Is Germany A Good Place To Live?

Germany is a popular country to move abroad for many nationalities. But is it a good place to live and call home? Yeah, for sure, and you will learn why in this article. Living in Germany has many benefits, some of which we have described in this post.

Here are the top reasons why Germany is a great country.

1. Strong economy

One of the most important reasons to move to Germany is its strong economy. In fact, the German economy – is the fourth-largest economy in the world and Europe’s largest. That is quite impressive for such a small country.

Germany is also a world leader in industries such as exporters of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment. Moreover, the country has the lowest unemployment rate (3.1%) in Europe.

Also, Germany is a place of origin for many world-renowned companies come from. Everyone knows popular German brands; here are some of them: DHL, Porsche, BOSCH, Siemens, BMW Group, Allianz, and Volkswagen.

2. Location

Only Russia has more bordering countries in Europe than Germany. Germany opens doors to Western European countries as well as to Eastern.

If you love traveling and spending weekends away, it might be a wonderful country for you. Germany offers incredible travel opportunities. You will find yourself in the French, Austrian, Belgium, Dutch, Czech, or Swiss capital in a short train drive.

German neighbors are Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, and Belgium. What’s a fortune for someone willing to travel and explore.

Thanks to the European Union, holders of German residence permits/visas can access every country in the EU.

Moreover, the German transport network is excellent, the famous bus company Flixbus will bring you anywhere in Europe for a small price. Many people on the budget and students travel this way.

Apart from this, there will always be a regular train whatever you go to. Usual buses are mainly operating only within the city and suburbs.

And of course, Germany got a lot of airports, many of them big and international. In fact, Frankfurt has the largest airport in Europe.

3. Quality of life

Germany has one of the best standards of living in the world. Cities like Munich, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf rank in the top 10 cities with the best quality of life in 2019.

Germany has a clean environment, low crime rates, lots of leisure time and cultural attractions, and well-developed infrastructure.

Prices match well with the earnings. You can find ways to save but also to spend a lot. Frankfurt has the 9th highest wages in the world and a relatively low cost of living; thus, people there can afford more.

Purchasing power is high in Germany. Although people pay high taxes, they can still afford a very nice life.

4. Free healthcare 

Disclaimer: it’s only free when you pay for your insurance.

Germany has one of the best healthcare in the world. The quality of services is outstanding, and you never have to worry about getting in debt when you/your family require medical treatment. 

Medical professionals are highly qualified thanks to the excellent German education and are happy to deal with it.

The medical services aren’t free, but your health insurance fully pays for them. All employees in Germany automatically are signed for public health insurance, which is paid half by the employer and half by the employee.

However, the employee part will be deducted from the salary, so they don’t need to do it on their own.

Moneywise, 14,6% of your salary will go into health insurance, 7,3% will be paid by you, and 7,3% by the employer.

Additionally, family members may enroll at no cost with the statutory health insurance provider with whom one family member is already registered. That means an employee in Germany can provide for himself and the entire family.

Above certain income, employees can sign up for private insurance. The amount of coverage will be based on the agreed tariff.

The basic tariff is roughly comparable to the cover provided by public insurance. Some more expensive offer shorter waiting times and better hospital conditions.

Read here more about which else benefits employees receive in Germany.

5. Job opportunities 

First, Germany has a lot of job opportunities. The most thriving industries for foreigners are IT, medicine, finance, international customer service, and engineering. Government and legal systems also ensure you are adequately paid, not exploited, and rewarded with an excellent work-life balance. 

Overall, professionals in STEM fields ( science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have the best chances of being hired in Germany.

Thanks to the robust economy, it’s much easier to get a job in Germany than in almost any other Western country.

Career opportunities depend primarily on your educational background and language skills. Speaking some German will bring you much better chances at work. Although Germany has some international companies, you can survive only with English.

It might be challenging to find a job in Germany, exceptionally in English. You might opt for bigger cities such as Berlin, Munich or Hamburg for this.

There are good chances in the IT sector for English speakers, in international customer service, some types of engineering, and others. But the rule is the better your qualifications, the better your chances! 

To work as a foreigner in Germany, you must apply for an EU Blue Card – a residence permit that allows you to stay and work for four years in the country.

You can do it after fulfilling the requirements: receiving a job offer that fits your qualifications and has a minimum salary of 56,400 EUR per year or 43,900 EUR if the STEM profession (2022).

After two years of employment in Germany, it’s possible to apply for permanent residency. It’s beneficial to be fluent in German when seeking work in Germany, but not always essential.

Germany also gives a chance to graduates to work after completing their degree. They will often need to speak German, but speaking only English is also possible in major cities and large international companies.

International students from Non-EU/EEA countries with a residence permit can extend it to stay in Germany and seek work for up to 18 months after graduating, as long as the job is related to their field of study.

6. High salaries

Let’s be honest; many people are attracted by the high income which Germany has to offer. In 2021, the average salary in Germany was over 55,000 EUR gross per year. It’s much higher than in most European countries.

Some German industries pay particularly well, e.g., pharmacy, banking, medicine and dentistry, law, industrial engineering, industrial engineering, and computer science. However, employees in Germany also need to pay higher taxes than anywhere else.

This platform allows you to see the salary of any profession in Germany depending on the location, your experience, and your education.

7. Free education

Germany has 380 universities and 370,000 international students. It’s the world’s third most popular destination among international students and the most popular destination in Europe.

Compared to other countries, Germany offers free education for everyone, despite their nationality. You will need to pay just an administrative fee between 100 EUR and 350 EUR per semester, which also includes your public transportation card.

If German students don’t have enough funds to study, the government will provide aid (BAFÖG) to them as well. Usually, it’s a monthly payment of between 580 EUR – 850 EUR. Although, it applies only to German nationals.

More than 12% of students at German universities come from abroad. Germany is an attractive place to study, and German university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide.

German universities provide outstanding academic programs with a big focus on research, while the Universities of Applied Sciences offer a range of attractive, practice-oriented degrees.

Read here the difference between universities and universities of applied sciences in Germany.

Moreover, internships and semesters abroad are often a part of the degree program in Germany. That all will greatly facilitate your career start.

International students say that you can make the most of yourself in Germany. Here, you can freely develop your intellectual abilities and personal skills and reach your full potential.

If you are out to achieve great things, you will find determination, motivation, and commitment to open many doors – both during and after your studies.

German universities won’t accept your school leaving certificate (if non-EU) most of the time. You will need to complete a year of preparational course or another way to get your diploma recognized.

The drawback of Germany is that if you’re aiming to study an undergraduate course in a public university in Germany, you will hardly find a course taught in English because most of them are in German.

8. Cost of living

Let’s start with the costs. It’s an essential factor for people moving abroad. The cost of living in Germany is relatively low compared to other western countries. Salary normally more than compensate your living expenses.

For example, the average cost for a family with one kid will be around 2,300 EUR – 3,000 EUR highly, depending on your region and, of course, your lifestyle.

A family of four will need on average 3,800 EUR per month to live a comfortable life. 

Students’ average living costs range between 800 EUR – 1,000 EUR/month, including accommodation. 

Prices also differ significantly between the large cities in Germany. For example, you would need more money to live in Munich than you would in Dresden. Small university cities also tend to be more affordable.

The most significant monthly expense is, as always – rent. However, rents in German cities range a lot. As a student, you will pay between 290 EUR and 560 EUR per month for a room in a shared apartment or sometimes a single flat.

As a professional, you might want an entire apartment, then expect to pay from 600 EUR to 1,000 EUR for a one-bedroom flat. 

Food is quite affordable and high-quality, especially if shopping in discounters like Lidl, Aldi, and Netto.

For dinner in a restaurant, you will pay 10 EUR for food in a cheap one and 15 for a normal one. A three-course meal for two in an average restaurant costs 45 EUR, and an additional light drink will be 4 EUR.

Here are some examples of living costs depending on the region:

  1. Larger western cities: Munich, Frankfurt, or Stuttgart – total living costs of 1,000 EUR – 1,500 EUR/month
  2. Larger eastern cities: Dresden, Leipzig, Hannover – you will need 750 EUR – 1,000 EUR/month

Compared with other countries within the Western world, Germany is pretty cheap to live in. The capital Berlin ranked as the 106th most expensive city out of 200 rated worldwide. London, meanwhile, was number 12, while three Swiss cities, Zurich (3), Geneva (5), and Bern (9) – made it into the top ten.

So, if you want to go out for dinner and drinks whenever you want and still be able to save a few of those hard-earned euros at the end of the month, Germany is the place for you.

9. Care about the environment 

Germany is a very sustainable country, and Germans live a very sustainable lifestyle. I haven’t seen more environmentally friendly people so far.

People do everything possible to save the environment. They create new business models, become activists and promoters of green living, and pay respect to the earth. Only in Germany will you see many bio shops and markets where you can buy your bio bread, eggs, or meat.

Germany also behaves more cautiously with natural resources; therefore, it produces renewable energy in many ways, mainly with the help of wind power, solar power, and biomass. In fact, 30% of the total energy resources in the country are renewable. Angela Merkel also closed all nuclear stations.

Also, green transportation, such as electric cars, has become more prevalent in Germany.

Remember that plastic bottles are to be returned once used. All trash has to be separated into eight categories: plastic, paper, residual waste, bio waste, glass, and cans.

Moreover, all clothes, shoes and other unregular or big garbage aren’t allowed to utilize in the same way and have to be submitted to the special place in your town instead.

10. Work-life balance

The work-life balance in Germany is just outstanding. Only 5% of employees work very long hours, while the rest manage 35-40 hours. So any working professional has enough free time to socialize and spend with their near and dear ones.

Regarding vacation, German employees receive between 25 and 30 free working days per year. This is more than employees in most countries in the world. Parental leaves are another major attraction for people who are expecting a baby.

Law is also on the side of the employee in Germany, so it’s hard to get hired without a significant reason if you passed the trial period.

Many have an opinion that Germans are one of the most balanced cultures in the world. They work efficiently and rest efficiently too. In Germany, it’s typical to have many hobbies and passions so people can check out mentally and physically from their work.

Germans are a hard-working nation, but they appreciate a balance in life over career, work hard – play hard suits here perfectly. Also, they have a greater emphasis on defining who they are outside of the office.

Usually, Germans strictly separate work and private life; another part of life starts after finishing work (right on time). They hurry to their families or to accomplish free-time activities. It is also not common to speak about a job in their free time.

German companies often practice flexible working times to have a good work-life balance. Employees can only choose their working hours and if they want to work from home.

It’s usually easy to find a part-time job in your industry. In fact, many people work reduced hours/part-time in Germany, especially women with kids. Companies are very open to this type of employment.

11. Pension and unemployment insurance 

Pension and unemployment insurance are included in the social security, which each employee receives automatically with the job. Therefore, every employer must contribute to the retirement fund and the employee. Half of the payment is made by the employee and half by the employer.

Read more about employee benefits in Germany in the full article on this topic.

Retirees in Germany have more than enough funds to live on. Therefore, when you retire, you are eligible to receive your money back from these contributions. The maximum payout is currently around 67% of the average net income during the person’s working years.

Same with unemployment, as soon as you lose your job, you will receive support from the government. The amount of the monthly support will depend on your last salary; it will be 60% of it.

However, you can be unemployed for a maximum of 1,5 – 2 years after payouts are stopped. Of course, this is great for anyone, and people can lead stress-free lives.

12. Transportation networks

Germany has fantastic transportation networks, both within the country and outside and worldwide. Frankfurt airport is the biggest airport in Europe; you can get to any country from there.

I have to mention the favorite of all budget travelers – lifesaver FLIXBUS. It’s a German bus company with the cheapest tickets on the market and the most extended routes. You can take a bus almost to every country and every big/middle-sized city in Europe.

Moreover, German trains are excellent too, they will bring you anywhere in Europe, but the price will not be that low. Sometimes it’s even more affordable to fly.

The German public transportation system is well connected and punctual. Many cities have a subway or some intercity transportation. All towns have local buses. Any person living in Germany can live comfortably without owning any motor vehicles.

Yet, the prices might be a bit high, so you want to look for train discounts or special deals, for example, traveling in a group will always be beneficial and buying a monthly ticket is always a good idea.

If you prefer to travel eco, Germany is also pedestrian and bike-friendly. Each city has mandatory biking roads, which make riding a bike hassle-free.

13. Handicap-friendly country 

Germany is a super handicap-friendly country! In fact, it’s one of the best wheelchair-friendly and accessible countries in the world.

People with special needs can also have a fabulous time in Germany. German footpaths, railway stations, parks, theaters, and other public facilities are handicap-friendly.

You will be amazed to see the extent of technology used to make the life of people with special needs as comfortable as all others.

If you are a person in the wheelchair who travels to Germany, check out this article about how to do it.

14. Active German lifestyle

One of my favorite things about Germany and the people is that they are active! It’s not a couch potato style people like in some countries. Germans are very proactive and don’t like to sit at home or have boredom. They love to go out, jog, hike, walk, bike, and visit the gym and their many sports club.

Many people engage themself in Vereine/clubs for interests, where they meet the same group of people to do something together; it can be regular sports, outdoors, knitting, cooking, and everything your mind can imagine.

You will see it yourself, for example, when you go to the park on a sunny day, instead of masses of sunbathers, everyone is doing something instead: running, jogging, cycling, football, Frisbee – you name it. And running isn’t just for the superfit; everyone runs here.

And while living here, you will pick up these habits as well. People here don’t classify themselves as sporty or non-sporty; everyone does something for their health, even older people.

15. Beer

How can we not mention German beer? It’s the world’s best one. The German nation is very proud of its drink, and it’s reasonable. Germany has been brewing beer for hundreds and hundreds of years, and the quality remains the same.

So, according to German beer law, it can have only four ingredients, and they are mostly very high in quality. Everyone knows it, and everyone expects it.

Of course, Germans love to drink beer. So, it is probably not surprising that there are now well over 7,000 varieties of beer in Germany brewed in 1,300 breweries. Oktoberfest is the biggest beer festival in the world, where the sacred drink is celebrated for 14 days.

Moreover, each region in Germany has its sort of beer, and locals proudly drink only this drink. Not only beer matters but also glass; each beer variety is assigned a special kind of glass. 

You should know that beer is a big part of local culture; it brings people together. To understand a german man, you will need first to drink a beer with him.

What surprises foreigners the most is that beer is often mixed with other drinks in one glass. No other country does it, but Germany loves Colaweizen or Radler; it’s half beer, half coke, or sprite in a glass. Yes, germans like to experiment.

16. Social security

Social security is a big deal in Germany. However, only employees can rely on the system if they come from other countries. So students, trainees, and visitors to the country don’t have access to this.

Foreign self-employed can apply for the support if monthly contributions are paid for at least six months.

Social security is when employees can claim some government benefits after working for a while and are paid regular contributions from their salary. Usually, you need to work at least 6 months – 1 year in the past 2 years to be eligible for this. Contributions are paid half by the employee and half by the employer.

Social benefits requited some working time, including pension and unemployment benefits. But there are also benefits like health care, long-term care, nursing, and accident insurance, which can be used from the start of employment.

Furthermore, maternity and parental leave, as well as child support, can be claimed. Paid maternity leave can be taken for a maximum of 14 months, and parents can expect 67% of the net salary as an allowance. Maternity and paternity leave lies more in the employer’s responsibility than in the state.

Overall, both social security systems are well-developed, and residents can expect the government to take good care of them.

Read more in detail about social security in the article employee benefits in Germany.

Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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