"We all have one common thread and what could be more dazzling and awe-inspiring than average incredibles from all across the globe, coming together to live their life on the beautiful island of Mallorca?"
We all knew Mallorca was a magnet for émigrés, but did you know that expats now represent nearly 20% of the capital Palma’s total population? If you’re an expat on Mallorca, you’re definitely not alone. Turns out, there are 84,542 of us, give or take a few. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the mild climate, fantastic lifestyle and excellent infrastructure, Mallorca is a natural choice for those wanting to escape Northern European winters or just have a nice life. But is it just the fabled Germans and Brits who have chosen to start new lives here? The answer may come as a slight surprise.
Where Do They Come From? #
Unexpectedly, only just over half the immigrants to Mallorca are from the EU member states. The countries with the highest representations are as follows: 18.2% Italian, 18.1% German, 15.5% Bulgarian, 12.7% Romanian, 8.5% British and 6.5% French. So contrary to common belief, the Italians have edged out the Germans, and the English come WAY down the list.
What about the Other Half? #
Nearly 40% of the non-EU expats come from South America, mainly Argentina. Africans, primarily Moroccans, are about 26.3%. Asians, predominantly Chinese, are 17.3%. European countries that are not part of the EU make up 7.8%. The rest are from far and wide. With 151 countries representing our expat community’s population, the diversity is incredible for such a small island.
What Does this Mean? #
Immigrants choose to relocate for as many reasons as there are stars. Whether it be for love, a job opportunity, or just for the adventure, we all have our reasons for pulling up stakes and living abroad. On an island the size of Mallorca, it means that the chance of meeting non-Spanish people from far-flung places is pretty good. This cultural soup gives Mallorca the flavour many of us adore.
This is not to say we don’t love our host country for what it is. In fact, most of us are here because we like Spain and the Spanish culture. We look to inject a bit of their laid-back friendliness and joie de vivre into our daily lives, and to become part of our new communities. But Mallorca’s diversity packs an added punch and allows us to mix and mingle with people from all over the world, teaching us not only about the Spanish way, but of other people’s customs and traditions as well.
A great example of this was in my very own kitchen. Last year, we hosted a big Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, at mine. With the exception of me, and my daughter who is actually only half American, there wasn’t a single other American in attendance. Our guests loved it! One friend has already asked if she could make the pumpkin pie for next year. Such is the power of bringing together like-minded people to share our different worlds. They start to blend their world with yours. Magic!
Sure, there are lively conversations and not everyone agrees on everything, this is part of the lure. Gathering people from varied cultures together is sure to bring out the differences of ideas, politics, values, and how to live life in general. But really, would we have it any other way? The opportunity to live amongst each other is a gift we all share.
So the next time you say “buenos dias” to a stranger on the street, remember it may be not their native tongue, but it’s our Mallorcan home we have in common… the thread that binds us together!
By Stephanie Horsman
21 March, 2019