Why are so many British people moving abroad

British in Germany
The personal exit from Brexit

In June 2016, the decision to leave the European Union for Great Britain was made, and a slim majority of the British voted for “Brexit”. All exit negotiations are expected to be concluded and the United Kingdom to leave the Union by 2019. There are more than 100,000 British people living in Germany who, as EU citizens abroad, are directly affected by the decision. What do you think of the events and how do you deal with them? We have collected some votes.


  • Photo: © Naomi Ryland
    Naomi Ryland has lived in Germany since 2005. She is the founder and managing director of the Berlin company tbd *.
    Immediately after the referendum, I applied for both my British and German citizenship. I have lived in Germany for ten years and am the founder and managing director of a company, but I would probably not have taken care of it if the Brexit decision had not been made. I am incredibly happy to have this opportunity; many friends in the UK look in vain for ways to retain their European citizenship. You just don't know what impact it will all have. I have not yet completely given up hope that there will be no Brexit in the end. If so, of course I would like the EU and England to have a close and friendly relationship, even if the behavior of British politics has not always deserved it. Without the EU, I think Britain is lost - but many Britons find it very difficult to accept that.
  • Photo (detail): © Daniel Raisen
    Daniel Raisen has been working as a translator in Germany since 2008. He lives in Stuttgart.
    I have lived in Germany since I started my professional life and this is where I met my wife. That's why I've been thinking about getting naturalized for a long time. When the shock news of Brexit came, I immediately applied and accepted dual citizenship. From this point of view, Brexit has already had a major impact on my life. Otherwise I don't notice much of it, as my future is now secure. The campaign of the so-called "Brexiteers" - those who wanted to leave the EU - was full of fear and mistrust, and it was sad to see how my fellow citizens voted to leave the EU. I think they didn't really understand the economic ramifications. The xenophobia that flared up after the Brexit election is both terrifying and embarrassing.
  • Photo (detail): © Malcolm Bell
    Malcolm Bell is a translator and has lived in Germany since 1978. He lives in Goslar in Lower Saxony.
    The Brexit decision hit me hard emotionally. I had to deal with completely new feelings - I was ashamed, disappointed and angry about my home country. After the referendum, I applied for German citizenship - partly out of anger. I can still have dual citizenship, but if Great Britain is no longer an EU country, then I might be faced with a choice: do I want to be British or European? Then dear Europeans. I hope that there will be a growing interest in a second referendum in the UK. I'm following the topic in the British press pretty closely and I believe that many of the Brexit supporters - especially in my home region in northern England - have not properly understood the consequences: a country that chooses isolation in a world that is becoming more and more networked , swims against the current.
  • Photo (detail): © Sarah Blick
    Sarah Blick is a graphic designer and moved to Berlin with her husband in 2017.
    Before the Brexit decision, my husband and I lived in London. We had thought about living elsewhere for a while, but we looked mainly at other cities within England. The referendum made it clear to us that moving to other EU countries would be more difficult in the future, and we have expanded our radius. My husband is a software developer and has always wanted to get to know Berlin. Last summer he got a job offer there, we moved in September and our baby was born in Germany in October. We are now here for two years for the time being. When the result of the Brexit referendum became known in 2016, I thought: what has the UK done? I didn't think people would really vote to quit. I always thought we were open and would be happy about the many people from other cultures. London is very cosmopolitan and I've enjoyed working with people from other countries.
  • Photo (detail): © Daniel Abbott
    Daniel Abbott is a graphic designer and artist. He has lived in Berlin since 2008.
    Brexit is ripping through my family because I have a German wife and children. I wouldn't say that I feel like a German, but now I think I should take German citizenship. I work very internationally and working with my partners in London will be more difficult. The result of the Brexit referendum hit me deeply emotionally and distanced me further from my home country. I didn't think that the decision would really be to leave. Most Germans were even more surprised than the British, I think. When I took my children to daycare the next day, the other parents all asked me: What did the British do? It feels like the future has become much more uncertain. A new referendum would certainly divide society even more, but I hope that Britain will maintain the closest possible relations with the EU.
  • Photo (detail): © Susanna Brackenbury
    Susanna Brackenbury has lived in Germany since 1996. She is a high school teacher in Hamburg.
    Apart from the fact that Brexit was a terrible shock, I was concerned about my civil servant status, for which my EU membership is a prerequisite. I immediately applied for German citizenship and urged all my British friends to do so too. One good thing about naturalization is that I can now vote in Germany. Since I've lived outside England for more than 14 years, I was no longer allowed to vote there - not even in the referendum that affects me so directly. My own family is divided on the subject. My German mother, who has lived in England (and Africa) since the early 1960s, persuaded my English father to vote for Brexit. My father often talked about moving to Germany as a pensioner. I am now telling him that this will be difficult to do after Brexit. I feel part of both countries and benefit from being able to work and live where I want. I hope that the German government will make clear concessions to the British citizens in Germany. The desire to punish Britain for leaving should not be carried out on their backs.