As the financial capital in Southern Europe, Madrid is a safe and stable environment for companies to grow, and the chosen headquarter location of 2000 companies. Driving the young talent, Madrid offers extensive opportunities for further education, with 17 universities and over 30 research centers. With over 75 million tourists visiting Spain every year, the country occupies a significant worldwide economic position. It is the fourth metropolis in the EU by Gross Domestic Product thanks to leading employers such as Telefónica, Iberia and BBVA. Sharing frontiers with 8 countries by land and sea, Spain is a logical destination for international trade, facilitated by the country’s high-speed rail system, the second longest network in the world. Surpassing the financial forecast in January, economic growth in Spain is set to reach 2.6% during 2017.
Contrary to its reputation as the city that always sleeps, Madrid now has over 450 startups, most of which focus on e-commerce, social and enterprise businesses. There are also 74 large investor firms, 40 incubators and co-working spaces and 27 acceleration programs. In 2017, Madrid hosted the South Summit, a European startup conference aimed at raising global awareness about innovative opportunities in the South. Supported by a young, highly-skilled and proactive population, Spain has become a globally-recognized hub of innovation. International investors have begun to view Spanish business in a whole new light, namely one of high potential, drive and passion. Investing in Spain’s already flourishing market, consisting of more than 46 million consumers, can open up new opportunities in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America, thanks to its ideal location at the center of the Iberian Peninsula.
From Planet Expat’s office located at the heart of the city, we enjoy engaging with our Spanish business partners, whose openness and kindness is second to none. Their professional environment is welcoming and inclusive, making international workers feel part of the team. We quickly adapted to the Madrilenian way of doing business, where two kisses on the cheek to greet even your manager’s manager replace the conservative handshake. This approachable nature is complemented by their tendency to use the familiar ‘tu’ rather than the formal ‘usted’. Spanish professionals are renowned for getting straight to the point, believing that an honest and direct approach is the most effective way to get things done. Despite their later start, between 9-10 am, Spanish businesses work hard and power through until the evening, usually around 7 pm.
According to The Economist, Spain offers the world’s tenth highest quality of life. Indeed, living in Madrid is more affordable than most European capital cities. Nor will the highly sophisticated and reliable public transport system push you to break the bank. Unlimited travel on the metro, buses or suburban trains at your leisure will cost you a mere 54€ per month, or as little as 20€ per month if you’re under 26 years old. Ranked as the second safest capital city in Europe, locals and foreigners can take advantage of the never-ending Madrilenian nightlife and explore lively neighborhoods without any bother. The capital boasts an efficient public healthcare system, enjoyed by 90% of the Spanish population and readily available for all foreigners should they need it.
As the iconic American writer Ernest Hemingway once said: “Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night”. So you can expect to head to your local tapas bar after work, indulging in paella whilst immersing yourself in the cultural vibrancy and energy that pulsates throughout the night. With an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year, Madrid is the ideal location for outdoor markets and festivals, which are readily available all year round. Parks and plazas carve a niche in the metropolis while an abundance of cafes and bars line every street corner. The city really comes alive at night when the party moves to one of Madrid’s world class clubs. Watching the sunrise over the Madrid skyline is a badge of honor reserved for those that can say they have truly killed the night.
Madrid also boasts a fine collection of museums that cater to every artistic demographic. The Reina Sophia and Prado are just a few highlights but the modernist scene is still prevalent throughout the capital. A walk from the Prado will take you through Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor until you reach the Royal Palace. What was once a crown gem of the Hapsburg Empire now stands as a true testament of Spanish royalty and achievement. On a warm sunny day, people can be seen paddling boats through Retiro Park or watching the sunset from the Egyptian monument Temple of Debod. The variety of culture and customs in Madrid is a source of pride for the Spanish, who hope you enjoy them as much as they do. Whether you are a local or just passing through, the novelty of these attractions never fades.