John Bassett

Top European countries to live and work


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Thinking about starting a new life in a new country? We’ve rounded up four of the most popular places in Europe to live. They all offer great employment opportunities and a healthy work-life balance. Time to book those flights!

Denmark

Denmark is often called the happiest country in the world – and with good reason. There’s a balance between work and family life, high education standards, and a thriving business climate. Plus you’re never more than a 30-minute drive away from a bustling city or the beautiful Danish countryside. All of which makes it a strong option for working expats.

Working in Denmark can be a shock. Most companies have a flat working structure and are pretty informal and laid back. All employees at Danish companies have a say in company decisions, which are discussed in open forum meetings. Working hours tend to be shorter than most countries, and the gender split of the workforce is fairly equal – most men and women are in full-time employment.

Germany

Two words come to mind when one thinks about Germany: efficiency and punctuality. Stereotypes, yes, but you’ll probably find living and working in to be an orderly, organised experience. The benefits of German efficiency include clean public areas (except for Berlin’s plentiful graffiti), tidy parks and plenty of bureaucracy.

Germany has one of the lowest youth unemployment levels in Europe, partly because of the apprenticeship schemes it offers. It’s great news for families who want to live and work in Germany. The country also has shorter working hours than the UK and a strict no-working policy on Sundays, so it’s great for families.

Norway

Norway boasts the highest concentration of fjords in the world, along with masses of forests. So if you love the outdoors, it’s a great place to be. It’s not all countryside, though. Its cities offer a relaxed, cosmopolitan lifestyle with all the usual bars, clubs and restaurants. There are also business opportunities in the oil and gas sectors. Norway is the ninth-largest oil producer in the world and the third-largest gas producer in Europe.

The country has other job opportunities, too. Particularly in IT, telecoms, engineering and transport. There’s stiff competition because of Norway’s outstanding education system, which produces highly skilled workers. Don’t be too put off, though. The working day is usually 7.5 hours and answering emails outside office hours is a no-go. Employers don’t mind if you duck out for school pick-ups, and they offer generous maternity and paternity leave.

What’s more, Norway is not an EU country, so there won’t be any changes to working there for Brits once the Brexit transition period has ended.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of Europe’s most popular countries to live and work. Around 19% of the country’s population is made up of expats, most of them living in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. It’s an extremely tolerant and liberal country where pretty much anything goes, making it an easy place to adjust to. The majority of people speak English, so it’s not hard to make new friends.

On the work front, the Netherlands has lots of opportunities in finance, insurance, IT and telecommunications. Most roles need you to be fluent in English and some Dutch, so you might want to brush up on the lingo before you start job hunting. Another great reason to move is that everyone has equal rights in the Netherlands, meaning that there’s no place for discrimination when reviewing applications, salaries or promotions of employees.

We’re here to help

Moving abroad is exciting but it can be pretty overwhelming, too. We’d love to help you secure your new home by transferring your funds – with great exchange rates and minimal fees. Get in touch if you have any questions.

*The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (February 2020). It could change depending on what is agreed between the UK and the EU during the 2020 transition period.

Final thoughts

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