Ever thought about what life is really like for expats living in Germany? Whether you’re considering a move for work, studies, or just a change of scenery, packing your bags for a new country is like stepping into a thrilling adventure filled with possibilities and a chance for a fresh start.
Germany, with its mix of fascinating history, stunning landscapes, and modern cities, is a top pick for people from around the world. But the big question is, is Germany the perfect fit for you?
Deciding to live in a new place is a big deal, and it’s smart to think about a bunch of things – like how much stuff costs, what the people are like, what about schools, safety, jobs, and what the whole vibe of the place is before you take the leap.
So, what kind of challenges might you face, and what are the benefits and awesome things that could happen if you decide to live in Germany? To help you figure it out, we’ve made a detailed list of the pros and cons of living in Germany.
Whether you dream about exploring German forests, tasting yummy local food, or getting into the country’s cool culture, Germany is all about making life exciting and enriching for everyone.
So, let’s jump right into the cool things and the things to be careful about when thinking about living in this amazing European country!
Pros and Cons of Living in Germany – At a Glance
|Pros of Living in Germany
|Cons of Living in Germany
|Germany is Covered in Greenery
|Taxes are High
|Quality of Life
|Great Work-Life Balance
|Excellent Work Opportunities
|Relatively Low Cost of Living
|Everything’s Closed on Sunday
|Among the Safest Countries in the World
|Lack of variety in food choices
|Great Healthcare System
|Friendships are Rare
|No Air Conditioning
|German Culture and Society
|Top European Attractions are Easy to Reach.
Discovering Deutschland: The Pros of Living in the Germany
1. Germany is Covered in Greenery
Germany is a green paradise, making it a dream place to live for nature lovers. Living green isn’t just a trend for Germans—it’s a way of life. The country is covered in beautiful landscapes—think expansive forests, rolling hills, and charming countryside.
What’s cool is that even in bustling cities like Berlin and Munich, you’ll find well-maintained parks and green spaces, giving everyone a refreshing escape from city life.
But it’s not just about pretty parks. Germany is a global champ in using clean energy. You’ll spot wind turbines and solar panels all around, showing off their commitment to a greener future.
This isn’t just good for the environment; it also means a healthier lifestyle for locals. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or just a leisurely stroll in the greenery, Germany’s dedication to nature helps people stay active and connected to the environment. 🌿
2. Quality of Life
Living in Germany is a fantastic choice, especially if you’re all about that high-quality lifestyle.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your career or looking to retire – Germany’s got you covered with awesome housing, top-notch healthcare, and great education options.
Think of Germany as a place where cities are not just clean and safe but also super easy to get around with cool public transportation and inviting public spaces.
And guess what? It’s not just us saying it’s great – in the Annual Best Countries Report 2023, Germany snagged the 9th spot for the best quality of life in the world, according to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
But that’s not all. When it comes to work, Germany knows how to do it right. Forget crazy long work hours – Germans value their time off and put their families first. Flexible work hours? Totally normal here.
So, whether you’re enjoying the clean and efficient cities, making the most of awesome public services, or finding that perfect work-life balance, Germany is the place to be for a top-notch and comfortable lifestyle. 😍
3. Great Work-Life Balance
Germany is famous for having an awesome work-life balance, and let me tell you, it lives up to the hype. Germans work fewer hours and get more vacation days compared to many other places, making it a place where personal and professional life truly mesh well.
What’s really cool is how Germans take the separation of work and personal life seriously. They know when to buckle down and when to chill. Overtime is rare, and if it happens, you can bet it’s compensated.
Plus, every employee gets a minimum of four weeks of paid leave each year, and sick leave is covered too. It’s all about looking out for the well-being of the folks putting in the work.
For those just starting their careers, the vibe is different here. Unlike some places where the focus is all on work, work, work, Germany leans more towards finding that sweet balance.
It’s not about being lazy; it’s about recognizing there’s a life outside the office. So, living and working in Germany? It’s not just a job; it’s a lifestyle that lets you be more than your 9-to-5. 🤗
4. Excellent Work Opportunities
Imagine a place where the economy is not just thriving but is the powerhouse of Europe—that’s Germany for you.
The job scene here is pretty impressive, with low unemployment rates, especially when you compare it to other European countries. This stability is a goldmine for job seekers, and the cool thing is, the opportunities are diverse, especially if you’re into STEM fields.
According to Statista, Germany’s unemployment rate in August 2023 was a jaw-dropping 3%, one of the lowest in the European Union. Finding a job here is like a breeze compared to other European spots.
And guess what? You don’t need to be a German language pro to snag a job. In German cities, the number of English-speaking jobs is shooting up, making it super friendly for expats.
Oh, and the work culture? Top-notch. Germany nails the work-life balance, giving you the flexibility you crave. So, in a nutshell, Germany isn’t just a pretty face with a strong economy—it’s a goldmine for job opportunities, a comfortable lifestyle, and a work scene that respects your life outside the office. 🤩
5. Relatively Low Cost of Living
Even though Germany stands as one of the wealthiest countries globally, the cost of living here might surprise you—it’s not as high as you’d expect.
In fact, Germany ranks 10th in terms of cost of living, making it more budget-friendly than the UK, Denmark, Norway, France, or the Netherlands.
Generally, Germany is considered reasonably priced, especially when you compare it to the average cost of living in Europe.
Students generally manage with around €934 a month whereas for working professionals, making it work on less than €1,000 a month in Germany would be quite a challenge.
Of course, there are exceptions, and your budget will depend on where you are and your lifestyle needs.
For instance, snagging a self-contained apartment in Munich’s city center will deplete your budget faster than opting for a flat-share in Berlin. In cities with higher rents, you’re more likely to budget around €1,500 to €2,000.
The good news is that travel is reasonably priced, even in big cities, and food and drink won’t break the bank, staying in line with average European prices. One big thing to keep in mind for anyone moving to Germany is factoring in health insurance costs.
If you’re curious to learn more about the cost of living, hop over to our detailed guide for a thorough breakdown Cost of Living in Germany!
6. Among the Safest Countries in the World
Germany stands out as one of the safest and most peaceful countries globally, with really low crime rates. While owning guns is allowed, you can’t carry them around in public.
According to the Global Peace Index, Germany is ranked as the 15th most peaceful country out of 163 in 2023. This is great news, especially for women who are traveling or living alone, as Germans highly value law and order.
The streets are well-lit and signposted, making it easy to get around without worrying about getting lost or wandering into dark areas.
Even though Germany is generally safe, it’s still a good idea to watch out for pickpockets and bicycle thieves, as they are the most common crimes. Remember, no place is entirely free from crime, so it’s better to be careful rather than assuming everything is risk-free.
7. Great Healthcare System
Healthcare in Germany is top-notch, ranking among the best globally. The system is super advanced and modern, with hospitals featuring cutting-edge technology. The staff is not only friendly and efficient but can also speak English, making it easy to communicate during any medical situation.
Artificial intelligence is a game-changer in German healthcare, improving diagnostics and analyzing ultrasound images. This tech advancement is a big deal worldwide.
Here’s the cool part – most medical services won’t cost you a dime. Your health insurance, which is mandatory in Germany, covers the bills. For employees, the cost is split between the employer and the employee.
The 2023 Health Index by Statista places Germany as the 13th best healthcare system in the world. Everyone in Germany needs to have insurance, and depending on income, you can choose between public or private insurance for comprehensive coverage.
8. High-quality Education
Studying in Germany is a dream come true because public universities don’t charge tuition fees, even for international students!
This means you can pursue your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree almost for free, just paying around €250 – €300 per semester for admin fees and transportation passes. It’s an incredible opportunity for those wanting to live and study in Germany.
Germany’s higher education system is well-known for its quality and prestige worldwide. That’s why it’s no surprise that in the past few years, Germany has become the top choice for studying among all non-English speaking countries.
Although you still have other costs like living expenses and accommodation, not having to worry about tuition fees is a huge relief.
According to the DAAD, the average monthly living costs for a student in Germany are around 850 euros. The good news is, you can easily cover that by working part-time, up to 20 hours a week, a perk available to all students.
And here’s the cherry on top – many study programs are now in English, giving international students access to a high-quality education.
9. Excellent Transportation
Germany’s public transportation is fantastic, known for its excellent roads and efficient system, making it a paradise for car enthusiasts.
Although prices may be a bit high, the variety of transportation options and their high frequency make it worth the investment.
Whether you’re into trains or buses, Germany’s public transport system is top-notch, providing easy, efficient, reliable, and affordable commuting for most.
Jumping on a train in Germany is all about efficiency and comfort. High-speed trains and flights conveniently link major cities, simplifying travel.
Even the charming mountain towns are well-connected, allowing you to explore all day and be back for dinner and drinks in the evening.
For those who prefer eco-friendly travel, Germany is pedestrian and bike-friendly, with dedicated biking roads in every city, making cycling a hassle-free delight
10. German Culture and Society
German culture is quite unique, with a strong emphasis on punctuality, work ethics, and discipline. These qualities might surprise someone coming from a more laid-back culture, but in the long run, they play a big role in making life better.
Germans have a reputation for being incredibly reliable and punctual – they’re always on time! Whether it’s a business meeting or a casual get-together, dealing with Germans is always a positive and reliable experience.
They follow strict rules in everything, from traffic to daily routines, and everyone sticks to them. The friendly and helpful attitude of the people also contributes to making everything run smoothly.
Thanks to their strong work ethic, Germans get a lot done during their work hours and use their time efficiently. And here’s an interesting thing – when their work hours are over, they leave work right away!
11. Thriving Economy
Germany has a really strong economy, the best in Europe. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll love that the unemployment rates are low, way better than other European countries.
And guess what? Taking time off for travel is totally normal here. Most jobs give you at least 20 vacation days, plus there are lots of public holidays.
The cool thing is, there are tons of opportunities in Germany, especially if you’re into STEM stuff. As one of the world’s most international economies, Germany leads as the top trading nation in the European Union.
German businesses are all about being innovative and selling stuff internationally. They’re among the world’s top exporters, just after the USA, China, and Japan. Also, the cost of living is not bad at all, so you can stash away some savings while you’re here.
12. Top European Attractions are Easy to Reach.
Traveling in Germany and Europe is a breeze! Whether you’re driving or flying, crossing borders is super simple.
Germany is right in the middle of Europe, making it a fantastic base for exploring other countries. It’s like a doorway between Western and Eastern Europe, offering tons of cool travel options.
And get this – Germany has more borders than any other European country! It’s connected to Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland, giving you even more places for your travel adventures.
If you’ve got a car, you can hit the road and easily drive to these countries. Where else can you experience such a quick and seamless change of culture and country? Only in Europe, of course!
And here’s another cool thing – Germany has lots of airports, and with budget airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet, you can fly to even more places without breaking the bank.
If you’re a travel enthusiast who loves soaking in different cultures, living in Germany is a dream. The best part? You can explore other parts of Europe without the hassle of a tourist visa. It’s travel made easy!
Navigating Challenges: The Cons of Living in Germany
1. Taxes are High
Get ready to shell out quite a bit in taxes if you’re living in Germany. The good news is that Germany, along with many other countries, has agreements to prevent expats from being taxed twice on their income. So, if you’re working here, you won’t need to worry about paying additional taxes back home.
If you’re planning to make the move to Germany, keep in mind that taxes and social contributions could take up a significant portion of your gross salary, potentially around 35-40%.
Here’s a breakdown: The first 9,169 EUR or 764 EUR per month (18,338 EUR for married couples filing jointly) of your annual income is tax-free. Anything beyond that is subject to income tax.
Germany’s income tax is progressive, starting at 14% and increasing incrementally to 42%. This top rate applies to taxable income above 55,961 EUR. For incomes exceeding 265,327 EUR, a 45% tax rate comes into play. On top of income tax and social contributions, there’s also a solidarity tax, set at 5.5% of your income.
For example, someone with a gross salary of 40,000 EUR can expect an estimated income tax rate of 36%. Keep in mind that tax rates can vary based on personal circumstances, like marriage, having children, or going through a divorce.
Unfortunately, single individuals without children tend to face the highest tax burden, which may seem a bit unfair. In the end, almost half of your income could be going towards taxes, making Germany one of the countries with the highest tax rates in Europe.
It’s something to consider if you’d rather enjoy your hard-earned money while you’re still young, instead of handing it over to the government.
Germany has different climates across the country due to its geography. Generally, it has a temperate climate, meaning warm summers and cold winters.
In cities, you’ll experience all four seasons, but the northern areas can be more humid with lots of rain. While Germany isn’t the sunniest place most of the time, looking at the bright side helps you appreciate the sunshine, especially in the summer.
Winter brings snow, but it doesn’t stick around for long. You’ll also need to clear the snow from the sidewalk in front of your house when it happens.
The moist and cool climate plays a crucial role in sustaining the lush Bavarian forests, creating ideal conditions for activities like hiking. It also makes you enjoy the warmth of summer even more.
Summers can get really hot, and surprisingly, air conditioners are not commonly used in Germany. This is good for the environment but might be challenging if you love cooler temperatures.
If you prefer mountain weather, you might want to consider living in a smaller town around the Bavarian Alps.
Germans are really into bureaucracy – they love having lots of rules and steps to follow, which can make getting things done a bit tricky. Basically, every official thing you need to do in Germany involves forms, appointments, and a good amount of time.
Because of all this bureaucracy, it’s been tough for Germany to catch up with digital services. However, some private companies have popped up to make long processes simpler. The good news is, once you figure out the system, it’s not too hard to work with.
The strict rules might be a bit overwhelming for people moving to Germany, especially since things take time. But the upside is that these rules make sure everything is done the right way.
Germans like things to be organized, and you can see that in their love for bureaucracy. It might be a bit surprising for folks used to a more laid-back approach.
If you’re moving to Germany, get ready for lots of paperwork. Even renting an apartment can feel like dealing with massive documentation that’s heavier than my dog!
4. Language Barrier
Imagine dealing with all the paperwork, finding a place to live, buying your groceries, and explaining your preferences at a Bavarian restaurant. Doing all this can be tough without knowing German. Foreigners who don’t speak the local language might find it hard to fit in.
Keep in mind that many things in Germany don’t have an English translation. Even movies originally in English are shown in German.
The same goes for directions, official documents, and product descriptions. It can be challenging to buy something when you don’t understand what it is. In these situations, Germany might not be the most welcoming place for foreigners.
While some companies may not require international employees to speak German at work, knowing the local language is often necessary outside of the job.
As an expat trying to learn German and make friends, the language barrier can make it tough for you to connect with others.
So, if you’re serious about living in Germany and meeting locals, learning the language is a must. In big cities like Berlin, more people speak English, but it’s not always the case everywhere.
5. Everything’s Closed on Sunday
In Germany, Sundays are a Ruhetag (rest day), and most shops, including grocery stores, are closed. Only a few places like some restaurants and tourist spots stay open. I have mixed feelings about this—I like the focus on work-life balance and having Sunday as a day of rest.
To avoid the closures, plan your shopping on other days, with Saturdays being a popular choice. But try to pick a less crowded day if you can.
On Sundays, not only are businesses closed, but it’s also expected to be quiet. Activities like glass recycling, lawn mowing, or even vacuuming are discouraged if they disturb your neighbors.
For me, Sunday is a day to relax, but also a good time to get some chores done (I’d rather keep Saturdays for fun). It’s not a big deal, but it takes some getting used to.
Living near the borders of the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, or Belgium has its perks. You can easily drive there to do your Sunday shopping or enjoy some cafes and restaurants that might be open.
6. Lack of variety in food choices
When you move to Germany, get ready to enjoy a lot of traditional local dishes like sausages, potatoes, and pickled treats.
The beer has its own unique charm here – a bit thicker and served a tad warmer than what you might be used to.
While German food is delicious, having it all the time can be a bit repetitive. If you’re looking for different tastes, you might find yourself craving variety.
The good news is, in big cities, you’ll find tons of international restaurants offering diverse options to satisfy your palate.
However, in smaller towns, finding something other than German cuisine can be a bit tricky. Some folks might find German food a bit heavy or oily, and if you’re a vegetarian, it could be a challenge to find meat-free choices.
Keeping an eye on your fat intake? Living in Germany might present some obstacles, as traditional dishes often involve meat, cabbage, and potatoes, which can be on the heavier side.
7. Friendships are Rare
Making friends in Germany can be challenging since Germans are not always very open, and it may take a while for them to warm up to you.
It’s not always the case, but it’s good to keep in mind if you’re hoping to make new friends in Germany. This could be because of a language barrier or just how Germans tend to be towards people from other countries.
Think of Germans like coconuts – they can seem a bit tough on the outside, but once you break through, you’ll discover a friendly person. Once a German becomes your friend, it often lasts a lifetime.
Germans are generally more open to foreigners if they speak German. Trust is a big deal in German friendships, so it’s important to do what you say.
The best way to make friends is by joining a club or group that you’re interested in. There are plenty of options, so you’re bound to find something that catches your eye.
8. No Air Conditioning
Germany doesn’t have much air conditioning, and it makes sense given the limited sunny and warm days compared to the cold ones. Many places like offices, public transportation, hospitals, and homes usually don’t have AC.
But sometimes, the temperature in Germany can climb up to 35°C (95°F) for several days, making it feel quite unbearable for most people.
9. Long-term Contracts
In Germany, most contracts with services like internet, mobile phones, gyms, or insurance usually last for 12 or 24 months. If you forget to cancel on time, they automatically renew for another 12 months. It used to be a bit tricky to cancel because you needed to give a three-month notice before the contract ended.
But here’s a good news! In 2022, this has changed. Now, after the first 24 months, you can cancel or change contracts with just a one-month notice period. Much easier!
Wrapping Up: Pros and Cons of Living in Germany
Is Germany a good place to live? Absolutely! Despite a few flaws, Germany is a fantastic country known for its calm atmosphere, organized environment, green spaces, and high quality of life.
It might take a bit of time to adjust, and there could be some things you don’t love, but the positive aspects far outweigh the negatives.
Many people, including expats, have fallen in love with this beautiful country. Give Germany a chance, and who knows, it might become your second home too!