The Top 3 German Cities That Offer Tech Expats The Best Place To Live 

Germany is leading the way within the tech industry. Its cities are the country’s key tech hubs where constant innovation and development continue to push the boundaries of the sector and drive the global digital economy.  

Germany is considered one of the most desirable countries in Europe for tech professionals. Those who are either looking to begin their career or take it to the next level will find success in the country. 

In addition to this, due to the booming tech sector and other industries that have significantly increased the income per capita, urban prosperity has grown. German cities are full of diverse cultures, bustling bars, restaurants and beautiful architecture and heritage that will instantly make you fall in love with the country.  

In this article, we dive into the top three leading German cities; Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. We explore how their thriving tech scenes along with their vibrant city life make them the best places for tech expats to live.  

Berlin. The capital of Germany and Europe’s tech sector. 

It’s no secret that Berlin is one of the most successful tech hubs in Europe, with its tech industry being valued at almost 20 billion euros. It is the birthplace of internationally successful tech companies such as SoundCloud and Delivery Hero and the city is growing in its fintech, digital health, AI, food technology and cyber security industries.  

According to Atomico’s 2020 State of European Tech report, since 2016 the city has had a $12.6 billion investment, falling just under London which came first. There is a significantly dense network of start-ups that are flourishing under this constant investment, with start-ups in berlin being founded every 20 minutes! The region is also highly specialised within the ICT and STEM sector, where it ranks second after Munich in terms of employment so job opportunities in the tech industry are truly endless in Berlin!  

Aside from its booming tech scene, as the largest in Germany, the city offers numerous non-tech related benefits for expats. The cost of living is one of the lowest compared to other German cities, and apartments and offices in the city are relatively low in price and are easily accessible for rent.  

Being a capital city, there are also numerous activities to fill up your weekends. The city has a bustling nightlife, known for its great clubs and cool culture appealing particularly to the younger generation. But if clubbing isn’t your scene, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy such as daytime walks through the beautiful city parks, or visiting the many historic and cultural buildings and museums within the city. The public transport is of top-quality helping you get around the city with ease and there is an international airport nearby for when you’re needing some time back home. 

Munich. The heartland of all things tech, science and… beer!  

Munich is the rising star of the tech industry in Germany. Its talent in the sector is growing and has been widely spotted by the international audience. In particular, many US companies have now set up offices in the region significantly increasing employment rates in organisations such as Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle.  

The city’s tech sector has a specific specialisation in the ICT and STEM industry. According to a 2018 Deloitte report, Munich’s labour force offers the largest number of jobs compared to all other German cities in the ICT and STEM sectors, with over 140,000 people employed in the IT sector. It’s also becoming a promising destination for start-ups with a total of 1,300 new ICT start-ups opening in the Munich region daily constituting of 9% of the figure for the whole of Germany.  Industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical and environmental technology industries are also becoming rapidly digitalised in the city creating significant employment opportunities for those wanting jobs in the AI, app development or automation fields.  

Outside of the tech world, the international city of Munich is full of life and offers much excitement for expats with its sunny weather, access to nature along the Isar riverbanks, and a range of lively bars that are full of diverse cultures. And to add give you a further reason to move there, Munich is the best place in Germany for beer fans! The world-famous Oktoberfest is hosted there every year where all things beer are celebrated, an event you really can’t miss if you live in Munich and love beer!  

Hamburg. The green city is known for its creativity and gaming industry.  

Hamburg is the 3rd most attractive city in Germany for tech students and young professional after Berlin and Munich. Its city life is a little quieter but its tech world is just as busy specialising in smart cities, mobility concepts, virtual reality, blockchain technology and 3D printing. The city is also home to the German headquarters of many international companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and yelp.  

The most successful aspect of the tech sector in Hamburg is the games industry where it is the birthplace of many independent studios such as RockFish Gaming and Sinceldea Games. It is rapidly becoming the leader in Europe’s free-to-play and browser game development and receives a significant amount of foreign investment as well as support from Hamburg’s local authorities.  

Aside from tech, Hamburg has the reputation of being an eco-friendly place where it won the ‘Green City of the Year’ award in 2021. Its urban growth has aligned with environmentally sustainable development policies, for example, access to electric mobility has increased, numerous cycle paths have been installed and most recently plastic bottles and coffee capsules in public offices have been banned!  

The city is also known to be a little calmer than the bustling streets of Berlin or Munich so is a great destination for those who feel a little overwhelmed by city life. That being said, there are still many things to do in Hamburg to keep you entertained. There is a buzzing nightlife in the city to keep your Friday nights busy, and you can enjoy your days off by walking through the historic district in Altona or visiting the Kunsthalle Hamburg Museum of Fine Arts. As it’s a port city you can also take a scenic boat ride across the River Elbe and enjoy a wider view of the city’s great architecture.  

Final thoughts  

The cities of Germany really do live and breathe tech. To determine the right city for you, you need to find the one that is best suited for both your future career and lifestyle. Are you a city-lover who thrives off a bustling culture and cosmopolitan way of life? Berlin or Munich might be the city for you. Are you someone who enjoys the outdoors and nature or has a passion for the gaming industry? If so, Hamburg may be your destination.  

Whatever you choose, you can be assured that Berlin, Munich and Hamburg offer great opportunities for expats in both their professional tech careers and personal lives. 

Are you a tech professional ready for a new challenge?

At GR4, we’ve plenty of opportunities within Europe’s thriving startup scene. You can search all our positions here, or get in touch with a member of our specialist team for a confidential discussion. 

Considering making the move to Berlin for work? Download a copy of our comprehensive relocation guide here.

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