Switzerland remains most popular destination for German expats

Switzerland remains most popular destination for German expats

Most Germans who leave the country to move elsewhere in Europe end up in Switzerland, according to a report from the German Federal Statistical Office. More than 300.000 Germans were living in Switzerland as of the beginning of 2021. 

German expats prefer to head their German-speaking neighbours 

Unsurprisingly, the two destinations that most German expats in Europe choose to move to are Switzerland and Austria. Since German is spoken in both countries, it saves many expats from having to learn English as the international business language or another language to get by in daily life. 

The European Union statistics agency, Eurostat, has found that the number of Germans heading to both countries has been rising in recent years, possibly reflecting the relatively easier ride for Germans to get a residence permit in Switzerland compared to elsewhere on the continent. 

Switzerland is also the country where most Germans are accepted for citizenship. In 2020, the number of Germans who were given Swiss citizenship reached a high of 6.900 naturalisations.

Other German expats choose to head for the sunshine 

While many people often move for career opportunities, especially those moving to large business hubs such as Zurich or Vienna, lots of people also move away for a better lifestyle too. That’s possibly why the third largest diaspora of Germans in Europe is situated in Spain - better weather, generous inhabitants and a great work-life balance. 

It is likely that there are also many Germans living in the United Kingdom since the country is English-speaking, but the statistics put together by the Federal Statistical Office do not include the country since the UK has not published statistics more recently than 2019.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. After this, she obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in...

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