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Top Multicultural Cities in Europe

Have you ever lived in an “international” city? 

Living in a multicultural environment, where different languages are spoken, festivals and activities of all cultures are enjoyed, and people from every bit of the world coexist, is truly one of the most exciting and invigorating ways to live! There’s always something new to try and always more to learn from those around you. For expats, living abroad in a multicultural environment can provide a greater sense of encouragement and comfort in their journey towards adjusting to a new place. Knowing that you’re not the only one, and being able to make new friends from all different countries, can make you feel more at “home” and less like an “outsider.” The great thing about cities which are more international, is that you can have the benefits of immersing yourself in far more than just the native culture. Whether it’s visiting international supermarkets, attending cultural events, or enjoying diverse art galleries, not being limited in your access to the rest of the world’s cultural aspects leads to a truly fulfilling, well-rounded and impactful experience abroad.

So, are you curious about living abroad and would like to live somewhere with a multicultural environment?

Here are the top multicultural cities in Europe:

London

london

Not only is London the most multicultural city in Europe, but it is also one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Because of this, London is not just a city to have the “British” experience, but it is also a city to visit or live in if you want to be surrounded by multiple languages, meet people from all walks of life, and enjoy cultural events or restaurants from around the world. Although the official language is English, over 200 languages are spoken, and one-third of London’s population are foreigners. For those expats looking to live in a diverse city ‍and experience a more international community, London might be one of the best places for foreigners to live.

Some highlights:

-Check out China Town for amazing supermarkets, restaurants, and an absolutely unbeatable, annual New Year parade. It’s the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of China, in the whole world!

-Head to Brick Lane for some incredible Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. On Sundays, Brick Lane becomes a huge street market, and you’ll find yourself hypnotized by the scent of spices sweeping through the air.

-Go to Brixton Village if you want to experience some authentic Caribbean culture. Brixton has a large Caribbean population, and there are some great things to check out there. The cuisine is lovely and if you’d like to learn more about Britain’s black community, visit the Black Cultural Archives.

Paris

london

Paris comes right behind London, ranking in second place as one of the most multicultural cities in Europe. At least 20% of those living in Paris are not from France or the EU and are first generation immigrants. 40% are second-generation immigrants, with families who come from different countries. What makes Paris especially unique, is that it’s one of the only cities in the world where English is not the primary language communicated between foreigners. Expats living in Paris come from all over the world, and you’ll be sure to meet more than just French people! Paris is home to several diverse neighbourhoods, where internationals have come together to create a cultural melting pot, making it a very attractive destination for people who are considering moving abroad.

Some highlights:

-Wander over to Belleville, and find yourself in a cultural crossroads. Here you can enjoy some delicious Vietnamese cuisine, buy select items at a Chinese supermarket, sit down at a Greek restaurant or try to resist the inviting Jewish delicatessens with their big windows to show all the goodies on display.

-The Maison des Cultures du Monde, located in the 6th arrondissement, holds concerts and shows featuring music from around the world. It’s a great activity to enjoy with a group of friends!

-Are you a good dancer? Well, even if you're not, the Danse sur Les Quais is guaranteed to be fun. This is a participatory event every summer, where people can gather near the Seine to enjoy some salsa dancing! The view is beautiful, the music is lively, and the dancing is amazing either to watch or participate in!

Amsterdam

london

Known as the city of freedom and tolerance, Amsterdam is notorious for being a place that welcomes immigrants and asylum seekers. It is one of the most international cities in the world, with nearly 180 different cultures coexisting. The city is full of events and festivals, including several multicultural events which are held to support the city’s values of maintaining a global perspective. The DRONGO Language Festival, for example, is a festival celebrating all languages. Speaking of languages, did you know that Amsterdam offers free Dutch language classes for expats? How cool is that! This is offered as a way to help foreigners moving to Amsterdam feel more encouraged and comfortable learning Dutch. Clearly, Amsterdam is a very expat-friendly city, with a welcoming and accepting diverse atmosphere that should make settling in easier for most internationals.

Some highlights:

-Take a stroll over to Ten Kate Market, a neighbourhood market full of street vendors of all different cultural backgrounds, such as Asian, Spanish, or French, to name a few. There is a food hall, a library, and even a cinema!

-Explore the Tropen museum, which has everything from art, music, and photography from non-Western cultures.

-The Indische Burt has been transformed from industrial spaces to clusters of Moroccan supermarkets, Surinamese restaurants, and a bazaar!

Brussels

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Brussels has over 180 nationalities and 100 languages. It is the home to European Institutions, NATO, and it is the capital of the European Union. Due to this, many international organizations have their European headquarters located here, which has resulted in over 300,000 expats moving to Brussels. In fact, there are over 60% foreigners living in Brussels- that’s a huge number! While the majority of these expats are from within the EU, a significant portion of this are also non-EU. Brussels represents the epitome of a cosmopolitan and multicultural environment, which for expats looking to live abroad in an eventful and lively place, is an appealing option.

Some Highlights:

-The Brussels-Midi station is one of the city’s most multicultural markets. Here you can rummage through food, clothes, plants, jewelry… you name it!

-Don’t miss out on visiting the BOZAR Centre, known for its Fine Arts and especially its cultural events. Major cultural events take place here and there is always something going on that you can go see, led by artists from various countries.

-Walking along the Sant-Josee and Schaerbeek, you will realize that every shop you pass by is of a different origin! Within just a couple of minutes, you will have passed by a Romanian supermarket, a selection of Asian restaurants, a Bulgarian cafe, and much more!


Can you see yourself living in any of these cities? If you find yourself facing some doubts about moving abroad, then hopefully seeing examples of multicultural cities has provided some comfort in knowing that there are so many expats experiencing the same adjustment and journey of being a foreigner.

You’ll never be alone, with so many other people in your shoes to meet, and so many new things to discover! Our team has put together a lot of content on how to move abroad, and what you might expect. We also have destination specific content, to help guide potential expats towards their perfect destination. And as always, if you have any questions or would like to speak with a member of our team personally about your journey abroad, all you have to do is reach out.

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