Aberdeen, the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’ and Scotland’s ‘Silver City’ (on the rare occasion that the sun breaks through the clouds), is best-known for its access to the North Sea’s largest offshore oil reserves, for being home to one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, its Highland Cattle, and for nurturing unique past times, such as hurling enormous tree trunks (caber tossing).
Sandwiched between the rivers Dee and Don, Aberdeen boasts breathtaking, windswept coastlines. Golden sandy beaches alternate with dramatic granite outcrops, which are revered by local climbing enthusiasts. The area is also a mountain biker and hill walker’s paradise, and it won’t be long before you are coaxed into tackling a Munro (a Scottish mountain higher than 3,000 feet).
A micro-economy, owing to its oil reserves, Aberdeen is a bustling, cosmopolitan city and the growth engine of the North East. When it comes to dining out, Aberdeen spoils you with choice; along its cobblestone streets you can find Michelin star restaurants, trendy loft-style bistros and pubs serving hearty Irish stew, and champ.
The harsh North Sea climate drives locals indoors in the cold, dark winter months, giving rise to a thriving pub culture and a vibrant local music scene. The winter blues are easily chased away by the roaring open-hearth fires in traditional pubs with flagstone floors, where locals nurse a Glenfiddich (Whiskey) and tap their feet to lively Ceilidh bands. Whether moving here as a single, couple or family, Aberdeen will not fail to please. Caricatured as being penny-pinching, Aberdonians are, in fact, warm, witty, genuinely interested, and often well educated. The city’s vibrant arts scene, its passion for the outdoors, its strong urban infrastructure and excellent schools make this a very easy city in which to integrate.
What is special or unique about your city?
The famous Scottish Highlands - including Braemar Highland Games and Balmoral Castle - are easily accessible. Many other spectacular castles are close by.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Expat residents of Aberdeen often comment on how friendly the local people are. The city itself has no congestion and is free of high rise buildings.
In addition to having a breathtaking coastal beach area, Aberdeen is surrounded by the renowned Scottish scenery.
Aberdeen also has many shopping malls, as well as a wide variety of entertainment, sport and leisure activities. In addition, the city has a vibrant music and arts scene. There is always something to do, a place to visit and a group to be part of.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Change is inevitable. However, any change will only be to the benefit of Aberdeen and its people.
What is the local language?
English, although Gaelic is spoken in the north and west of Scotland (including the highlands and islands), as well as Scots, which is spoken in the lowlands.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
It is strongly recommended that newcomers know at least some conversational English.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Scottish people have a fantastic sense of humour, and are not easily offended. However, keep in mind that a resident with a keen sense of Scottish pride will not be pleased if you refer to him or her as an Englishman or Englishwoman!
Overall, you will find Scottish people quick to befriend visitors from overseas, making them feel at home and a part of the community.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Aberdeen enjoys the four seasons. From May to October, warm weather arrives bringing along sunshine. From November to April, it is cooler with moderate rainfall -- which is necessary for the beautiful green countryside.
Apart from infrequent gales and strong winds, the country does not suffer from extreme weather or natural disasters.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Scottish people are very proud of their heritage -- often to the point of being very passionate about it.
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