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Living in Germany?

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Daiki Saito

Living in Germany, from Japan

"When my company decided to send me to Essen, I took a quick look at the local community and said: Please do!"

Cristina Fernandez

Living in Germany, from Argentina

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Germany at a Glance

Living in Germany

You are surely aware that living in Germany has many advantages. What might surprise you, though, is that while everything is clean and well-ordered, there is also an abundance of cultural and leisure activities throughout the year. In this Guide, InterNations introduces you to expat life in Germany.

Although it is one of the greatest stereotypes about Germany, one cannot deny that life in Germany will probably be a very orderly experience. You’ll benefit from clean streets, tidy parks, and strict bureaucracy (the latter may not always be a benefit, though!).

Being an expat in Germany may thus require some adjustment, especially if you come from a country that’s more laidback or even cheerfully chaotic. However, Germany can also be a rather uncomplicated country, depending on how you look at matters. If you like things to be on time, in an orderly fashion, and done in the way you requested, life in Germany will be a delightful experience for you.

Cultural Aspects

Living in Germany does not mean that fun is thrown to the wayside. To the contrary, Germans are a surprisingly fun-loving bunch. Depending on the region your expat adventure takes you to, there are a multitude of festivals and holidays to prove the stereotype of the dull, prosaic, uptight German wrong.

Germany is the birthplace of famous composers like Bach, van Beethoven, and Wagner as well as literary geniuses such as Brecht, Goethe, and the Mann family. Like them, expats in Germany might even be inspired to create something new. If literature and the arts are not your cup of tea, take a look at Discover Germany and see what else the country has to offer.

Our articles on culture, shopping and recreation in Germany provide you with deeper insights into the arts and culture scene, German customs and etiquette, public holidays, sports, and leisure. 

Uniquely German

Everyday life in Germany can be a very different experience. After all, the proverbial devil’s in the details. Expats will often face restrictions concerning neighborhood regulations that they have never considered significant before.

For example, in small-town Germany, you might find that there is to be no vacuuming on Sundays. No loud music may be allowed between noon and three in the afternoon, and Saturdays are reserved for garden work. This may include plucking weeds from the cracks in the sidewalk in front of your house.

But do not let this scare you. Life in Germany really is cleaner and more efficient than in many countries, although, as usual, this may depend on your city and neighborhood. Germany’s small towns may usually be stricter in keeping up with sanitary rules and countless regulations than large cities.

Finding a Place to Live          

When you begin your life in Germany, we recommend you to seek the help of a real estate agent if you are not yet fluent in the German language. Rental agreements may sometimes be difficult to understand, and you may end up paying hidden costs. However, keep in mind that real estate agents are also relatively expensive, usually requesting about two months’ rent in payment for their services.

If you want to plan your relocation on your own, you will find that most local newspapers – such as the Berliner Zeitung, the FAZ or the Süddeutsche – offer a section on housing in the region, as do websites such as immobilienscout24.de or immowelt.de.

Accommodation Standards

Living in Germany, you should be aware that housing in Germany does not necessarily include light fixtures, kitchen, or bath furnishings. It is not customary for a German apartment to be rented out with a kitchen sink, cabinets, stove, etc.

You can find a used kitchen for a small fee in the classifieds of the local newspaper or buy the furnishings from the previous owner. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are seldom included. Some apartment buildings have laundry rooms in the basement to use for a small fee.

Most apartment buildings also have a house-cleaning schedule. Each unit in the building has a different chore each week: mopping the stairwell, sweeping the walkway, moving the trash bins out onto the street, etc. This is usually stated in your rental agreement, but be sure to ask your landlord.

For more information on renting an apartment, buying property, utilities, household goods and much more, please see our housing and accommodation in Germany section. 

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InterNations Expat Magazine