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The friendliest places in Europe

September 15, 2016


When making the move to another country there are naturally a number of issues that will cross your mind, including how well you’ll settle in to your new location. But aside from doing your research on the local community in advance, it’s difficult to know how well you’ll fit in and make friends.

There are, however, some interesting studies that provide some insight on this topic. For example, InterNations recently surveyed more than 14,000 individuals for its Expat Insider 2016 index. This included assessing the ‘friendliness’ of specific countries. Overall, Taiwan, Uganda and Costa Rica were ranked as the most friendly countries, while Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait were found to be the least.

But looking at Europe specifically, which countries are friendly and which less so?


Ranked twelfth on the friendliness scale, it appears Spain is very welcoming of expats. Almost three quarters of those surveyed stated that it is relatively easy to settle down in the country – a stark comparison to the global average of 59%. A further 86% of respondents said that the general friendliness of the local population was good overall. The country is also a great location for families, with 58% claiming education opportunities are numerous and 58% revealing these are easy to afford.


Number twenty on the list, Ireland’s reputation as a friendly nation clearly still holds true. Only 4% of those surveyed had a negative feeling about the general friendliness of the population with three-quarters of expats in Ireland stating that the local culture is easy to adapt to. This may perhaps be due to the lack of language barriers many face in the country, with 77% of expats reporting that they aren’t at all hindered communications issues.


While Germany ranked 17 in the overall report for multiple categories, in terms of friendliness, it’s relatively low down on the list at number 55. Arguably one of the biggest issues impacting this score is the language barrier, with 62% of respondents revealing a struggle with learning German. Subsequently, it comes as no surprise that 49% of those surveyed found it difficult to socialise with local communities and make new friends.


Sitting towards the lower end of the list at number 64, Switzerland could be a location that some expats would require more time and effort to settle in to. Despite its cultural diversity – with four co-existing languages dominant in the country – 36% of those surveyed stated that the attitude towards foreign residents is generally bad compared to the global average of 17%. However, it could be argued that the number of spoken languages can exacerbate this issue, with 55% of expats claiming they struggle with local communication.

While contracting overseas can occasionally be lonely, knowing where is friendly and where might require a greater knowledge of local languages will certainly be beneficial. However, no matter how many friends you make in your new home, that won’t affect your ability to stay on the right side of local tax laws. Contact the team today to find out why we should be your global tax friends!

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