Moving to Hamburg discussion

Neutral reviews


That will be a challenge, Hamburg isn't cheap. :( Here is an interactive map of how much you can expect to pay in rent. Also take a look at the /r/germany wiki for tips on how to find an apartment. If you're looking to save money on rent, consider either a flat-share (WG), or living further out of the city but near an S- or U-Bahn station, which allows an easy commute into the city.


Hamburg is in the former British zone of occupation so from a historical viewpoint you are

going to find fewer American citizens than in the former US zone (down South).

That said, there is a US consulate in Hamburg whereas the British one closed recently.

(I only went there twice in 25 years of being here).

You will find Hamburg & indeed Northern Germany has more UK influence than US.



Yes, you will be hit for taxes, but I can't tell you how much because singles are taxed at a higher rate than married people, all things being equal. What really will add up are the "social contributions" like pension, health care and unemployment insurance, though they did chop the last one quite substantially recently. Make sure you save ALL your papers from your time in Germany so that you can effectively make a claim for whatever pension you can derive out of what you pay in.


That is correct Tax Cat III , no kids, wife not working , no church tax, should make it about 2600 per month.

If it is enough or not it depends on position , age , experience, company etc.

Can a couple live on that? Yes.

You don't mention where the work is, I will use the 3 areas you mentioned: 

St.Pauli,  St.Georg, Eppendorf and search within a 3-4Km radius, this will give you an overview (up to 700 euro, 50 or more sqm with separate bedroom) :


Be aware that good property in Hamburg is highly sought after, if you have concurrence for an apartment, they might choose someone who already lives here and the can check financial status etc. If you work offers help for the relocation, ask for it.



Positive reviews


  • What do you look for in a place to live? Lively, quiet, hip, modern, historical...?
  • There aren't that many bad areas of Hamburg

  • The hands-down best shop for formal men's clothes is Pollicke. Casual clothing depends on your style, there is plenty of choice.

  • Our public transport system is awesome. See if your employer will pay for a ProfiCard (yearly pass); otherwise, get the HVV App for your mobile phone and the city is your oyster. The main line transport options are the S- and U-Bahn, but your ticket also includes buses and ferries (!). Also consider cycling - Hamburg is flat, and if you don't have your own bike there is a bike-rental scheme (StadtRAD)

  • For culture, take a look at the /r/Germany wiki, there is a whole section on culture

  • How is your German?

Welcome to Hamburg, and feel free to ask if you've got questions!


Downtown Hamburg is really expensive (not nearly as expensive as London, but still not cheap), so you'll probably have to live on the outskirts of Hamburg. The public transport is really good, but a little confusing, so make sure to do a little research on the internet before you get to Hamburg. Hamburg is really safe, there is no guns or anything. You can go anywhere during the day. During the night, you just need to use a little common sense, if there is a dark sketchy alley, don't go there. Train stations look sketchy, especially during the night, but they are still safe. There might be a couple drunk people though.

Culturally you don't need to worry much. Germans know that you are from the UK and won't judge you for doing things differently. Some quick tips: Take of your shoes at the entrance of a house, if you are at somebody else's house or apartment for an extended period of time (but you usually don't, if you are staying for a short time, like 3 hours for a dinner or something like that) Germans are very direct. Foreigners, especially Americans and British people, often fear that they are doing something wrong, because they feel like Germans aren't nice to them. It's just the way we are. We are not very superficial and that might appear rude at first. Make sure to visit Lüneburg, 30 mins by train. Make sure to drink lots of Astra. Ok I hope that helped a bit. I live close to Hamburg, so if you have any more questions, I might be able to answer them.


It is a very nice city, in my opinion the most underrated German city. I'm not too familiar with the night life in Hamburg, since I don't live in the city itself. The Reeperbahn and the rest of St. Pauli is a good place to start, it has a bunch of cool clubs and there's a lot of concerts. Just a heads up, the area is the biggest red light district in Germany (Prostitution is legal in Germany).

Bruno Fehr

I lived in many cities across the world and for the first time I felt at home. Yes, the city is cold and the city is grey but only makes you cherish the sunny days that much more.

Coming from a country with 9 month of summer per year, I feel in love with Hamburg. It has crime just as any city in the world but you do not feel unsafe. The police is very civilized and in my opinion the most relaxed in Germany.

Hamburg is a small city but it is an world metropolis. One day on the street and you will hear an average of 10 different languages.

In Hamburg you do not feel observed or judged based on how you dress or how you look.

Yes, we are constantly told in Hamburg that we live in the best city in the world but if not the best, it is on the top of the list. I have yet to meet someone that came to Hamburg and hated it.

Lutz Enke

Hamburg is one of the most livable cities in Europe. From my view, some of the advantages stem from:

  • loads of water: big river (Elbe), channels like in Amsterdam or Vienna, and a large lake in the city centre
  • it's also a pretty green city
  • big enough to "offer it all", but smaller (thus, more comfortable to travel inside / commute from suburbs) that really large cities (Hamburg has ca. 1.8M population)
  • while it's one of the more expensive cities in Germany, it still is much more affordable than Munich, Paris, London or, say, Oslo

Christoph Brecht

I lived for 5 years in Hamburg and it seems that I am the only one who is not really addicted to the city. I find Hamburg pretty dirty. The Harbour is not really attractive although a lot of people say so. The Winters in Hamburg are terrible because they are extremely grey. You hardly see the sun.

The people living in Hamburg are always told that they live in the greatest city by the media or whereever there is a chance, what I do not like. It seems that you have to tell them so they really believe it. 

I find the city pretty criminal compared to other cities in Germany.

Many Many left wing people, what isn't bad usually..but these plenty of the extreme and violent ones.

Iwy Ash

Like in every other city…if you're city is the most beautiful one in the world ;) its very green, blue and there's always something to do. There's no city that's as left as hamburg, which means: it's a city that's as Liberal as it gets. We're multicultural here and it works great. It's peaceful as long as you don't send despots or other dictators to our city for a g20.

The Art is everywhere and the history is magnificent. The people are relaxed. I've lived in England and the States but I always come back home to my rainy city.

Marcus Kemper

In my opinion, Hamburg is the best city in Germany - friendly people, lot of culture, open and liberal (since it has alway been a city with a big harbour), lot of water (river Elbe, Alster (actually a small river, but builds a big lake in the center of the city) and lots of canals), variety of different lifestyles, visitors from all around the globe etc etc. If germany, then Hamburg.


I'll try and answer.

  1. Rental will depend alot on where you live. I'm paying €800 a month for a 2 room apt in a nice area. If you are looking for a nice area I would recommend looking at Alonta, Eimsbüttel, Eppendorf and Winterhude. is a good place to start. Apts are unfurnished and some have no kitchens. If they do they will say EBK in the description and alot of apartment contracts are done through an agent who normally charge 3 months rent for their service. If you need accommodation sorted before you come over look into subletting an apt for a short time. When I first moved to Hamburg I subletted an apt for 2 months and this gave me time to find a nice apt.
  2. Public transport is excellent. If you get an apt. in any of the above areas you won't be more than a 10 min walk from a bus or train. I've 2 train stations within a 5 min walk. So when you are looking for an apt then take this into account.
  3. No idea about this.
  4. Not sure if the salary is fair, what will your role in IT be? Will your wife be working or will the two of you be living off your salary? 80k would be a good salary for 1 person, should be managable for 2 people but not sure if you'd have much left to save, would depend on your lifestyle.

Mark Smart


I have read the other 2 answers and in principle I agree. However, it is completely relative. Property in Hamburg and the surrounding suburbs is expensive, but with the current EU interest rates you can buy instead of renting (which is the norm in DE). I was a military officer (Royal Navy) here and after I left, we bought a house and are now building our own.

In reality the salaries in Germany are higher than elsewhere in EU, but the cost of living can also be higher, depending on your personal standards. If you earn it, you can spend it..... if not you have to be careful.

If you wish to live and work in Hamburg, then I would look at the suburbs for living (South side of the Elbe River is much cheaper, but distant from the city centre). I live in the north west - Kreis Pinnerburg and it is not cheap, but affordable, with good access to the city. The public transport system is great and not so expensive as in other countries.

Good Luck


Commander Royal Navy Retired