Health insurance coverage is compulsory in Germany, with costs in the public healthcare system shared by employer and employee, and deducted automatically from your salary. The premiums can vary between providers, so it is worth shopping around. For most expatriates, the government healthcare plan will be sufficient, especially for those with families, as it covers dependent family members as well.
The US Embassy has a list of English-speaking doctors in Germany, but most General Practitioners (Hausrzt) in Germany speak some English, certainly the younger generation. If further treatment is needed, they will recommend a specialist (Facharzt). Parents of young children should register with a local pediatrician (Kinderarzt).
The phone number for medical emergencies in Germany is 112.
Compulsory education in Germany doesn’t start until children reach the age of six years, but almost all children attend kindergarten from the age of three. Preschool childcare is generally quite affordable, with Kinderkrippen offering places for children under three.
Elementary school (Grundschule), starts in September after the child has turned six, and lasts for four years. After elementary school, parents have the choice between three types of schools (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium), with different academic standards and final qualifications.
Expatriate parents may feel more comfortable sending their children to one of the private, international or bilingual schools in the area. This can help children maintain their educational standard, particularly if the family will not stay in Germany long-term.
Stuttgart's public transport system is excellent, as one would expect from a German city. Regional trains (called S-Bahn) to the outlying villages and towns, as well as trams and busses within the city limits deliver prompt service from early morning to late at night.
The road networks within Germany and to nearby Switzerland and France are extensive. Within the city limits, there is a general speed limit of 50 km/h, unless otherwise stated. On the motorways, expats living in Stuttgart can experience the famous German absence of a speed limit, although in practice there is often a limit set because of roadwork or noise restrictions.
Expatriates from outside the EU must exchange their license after six months, but some countries have agreements with the German government to extend this to three years. So be sure to check which regulations apply to you.