Moving to Munich from the UK
Regularly ranked as Germany’s most liveable city in a host of international surveys, Munich attracts immigrants from all over the world to an extent where more than a fifth of its inhabitants were born outside the country.
Munich’s multicultural make up is something of an oddity in Bavaria - traditionally Germany’s most conservative state. There are large Turkish and Balkan populations as well as a thriving gay community whose Rosa Liste party has a seat on the city council. It adds to the diversity and cultural uniqueness of a city that is at once a site of acute historical importance and a modern economic powerhouse.
As well as baroque palaces, medieval churches - some painstakingly restored after the bombings of the second world war - and Rococo theatres, there are also masterpieces of modern architecture in the BMW headquarters and Allianz Arena football stadium.
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Manufacturing giants (BMW, Siemens) rub shoulders with financial titans (Allianzz, HypoVereinsbank) in Munich which not only has the largest economy of any German city but also is regarded as having the best prospects for the future.
Munich’s entertainments are diverse and almost non-stop throughout the year. The city has countless galleries, museums and theatres, numerous annual festivals, one of the world’s largest urban parks and even a huge permanent circus. With 6,000 licensed establishments - most serving the local speciality Weissbier - there’s always a nearby watering hole.
Moving to Munich from the UK
With the lowest unemployment rate in Germany - and thereby one of the lowest in the EU - Munich presents a fantastic opportunity for UK expats who are willing to assimilate into another culture.
Moving from the UK to Munich will of course throw up significant cultural barriers for most people. While English is spoken by around half of Germans, the German language is the only official tongue of Munich so transacting with officialdom will be tricky before you have at least a basic grasp of the language. Luckily the state can provide ‘integration’ courses - mixing beginners German with other information on German culture and history - for a nominal fee or you can take private courses with a wide range of providers.
Choosing where to live in Munich will be a big decision and depend on where you’re employed and whether you have children. State education is provided in German only, so older children might need to attend one of Munich’s two international schools. Popular areas for expats are Schwabing, Haidhausen, Neuhausen, and Lehel, all of which are fairly centrally located and have access to all the basic amenities like shops and schools.
The rental market in Munich is the most expensive in Germany but still cheaper than say, London. The same goes for house prices which are steadily rising as of May 2013.
Comparing Munich vs London
The climate of Munich can lead to weather that is as changeable as that of London. While average temperatures year round are pretty similar to those of the UK capital, Munich’s winters have seen temperatures drop as low as -30 C˚ (though this record low occurred in 1942). Munich sees more rainfall than London though it’s more concentrated in summer thunderstorms than in London - a fact to which the higher average of annual sunshine hours attests.
As well as cheaper rents and property prices Munichers also enjoy lower costs on consumer goods, groceries, eating out and, of course, beer and wine.
Munich’s residents report a better standard of health care, less crime, lower pollution and spend less time commuting on average.
Munich presents a varied range of cultural delights to compete with London's. It’s numerous festivals include the two week Oktoberfest, the three week Winterfestival, Christmas Market, February’s three day Carnival (akin to Mardis Gras), the thrice yearly Auer Dult Festival of food, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommer classical music festival which consists of over 100 concerts and July’s Gay Pride.
After all that excitement you’ll probably be ready for a Weißwurst ('white sausage') with pretzel and mustard followed by Apfelstrudel and vanilla sauce. All washed down with a weissbier of course.