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Berlin is buzzing and attracting the attention of the expat community drawing investors, companies and talented employees from all over the world. The key reason the German capital is booming is that it provides plenty of value to businesses by offering affordable office space versus other leading cities in Europe.

Berlin guide for expats

Building for business

A study published by global real estate advisors Savills shows that only Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro are more affordable. This is largely due to Berlin’s unique history. When the wall came down, a lot of tax incentives were put in place to move the city forward and build new offices, which has resulted in Berlin attracting businesses looking for an affordable European hub as opposed to other major capitals like Paris or London.

Vibrant tech hub

Berlin’s biggest advantage is its vibrant atmosphere, which is attracting tech investors and businesses from around the globe. The city has a dynamic, entrepreneurial culture and is home to Google who funds Factory Berlin, a hub for growing tech startups and mature companies. The startup sector in Berlin has grown rapidly over the past five years and has given rise to many successful companies such as EyeEm and GoEuro. Huge investment is being pushed into startups in Berlin with Germany’s political stability and rock-solid economy attracting many international investors and foreign businesses.

One of the best high tech developments is found in the middle of the city – The Adlershof, a community of scientific institutes, a huge media centre and the site of the Humboldt University’s expanding mathematics and sciences departments. Housing over 1000 businesses, the Adlershof offers work opportunities to almost 16 000 people and its innovative atmosphere draws many entrepreneurs to Berlin every year.

Excellent work/life balance

Expats moving to Germany will be delighted to discover that the German government prioritises a healthy work/life balance and every employee receives a minimum of four weeks of paid leave every year – although this can go up to 30 days per year. The law also mandates that working hours don’t exceed 40 per week. The German Employment Ministry has also banned employers from contacting staff outside of working hours except in emergencies.

The most fun city in the world

The Telegraph Magazine voted Berlin as ‘the most fun’ city in the world due to its vibrant nightlife. The city has become the global centre for electronic music and boasts some of the best clubs in the world. If you’re not the clubbing type there are plenty of other fun things to do. About one-third of Berlin’s surface area consists of parks, forests and gardens. If you’re not into the outdoors, there are about 170 museums to visit and due to the multicultural nature of the city, the cuisine varies from burritos to kebabs to sushi! Berlin is also famous for its vibrant festivals and countless art galleries.

The oldest healthcare system in the world

Germany has the world’s oldest universal healthcare system, dating back to 1883. There are two types of healthcare in Germany – public and private – and all citizens and legal residents of Germany are entitled to healthcare. In fact, it is illegal not to be insured and is a requirement when applying for a job.

If you are a South African moving to or living in Berlin and would like to know more about financial emigration from South Africa, or you would like to access your South African retirement annuity abroad, contact FinGlobal today. We have a team of financial emigration specialists who can assist you with your formal emigration from South Africa.