Three German cities ranked in the top 10 best places to live

Germany has scored three spots in the top 10 of a new survey of the best cities in the world to live in, with Munich picking up third place.

Three German cities ranked in the top 10 best places to live
Aerial view of Munich. Photo: Depositphotos/Dmitry Rukhlenko

The annual quality of living survey carried out by human resources consulting firm Mercer compares hundreds of cities around the world, ranking them on factors such as crime, education, healthcare, public services, recreation, housing and personal freedom.

SEE ALSO: Germany ranked fourth best company in the world

This year, Munich snagged a joint third position (along with Auckland and Vancouver), while Düsseldorf came sixth, followed by Frankfurt at number seven.

Vienna, in neighbouring Austria, topped the ranking for the 10th year running, closely followed by Zurich in second place.

Of the top 10 cities, European cities took eight of the spots. With Berlin in 13th place, Hamburg at 19 and Nuremberg at 23, Germany’s destinations scored highly in the top 25.

SEE ALSO: 10 facts you probably didn't know about Frankfurt (even if you live there)

Juliane Gruethner, mobility expert at Mercer, told The Local, that Germany was “definitely” a good choice for expats.

“We measure the quality of life in various cities based on the interests of expats,” she said. “From that perspective all the German cities score quite highly when it comes to the economic, social and cultural environment. The medical system in Germany is also very good.”

Gruethner added that the standard of housing in the three top German cities – Munich, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt – was deemed as very good.

She said Munich scored a slightly higher score due to having more “recreation opportunities” when it comes to nightlife and with an outdoor scene close by.

Germany’s international airports also helped push Germany's points up in the survey.

Gruethner added: “There’s pretty good infrastructure for employees in Germany.

“There’s also a lot of international schools.”

Although language is not a factor that it is measured in the ranking, it also plays a role for expats.“People usually speak English especially in the big cities so it’s easy to manoeuver, even if Germany might be perceived as a bit over administrative.”

Strong cultural scene

Munich, in the southern state of Bavaria, has a strong cultural scene and is known for having more of a community feel to it compared to other busy German cities, such as the capital Berlin.

Although prices are high for housing, lots of companies are based there, making it a good place for working.

It also holds the annual beer festival, Oktoberfest, which is loved and visited by tourists throughout the world.

Browse thousands of English-language jobs in Germany

“Düsseldorf diverse and welcoming'

Thomas Geisel, mayor of Düsseldorf in North Rhine-Westphalia, which ranked sixth in the list, described the city as “diverse and welcoming”.

He told Mercer: “Düsseldorf is a strong and innovative international business location, but at the same time, it’s a comfortable, friendly, tolerant and cosmopolitan city with a certain ease about it.”

Geisel said in the future he wants to see the city “continue to grow and expand its economic success in a socially balanced manner”.

He added that the basis for this is sustainable development policy “which includes affordable housing, attractive job perspectives, a better infrastructure and a continuously high quality of living”.

“Over time, the city will become even more international and attract talent from all over the world, and this will all be supported by a broad political consensus,” he added.

Frankfurt, in the state of Hesse, is renowned for being the financial capital of Germany but also plays host to a buzzing social scene, including lots of roof top bars.

The Mercer survey is conducted to inform companies on where best to expand offices or relocate staff.

Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s career business said: “Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices.

“The key is relevant, reliable data and standardized measurement, which are essential for employers to make critical decisions, from deciding where to establish offices to determining how to distribute, house and remunerate their global workforces.”

Do you live in Munich, Düsseldorf or Frankfurt? Write to us and tell us what you think of them.

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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.