Switzerland the top European destination for German expats

Switzerland the top European destination for German expats

Switzerland is the most popular destination in Europe for German expats. The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office in Germany indicates that the Alpine nation remains one of the top destinations for internationals, especially for those who have learnt German.

Over 300.000 German expats live in Switzerland

According to the latest data, in 2021, 309.000 Germans have chosen to switch federal states for cantons and now live and work in Switzerland. Today, there are 2.100 more people from Germany with Swiss residence permits than there were 11 years ago. 

This makes Switzerland the most popular place in Europe for German expats, with Austria in second with 209.000 residents and Spain in third with 140.000. The Federal Office in Germany noted that Austria saw the largest increase in the number of German citizens, with 8.700 more expats choosing to live in Switzerland’s alpine rival compared to 11 years ago.

Low taxes and no language barrier the driving factor for German expats

The office explained that, "What both countries [Switzerland and Germany] have in common is that the change of residence for Germans is made easier by the physical proximity and the lack of a language barrier." According to SRF, Swiss taxes, which are often half the cost of German taxes, may also play a crucial role in where expats choose to live.

Swiss citizenship was also the most popular naturalisation for Germans, with 6.900 people receiving a new passport in 2020 alone. This was 4,3 percent more than the year before and over 5.000 more than the second most popular citizenship, Swedish.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment