the world. Germany has a large amount of doctors and nurses.

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