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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Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the ‘die’ and carnival lingo

From the push to reform long-term unemployment benefits to the lingo you need to know as Carnival season kicks off, we look at the highlights of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the 'die' and carnival lingo

Deadlock looms as debates over Bürgergeld heat up 

Following a vote in the Bundestag on Thursday, the government’s planned reforms to long-term unemployment benefits are one step closer to becoming reality. Replacing the controversial Hartz IV system, Bürgergeld (or Citizens’ Allowance) is intended to be a fair bit easier on claimants.

Not only will the monthly payment be raised from €449 to €502, but jobseekers will also be given a grace period of two years before checks are carried out on the size of their apartment or savings of up to €60,000. The system will also move away from sanctions with a so-called “trust period” of six months, during which benefits won’t be docked at all – except in very extreme circumstances. 

Speaking in parliament, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said the spirit of the new system was “solidarity, trust and encouragement” and praised the fact that Bürgergeld would help people get back into the job market with funding for training and education. But not everyone is happy about the changes. In particular, politicians from the opposition CDU/CSU parties have responded with outrage at the move away from sanctions.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has even branded the system a step towards “unconditional Basic Income” and argued that nobody will be incentivised to return to work. 

The CDU and CSU are now threatening to block the Bürgergeld legislation when it’s put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Monday. With the conservatives controlling most of the federal states – and thus most of the seats in the upper house – things could get interesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage in the coming weeks to see how the saga unfolds. 

Tweet of the week

When you first start learning German, picking the right article to use can truly be a roll of the “die” – so we’re entirely on board with this slightly unconventional way to decide whether you’re in a “der”, “die”, or “das” situation. (Warning: this may not improve your German.) 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Residents of Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding area will no doubt recognise this as the charming town of Kronberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains.

This atmospheric scene was snapped on Friday morning, when a drop in temperatures saw Kronberg and surrounding forests shrouded in autumnal fog.

After a decidedly warm start to November, the mercury is expected to drop into single digits over the weekend. 

Did you know?

November 11th marked the start of carnival season in Germany. But did you know that there’s a whole set of lingo to go along with the tradition? And it all depends on where you are. First of all, the celebration isn’t called the same thing everywhere. In the Rhineland, it’s usually called Karneval, while people in Bavaria or Saxony tend to call it Fasching. Those in Hesse and Saarland usually call it Fastnacht. 

And depending on where you are, there are different things to shout. The ‘fools call’ you’ll hear in Cologne is “Alaaf!” If you move away from Cologne, you’ll hear “Helau!” This is the traditional cry in the carnival strongholds of Düsseldorf and Mainz, as well as in some other German cities.

In the Swabian-Alemannic language region in the southwest of the country, people yell “Narri-Narro”, which means “I’m a fool, you’re a fool”. In Saarland at the French border, they shout “Alleh hopp!”, which is said to originate from the French language. 

Lastly, if someone offers you a Fastnachtskrapfe, say yes because it’s a jelly-filled carnival donut. And if you’re offered a Bützchen? It’s your call, but know that it’s a little kiss given to strangers!