Moving to Hamburg


Our rating

5 out of 5

  • Affordability 4 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 4 out of 5

  • Property affordability 3 out of 5

  • Climate 5 out of 5

  • Environment quality 5 out of 5

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, to use its full name, is Germany’s second largest city and a state in its own right. The economic and cultural heart of northern Germany, Hamburg has plenty to offer those looking to follow in the footsteps of The Beatles by seeking fame and fortune in the city on the Elbe.

The Fab Four resided in Hamburg in the early sixties when the city was still rebuilding after the devastating bombings of the second world war. Since then Hamburg has become a thoroughly modern city integrating architectural works by Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano into a city skyline featuring medieval churches.

Hamburg’s economy goes from strength to strength. Always an important centre for trade the port of Hamburg is the second largest in Europe. The city is also a hub for finance in northern Germany and an important media and publishing centre.

With more canals and bridges than Venice and Amsterdam combined and with numerous parks and gardens spread throughout the city, Hamburg is also a green and pleasant place to live. The welcoming attitude of both the city’s inhabitants and its government make it a choice destination for migrants and contribute to its consistently high rankings in global livability surveys.

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Moving to Hamburg from the UK

Hamburg is without doubt the most British city in Germany. Long a hotspot for UK expats, those moving from the UK to Hamburg will find a large number of British clubs and communities and even a social networking site (Britain in Hamburg) set up especially for Brits living in the city.

The British consulate, located just off the central Binnenalster lake, will be more than happy to assist you with settling in, registering your residency and any other official business.

Standard German is spoken in Hamburg. The state offers free Integrationskurse to some migrants (check with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees for eligibility) which covers the basics of the German language. There are also many private providers such as the Goethe Institute who provide intensive 2 week courses for around €600.

Property prices have been climbing fast in Hamburg in recent years as German attitudes to home ownership have changed in a low interest rate environment. Average prices of €3,100 (£2,635) per square metre make Hamburg the second most expensive city for real estate in Germany, just behind Munich.

Rental prices have also been on the rise – you can rent a one bedroom apartment near an U-Bahn station for around €850 (£723) per month.

Comparing Hamburg vs London

Hamburg’s oceanic climate is very similar to that of London with roughly equal rainfall, average annual hours of sunshine and just a couple of snowy days per year on average. Hamburg is a couple of degrees cooler year round though with temperatures dipping to freezing or below for much of January and February.

The cost of living is considerably lower in Hamburg than in the UK capital. You’ll not only find property prices and rents more affordable but you’ll also pay less for groceries, restaurants, transport, utilities and entertainment than you would in London.

On average Hamburg residents report greater feelings of safety, less pollution, better standards of health care and much lower commute times.

Hamburg, like London, is a great town for theatre lovers. There’s always a big musical production to catch (usually having transferred from Broadway or the West End) and the English Theatre of Hamburg is the oldest English language theatre in Germany, producing classics alongside new plays.

The Kunsthalle Hamburg and the Museum for Art and Industry will keep art aficionados happy while the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmoniker Hamburg will sate the appetites of classical buffs. The inner child will love the thrice-yearly Hamburger DOM – the biggest funfair in Northern Germany.