Straddling the River Spree in the northeast of Germany, Berlin is 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.
Germany's capital and largest city has built itself up and reinvented itself after the end of the Cold War as a forward-thinking bohemian metro, attracting a variety of expats to a city that thrives on creative prowess.
Living in Berlin as an expat
Berlin is cosmopolitan and eclectic, and the city is attracting expats in their droves. The city's laid-back bohemian culture combined with characteristically German efficiency makes it a desired posting for many professionals.
Unemployment rates are still relatively high, but those with the right skillsets are sure to secure employment in Berlin. More a creative hub than corporate, suits are relatively rare on Berlin's wide avenues and job opportunities for expats in the financial or other formal sectors can be limited.
The city has plenty to keep its residents occupied. Berlin's streets are lined with trendy cafes, eateries, bars and clubs of nearly every persuasion, as well as interesting galleries, art studios and theatres. The city's rich history and prolonged division also mean there is a slew of museums, monuments and other fascinating attractions and reminders that are sure to tickle history buffs.
Expat families and children
Berlin also benefits from excellent civic services, including an easy and efficient public transport system, effective healthcare and first-rate education opportunities, especially when it comes to higher learning.
The city is also dotted with an abundance of green spaces, perfect for active families or those who like a picnic. Though young professionals may want to live in the city centre among the action, Berlin also boasts several leafy and quiet neighbourhoods ideal for families to settle in. The city's position also makes it the perfect base from which to explore the rest of Germany, as well as Eastern and Western Europe.
Cost of living in Berlin
Many expats choose Berlin for its gentle cost of living. The cost of accommodation is more affordable than in most European capitals, and much cheaper than in the likes of Paris or London. As a result, artists, designers, musicians, writers and performers are increasingly deciding to call Berlin home.
Climate in Berlin
Berlin has a continental climate with biting winters, hot summers and mild autumn and spring seasons. The weather in summer (June to August) is mostly pleasant and sunny with temperatures averaging 73°F (23°C), while winters (December to February) can be bitterly cold and damp, with temperatures hovering around freezing. The weather in Berlin is exceptionally unpredictable, and an umbrella is always a good idea when leaving the house.
Though some 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, diverse 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.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world. Cigna are offering a 10% discount on all policies bought in November and December.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.