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Home » Moving Tips » 12 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Germany

12 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Germany

Germany is a beautiful country that enjoys superb economic stability. Moving to Germany has many rewards, such as breathtaking views, culture, people, language, and others. Like every other international moving, there are several things you need to check, analyze and process before relocating. Here are some facts and interesting things you need to know before your relocation to Germany.

What’s on this page?

01 | Visa Requirements
02 | The Weather
03 | The Government Might Help You
04 | Driving in Germany
05 | Dining
06 | Oktoberfest
07 | Clean Streets and Beautiful Architecture
08 | Lively Environment and Nightlife
09 | Nature and Traveling
10 | It’s Affordable
11 | Culture, Art and Architecture
12 | Find Your New Home

1. Visa Requirements

Having a visa and work permit is a must in every country you relocate to, including Germany. Citizens of the United States with a valid U.S. Tourist passport could travel to Germany for a maximum of 90 days without applying for a visa. For more details, check this official website.

2. The Weather

Remember, this is Europe, so take into consideration that the weather, especially during winter, can get very cold and rainy, depending of course on where exactly you’re planning to live. If your homeland is a warm and sunny country, it may be difficult for you, at least at first, so be prepared for that. You could get a perfect mix of sun, warmth, and dryness in some cities like Mainz, Frankfurt, Berlin, Wiesbaden, and Fürth. Here you can check the 10 German cities with the best weather.

Read more: The Ultimate International Relocation Checklist

3. The Government Might Help You

If you just came to the country, without knowing anyone or without a place to stay, one of the institutions you have to be familiar with is “JobCenter.” This establishment will help you with your most important and basic needs, like finding a job, leasing an apartment, or financial guidance and assistance.

The procedure entails many forms and can take a long time, but it is worth it. “JobCenter” can also help you with your medical insurance and even with lessons in German. It is important for you to know that anyone who comes to live in Germany can ask for partial help from “JobCenter,” but it’s usually a lot easier for those with a European passport.

Additionally, you should also create your own local CV for a safer landing and learn some language basics for a safer landing. Most Germans indeed speak English, but your life will be much easier if you’re able to get around in German.

4. Driving in Germany

In general, you will find fewer signs in Germany and less descriptive ones at that. Drivers coming from the right have the right of way, and passing on the right is forbidden on the Autobahn. You will also not find a speed limit sign posted on the Autobahn, and the speed limit on city streets is 30mph unless otherwise posted. Motorists are required to have snow tires during winter times and can be fined if found delinquent. It is also worth noting that gasoline costs twice what it does in the US.

Keep in mind that you can ship your car (or motorcycle!) to Germany without import duties if it is at least six months old and registered to you. Here is how international vehicle shipping works in practice.

5. Dining

When eating out at a restaurant in Germany, you will notice some differences. One being that normally, there will not be a host or hostess to sit you, instead you will be responsible for seating yourself. Soft drinks are normally served without ice. Credit cards are not always accepted, and the tip is given directly to the server instead of left on the table. There is a limited number of international restaurants serving authentic cuisine, especially Mexican; German “Mexican” is far from authentic.

6. Oktoberfest

The world’s largest festival is a sixteen-day epic celebration of that heavenly nectar drank in nearly as many countries as there are varieties. No, I’m not talking about milk; I’m talking about beer. Oktoberfest is a huge part of Bavarian (Germanic state) culture and has been held since 1810.

Germans are very selective about the quality and type of beer allowed in the festival. Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Beer Purity Law, is permitted. The law states that the beer must be brewed within the city limits and with an alcohol content of at least 6%.

The statistics for the festival are staggering. It is estimated that 6 million people travel to Munich for the festival each year. Most are Bavarian, though about 15% come from foreign countries. Each year about 7 million liters of beer are served, half a million chickens prepared, and 120,000 pairs of pork sausage are consumed.

To accommodate the results of all these full guests, there are 980 toilet seats. With all that alcohol being consumed, you can bet people leave things behind. In 2010 there were over 4,000 lost property items, including 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and 500 pairs of crutches.

7. Clean Streets and Beautiful Architecture

Germany is a country that pays attention to the smallest details, and you can feel it walking its streets. The government invests a lot in construction and architecture, and you can see the results.

The neighborhoods are lovely, and you can enjoy yourself while strolling and exploring the streets and while admiring the architecture of the buildings, which combines the early years of the 20th century with modern times. If it’s important for you to walk around well-groomed areas, you will enjoy the German cities.

8. Lively Environment and Nightlife

Although it is not exactly true for all of Germany, you should know that in the biggest cities you will constantly have a variety of fun things to do. Berlin, for example, is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, with many bars, clubs, markets, concerts, and restaurants – there’s always something fun to do!

The city itself is very inviting, and many venues are open 24/7, even if it’s 6 AM and you are looking for an early breakfast. As Germans are the second largest consumers of beer in the world, Germany has a flavor to accommodate every taste…

9. Nature and Traveling

Germany is one of the biggest countries in Europe, and there are many places and views to visit and explore. The castle road, the wine route, and the black forest are just a few of the most famous examples, where you can travel in the country and enjoy the amazing views and the fresh air. You can enjoy traveling in your car or hiking by yourself in these beautiful areas that are very organized and comfortable to explore.

On top of that, you will be on a few hour’s flights to practically everywhere in Europe. Germany is definitely one of the most well-connected countries in the world in terms of roads and flights.

10. It’s Affordable

People in Germany work hard, and Germany’s gross national product is high. That’s why the Germans enjoy pretty comfortable prices in comparison to the rest of the western world. If you check the accommodation, food, and additional living expenses, you will see that Germany offers more than reasonable prices.

11. Culture, Art and Architecture

The Berlin wall is just the tip of the iceberg. Germany is one of the best countries in the world if you want to enjoy art and experience culture. The architecture all over the country is amazing, and the capital, Berlin, offers a variety of museums and street art spectacles. Needless to say that there is an abundance of lakes, parks, mountains, and beautiful views all over the country. So if you want a nice lifestyle, Germany might be the place.

12. Find Your New Home

Where would you live? Make all the necessary calculations and preparations in advance. Search for an apartment located in a good and safe neighborhood with schools or kindergartens for your children. Make sure it’s at a reasonable distance from where you’ll work. Here you have the biggest real estate websites in Germany:

To conduct an organized search, start with the cities and living areas – where would you like to live? The big city, the countryside, small cities, or maybe near the border with France or Switzerland. Once you decide that, you can start looking for a place to live – if you chose one of the cities, you need to check the neighborhoods and see which fit your expectations and needs.

Check the neighborhoods in the area you’ve decided to live in – which has a good reputation and which has high crime rates – find the right place for you and your family. It is also essential to find and locate good schools for your children – you don’t want them to fall behind. Once you’ve found your neighborhood, it is time to look for a home according to your preferences – house, apartment, and such. Make sure to get some information regarding price ranges.

It might be hard in a big city, but it will be pretty easy to get familiar with the local residents if you choose smaller places, like a village or a small town. You could hang out in the local bar or restaurant, mingle with the locals, introduce yourself to them, and politely ask about the place – people can surprise you with how much information they’d like to share.

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By Kfir Cohen

Kfir Cohen is handling global operations, cargo shipping, negotiation, and management of different suppliers around the world. He has more than 15 years of experience in the avant-garde of relocation and the sea/air freight business.
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