UK freelancer job market PeoplePerHour released a report on Wednesday that ranks Berlin as the top place worldwide
to be a digital nomad – someone who works by computer while travelling.
The study took into account things like the number of co-working spaces, office rental costs, the overall cost of
living and crime rates. “People across European countries are now more often self-employed after the financial
crisis,” PeoplePerHour spokeswoman Aylish Jarvie told The Local. “People are making use of that freedom and with the
ability to have clients around the world, you yourself can travel as well.”
Top five places for digital nomads:
Freelance writers, social media managers, designers, and web developers, to name a few, are more likely to be able to
choose where they want to set up shop across the globe. “If you’re looking at a place where want to work and have the
choice of anywhere in the world, then you need a place with decent co-working places, where you can network and not be
isolated while you work,” Jarvie noted.
“And people want their money to go further. There are low rents in Berlin, and then the quality of life puts the icing on
the cake.” Berlin’s divided Cold War past is part of what has made it struggle to catch up economically to
Germany’s more industrious hubs like manufacturing-rich Munich, or the finance centre of Frankfurt.
Nevertheless, the cost of a flat in Berlin is still generally lower than Germany’s other major cities, which continues
to make it appealing for startups – another aspect of PeoplePerHour’s research.
The freelancer market also ranked Berlin as the second best city for starting a business, behind Canada’s
Vancouver. Similar to the digital nomad report, this ranking took into account quality of life and office space,
as well as ease of “getting a company off the ground”.
This meant Berlin beat out the tech mecca of San Francisco (21st place) as well as its British rival London
(14th). Immediately after the UK’s narrow vote to leave the European Union, some experts predicted that Brexit would
turn Berlin into Europe’s new startup capital. “They’re clearly doing well in Berlin,” said Jarvie. “A lot of US
startups will choose Berlin as their mainland Europe hub… What attracts talent is also having a really good
life outside work, so the nightlife helps as well.” Still, a recent report by German bank KfW showed that the
number of entrepreneurs in Berlin had decreased in recent years, and Hamburg actually came out on top for the
first time with the highest comparative number of people starting businesses.