Fellow expats … we’ve been cranking out our “5 Best Cities in Europe for Expats” lists since 2017. We know our readers find them useful, or at least entertaining, because they’ve gotten hundreds of thousands of page views. That traffic has only grown with Brexit and Trump as so many people decide there are better, smarter and safer places to be than the United Kingdom and the United States.
Our approach has always been data-driven. We collect empirical data, then crunch the numbers based on:
• availability of housing
• prevalence of English
• career opportunities
• availability of international schools
• security and stability
Until now, we’ve simply never thought to crowd-source this effort. But the truth is, we could use your help really understanding the ground truth of what it’s like to live in your city and decide whether it should included on our list.
For three years, Dispatches’ headquarters country the Netherlands has tended to dominate the lists simply because the economy is booming, it’s easy to get established here and everyone speaks English. If you’re a highly skilled international, this is the place to be.
But we worry we’re being too parochial simply because we don’t make it to Lisbon and some of the other increasingly popular – and affluent – expat destinations.
Simply put, the world is changing and it’s been awhile since we’ve spent significant time on the ground in the Balkans and Greece. That said, we have Digital Nomad Beth Hoke and others out constantly, traveling around Europe and sending us primary-source intelligence.
We’ve started researching several potential candidates for 2020 including Antwerp, Brussels, Grenoble, Helsinki, Madrid, Milan, Riga and Zagreb and we’ll expand the list if it makes sense.
We believe multiple urban areas that function as a mega-city such as the Randstad (Rotterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag and Amsterdam) and the Rhine Ruhr region (Düsseldorf, Köln, Bonn and other cites ) are the future for Europe. We’d like to hear your opinion on that.
We’ve already ruled out a number of expat centers including Barcelona, Stockholm and Paris because they’re too expensive and/or they don’t have the housing or infrastructure to deal with expanding populations. And we bumped Frankfurt and Copenhagen off our original list because what were we thinking?
If you’ve lived the expat life anywhere in Europe, we’d like to include your experiences for the next list. With your permission, we’d like to quote you by name.
About the author:
Terry Boyd is co-founder of Dispatches Media, based in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Boyd has been a military reporter, business reporter and an entrepreneur, founding Insider Louisville, a pure-play digital news platform, in 2010.
Boyd & Family are long-time expats and have lived in Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.