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Where in the EU would you move to if you could right now?

A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to gain dual citizenship with the country of Luxembourg through my ancestry. This was an opportunity that I worked on for a couple of years, gathering birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates from my ancestors to see if we qualified. Now that I and our 2 sons have it, one of our sons moved to Sweden to live, in the middle of a pandemic and a contentious election. But my question is this...if you could move to any country in the EU right now, which would you choose and why? While we are optimistic with the outcome of this election, we would like a backup plan. I look forward to seeing the responses and to gain new insights. Unfortunately, we are currently the ignorant, monolingual Americans, but we are working on our French. My husband was in the Air Force and enjoys military history, and we are of German/Luxembourg/Swedish heritage, so those may have special interest for us. He has been over there more than I due to his career, but I, alas, have only been there once, which I hope to remedy after the pandemic has wound down. Any ideas?

Posted by
14267 posts

I'm quite happy staying here in Israel within flying distance of the EU, though if they want to let us in, I wouldn't mind.

If I had to choose one, I'd consider Malta for the weather and because English is an official language and widely spoken. Or maybe somewhere on the French or Italian riviera, again for the weather. Maybe Portugal. All is assuming I had financial resources that I don't currently have (nor any prospects . . . )

Posted by
12321 posts

Hello Chani; guess where I would move.

To be honest it is looking more and more probable in the next two years....... I'll always keep a room for you.

(Oh, Lisa; Budapest)

Lisa,

If you speak three languages you are trilingual
If you speak two languages you are bilingual
If you speak one language you are ................................................... drum rolll ..........................................................American.

AND, with you new found Citizenship, now might be a good time to invest. I dont know about Luxemburg, but a lot of real estate values in Budapest's inner city have crashed due to the COVID and because the AirBnb market has gone to hell because anti AirBnb sentiment. Foreign investors are pulling out and local home owners are finding they paid too much for now devalued homes. Building maintenance has gone to pot and the local support businesses like restaurants, gyms and grocery store that depended on the short term rentals are closing up faster than those in the suburbs. You might want to look into it. In the V, VI, VII districts of Budapest property prices are down as much as 25%. BUT, tourism will return and when it does there will be a shortage so those that can hang on will do well.

Posted by
2862 posts

We’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as our daughter-in-law and granddaughters are in the process of getting dual citizenship. They are functionally proficient in French and have relatives in Paris. I don’t know what the future will be for them but it is fun to dream along with them.

I think you would have a lot of interesting options. Your heritage countries of Luxembourg, Germany (similar seasons and language) and France are all border countries. What kind of climate are you used to and tolerant of? Is living near a city that has inexpensive flights to your Swedish son’s location important?

It will be extra special for you to go and investigate your options once we are allowed to travel again. Renting here and there before buying might be a good first step. Keep up with your language learning and dream on!

Posted by
4681 posts

The tax regimes in France and Spain mean that these countries would be an automatic no no for us. There’s far too much red tape in Italy. A friend has moved from the U.K. to France and hates the amount of red tape there, but it’s nothing compared to Italy, which was her second option. The weather in northern Europe is miserable in winter.

Portugal has a good climate and offers a 10 year financial golden handshake, so that would be my choice. Portuguese isn’t an easy language to pick up.

I haven’t seen property prices fall significantly in any of the European markets that I have been monitoring.

Posted by
7527 posts

No property value drops here in France. In some places the market is even hot. BTW, a lot of Americans have arrived in recent years.

Posted by
25560 posts

I know it isn't EU (at least probably not but who knows???) but here in the UK there is both quite a lot of property on the market, but much of it is rocketing in some parts. Not what I would call falling through the floor...

Posted by
4346 posts

Mallorca although I'd still maintain a base here in the UK. I want a mountain location with a seaview, not too much to ask for. With flights between the UK and Mallorca hovering below £50 in off peak times it makes enjoying the best of both worlds relatively easy and affordable.

Posted by
2083 posts

There might be some places where property values have dropped, but as mentioned that is the exception. In most areas I've seen property values has increased.

If you are planning to move, you should (in my opinion) first think about what kind of climate you are looking for. Living north of the arctic circle is very different to living on the Canaries, just off the coast of Africa. And not being too far from your son might be a good idea, where in Sweden has he moved?

Sweden is of course not a bad idea :) Although maybe not the best place for military history (there is some, but not as much as many other countries).

Posted by
5895 posts

It kind of depends on the "if money is no object" question.

Posted by
1362 posts

Edinburgh.
I lived there as a student and have family and friends there.
I always regret not buying a flat there when I had a bit of money years ago.

Posted by
12321 posts

I criticize a lot when people overly generalize, and then I find myself guilty of doing just that. Iapparently wrongly assumed that all the efforts to shut down AirBnbs would have the desired effects of making real estate cheaper for locals to return to the inner cities. And I guess I inaccurately assumed that cities like Budapest where a substantial portion of the inner city apartments are AirBnbs would suffer the same fate as Budapest between the ant AirBnb movement and no tourists for nearly a year.

My apologies, and my post corrected.

So Budapest is unique and a great deal if anyone is in the market. Pretty sure about that statement as I have two properties there that I can neither rent or sell right now. But I can afford to hang on and it will come back.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I guess that I assumed that anywhere in the EU is interesting, especially considering that I currently reside in flatland Fargo, North Dakota. Not to disrespect our local area, but we do not have a lot of variety in culture, history or landscape. On the other hand, we are very accustomed to traveling 4-5 hours just to go someplace interesting. We are also accustomed to brutal winters, spring flooding, hot summers and mosquitoes. So, having said that, we would be interested in a place that is fairly close an airport that could get us up to see our son, who is a little south of Stockholm. Unfortunately, I cannot say that money is no object, but I don't think that I ask for a lot in the way of amenities. Is it possible to rent an apartment or a smaller house in a town in, say, Belgium or the Netherlands for 6 months to see how it goes? I know there are all sorts of possibilities. I will admit that, having lived my entire life on some of the flattest land on earth, I am rather unnerved driving in mountains. Also, I love being near large bodies of water. But I do look forward to traveling around Europe when we can again. Again, many thanks for your ideas.

Posted by
1135 posts

Germany. Safe, clean, scenic, lots to see and do without travelling far. Off the top of my head, I've spent at least four months visiting, no further north than Monschau as of last autumn. I can't make my mind up exactly where, but probably in the Alps and close to water.

Posted by
2083 posts

We are also accustomed to brutal winters, spring flooding, hot summers
and mosquitoes.

Being accustomed is one thing, what you are looking for is another thing.

So, having said that, we would be interested in a place that is fairly
close an airport that could get us up to see our son, who is a little
south of Stockholm.

What is "a little south of Stockholm"? The southern suburbs? Linköping? Somewhere inbetween? Stockholm's major airport, Arlanda, has direct flights from most major European airport as well as from many smaller. There is also an airport in Nyköping, around 100 south of Stockholm used by a few low cost airlines as "Stockholm".

Is it possible to rent an apartment or a smaller house in a town in,
say, Belgium or the Netherlands for 6 months to see how it goes?

Apart from the pandemic, I can't see why it shouldn't be possible.

I will admit that, having lived my entire life on some of the flattest
land on earth, I am rather unnerved driving in mountains.

That is the great thing about living in Europe, you don't have to drive. There are buses and trains to most places of interest.

Also, I love being near large bodies of water.

As in the ocean or would a large lake do?

Posted by
3416 posts

My husband swears that he would like to buy a house in Scotland (probably in Aviemore area) after he fully retires and our dog passes away. He asked me to star researching how to go about it, what we'd need to do, etc. I don't' think he really understands what winter is like there (we were there during a small, beautiful snowfall one December). But I'm doing as he asked. We do love Scotland and England (and Wales- though we haven't visited there as much). But I truly believe that he doesn't grasp ALL the differences in visiting and LIVING somewhere. We'll just have to see if he sticks to this idea for any length of time.

Posted by
903 posts

I speak some German, so Germany would be an option. I love Scotland should they decide not to join the rest of the UK in leaving the EU.

Posted by
12321 posts

There have been a number of posts that touch on this subject. Generally the advise runs along the lines of how hard it is to find a home ..... it isn't. Or you need to speak the language ...... you don't. Or how expensive it is .... doesn't have to be. or how lost you will be in the culture .... nonsense.

I haven't made the final move but I have been set up for it for years. I have the home, the infrastructure, and have located the resources to plug the holes. And I've spent time getting comfortable in the culture. Anyone of moderate means can do it, but you have to make well thought out decisions.

So if it interests you.... go for it.

Posted by
5895 posts

I've never been there, but reading the Bruno, Chief of Police detective novels, makes the Dordogne region of France sound like the perfect place to live.

But you don't have to tie yourself down: try six months in one place, and then try another. UK might be out, due to Brexit.

Posted by
1128 posts

I’d pick the U.K. but assuming they’re out, Frankfurt Germany. You asked for a place to live, not visit on a vacation. Germany has a robust financial industry and has all the culture I could ask for.

Posted by
4657 posts

Well, I'm a Bruno fan (in measured doses), and the Dordogne is lovely, but look at all the crime they have! At least that's what I gather from reading Bruno novels.

"Where in the EU would you move if you could right now"? "Could" doesn't necessarily equate to "would." I still like living here, especially after the last few days, but if I were looking for an exile venue it would probably be Ireland. An English-speaking democracy with a climate similar to where I live now. An EU member with easy flights elsewhere in Europe, too bad they're not in Schengen but maybe will be. Now if they would just drive on the right side of the road..... ;-)

Lisa (or someone) mentioned renting a place in Europe for six months. That would require a visa, as the Schengen countries (and most others I suspect) limit you to 90 days in a 180-day period without one. Not impossible but could get complicated.

Posted by
7527 posts

Ever notice that weather and season are never mentioned in the Bruno series. You have to choose where in the Dordogne wisely. Countryside and villages can be pretty bleak in off seasons unless you build a strong group of energetic friends, not necessarily physical energy, but people with whom you can set creativity and ideas in motion.

Posted by
406 posts

I'm pretty happy here in the NL. Coming from Seattle, the weather doesn't bother me. Wonderful beaches, great infrastructure and public transportation. Very nice people, most of whom speak very good English. And, if one needs a change of scenery, very easy to get to any place else in Europe. Taxes and housing are high. Food, not the greatest, but improving.

Posted by
2486 posts

I have romantic ideas of living on a small island or in the country, but I’m not cut out for that long term. I’d want to be in a medium to big city. Somewhere I can get by with English while I learn the local language. If that language is Spanish I have a head start, any other language I’m starting from near zero but Romance languages will be easier due to knowing basic Spanish. Good weather. Places to enjoy nature within a short drive train ride away - beaches and hill/mountain parks for hiking. A culture that is accepting of kids and families. If I were actually doing this I’d have to look into schools for my kids, but I’m going to assume that this is ok.

So I’m going to say Spain or Portugal. I actually haven’t been to Portugal (thanks, 2020, I was set to go in June!) so I’d have to confirm first. In Spain I love Seville and Granada but might choose to move to Barcelona instead because it’s bigger and I see myself more comfortable there long term. I don’t need to be in the core city, a nice outer neighborhood or nearby town would be but I don’t know specifics.

Or hey, a summer house in Iceland and a rest of the year house in Spain would be great. I adore Iceland but there’s no way I can handle the winters.

Posted by
345 posts

Iceland. We have been talking about it since our first visit 5 years ago. Thankfully our kids loved their visits there too so if we go, I am pretty confident that they would as well.

Posted by
5606 posts

UK or Ireland. Bloodlines from both. Could care less about grey skies and rain.

Posted by
860 posts

I've gone as far as an internet search (so, not that far) of how to move to Sweden. I would be very tempted if I could continue to work. However, the requirements for my profession include being fluent in Swedish, and I don't think that is going to happen. Of course, other ties keeping me here (mother, mother-in-law and 2 sons).

Posted by
2083 posts

However, the requirements for my profession include being fluent in
Swedish, and I don't think that is going to happen.

Svenska och engelska är båda germanska språk, så ge inte upp förrän du har försökt! :-)

Posted by
6387 posts

Somewhere in the countryside or a smaller town — I guess first in France or Italy, then for some reason in Sweden, although I have only been there once.

But my most coveted location, Scotland, is sadly no longer in the EU. Would also love Norway, but again, not in the EU.
If I were younger, I would love to live in London, but I am not sure I have the energy for it at my age. Again, non-EU.

My basic desires are somewhere quieter and beautiful, with lovely walks outside my front door, a little cottage rather than an apartment (would like a garden too!) with good internet and bookstores that can deliver, and where I can speak the language. I would have to work on my Italian, or learn Swedish or Norwegian from scratch!

I also would love to be near a body of water — river or lake are my preferences but I would take ocean or sea views too, depending on the location!

Posted by
2083 posts

Would also love Norway, but again, not in the EU.

But EU citizens have freedom of movement in EFTA countries and v.v.

Posted by
750 posts

We've always thought it would be nice to relocate from Kansas to Lake Como Italy. The area is beautiful and Italy has always been one of our favorite countries. What will most likely happen is when I retire we will rent a Air b&b there for 2-3 months during the Spring or Fall.

Posted by
14267 posts

Hello James. I will happily visit you in Budapest often, but only if you reciprocate . . . the guest room (ensuite) awaits. I might even consider a winter visit (brrrrr) but only if the Christmas markets return and there's hot mulled wine.

Posted by
12321 posts

Lisa, do some reading and pick a few places or neighborhoods that look interesting. Then find a real estate company with on line listing and see whats available and prices. Then buy a plane ticket, get an airbnb in each location for 3 or 4 nights. Eat in the neighborhoods, shop in the neighborhood grocery, visit a beauty parlor and get your nails done. Finally get the real estate company to show you a few properties, occupied ones if you can cause you want to see how people live. Dont worry if its too soon to buy, this is research.

Posted by
6387 posts

But EU citizens have freedom of movement in EFTA countries and v.v.

Badger, I know, but I was trying to answer the question as posed in the title!

Posted by
5 posts

Great responses, guys! This gives a lot of insight on what to think about. Our son moved to Nykoping, Sweden with some friends and will be looking for a job in IT in Stockholm. He isn't given to rash decisions, so he has done his research. Hopefully after the covid pandemic has been become just a horrible nightmare in our rearview mirror, we can all resume our regularly scheduled lives. I hope so. Right now, looking forward to brighter days is what is getting me through this. Stay safe and thanks for the wonderful ideas and insights.

Posted by
2083 posts

Nyköping is an odd choice, may I ask why he moved there? I'm not saying it's a bad choice, but it is usually not the first town people think of when planning a move to Sweden.

The local airport, Skavsta, is used by Wizzair and Ryanair (they both market is as "Stockholm") so there are a number of routes there from different parts of Europe. A map of them can be found here: https://www.flightconnections.com/flights-from-stockholm-skavsta-nyo However, as is usual with the low cost airlines the flights are not frequent, twice or three times per week or so. And they can change with short notice. So don't plan your future based on where there are direct flights to Skavsta. It is however easy to get to Arlanda, around 1:50 by train. And if you are considering another Scandinavian country, Nyköping is about 4:30 by train from Copenhagen and around 5h from Oslo. As well as pretty easy to reach by train from other parts of Sweden.

Posted by
1682 posts

Before I 'd answer I'd need to ask a lot of questions about cost of living, taxes, and things of that nature. Preferably an English-speaking country, but maybe Germany as just about everyone speaks English better than many Americans.

Lived eight years in Germany and love the country, but yeah the weather is awful much of the year.

How much are we talking to live "comfortably," like a modest apartment or small home, per year? $75,000? More?

Posted by
5 posts

Our son decided to go for Nykoping because he knew someone there already and they are sharing an apartment. It certainly made the move easier on us as parents that he knew someone who knew the ropes with the language and could help him get his "personnumer" I think he called it. Everything has been greatly slowed down due to covid, but his EU citizenship, as well as his negative covid test that had to be done within 72 hrs of the flight, got him in. He still did his 14 day quarantine and they are still staying low, but he sounds pretty excited about it. He felt that the train ride about an hour up to Stockholm was doable for when he starts looking for a job up there for an IT job. He keeps saying that the topography so far reminds him of northern Minnesota up by Lake Superior, and says its still kind of a shock to see a castle in town. It always reminds him of how new the US is by comparison.

Several people mentioned renting a couple of times in different locations, and I think that would be a wonderful idea. It would not be such an upfront investment and we would be able to research the surrounding area and cost of living better, I think. Does anyone have any particular suggestions about short-term apartment rental internet sites for different countries, or are they all pretty much the same? Or is Airbnb a good alternative for short-term of a couple of months at a time? Again, thanks for the food for thought.

Posted by
2083 posts

Preferably an English-speaking country, but maybe Germany as just
about everyone speaks English better than many Americans.

I'm not sure I agree with that statement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language_in_Europe#/media/File:English_as_a_foreign_and_second_language_in_the_EU_and_Turkey,_2005.jpg (Old data, but I don't think Germany has climbed to the top.)

Our son decided to go for Nykoping because he knew someone there
already and they are sharing an apartment. It certainly made the move
easier on us as parents that he knew someone who knew the ropes with
the language and could help him get his "personnumer" I think he
called it.

Thank you! That explains it. And yes, it is a nice town that is a bit underrated. Although it is a pity that the castle wasn't rebuilt after the fire in 1665 so it's partly a ruin at the moment.

Several people mentioned renting a couple of times in different
locations, and I think that would be a wonderful idea. It would not be
such an upfront investment and we would be able to research the
surrounding area and cost of living better, I think. Does anyone have
any particular suggestions about short-term apartment rental internet
sites for different countries, or are they all pretty much the same?
Or is Airbnb a good alternative for short-term of a couple of months
at a time? Again, thanks for the food for thought.

There are many differences, I would not recommend Airbnb as many cities are having trouble with them. Especially as I believe you are looking for a longer stay than a week or so? In case you are interested in Sweden, blocket.se is a good site. You can either look at ads from people looking for someone to rent their apartment, or post your own letting people know that you are looking for a place to rent. But there are other places as well you can look. If Sweden is an option, feel free to pm me for more information from a native Swede.

Posted by
12321 posts

AirBnb is fine. Many cities are putting restrictions on short term rentals, regardless of the listing platform. No matter what platform you use, odds are the apartment is on several of the others as well.

Posted by
48 posts

Italy--no question about it.

I love the Amalfi coast and Tuscany areas. I am of Italian descent and am currently attempting to learn the Italian language.

Posted by
1110 posts

Short term rentals (90 days or less) offer an excellent path into experiencing destinations of interest. Fortunately the internet offers ample findings of companies offering shorty term rentals based upon a search of potential destinations. You may also search for sites offering expats expertise and finding local newspapers on-line is also of help.

Posted by
245 posts

Being firmly in the "anywhere but here" camp, and with a language I already know, I'd go with Portugal, France or Italy. With the opportunity to learn a new language, Denmark or Slovenia in a heartbeat! Poland would be great if the language weren't nearly impossible for me to learn. (And I tried, twice. Hopeless) In the real world, I'd suppose I would have to consider cost of living, red tape/taxes, big cities vs smaller towns, political climate and food. But, for the time being, I'd be happy with just taking our long-postponed vacations.