What are some good places in Europe that are racially inclusive?

#1

Hi

I spent about two months backpacking Europe in May and June and loved it. I visited Amsterdam, Praha, Krakow, Budapest, Bled, Interlaken, Vienna, Bratislava and Rome.

Since I have a SaaS product so I am location independent. I was thinking of moving to Europe for a year or so.

I am Indian so I don’t really blend in too easily with the local populace. I was wondering if you could suggest me places which are very accepting of different ethnicities.

I liked Slovenia and Poland a lot but read online that a right wing party was elected in Poland and couldn’t find much info on Slovenia online. My experiences there though were very positive.

Looking to hear the experiences of fellow nomads who stick out as obvious foreigners :). Which has been your favorite place?

Some other factors - budget 2000-2500 euros/month, love outdoors so looking for a place with lots of bicycling, running, hiking routes nearby. I really don’t want to move to a big city though (such as Amsterdam or London) having lived in cities such as these all my life.

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#2

I believe most of northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland) is pretty inclusive.

Waiting to see what other people say. You should probably share your experiences of the cities/areas you listed out above.

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#3

You say you had a good time in Poland and Slovenia; East-Central/Eastern Europe is stereotypically one of the less inclusive regions of the continent, so you’d be fine pretty much anywhere. Even countries which are relatively xenophobic on average still, by virtue of their size and cultural heterogeneity, have many, many friendly and welcoming people; young people and those in urban areas are generally more open-minded and tolerant. That said, here’s a bit of data:

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#4

@flyonthewall I had great experiences in all these places - except maybe Budapest where I thought people were rude but maybe that is how they treat everyone :).

It is hard to tell though - I just spent a week in each of these places and stayed in hostels and all of these places are tourist hotspots. So considering the time, location and accommodation - I wasn’t really exposed in the same way a resident would.

Northern Europe would be TOO cold - most of the time I wouldn’t be able to bicycle or hike or run outdoors. And I also read that Scandinavian countries are pretty expensive but not sure how true it is (if they are anything like Switzerland, NOPE!)

@dvc Thanks for the data! Surprising to see Netherlands ranked so low, maybe the situation is different in cities other than Amsterdam.

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#5

Ljubljana may be one of the best fit on that matter, as you may already know :slight_smile:

Maybe some french cities but english is poorly spoken, depending who you talk too.

#6

I would think best place would be the North Europe for you. Best place in EU to bike, hike and run. Huge wilderness areas and law that we call “every man’s right”. Which means that you can hike and camp in everywhere. Just don’t go or camp near housing (about 300m). In summer weather is same as rest of the Europe and warmth lasts until end of september.

And of course during winter outdoor activities are ever better with cross country skiing and other winter sports. There are ski trails as long as 300km in Lappland. Just pick a resort.

Norway is extremely expensive. More than Switzerland. Sweden and Finland are about the same as France and Germany. Except alcohol which is extremely heavily taxed in both countries.

#7

@Philippe Yes! I really want to go back to Slovenia! Everything about the country is awesome, it is basically Switzerland without being expensive :). How does Ljubljana compare to other cities such as Maribor or Kranj?

Any ideas if Slovenia has a long stay visa? I could not find any info online!

#8

@jprajani Thanks! My impression was that it would be too cold in North Europe to do outdoors most of the time but didn’t think of winter activities! Coming from a hot climate country, I have never had the experience of doing so but maybe trying these out and learning would be fun!

Which country would you pick out of Sweden/Finland?

#9

You may check Kamnik, close to Ljubljana and the mountain :wink:

#10

As a Finn I’m recommending Finland :wink:

#11

Try Malta! I loved it and they are a blend of European and African themselves.

#12

Try Portugal (Porto, London, smaller coastal towns around Lisbon, Estoril, Cascais, Sintra)

#13

@Philippe @JPRajani @lavinia @m4rio Thanks for your suggestions! Time to research the long stay visa options of these countries now.

#14

If you are cool with UK and want to avoid London, check out Bristol. Much cheaper and has a vibrant attitude. City is not too big, not too small. Definitely worth thinking about…]

#15

Hello @greenhorn!

You don’t have to worry about racial inclusiveness in Europe. Everywhere people are tolerant to foreigners. Even here in the Netherlands the right winged parties are doing best and I am also voting for a right winged party. But I love meeting foreigners and I travel a lot too.

The only place I would not recommend living is in America. I lived in San Francisco for a year. I did have some Indian friends, one of them loves it there but yet another one is moving back to India soon. That list @dvc posted is completely made up. It doesn’t make sense in any way.

Well, I could talk about this for hours but to make a long short: If you liked Poland and Slovenia, just go for it! If you find that some people act weird as you’ve experienced in Budapest, that’s because people are different.

#16

On the note of inclusiveness in Poland, it really depends upon the city. Kraków has a fairly young population, owing to the multitude of universities located in the city. I head there about five or six times per year as my parents live there now: I’ve seen peaceful anti-government protests there nearly every time, so you could say that the population is a bit more forward-thinking and open-minded than other Polish cities. Maybe the best judgment I’ve heard is from my partner, who is herself Moroccan; she has never felt as though she was the target of racist (or at least awkward) behaviour in Kraków, whereas her experiences in Warsaw were not particularly positive as a woman who looks very much not like the local population. She’s also had positive experiences in the two weeks we spent in Budapest at the start of the year, which is not necessarily a city that comes to mind as being open and tolerant.

You could also say that some of the places that you would expect to be open and tolerant (I’m thinking specifically of the Netherlands here, as that’s where I spend most of my time) are actually not. That probably comes to my mind because I follow the news in Dutch and you’re more likely to hear intolerant voices from smaller towns, so it can come down to how much you want to pay attention to the closed-minded idiots that inhabit any country. I think that as long as you’re spending time in areas where the population is younger and well-educated, then you’ll be less likely to experience the darker side of Europe.

It’s worth not pretending that racism doesn’t exist (and it’s easy to say it doesn’t when you’re the same ethnicity as the majority of the local population), but I wouldn’t fret about it too much. Just don’t go to bars frequented by the local football hooligans :wink:

#17

The list isn’t arbitrary and certainly not ‘made up’: it was a poll conducted by Pew (which is a reputable research firm) asking the local population these questions. The data it provides is far more important than anecdotal evidence on whether or not an individual approves of open immigration policy.

#18

@adamnowek Polls are often misleading. I can say I lived in America and have had lots of negative experiences. I left because of several incidents including a stabbing attempt on myself. Fortunately there was police around. At night the streets are full of homeless drug addicts.

Did you know that in the US, there are more black people in prison than collage?
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antonio-moore/black-mass-incarceration-statistics_b_6682564.html

#19

@sander32 Anyone that pays attention already knows that American cities are generally unsafe in comparison to European ones, that their justice system is inherently racist, and that the country as a whole is poorly educated. I’m not sure if you think I’m American (which I’m not), but I think we’re trying to offer some tips within Europe here, not the United States.

All I was saying is that there are undeniable points of concern in any country (including the Netherlands) if you don’t look like the native majority. Xenophobia isn’t just the obvious structural examples (which exist in basically every country) like the ones you pointed out or a certain far-right parliamentarian: it’s how people interact with you on the street or even in a professional environment. Just as Hungary’s government deserves the label of being hostile towards foreigners and the Dutch society is referred to as tolerant and open, there are plenty of Hungarian NGOs helping refugees and Dutch people rioting in Geldermalsen and Heesch because they’re scared of them.

European societies are hugely complex. If you play your cards right, you can completely avoid the elements of it that make you feel excluded (that’s why it’s always good to try out cities with more university students, as the locals are already used to tonnes of youth and diversity). Painting the broad brush and saying “country X is intolerant/tolerant” is a binary that doesn’t really tell anyone a whole lot. These are much more clear (though not crystally so!) when examined at the city level: I think that, if it’s at all possible, it would be a really good idea for @greenhorn to get a taste of other cities he would be interested in trying out, even if it’s just for a weekend at a time. There are so many wonderful cities on this continent that will make anyone feel welcome.

#20

@adamnowek I didn’t think you to be American, and I was just commenting on this topic as yourself. I related to that poll because I think that it is not showing representative information that can be of any use to @greenhorn. We don’t have to agree, I’m just sharing my expertise.

Indeed, it wouldn’t do harm to experience more cities in Europe. But I think that if he enjoyed Slovenia and Poland but is not willing to live there because some poll tells him that they are race intolerant, or because right winged parties are popular, he is making a mistake.

The current refugee unpopularity and right wing populism is more about culture shocks and EU propaganda & bureaucracy. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with work integration.

But to narrow it down: every country has its ups and downs as you say. To visit a country before moving there, or to be advised by a company you work for/with or a friend is the best thing to do.

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