5 Interesting aspects of German Life you didn’t know

5 Interesting aspects of German Life you didn’t know

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key German life aspects and reasons which could be a destination of your choice.

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons it could be a destination of your choice.

 1. Hanging lost items in trees

Germans are customarily friendly and helpful than other European nations where people usually keep to one. German people really tend to look out for one another and value them. If you happen to drop your hand glove in a cold winter and retrace your steps searching for it, or even after a week, you will very likely find it hung on a branch of a tree. It’s a common practice to hang lost items on trees or sign post where they will be easily visible when the owner comes backs. Most walkways and trails are decorated in this way and no one would dare take your stuff as their own. So when you find something, hang it up so it can be reunited with its owner.

2. Speak to the Government officials with utmost respect

It is always advisable to be polite when interacting with Police or Government officials in any country, when it comes to Germany, the laws get more specific with regards to the decorum of behavior. When speaking to Polizei, they have be addressed with a formal, ‘Sie’ and not informa , ‘Du’. If you fail to do so, it could result in criminal punishment and fines upto 600Euros as its illegal to do so. This policy applies for all German civil servants.

3. Free body Culture, an uncanny level of comfort with nudity

If you are in Germany and someone strikes a conversation with you in his or her birthday suit don’t be taken aback.  Germans are very comfortable with nudity and don’t think much of going au naturel. Germany, nudism is known as Freikoerperkultur (FKK), Free Body Culture. When you travel there, you’ll see that baring all is normal in saunas, swimming pools, and the park and on the beach.

Forget sausages and beer, the sign of true German-ness is publicly disrobing with absolutely zero self-consciousness. Summer in the parks of Berlin and Munich brings the chance of encountering a middle-aged, bronzed German wearing only a hat and performing hour long naked dance called the knackarschwiese in German, as a means of commemorating the start of summer each year.

4. No need to Queue but follow your place in a mass

In Germany, you will seldom find a machine that requests or gives out tokens for numbers neither you will find queues in which you need to stand and wait when at the bakery or butches shop. It’s strange but orderly as you just stand in a mass and know who is in front or you and who is behind you. You just have to go when the person ahead is done, in case you don’t know your place the rest of the crowd will surely let you know. If someone tries to barge in before his or her turn in front of you, just shout hallo and wave your hand in front of your face. This indicates that you saw the person cut, the rest of the mass will stare and look down on the offender, and it shames the person back into waiting for their turn.

5. No one is allowed to be hateful

Following the events of the Second World War, the country decided freedom of expression was less important than dealing with the harrowing events of the 1930s and 40s. As a result, flags of hateful, extremist ideologies like Nazis and Daesh are banned in Germany, and displaying them is punishable by up to three years in prison. Germany takes this kind of act seriously – understandably.

Conclusion

There is more to a country than the factors that influence quality of life, like political stability, a strong economy, environmental awareness, a good education system, seamless public transport and that is the culture, deeply rooted into the lives of the people. German way of life is special and if you are planning to move to Germany  this blog will help you open up to the quintessential ways of German lifestyle and adapt to them.

To understand the Germany culture better, do have a look here.

5 Good Reasons to move to Germany

5 Good Reasons to move to Germany

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons to move to Germany.

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons it could be a destination of your choice.

Germany gives you good healthcare options

According to WHO Germany’s Healthcare system is ranked on number 5 in top 10 healthcare system rankings. Germany has a universal healthcare system, meaning that everyone can receive healthcare treatment. People in Germany live 2-3 years longer on an average as compared to people in the west. If you plan to move and start living in Germany, you have to get health insurance. You can choose to take it from the public health system that covers around 90%of German residents or with a private company.

Working hours in Germany are shorter than in any other developed nation.

In Germany Businesses and shops can stay open only unto legally permitted hours. Hence a working in Germany means spending fewer hours at your desk as compared to other countries. Average working week in Germany is less than 48 hours a week and paid leave of 25 days on an average per year is applicable for any employee across Germany. There are also 10-13 public holidays per year in Germany, depending on which state you choose to live. So get ready to spend more family, personal time and sweat fewer hours at your workplace.

46 World heritage sites that you can visit, all in one country.

Whenever you feel like taking a break from your everyday life, apart from multiple leisure activities, you can choose from over 46 world heritage sites to explore. From the Black Forest, the Alps, countless gorgeous towns and most beautiful beaches, Germany has more than 2500 castles and miles and miles of hiking trails. Listing a few of them: Messel Pit Fossil Site, Wadden Sea, Wartburg Castle, Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps, Town of Bramburg etc. If you like long drives, you will enjoy driving on Germanys Autobahn (Highway system) 75% of which has no speed limit.

Public Transport in Germany is more than just efficient.

Germany like many Western European countries has one of the best public transport systems. The fastest and vastly used is the Rapid transit system involving five U-Bahn systems covering the city center and thirteen S-Bahn systems that operate underground in the city center and over ground towards the suburbs. Most big cities like Munich and Berlin have integrated Buses, trams, U-Bahn (underground subway) trains and S-Bahn (suburban trains) into a single network. Fares are determined by zones or time travelled, sometimes by both. A day pass or mutli-ticket offers a better value and must be stamped upon boarding in order to be valid.

German food and drink culture will make you feel at home.

When in Germany you need not worry about familiarizing with the German cuisine as it pretty simple and satisfying. Indulge yourself in some good hearty meals such as pork, beef and poultry in that order, usually pot-roasted or as sausages. Breakfast usually comprises variety of breads, marmalades and spreads along with various cheeses. If you are a vegetarian, fresh vegetable along with potatoes is easy choice along with some good cheeses and sauerkraut, a national delicacy. Beer is very common throughout all parts of Germany, with many local and regional breweries producing a wide variety of beers. It is generally not very expensive and of good quality.

Conclusion

Germany is a beautiful and diverse country to work and stay. With good healthcare, work hours regulations, good infrastructure and food and drink culture, Germany has so much to offer. No matter what your interest is, you will be able to find something to do in Germany.

To understand how you can get a visa to Germany and what are the categories available, do have a look here.

 

Housing in Germany – the not so easy task

Housing in Germany – the not so easy task

As an expat in Germany, you will find that the biggest chunk of your money will go into paying for housing and bills. Finding housing in Germany can be difficult, but now you will know where and how to look. German housing is not in the best of its shapes as of now. Students and expats both will find that their monthly budget for rent will be drastically different.

After all, when you’re a student, you will be looking for shared spaces, close to your university. An expat working or living in Germany might look at other factors such as proximity to work, the city centre, and more. Read through this post to determine your Gross and Net salary in Germany, which will then help you in budgeting for the best housing.

If you’re going to live with your family in Germany, you might want to find a rent able property someplace close to the children’s park or school. Of course, at the end of the day, it all depends on how much your budget is. In Germany, prices for apartments can vary from city to city as well as areas within a city.

If you’re living in Frankfurt, you might find rent near or at the city centre for somewhere between 250 and 300 euros. But in Darmstadt, such an apartment might cost around 850 euros. Find a place to rent is very difficult in big cities.

The difference in prices between cities is great and we recommend that you take all of this into account while deciding your housing in Germany. In fact, some cities such as Darmstadt are expensive because of the rents they boast. It is quite well known that most of the people rent in Germany.

Housing in Germany – Renting

When looking for an apartment in Germany, it is very important to know exactly what you’re looking for. Therefore, you will have to be very much aware of your budget. While apartments have leases for six months or even a year, you will find that you must pay for them at the beginning of each month.

Because of this, you cannot afford to overspend as you will get into serious trouble for not paying your rent on time. The rental property are dependent on various factors and one should take care of these points.

Bigger cities like Cologne and Munich are more expensive than others, but this does not mean that living there is impossible. If you have the right budget set, then you’ll find that you can easily find an apartment for yourself in almost any German city of your choice. You just need to know some basic things.

First, you will find that in Germany prices increase as you get closer to the city centre. Here’s the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment at the city centre as housing in Germany in some German cities:

Aachen- 540 euros

Augsburg- 600 euros

Berlin- 795 euros

Bochum- 400 euros

Bonn- 650 euros

Bremen – 560 euros

Cologne- 700 euros

Dortmund- 500 euros

Dresden- 500 euros

Dusseldorf- 700 euros

Essen- 450 euros

Frankfurt- 870 euros

Hamburg- 850 euros

Hannover- 600 euros

Ingolstadt- 700 euros

Leipzig- 500 euros

Mainz- 670 euros

Munich- 1200 euros

Paderborn- 500 euros

Stuttgart- 800 euros

As you can clearly see from this list, prices of housing in Germany are very different across different cities, Munich having the most expensive rent. However, you will find that as you move away from the city centre, the rent starts to decrease. If you’re planning to live in Hamburg, Cologne or Berlin where the rent in the city centre is between 700 and 800 euros, it would be a better idea to look for apartments in neighbouring areas rather than the city centre.

Why? Because in Germany, prices drop drastically once you begin to move away. A one-bedroom apartment worth 800 euros in the city centre will cost only 500 euros in nearby areas. What’s more, you will find that as you move away from the city centre, you will be able to find cheap apartments that are in better condition.

In fact, if you choose to rent a housing outside the city centre area completely, you will be surprised to know that you can get quite large apartments for three people for 1000 euros. Likewise, fully furnished apartments will cost you 1500 euros which is impossible for a three-people apartment in the city centre. Therefore, as a student, we would recommend that you investigate these before making the decision to get an apartment in the city centre.

Looking for apartments

Of course, as an expat still planning their move to Germany, it might seem quite difficult for you to look up apartments for yourself in Germany. After all, normally, when you’re looking for a place, you usually visit the area and check out if it suits your needs. Even if you respond to online advertisements and use websites to look at apartments for rent, you still physically go to the area your apartment will be at one point.

You must have an idea of what you’re getting. Dealing online with something as big as finding a housing in Germany for a good price can be tricky but we’ve got you covered!

Here’s our list of some of the most reliable websites you can use to look for housings for you when you finally make the move to Germany.

ImmobilenScout

Immowelt

Immonet

Wohnungsbörse

Null Provision

These are the leading websites to look for apartments almost anywhere in Germany. Now, that you know where to go, there’s a couple of things you need to keep in mind.

Types of rentals

Like most places around the globe, there are many different types of rental agreements in Germany. Depending on your situation, you should choose one of these options.

Wohnegemeinschaft (WG, for short)

This is the most popular, short term and long term (if you’re a student or on a budget) living option that you can find in Germany. Apartments or even houses, at times, are rented out to multiple tenants, each getting their own room or sharing.

Think of the WG system as a dorm system. You must share the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and as mentioned, the bedroom sometimes as well. There are many companies that will help set you up with your roommates, so you should give them a look. The most popular one is WG-Gesucht.

To be honest, if you’re going to move to Germany, it might be a good idea to use the WG system for a while as your housing in Germany. This is because, unlike other online expeditions, it is quite easy to book a rental for yourself through this system. Many expats use the WG service as temporary lodgings before finding the ideal house for themselves.

If you can’t afford to do that, then don’t worry. Even though some WG houses are, in fact, hostels or dormitories, some companies offer great apartments for sharing as well. So, don’t miss out on them as they get filled quickly.

Serviced apartments

If you plan on living in Germany for a short while, or even if you find yourself in Germany several times a year due to work obligations, then getting a serviced apartment might be a better option for you- especially if you don’t care about the cost. Most serviced apartments are used by professionals who often find themselves in Germany for work related issues. If anything, it’s better than living in a hotel and allows you to feel at home in a foreign country.

Serviced apartments are as luxurious as hotels though with towels, entertainment equipment and more available as well. Companies like Homelike will help you look for furnished apartments for short term rentals as your housing in Germany. They particularly specialise in dealing with business travellers, so it might be worth it to give them a call.

Furnished apartments

These are better for long term (or short term if you’re a student doing a semester abroad in Germany) stay. Furnished apartments come with bare minimum furniture, perfect for students and individuals finding themselves in Germany for a new job. These are flats rented from a landlord or through a real estate agent.

You will mostly find advertisements for these kinds of flats on the websites shared above. The more expensive furnished apartments come with janitorial services as well, and the landlord pays for small maintenance jobs.

Subletting

If you’re really on a budget and need a cheap, comfortable place to stay during your time in Germany then it might be a good idea to get a short-term sublet. Subletting might be a great idea for those who’re looking to emigrate to Germany. It takes time getting a new job and finding the perfect place to live. So, while you’re doing that, why not get a short-term sublet apartment as your housing in Germany?

Just make sure that the person subletting their apartment to you has agreements with the landlord. Request a copy of the original contract for safe keeping just in case and make sure that the subletting agreement has the dates of your stay and the agreed monthly rent written on it. That should keep you covered while you look for an apartment.

Documents needed to rent an apartment

It can be difficult (and frustrating) to find an apartment in a new country. After all, you have no credit history in Germany, so what will you do? Expats with no prior rental history will have to start from scratch in order to get a rental contract ready. You will need the following documents to do so:

  1. A copy of your identification or passport (Ausweikopie)
  2. Proof of no previous rental debt (from your country)
  3. Proof of Income (employment letter or payslip will do)
  4. Bank Statement
  5. Credit History
  6. A guarantee that someone else will pay your rent if you don’t (for expats, it is usually their sponsors)

Once the deal is done, you will have to give all six of these documents to your landlord so that they may draw up a contract.

Housing in Germany- Buying

If you’re planning to stay in Germany for a long time then you will find that it’s probably a good idea to buy an apartment as your housing in Germany. After all, this is quite cheaper in the long run and you’re likely to gain profit from it. Property values in Germany rises more than 5% each year, so it might be a good idea to investigate that.

The price per square meter for an apartment in the city centre is 4500 euros. It drastically drops to 3000 euros if you begin looking for a property to purchase outside of the city centre. Again, there are many factors that go into choosing an apartment to live in, so carefully make your decision.

Of course, this also depends on which city you’re planning to live in. Berlin, compared to other cities such as Munich and Stuttgart, is much cheaper. You can easily get an apartment in Berlin for 3500 euros per square meter at the city centre.

This would not be possible in other cities. The key to buying an apartment in Germany is to look. The more you look, the better prices you will get. Use Immowelt to find properties for sale in Germany. A quick Google search is also enough to help you find an apartment though you should keep several keywords in mind while you browse.

Von privat means that there is no estate agent involved. Don’t finalise any deal until you see the property though. Some properties in Germany might be very cheap but might require extensive renovations.

If you decide to work with an estate agent, then it’s a good idea to work with several. Don’t sign an exclusivity agreement with any one agent as that might hold you back as you search for housing in Germany.

Estate agents charge commission between 3 and 7 percent of the purchase price. You can request an invoice from them which they will provide, giving a detailed account of the contact between the buyer and the seller. Do note that property transfer tax is also paid by the purchaser and it can range between 3.5 to 6 percent of the price.

You also must pay the notary fee which is essentially a guarantee that the entire exchange took place under law. Don’t let any estate agent talk you into sharing the taxes and the notary fees with the seller as this can result in a very large penalty fee. It’s just not worth it.

Documents needed when buying property in Germany

The documents you will need to provide while buying a property in Germany depends on two things: your nationality, and if you are going to apply for a mortgage. Expats from other European countries will enjoy the same rights as they did in their home countries as well as the same rights as German citizens.

This makes it quite simple to buy property in Germany. Interest rates are quite reasonable, around 2 percent for 10 or 20 years. Again, you will need the following documents when buying your housing in Germany:

  1. A copy of your identification or passport (Ausweikopie)
  2. Proof of no previous rental debt (from your country)
  3. Proof of Income (employment letter or payslip will do)
  4. Bank Statement
  5. Credit History
  6. A Guarantee

In some cases, the owner might want to transfer their mortgage onto you. If you’re going to buy property in Germany, then you should definitely consult mortgage and home financing services. Here’s a few you can go to:

OBN Mortgage

Hypofriend

LoanLink

Conclusion

While it may seem intimidating to begin the process of finding a place to live in Germany, it’s not. You will quickly learn the ropes. With the right tools and resources, such as those we’ve provided in this article, you will quickly and expertly be able to find the perfect housing in Germany for you.

The number of people looking to buy a home are far less than people who want to rent. There is a housing shortage of houses or apartments for rent and this is making the German rental market also go high. People always look to rent place which have better accessibility to public transport.

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