Living in Germany guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Germany.

Our selection of articles for expatriation in Germany

Finding work in Germany

Germany is one of Europe's best countries to develop your career and gain international work experience. On the one hand ...

The German labour market

Germany's labour market is very attractive to expat talent. Thanks to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world and a ...

Finding a job in Germany from abroad

Entering Germany's dynamic labour market is a promising career boost for many expats, wanting to be part of a thriving ...

Obtaining professional recognition in Germany

Certain professions in Germany are regulated and can only be practised after the qualifications obtained abroad have been ...

Setting up a business in Germany

The German government is very open to foreign investment. European citizens do not need special work permits or work visas to ...

Internships in Germany

Many universities require internships nowadays to enhance the study experience and prepare graduates for real-life work ...

Becoming a digital nomad in Germany

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, digital nomadism was a privilege among the self-employed and entrepreneurs who have set up a ...

Summer jobs in Germany

The summer season in Germany begins in June and lasts until the end of August. These three months of the year offer an ...

Study in Germany

Germany has about 400 state-recognised higher education institutions, offering 20,000 study programmes at all levels — from ...

Student life in Germany

Studying in Germany has so many benefits for international students. What makes the experience even better is that students can ...

Opening a bank account in Germany

Expats who plan to stay in Germany for more than three months would benefit from opening a bank account with a German bank. It is ...

Work visas for Germany

Germany is one of Europe's best countries to develop your career and gain international work experience. Maybe due to the ...

Entry requirements for Germany

Nationals of the EU and EEA can travel to Germany as short-term visitors without restrictions, with a national identity card or a ...

Getting married in Germany

Non-German citizens can get married in Germany, whether to a German citizen or another foreign national. However, beyond being a ...

Things to do in Frankfurt alone, with your partner or with family

Frankfurt is a great city with plenty of places to visit, whether during the week or for a weekend. It is multinational ...

About Germany

Geography and demography

The Federal Republic of Germany is the seventh-largest country by area in Europe, and the largest country by population in the European Union. It is located in the Central-Western part of Europe, right next to its neighbouring countries: Denmark (to the North); Netherlands (to the Northwest); Poland and the Czech Republic (to the East); Switzerland (to the South); and Belgium, France and Luxembourg (to the West). To the north and north-west, it is bordered by the North and the Baltic Sea. Its geographical position offers natural beauty that can also be seen through the lakes, among which the largest and the most famous is Lake Constance. Other than being the third largest lake in Europe, Constance is lying on river Rhine, one of the main rivers in Europe, and right next to the Alps.

Starting with Berlin as its capital city (with more than 3.5 million inhabitants), the country has many important cities that earn the worldwide attention, such as HamburgMunichCologneFrankfurtStuttgartDüsseldorf and Dresden. All of the German cities have a well organised public transportation network, plenty of work and study opportunities and a great cultural heritage.

Compared to other European countries, Germany is fairly decentralised, and large cities can be reached easily by the well-maintained motorway or public transport system. Germany is also very green and has many forests; the Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, which is a large mountain range that offers immense natural beauty.

 Good to know:

Munich is known as Germany’s most expensive city. Hamburg is famous for its tolerant and easygoing people, despite the rainy weather. Berlin counts as an alternative, hip, and trendy start-up capital, whereas the Stuttgart area holds most job opportunities. Düsseldorf is in the middle of the Rhurpott (Ruhr valley), the industrial belt and most populated area in Germany.

German language

The German language is known by its rules and complexity. It is one of the most important languages in Europe and is officially spoken in six European countries. In addition to this, every region in Germany speaks its own dialect such as Bavarian or Low German, which may be a little tricky to understand initially. Some regions show strong identity and pride in the use of their dialects. Minority languages such as Danish, Frisian, Romany or Sorbian are also spoken; some of them blending in with the local dialect. The largest ethnic group of non-German origin is Turkish, which makes Turkish the second most spoken language in Germany.

Although most of the younger crowd is very keen on speaking English (since English and German have similar roots), learning the language for work, administration and a general understanding is mandatory. Some cities are exceptions, like Berlin or Hamburg, where English is widely spoken by a large number of expats. However, overall Germany is still relatively conservative and respects the efforts to learn the language. Knowledge of German offers freedom, makes life easier, contributes to landing on a better job and to getting a better salary

Expatriation in Germany

Most German cities have a high concentration of expatriates from around the world, but mainly Turkish, French, British but also American, Polish and increasing expats from Eastern European countries. Over the last few years, Germany has also hosted many refugees from recent areas of conflict. Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Düsseldorf are popular expat cities.

Germany has a supportive social security system, which helps make it a very safe country with fewer differences between the rich and poor than in other European countries. This goes along with a relatively high tax rate of around 45% of the income.

German economy

Germany is considered to be the world's fourth-biggest and most powerful economy after the US, Japan and China. It is also deemed to be the European Union's largest economy, followed by the UK and France. Moreover, the German Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was worth 3.386 billion US$ in 2018, according to Trading Economics figures. The country enjoys a continuous economic growth due to efforts made by various national mechanisms.

The German economy is based on several pillars such as trade through industry. In fact, the automotive, mechanical, electrical, chemical industry, trade, finance, information and communication technology fields are the country's leading job-creators and income generators. The industries offer some of the best research opportunities in Europe. Tourism, agriculture, hospitality, and catering also make a significant contribution to the country's economy. Germany hosts many world-famous companies such as Siemens, Volkswagen, Bosch, Bayer, Audi, BMW and Porsche, amongst others.

Politics in Germany

Germany is a federal republic, which consists of 16 “Bundesländer” or regions. Berlin is the country's federal capital city, hosting the German Parliament's headquarters. The Constitutional Court is located in Karlsruhe. The German parliament consists of two chambers: the Bundestag, which is elected every four years in a mixed system, and the Bundesrat that is the Federal Council. The Bundesrat has a total of 69 votes of regional government representatives.

The President of the Federal Republic is elected for a five-year period, which is renewable once. The Chancellor, meanwhile, is elected for a four-year period and serves as the Head of the Government.  Germany is the most important country of the European Union and was the founding member of the European Economic Community and the Eurozone. The country is a member of the G7, G20, NATO, United Nations and OECD.

 Good to know:

Over the past few years, Germany reinforced environmentally friendly politics. Nearly a third of Germany is powered by renewable energy, and plans are to complete its nuclear power phase-out by 2022. Recycling plays an important role, too.

The climate in Germany

Germany enjoys a temperate continental climate with warm summers and cold winters due to its geographical position. It is, in fact, in the Northern hemisphere's temperate zone and has a 4-season climate. Summer usually lasts from May to October with rather high temperatures up to 35 degrees in the North and South. In winter, you are likely to experience cold airflows from Siberia, mist in the South and humidity and continuous rains in the North. Long periods of snow or frost are rare except on the mountain and hill ranges.

 Useful links:

Germany - Germany Tourism Portal
Web portal by the Federal Foreign Office Berlin and Societäts-Media GmbH
The Federal Foreign Office official website
The Federal Republic of Germany official website

Quick Information

Capital : Berlin
Official Languages : German
Currency : Euro
Area : 357021 Km2
Population : 81802257
Calling Code : +49

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