Des Moines, the capital of the US state of Iowa, is known locally as the 'The Hartford of the West', presumably after the busy US city rather than the sleepy English village. There certainly isn't anything sleepy about Des Moines. The city of some 200,000 takes its name from a fort, which took its name from a river, which is French for 'from the monks'. The city's character and history is as quirky as its name, with a stunning Capitol Building that may leave expatriates living in Des Moines wondering whether they had somehow entered Berlin. The city's European spirit can also be seen in the popular Salisbury House, called a "national treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and named after an English city of the same name. Given such strong connections to old Europe, it might surprise expats living in Des Moines to learn that the city is little more than 150 years old, founded by a US navy captain who initially wanted to call it 'Fort Racoon'.
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Since the city's relatively recent beginnings, Des Moines has become a thriving cultural, administrative and business hub. Expatriates moving to Des Moines can fly into Des Moines International Airport from other US airports. There are discussions about opening the airport to international chartered flights in the near future as well, although currently the only international service is cargo. The city is well-served by a number of bus companies and a good highway network. The city's downtown area also has a very good public transit system and – another sign of the city's character – an extensive series of skywalks. Expatriates in Des Moines can find plenty of general information on expatriation issues in the Expat Magazine, our online collection of articles. We cover numerous aspect of expatriation, including expat finance and insurance, dealing with culture shock and so on. We've also got a good collection of pieces written by InterNations members, which is worth perusing for a more 'on the ground' insight into expatriate life.
Expatriates working in Des Moines will find themselves situated in an extremely livable city with a high standard of services, good transport and a humid continental climate that brings hot summers and cold winters that regularly give expats in Des Moines the opportunity to experience a classic American white Christmas. The city's economy is largely driven by a very strong financial services and insurance sector, and was recently named one of the 'Best Places For Business And Careers' by Forbes magazine. Whether to meet up with the local international community to socialize or network, or just get local expat tips, expatriates in Des Moines can use our discussion groups, forums and private communications to get in touch with other global minds in the local international community. Although of course, at only 150 years old, you might find half the city fits that bill to some degree.