Many Germans are real Europeans even when they live. At the beginning of 2020, the statistics authority Eurostat counted almost 1.1 million German citizens living in other European countries. This applied to almost every 76th German. A look at the development of the past few years shows: Many a country of longing from the past has fallen out of favor with the Germans. Other regions, on the other hand, attract more and more German citizens year after year – also thanks to their spatial or cultural proximity. Around half of the emigrants come from just two European countries.
Most popular countries to emigrate
Eurostat’s statistics were last updated on January 1, 2020. The statistics cover German citizens residing in other European countries. These can be people who work elsewhere or who are retiring outside of Germany. Tax advantages can also be a motive for living abroad.
Most Germans live in these European countries.
@IMAGO / Peter Schickert
# 10 Denmark
Despite its proximity to Germany, Denmark is only the tenth most popular emigration country for German citizens. As of January 1, 2020, Eurostat counted exactly 26,130 Germans who had registered a place of residence in Denmark (more recent data are not yet available). However, interest in life in our northern neighbor has been increasing for years. In 2020, around 600 more German citizens were counted than in the previous year. In 2010 their number was 21,100.
@IMAGO / TT
# 9 Sweden
Sweden, on the other hand, has fallen slightly in favor of German expats. The statisticians recorded 29,505 German citizens living in Sweden. That was almost 300 emigrants fewer than in the previous year. However, Sweden was still well above the value ten years ago (27,500).
@IMAGO / UIG
# 8 Italy
Italy has fascinated Germans consistently for years. At the beginning of 2020, 35,316 German citizens lived in the southern European country. That was about the same value as in 2010.
@IMAGO / Xinhua
# 7 Belgium
Interest in life in Belgium has also remained almost unchanged over the past few years. Eurostat recently counted around 39,500 Germans living in Belgium. Ten years earlier it was around 39,400.
@IMAGO / robertharding
# 6 Netherlands
The Netherlands is continuously working its way up the list of the most popular emigration countries for Germans. In 2010 there were still around 68,000 German citizens living in the EU country. In 2020 there were already 79,470, almost 2,500 more than in the previous year.
@IMAGO / Christian Offenberg
# 5 France
At the beginning of 2020, France was the fifth most popular destination country with 81,129 Germans. That was exactly the same value as in 2019. For both years, however, the statisticians only had preliminary data. France only appeared in the Eurostat database in 2014. At that time, 91,063 Germans residing in France were recorded. Since then, their number has steadily decreased.
@IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
# 4 Spain
Mallorca may have lost its radiance. In any case, the number of Germans who have a residence in Spain has fallen in recent years. At the beginning of 2020, Eurostat had almost 139,000 German citizens. In 2010 it was 157,000.
@MAGO / agefotostock
# 3 United Kingdom
On the occasion of Europe Day on May 9, 2021, the Federal Statistical Office announced: The third largest group of German citizens in Europe lives in the United Kingdom. It is unclear whether this is still the case. Because Eurostat only had the figures for the beginning of 2019. At that time 142,368 Germans were counted in the United Kingdom. The extent to which Brexit will have an impact remains to be seen.
@IMAGO / F. Berger
# 2 Austria
199,993 Germans had a place of residence in Austria at the beginning of 2020. This puts our neighboring country well ahead of third place in second place among the most popular emigrant destinations in Europe. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of federal citizens in Austria has risen by four percent or around 7,600 people within one year. For 2010, Eurostat did not have any data for Austria. It entered the statistics in 2012 with 150,867 Germans.
@IMAGO / Geisser
# 1 Switzerland
Switzerland is by far the number one European emigration destination for Germans. At the beginning of 2020, 307,387 German citizens had their place of residence in Switzerland. The increase compared to the previous year was minimal at 0.4 percent (around 1200 people). Since 2010, however, the number of Germans in Switzerland has increased by over 20 percent. At that time the statisticians counted 251,852 Germans residing in the Alpine republic. Incidentally, Cyprus and Malta are fundamentally absent from the Eurostat database. Latvia came in last with 475 Germans in 2020, followed by Lithuania, Slovenia and Iceland.