Stay informed – Subscribe to our Newsletter

Our newsletter offers the latest news as well as useful information about Berlin's economy. Receive regular information about new posts on

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
  • Home
  • Living
  • Forget Silicon Valley - Silicon Allee is on the move

Forget Silicon Valley - Silicon Allee is on the move

Berlin is a sprawling, international metropolis, home to people from around the world. The flexible work environment combined with easy access to venture capital attracts young people, entrepreneurs, and big players making Berlin one of the most vibrant startup hubs in Europe.

Less unicorns, more work-life balance

Even if 25 per cent of the unicorns worldwide are located in San Francisco - Berlin has a uniquely diverse, free lifestyle and working environment. Leading companies are relocating to Berlin due to the culture, education, environment, healthcare, political-economic stability, public transport, recreation, and safety. Taken all into account, the quality of life is simply better in Berlin according to the Mercer annual quality of living research report.

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live - it’s in the top 10 per cent of all 248 Teleport cities in the world. Average living expenses are significantly higher compared to other cities, especially in the housing market. Alternatively, costs across the board, from lunch to utilities to internet access to health care, are much cheaper in Berlin.

Infographic comparing Berlin and San Francisco
© Uhura Creative Media

A city of freedom, culture and community

Berlin’s flat terrain, paired with ample bike lanes, bike sharing programs and the excellent public transit system allows you to get by without being dependent on a car.

While social cohesion is part of Germany’s culture, Berlin’s sense of community index is even higher than the global average, based on the Global Startup Ecosystem Report for 2018. The quality of communal life  is high due to strong social relations, a positive feeling of connectedness to the community, and a strong focus on the common good according to the Social Cohesion Radar Report.

Paul Hermann, Co-founder at the global property portal Lamudi, finds the innovative counterculture in Berlin particularly fascinating. He says : 

"Living in the city is still cheap, so it attracts people from all over the world, in particular artists and creative people who are seeking an open-minded environment and a feeling of freedom that is not as strong anywhere else in Europe – and perhaps in the world"

Work hard, play hard

People live to work in San Francisco, while Berlin is known for its healthy attitude towards a work-life balance. The approach to work is heavily influenced by the concept of “Feierabend.” While there is no direct translation for this term, it essentially promotes a lifestyle outside of work: It’s the time when you switch off your computer, put your workphone on silent and enjoy the rest of your day. In comparison, Silicon Valley has a reputation of being a non-stop, high-pressure environment focussed on work only.

The city is definitely one of the most vibrant yet relaxed places in Europe with a great nightlife and a colourful, friendly, international crowd to mingle with. Networking outside of the 9 to 5 is made easy with the variety of startup scene after work events, meetups and conferences to choose from.

For many international professionals, the bohemian style, art-centric culture (street art in particular) is a huge draw. Others come for the city’s world-class music venues, incredible sound systems - the opera house, nightclubs and concert halls where famous artists perform regularly. Bursting with ideas, inspiration, art, culture and creativity, Berlin offers museums, theatres, cinema, festivals, art, science, and history, which all create a distinct cultural landscape. Find out more about Berlin's Creative Scene.

Berlin is becoming the next hotspot destination for tech startups

  • Affordable living
  • Increasing wages
  • A great work-life balance
  • A relaxed lifestyle
  • Open, welcoming society to make networking and connectivity easy
  • Excellent career opportunities
  • Supportive ecosystem to promote healthy lifestyles

You need more facts, why Berlin is the place to be? Read the comparison Berlin vs. London and Berlin vs. Paris

Text: Melissa Embury

More articles