Dortmund is one of the largest city of North Rhine. In fact, it is at position three after Dusseldorf and Cologne. It remains the largest city by population and land area of the Ruhr and the eighth largest city in Germany. The town is home to over 600,000 residents. The city is situated approximately 492 kilometres from Berlin.
Is Dortmund a good place to live? The truth is that living in Dortmund provides a unique cultural experience due to the numerous historical buildings in the town which has a rich cultural history. Life in the city is by no means a concrete jungle since almost half of it is covered with parks and green spaces.
If you’re in the process of moving to Dortmund as an expat, you will be surprised to learn how easy it is. Apart from the vibrant culture, Dortmund provides a wide range of exciting job opportunities, relatively low cost of living and high-quality life. The city is extremely popular with students, tourists, and expats.
Have you started plans of moving to Dortmund or you simply want to know more about this magnificent city? You came to the right place. We have compiled a comprehensive city guide that provides you with all the fine details that you need to understand about Dortmund. Let us dive direct into the details.
Is Dortmund a Good Place to Live?
Many people in the Ruhr region consider Dortmund their home city not just as a place of residence but also a way of life. Most city dwellers are known for their unique cosmopolitan attitude. This isn’t surprising given the high number of European immigrants who settled in Dortmund during the great industrial age.
It is the solidarity of these workers that have coined the tolerant atmosphere in the city making it an excellent place to live. Both locals and expats live side by side, and they all love their city. The town was long known for coal mining and steel manufacturing. The furnaces, coal mines, and shaft towers were distinctive features of the working class in the region.
Thanks to coal mining, the entire Ruhr region was the centre of German industrialisation and growth. But, Dortmund is no longer the old coal mining centre. The city has reinvented itself as a cultural city that is home to locals and non-locals. The town was named as the European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Just like the rest of Germany, Dortmund guarantees an excellent educational system. People living in Dortmund can choose between a wide range of public and private institutions. The city has over 160 schools and 17 technical colleges that have a student population of over 90,000. Dortmund’ curriculum consists of a 4-year primary education after which students join the college preparatory school. The Stadtgymnasium is among the first schools to be built in Germany and even Europe. The Technical University of Dortmund which was founded in 1968 admits students every year and offers many high-quality degree courses.
The university owns a train station that ferries students to and from the city centre. This university has recorded the best results when it comes to research in areas of electrical engineering, economics, chemistry, and physics. There is also the Dortmund University of Sciences and Arts that offers degree courses to over 13,000 local and international students.
If you’re making plans of moving to Germany and you want to settle in a city that guarantees quality education and research, Dortmund is the city of your dreams.
The transport system is also well-developed. The city is served by road, rail, air, and water transport. Some of the major roads in the town include Dutch A67 that crosses the Rhine and goes through Ruhr Valley to Bochum where it becomes B1.
The Dortmund airport handles local, national, and international travels to and from the city. From the airport, there is a dedicated shuttle bus that connects the train station in the centre. The Dortmund railway Station connects the national rail to the subway and regional trains. For people living in Dortmund, it is much easier to get into the city centre or any other suburb using the well-connected underground train network.
Is Dortmund a Good Place to Work?
If you’ve plans of moving to Dortmund to find work you’ll be excited to learn that the unemployment rate in the city is much lower than the national average. In 2017, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 3.2% while the national average stood at 5.6%.
Dortmund is the hub of many corporate groups such as Wilo, AOK, Uhde, Signal-Iduna, the Institute for Analytical Sciences, and Max-Planck Institute. These corporates employ hundreds of thousands of people from across the world. The city has a strong economy that attracts investors.
Dortmund was known as the city of coal, iron, and beer up to the 20th century when it shed that tag and started to embrace technology-driven solutions. Today, the city is the leading location for the development of microsystem technology, and there are approximately 30 different scientific research institutes in the heart of the town.
Apart from manufacturing and technology, the banking and insurance sector is a significant driver of Dortmund’s strong economy. The Dortmund Technology Centre and the TechologiePark house over 220 businesses that employ about 9,000 people. Dortmund is home to the headquarters of Signal Iduna, Wilo, and ThyssenkruppUhdeGmbh. If you are moving to Germany as a highly experienced expat, you can consider seeking employment in any of these companies.
People who work in this city earn an average salary of £32,000 which is slightly higher than the national average. This is also much better compared to what employees in other cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich earn.
While many Germans and German corporations use English, learning German must be the number one priority for any expat who wants to secure a job opportunity anywhere in the town. Citizens of EU countries don’t need work permits to be employed in the city and all over the country.
Is Dortmund a Good Place to Buy a House?
Dortmund’s housing market is quite strong attributed to strong economic growth, the high number of work-related immigrants, record-low unemployment and the low mortgage interest rates. The average cost of buying a house in Dortmund is relatively higher compared to other European cities.
Currently, the house price to income ratio stands at 6.33 while mortgage as a percentage of income stands at 37.90%. The current average asking price for a one-bedroom house in the city’s affluent locations is £360,000 in the city centre and approximately £270,000 outside the city centre. A three bedroom apartment costs anything between £560,375 and £700,000.
Some of the most preferred neighbourhoods that are located outside the city centre are Kaiserviertel and Kreuzviertel. The Kreuzviertel is the historic area of Dortmund where you will find many landmarks such as the Kreuzkirche at the Kreuzstrabe. This neighbourhood also features a vibrant shopping scene and a good number of parks.
Even though house prices are relatively high, getting a mortgage to finance house purchase is relatively easy for people with a good credit rating. Rental rates are also a little bit steep with the monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment ranging between £750 and £800. Renting a three bedroom apartment will cost you £1,200 on average.
Is Dortmund a Good Place to Retire?
Are you looking for an amazing place to retire that provides a wide range of exciting opportunities to retirees? Look no further than Dortmund. Retirees will find a lot to love about this beautiful city. Whether you are into relaxing on the greens, shopping, or enjoying a cold beer, there is no need to travel elsewhere.
The English-speaking locals, internationally accredited medical care, excellent food, affordable health insurance and the affordable living costs make this city a good choice for any retiree. There are lots of retirement homes that are affordable.
A nice one-bedroom retirement home in Dortmund will cost approximately £320,000. A three-bedroom property will cost approximately £450,000. Financing is available to individuals with a good credit rating.
Is Dortmund a Good Place to Visit?
The city isn’t just an incredible place to work and live. There are plenty of reasons why Dortmund is a beautiful city to visit. You get an opportunity to experience the city’s rich cultural history that is the true embodiment of the Germans. Along with historic buildings and churches such as the Reinoldikirche that was built in 1233, the area in and around has numerous attraction sites such as the 13th-century castles such as Haus Bodelschwingh.
Dortmund is also a shopper’s paradise with over 10,000 people shopping in the city’s various commercial areas every hour. You can always join them along to experience how it feels to shop in this great city.
Once known as the centre of coal mining, it is hard to believe that Dortmund has transformed to become one of the world’s greenest cities. Today, almost half of the city’s territory is green space that comprises of large parks, hiking trails, waterways, woods, and much more.
Although the city’s economy was built on coal, beer, and steel, coal and steel have been replaced by the high-tech industry. But guess what? The beer industry is still king, and when you visit the city, you get the chance to sample the tasty and unique beer brewed here.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.