Which is the Best European Countries to Live and Work?

Europe offers a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a place to live and work abroad. With its diversity of cultures, landscapes, and career opportunities, deciding on the best European country for you can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top contenders for the best places for expats in Europe. From thriving job markets to excellent quality of life, keep reading to learn which European nations stand out.


Germany is a top choice for many looking to relocate for work. As Europe’s largest economy, Germany has a robust job market with opportunities in fields like engineering, technology, and healthcare. Major international companies like BMW, Siemens, and Lufthansa are headquartered in Germany.

Germany also offers a high quality of life. German cities like Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin provide excellent public transportation, rich cultural scenes, and a variety of housing options. While German bureaucracy can be frustrating, the country is fairly easy to settle into thanks to its high English proficiency and strong infrastructure.

The Netherlands:

The Netherlands is frequently ranked as one of the best European countries for expats. This small nation boasts a flourishing economy and some of the world’s highest English proficiency rates, making it an accessible place for foreigners to live and work.

Cosmopolitan cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam offer abundant jobs, especially in sectors like tech, finance, and transportation. The Netherlands also provides excellent work-life balance. Employees are entitled to at least 20 vacation days and 35-hour workweeks are common. The Dutch are known for valuing family time and leisure.

Beyond its thriving job market, the Netherlands offers universal healthcare, affordable higher education, and progressive values. It’s an open, tolerant society that’s widely welcoming to immigrants.


With its warm climate, laidback lifestyle, and affordable cost of living, Spain is a favorite destination for expats looking to enjoy a high quality of life. Spain’s unemployment rate has declined in recent years, and job opportunities exist in tourism, finance, and tech hubs like Barcelona.

While salaries tend to be lower than northern Europe, so too is the cost of living—especially housing. In many parts of Spain, you can enjoy a comfortable, sunny lifestyle without breaking the bank. Don’t forget Spain’s enviable work-life balance, with late office hours and long lunches followed by siestas.

Spain is also a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place, from lively cities to sleepy coastal towns. And while Spaniards take great pride in their customs and language, many also speak English.


This Scandinavian country frequently tops lists of the world’s best places to live and work. Denmark provides citizens with a high quality of life, including free higher education and universal healthcare. It offers a stable job market with abundant opportunities in fields like green technology, pharmaceuticals, and design.

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, offers urban living mixed with green spaces and waterfront access. Known for its content, satisfied citizens, Denmark provides excellent work-life balance with a standard workweek of 37 hours and at least 25 days of paid vacation.

While Denmark has high tax rates and living costs, the country invests this revenue back into society through its extensive social programs. Expats also benefit from Denmark’s high English proficiency and welcoming attitude toward newcomers.


Famous for its neutrality, natural beauty, and luxury, Switzerland is also one of Europe’s most prosperous nations. This country with low unemployment provides a range of job opportunities in fields like banking, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. Multinational companies like Nestle and Rolex are headquartered in Switzerland.

Switzerland offers political stability, modern infrastructure, and an excellent quality of life. Cities like Geneva and Zurich provide urban living with access to the country’s stunning alpine landscapes. Switzerland attracts many expats with its high wages, though the cost of living is also quite high.

While Switzerland can be more insular than some European nations, residents enjoy extensive rights and privileges. Switzerland has four official languages, giving expats options to learn the local tongues. Overall, Switzerland provides the European perks of history and natural beauty mixed with globalized prosperity.

Choosing Where to Live and Work in Europe

Determining the best European country for your situation requires understanding your priorities. Consider factors like:

  • Job market: Which countries offer abundant opportunities in your field?
  • Salary vs. cost of living: How far will your earnings stretch?
  • Work-life balance: Do people value leisure time?
  • Language: Is English commonly spoken? How hard will the local language be to learn?
  • Culture: Do your values align with the local lifestyle and customs?
  • Quality of life: Does the country invest in infrastructure and social services?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for the best place to live and work in Europe. For software engineers, Stockholm and Berlin may beckon. Bankers and finance professionals may look to Switzerland or Ireland. Bottom line: the beauty of Europe is that it offers something for everyone.

Ready to Explore Working Abroad in Europe?

Choosing among the best European countries for expats requires balancing your career aspirations, lifestyle priorities, and personal preferences. From thriving economic hubs like Germany to laidback beach paradises like Spain, Europe offers an array of environments to launch your adventure abroad.

Hopefully this article has illuminated some of the top contenders as the best places in Europe for expats. At the end of the day, only you can decide what type of experience will provide the perfect blend of challenge, excitement and comfort.

The great news? No matter where you land, as an expat in Europe you’ll gain exposure to fascinating new cultures, foods, and perspectives. You’ll enjoy opportunities for travel and language learning. You’ll meet welcoming locals and fellow adventurous expats from around the world.

Remember, to make your European dreams a reality, you simply have to take the first step. Begin your research, make a shortlist of promising destinations, and start applying for jobs abroad. The perfect opportunity is out there waiting for you!

For more tips on how to land your dream job overseas, browse scholarspoll.com for additional articles on working and living abroad. We have something that can help you achieve your goals.

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