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Straddling the River Spree in the northeast of Germany, Berlin is both Germany's capital and its largest city. Blessed with an abundance of greenery, nearly a third of Berlin is covered in parks, gardens, forests, canals, rivers and lakes, and the city is unquestionably one of Western Europe's most scenic cities.
More than two decades have slipped by since the once divided city was reunified after the Cold War. Since then, continental Europe's largest capital has built itself up and reinvented itself as a forward-thinking, bohemian metro, attracting a variety of expats to a city that thrives on creative prowess.
Berlin is certainly cosmopolitan and eclectic, and it's attracting expats in droves, not least because of its gentle cost of living. The cost of rent is cheaper than most European capitals, and accommodation is considerably more affordable than one would find in Paris or London. As a result, artists, designers, musicians, writers and performers are increasingly deciding to call Berlin home.
Unemployment rates are still relatively high though – the social pressure to work is low and tolerance of alternative lifestyles is high. Suits are relatively rare on the city's wide avenues and job opportunities for expats in the formal sector are decidedly limited. Even so, for those with an entrepreneurial edge, the city can become a centre stage for residents.
Furthermore, a tradition of intellectual freedom and a policy of loose liquor laws that only require bars to close once the last patron has finished have created a throng of trendy cafés, eateries, bars and clubs that cater to every taste. Because of the city's long division, there is an abundance of attractions and features, from train stations to zoos and art studios.
Berlin also benefits from civic services that are commonplace to any major metropolis in Western Europe, including an easy and efficient public transportation system, effective healthcare and first-rate education opportunities, especially when it comes to higher learning.
Though many native Berliners are abandoning the city for greener pastures of employment, there continues to be a massive influx of internationals, and expats who move to Berlin can certainly look forward to a healthy community that is imparting its own character on the German capital.
►Check out Lifestyle in Berlin to learn more about expat life in the city
"Overall, Germany has a better healthcare system than the US. I pay a portion out of my pay check every month and it covers my general practitioner, dentist, and specialists. There have been a few occasions where I had to pay extra but they haven’t been as outrageously expensive as back in the States."
Read more about American expat Marisa's experiences in Germany.
Are you an expat living in Berlin?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Berlin. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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