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Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The population of Munich is 1.5 million people. Munich is a vibrant, modern city with a rich cultural heritage. Expats love the city's excellent public transportation system, its many parks and green spaces, its lively nightlife, and its proximity to the Alps. The weather in Munich is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s in the winter to the mid-70s in the summer. The average cost of living in Munich for an expat is around $2,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $1,200 per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $1,800 per month.

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What do I need to know about living in Munich?

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

"Retiring in Munich can be a great opportunity to experience a different culture and explore a vibrant new city. Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria, is known for its historic old town, stunning architecture, and plethora of cultural events. Here are a few things to consider before retiring in Munich: -Cost of living: Munich is one of the more expensive cities in Germany, however the cost of living can still be relatively affordable depending on the particular lifestyle and housing needs. -Climate: Munich generally has mild winters, but can experience hot and humid summers. It is also important to consider weather extremes in the winter, such as heavy snowfall and potential flooding in certain areas. -Healthcare: healthcare in Munich is among the best in the world and comprehensive health insurance is required. -Learning German: although most people in Munich are conversant in English, learning some German can significantly improve communication and make integrating into the local society and culture much easier. -Leisure activities and culture: Munich has countless opportunities for leisure activities, cultural experiences and vibrant nightlife. -Housing: Munich's rental market can be competitive and it is important to research rental prices in the areas of interest," remarked another expat living in Munich, Germany.

"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," added another expat in Munich.

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What do I need to know before moving to Munich?

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

"Before moving to Munich it is important to note that the city is very populous and its population is predominantly German-speaking. It is important to be aware of cultural norms so as to not accidentally offend anyone. Additionally, research Bildung, the German educational program, if your children will be attending school. The cost of living in Munich is high in comparison to other German cities, and the city is known for its excellent transportation network. It is important to familiarize yourself with the different neighbourhoods and plan in advance, as it can be difficult to find housing due to the high demand. It is also important to research the best areas to live in, depending on what is important to you (e.g. near schools, public transportation, low crime rate, etc.). Finally, be sure to research what paperwork is necessary to move to Munich, such as residence permits and work permits," commented one expat who made the move to Munich.

"Plan further ahead than the 90 days we did. Your driver's license is only good for 180 days if you live here. Plan ahead. IF you live in a state with full reciprocity it will be cheap and easy to get a German license. California doesn't have reciprocity so you have to do everything. Minimum cost will be 600 euros. (You pay for the tests every time your take them, you must pay a school to have a car to test in, Driving exam will be in German. Written is 80 driving is 160 plus car and driver.) Bring original documents, Especially if you are working of credentials. We also needed a postulated marriage certificate to claim married status for taxes. Would try to find a place near any job. Munich is pretty flat and bike infrastructure is good," remarked another expat living in Munich, Germany.

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How do I find a place to live in Munich?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"If you are looking for a place to live in Munich, there are a variety of housing options to choose from and factors to consider such as budget, location, and amenities. To get started, it is helpful to set up a rental alert and use online rental platforms such as Immobilienscout24 and WG-Gesucht to browse listings. Additionally, there are housing agents who specialize in finding flats and can help guide you through the process. It is also important to research important related topics such as how to get a local bank account, convert currency, and obtain utilities. Connecting with people already living in the city can also be beneficial in terms of obtaining helpful information," wrote a member in Munich.

"Live near my wife's work, so the commute is walk-able, 1 mile, even in winter. We are on the subway line so city center is 15 minutes away. Used an online search to find it," commented one expat who made the move to Munich.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Munich?

"Expat homes and apartments in Munich typically feature modern, bright interiors with high ceilings. The homes generally have up-to-date amenities such as full kitchens, modern appliances and baths, as well as parquet or tile flooring. Some homes may have balconies or terraces with views of Munich's cityscape. Storage space is also a key feature in expat homes and apartments, with many offering built-in wardrobes and shelving. Munich's vibrant culture makes it a great spot for a home or apartment for expats, with access to plenty of museums, galleries, parks and cafes," explained one expat living in Munich, Germany.

"Renting a flat. I think this is very common in Munich. 40% of the population is from outside of Bavaria or Germany. Not too many US expats. But there are a couple of US expat groups," said another expat in Munich.

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What is the average cost of housing in Munich?

If you are thinking about moving to Munich, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Munich is generally higher than in other German cities, with prices ranging from medium-term rentals to luxury apartments," added another expat in Munich.

"Lower here than the SF bay area. Cost is area dependent although Munich has the highest rents in Germany. Rents are now around 1,000 euro for a 2 room apartment (living room and bedroom) cold. You may have to install your own kitchen and lighting. Buying in our area is about 5,000 euro per quadra meter (10,75 sq. ft.) We don't have a car, rent as needed, saves 60-100 per month on garage fees," remarked another expat who made the move to Munich.

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How do I meet people in Munich?

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

"There are many ways to meet people in Munich. Making friends with locals is key to getting to know the city and the people who live there. Joining expat-based organizations such as Munich Expats and InterNations can be a great way to meet others in the city and make friends. Attending festivals, events and local meet-ups are also great ways to meet people in Munich. Taking language classes or joining a recreational sports team are other ways to meet new people. Finally, don't forget to make use of the local bars and pubs to meet people and make friends," wrote a member in Munich.

"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," commented one expat who made the move to Munich.

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What should I bring when moving to Munich?

People living in Munich were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Essentials to pack include clothes, shoes, and accessories to suit the climate of Munich, personal hygiene items, kitchen appliances, pots, pans and other kitchen items, bed linen and towels, cleaning supplies, important documents such as identification and passport, currency and credit cards, laptop and charging and connecting cords, chargers for all electronics, books or magazines for entertainment, camera for capturing memorable moments and toiletries," remarked another expat who made the move to Munich.

"We didn't bring much to Munich other than clothes and bikes. Nothing we needed here would have been worth the cost and hassle of shipping," explained one expat living in Munich, Germany.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Munich?

We asked expats in Munich what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"If you are looking to setup a bank account in Munich, there are many banks that offer their services to both residents and non-residents. For residents, banks such as Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, and HypoVereinsbank all offer accounts that can be opened with relative ease. For non-residents, Berliner Sparkasse and Norisbank are two popular choices. When selecting a bank to create an account with, it is important to take into consideration factors such as fees, account benefits, and customer service. Additionally, it is also advisable to check whether the bank offers services in English and its compatible with international banking for any overseas banking requirements," remarked another expat living in Munich, Germany.

"No. When I got here as a student, I worked with the Volksbank because they had a free account for students. What I didn't realize was that I could not use this Volksbank service in any other city. It's not like in the US when, for example, you have a Wells Fargo and it is irrelevant in which Wells Fargo you go to in another city or state. I eventually switched to Postbank because of their online services and CashGroup membership," added another expat in Munich.

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Will I be able to find a job in Munich?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Munich, they reponded:

"Yes, job opportunities in Munich are widely available. Munich regularly hosts job fairs to help connect employers with potential candidates, and jobs in the service, engineering and manufacturing sectors are particularly in demand. Munich also has many global companies located there with open positions and high industry demand. Additionally, the city is home to some of Germany's top universities, so it is a great place for graduates to search for and apply for jobs," remarked another expat living in Munich, Germany.

"Different types of high tech, IT, Telecom, Auto Industry e.g. BMW. Currently there are not many job opportunities on the market," added another expat in Munich.

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What is life like in Munich?

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

"Living as an expat in the area can be a rewarding experience. There is a lot of diversity with a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. Not only is the culture unique but so is the area itself. There is access to local markets and restaurants, stunning architecture, pristine beaches, and beautiful nature preserves. While living as an expat, there are plenty of recreational activities to do such as hiking, cycling, swimming and diving. Additionally, you can explore the nearby islands, take trips to nearby countries, and take part in local festivals and celebrations. And with a lower cost of living than other parts of the world, it's an affordable way to live and explore a new part of the world," added another expat in Munich.

"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 expat who made the move to Munich.

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What do expats in Munich appreciate most about the local culture?

"Munich is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage, and expats appreciate the diversity of activities and attractions it has to offer. From world-class museums and galleries to traditional beer gardens and beer halls, there is an array of experiences to be had. Munich is also a great city for outdoor activities with plenty of parks, gardens and forests, as well as its close proximity to the Alps. Expats also appreciate Munich's vibrant nightlife, with its wide selection of bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants. Additionally, Munich is a very safe and welcoming city for expats, making it an excellent place to live," commented one expat who made the move to Munich.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"One of the biggest challenges for expats is adjusting to a different culture or way of life in the new location. Expats may also need to learn a new language, navigate local customs, adapt to their new home's climate, and manage homesickness. Finding a job, learning how to pay taxes, and securing a place to live are also common challenges that expats face. Additionally, expats may struggle to form social relationships, find transportation, and stay in touch with family and friends from home," added another expat in Munich.

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Is there a lot of crime in Munich?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Overall, Munich has a low crime rate compared to other German cities and the rest of Europe. According to government statistics for 2020, Munich had an average of 3.4 offences per 1,000 inhabitants, whereas the German average was 4.9 offences per 1,000 inhabitants. This puts Munich's crime rate lower than cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt. While Munich may experience some violent incidents and crime, the majority of reports are related to property thefts and break-ins," wrote a member in Munich.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Munich accepting of differences?

"Munich is known to be a very diverse city, with many people from a range of cultures, backgrounds, and nationalities. People in Munich are generally accepting and tolerant of cultural and social differences, and a shared respect is felt amongst members of various backgrounds. As a testament to its diversity, Munich even offers many official and unofficial language classes to its inhabitants," added another expat in Munich.

"Munich is not a cosmopolitan town like say Berlin or London. Munich attracts a lot of high-tech people, as a result, there is racial diversity, but not culturally diverse. Munich is liberallly run (SPD), but Bavaria is conservative (CSU/CDU). I am a person of color and feel comfortable and welcome here," remarked another expat who made the move to Munich.

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What are the schools in Munich like?

"Munich provides a wide range of school options for both international and local students, from public and private schools, to adult education and apprenticeships. Primary and secondary school options in the city include state schools and international schools, allowing for a vast range of curricula and learning styles. Higher education options are diverse and include universities, technical colleges, language schools and various private educational institutions. Munich’s technical college, for example, offers courses in engineering and architecture, IT and media, natural sciences, music and acting. Schools in Munich typically provide excellent education from qualified and experienced teachers and classes are usually smaller and more interactive than in larger cities," commented one expat when asked about in Munich.

"Admission is currently a difficult issue due to the lack of space. Currently only children of EU and NATO employees are given admission. As mentioned above, they are currently constructing two new buildings, so the situation might change in one or two years. Their website is www.eursc.org," explained one expat in Munich, Germany with kids at European School of Munich.

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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.

Munich, Germany

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