Germany is one of the top destinations for American expats. Germany’s quality of life, education, architecture, museums, and history are ranked among the best in the world. Many Americans initially go to Germany for a university education or to serve in the U.S. military and end up staying long term. Germany’s many attractions include its nightlife, excellent infrastructure, lots of shopping, many quaint villages, and modern cities.
Anyone looking for living conditions that are on par with America’s should visit Germany. It is easy for tourists to become long term expats in Germany. In addition, many businesses have offices in Germany due to its excellent economy and thriving manufacturing, engineering, and banking sectors.
Germany has a seasonal climate similar to many states in the US. For the most part however, the climate in Germany is less extreme. Germany has mild summers that occasionally creep up to the high 80s, but temperatures stay mostly in the 70s and low 80s.
Because most of the country is far away from the sea, winters tend to be colder (since it is not warmed by the sea). Snow is extremely commonplace in Germany. Temperatures can drop abruptly during the fall. Temperatures tend to be mild in the spring and it can be rainy at times. The climate in Germany is generally very comfortable and accommodating.
The government of Germany has made gigantic leaps and bounds over the last 50 years. Some of the problems that many Americans had with the German government in the early and middle part of the 20th century are now non-existent. The stereotypical German is considered to be uptight, cold, and without a sense of humor, but this may no longer be true. Germany’s youth has definitely taken on a culture of their own and anyone who lives in Germany for a couple of months will notice that many Germans are extremely warm and compassionate.
The government of Germany has socialist tendencies, but it allows businesses to grow and operate within its borders, in the EU (European Union), and throughout the world. The government of Germany is considered a parliamentary federalist republic and has a president and chancellor. Life in Germany is extremely safe, efficient, and stable.
American expats who want to live in Germany will find it fairly easy to do so as the government has a good relationship with the U.S. government. Prospective visitors may find more information about visas and other requirements at the German Embassy in Washington D.C. Visitors may also contact the United States Embassy in Berlin.
Germany has some of the world’s highest tax rates, but salaries are also very high. The highest tax rate for individual income tax is 44.3%. The top corporate tax rate is much lower at 25%, but other surcharges are added to payments that corporations must make. There are also other taxes including a value added tax (VAT) and a trade tax.
Germany has some of the finest medical care in the world. Their health care is on par with and sometimes better than healthcare in the U.S. There are plenty of modern hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and dentists throughout Germany. Even rural areas have easy access to medical care.
Germany has universal healthcare for its citizens and many expats who are employed in Germany are able to get health insurance via their employer. German residents may apply for health care and tourists should consider purchasing international travelers’ insurance in case an unexpected medical emergency arises.
Germany’s health care costs can be expensive if paid for out of pocket. Many Germans actually go to other countries for medical procedures that are not covered by insurance such as cosmetic surgeries.
Many expats who live in Germany for a long period of time choose to purchase real estate. For the most part, purchasing real estate is simple and straight forward. Laws are clear and the judicial system usually upholds contracts without delay. High prices prevent many expats from investing in real estate. Not only is real estate more expensive than many cities in America, but the Euro has been very strong for the last few years, making prices even more out of reach.
Short term visitors can easily rent a house or an apartment. Apartments are extremely modern and are usually well built. In most instances German apartments include amenities that are not even included in U.S. apartments. Living in Germany is very comfortable and most homes accentuate that comfort. Most German houses and apartments are smaller than what Americans are used to, but they are more than adequate.
Rent in major cities like Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg cost from EU600 to EU1200 for moderate housing. Luxury housing is obviously much more. It is probably best for people with limited budgets (such as students) to share a flat with roommates. Shared rent should cost approximately EU400 per month for each person.
A moderate 3 bedroom house can be purchased for at least EU200K or more. Condos and apartments might be slightly cheaper, but are quite expensive in major cities.
Shopping in Germany is similar to shopping in the United States. In fact, most expats will feel at home as there are modern shopping malls, large discount box stores, and boutique shops. Germany has wonderful shopping in which buyers can find practically anything they want or need.
Germany has many restaurants. While German food in the U.S. might not be the most appetizing, the food in Germany is absolutely delicious. Beer is extremely important in Germany’s culture and most expats and tourists from all over the world rate their beer as the best in the world. There are plenty of beer halls, beer gardens, and pubs all over the country.
Germany also has a world renown nightlife and club scene in the cities.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Germany is similar to America’s. There are many cities with a high cost of living, such as Berlin, Bohn, and Cologne and other places located in former East Germanywhere cost of living is far less.
Prospective visitors should bear in mind that wages in Germany are usually very high and therefore balance out the high cost of living. Although Germany’s cost of living is high, visitors will definitely get their money’s worth.
Blogs from Expats in Germany
Chillmost is written by an American expat living in Luneberg, Germany who works as a webmaster for a small German publishing company.
Travelling, cycling, baseball, teaching, cinema, whining, and general nonsense.
Extradition from Germany
The Extradition treaty between Germany and the United States of America was signed on June 20, 1978
A supplementary extradition treaty was signed on October 21, 1986