Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is located on the river Elbe, which flows into the North Sea. Hamburg is a vital transport hub and the second largest port in Europe.
Officially Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, the city was an independent state until Germany united in 1871. It’s still a very self-sufficient and economically powerful city and has developed and evolved into a vibrant and cosmopolitan space for work and play. It is an excellent choice for expats considering moving to Hamburg, and in 2012, it was ranked the 17th best city for livability in the world in a Mercer quality of living survey.
The city itself is home to over 1.8 million people in an area of 755 square kilometers. If you include the wider metropolitan region, the population figure swells to a staggering 5.1 million. Recent estimates have calculated that as much as 30% of the population has a foreign background, with countries of origin including over 180 nations, such as Turkey, Poland, Russia, Italy, Serbia, and Greece.
There is a huge expatriate population with people from all over the world moving to Hamburg, drawn to work and live in the city. This includes a large English-speaking expat population, consisting mostly of British and American citizens.
As an expat in a new city, you need a place to live where your family feels safe and comfortable. Hamburg has many options to suit all tastes and budgets – from city center apartments right in the heart of the action to large family homes in quiet suburban neighborhoods.
It might be hard to decide on accommodation and which neighborhood you’d like to live in before you move to Hamburg, or immediately when you arrive. There is also huge demand for rented accommodation in the city, so many expats sort out a short-term lease for a few weeks or months, while they explore the different areas of the city and their options.
If you’re looking to rent, it’s worth bearing in mind that most houses and apartments in Hamburg (and all of Germany for that matter) are rented unfurnished, and this often includes appliances and kitchen units as well. This is because most rentals are long-term with open-ended contracts. If you’re looking for a short-term contract, there are agencies that specialize in this, or that can help you source furniture and appliances.
The climate in Hamburg is classified as oceanic, due to its proximity to the North Sea and the prevalence of maritime air that comes from the Atlantic. It experiences a mild climate with warm summers, pleasant autumns and springs, and cool winters.
The seasons are varied, with June to August being the hottest with temperatures rising up to about 22°C. The coldest months are December to February, experiencing low temperatures of -2°C. Because of its location near the sea, snowfall is rare, and only occurs a few times a year.