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Berlin named top city worldwide to earn money while travelling

Emma Anderson
Emma Anderson - [email protected]
Berlin named top city worldwide to earn money while travelling
The Agora Collective co-working space in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

A new report reveals why the German capital is the best place for "digital nomads" looking to travel the world while still making a living.


UK freelancer job market PeoplePerHour released a report on Wednesday that ranks Berlin as the top place worldwide to be a digital nomad - someone who works by computer while travelling.

The study took into account things like the number of co-working spaces, office rental costs, the overall cost of living and crime rates.

“People across European countries are now more often self-employed after the financial crisis,” PeoplePerHour spokeswoman Aylish Jarvie told The Local.

“People are making use of that freedom and with the ability to have clients around the world, you yourself can travel as well.”

Top five places for digital nomads

  1. Berlin
  2. Istanbul
  3. Bangalore
  4. Vancouver
  5. Lisbon

Freelance writers, social media managers, designers, and web developers, to name a few, are more likely to be able to choose where they want to set up shop across the globe.

“If you’re looking at a place where want to work and have the choice of anywhere in the world, then you need a place with decent co-working places, where you can network and not be isolated while you work,” Jarvie noted.

“And people want their money to go further. There are low rents in Berlin, and then the quality of life puts the icing on the cake.”

Berlin’s divided Cold War past is part of what has made it struggle to catch up economically to Germany’s more industrious hubs like manufacturing-rich Munich, or the finance centre of Frankfurt. But it’s also part of what has kept rents relatively low, thus attracting young, hip freelancers and creative types from around the world.

SEE ALSO: Why Berlin is known as the 'failed city'

But this demographic is also often blamed for the quickly rising housing costs. Between 2015 and 2017, average rent shot up by nearly 10 percent, and over the past decade prices soared by about 70 percent.

Nevertheless, the cost of a flat in Berlin is still generally lower than Germany’s other major cities, which continues to make it appealing for startups - another aspect of PeoplePerHour’s research. The freelancer market also ranked Berlin as the second best city for starting a business, behind Canada’s Vancouver.

Similar to the digital nomad report, this ranking took into account quality of life and office space, as well as ease of “getting a company off the ground”. This meant Berlin beat out the tech mecca of San Francisco (21st place) as well as its British rival London (14th).

Immediately after the UK’s narrow vote to leave the European Union, some experts predicted that Brexit would turn Berlin into Europe’s new startup capital.

SEE ALSO: London v. Berlin - Which is better for startups?

“They’re clearly doing well in Berlin,” said Jarvie.  

“A lot of US startups will choose Berlin as their mainland Europe hub… What attracts talent is also having a really good life outside work, so the nightlife helps as well.”

Still, a recent report by German bank KfW showed that the number of entrepreneurs in Berlin had decreased in recent years, and Hamburg actually came out on top for the first time with the highest comparative number of people starting businesses.

Jarvie said that the top cities ranked by PeoplePerHour are not only where young Millennial professionals are heading for work, but are also the hotspots of the future.

“The generation following Millennials are already 20 or even 21. This is where they’ll end up working.”


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