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Main train station in Frankfurt, Germany
Main train station in Frankfurt, Germany
Main train station in Frankfurt, Germany

Retire in Germany

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: What is it like to retire in Germany? Retirees share their experiences living in Germany.

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What is it like to retire in Germany?

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"Where we live in the Eifell, the expats do not meet up and keep themselves to themselves. Maybe in a larger town, where I used to work, i.e. Frankfurt am Main, there is a busy expat community," said a retiree who moved to Eifel , Germany.

"Life for a retiree in Germany and especially in my surroundings is unlimited as far as all of the above. There is a large expat community, limitless cultural attractions, recreation and nightlife, plus living in a beautiful country high environmental standards and health," said another retiree in Friedrichsdorf.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

"We are glad that we made the decision to live abroad and inspite of the fact that we sometimes miss friends and family, we can always get on a boat and make a visit to UK, then we are always glad to get back to peace and quiet. We certainly have a lot more for our money and peace of mind, and enjoy our good lifestyle with good medical facilities," said a retiree who moved to Eifel , Germany.

"I recommend it. People in other countries seem to know HOW to live. Surroundings play an important role for me and in Europe one is surrounded by beautiful architecture, history and nature. For people who are novices about travel and life in a foreign country should take baby steps by first traveling to a desired location and then looking into temporary rentals in different locations before settling on a place. Or this could be a way of life without committing for a long time and then experience life in different places. One should do some research. Almost all countries have expat websites that provide lots of helpful information," said another retiree in Friedrichsdorf.

What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

"For us, while we are a music duo, it was playing in other countries and with other audiences and also getting more work. Now this has dwindled since we are older," remarked another retiree in Eifel .

"Receiving a pension in U.S. dollars and the value of the dollar against the Euro declining; the global financial insecurity," said a retiree who moved to Friedrichsdorf, Germany.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

"Not having to worry about having enough money to pay all the bills monthly, including council tax. We were always struggling in England, with little chance of good job," commented one retiree living in Eifel , Germany.

"Even with a modest pension and the declining dollar, a very high quality of life is possible," explained one retiree living in Friedrichsdorf.

What are healthcare services like in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Germany. They wrote:

"I am on the German Sickness insurance because I worked longer here than in the UK. My husband is insured with myself, but he is over the UK Pension Service, because he never worked here and is British. We are both very happy with the medical situation here and pay only 1% of our annual income, medicines and treatment are thereafter, free. We have both been and still am having treatments for cancers, and we will stay here till the treatment is finished. Treatment is better here than in the UK," remarked another retiree in Eifel .

"Medical care in Germany is of the highest order. Small towns and villages all have doctors and hospitals are nearby. Just a couple of months ago I was hospitalized for an emergency and my local internist, just a few steps from my home, quickly sent me to the hospital where I was admitted for an emergency operation which turned out to be peritonitis due to perforated appendix. The hospital is about 20 minutes away where I was taken by ambulance. Everything moved quickly and efficiently from emergency room, to surgery, etc. Being a private patient I have access to chief surgeon who was fantastic and has a great reputation. My 7 day hospital stay and care in the hospital (not one day too short nor one day too long) was superb. Over the years I have had several hospital experiences, all very positive. As my situation was life threatening I consider myself lucky to have been in Germany where I received such prompt and excellent care," said a retiree who moved to Friedrichsdorf, Germany.

How do I meet people in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Germany about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"The Duesseldorf Group on meetin.org (http://www.meetin.org/city/MEETinDUESSELDORF) is the easiest way to meet new people. Alternatives are the Irish pubs (such as Buck Mulligans and O'Reily's, both in the Old Town) and the International Library," explained a retiree in Dusseldorf.

"I met people mainly by going to bars, many of which, because of the Army presence and international community, cater more to English-speakers and Americans (the downside of this is the GI crowd, which, despite having met a lot of cool soldiers, also has a lot of violent and ignorant drunks.) There are probably more wholesome ways of meeting people, but I'm wouldn't be the one to know. If you get a job on a U.S. base, they have a lot of programs and such aimed at helping families and new arrivals adjust and meet new people. The university also to host a lot of cultural events and such. There are a lot of nearby woods and mountains so there's always athletic/outdoors type opportunities," explained one retiree living in Heidelberg.

"www.toytownmunich.com It's a forum dedicated to English-speaking expats in Munich. There you get a lot of first-hand information regarding English-speaking medical professionals, exchanging info about where to make the best of a long-weekend, etc," said another member in Munich.

"I recommend joing a "fitness club". Joining a Gym is a good way of meeting new people; this mean that you would need to sign a contract, which in most cases automatically renews on a yearly basis," remarked another retiree in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

"You will be tolerated but not accepted. My children attended school there and we participated in the local music school," explained a member in Boblingen.

"I would recommend the British Council in Berlin as everyone is great especially Eileen and Len and Paul from the cafe always welcome and also a great information place www.brotcoun.de Also try the British Pub Sanmariter Strasse for a great atmosphere and good beers and sometimes real fish and chips. www.queenvic.de," explained a retiree living in Berlin, Germany.

What is life like in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Germany what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"It is a university town, so there's always a lot of nightlife and cultural/academic events. It's population is too diverse to generalize, but it doesn't seem to have as much of a materialistic 9-5 business-minded attitude as I'd imagine would exist in a larger city," added another person in Heidelberg.

"Apparently Munich has the highest number of single households in Germany. Family is no. 1, then friends and socializing. The English Garden attracts leisure walks in all months and of course beer garden visits in summer or when the sun is shining (even in winter!)," remarked another retiree in Munich.

"That's one of the things that I enjoy here. People seem to enjoy their free time more. BBQ's, garden parties or just generally getting together over a few drinks. Their are lot's of council run activities, Karneval, Kirmes etc, which involve, basically having a good time. These activities are also children friendly," said a retiree who moved to Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

"People here think that work is very important even to the point where it becomes the ultimate ptiority," said another retiree in Berlin.

"Most everyone in the area works for Siemens, Adidas or Puma. It is very International with many delegates from all over the world working for these companies. I would say that it is very family oriented though. With many local festivals and small town type activities. The German way is not to have too much emphasis on work," commented one retiree living in Nuernberg, Germany.

"Cologne has a very lively social atmosphere, especially in the Brauhauser of the Altstadt and in the area called the Sudstadt. The students' quarter around Zuelpicher Str. is always crowded on weekends (excepts during exam periods). Cologne also has a English language movie theater/cinema called the Metropolis. English books are available at the main library (http://www.stbib-koeln.de/)," explained one retiree living in Cologne.

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Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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What do I need to know before retiring in Germany?

Live in Germany? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Germany, they said:

"Just try to learn the language; it isn't really necessary but it will increase your opportunities and help you forge friendships with the locals (some Americans here never venture out, socially or culturally, out of the large and established American community.) Other than that just to have a good time and enjoy the area, its a great city with beautiful architecture and a thriving international culture," explained a retiree in Heidelberg.

"Do it! Munich is on the cusp of the Alps. Good ski areas are 1 hr. south of Munich. Lake Garda (for wind surfing, MTB, etc.) is 400 km south of Munich in Italy. Prague is a 4 hr. drive to the east. This is a safe, clean city," explained one retiree living in Munich.

"LEARN THE LANGUAGE!! Never move to a country where English is not the Mother tongue and expect it to be easy as English is the world language, because barriers will be faced on every corner. Ensure that you have checked out your qualifications, and determine their German equivalent. Accept culture differences and do not resist intergration. For English readers, stock up on OXO cubes, Cornish pasties, Scampi fries etc, etc... For American readers: Beware most German beer is 4.9% vol. Enjoy!," said another member in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

"Don't plan on being welcomed. And if you are be wary...landlords enjoy Americans/foreigners because they pay top dollar for rent," remarked another retiree in Boblingen.

"Learn German first. Learn the language before coming. Learn to speak and understand the spoken language. Otherwise, you have no hope. Most here speak German and Russian. Only the very young, under 16 know much English at all. And the local library has fewer books than most homes," explained a member in Brandis im Wurzen.

"It is a nice town and a beautiful region of Germany. In Nuernberg it is difficult to get by with just English skills. So study up on your German or take classes here," explained a retiree living in Nuernberg, Germany.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Main train station in Frankfurt, Germany

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Germany GuideGermany Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Germany.

Germany Forum Germany Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Germany on our Germany forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Germany Index Germany Index
An index of all of our site's Germany information.

Contribute to Germany Network Contribute
Help others in Germany by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Germany.

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Expats in Germany offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Germany.

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