Top 5 Tips To Save Money In Germany In 2023

Germany is known for its high living standards and expensive cost of living, especially in major cities like Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg.

Living in Germany can be expensive in general, but it doesn’t have to be. With some simple tips and tricks, you can save money and still enjoy all the wonderful attractions that Germany has to offer. From using public transportation to taking advantage of discount websites, there are many ways to make your stay in Germany more affordable. Here are 5 hacks for saving money while living in Germany.

1. Save Money on Utilities: Switch Electricity and Gas Providers Annually

Switching electricity and gas providers annually can lead to significant savings of 100€ to 250€ per year. It only requires 30 minutes of effort. Many providers offer attractive bonuses for new customers, resulting in lower prices for the first year. However, it’s important to cancel the contract to avoid automatic renewal for another year.

To find a cheaper electricity provider, you can use Verivox or Check24, which offers convenient services for transferring your contract. Keep in mind that each provider has a different cancellation period, for example, Vattenfall requires a 6-week notice before the contract ends.

Additionally, this strategy can also be applied to car insurance, where contracts should be canceled 3 months prior to expiry. By following these simple steps, you can save money and improve your financial situation.

Easy Ways to Change Electricity and Gas Providers

  1. CHECK24 is a leading comparison site in Germany for electricity and gas providers. Compare prices and offers from different suppliers, filter by green energy, contract duration, bonus payments, and more.
  2. Stromauskunft is another reliable comparison site that helps you find the best electricity and gas deals in Germany. Simply enter your postal code, annual consumption, and preferred payment method to get a list of suitable providers.
  3. Ostrom is a digital, 100% green, and English-speaking energy provider in Germany. Enjoy flexible contracts, transparent pricing, and easy sign-up.
  4. Vattenfall is a national energy provider offering a range of electricity and gas products in Germany. Choose from renewable energy, fixed price, smart home plans, and more. Benefit from their customer service, online portal, and loyalty program.

2. Pick A Fee-Free Bank Account & Credit Card

In Germany, there are numerous alternatives to traditional banks that cost a lot for the paperwork and maintenance. By opting for a mobile bank like N26, you can easily save money at least around 150 euros annually. Commerzbank, the only traditional German bank that offers most services in English, is free if you receive a minimum of 700 euros in it each month.

When it comes to choosing the right bank account and credit card, it’s essential to consider fee-free options that align with your needs and financial goals. With these banks below, you can enjoy the convenience, flexibility, and cost savings that come with these innovative banking solutions. Start maximizing your savings today!

Top Fee-Free Banks to Choose From

  1. N26: A 100% mobile bank offering a free standard account with a Mastercard debit card. Open an account within minutes of your smartphone, enjoying features like real-time push notifications, biometric authentication, and Google Pay/Apple Pay.
  2. DKB: An online bank offering a free current account with a Visa credit card. Enjoy worldwide free cash withdrawals and additional benefits like cashback, discounts, and interest on your balance.
  3. Comdirect: Another online bank providing a free current account with a Visa credit card and a Girocard. Benefit from free cash withdrawals at any ATM in Germany and abroad, along with access to online banking, brokerage, and savings products.
  4. Commerzbank: A traditional bank offering a free current account with a Mastercard debit card and a Girocard, requiring at least €700 incoming per month. Enjoy free cash withdrawals at any Commerzbank ATM in Germany, along with branch service, online banking, and customer support in English.

3. File For Tax Returns – Every Year

If you’re a regular employee without any additional side income, filing a tax declaration may not be necessary. However, it’s worth considering if you can save on taxes in Germany by submitting a tax return. The average tax return in Germany is approximately 1000 euros.

One of the best tax return software in Germany is Taxfix, which makes filing your taxes easy and fast. You can use Taxfix to file your tax returns for up to four years in the past and claim back the money you overpaid to the tax office. Taxfix guides you through the process with simple questions and automatically fills out the forms for you. You can also scan your documents with your smartphone and upload them to the app.

Taxfix can help you save money by finding tax deductions that apply to your situation, such as work-related expenses, travel costs, health insurance premiums, and more. You can also check your refund amount for free before you submit your tax return.

If you decide to file with Taxfix, you only pay a flat fee of 39.99 euros per year, regardless of your income or complexity. You can also get a 10 euro discount if you use our referral link here. With Taxfix, you can complete your tax return in less than 30 minutes and get your refund within a few weeks.

Other Apps and Services to Easily File Tax Returns

While TaxFix takes the cake for the best Tax filing app, here are 4 other apps that you might want to consider,

  1. SteuerGo: SteuerGo is another online software tool that can assist you in filing your taxes in Germany. It offers various features and benefits tailored to your specific needs and preferences.
  2. Taxando: Taxando is a reliable online software tool designed to simplify the tax filing process in Germany. It provides user-friendly features to ensure a smooth experience.
  3. Smartsteuer: Smartsteuer is an intuitive software tool that helps you effortlessly navigate the tax return process. It offers a range of features to make filing your taxes in Germany a breeze.
  4. Zasta: Zasta is a comprehensive online software tool that makes filing taxes in Germany convenient and hassle-free. It offers a wide range of functions to cater to your individual requirements.

Filing your taxes in Germany doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With online software tools, you can save money and time on your tax returns and get your refund faster. Don’t miss this opportunity to claim back some of the taxes you paid in Germany!

4. Buy Refurbished Products To Save Money!

Why spend a fortune to buy new products from Amazon when Germany has some of the best options to buy refurbished products for less than half the original price and without compromising on the quality?

Refurbishment is the distribution of products (generally electronics) that have been previously returned to a manufacturer or vendor for any reason, not sold in the market or new launch of a product. Refurbished products are normally tested for functionality and defects before they are sold to the public.

Where to Buy Refurbished Products in Germany

There are many online platforms where you can buy refurbished products in Germany, such as Kleinanzeigen,, and Back Market. These platforms connect you with sellers who offer refurbished products at discounted prices.

You can browse through different categories, such as electronics, home and garden, fashion, and more. You can also read reviews and ratings from other buyers to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the sellers.

Benefits of Buying Refurbished Products

In Germany Buying refurbished products in Germany has many benefits, such as:

  • Save money: You can save up to 70% on refurbished products compared to new products. You can also save on shipping costs, as many sellers offer local delivery or pick-up options.
  • Reducing waste: You can help the environment by buying refurbished products, as you prevent them from ending up in landfills. You also reduce the demand for new products, which saves energy and resources.
  • Getting quality: You can get products that look and work like new, as they have been tested and certified by sellers or third-party experts. You can also get warranties and guarantees on some products, which protect you from defects or malfunctions.

5. Harnessing the Power of Student and Employee Discounts in Germany

In the realm of personal finance, it’s the little things that count – especially when it comes to saving money in Germany. Whether you’re a student juggling textbooks and tuition fees, or a full-time employee managing daily expenditures, discounts can make a remarkable difference.

Every penny saved counts, and a surefire way to do this as a student is by leveraging the various ‘Studententarife‘ or ‘Studentenrabatt‘. Don’t shy away from inquiring about these discounts whenever you’re about to make a purchase.

The availability of these benefits spans across diverse areas – from bank accounts, and mobile and internet service providers, to public transport and health insurance. Take full advantage of student price reductions at cultural events, gym memberships, and even on portals like

However, it isn’t just students who can relish these savings; employees in Germany can also cash in on ‘Mitarbeiterrabatte’, thanks to platforms like Corporate Benefits.

Regrettably, these perks often slip under the radar as companies sometimes fail to adequately communicate them. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to ask your supervisor or colleagues if your organization is associated with these portals.

Be a Smart Shopper

Being a smart shopper means taking a moment to visit these portals before your next spree. It’s easy to neglect such opportunities when you’re eager to click the ‘buy now’ button, but a minute’s pause could lead to significant savings.

So, whether you’re a student stretching your Euro, or an employee aiming to make the most out of your income, embracing these discounts can pave the way for a more financially secure future in Germany.

For Students

 If you’re a student, you can enjoy lower prices on many things by showing your student ID or using a student portal. For example, you can get:

  • Free or reduced bank accounts with perks such as free cash withdrawals, overdraft facilities, and credit cards.
  • Cheaper internet and mobile plans with unlimited data, calls, and texts.
  • Discounted public transport tickets with regional or national coverage.
  • Lower health insurance premiums with public or private providers.
  • Reduced or free admission to museums, theaters, cinemas, concerts, and other cultural events.
  • Affordable gym memberships with access to various facilities and classes.
  • And much more!

For Employees

If you are an employee in Germany, you may also qualify for some employee discounts (Mitarbeiterrabatte) with other brands if your company is part of a portal such as Corporate Benefits. These portals offer discounts on hundreds of online shops and services, such as:

  • Fashion and accessories from brands like Zalando, H&M, Adidas, and more.
  • Electronics and gadgets from brands like Apple, Samsung, Sony, and more.
  • Travel and accommodation from brands like, Expedia, Airbnb, and more.
  • Food and groceries from brands like Lieferando, HelloFresh, Rewe, and more.
  • And much more!

Don’t miss out on these opportunities to save money in Germany as a student or an employee. Always ask or look for discounts before buying something, and compare different options to find the best deal. You will be surprised by how much you can save by using these discounts!

Saving money in Germany is possible and easy if you follow these five tips. You can reduce your expenses on housing, food, transportation, entertainment, and shopping by making smart choices and using discounts. By saving money in Germany, you can enjoy a higher quality of life and achieve your financial goals faster.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Thank you for spending your time reading it. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you. Happy saving!

Discover the Advantages of German Permanent Residence Permit-2023

Are you ready to embark on a life-changing journey filled with boundless opportunities and cultural richness? Look no further than the coveted German Permanent Residence Permit! Imagine a world where you can truly call Germany your home, where you can flourish in a land known for its thriving economy, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant communities. In this article, we delve into the transformative power of the German Permanent Residence Permit, a gateway to stability, security, and a future brimming with endless possibilities.

Discover how this sought-after permit opens doors to personal growth, professional success, and a fulfilling life in one of Europe’s most vibrant nations. Buckle up and prepare to unravel the secrets of the German Permanent Residence Permit, as we embark on an exhilarating journey of positive transformation and unlimited potential.

Getting German PR: A Challenging yet Rewarding Journey to Embrace

Obtaining the German Permanent Residence Permit is a process that requires fulfilling certain criteria, but with careful preparation and adherence to the requirements, it is indeed achievable. Germany offers various pathways for individuals to secure their permanent residence, such as employment-based, family reunion, or long-term residency. While the process may involve gathering the necessary documentation, demonstrating integration into German society, and fulfilling specific residency and language requirements, the German government provides clear guidelines and resources to assist applicants.

By navigating the well-defined pathways and showcasing a genuine commitment to the country, individuals can embark on their journey towards obtaining the highly valued Permanent Residence Permit in Germany, opening the door to long-term stability, professional growth, and a vibrant life in the heart of Europe.

Types of Permanent Residence Permits in Germany

In Germany, there are several types of permanent residence permits available to individuals seeking long-term residency in the country. These include:

  1. Niederlassungserlaubnis (Settlement Permit): This permit grants unlimited residence and work rights in Germany, allowing individuals to permanently settle in the country.
  2. Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Niederlassungserlaubnis (Residence Permit for Permanent Settlement): This is a temporary residence permit that serves as a pathway to obtaining the Settlement Permit. It is typically granted to individuals who have fulfilled specific criteria, such as contributing to the German economy or meeting certain language requirements.
  3. Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EG (Permanent Residence – EU): This permit is designed for individuals who are citizens of other EU member states or their family members. It provides them with the right to permanently reside and work in Germany.
  4. Blaue Karte EU (Blue Card EU): This permit is specifically intended for highly skilled professionals from non-EU countries. It allows them to live and work in Germany, with the possibility of transitioning to permanent residency after a certain period.
  5. Familiennachzug (Family Reunion): This type of permit is granted to family members of German citizens or individuals with permanent residence in Germany. It enables family reunification and provides the right to live and work in the country.

Requirements For The Permanent Residence Permit in Germany

To apply for German permanent residency, you will need to submit the following documents to the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Office):

1. Valid passport.

2. Completed Settlement Permit Application Form.

3. Recent biometric photograph that adheres to German visa picture guidelines.

4. Health insurance certificate: If you have statutory insurance, provide confirmation from your provider. If you have private health insurance, submit the insurance policy and proof of paid contributions.

5. Certificate of German language proficiency.

For employed individuals:

   – Employment contract.

   – Recent employer certificate (issued within the last 14 days).

   – Salary statements from the past six months.

   – Certificate from the pension insurance institution.

For self-employed individuals and freelancers:

   – Completed audit report prepared by a tax consultant, auditor, or tax agent.

   – Last tax assessment notice.

   – Any additional requested documentation.

For pensioners:

   – Notice of pension entitlement.

   – Notice of pension information issued by the German Pension Fund.

   – Proof of payment of social security contributions.

6. Document of home ownership or lease agreement to demonstrate adequate accommodation for yourself and any family members.

7. Proof of address registration, such as a Certificate of Registration, indicating Germany as your primary place of residence.

If you fall into any of the following groups, you qualify for an expedited route to obtaining permanent residency in Germany, bypassing the usual four-year waiting period:

  • Graduates from a German university or vocational school.
  • Individuals with exceptional qualifications and expertise.
  • Holders of the EU Blue Card.
  • Self-employed individuals.
  • Family members of German citizens.

Holders of the EU Blue Card

For EU Blue Card holders, the path to a permanent residence permit in Germany is shortened to just 33 months. As long as you have been employed in a position that aligns with your qualifications and has consistently made monthly contributions to the statutory pension insurance fund, you can qualify. It is also necessary to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in the German language (A1 level), an understanding of German life, and adequate living arrangements.

read more about the EU-Blue card here.

Self-employed Individuals

Self-employed individuals who have been actively working for three years and possess a valid residence permit for self-employment are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Germany. Demonstrating successful self-employment at the time of application is crucial. Additionally, providing proof of sufficient funds to cover your own and your family’s living expenses is necessary.

Family Members of German Citizens

Immediate family members of German citizens who are employed in Germany can pursue permanent residency after three years. Requirements include achieving at least a B1 level of German language proficiency, confirming the intention to continue residing with the German citizen relative, having a personal income without reliance on social security assistance, possessing a valid work permit, and contributing to pension insurance.

Graduates From a German University or Vocational School

For graduates from German universities or vocational schools who have completed at least two years of work in Germany, a pathway to permanent residence is available under certain conditions:

Your employment must be directly related to the degree or vocational training you received in Germany.

You should have made contributions to the pension insurance for a minimum of 24 months.

Permanent Residency in Germany: How Much Does it Costs

As per the official website of the German Federal Government, the fees associated with obtaining permanent residence in Germany are as follows:

  • Standard cost: €113
  • Fast-track through self-employment: €124
  • Fast-track as a highly qualified professional: €147

These fees are subject to change, so it’s advisable to consult the official government sources or the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information regarding permanent residence costs in Germany. For detailed information, you can visit the official German Federal Government website at German Federal Government website.

Potential Consequences of Losing Permanent Residency in Germany

Your permanent residence rights in Germany can be jeopardized under the following circumstances:

1. Prolonged Absence: If you leave Germany and remain outside the country continuously for more than six months, your permanent residence could be at risk.

2. Providing False Information: If you are found guilty of providing false or misleading information to the immigration authorities during the application process, it may result in the loss of your permanent residence rights.

3. Serious Criminal Offenses: Engaging in a serious crime that poses a threat to public order or safety can lead to the revocation of your permanent residence in Germany.

Furthermore, for specific types of serious offenses, the German authorities have the authority to impose a ban on your future settlement applications. However, in cases where a ban is not imposed, you can reapply once you meet the eligibility requirements again for German permanent residence.

It is crucial to be aware of and comply with the legal obligations and responsibilities associated with maintaining a permanent residence in Germany to ensure the longevity and security of your status.

The Privileges and Entitlements of Being a Permanent Resident in Germany

As a permanent resident of Germany, you enjoy various rights and benefits, including:

1. Indefinite Residency: You can reside in Germany without the need to renew your residence permit.

2. Job Flexibility: You have the freedom to change your employment, regardless of whether it aligns with your academic qualifications or training.

3. Entrepreneurial Opportunities: You can establish and operate your own business, irrespective of its connection to your educational background.

4. Social Security Assistance: If necessary, you are eligible to receive social security benefits, such as unemployment benefits, to support your financial well-being.

5. Financial Accessibility: You have the option to apply for bank loans, providing greater financial opportunities.

6. Educational Advancement: You can enroll in German universities and even seek financial assistance during your studies.

7. Path to Citizenship: After continuously living in Germany for eight years, you can apply for naturalization as a German citizen.

Travel Benefits as a German Permanent Resident

As a permanent resident of Germany, you possess travel privileges within the Schengen Zone, allowing visa-free travel for up to 90 days. Additionally, you can visit several other European countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Mexico, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey, granting you further exploration opportunities.

These rights and travel benefits enhance your overall experience and integration as a permanent resident in Germany, providing opportunities for personal growth, professional advancement, and seamless travel across borders.

Steps to Take if Your Application for Permanent Residency in Germany is Declined

In the event that your application for permanent residence in Germany is turned down, the immigration authorities are required to provide a comprehensive explanation outlining the grounds for their decision. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly or essential information pertaining to your application has been overlooked, you have the option to request a reconsideration of the decision.

If the reconsideration process does not yield a satisfactory outcome, you can proceed to present your case before the German administrative courts. The German judicial system encompasses multiple levels, including regional courts, higher regional courts, and the Federal Court of Justice. In exceptional circumstances, if necessary, you can escalate your case to the European courts as a final recourse.

German Citizenship vs. Permanent Residence

While holding a permanent residence permit in Germany offers numerous benefits, it does not grant certain privileges available to German citizens. Permanent residency does not provide the right to vote in elections or obtain a German passport. However, if you have resided in Germany for over eight years, you have the option to pursue German citizenship, which grants additional rights and responsibilities, including the ability to participate in the democratic process through voting and enjoy the full privileges and protections afforded to German citizens.

we hope this article has provided valuable insights into the distinctions between German citizenship and permanent residence. While permanent residency offers stability and various benefits, obtaining German citizenship unlocks additional rights and opportunities. We encourage you to explore more of our articles to deepen your understanding of the topic.

We value your feedback, so please feel free to leave comments and share your thoughts. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to continuing to provide you with informative content in the future.

Tips for Finding Apartment in Germany: Insider Secrets 2023

Finding an apartment in Germany can be an exhilarating yet challenging journey. With soaring demand and limited supply, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right strategies to increase your chances of success.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share valuable insights and expert tips that will give you a competitive edge in securing your dream apartment. Get ready to navigate the German housing market like a pro!

The Challenges and Opportunities of Finding an Apartment in Different German Cities

City Cost Ease of Finding Expat Friendly Effort Required
Berlin Affordable Challenging Yes Moderate
Munich Expensive Challenging Yes High
Hamburg High Challenging Yes High
Cologne Moderately Expensive Moderate Yes Moderate
Frankfurt High Challenging Yes High
Stuttgart High Competitive Moderate Moderate to High
Heidelberg High Challenging Moderate Moderate to High
Freiburg Expensive Challenging Moderate High
Leipzig Affordable Easy Developing Less Effort
Düsseldorf Moderately Expensive Moderate Yes Moderate

Required Documents for Renting an Apartment in Germany

When renting a flat in Germany, several documents are typically required by landlords. These documents serve as proof of your identity, financial stability, and reliability as a tenant. Here are the most common documents you will need:

1. Valid Passport or Identification Card: You will need to provide a valid form of identification to verify your identity.

2. Proof of Income: This can include recent pay slips, employment contracts, or bank statements showing regular income. Landlords want to ensure that you have a stable financial situation to afford the rent.

3. Schufa Credit Report: Schufa is a credit reporting agency in Germany. Landlords often request a Schufa credit report to assess your creditworthiness and determine if you have any outstanding debts.

4. Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung (Rent Clearance Certificate): This document, obtained from your previous landlord, confirms that you have paid your rent on time and have no outstanding rental debts.

5. Completed Rental Application: Landlords may require you to fill out a rental application form that includes personal information, employment details, and references.

6. Bank Statements: Some landlords may request recent bank statements to verify your financial stability and ensure that you can cover the rental costs.

7. Residence Permit: If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to provide a valid residence permit or visa that allows you to live and work in Germany.

Renting with the Assistance of an Estate Agent

In Germany, renting an apartment through an estate agent can be convenient but often involves additional costs. Estate agents are employed by property owners to assist with the sale or rental process, and their services come with fees. 

However, when renting, it is typically the landlord who bears the commission fees, leading many people to opt for online platforms instead of engaging an agent. Before finalizing any agreement, it is crucial to clarify the payment terms for these commission fees.

In Germany, there are multiple online platforms where you can search for and rent flats. Here is a list of popular online renting portals that helps you with finding apartment in germany:

  • Mr. Lodge (Available in multiple languages – Munich only)

An Extra Affordable Option for Students

When it comes to students looking for accommodation in Germany, one popular platform is WG-Gesucht. This website specializes in shared housing options, also known as Wohngemeinschaften or “WG” in German. Living with international roommates can be a rewarding experience as it provides an opportunity for cultural interaction and language practice. It allows you to build a global network and learn about different perspectives while adapting to life in a WG-Gesucht environment.

When searching for a room on WG-Gesucht, it’s essential to create a detailed profile that highlights your interests, hobbies, and language skills. This can help you connect with like-minded individuals or find roommates who can assist you in adjusting to your new surroundings. Additionally, it’s crucial to be proactive in your search by reaching out to potential roommates and attending viewings promptly.

What Typical Information is Included in a Rental Contract in Germany?

Having a rental contract is generally beneficial for both landlords and tenants in Germany. It provides legal protection, clearly defines rights and responsibilities, outlines rental terms and conditions, and helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes that may arise during the tenancy. 

Some of the components rental contracts usually contain are:

  • Duration of the agreement
  • Deposit amount
  • Amount of monthly rent
  • Amount of additional costs, depending on your use
  • Rent increases information
  • A complete list of furniture, if you rent a furnished apartment
  • Pet rules (whether or not you’re allowed to keep them inside)
  • House rules set by the landlord, regarding the repair expenses they will and will not cover
  • Notice length (usually three months, if you or your landlord want to cancel the agreement)

What are the Typical Rental Prices in Germany?

The cost of renting in Germany varies depending on factors such as location and apartment size. Rental prices are often quoted per square meter, with central and larger locations commanding higher prices compared to suburbs.

On average, apartments in Germany are rented out at €7.04 per square meter. Prices can be higher in cities like Stuttgart (€10.41 per square meter) and Munich (€9.74 cold rent). Munich’s Karlsfeld municipality is the most expensive, with an average net cold rent of €10.86 per square meter.

For a one-bedroom apartment, the average rent in a German city is around €700, while outside the city it’s around €530.

When renting in Germany, a deposit equal to three months’ rent is typically required. Utilities are often not included in the rent and are specified in the rental contract. Apartments without utilities included are referred to as “cold rent” (Kaltmiete), while “Warmmiete” includes heating and additional costs.

What to Expect in a German Apartment

When renting a German apartment, it’s important to consider the following aspects:

1. Room Terminology: Germans use a different system for room classification. For example, a 1-room apartment in Germany refers to a studio, while a 2-room apartment indicates a separate bedroom and living space. Bathrooms and kitchens are typically not counted as rooms.

2. Kitchen Considerations: Pay attention to the term “Küche” (kitchen) in advertisements. Sometimes, it may only indicate the provision of water, gas, and electrical outlets, while the actual kitchen fixtures and appliances may not be included. Germans sometimes take their kitchens with them when they move.

3. Kitchen Requirements: In Berlin, kitchens are generally expected to have an oven and a sink. However, in other states, only the necessary utility connections are provided. Make sure you are aware of the kitchen arrangement to avoid surprises.

4. Fitted Kitchen: If you prefer an apartment in Germany with a pre-installed kitchen, look for listings specifically mentioning an “EBK” (Einbauküche).

5. Furnished Apartments: Fully furnished apartment in Germany is relatively rare, so don’t expect every rental to come with furniture. Be prepared to furnish the apartment yourself or consider partially furnished options.

The Challenges of Finding Apartment in Germany

Limited Availability: The demand for housing often exceeds the supply in major German cities, leading to a scarcity of available apartments. This results in fierce competition among prospective tenants, making it challenging to secure a desirable rental.

Stringent Requirements: Landlords in Germany often have strict criteria for selecting tenants. They may require proof of steady income, a positive credit history (Schufa), and sometimes even a guarantor. Meeting these requirements can be difficult, particularly for ex-pats who are new to the country and may not have established credit or financial history.

Long-Term Lease Expectations: Many landlords in Germany prefer long-term leases, typically lasting one to three years or even longer. This can pose a problem for individuals who require more flexible or short-term rental arrangements.

Language Barriers: The majority of property listings, rental agreements, and communication with landlords are in German. Non-German speakers may face challenges in understanding the terms and conditions, negotiating, and navigating the rental process effectively.

Rising Rental Prices: Rental costs in German cities, especially in popular areas, have been increasing steadily in recent years. High demand and limited supply contribute to this trend, making affordable housing harder to find, particularly in sought-after locations.

Discrimination and Bias: Discrimination in the rental market can be a concern, with some landlords preferring certain nationalities or profiles over others. Expats, especially those with non-German names or non-European backgrounds, may encounter biased treatment while finding apartment in germany.

Time and Effort: Finding apartment in Germany can be a time-consuming and energy-draining process. It often requires regularly checking various platforms, attending viewings, and submitting numerous applications before securing a suitable place.

In terms of big cities, Berlin stands out as an extremely competitive housing market. Its popularity as a cultural and economic hub has led to a significant influx of people seeking accommodation. The demand often surpasses the available housing stock, resulting in a highly competitive environment and long waiting lists for desirable apartments.

Frankfurt, being a major financial center, also presents challenges for apartment seekers. The city’s attractiveness to professionals and expatriates, coupled with limited housing options, makes finding an apartment in Frankfurt a daunting task. The rental prices in both Berlin and Frankfurt have risen significantly in recent years, adding another layer of difficulty for individuals searching for affordable housing.

This leads to a scarcity of available apartments, resulting in intense competition among potential tenants. Navigating these problematic issues requires patience, perseverance, and strategic planning. Expanding the search to different platforms, networking, seeking assistance from relocation agencies, and being prepared with the necessary documents can increase the chances of finding an apartment that meets one’s needs and preferences.

Key Factors to Consider when Finding Apartment in Germany

  1. Start Early: Begin your search well in advance, as finding apartment in Germany can take time, especially in cities like Frankfurt and Berlin. Many landlords require a three-month notice period, so it’s best to begin searching at least two to three months before your intended move-in date.
  1. Expand Your Options: Don’t limit yourself to a single platform or method of searching. Explore different resources such as online platforms (WG-Gesucht, ImmobilienScout24, eBay Kleinanzeigen), local newspapers, university notice boards, and social media groups dedicated to housing.
  1. Be Prepared: Have all necessary documents ready, including copies of your ID/passport, proof of income or financial support, and a Schufa (credit) report if available. Landlords often require these documents to assess your suitability as a tenant.
  1. Language Considerations: While it’s true that knowing German can significantly expand your options, there are still opportunities for non-German speakers. Consider utilizing online translation tools or seeking assistance from friends, colleagues, or relocation agencies to overcome language barriers during the search process.
  1. Networking and Referrals: Tap into your network of friends, colleagues, and fellow ex-pats. They may have leads on available apartments or be aware of upcoming vacancies. Personal referrals can increase your chances of securing an apartment, as landlords often prioritize tenants recommended by trusted sources.
  1. Persistence and Patience: Understand that finding apartment in Germany can be a competitive and challenging process. It’s common to view multiple apartments before finding the right one. Don’t get discouraged; persistence and patience are key to success.

By combining these insider tips with a comprehensive understanding of the German apartment search process, you can increase their chances of finding suitable accommodation.

Choosing a city to study and live in Germany can be a daunting task, as there are many factors to consider. To make it easier for you, we have done the research and analysis for you. We have ranked the top 10 best cities for students in Germany based on various criteria such as cost of living, quality of education, social life, and more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on finding apartment in Germany. We hope that the information provided has been valuable in your search for the perfect apartment. 

Finding a suitable rental can be a challenge, but armed with the knowledge of key terms, guidelines, and popular online platforms, you are well-equipped to navigate the process.

For more helpful articles and resources, we invite you to explore our website further. Best of luck in finding your ideal apartment in Germany!

Top 10 Best Cities For Students In Germany: A Comprehensive Comparison

Germany has emerged as a sought-after destination for expats seeking a world-class education and a vibrant international experience. Whether you choose to study in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, or any other city, you can rest assured that Germany offers exceptional academic programs, a high quality of life, and a rich cultural heritage.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that each city has its own unique characteristics and nuances that can greatly impact your experience as an ex-pat student. From Berlin’s bustling streets to Heidelberg’s historic charm, understanding these differences is crucial in preparing yourself for the exciting journey ahead. In this article, we explore the best cities for students in Germany.

Why City Matters: The Unique Flavors of German Cities

While Germany as a whole is a fantastic choice for studying abroad, it is the subtle distinctions between cities that truly make the experience exceptional. From the diverse job market in Munich to the creative scene in Leipzig, each city offers its own blend of opportunities, lifestyle, and cultural experiences.

By exploring the details specific to your chosen city, you can better equip yourself for what lies ahead, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant student life and make the most of your time in Germany. So, let’s delve into the tiny differences between cities, ensuring you are well-prepared to embark on this transformative educational journey in your city of choice.

Every student embarking on a study abroad journey has their own unique set of expectations and priorities when it comes to choosing the perfect city. Some value the quality of education above all else, while others crave cultural immersion and the chance to connect with locals.

For some, affordability and finding suitable accommodations are paramount, while others seek a specific climate or a city with a rich historical and artistic heritage. It is this diversity of preferences that makes it impossible to declare one city as the ultimate best. However, fear not! Our Comprehensive Comparison will empower you to confidently select your favorite destination among the 10 most popular choices for students in Germany.

Berlin: The Cultural Capital

Munich: The Hub of Innovation

Hamburg: Thriving Port City

Cologne: Cultural and Academic Hub

Frankfurt: Financial and Business Center

Stuttgart: Engineering and Automotive Excellence

Heidelberg: Historic Charm and Academic Prestige

Freiburg: Green City and Sustainable Living

Leipzig: Creative and Vibrant Cultural Scene

Düsseldorf: Cosmopolitan Charm and Business Opportunities

This table offers a general comparison of cities in Germany, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and more, but keep in mind that individual experiences may differ.

CityEducation OpportunitiesJob MarketCost of LivingQuality of LifeJob Market
BerlinExcellent universities and research institutionsStart-up ecosystem, ample job opportunitiesAffordableVibrant social life, dynamic urban experienceRich history, thriving arts and culture scene
MunichPrestigious universities, strong academic excellenceTechnology, engineering, and automotive industriesHigher compared to other citiesHigh standard of living, beautiful parks, cultural attractionsRich history, thriving arts, and culture scene
HamburgWorld-class universities, diverse job marketThe lively music scene, international restaurants, picturesque waterfrontAffordableThe lively music scene, international restaurants, picturesque waterfrontLogistics, media, and creative industries
CologneExcellent universities, particularly in social sciences, arts, and media-related fieldsMedia, technology, arts industriesModerateVibrant carnival culture, historical landmarks, lively student nightlife
FrankfurtRich history, thriving arts, and culture sceneFinance, business, economics industriesHigher compared to other citiesInternational atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, diverse cultural sceneFinancial and business center, dynamic urban experience
StuttgartMajor financial hub, strong business, and economics focusInternships, job opportunities in engineering, technology, and automotive industriesModerateGreen spaces, cultural attractions, proximity to the Black ForestEngineering and automotive excellence, high quality of life
HeidelbergMajor financial hub, strong business, and economics focusA world-class university, with a rich cultural heritageModerateHistoric charm, picturesque city, lively student atmosphereHistoric charm, academic prestige, high quality of life
FreiburgEmphasis on sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental sciencesHigh quality of life, emphasis on cycling, eco-friendly practicesModerateGreen city, outdoor activities, proximity to the Black ForestGreen city, sustainable living, high quality of life
LeipzigRenowned music schools, creative fieldsThriving alternative culture, the burgeoning start-up sceneAffordableRich musical heritage, vibrant arts sceneThe creative and vibrant cultural scene
DüsseldorfTop-ranked universities, business, economics, and international trade focusFinance, marketing, entrepreneurship industriesModerateCosmopolitan charm, diverse culinary scene, proximity to the Rhine RiverCosmopolitan charm, business opportunities
Comparison Table

Berlin: Where Cultural Diversity Meets Urban Excitement

Berlin, the vibrant and diverse capital of Germany, captures the essence of cultural exploration and artistic expression. As a global melting pot, it offers a unique blend of historical landmarks, contemporary art scenes, and thriving nightlife.

The city’s student-friendly atmosphere is enhanced by its affordable cost of living, extensive public transportation network, and abundant accommodation options. Berlin’s job market is dynamic, particularly in creative industries, start-ups, and technology.

Additionally, the city’s temperate climate provides a mix of warm summers and mild winters, creating a pleasant environment for students to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of this bustling metropolis.

The Top 5 Universities in Berlin

  1. Freie Universität Berlin 
  1. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 
  1. Technische Universität Berlin 
  1. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin 
  1. Universität der Künste Berlin

The top popular Subjects in Berlin are Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering, Business, and Economics.

Berlin is a popular destination for international students, and it attracts a significant number of expat students each year. However, the specific number may vary. In recent years, Berlin has hosted around 25,000 to 30,000 international students.

Munich: A Fusion of Innovation and Bavarian Tradition

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, seamlessly blends its rich heritage with a forward-thinking and innovative mindset. Renowned for its world-class universities and research institutions, Munich attracts students seeking top-quality education in fields such as engineering, technology, and business.

The city’s job market is robust, especially in the automotive, aerospace, and information technology sectors. While the cost of living may be slightly higher, Munich offers a high standard of living, picturesque surroundings, and a vibrant beer garden culture that epitomizes Bavarian tradition. With its mild climate and proximity to the Bavarian Alps, students can enjoy both urban amenities and outdoor adventures in equal measure.

The Top 5 Universities in Munich

  1. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  2. Technische Universität München
  3. Universität der Bundeswehr München
  1. Hochschule München
  2. Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München

The top popular Subjects in Munich are Engineering and Technology, Natural Sciences, Medicine and Life Sciences, Business and Economics, and Computer Science.

Munich is known for its strong technical and scientific institutions, which attract a large number of international students. The city hosts approximately 15,000 to 20,000 expat students.

Hamburg: Maritime Charm and a Thriving Student Community

Hamburg, situated on the banks of the Elbe River, combines its maritime heritage with a thriving student community. The city is home to reputable universities, particularly excelling in social sciences, business, and marine sciences. Hamburg’s job market is diverse, with opportunities in logistics, media, and creative industries.

The cost of living in Hamburg is relatively moderate, and students can find affordable accommodation options in vibrant neighborhoods like St. Pauli and Altona. The city’s cultural scene is vibrant, offering a plethora of music venues, art galleries, and theatres. With its mild maritime climate, students can enjoy pleasant summers and cool winters while exploring Hamburg’s historic port and scenic canals.

The Top 5 Universities in Hamburg

  1. Universität Hamburg
  2. Technische Universität Hamburg
  3. HafenCity Universität Hamburg
  4. Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg
  5. Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg

The top popular Subjects in Hamburg are Business and Economics, Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Engineering, and Maritime Studies.

Hamburg is an international and cosmopolitan city, with several universities and colleges that welcome international students. The number of expat students studying in Hamburg is estimated to be around 10,000 to 15,000.

Frankfurt: Where Business Opportunities Meet Cosmopolitan Lifestyle

Frankfurt, a global financial and business center, offers students a unique blend of educational excellence and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. The city hosts prestigious universities known for their programs in finance, business, and economics. The job market in Frankfurt is particularly strong, providing abundant internship and career opportunities in the financial sector and other industries.

The cost of living in Frankfurt is higher compared to some other cities in Germany, but the city compensates with its excellent infrastructure, international atmosphere, and world-class cultural institutions. Frankfurt’s moderate climate, with warm summers and cool winters, allows students to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and renowned museums.

The Top 5 Universities in Frankfurt

  1. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
  2. Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
  3. Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
  4. Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main
  5. Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main

The top popular Subjects in Frankfurt are Business and Economics, Law, Finance, Management, and Accounting.

Frankfurt is a major financial hub and attracts many international students interested in business and finance. The city hosts around 5,000 to 8,000 expat students.

Cologne: A Fusion of Academic Excellence and Vibrant Festivities

Cologne, nestled along the banks of the Rhine River, offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere that perfectly complements its academic excellence. The city is home to prestigious universities, particularly excelling in social sciences, arts, and media-related fields. Cologne’s job market is characterized by industries such as media, technology, and arts, providing opportunities for internships and employment.

The city’s affordable cost of living, especially in terms of accommodation and dining options, makes it a student-friendly destination. Cologne’s cultural scene is unrivaled, with a famous carnival culture, lively student nightlife, and iconic landmarks like the Cologne Cathedral. The city’s moderate climate provides a comfortable environment for students to enjoy their academic pursuits and immerse themselves in the local culture.

The Top 5 Universities in Cologne

  1. Universität zu Köln 
  2. Technische Hochschule Köln
  3. Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
  4. Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln
  5. Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln

The top popular Subjects in Cologne are Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Engineering.

Cologne has a diverse academic landscape and attracts a significant number of international students. The city hosts approximately 8,000 to 10,000 expat students.

Stuttgart: Automotive Excellence and Natural Splendor

Stuttgart, nestled in the picturesque Swabian region, is renowned for its automotive and engineering prowess. The city boasts prestigious universities that excel in engineering, technology, and automotive-related disciplines. With strong connections to automotive giants like Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, students have access to internships and job opportunities.

The cost of living in Stuttgart is moderate, and the city offers a high quality of life with its green spaces, cultural attractions, and proximity to the Black Forest. Students can enjoy outdoor activities, explore charming vineyards, and immerse themselves in the natural splendor that surrounds the city. Stuttgart’s moderate climate ensures enjoyable seasons, with warm summers and cold winters.

The Top 5 Universities in Stuttgart

  1. University of Stuttgart
  2. Stuttgart Media University (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart)
  3. Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart)
  4. Stuttgart Technology University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart)
  5. Stuttgart Institute of Management and Technology (Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart)

The top popular Subjects in Stuttgart are Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Computer Science.

Number of Expatriate Students: Stuttgart attracts a significant number of international students, particularly in engineering-related fields.

Heidelberg: A Historic Gem with Academic Prestige

Heidelberg, nestled along the banks of the River Neckar, is a picturesque city renowned for its historic charm and academic prestige. The city is home to the world-renowned University of Heidelberg, which offers a wide range of academic programs across various disciplines.

Students can immerse themselves in Heidelberg’s rich cultural heritage, explore the famous Heidelberg Castle, and enjoy the lively student atmosphere in the charming Old Town. While the cost of living may be slightly higher, Heidelberg offers a tight-knit community, a high quality of life, and a moderate climate that enhances the overall student experience.

The Top 5 Universities in Heidelberg

  1. Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
  2. Heidelberg University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg)
  3. Heidelberg University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Heidelberg)
  4. Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA)
  5. Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS)

The top popular Subjects in Heidelberg are Medicine, Law, History, Theology, and Biology.

Heidelberg has a significant number of international students.

Freiburg: Sustainability and Natural Beauty Combined

Freiburg, often referred to as the “Green City,” embraces a commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness. The city’s University of Freiburg excels in research and teaching in the fields of sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental sciences.

Students in Freiburg can enjoy a high quality of life, with an emphasis on cycling, eco-friendly practices, and a thriving student community. The city’s proximity to the Black Forest offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities, hiking, and exploring nature. Despite its smaller size, Freiburg’s vibrant cultural scene, cozy cafes, and lively student festivals make it an attractive destination for those seeking a sustainable and nature-oriented lifestyle.

The Top 5 Universities in Freiburg

  1. University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)
  2. Freiburg University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg)
  3. Freiburg University of Music (Hochschule für Musik Freiburg)
  4. Freiburg University of Arts and Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Kunst, Design und Populäre Musik Freiburg)
  5. Freiburg Protestant University of Applied Sciences (Evangelische Hochschule Freiburg)

The top popular Subjects in Freiburg are Environmental Sciences, Renewable Energy, Sustainability Studies, Forestry, Ecology.

Freiburg has a substantial number of international students.

Leipzig: Cultural Vibrancy and Creative Energy

Leipzig, a city steeped in history and renowned for its rich musical heritage, offers students a vibrant cultural experience. The city is home to renowned music schools, including the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy,” attracting students interested in music, performing arts, and creative fields. Leipzig’s affordability, thriving alternative culture, and burgeoning start-up scene make it an attractive destination for students seeking a dynamic and creative environment.

The city’s moderate cost of living, particularly in terms of accommodation and dining, allows students to explore Leipzig’s cultural attractions, including the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and the annual Leipzig Book Fair. With a moderate climate, students can enjoy comfortable seasons while immersing themselves in Leipzig’s artistic and intellectual atmosphere.

The Top 5 Universities in Leipzig

  1. Leipzig University (Universität Leipzig)
  2. Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig)
  3. Leipzig Graduate School of Management (HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management)
  4. Leipzig University of Music and Theatre (Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” Leipzig)
  5. Leipzig Media University (Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig)

The top popular Subjects in Leipzig are Fine Arts, Music, Media Studies, Literature, and Cultural Studies.

Leipzig is known for its vibrant international student community, but specific data on the number of expatriate students is not readily available.

Düsseldorf: Cosmopolitan Charm and Business Opportunities

Düsseldorf, the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, combines cosmopolitan flair with excellent educational and business opportunities. The city is home to top-ranked universities and has a strong focus on business, economics, and international trade. Düsseldorf’s vibrant fashion and design industry, diverse culinary scene, and proximity to the Rhine River make it an exciting place to live and study.

The city offers a range of job opportunities, particularly in the fields of finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. The cost of living in Düsseldorf is moderate, and students can find affordable accommodation options in various neighborhoods. With a moderate climate, Düsseldorf provides a comfortable environment for students to thrive academically and experience the city’s vibrant social and cultural offerings.

The Top 5 Universities in Düsseldorf

  1. Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
  2. Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Düsseldorf)
  3. Düsseldorf Business School (Düsseldorf Business School)
  4. Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf
  5. Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Academy of Fine Arts Düsseldorf)

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and explore the top universities and popular subjects in these vibrant cities. Whether you’re seeking engineering excellence in Stuttgart, academic prestige in Heidelberg, sustainable living in Freiburg, a creative cultural scene in Leipzig, or cosmopolitan charm in Düsseldorf, these cities offer unique opportunities for students. 

We hope that this information has been helpful in your search for the perfect destination. If you’re looking for more articles and resources, be sure to check out our other publications. Remember, choosing the right university and city is an important decision, so feel free to ask any questions or share your thoughts in the comments section. Happy exploring and best of luck in finding your ideal educational journey!

Learn German Fast and Easy: The Ultimate Guide for learning German

Are you an expat living in Germany who wants to learn German online fast and easy? Do you want to communicate better with the locals, advance your career prospects, and immerse yourself in German culture? If so, you’re in luck!

In today’s interconnected world, maintaining a strong language-learning journey is crucial for ex-pats in Germany. With the increasing globalization and mobility, being able to communicate in multiple languages, including German, opens up new opportunities both personally and professionally.

Fortunately, the emergence of innovative language learning platforms and media has transformed the way we plan our studies and assess our language skills. These resources offer convenience, accessibility, and interactive learning experiences that make the process of learning German more engaging and effective than ever before.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll show you how to use the best language-learning apps for expats in Germany. These apps will help you master the German language in no time with their innovative features, interactive lessons, and fun exercises.

By using these language learning apps, you’ll be able to:

  • Learn German at your own pace and convenience
  • Practice your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills
  • Expand your vocabulary and grammar knowledge
  • Track your progress and get feedback
  • Connect with native speakers and other learners
  • And much more!

Ready to start your language learning journey? Let’s dive in!

Practicing with Native Speakers to learn German

This could be through language exchange programs, conversation meetups, or online language learning platforms. Speaking with native speakers helps improve pronunciation, fluency, and cultural understanding. Let’s look at some of these below,

Language Exchange Programs to Learn German

Tandem: Tandem is a language exchange app that connects language learners worldwide. You can find language partners based on your interests and language goals, and engage in language exchange through text, voice, or video chat.

HelloTalk: HelloTalk is a language learning app that allows you to connect with native speakers of your target language. You can chat, make voice or video calls, and even join language learning communities to practise your language skills.

ConversationExchange: ConversationExchange is an online platform that helps you find language partners for conversation practice. You can search for language partners based on your location, interests, and desired language exchange format (in-person, video chat, etc.).

Conversation Meetups to learn German

Meetup: Meetup is a platform where you can find local groups and communities based on your interests, including language exchange or conversation meetups. Search for language-related meetups in your area and join events where you can practise your language skills with fellow learners and native speakers.

Internations: Internations is a global community for expatriates and international-minded individuals. They often organise language exchange events and social gatherings where you can meet people from various language backgrounds and practise your target language.

Online Language Learning Platforms

italki: italki is an online language learning platform that connects you with language tutors and teachers. You can book one-on-one language lessons, practice conversation, and receive personalised feedback and guidance from qualified instructors.

Lingoda: Lingoda offers online language classes taught by native-speaking teachers. You can choose from various course levels and topics, participate in live group classes, and engage in speaking practice with other students.

Verbling: Verbling provides live online language lessons with qualified teachers. You can book individual lessons, participate in group classes, and improve your speaking skills through real-time interaction with instructors and other learners.

Language Learning Apps to learn German

Each of these platforms has its own strengths and features, catering to different learning preferences. Duolingo is known for its gamified approach and accessibility, making it suitable for beginners or casual learners.

Duolingo: Duolingo is a free language learning app and website that provides gamified lessons in multiple languages, including German. It offers interactive exercises, vocabulary practice, and grammar drills in a variety of formats, such as matching, translation, and listening comprehension.

Duolingo’s bite-sized lessons focus on building vocabulary and developing basic language skills through repetition and reinforcement. The platform tracks your progress and rewards you with virtual currency and achievements as you complete lessons.

Babbel: Babbel is a subscription-based language learning app and website that offers interactive lessons in various languages, including German. It provides structured courses that cover different language levels and topics, focusing on practical vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills.

Babbel’s lessons include interactive exercises, dialogues, and pronunciation practice. The platform also features speech recognition technology to help improve your pronunciation. Babbel offers a more comprehensive and structured approach to language learning compared to Duolingo.

Memrise: Memrise is a language learning platform that offers user-generated flashcards and interactive lessons for multiple languages, including German. It emphasizes vocabulary acquisition through spaced repetition and mnemonic techniques.

Memrise’s courses feature audio recordings by native speakers, interactive exercises, and multimedia content to aid learning. The platform also encourages community participation, allowing users to create and share their own language courses.

Deutsche Welle: Deutsche Welle is a renowned German international broadcaster that provides a wealth of language learning materials for German learners. Their online platform offers a dedicated section called “Deutsch lernen” (Learn German) that includes interactive courses, grammar explanations, vocabulary exercises, audio and video lessons, and news articles specifically designed for language learners.

Deutsche Welle’s resources cater to different proficiency levels and cover various topics, allowing learners to practice reading, listening, and comprehension skills while staying updated on current affairs.

Lingoda: Lingoda is an online language school that offers structured German language courses taught by qualified teachers. Their courses cover different proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced, and focus on various aspects of language learning, including grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, and speaking.

Lingoda’s classes are conducted live through video conferencing, allowing learners to interact with teachers and classmates in real-time. The platform provides a supportive and immersive learning environment, with small group classes or private lessons available at flexible scheduling options.

FluentU: FluentU is an innovative language learning platform that utilises authentic videos to help learners improve their German skills. FluentU offers a vast library of engaging videos, including movie trailers, music videos, news clips, and more, all accompanied by interactive subtitles and language learning tools.

Learners can watch videos, click on words or phrases for definitions, example sentences, and pronunciation, and access quizzes and exercises to reinforce learning. FluentU provides an immersive and entertaining approach to language learning, enabling learners to improve their listening comprehension, vocabulary, and cultural understanding.

Learn German with Entertainment

This exposure to authentic German content enhances listening comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and cultural understanding. Consider using subtitles or transcripts to aid comprehension.


Good Bye, Lenin! (2003): A comedy-drama film set in East Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) (2006): A gripping drama that explores surveillance and the power of art in East Berlin.

Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004): A historical drama depicting the final days of Adolf Hitler’s regime in Berlin.

TV Shows

Dark (2017-2020): A mind-bending sci-fi thriller that delves into time travel and a small German town’s secrets.

Tatort (1970-present): A long-running crime series featuring different investigative teams across various German cities.

Babylon Berlin (2017-present): A period crime drama set in 1920s Berlin, showcasing the political and social climate of the time.


Slow German: A podcast that covers various topics at a slower pace, aimed at learners of the German language.

Deutschlandfunk Nova:  A podcast that discusses current affairs, culture, and trends in Germany.

Gemischtes Hack: A comedy podcast hosted by a father-daughter duo, offering humorous conversations on various topics.


Nena: A German singer known for hits like “99 Luftballons” and “Leuchtturm.”

Kraftwerk: An influential electronic music band whose music combines synth-pop and futuristic themes.

Die Toten Hosen: A punk rock band that has been active since the 1980s, with songs like “Hier kommt Alex” and “Tage wie diese.”

Tools to help with your schedule to Learn German

Now that you know the right tools, what’s left is to get into a routine study schedule. There are several websites and platforms that can help you learn German. Here are a few examples:

Trello: Trello is a project management tool that allows you to create boards, lists, and cards to organise your tasks. You can create a dedicated board for your German language learning and set up a schedule by creating lists for different study topics or activities and assigning specific cards to each day or week.

Google Calendar: Google Calendar is a widely used online calendar tool. You can create dedicated events or recurring reminders for your German study sessions, set specific times, and even receive notifications to help you stick to your schedule.

Evernote: Evernote is a note-taking and organisation platform. You can create dedicated notebooks for your German studies and use reminders and tags to prioritize and schedule your learning activities. You can also set up recurring tasks or use the reminder feature to stay on track.

Habitica: Habitica is a habit-building and productivity app that gamifies your tasks and goals. You can create habits, dailies, and to-dos related to your German language learning and set specific due dates and frequencies for each task. As you complete your tasks, you earn rewards and level up in the app.

StudyStack: StudyStack offers a range of study tools, including flashcards and quizzes. You can create a study schedule by setting up a study plan on the platform, scheduling specific study sessions, and tracking your progress as you go.

Don’t forget that consistency is the key to making progress in your German language learning journey. By setting achievable goals for each study session, you can stay motivated and maintain a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s dedicating a specific amount of time to vocabulary practice, focusing on mastering a particular grammar concept or completing a set number of exercises, breaking down your learning into manageable tasks will help you build momentum and see tangible results. 

Remember, small steps taken consistently over time can lead to significant proficiency in German. Stay committed, track your progress, and celebrate every milestone along the way.

Compile and share lists of essential German words and phrases for everyday situations, including greetings, ordering food, asking for directions, and shopping

Utilise Flashcards: Flashcards are a powerful tool for memorising vocabulary and practicing grammar. Create your own flashcards or use digital flashcard apps like Anki or Quizlet.  Anki and Quizlet are popular digital flashcard platforms that can greatly enhance your language learning experience. Here’s an explanation of each:

Anki: Anki is a powerful and customizable flashcard software that uses spaced repetition. It allows you to create your own flashcards or download pre-made decks created by other users. With spaced repetition, Anki optimises the timing of flashcard reviews based on your performance, ensuring that you review difficult cards more frequently while gradually spacing out repetitions for easier cards.

Quizlet: Quizlet is an online platform that provides an extensive collection of user-generated flashcards and study sets covering a wide range of subjects, including languages. Users can create their own flashcards or explore and study from existing sets created by others. Quizlet offers different study modes, such as flashcards, matching games, quizzes, and more, which make learning interactive and engaging.

Ultimately, the choice between Anki and Quizlet depends on your personal preference and learning style. Explore both platforms and determine which one aligns better with your language learning needs.

In the end, setting realistic goals is essential for a successful language-learning journey. By setting achievable objectives, such as mastering a specific number of vocabulary words per week, completing a level of a language course, or even engaging in an entire conversation in the target language, you not only stay motivated but also have a tangible way to track your progress.

Celebrate each milestone along the way and use them as stepping stones to reach even greater heights. Remember, language learning is a marathon, not a sprint, and by setting realistic goals, you can ensure a steady and rewarding path to fluency. So go ahead, set those goals, work hard, and watch as your language skills blossom and flourish. Good luck on your language-learning journey!

Thank you for taking the time to read our article. We hope you found it helpful in your language-learning journey. If you’re interested in exploring more about Germany or expat life in Germany, we invite you to check out our other informative articles on these topics.

We value your experiences and would love to hear your feedback and insights about using the resources mentioned in this article. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Your contributions will not only help us improve our content but also provide valuable information and perspectives to fellow language learners.

Public Transport In Germany: Your Guide to Seamless Travel 2023

Get ready to embark on a transportation journey like no other! Germany boasts an extraordinary public transport system that seamlessly connects bustling cities, links towns of all sizes, and ensures hassle-free commuting for locals and ex-pats alike.

Renowned for its reliability, comfort, and impressive speed, Public Transport In Germany is a well-kept secret, even among car enthusiasts. Whether you’re a busy commuter or a curious explorer, rest assured that Germany’s extensive network has you covered.

Discover Germany’s World-Class Public Transport System

With an impeccably organized national railway network, journeying across the country becomes a breeze with Deutsche Bahn at your service. On a local scale, buses, trams, metro networks, suburban trains, and even ferries are seamlessly managed by Germany’s states.

Discover a transportation revolution in Germany. Embrace safe, efficient, and user-friendly public transport that has reshaped car-centric cities like Berlin (30% reliance on cars) and Munich (33% reliance). With an astounding 30 million passengers traveling daily, Germany stands as a true transportation haven. Get ready for a remarkable voyage alluring Public Transport In Germany by your side.

All about Germany’s €49 Ticket

If you love traveling around Germany and exploring its diverse regions and cities, you might be interested in a new offer from Deutsche Bahn: the €49 ticket. This ticket allows you to use all public transport in Germany for a flat monthly fee of €49. Sounds too good to be true? Here’s what you need to know about this amazing deal.

The €49 ticket, also known as the “Deutschlandticket”, is a monthly subscription ticket that gives you access to all public transport throughout Germany (excluding ICE, IC, or EC trains). Once you’ve signed up for the subscription, €49 will be debited from your account every month. You can cancel the subscription at any time, with no minimum contract duration or notice period.

The ticket is valid on all local public transport, including buses, trams, subways, regional trains, and ferries. You can use it to travel within and between cities, as long as you don’t board any long-distance trains. You can also take other people with you using the €49 ticket, as long as they are children under 15 years old or dogs.

The €49 ticket is a great way to save money and enjoy the convenience of traveling without having to buy individual tickets or worry about zones and fares. You can discover new places and attractions in Germany, or visit your friends and family more often. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using public transport instead of driving or flying.

The €49 ticket is available to purchase online, in the app, and at DB travel centers from 3 April 2023. You can start using it from 1 May 2023. All you need is a valid ID card or passport and a bank account. You will receive a mobile ticket or a chip card that you can show to the ticket inspectors.

If you are looking for a flexible and affordable way to travel around Germany, don’t miss this opportunity. The €49 ticket is a limited offer that will only be available until 31 December 2023. So hurry up and get yours today!

Modes Of Public Transportation In Germany

Germany’s bustling urban centers offer an array of transportation options that cater to every traveler’s needs. The go-to choice for speed and popularity lies in the Rapid transit system, comprising five U-Bahn lines covering city centers, complemented by thirteen S-Bahn lines that seamlessly navigate underground and overground routes, extending towards the suburbs.

The reliable Straßenbahn (tramlines) and the trusty bus system are complementing this network. Buses prove invaluable during nighttime journeys, offering affordability and availability, although they may sacrifice speed and comfort. Meanwhile, the tramlines boast higher capacity and faster speeds, running on dedicated tracks, but with fixed routes that limit flexibility.

U-Bahn (subway/underground)

U-Bahn (subway/underground)

Germany’s major cities boast an extensive underground transportation network called the U-Bahn, which stands for Untergrundbahn, meaning underground railway. 

These rapid transit systems predominantly operate beneath the city, emerging above ground as they approach the outskirts. The lines are well-ordered and designated with a U followed by a numerical identifier. Commuters can rely on frequent service intervals, with trains arriving every 5 to 15 minutes.

There are four U-Bahnen (urban metro networks) in Germany:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Munich
  • Nuremberg

S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail)

S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail)

The S-Bahn is a commuter rail network that operates within the city center and extends to the suburbs and neighboring towns. 

In major cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt-Mainz-Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, Cologne-Düsseldorf-Ruhr District, Nuremberg, Dresden, Leipzig-Halle, Mannheim-Heidelberg-Karlsruhe, Magdeburg, and Rostock, express trains efficiently connect the city center with the outskirts. 

In the largest cities, the S-Bahn system closely resembles a metro system, offering frequent service every 20-30 minutes. The train makes multiple stops in and around the city center before continuing its journey into the suburbs.

Weekday service differs from weekends, with reduced frequency, especially on Sundays and holidays.


In Germany, bus stops are identifiable by the capital letter H. The number of bus systems operating within a city tends to rise with its size.

 Berlin, being a large city, has multiple bus systems operating concurrently, including a night bus service. Conversely, smaller towns typically operate under the GermanRail system for their bus transportation needs.

Straßenbahn/Trambahn (streetcar/tram)

Streetcars, also known as trams, are a common mode of above-ground transportation in many cities, particularly in the eastern regions of Germany. 

In larger cities, the streetcar network may even have underground sections in the central areas, strategically avoiding densely populated areas.

 Interestingly, streetcars are often referred to as the “tube” by locals, emphasizing their significance in urban transportation.

Stadtbahn (light rail)

Germany has a transportation system known as Stadtbahn, or light rail, which is similar to the U-Bahn but primarily operates above ground in suburban areas. It offers a faster service compared to the streetcar system, Trambahn, as it has its own dedicated route.

Stadtbahn translates to ‘city railway’. Stadtbahn trains run at a frequency of approximately every 10-20 minutes. The Stadtbahn stations are marked with the same “U” symbol as U-Bahn stations, but they are clearly labeled as Stadtbahn below the symbol to avoid confusion.

Ticket (Fahrkarte)

Tickets for public transport in Germany are available in various options, including single-use passes, daily passes, weekly passes, and monthly passes. These tickets grant passengers access to all modes of public transportation within the city, including S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams, and ferries.

To purchase tickets, one can use the multilingual ticket machines located on the platforms of S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations, which is convenient for expatriates. Alternatively, when boarding buses, passengers can pay the fare directly to the bus driver in the traditional manner. In trams, tickets can be obtained from ticket machines inside the trains.

It is crucial to validate tickets before starting the journey. This can be done by stamping the ticket at the yellow or red validation machines on the platforms. In buses or trams, the ticket is manually validated by the responsible personnel. Failure to validate a ticket can result in a fine of approximately 40 Euros during ticket inspections.

Pets in Public Transportation

Pets and public transportation

Traveling with a dog is permitted under certain conditions. Dogs must be leashed and wear a muzzle (mouth mask). Small dogs that can be held, approximately the size of a cat, do not require a ticket. However, for larger dogs, a ticket fee of 1.5 euros is typically required.

Public Transportation Apps

In Germany, several convenient apps are available to facilitate the use of public transportation. These apps serve different purposes such as route planning and ticketing. Here are some notable examples:

– Citymapper: This app is available in multiple German cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, and Hamburg. It can be accessed on Android, iOS, and web browsers.

– FAIRTIQ: An alternative ticketing app that collaborates with local transportation authorities in cities such as Aschaffenburg, Flensburg, Göttingen, Halle, Lörrach, Mittelthuringen, and Oberelbe. FAIRTIQ is available for Android and iOS.

– Google Maps: Widely used, Google Maps offers integrated timetables and route planning for public transportation across most of Germany. It can be accessed on Android, iOS, and web browsers.

– Öffi: This comprehensive app covers nearly all local and regional transportation networks in Germany and is available exclusively for Android.

RMVGo: RMVgo is the smart and personal companion for all residents and visitors of the Rhine-Main region in terms of mobility.

Additionally, many local transportation authorities and companies have their own dedicated apps. 

Examples include BVG for Berlin, VRS for Cologne and Bonn, DVB for Dresden, RMV for Frankfurt am Main, HVV for Hamburg, MVV for Munich, VGN for Nuremberg, VRN for Rhein-Neckar, and VRR for Rhein-Ruhr. 

For train passengers, Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company, offers the DB Navigator app. It allows users to search for itineraries, book tickets, and check train compositions.

In Germany, ex-pats can significantly benefit from utilizing the excellent public transportation system. With extensive coverage, frequent services, and efficient connections, it offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to navigate cities. 

Public transportation grants access to a variety of modes, including trains, trams, buses, and subways, ensuring convenient travel options. 

Expats can avoid the hassle of driving, parking, and the high costs associated with taxis. Embracing public transportation facilitates exploration, integration, and a deeper understanding of the local culture and lifestyle.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on public transportation in Germany. We hope it has provided valuable insights and helpful information for ex-pats navigating the country’s transportation system. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming content. We appreciate your readership and look forward to serving you with more valuable content in the future.

The Ultimate Guide to German Health Insurance: What You Need to Know 2023

Germany’s healthcare system stands tall among the best in Europe, ensuring top-notch medical services for its residents. With state healthcare accessible to all, funded by social security contributions, the nation leaves no one behind in the pursuit of well-being.

Discover the ins and outs of health insurance in Germany – your ultimate guide to comprehensive coverage! Whether you’re a student, an expecting parent, or a freelancer, we’ve got you covered. Unveil the secrets of the German Health Insurance system and unlock the perks of private insurance tailored just for you.

German Health Insurance

By law, all residents must ensure they’re covered for hospital and outpatient medical treatment, making it an essential requirement when applying for a German visa. Don’t let this vital aspect slip through the cracks, as it can impact your ability to enroll in school, obtain a residence permit, and pave the way for a successful journey in the country.

Will Your Foreign Health Insurance Shield You in Germany?

While the allure of exploring a new country is exciting, it’s crucial to ensure that your health is well protected. For European Union (EU) citizens, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) acts as a temporary shield during your stay in Germany. However, once you settle down and register as a resident, the rules change. 

But what if you’re arriving in Germany from outside the EU? In most cases, having German health insurance becomes a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit. Don’t fret; our guide will lead you through the process of securing German health insurance seamlessly.

German Public Health Insurance

Germany’s public healthcare system, established in 1883 as Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV), ensures that approximately 90% of residents have statutory health insurance coverage. This includes individuals in paid employment or vocational training, such as trainees and apprentices, with monthly earnings ranging from €520 to €5,550 (as of 2023).

Family members, including spouses, civil partners, and children up to a certain age, can benefit from family co-insurance under specific conditions if they are covered by state healthcare insurance. Dependents typically do not need to pay contributions, as long as their income remains below €520 per month.

Retirees, pensioners, and those receiving unemployment benefits or assistance are also eligible for state healthcare coverage.

What Does German Public Health Insurance Cover?

German public health insurance provides coverage for various essential healthcare services. These include inpatient care at nearby hospitals, ensuring immediate attention during emergencies, as well as outpatient care at medical clinics. Additionally, it guarantees access to necessary medicines and vaccines to support your well-being.

While coverage remains quite consistent across different statutory health insurance providers, with approximately 95% of benefits being the same, there are certain aspects to consider. Public health insurance covers aspects of eye care, dental care, and alternative medicine; however, co-payments are often required, and there may be limitations on the scope of what you can claim.

It’s important to note that if you desire more accessible access to specialists or prefer a private hospital room, you may need to consider a private healthcare plan. Private options also offer more comprehensive mental healthcare options compared to the public system.

Health Insurance for Self-Employed Individuals

Regarding health insurance, self-employed individuals in Germany are not legally obligated to enroll. However, it’s important to note that foreign nationals relocating to Germany from abroad are required to have health insurance coverage.

For self-employed individuals or freelancers working in Germany, there are specific regulations regarding public health insurance. The monthly cost of your health insurance is determined by a percentage of your monthly income, meaning that the lower your earnings, the lower your contribution.

Referred to as the “contribution rate,” the monthly fee for public health insurance only varies slightly among different statutory providers. On average, you can expect to pay around 14.90% to 15.40% of your monthly salary for public health insurance coverage. It’s worth noting that the minimum monthly salary for mandatory public health insurance contributions is €1131.67 (as of 2023), while any income exceeding €4987.50 per month incurs the same contribution rate.

Navigating health insurance as a self-employed individual can be complex, but understanding the guidelines and costs will empower you to make informed decisions about your coverage. 

Health Insurance For International students

In fact, German universities mandate that students provide proof of health insurance before they can enroll and begin their academic journey.

For international students under the age of 30 pursuing Bachelor’s or Master’s programs at German universities, public health insurance is available. However, it’s important to note that enrollment is not automatic. These students need to manually sign up with a statutory health insurance company. Unlike contributions based on salary, students pay a monthly fee of approximately €117, depending on their chosen provider. This ensures access to comprehensive healthcare services throughout their studies.

Students who are over 30 years old or enrolled in a Ph.D. program are not eligible for state health insurance coverage. Nevertheless, they still need to demonstrate proof of insurance during the enrollment process. In such cases, it is advisable for students to opt for private health insurance providers, such as Allianz Care.

Fortunately, certain countries have agreements with Germany that allow their national health insurance to be recognized and accepted within German borders. Students originating from these countries do not need to obtain separate insurance coverage:

  • European Union member states
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Liechtenstein
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

Maternity Care in Germany

When it comes to maternity care, state health insurance in Germany typically covers the essential expenses associated with prenatal care and childbirth. However, it’s important to note that more complex procedures, such as fertility treatments, may require a co-payment.

To support families during the post-natal period, most public insurance companies provide a bonus ranging from €100 to €300 when a baby is born. This financial assistance helps alleviate some of the post-natal costs that parents may incur.

If you opt to give birth in a private hospital, it’s crucial to verify whether your insurance provider covers these expenses. Additionally, it’s advisable to research and understand the potential costs associated with the baby’s delivery and care in such a setting.

Best Private Health Insurance for Expats in Germany

If you’re considering private health insurance in Germany, several reputable companies cater specifically to ex-pats and offer comprehensive coverage:

Is Private Health Insurance Right for You?

Private health insurance in Germany is chosen by approximately 1 in 10 residents, and the market consists of around 40 companies offering diverse packages to cater to different budgets and lifestyles. Not everyone is eligible to switch from the state or public system to private insurance, as it depends on your employment status and income.

Generally, if your annual income falls below €66,600 (as of 2023), you are required to remain on the statutory or public system. However, there are several scenarios where private insurance may be an option:

  • Self-employed individuals: Those who work for themselves have the freedom to choose private health insurance.
  • Civil servants: Civil servants are typically eligible for private insurance coverage.
  • High earners: If your income exceeds the salary threshold, you have the option to opt for private insurance.
  • Ineligibility for state insurance: If you don’t have a basis to join a state insurance scheme, private insurance becomes a viable alternative.
  • Students over 30 or pursuing a Ph.D.: Students in this category may not qualify for state insurance and can consider private options.

While private health insurance offers various advantages, it’s important to carefully consider your decision. Premiums for private insurance are determined based on personal factors, and costs tend to increase with age, health risks, and the inclusion of additional family members. 

Moreover, individuals with certain medical conditions may face challenges in being accepted by private insurers. In such cases, a basic tariff (Basistarif) is available, which obligates private insurers to accept all cases under the same conditions as the statutory system.

Ultimately, the decision to switch from public to private health insurance should be based on a thorough evaluation of your specific needs, financial circumstances, and eligibility criteria.

Private health insurance companies in Germany

A number of private health insurance companies operate in Germany, including:

  • Allianz Care
  • Cigna Global
  • DFV
  • Feather
  • Ottonova

The Cost of German Health Insurance

In Germany, healthcare costs are covered through social security contributions, and the administration of state healthcare access is handled by approximately 120 insurers.

For employed individuals, a portion of their net income is allocated to healthcare contributions since 2015. The total contribution amounts to 14.6% of their income, with employers sharing this cost, resulting in employees paying around 7.3%. These contributions are automatically deducted from salaries as long as individuals are employed.

In addition to the standard contribution rate, German state health insurers may also impose an additional contribution rate. This rate can vary from year to year based on healthcare expenditure. In 2021, the average additional contribution rate across all public insurers stood at 1%. It’s important to note that your insurance provider is required to inform you of any changes in their contribution charges.

By understanding the structure of healthcare contributions in Germany, individuals can better comprehend the financial aspects of their health insurance coverage.


The German insurance system provides a comprehensive framework for ensuring access to healthcare services. With a combination of public and private options, residents can choose the coverage that best suits their needs. Statutory health insurance offers broad coverage for the majority of the population, while private insurance caters to specific situations and preferences.

Ultimate Guide to Drinking in Germany: Top Drinks and more 2023

Discover the captivating world of Germany’s vibrant drinking culture, where every sip is an experience that goes beyond the glass. Immerse yourself in a realm of exquisite flavors and aromas, as Germany unveils its top-tier reds, whites, and renowned liqueurs that have captured the hearts of connoisseurs worldwide.

Yet, the German drinking culture is so much more than just the libations it offers. It’s a tapestry of customs and rituals, an art form that celebrates the joy of connecting with loved ones over a well-crafted drink. From lively gatherings at charming beer gardens to cozy conversations in historic taverns, every moment is an opportunity to indulge in the rich traditions that have been passed down through generations.

Germany’s Relaxed Attitude Towards Drinking

Drinking in Germany is not merely a pastime; it’s a way of life. It’s about relishing the moment, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of flavors, and embracing the warmth of companionship. So, raise your glass and embark on a captivating journey through Germany’s enchanting drinking culture.

Germany’s vibrant cultural landscape boasts a deep-rooted, almost reverential relationship with beer drinking. This integral aspect of the national ethos is not merely about the consumption of the hoppy beverage. Instead, it’s a finely tuned ballet of indulgence and restraint that forms an enduring part of Germany’s unique charm. Unlike the somewhat notorious binge-drinking habits often attributed to British tourists, the German approach to drinking is characterized by moderation, with instances of public inebriation surprisingly rare.

Germany’s relaxed drinking laws allow beer consumption from the age of 16, a stark contrast to the legal age for spirits and other potent alcoholic beverages, which stands at 18. The open social acceptance of drinking in Germany manifests itself in the common sight of locals savoring a cold beer in public spaces. Whether it’s a leisurely picnic in a park, a bustling train carriage, or a quiet bench at the end of a long workday, the ubiquitous presence of beer in the hands of Germans paints a vivid picture of the nation’s fondness for this frothy delight.

The quintessential role that beer plays in the German societal fabric is eloquently encapsulated in the term “Bierernst.” This phrase, translating to “serious beer,” speaks volumes about how the Germans intertwine their passion for beer with a sense of responsibility and decorum. The world-renowned Oktoberfest is an emphatic testament to this approach. The grand spectacle, known far and wide as the ultimate beer festival, stands as an iconic symbol of Germany’s ardor for beer drinking. While it now draws globetrotters in droves, Oktoberfest’s essence remains firmly rooted in a reverential celebration of German breweries and their rich heritage.

Planning to make Germany your home? Engaging with the nation’s distinctive drinking culture can offer invaluable insights into its authentic ethos. Even for those who may not share the same enthusiasm for beer, immersing oneself in the Oktoberfest experience or exploring traditional beer bars could prove to be an enriching cultural journey. Such experiences offer a unique window into local traditions, enabling one to truly grasp the German spirit – in more ways than one.

Oktoberfest: The World’s Grandest Bavarian Festival

The Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, stands unrivaled as the globe’s grandest homage to Bavarian culture. Annually drawing innumerable visitors from all corners of the world, this two-week-long extravaganza is a vibrant tapestry of tradition, camaraderie, and merry indulgence. Whether you’re gearing up for your inaugural Oktoberfest experience or seeking a refresher ahead of your return to the jubilant jamboree, this thorough guide is your one-stop shop. We’ve got you covered, from insider tips to essential knowledge, ensuring you extract every ounce of enjoyment from your Oktoberfest adventure.

Diving into Oktoberfest Activities

Oktoberfest is a whirlwind of experiences that cater to all tastes. Visitors have the golden opportunity to taste a vast spectrum of expertly brewed German beers. But the delights don’t stop there. The festival also boasts a mouthwatering array of traditional Bavarian cuisine, promising a culinary voyage that goes hand-in-hand with the frothy beers on offer. Amidst the clinking of steins, visitors are serenaded by live music resonating through the festival grounds, and carnival rides add an exhilarating twist to the proceedings.

One of the festival’s most anticipated moments is the ceremonious tapping of the first keg of beer, performed by none other than the Mayor of Munich. This event heralds the commencement of the lively festivities, sending waves of anticipation through the eager crowd. Regardless of whether you’re a die-hard beer aficionado or a curious traveler eager to soak in the German culture, the Oktoberfest in Munich is a cultural institution that deserves a spot on your bucket list.

The Best German Drinks You Need to Try

Alcoholic Drinks

Jägermeister, a herbal liqueur containing 56 different herbs, is a popular alcoholic beverage in Germany, second only to beer.

Many people believe that the unique blend of herbs gives Jägermeister medicinal properties, making it a complex and delicious digestif.

The recipe for Jägermeister remains a well-kept secret since its creation in 1934. This intriguing liqueur is said to contain hints of saffron, ginger, citrus, and liquorice. Although it’s often used as a mixer in various popular cocktails.

 Jägermeister can also be enjoyed on its own, especially when served ice cold.

Himbeergeist is a raspberry-based spirit that’s mainly produced in Germany and France’s Alsace region. This popular drink is made by soaking wild raspberries in alcohol, giving it a unique flavor profile that features undertones of mint and basil.

With an alcohol content of around 40% ABV, Himbeergeist packs a powerful punch that’s sure to satisfy your senses. 

While it’s perfectly enjoyable on its own, it’s also a popular choice to pour over raspberry sorbet and garnish with mint for a delicious dessert.

Killepitsch, a herbal liqueur invented in Düsseldorf in 1858, boasts a more complex and robust flavor compared to Jägermeister, which it resembles in taste.

Made of 98 different organic herbs, fruits, and berries that are aged in vintage clay pots, Killepitsch is perfect for those who enjoy intense and refined herbal liqueurs.

This potent drink can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients in cocktails.

Famous In The World Beers

Kölsch is a highly fermented pale yellow ale beer that can be traced back to the early 1600s, and it’s exclusively brewed in Cologne.

This fully-rounded beer has fruity undertones while remaining crisp and easy to drink, making it perfect for warm weather. It’s traditionally served in a Stange glass, and you can taste three Kölsch beers during a brewery tour in Cologne to learn about their brewing culture. 

Drinking a glass of Kölsch in Cologne is a must-do for anyone looking to sample some of the world’s best beer.

Weißbier, or wheat beer, is a light-colored top-fermented beer that must contain at least 50% wheat-to-barley ratio to be considered authentic according to German regulations. 

The unique top-fermented yeast used to brew Weißbier imparts a distinct taste of banana and clove, setting it apart from other traditional German beers. Weißbier can take on different forms, with the stronger Weizen Stark Bier and darker Dunkel Weisen being the most popular. 

Weizenstarkbier is significantly more potent than the toasted-malt Dunkelweizen.

Helles is a type of light beer that originated in Bavaria in 1894 as a response to the growing popularity of lighter pilsners in the neighboring Czech Republic. 

Traditional Bavarian beers were stronger and darker than Czech pilsners, so local German breweries started experimenting with their own version of the light beer. 

Bavarian Helles typically have a firmer body and a more malt-forward taste compared to Czech pilsners, while still being smooth and refined. 

This easy-to-drink beer is widely available throughout Germany and is a great option for those looking to sample the country’s beer culture.

Interesting  Cocktails

Hugo is a light and refreshing cocktail that has gained popularity in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy since its creation in 2005.

Bartender Roland Gruber originally made the cocktail with lemon balm, but it has since been adapted to include elderflower syrup for extra sweetness.

The cocktail’s floral sweetness and relatively low alcohol content make it an inviting drink for any time of the year.

The Hugo is made from sparkling wine, elderflower syrup, and club soda, and topped with mint for a rounded finish. It’s the perfect aperitif to enjoy before a meal and was created as an alternative to the famous Aperol Spritz cocktail.

The Radler is a well-liked cocktail in Germany that puts a new spin on the nation’s favorite drink, beer. 

It is made by mixing German beer and lemonade, and the story behind its creation is that it was invented in a bar in Deisenhofen to avoid running out of beer during a cycling event.

This account of the Radler’s origin inspired the drink’s name (Radler translates to cyclist in German) and helped spread its popularity across Germany. 

Even though variations of the Radler can be found worldwide, a genuine Radler made with authentic German beer is an exceptional and unique experience.

Eierlikör is a German winter beverage that is a richer and more alcoholic version of eggnog. It is a creamy and flavorful drink that is popular during the wintertime.

Eierlikör is typically made from egg yolk, sugar, vanilla extract, rum, and whipped cream. Its taste mainly comes from the eggs and rum, unlike eggnog which is flavored primarily with dairy and spices.

This unique liqueur is widely consumed in Germany and the Netherlands and is exported to the United States and Canada by some brands.

Eierlikör is best served warm in a glass and is a perfect way to keep warm during the freezing German winters.

German Wines

Riesling, a type of aromatic wine, originates from regions in Germany that are adjacent to the Rhine River. 

It has a distinctive flavor profile that is characterized by a crisp and refreshing taste, coupled with fruity notes of apple, apricot, pear, and peach. 

Compared to regular white wines, Riesling has a higher level of acidity, which adds to its unique taste.

One way to identify an authentic Riesling is to look for its distinctive bottle shape, which is tall, slender, and elegant.

This wine has been around since the 15th century and has been enjoyed by German nobility and esteemed citizens for centuries. Today, it can be found in restaurants and shops worldwide.

Apfelwein is a unique German wine made from apples instead of grapes.

It differs from traditional cider in that it is not a sparkling sugary drink, but rather a tart, fermented drink that uses older, more bitter apples.

However, there is a sweeter variation of Apfelwein called Süßgespritzter, which is made by mixing lemonade with Apfelwein.

Apfelwein is a popular drink in the Hessen Rhein-Main winemaking region of Southern Germany, where more than 100 types of apples are grown.

Authentic Apfelwein is easily distinguishable by its tart taste and lack of carbonation.

Glühwein is one of the most popular beverages during the winter season in Germany, a type of mulled wine that is often enjoyed in social gatherings with friends and family.

Unlike traditional wines found in high-end markets or restaurants, Glühwein is a warm beverage made from mixing red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, anise, and sugar, and is topped off with a hint of orange peel to enhance its flavor. 

Some regions in Germany also make Glühwein with white wine and add a dash of Schnaps or rum for an added kick.

Quirky Traditions About Drinking in Germany

Germans have some interesting customs and traditions when it comes to drinking. Here are a few to keep in mind:

When clinking glasses with someone, it’s important to make eye contact. If you don’t, it’s considered bad luck and could bring seven years of bad sex.

When clinking glasses, make sure not to cross arms. While the consequences of this aren’t clear, it’s definitely something to avoid.

If you’re drinking Weizenbier, make sure to use a wide-topped glass instead of drinking straight from the bottle. This is because the yeast needs room to spread.

In Bavaria, it’s common to have hefeweizen, a malted beer, for breakfast.
For a unique twist on mulled wine, try Die Feuerzangenbowle, which involves setting a sugarloaf on fire above a bowl of mulled wine using tongs. The caramelized remnants drip down into the wine, creating a tasty combination.

In conclusion, Germany’s drinking culture is as diverse and unique as its breathtaking scenery. It’s a fascinating blend of high-quality beverages, social traditions, and brewing excellence, making Germany a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable drinking experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article about German drinking customs and traditions. Our website has many more articles that explore German culture and traditions, so please visit us again soon for more fascinating insights into the world of Germany.

A Complete Guide to Employment Protections and Benefits 2024

As a global leader in labor laws, Germany consistently offers solid employment protections and benefits for its workforce. Whether you’re already living in the country or considering a job opportunity there, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with your employment rights and entitlements. This article delves into the extensive employment protections and leave rights for workers in Germany, encompassing contract types, working hours, sick leave, vacation time, and parental leave.

Employment Protections and Contract Types

Workers in Germany benefit from robust employment protections, such as minimum wage laws, working hour limitations, paid leave, and health and safety regulations. Expats receive the same protections, but maneuvering through the labor market can be intricate, particularly when it comes to the variety of employment contracts. In this article, we’ll clarify the different contracts and their associated rights and obligations, empowering expats to make well-informed decisions.

Diverse Employment Contract Types in Germany

Fixed-term contracts: These agreements are established for a specific duration, typically terminating automatically once the contract expires. Fixed-term contracts are beneficial for employers needing to hire staff for a particular project or timeframe. However, employees on fixed-term contracts may experience less job security compared to those on open-ended contracts.

Open-ended contracts: These agreements have no predetermined end date, and either the employer or employee can terminate them with notice. Open-ended contracts offer greater job security than fixed-term contracts, as long as the employee maintains satisfactory performance and fulfills job requirements.

Part-time contracts: These agreements apply to employees working fewer hours than the standard full-time hours for their industry. Part-time contracts can be advantageous for employees seeking more flexibility, but they may provide fewer benefits and reduced job security compared to full-time contracts.

Each contract type entails a unique set of rights and obligations, which may vary based on the specific contract terms and any relevant collective bargaining agreements. It’s crucial for expats working in Germany to thoroughly examine their contracts and obtain legal and employment guidance to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their rights and obligations.

Apart from traditional employment contracts, Germany also offers alternative work arrangements, such as freelancing or establishing a business. While these options might provide more flexibility, they generally come with fewer employment protections.

Legal Working Hours and Overtime Regulations in Germany

Germany enforces stringent regulations regarding working hours and overtime for employees. The legal working hours are restricted to 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. However, in certain situations such as busy periods or emergency work, these limits can be extended to 10 hours per day and a maximum of 60 hours per week.

Employers must guarantee that their workers receive adequate rest and breaks during their shifts, with a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest per day and a minimum of 24 consecutive hours of rest per week.

In addition to standard working hours, overtime is also regulated in Germany. Overtime is defined as any hours worked beyond the standard working hours and is subject to different regulations depending on the type of employment contract.

For instance, for employees on a full-time contract, overtime can be compensated with either time off or extra pay. Overtime must not surpass 10 hours per week, and any overtime worked must be documented.

Flexible Working Opportunities

Employees in Germany can request a reduction in their working time, provided a few conditions are met:

  • The employee has at least six months of tenure with the company
  • The company employs more than 15 employees
  • There’s no operational reason to refuse the employee’s request

Additionally, employees should not have asked for a reduction of hours within the last two years and should give at least three months’ notice for their current request.

The government introduced “bridge part-time” legislation in 2019, which limits the reduction of working time to a set period (between one and five years).

Various Leave Options for Employees in Germany

  1. Vacation leave
  2. Sick leave
  3. Maternity/paternity leave
  4. Parental leave
  5. Special leave

It is crucial for expats to understand their rights and entitlements to leave in Germany, as these can vary depending on their contract and the employer’s policies.

  1. Vacation leave: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid vacation per year, which can increase with years of service or collective bargaining agreements.
  2. Sick leave: Employees are entitled to take time off work if they are sick or injured. The length of sick leave depends on the severity of the illness or injury, with the employer paying a percentage of the employee’s salary during this time.
  3. Maternity and paternity leave: Female employees are entitled to up to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, while male employees can take up to 2 months of paternity leave.
  4. Parental leave: Employees can take up to 3 years of unpaid parental leave to care for a child. During this time, the employee’s job is protected, and they may be eligible for financial support.
  5. Special leave: Employees may be entitled to special leave for reasons such as bereavement, marriage, or jury duty. The length of special leave and whether it is paid or unpaid depends on the circumstances and the employer’s policies.

Grasping Notice Periods and Severance Pay

In Germany, notice periods for terminating an employment contract are generally determined by the length of employment.

For employees with less than two years of service, the minimum notice period is four weeks. For employees with longer service, notice periods range from one to seven months.

The exact notice period may also be specified in an employment contract. Notice periods must be given in writing and take effect on the 15th or last day of a calendar month.

Understanding Severance Pay

In Germany, severance pay (Abfindung) is not a legal requirement, but it is common practice in some situations, particularly for higher-level employees or in the case of redundancies.

The amount of severance pay is usually negotiated between the employer and employee and can be based on various factors such as length of service, salary, and reason for termination.

For expats, the terms regarding severance pay should be outlined in their employment contract. Additionally, if an expat is terminated due to a mass layoff or business closure, they may be eligible for additional severance pay under German law, which is calculated based on their years of service.

Comprehensive Employee Protections

Protection from Discrimination

According to the Equal Treatment Act (AGG), employment relationship discrimination is prohibited based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Country of origin

However, discrimination and harassment are forbidden regardless, even outside of those characteristics.
Let’s look at what counts as Discrimination. Discrimination is any form of unequal treatment, with a few distinct types recognized by German employment:

  • Direct discrimination – treating an individual less favorably because of a characteristic protected by the AGG
  • Indirect discrimination – applying a policy, criteria, or practice to all workers in a group, which disproportionately disadvantages those possessing an AGG-protected characteristic or any other unjustified reason, unless the discrimination is objectively justified
  • Victimization – dismissing an employee because they took action related to discrimination of a protected characteristic (i.e., submitted a discrimination grievance)

Not every instance of unequal treatment is seen as discrimination. Discriminatory treatment can be justified if the employer shows important and vital work-related requirements.

Protection against Dismissal

The German Termination Protection Act offers employees maximum protection against unfair dismissal. It restricts termination of employment if the employee has been with the company for more than six months.

Termination is only possible based on:

  • Behavior such as theft or fraud
  • Personal reasons such as long-term illness
  • Business reasons such as reducing positions due to restructuring

The employer must give a written, signed notice of termination (original is required, with a scan, telefax, photocopy, or similar, not seen as sufficient) and observe the applicable notice period. The employer does not have to list the particular reason for termination in the termination letter. If a company lays off a lot of employees at once, prior approval by the employment office is required.

Superior protection against unlawful dismissal is extended to handicapped employees, as well as pregnant employees or employees on parental leave. In these cases, employers need to get prior approval from German authorities, which is usually very difficult to obtain. Another special protection is extended to the members of the works council (Betriebsrat) of the company.

The German Termination Protection Act doesn’t apply to companies with ten employees or less.

German labor law governs the relationship between employers and employees in the workplace, encompassing topics such as employment contracts, working hours, wages, holidays, social security contributions, and protection against discrimination and unfair dismissal.

German labor law is characterized by a high degree of protection for employees, including extensive workers’ rights and strong trade unions.

Employers are subject to strict legal requirements and must comply with various regulations to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Violations of labor law can result in fines and legal action.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about German labor law and workplace regulations. We hope this information has been helpful.

If you would like to find out more about working in Germany, such as visa requirements, job opportunities, and cultural insights, please read other articles on our website. We are dedicated to providing the latest news and advice for expats working in Germany.

Thank you for your interest, and we wish you all the best in your career.

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