Moving to a foreign land is no easy feat – there are plenty of factors that you must consider before arriving at your decision. No matter where you decide to go, essential comforts such as healthcare, safety, ease of making money, language, local communities, et cetera, are some of the few things that you ought to look into. However, doing this kind of research will prove to be a cumbersome task. So, to help you in your endeavor, we have compiled here a list of 25 best countries to live in the world in 2018.
To put your mind at ease, we have prepared this list based on several important variables like life expectancy, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, safety, happiness, population, climate, corruption, and cost of living. This list also takes in data from the United Nations Human Development Index and the World Happiness Report. So let’s get started without any further delay.
#25 – Panama, Central America
[Capital: Panama City, Currency: United States Dollar, Balboa]
Panama, officially known as the Republic of Panama, is a small country in Central America. Costa Rica and Colombia share their borders with Panama. For years now, this country has served as the primary choice for property investors, retirees, and second-home buyers. The country boasts of rich biodiversity – it has an abundance of flora and fauna and is home to many exotic species. Even geographically speaking, the country is quite diverse – it is tropical rainforests, mountains, and picturesque sandy beaches.
The economy of Panama is based primarily on the service industry which, in turn, is reliant upon tourism, banking, and commerce. Its banking system is one of the most developed ones in the world. It also generates revenues through the Panama Canal. It is worth mentioning that this canal, spanning across 80 kilometers, separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean.
Panama is the only place in the world where it is possible to see the sun rise in the east and set in the west.
Panama is the second most competitive country in Latin America and has one of the fastest growing and well-managed economies in the region.
Its primary exports are sugar, shrimp, bananas, coffee, and watermelon.
Panama is one of the few countries in the world that is benefitting from a rise in medical tourism. This entails cosmetic surgeries, dental implants, and plastic surgery.
There is something for everyone in Panama; from a rich art and culture scene to water and beach sports, and an equally exhilarating nightlife – the country is more than capable of meeting and satisfying your wanderlust.
The country has two monetary units – Balboa and the US Dollar although, it hasn’t printed Balboa notes in decades. Their economy is practically dollarised!
#24 – Czech Republic, Europe
[Capital: Prague, Currency: Czech Koruna]
The Czech Republic may have come into existence only in the early 1990s but it has a history that can be traced back to the 6th Century A.D. In a short span of time, it has quickly moved up to become a developed nation with a high income, export-oriented economy. Science and technology have played an important role in the country’s economy with its main exports being machinery, precision equipment, electronics, and medical supplies. It is a welfare state that follows the European Social Model which, in turn, includes universal healthcare, free education, and labor protection.
The Czech Republic has been often ranked as one of the safest and most peaceful places to live in the world. The quality of life is high here and at the same time, it is fairly affordable for many. The country also boasts of rich history and has an extraordinary cultural landscape.
The Czech Republic is known for its high quality of education. If you are looking to pursue higher studies, then the Czech Republic will prove to be a good choice although, it may not be free if you are not from the EU.
The Czech Republic is the most non-religious country in the world with approximately 75% of the citizens not following any religion.
If you love castles, then you will love the Czech Republic. The country has more than 2,000 castles, keeps, and ruins to keep you occupied!
Contrary to popular belief, Czechs love their beer more than anyone else in the world. It has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. It is a good way to bond with the locals. Na Zdravi!
Just like Germany, the Czech Republic too is known for its Christmas markets.
#23 – France, Europe
[Capital: Paris, Currency: Euro]
It is a well-known fact that France is one of the world’s top tourist destinations – no matter when you go to Paris, you will always find that city filled with tourists. However, from the perspective of an expat, France does have many wonderful opportunities. As a highly developed nation, it ranks very well in the international rankings of education, life expectancy, healthcare, and human development. It is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Its citizens are welcoming and friendly and the country yields an important influence on the rest of the world through science, politics, and most importantly, culture. It is one of the first countries in the world to recognize the rights of individuals. As for its economy, it is a harmonious mixture of private and government enterprises with tourism being a major contributor.
The shortest reign in the world was that of Louis XIX – the King of France. He was the king for just 20 minutes before abdicating the throne in favor of his nephew.
French people love food and wine. It is an important part of their life. While we are at it, let us remember that French gastronomy has been declared a World Intangible Heritage by the UNESCO. It is also one of the largest producers of wine in the world.
France is the largest country in the EU.
There are more than 400 variants of cheese in France.
It is possible to marry a dead person in France, provided you can prove that the deceased had the intention of marrying you. Oh, and you also need the permission of the president and the family of the deceased.
#22 – Chile, South America
[Capital: Santiago, Currency: Peso]
Chile is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable countries in South America. The country’s capital – Santiago, is dotted with quaint cafes, boutiques, shops, and restaurants, marked by a backdrop of tall, modern buildings. A walk through the streets of Valparaiso will take you to another dimension where everything is good and perfect in the world. Once you are there, you will not want to leave – the country is that beautiful and its people are that friendly. Chileans are known to be hardworking and have contributed significantly to make Chile one of the most livable countries on the continent. They are content with what they have and it is a joy to be with them. Chile’s Human Development Index is exceptionally high – it is the highest in all of South America.
Chile is the longest country in the world, stretching from the north to the south at 2,653 miles. This translates into a mind-boggling array of climates, geographies, and stunning sceneries.
From beaches, villages and seaside resorts to mountains and lakes, you will never get tired of nature here.
The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest place in the world. However, it is also one of the best places on Earth for stargazing, owing to negligibly light pollution.
Chile is one of the largest exporters and producers of wine in the world. The country is known for its wine, food, and a rich cultural heritage.
Valparaiso is one of the most prosperous cities in Chile and its historical centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chile is considered to be the most stable and prosperous nation in South America, owing to its high-income, mixed economy.
Its major export product is copper – in fact, Chile produces one-third of the world’s total copper!
The cost of living in Chile is quite reasonable, although you will stand to benefit more if you live somewhere other than Santiago.
#21 – Malta, Europe
[Capital: Valletta, Currency: Euro]
Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea located just south of Italy. Being in the southern part of Europe, the weather here is comparatively better than its northern counterparts. It is never too cold and it is always sunny for most of the year. Malta has a rich history dating back to thousands of years ago, the traces of which can be seen in the country’s megalithic temples. Its history has also been touched upon by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs.
The country’s economy is very advanced and depends on banking, finance, and tourism. In the 2018 Human Development Index, Malta ranks higher than the likes of Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Poland, and Portugal. It has outranked these countries in the World Happiness Report as well. These facts imply that the economy of Malta is growing, thus making it a preferred country for foreigners.
The Maltese people are known to be helpful, friendly, and warm. If you ever find yourself in need of help when there, don’t hesitate to ask!
Malta, owing to its serene, untouched nature, is preferred by many Hollywood directors for their movies. Some of the most popular movies shot in Malta are Gladiator, Troy, and Game of Thrones.
Malta comprises three islands – Gozo, Comino, and Malta. Of these, Comino is virtually uninhabited and is known for its blue lagoon.
The food scene in Malta is surreal. Its cuisine is influenced by Sicilian, English, Spanish, Provencal cuisines. It is an important part of the country’s national identity.
Many of Malta’s megalithic temples are believed to be older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids, making them some of the oldest freestanding structures on Earth.
#20 – Belgium, Europe
[Capital: Brussels, Currency: Euro]
Belgium is the land of chocolates, waffles, beer, and excellent food. If you move to Belgium, don’t be surprised if you end up gaining a couple of pounds over the first few weeks there. It is a developed country that ranks fairly high in the Human Development Index. Just like many European nations, it has a high standard of living, an excellent education system, and a near-flawless healthcare system. It is also one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world. Over the years, it has attracted plenty of expats.
The country’s nominal GDP as of 2018 is approximately $512 billion and through the course of the year, it has recorded a GDP growth of 1.9%. In addition to this, the Belgians are known to be quite friendly and helpful. If you do move there, you will get to benefit from its impeccable work-life balance.
Belgium has more castles per square kilometre than any other country in the world. It is one of the first countries in the world that legalised same-sex marriage.
The country has a highly developed transport network – its economy has capitalised on the same to make the country a commercial base for trade and industries in Europe. I
f you love music, then you will love Belgium. It has an epic music scene with its most famous festival being the ‘Tomorrowland.’
The country has three official languages, although none of them is Belgian.
The food in Belgium is very good and affordable. It definitely comes as no surprise to see that it was the Belgians who invented fries.
#19 – Republic of Korea, Asia
[Capital: Seoul, Currency: South Korean Won]
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of South Korea is Samsung, Gangnam Style and kimchi. However, there is a lot more to this country than yummy food and fun people. South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, is a developed country highlighted by its high-income economy. It has the third largest economy in all of Asia and 11th largest in the world. It is a global leader in science and technology and it prides itself on being a major exporter with emphasis on robotics, electronics, automobiles, ships, and machinery.
Needless to mention, if you are a technology junkie, then there is no better place for you than South Korea. Apart from this, South Korea is also known for its diverse culture, breathtaking environment, and a thrilling nightlife. Furthermore, despite being a highly developed nation, the cost of living is comparatively cheap in South Korea when compared to other developed nations.
South Korea has the best internet in the world and it has retained that title, year-after-year. It is also one of the first countries in the world to utilize 5G internet infrastructure.
As a country, South Korea is very safe to live in and travel.
Plastic surgery is quite big in South Korea. The country has been dubbed as the plastic surgery capital of the world. It is estimated that between 20% to 30% of women in Seoul have undergone some sort of cosmetic procedure.
More than 90% of the world’s total seaweed used for consumption comes from South Korea.
It is absolutely common for South Korean men to wear makeup.
South Korea’s architecture is futuristic. At the same time, the country has done remarkably well to stay in touch with its rich history.
The country has a total of 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A vast majority of the country is mountainous and a little over 60% of the total land area is covered in forest. This marks for a spectacular landscape that draws in thousands of tourists every year.
#18 – Luxembourg, Europe
[Capital: Luxembourg City, Currency: Euro]
Luxembourg is a small landlocked nation in Western Europe with an area of 2,586 square kilometers. With a population of a little over 600,000, it is one of the most densely packed countries in all of Europe. Interestingly, half of its entire population consists of foreign nationals. It is one of the most developed nations in the world and the people there enjoy a high standard of living.
Its economy is marked by a high level of innovation and knowledge – the country is home to the European headquarters of Amazon, Paypal, Rakuten, Skype, and Ferrero. It is rightfully known as the ‘Heart of Europe’ and its capital – Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union. Apart from being an important banking hub, it is also a picturesque country and has many hidden jewels that not many tourists know about.
Luxembourg is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. In terms of nominal GDP per capita, Luxembourg has been ranked at the first place by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for 2017.
Luxembourg is the only country in the world that is still ruled by a duke. It is presently headed by Grand Duke Henri.
The motto of Luxembourg is ‘mir wëllebleiwewatmirsinn.’ This translates into ‘We want to remain what we are.’ This is in line with the country’s history which saw it tossed between various European powers. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it became a fully independent country.
The economy of Luxembourg is characterised by steel, banking, and industrial sectors. It is a diversified industrialised nation, rather than focusing on only one item. Furthermore, Luxembourg is home to more than 150 banks.
A little over half the country’s workforce resides in France, Belgium, and Germany. They commute to Luxembourg for work on a daily basis. Assisted suicide and euthanasia is legal in Luxembourg. The minimum wage in Luxembourg is the highest in all of Europe. At the same time, the cost of living in the country is comparatively high.
#17 – Hong Kong, China (Special Administrative Region)
[Currency: Hong Kong Dollar]
Hong Kong is a specially administered territory in Southern China. Spread over a territory of 1,104 square kilometers, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It hosts roughly 7.5 million people of various nationalities. The city is a global powerhouse for trade and finance – the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the seventh largest exchange while the Port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest container ports in the world. It has a very high human development index and a gross national income per capita although, it suffers from severe income inequality.
Hong Kong’s economy is dominated by the service sector and is characterized by low taxation, an established international financial market, and minimal government intervention. Tourism also contributes significantly to the economy. It is also one of the best countries in the world to do business, according to the Ease of Doing Business Index.
Hong Kong has more number of Rolls Royce cars per person than any other city in the world. It also has the most skyscrapers in the world – more than those in New York City.
Even though Hong Kong is known for its skyscrapers and a fascinating skyline, roughly 40% of the entire territory is covered by parks and nature. Over the weekend, people like hiking on these green trails.
In Chinese, Hong Kong means ‘Fragrant Harbour’ or ‘Incense Harbour.’ It has been named because of its incense exports back in the days.
The world’s longest road and rail suspension bridge is in Hong Kong. It is the Tsing Ma Bridge that spans across 1,377 metres – it is longer than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Hong Kong is the home to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Need we say more?
The people in Hong Kong are exceptionally smart and intelligent. Their IQ level is the highest in the world and is on par with that of Singapore and South Korea.
Hong Kong has a well-developed public transportation system. Roughly 8 out of 10 people prefer using public transport. The life expectancy at birth in Hong Kong is the highest in the world – it stands at 84.1 years. This is despite the severe levels of high air pollution that the country suffers from.
#16 – United States, North America
[Capital: Washington D.C., Currency: United States Dollar]
The United States of America is often considered to be one of the greatest countries on Earth. It emerged as a superpower after World War 2 and is a permanent member of the United States Security Council. The country has been built by immigrants from all across the world. Every year, thousands of people flock to the U.S to chase the ‘American Dream’ and many of them do make it. In every sense of the word, it is a land of opportunities. The Americans enjoy their freedom – they have freedom of speech, religion, press, and expression – this is, in fact, the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
It is a highly developed country – its economy is the largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP. The standard of living is high and the country ranks relatively high when it comes to crucial socio-economic performance indicators. The education and healthcare are also excellent although, at times, they may prove to be rather expensive.
The United States of America is the pioneer of the World Wide Web and several crucial technologies that have shaped the 21st century.
The U.S is a megadiverse country – its geography, climate, and wildlife are unlike anything that you will ever see. It is a proud home to some of the best national parks in the world, the most popular of which is the Yellowstone National Park. It is also home to some of the most iconic roads in the world.
Americans love their pizza. Seriously, they do! On average, they consume enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres of land. So, it probably comes as no surprise to see that the United States is one of the fattest countries in the world.
There is a point in the United States where people can be in four states at the same time. This is the Four Corners Monument where the states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.
The flag of the United States was designed by a high school student as a part of the school project.
#15 – Israel, Middle East
[Capital: Jerusalem, Currency: New shekel]
Israel is considered to be the most advanced nation in the Middle East when it comes to science and technology, and industrial and economic development. It has developed state of the art technologies in the field of software, mechanical engineering, life sciences, and communications. This is mainly owing to the high quality of education offered by the Israeli universities – this, in turn, has led to a highly educated and motivated populace that are contributing heavily to the country’s remarkable economic development and technology boom.
Apart from this, Israel itself has a very rich history and culture; people from various religions live here peacefully. It is definitely an exciting place to live in, especially if you are a tech entrepreneur.
Israel ranks No. 1 in terms of amount spent on research and development as a percentage of GDP. To capitalise on this, many leading tech companies like Intel, IBM, Google, Cisco Systems, and Motorola have established R&D centres in the country. It is also one of the few countries that can boast of a high ratio of scientific papers per capita.
The startup scene is incredibly common in the country. It has the most number of startup companies in the world, trailing behind only the United States. Furthermore, it has one of the highest numbers of women entrepreneurs in the world.
After the likes of Tokyo and New York City, Tel Aviv is the third city in the world with most sushi restaurants per capita.
The Israeli currency notes have Braille markings on them.
Despite not being a part of the European Union, Israel has won the Eurovision contest three times.
In Israel, every citizen has to serve in the military. It is mandatory for men and women, starting at the age of 18. It is only after their military service that they can proceed with working on their future plans.
#14 – Austria, Europe
[Capital: Vienna, Currency: Euro]
Just like Sweden and Switzerland, Austria is considered to be one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Its capital, Vienna, is the largest city in the country and is an important hub for art, finance, and politics. It is also remarked for its musical legacy and rich cultural heritage. The Vienna State Opera is one place that you should definitely visit while in the city. While Austria ranks on the 20th place in the 2018 Human Development Index, it certainly ranks considerably higher when it comes to safety and happiness.
The weather is brilliant throughout the year and winters can be particularly charming and mesmerizing. In fact, the country has many winter tourist cities which attract thousands of visitors every year. The economy of Austria is an industrialized one with Germany being its main trading partner, although it is dependent on tourism services, and other segments too.
Austria has declared itself to be a permanently neutral country and the same has been enacted through the Declaration of Neutrality as a constitutional act of the parliament. As a matter of fact, neutrality is a core part of Austrian identity.
The country is famous for its music. Many popular composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, and Joseph Haydn were born in Austria.
Austria is bordered by eight different nations – Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. To add to this, most of the country is covered by the Alps and as a result, you will see plenty of small towns by lakes and mountains.
The education in the country is free till the university level. At the most, you may have to pay an administrative fee which is rather nominal. Austria has also got a well-developed healthcare system and social security.
The world’s largest ice cave is in Austria – the Eisriesenwelt. It is also home to the world’s most popular energy drink – Redbull.
# 13 – Sweden, Europe
[Capital: Stockholm, Currency: Swedish Krona]
Sweden is a Scandinavian country that has done well over the years to earn the reputation of being one of the most livable countries in the world. Its nominal GDP as of 2018 is a little over $600 billion dollars, making it the seventh richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Consequently, its citizens experience a high standard of living. Sweden’s economy relies heavily on foreign trade with its engineering sector accounting for approximately 50% of overall exports.
It is home to many popular companies like Volvo, Ericsson, IKEA, and Electrolux. The country is home to a little over 10 million people, most of whom are residing in the southern part. Its population density is quite low – 22 inhabitants per square meter making it a perfect country for those who don’t like crowded places. Plus, forests cover roughly 70% of the entire land in Sweden! How is that for getting in touch with nature?
Sweden is one of the producers and exporters of weapons in the world. Despite this, it hasn’t participated in any war in almost two centuries, including the World Wars.
The Swedes love their coffee – this comes as no surprise considering that the rest of Scandinavian nations love it too!
Sweden has one of the most developed welfare systems in the world. At the same time, the Swedes are one of the most taxed people in the world. However, it is worth mentioning that a major proportion of the taxes collected goes to education, healthcare, and social security. Therefore, most people are content with paying high taxes.
The Swedish Archipelago consists of thousands of tiny little islands and is easily one of the most stunning places you will ever visit.
Swedish benefits are quite awesome – parents together are entitled to 480 days paid parental leaves!
Environmental issues are highly important in Sweden. More than half of the country’s total energy supply is met through renewable means. This includes wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. The Government of Sweden has also drawn a comprehensive plan to reduce dependence on oil and its derivatives by 2020.
#12 – New Zealand, Oceania
[Capital: Wellington, Currency: New Zealand Dollar]
New Zealand is an awesome little island that has done well to become one of the most developed countries in the world. The standard of living, just like the rest of the countries in our list of best places to live in the world in 2018, is quite high. It has a world-class education system, a well-designed healthcare structure, and economic freedom. However, more than this, the country is known for its phenomenal landscape and rich biodiversity.
It is quite popular among tourists – in fact, international tourism plays an important part in the country’s economy. It is one of the best places on Earth for adventure sports as the country has a bit of pretty much everything you can ever ask for. The country is also environmentally friendly – as of 2015, more than 40% of its total energy demand was met by renewable energy.
New Zealand is the best place on Earth to start a business. According to the Ease of Doing Business Index published by the World Bank, New Zealand has been ranked No. 1 followed by Singapore.
It is also the least corrupt country in the world, as per the Corruption Perception Index. New Zealand is one of the safest and happiest countries in the world.
The people are warm and friendly and they will be more than happy to help you out with anything you need. You will be awestruck by their kindness and sweetness!
As of September 2018, the country’s population is a little under 5 million. The fun fact here is that there are more sheep than humans in New Zealand. This will become more evident once you leave the cities to explore the countryside.
The country receives its fair share of earthquakes which is only natural considering that it is placed quite close to the Pacific Ring of Fire. However, many of these earthquakes are barely noticeable and non-threatening. Nonetheless, you may want to familiarise yourself with the safety precautions when you go there!
The climate in New Zealand can be quite precarious and unpredictable. Some of the most popular movies like the Avatar and the Lord of the Rings were shot in New Zealand.
Once there, don’t forget to visit the iconic hobbit village! The country is the best place to capture the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean in the scenic backdrop of beautiful mountains and valleys.
New Zealand is the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. It is also quite liberal in other aspects of daily life.
#11 – Canada, North America
[Capita: Ottawa, Currency: Canadian Dollar]
Let’s face it – all of us have heard about the hospitality of Canadians. They are considered to be the friendliest people in the world and are known to be highly polite and kind. Their friendly nature defines the character of the entire nation. Canada, as a country, is exceedingly welcoming of people from all around the world.
It has a multicultural population whose economy is growing and is willing to accept skilled workers – it is one of the few countries in the world that allows you to immigrate there without a job offer in hand. Apart from this, the country has an incredible landscape and nature. Being the second largest country in the world by land, there is a lot here to see and do and rest assured, your wanderlust will be satisfied here.
While there are many immigration programs in Canada that offer Permanent Residency, almost all of them follow a point-based immigration system. Therefore, your chances of securing a Canadian PR depends on the total points you score. This, in turn, depends on age, work experience, educational qualifications, et cetera. As a rule of thumb, your chances will be better if you are a skilled and talented worker.
The economy of Canada is a mixed one that is dependent on advancements in science and technology to a certain extent. It has an abundance of natural resources – especially oil and natural gas and is one of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy.
Additionally, the country serves as strong manufacturing and technology hub and boasts of a high unemployment rate. The country also experiences a relatively low level of income disparity.
The country has two official languages – English and French. However, it is possible to get by just using English unless you happen to find yourself in the French part of the country, that is, Quebec.
Twenty percent of Earth’s total lakes are in Canada or to put it more dramatically, the country has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Take this with the fact that more than 80% of Canadians live within the 100 miles of the US Border, you have got yourself some serious room for exploring the northern part of the country.
Canadians love ice-hockey, maple syrup, and poutine. Seriously, you will be surprised to see how crazy they are about these things.
The country’s education system is top-notch. It is evident from the fact that more than half of its residents have college degrees, making Canada one of the most educated nations in the world.
#10 – The Netherlands, Europe
[Capital: Amsterdam, Currency: Euro]
The Netherlands may be a small country but when it comes to important parameters such as human development, quality of life, healthcare, and education, the country boasts of a strong performance. The country ranks among the highest in several international indices and the reason for this lies in its generous welfare system. It is a country where tradition and innovation come together to give rise to something wonderful.
The Dutch people are known to be quite straightforward, honest, and direct but don’t let it deter you. Once you have broken the ice, you will see how fun and friendly they can be. Additionally, they prefer using public transport and bicycles rather than their cars and why wouldn’t they – the country has a well-developed infrastructure to support the same!
When it comes to crime rates in the Netherlands, the country fares well when compared to the likes of the United States and the United Kingdom. The crime rates are very low in the country and as an expat, you will feel quite safe. However, just like any other nation, there are places you must avoid visiting in the night.
The Netherlands is a flat country. In other words, only 50% of the nation has land one meter above the sea level and you will not find that many mountains to begin with. But on the bright side, it is easy to cycle around!
The Dutch healthcare system is considered to be one of the best in the world. However, it is not free and you will be required to contribute a minimum amount every month for a basic plan. Of course, the plan is far more intricate than what it seems to be but it is well worth it.
The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of beer in the world, trailing behind Mexico. Needless to mention, the Dutch love their beer and if you do too, you will fit in just perfectly.
The art scene in the country is absolutely remarkable. The country has had many renowned artists like Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh, M. C. Escher, Johannes Vermeer, and many more. It has plenty of world-famous art museums like the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum to keep you engrossed for hours.
The Netherlands is the largest exporter of flowers, especially tulips, in the world. It comes as no surprise, considering that more than 60% of the total land is used for agriculture and horticulture. However, contrary to popular belief, they are not native to the country – they were, in fact, imported from the Ottoman Empire.
#9 – Singapore, Asia
[Currency: Singapore Dollar]
It is absolutely fair to say that Singapore is one of the leading destinations in the world when it comes to finance, education, healthcare, innovation, logistics, trade, entertainment, and transport. It is a smart city where technology has been implemented in every sphere of life to make things run like clockwork. Year-after-year, the city has topped various international rankings and is undoubtedly one of the most preferred locations for expats from around the world to move to.
In fact, among its population of 5.6 million people, roughly 40% of them are foreign nationals. Whether you are looking to start a business or giving your career a much-needed depth, Singapore is the place to be – especially if you are a tech guy. However, remember that the people there are highly competitive and you should be willing to work hard and smart to stand out in the crowd.
According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Singapore has been ranked at the second place, trailing right behind New Zealand. The sovereign city-state topped this global ranking for the seventh consecutive year. In addition to this, it has been dubbed as the safest country in Asia to live in.
Singapore is among the costliest cities in the world. Over the course of last decade, it has been dubbed as one of the most expensive cities. To put things in perspective, you have places like Zurich and Paris which follow Singapore in this aspect.
The Port of Singapore is the second busiest port in the world in terms of total shipping tonnage. It also serves as a transhipment point for roughly 20% of the total shipping containers in the world and for roughly 50% of the world’s annual supply of crude oil.
The island country derives its name from the word ‘Singapura’ which means ‘Lion City’ in Sanskrit. It was given by Prince Sang Nila Utama, who thought he saw a creature that looked like a lion. However, there have never been any lions in Singapore outside of captivity!
When it comes to food, you will be spoiled for choice. The food and nightlife scene in Singapore is absolutely vibrant and mesmerizing. From Michelin starred restaurants to famous hawkers, food streets, and tiny little restaurants, the city is bound to leave your taste buds asking for more.
Singapore is one of the very few nations in the world that has transformed itself from a third world country to a first world nation, in just a single generation. The credits for this goes to the country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.
Despite being one of the most visited cities, Singapore has done extremely well to retain the title of being one of the cleanest cities in the world. Furthermore, it is geared towards environmental-friendly policies and is constantly working towards reducing its carbon footprint.
#8 – Australia, Oceania
[Capital: Canberra, Currency: Australian Dollar]
Australia – the land down under and without a doubt, one of the most developed countries in the world. In this year’s Human Development Index ranking, the country has bagged the third place. It is known for its world-class universities, a good standard of living, breathtaking scenery and of course, exotic wildlife.
Its economy is dominated by the service sector and interestingly enough, it is the second wealthiest nation in the world in terms of wealth per adult, right after Switzerland. Furthermore, despite being the sixth largest country in the world, it is not as populated as one may imagine it to be – its population is a little over 25 million. So, if you are the kind of person who values peace and loves quaint, charming towns, then this country is for you.
There is not a single active volcano on the continent of Australia. Furthermore, if you decide to visit one new beach a day in the country, it will take you more than 25 years to see them all.
Voting is compulsory in Australia for all residing adults – there is a fine of $72 issued for the non-voters.
The country is sparsely populated – its population density is just 2.66 persons per square kilometer. To put things in perspective, India has a population density of 412 people per square kilometer!
Australia is considered to be one of the most diverse and welcoming countries in the world – people from more than 100 nations have migrated to this country. It is also one of the most preferred countries for international students owing to its impressive range of study and financing options. According to a report in 2012, 47% of the total population is born outside of Australia or has at least one parent who falls in the same category. Now how is that for diverse.
#7 – Ireland, Europe
[Capital: Dublin, Currency: Euro]
Ireland – an island that is known for its amazing castles, breathtaking scenery, and fascinating folklore. The country is home to some of the friendliest people in the world – you will never feel alone there! You will always have someone to talk to or have a drink with. And when you are not busy chasing leprechauns or drinking Guinness, you can immerse yourself in the country’s nature.
In addition to this, working in Ireland is quite remarkable – their economy is growing and by law, the employees are required to avail their 20 days of leave every year. Like many European nations, Ireland is quite safe to live in and its healthcare system is funded largely through public taxes.
The economy of Ireland is a knowledge-oriented one. It is focused on technology, life sciences, and financial services. For this reason, it comes as no surprise to see companies like Google, Facebook, Paypal, and Microsoft base their European HQ in Ireland. Apart from this agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and alcoholic beverage industry also constitute an important part of the economy.
The country is green and receives plenty of rain every year – two traits that have rightly earned it the name – the Emerald Isle. For this reason, its food produce is considered to be the best in the world. The dairy and meat that you get here will taste better than anything you’ve ever eaten.
The Irish love their culture. Whether it is art, food, music (especially music!), language or literature, you are unlikely to find someone with whom you cannot talk about any of these. You combine this with a pint of Guinness and your life is pretty much set there.
One of the most common words you’re likely to hear in Ireland is ‘craic’ – which means fun, enjoyment, gossip or entertainment. Don’t worry if you don’t get it now, you will get it in your first week in Ireland!
Irish names that begin with ‘Mac’ translates to ‘Son of.’ Similarly, surnames that begin with ‘O’ imply ‘Grandson of’ in Gaelic.
The weather can be quite unpredictable in Ireland, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. While it doesn’t have extreme temperatures, it can get quite warm and wet, so be sure to carry an umbrella when you step out!
#6 – Germany, Europe
[Capital: Berlin, Currency: Euro]
Germany – the land of beer, cars, bratwurst, and world-class industries. It is one of the best places to live on Earth – the country has been ranked at the fifth place in the 2018 Human Development Index. It boasts of high quality of life, of being the fifth largest economy in the world, and of providing an impeccable quality of education. In fact, its economy has been designed in such a way that it establishes both – fair competition within the markets and a welfare state.
The Germans love their football as well – the country is full of die-hard supporters of their local clubs. Year-after-year, it continues to attract expats from all over the world and there is no reason why you shouldn’t go there.
The economy of Germany is driven by its service sector that contributes a little over 70% of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The remaining comes from industry (29%) and agriculture (1%). In terms of goods and services exported, it is the third largest exporter in the world.
The unemployment rate in Germany is close to 3.5% – less than that of France and the United States.
The German language is a bit more difficult than you have imagined it to be. If you are planning to move there, you should get a good grip on the language before you go.
Germany shares its borders with nine different countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria. In other words, you can visit the rest of Europe rather conveniently.
The cultural scene in Germany is absolutely vivid and fantastic. It has umpteen activities going on at any given point in time. Whether it is a local music festival or a football match, you will never be bored in Germany. It also has an abundance of mesmerizing museums, theatres, and libraries to keep you occupied. The country is also known for the world-famous Oktoberfest and quaint Christmas markets.
The social welfare and security system in Germany is truly remarkable. Anyone who earns more than 450 Euros a month in Germany is a part of this system and a few of its benefits are health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension fund, and unemployment benefits.
#5 – Finland, Europe
[Capital: Helsinki, Currency: Euro]
Finland is considered to be one of the cleanest countries in the world and all for the right reasons – the country has put environmental-friendly policies in place to protect and preserve its nature. If this alone isn’t enough to convince you to move there, it will also interest you to know that Finland has been ranked No. 1 as the happiest country in the world.
Furthermore, it is one of the safest countries to live in. Finns are honest, modest and quiet, and usually, they don’t initiate conversations with strangers. However, once you break the ice, you will be surprised to see how friendly they are.
Finland is highly systematic, developed, and well-organised. The country is quite modern and has implemented technology in all aspects of life to make things easier and smoother.
The Finns love their coffee and sauna. You are bound to find a sauna in pretty much every corner and it is common for the locals to enter the sauna naked. As for the coffee, an average localite consumes up to 12 kilos of coffee annually!
The country is home to awe-inspiring nature. It has more than 150,000 lakes and 700 islands. It comes as no wonder to see that the country has earned the nickname of ‘the land of the thousand lakes.’ Nature is riveting further up in the north, especially in the Lapland region. Oh, before we forget, nature’s most spectacular events – Northern Lights, Midnight Sun, and Polar Nights can be experienced here.
The Finnish education system is considered to be one of the best in the world. Children start school at the age of seven and enjoy free education up to the university level. There are no standardized tests and the stress level is very minimal.
If you are a heavy metal fan, you will definitely love Finland. Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita than anywhere else in the world. Some of the most popular heavy metal bands like Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica, Nightwish, and HIM are from Finland.
The winter in Finland is quite chilly – almost five months of snow with temperatures below 0 degree Celsius! However, this cold weather has its own charm.
Finland is also known for its unique range of sports like wife-carrying championships, mobile phone throwing, mosquito hunting competition, and air guitar.
#4 – Iceland, Europe
[Capital: Reykjavik, Currency: Icelandic Krona]
Iceland is a tiny island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean with a size no bigger than that of the State of Kentucky. However, this sparsely populated country in Europe ranks quite high when it comes to several important indices that deal with human development. The quality of life here is above par in comparison with some of the most developed nations in the world.
Not only this, but it is also a land of geological extremes – the summer days see 24 hours of sunshine whereas, in winter, the sun is out for barely three hours. Also, the Northern Lights are visible for eight months in a year so, after a long day, you can be rest assured to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of its night sky.
Iceland derives roughly 85% of its total energy supply from domestically generated renewable sources. And the remaining 15% comes from oil. It is worth mentioning that oil products are mainly used in the transportation sector. This also makes Iceland one of the most eco-friendly countries on Earth.
Iceland is considered to be the safest country in the world. Violent crimes are extremely low in the county. It is also one of the few countries in the world without a standing army. And its police officers don’t carry guns.
Iceland is also known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ for one simple reason – the country is home to striking glaciers and volcanoes (many of which are active). In fact, the island was born out of volcanic eruptions and glaciers over the course of millions of years.
The economy of Iceland was traditionally dependent on fisheries and its related sectors. Its exports are marked by marine products. Over the years, the country has also diversified into the banking sector, manufacturing, and service.
The population of the country is a little over 350,000. In fact, a little over 60% of this number lives in Reykjavik.
#3 – Denmark, Europe
[Capital: Copenhagen, Currency: Danish Krone]
Denmark, officially known as the Kingdom of Denmark, is among the happiest and safest countries in the world. It is an archipelago that comprises more than 100 islands with a population of a little over 5.5 million. The country is known for its flawless beaches, deserts, and of course, an impeccable architecture. Bicycling is quite common throughout Denmark and why wouldn’t it be – it is healthy and good for the environment.
In fact, the country has twice as many bicycles as cars, making it one of the greenest countries in the world. The country also boasts of high employment rates and a particularly high standard of living; it is among the highest in Europe. As an immigrant, you will always feel welcomed in Denmark and rest assured – once you are here, you will not want to leave.
The weather in Denmark can be tricky to deal with initially. It rains or snows pretty much every other day. Furthermore, the country is quite windy – the average wind speed is around 13 miles per hour!
The Danish Monarchy is one of the oldest monarchies in the world. The Queen of Denmark – Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II can trace her lineage to the first Vikings in Denmark over a thousand years ago. And before we forget, it is also one of the most well-liked monarchies in all of Europe.
Denmark is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. As per the Corruption Perceptions Index published by the Transparency International, Denmark is on the second place with a score of 88, trailing behind New Zealand.
Denmark has two autonomous constituent countries – the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Considering these two regions, the total area of Denmark comes up to 2,210,579 km sq.
No place in Denmark is more than 50 km (30 miles) from the sea. This, combined with diverse cuisine that the country has to offer, has attracted many expats over the years. They have sought to quench their never-ending thirst of the sea and good food.
The Danes have this wonderful word called ‘Hygge’ – it is used to describe the feeling of being comfortable and cozy with others or by yourself. It implies relaxation and contentment.
#2 – Switzerland, Europe
[Capital: Bern, Currency: Swiss Francs]
Switzerland is among the most expensive countries in the world; however, all things considered, it is definitely a price worth paying. Often dubbed as ‘Heaven on Earth,’ Switzerland will offer you everything you can ever imagine. From hot chocolate fondue and cheese to marvelous mountains and picturesque views, Switzerland is truly one of the best countries to live in.
The Swiss Government is highly transparent, people-friendly, and efficient. In addition to this, Swiss neutrality is one of the main aspects of its foreign policy. It means that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed conflicts with other states. The country also boasts of an excellent healthcare system, beautiful weather throughout the year, and of course, its wealth.
In comparison to all the European Union countries, Switzerland spends the highest percentage of its GDP on healthcare. It is mandatory to have basic health insurance in the country, although people are free to choose their insurer. All of this translates into a low risk for diseases, making it among the healthiest countries in the world.
The education in Switzerland is publicly funded and is governed by the individual cantons. This applies to all levels of education from nursery to university.
Everyone in the country is entitled to social welfare benefits. This includes living costs, health insurance, and housing costs. However, in order to avail this, people need to provide correct and truthful information.
The Swiss tax system can be quite tricky to understand. Perhaps, it is for this reason that Switzerland is considered to be a tax haven for many. To understand the system, you need to realise that the taxes in the country are levied by the Swiss Confederation, the 26 cantons and approximately 2,300 local municipalities. It is also worth mentioning that all tax-resident citizens are taxed based on their worldwide income and wealth. Oh, and if you are a dog owner, then you will have to pay a tax for your pet based on its height and weight.
Nearly 1 in every 4 people in Switzerland is a foreigner. As an expat, you will never have difficulty finding people from across the world and making friends!
According to SwissInfo, the country’s unemployment rate stands at 2.4% – among the lowest in the world.
#1 – Norway, Europe
[Capital – Oslo, Currency – Norwegian Krone]
Norway – the land of fjords, trolls, midnight sun, and most importantly, aurora borealis. The true beauty of Norway lies in its Northern region, although it isn’t to say that the Southern part is any less beautiful! Many expats who have travelled to Norway prefer living in the South in the picturesque cities of Oslo, Stavanger, and Bergen. The scenery in this country is impeccable and you will always find yourself awestruck by the sheer beauty of this country. It is exceptionally clean. And to add to this, in 2016, it became the first country in the world to completely ban deforestation.
Furthermore, Norwegians are known for their positivity, happiness, and honesty all around the world. They are the happy-go-lucky kind who will be more than glad to make your acquaintance. All of this coupled with excellent employment benefits, breathtaking surroundings, and a great social welfare model truly make Norway the best place to live in the world.
Norway has a law known as ‘Allemannsrett’ which essentially means freedom to camp anywhere in the country. That’s right, you can pitch a tent pretty much anywhere in the country, except for private properties and national parks. This makes traveling in the country an affordable option, especially if you love to camp and hike!
Its banking system is immaculate. Once you have a Norwegian bank account, you can pretty much do everything online – from sending money to paying utility bills. It is highly convenient and saves you a lot of time – how great is that!
It is a great place to become a parent, as long as you are paying taxes in Norway. You see, right from the time of conception, the government will look after you and your family. These benefits are split into parental benefits and child benefits. And often entail maternal and paternal leaves, lump-sum grants, cash grants, et cetera. Single parents can also avail these benefits.
By law, employers are required to offer 25 paid vacation days per year, in addition to the public holidays. Needless to mention, Norwegians take their holidays very seriously. Apart from this, many employers also have the option of working from home.
As per the UL Safety Index, Norway ranks 94 on a scale of 0-100 in terms of public health and safety. To put things in perspective, the global average stands at 64. This not-so-populated country of 5 million people is among the safest countries in the world.