Germany has consistently placed high in expat polls and is considered to be one of the best places in the world for expats. It has a strong economy, very low crime rates, and a stable political system. It is normal for expats to feel safer in their home countries, but in a recent expat poll, 80 per cent of the participants actually felt safer in Germany than in their home country. Here are five reasons why you should move to Germany.
1. Excellent Public Transport System
Germany’s public transport is a comprehensive and efficient system where even smaller towns are well connected. The public transport system includes buses, trains and trams.In the bigger cities, public transport consists of the U-Bahn (underground train) which covers the city centre, the S-Bahn (above ground train which includes the outskirts, the tram and the bus. These 4 systems operate individually but are interconnected so that in most cases, a person can rely solely on public transport for their daily commute to work. The U-Bahns and S-Bahns stop at 1am on weekdays but they run through the night on weekends. Germany is one of the few countries where the consumption of alcohol is permitted on trains and other forms of public transport although there may be restrictions; for instance, the “excessive” consumption of alcohol is forbidden in the Berlin S-Bahn!
2. Speed limit… or lack thereof!
Germany’s autobahn network is one of the longest motorway systems in the world. This, coupled with the fact that over half of the autobahn network has no speed restriction makes it the perfect place for driving enthusiasts. There is an advisory speed recommendation of 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph) on speed-unrestricted stretches, and in case of poor weather or bad traffic conditions there may be temporary speed limits. Urban areas comprise just 33 per cent of the total road network and they have a restriction of 50 km/h (31 mph). Germany is unashamedly a little car-crazy, which is not surprising, as it is the home of some of the giants in the automobile industry – Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes. Those who do not own luxury vehicles but want to experience the thrill of racing down the autobahn can rent a performance car for a day from one of the many companies that offer such services. The approximate rate for a Porsche 911 is 199 Euros per day, while a Porsche Carrera 4S Convertible would put you back by 350 Euros per day.
3. Daily Exercise
It is rare to find a morbidly obese German, but that does not mean that people in Germany spend a lot of time in the gym. Instead, exercise is incorporated in their day-to-day life in the form of walking and bicycling. Most people prefer to walk their kids to school and cycle to the local supermarket to pick up their groceries. Most of the urban areas in Germany are well suited for walking and cycling, with dedicated lanes for these modes of transit. There are over 200 long-distance cycle routes in Germany, and families often go for bike holidays over the weekend to enjoy the many hidden pockets of pristine landscape.
4. Annual Leave
The United States is the only developed country that does not require employers to grant employees any vacations or holidays. According to the latest surveys, about 25 per cent of all employees receive absolutely no paid vacation time. In stark contrast, Germany offers 30 working days’ leave. The German mind-set is very child-centric, so families are encouraged to go on vacation and to take time off if they need to attend their kid’s school functions. While most countries in Europe offer 20+ days of annual leave, people in the US and Asia are not as lucky, and so the idea of annual leave is very appealing to expats from these areas.
5. Free Body Culture
The FKK (Freikörperkultur) or the Free Body Culture originated in Germany to celebrate the freedom that nudity offers. Age, sex, race and even sexual preference are not an issue at these designated areas. The German city of Munich took this one step further when they legalized ‘Urban Naked Zones’ with one nudist area just 10 minutes from the main square. For those who have never been to a nudist beach, the idea is both fascinating and terrifying. Although being naked is not a requirement at these beaches, you may be viewed as a prude if you decide to cover up!
For those with respiratory problems, Germany might not be the best option, as the restrictions on smoking in public are rather lax. Each of the 16 federal states of Germany has its own smoking laws, which can vary from a complete ban on smoking in restaurants and bars to weak laws that are rarely enforced.