Is Germany a Good Place to Live?

Get Started, Living in Germany, Move to Germany

Germany is a popular country to move abroad among many nationalities. But is it a good place to live and call home? O yeah, for sure. There are many benefits of living in Germany the main I described in this post.

I have been living in Germany for 2 years in the past and now just 20 min away, so I can also add quite a lot from my experience.

Strong economy

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

Germany is also a world leader in some industries such as exporter 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. Probably everybody knows popular German brands, nevertheless here are some DHL, Porsche, BOSCH, Siemens, BMW Group, Allianz, Volkswagen.

Location

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

If you someone who travel addicted and loves weekend trips it might be a wonderful country for you. Germany offers incredible travel opportunities. Short train drive and you will find yourself in French, Austrian, Belgium, Dutch, Czech, or Swiss capital.

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

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

Moreover, German transport networks are amazing, 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 be always a normal train whatever you go to. Usual buses are operating mostly 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.

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 of the cities with the best quality of life in 2019.

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

The ratio of prices and earnings is well matched, you can find ways to save but also to spend a lot. Frankfurt has the 9th highest wages in the world and the relatively low cost of living, thus people there can afford more.

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

Free health care 

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 being broken when you/your family require a medical treatment. 

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

The medical services aren’t free but they fully paid by your health insurance. All employees in Germany automatically signed to the 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 enrolled. That means an employee in Germany can provide not only for himself but for 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 the public insurance. Some more expensive offer shorter waiting times and better hospital conditions.

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

Job opportunities 

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

Overall professionals of STEM fields ( science, technology, engineering, mathematics) have by far the best chances to be hired in Germany.

Thanks to a very healthy economy, it is much easier to get a job in Germany than in almost any other Western country.

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

It might be difficult to find a job in Germany exceptionally in English, you might opt for bigger cities such as Berlin, Munich or Hamburg for this. For English speakers, there are good chances in the IT sector, in international customer service, some kinds of engineering and others. But the rule is the better your qualifications, the better your chances! 

To work as a foreigner in Germany you will need to apply for an EU Blue Card – a residence permit which allows you to stay and work for a 4 year in the country.

You can do it after fulfilling requirements: receiving a job offer that fits your qualifications and has the minimum salary of 53,000 EUR per year or 41,808 EUR if STEM profession.

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

Germany also gives chance to graduates to work after completing the degree. Often they will need to speak German but in big cities and big international companies, English speaking job is also possible.

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.

High salaries

Let be honest many people are attracted by the high income which Germany has to offer. The average salary in Germany is 45,240 EUR gross with monthly payments of 3,770 EUR. Its much higher than in many countries, especially East Europe or other non-European counties.

Some german industries are especially well paid, such as pharmacy, banking, medicine and dentistry, law, industrial engineering, industrial engineering, 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, experience, education, and size of the company.

Free education

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

In comparison to other countries, Germany offers free education for everyone, despite your nationality. You will need to pay just some administrative fee between 100 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. Normally it’s a monthly payment of something between 580 – 850 EUR. Although, it applies only for 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 big focus on research, while 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 semester abroad often a part of the degree program in Germany. That all will greatly facilitate your career start.

Students say that, in Germany, you can make the most of yourself. Here you can develop your intellectual abilities and personal skills freely 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 your studies and after your studies.

Most of the time German Universities won’t accept your school leaving certificate (if non-EU) and you will need to complete a year of preparational course or some other way to get your diploma recognized.

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

Cost of living

Let’s start with the costs, it’s an important factor for people who are moving abroad – Can I afford it? The cost of living in Germany is relatively low in comparison to other western countries. Salary normally more than compensate your living expenses.

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

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

The average costs of living for students range between 800 – 1,000 EUR/month, including accommodation. 

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

The biggest monthly expense is as always – rent. However, rents in German cities very vary. As a student, you will pay between 290 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 to 1,000 EUR for a one-bedroom flat. 

Food is quite affordable and very high quality, especially if shopping in the discounters such as Lidl, Aldi, Netto.

For dinner in a restaurant, you will pay 10 EUR for food in a cheap one and 15 in 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 – 1,500 EUR/month
  2. Larger eastern cities: Dresden, Leipzig, Hannover – you will need 750 – 1,000 EUR/month

In comparison 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 clearly the place for you.

Care about environment 

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

After visiting India for many times Germany just warms by heart up. Easy gestures like returning and reuse plastic boltless already save a lot of on plastic. 

People do everything what possible to save the environment, they create new business models, become activists and promoters of green living and overall pay respect to the earth. Only in Germany, you will see a ton of bio shops, 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, mostly 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 electro cars become more and more popular in Germany.

Remember that plastic bottles are to be returned once used and all trash has to be separated allocated into 8 different categories, such as 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.

Work-life balance

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

In terms of 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, after finishing work (right on time) another part of life starts. They hurry to their families or to accomplish free-time activities. It also not common to speak about a job in the free time.

German companies often practice flexible working time in order to have a good work-life balance. Employees are only allowed to choose their working hours and if they want to work from home.

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

Pension and unemployment insurance 

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

Read more about employee benefits in Germany in my full article on thIS topic.

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

Same with the unemployment, as soon as you lose your job you will receive support from the government, however, you can be unemployed for a maximum of 1,5 – 2 years, after payouts will be stopped. The amount of the monthly support will depend on your last salary, it will be 60% of it. Of course, this is great for anyone and people can lead a stress-free life.

Transportation networks

Germany has amazing transportation networks, not only within the country but also outside and actually worldwide. Frankfurt airport is the biggest airport in Europe, you can get in 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.

I personally have traveled quite a lot that way and can only recommend it. However, try don’t travel overnight, it can be quite stressful since the bus has a LOT OF STOPS till it reaches the last destination. Its how they make money. But tickets a dirt-cheap yes and busses are comfortable and clean with the free wifi.

Moreover, German trains are amazing too, they will bring you anywhere in Europe but the price will be not that small. Sometimes it’s even cheaper to fly.

The German public transportation system is well connected and really punctual. Many cities have subway or some kind or intercity transportation, all cities have local busses. Any person living in Germany can live their life 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 the group gonna be always 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.

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 really fabulous time in Germany. German footpaths, railway stations, parks, theaters, and all 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.

Active German Lifestyle

One of my favorite things about Germany and people 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 some boredom. They love to go out, jogging, hiking, walking, biking, visit the gym and their many sports club.

In fact, many people engage themself in Vereine/clubs for interests, where they meet the same group of people to do something together; it can be normal sports, outdoors, knitting, cooking and everything that 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 either as sporty or non-sporty, everyone does something for their health, even old people.

Beer

How can we not mention German beer? It’s a is the world best. The German nation is very proud of their drink and its reasonable, Germany brews beer for hundreds and hundreds of years and quality remains to be the same.

So accordingly to the german beer law, it can have only 4 ingredients, and they mostly very high on 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 beer sort and locals proudly drink only this drink. Not only beer maters 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 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.

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 of the country don’t have access to this. Foreign self-employed can apply for the support if monthly contributions are paid for at least 6 months.

Social security is when employees can claim some benefits from the government after he had been working for a while and paid regular contributions from the 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 include pension and unemployment benefits. But there are also benefits like health care, long-term care, and nursing, accident insurance. Which can be used from the start of the 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 responsibility of the employer than of the state.

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

Read more about all details on social security in my article Employee benefits in Germany.

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