Germany is a Western European country with a terrain of vast forests, rivers and mountain ranges, and 2 millennia of history.
Berlin, its capital, is home to thriving art and nightlife scenes, iconic Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII. Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and cavernous beer halls, including 16th-century Hofbräuhaus.
Berlin, Germany’s capital and cultural center, dates to the 13th century. Today it’s known for its art scene, nightlife and modern architecture, such as Mies van der Rohe’s landmark Neue Nationalgalerie. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall’s graffitied remains. Its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become an iconic symbol of reunification.
Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt, a central German city on the Main River, is a major financial hub. It’s the birthplace of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose home is now the Goethe-Haus museum – which, like much of the city, was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt afterward. The reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town) is home to lively Römerberg Plaza, which hosts an annual Christmas market. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers, houses the European Central Bank.
Moving to Germany
There is quite an influx from foreigners to move into Germany. German society works as well as the machines it produces, but beware of disrupting the hive. Life may be regulated down to your morning walk (mind the pedestrian traffic lights!).
The climate in Germany is temperate, comparable to most of North America and much of Asia. So the clothes most expats have ought to do when they get here. Pack as many of them as you can. If you want to take advantage of the marvelous ski resorts that will be handy to you pack some clothing and equipment accordingly.
Apartment search companies in Germany are very expensive. It’s rare to see “for rent” signs in windows in Germany. And apartments usually come completely unfurnished (no kitchen cabinets, no stove, no closets, sometimes no floor). So budget plenty of time and money to deal with this. German communities also have poor, good, better, and best neighborhoods. Do you you know which ones are which in your new location? A good real estate agent/broker can help with this, but few German real estate agents (Makler) are as service oriented as those abroad. Although you can find RE/MAX, Century 21 and other global agencies in Germany, they don’t necessarily operate the same way that similar firms in other places around the globe.
Walking is a German custom, and it is the best way to enjoy your new home. Walk around the building you live in, walk around your neighborhood, choose a street to walk down as far as you can and back. Explore, explore, explore!
Depending on where in Germany are you moving to, you may want to read reviews on moving companies in your region. Make sure you find a trustworthy mover to transport your stuff there.
Will you even need a car in Germany? If you’re moving to a large city like Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, or Munich, it is easy to get around on public transport, and Germany’s excellent rail and airline network can take you farther afield. Even medium-sized towns have good public transportation.
Whether or not you have cable or satellite, every German household has to pay a radio-TV-internet fee known as the Rundfunkbeitrag.