When I arrived in Berlin, I was surprised to hear Spanish competing with German and English for dominance in my neighborhood’s bars. Berlin is often called the Silicon Valley of Europe for its startup scene, and I soon found out that many Spaniards are here to work in the tech sector. From my article for Fortune.com:
Take a walk through Kreuzberg and Neukölln, two of Berlin’s trendiest neighborhoods, and you’ll notice the shush of Iberian Spanish emanating from cafes, bars, and circles of friends swilling drinks on canal bridges. What you hear may be a potent force in the future of Germany’s tech scene.
In recent years Berliners have become accustomed to the “EasyJet Set,” an epithet Germans use to describe backpackers who arrive in droves on low-cost airlines each weekend. Yet as unemployment soars at home, these travelers — many skilled workers from Italy and Spain — have decided to stick around. Unhappy with working conditions at home and lured by the appeal of a party capital, these techies see Berlin as a mecca for jobs, particularly in startups.