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The most livable cities for expats

Scoring points for job security and good career opportunities: These German cities are particularly popular among expats.

Nina Jerzy, 01.02.2020
Germany’s cities score points above all for job security.
Germany’s cities score points above all for job security. © picture alliance/dpa

Germany is trying to attract skilled workers from abroad. So how do expats already living in the country rate their new home towns? That’s something the InterNations expat network aimed to find out by conducting a survey among the 3.5 million members it claims to have. A total of 20,000 took part and selected seven German cities from among the 82 most popular worldwide.

#1 Aachen

Aachen is by far the most popular expat city in Germany. The little city in the far west of Germany has a population of only around 260,000, but it places 11th in the international rankings, ahead of Sydney and Tokyo. In the “Working in the city” category, which covers jobs and careers, job security and work-life balance, Aachen actually came absolutely top worldwide. With a quota of 89 percent, nowhere else in Germany were the participating expats quite as happy as they are here.

Aachen © picture alliance / Bildarchiv Mo

#2 Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf attracts expats by offering a high quality of life, good work-life balance and job security. Its failure to rank higher than 31st in the global ranking is primarily down to interpersonal contacts. “It’s hard to make new friends because everyone has their own circle of friends they’ve known since childhood”, said one InterNations member from Costa Rica.

Düsseldorf © picture alliance / Winfried Roth

#3 Hamburg

When it comes to the weather, the Hanseatic city achieves the worst rating of the seven German cities. It rains too much and too often here, or at least it seems that way. Yet Hamburg scores points as an attractive place to work with good local transport and high environmental quality. This cosmopolitan city on the Elbe was ranked 42nd on a global scale.

Hamburg © picture alliance / Hauke-Christi

#4 Frankfurt /Main

Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub, is ranked second internationally by its expats for its job security and high salaries. “Even if you’re not a high-flying career person, you can certainly live on the wages you earn”, said one expat from Bulgaria. In the overall global ranking, Frankfurt places 49th, closely followed by Cologne (50th place), Munich (51st place) and Berlin (61st place). The high rents prevent these popular tourist destinations from achieving better rankings.

Frankfurt © picture alliance / Christian Nau


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