Sheltered at the head of the Elbe River in the north of Germany lies the country’s second-largest city. The port city of Hamburg combines beautiful architecture and landscape with rich cultural heritage to create a vibrant city bursting with character and charm. It’s not surprising that each year the city attracts many expats from countries across the globe.
PLANNING YOUR MOVE
As an expat, it is always hard knowing what to expect when moving abroad but don’t worry, luckily Hamburg’s diverse and multi-cultural environment ensures that a warm welcome is offered to all new arrivals. Language barriers are often top of the list of expats’ concerns when moving abroad and English speakers will be glad to know that Hamburg has the highest percentage of English speakers in Germany’s cities. Approximately 70% of German blue and white-collar workers speak English, however, the main business language is German.
A lively expatriate community exists within Hamburg and you should explore this prior to your arrival. By using online forums and groups such as the Internations group for Hamburg you can connect with fellow expats before you even arrive. You should use these forums to ask any questions you may have about city life or accommodation. Other websites such as Meetup allow you to become involved in the numerous ‘expat events’ that occur throughout the year, from concerts to weekly running groups.
For those expats wanting to improve their German, joining one of Hamburg’s many language groups is highly recommended. Online groups such as Hamburg Language Exchange give you the opportunity to talk to both locals and expats and will advance your speaking ability dramatically. Another useful way to interact with the Hamburg expat community is through Facebook groups, which exist with the specific purpose of ensuring expats feel at home in Hamburg. Try joining the ‘New in Hamburg’ and ‘Expats in Hamburg’ pages where you can discuss life in Hamburg with other expats and form an idea of what to expect.
MOVING TO HAMBURG
As an expat in Hamburg, you will need to find an area to live in that suits your personal needs. While 30% of Hamburg’s population have a foreign background, there are certain areas with larger expat populations and international schools that may suit younger families. Meanwhile, you could choose to live in the heart of the city centre and be at the centre of Hamburg’s bustling nightlife, so long as you have the necessary large budget.
You should try to identify the areas of accommodation best suited to you before making the move to Hamburg so that you have an opportunity to ask questions on the expat forums. This will allow you to determine whether or not the neighbourhood is the one for you. Finding a property to rent in Hamburg can involve a lengthy and competitive search with extortionate prices so you may want to consider partaking in short-term leases while you wait for the perfect property to come on the market.
The easiest way to find accommodation in Hamburg is through a property agency. Otherwise, you can make use of German property websites such as Engel & Völkers, but you should be aware that most of these are written in German which puts English-only speakers at a disadvantage.
LIVING IN HAMBURG
Once you’ve decided that Hamburg is the place for you, there are still certain things you must consider. The cost of living in Germany’s second most-populated city is expensive and you should take this into account to be sure it is a viable option. While it is 11.85% cheaper to live in Hamburg than London, it can be expensive for expats who are also facing the competitive property market. Nevertheless, many job opportunities offer accommodation allowances for support.
It costs around 800 Euros a month for a single person to live in Hamburg before rent is factored in. In addition, the average rent of 837 Euros a month for a one-bedroom city centre apartment and the costs start to pile up. You should also expect to pay about 214.16 Euros each month to cover the costs of basic utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling and water.
If you are interested in a move to Germany or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.