Actual Berlin Guide Berlin City Presentation Berlin is the by abstraks

VIEWS: 152 PAGES: 56


City Presentation

Berlin is the capital of Germany. It lies 44 miles west of the Polish border, and 112 miles
south of the Baltic Sea. East and West Berlin were integrated in October of 1990 and
renamed simply Berlin, after decades of spearation by the 103-mile-long Berlin Wall
(which included the border between West Berlin and East Germany as well). Berlin was
made the capital of Germany on April 19, 1999, moving it from Bonn in the western part
of Germany.

The Spree River crosses through Berlin, and there are many canals and several lakes,
complete with beaches, within Berlin’s city limits as well as parks, the major one being
the Tiergarten, and forests, the largest among them being the Grunewald, the Kopenick,
the Spandau and the Tegel. In 2001, Berlin was rezoned to be comprised of 12 boroughs

Berlin’s greatly varied architectural heritage is evidenced in the blending of the new and
the old, as with the St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche), the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial
Church (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche) and the Reichstag, the former house of
Parliament. Other sights are monuments to its notorious history, as with the Brandenburg
Gate and the memorial erected at Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse.

Berlin is accessed by three airports. Tegel airport is 8km from the city, and services
international carriers. Schönefeld, 20 km from the city, is for low cost carriers.
Tempelhof, just a few km outside the city limits, services flights from with Germany as
well as flights coming from the east.

The Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest train station in Europe, and welcomes service
from all over Europe. Berlin’s bus stations, the Funkturm and the Omnibusbahnhof, are
both located in the Charlottenburg district. The major highway in and out of Berlin is the

Population 3,405,469 (as of 04/2007)

Size 341 square miles (883 km2)

Currency Euro

Language German, although there is a dialect specific to Berlin, and there are some
differences between dialects spoken in West and East Berlin.

Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) During the summer solstice there is 16.51 hours of
daylight; during the winter solstice, 7.39 hours of daylight. Daylight saving time starts
March 30 and ends October 26. Time is told on a 24-hour clock (e.g., 1:00 PM is 13:00).
Dialing code Country code is +49; Berlin’s area code is 30. To dial to another country
from Germany, 00 +country code +tel. no.
       - Police Tel: 110
       - Ambulance/Fire Tel: 112
       - Directory Enquiries (operator service) Tel: 118 33
       - Directory Enquiries (automated service) Tel: 118 64

Temperature In the winter, the temperatures range from 28 to 39F, -2 to -4C; spring, 30
to 66F, -1 to 19C; summer, 54 to 75 F, 12 to 24C; Fall: 36 to 66F, 2 to 19C. Winters are
cold and damp; summers do have their share of sunny days, but the weather can be
unpredictable. About one-fourth of Berlin’s annual precipitation is snow.

Electrical plug Current: 230 V, 50 Hz. Plug: European two-pin, round; "Schuko" plug
with side grounding contacts.
Visas and Entry Requirements

The Schengen territory consists of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain and Sweden.

For those holding passports from the above countries, entry, exit and movement within
Germany is unrestricted with no limit on the length of stay. Schengen residents are free to
look for work and can purchase property. All others seeking to be in Germany for more
than 90 days must have a residence permit, available at the German embassy or consulate
in your home country; although, it can be just as easy to apply for the permit during your
initial 90 days.

The following types of residence permits are offered per the German Immigration Act:

   -   Residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) (for a pre-defined length of time; must
       apply specifically for one allowing you to seek employment)
   -   EC longterm residence permit (for foreigners in the EU legally having held a
       residence permit for over five years; issued for an unlimited period; allows access
       to employment and insurance opportunities in any EU country)
   -   Settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) (for an unlimited period, and
       necessary for seeking employment, but only within Germany)
   -   Visa

Spouses and dependent minor children are give approved permits of the same level as the
primary permit holder.

To apply for a visa, you need to make an appointment with the German embassy or
consulate nearest you in your home country. To find the location and exact application
information for your country, please visit to obtain the link for
their website. If you don’t see yor country listed, try this list for German embassies
without websites:

If you are not able to visit your home country before needing your visa, simply visit the
German embassy or consulate closest to you in the country you’re living in now. The
links above can be used for this search, also. In addition, citizens of Australia, Canada,
Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. can get a visa after
having arrived in Germany, but before the 90-day visitation limit has expired.

The fee for a visa is 60 euro, and can take up to six months to process depending on the
requested visa. It is strongly recommended that you contact the embassy or consulate
before arrival to confirm:

   -   What documents you need
   -   How many copies you need of each
   -   Which docments need to be original
   -   Which need to be notiarized
   -   Which need to be translated into German

Within one week of your arrival in Berlin, you must register at the Standesamt –
Einwohnermeldeamt (Registration Office). Once you are registered with the proper
permit, you can seek employment.

If you have been offered a position and are NOT a member of the Schengen Territory,
you must visit the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in Berlin (last address below).
Once they have determined that everything is in order, they turn over your request for
employment to the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), which gives
their approval after it has been determined that there is no hinderance to you having the
job per the Priority Principle (Vorrangprinzip). This means it must be proved that there is
no German or EU citizen, nor anyone who has been in Germany longer than you, who is
more qualified for the job.

While they do not literally scour the continent for people more qualified than you, your
company will most likely have to report to the Federal Employment Agency that they
completed an exhaustive search, and also provide your specific skills making you the best
person for the position.

Central Office for Inhabitant Affairs (Zentrale Einwohnerangelegenheiten)
Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten, Abteilung II - Einwohnerwesen
At: Friedrichstr. 219, 10958 Berlin
Tel: 030 902 692 000
Fax: 030 902 692 095

Citywide branches of Office for Inhabitant Affairs (Zentrale Einwohnerangelegenheiten),
including the suburbs:

Standesamt Kreuzberg von Berlin                  Standesamt Friedrichshain von Berlin
Mehrlngdamm 110                                  Friedenstr. 68
10965 Berlin                                     10249 Berlin

Standessamt Mitte von Berlin                     Standesamt Wedding von Berlin
Alexanderplatz 1                                 Müllerstr. 146/147
10178 Berlin                                     13353 Berlin

Standesamt Tiergarten von Berlin                 Standesamt Prenzlauer Berg von Berlin
Kurfürstenstr. 57                                Fröbelstr 17
10785 Berlin                                     10405 Berlin
Standesamt Charlottenburg von Berlin   Amalienstr. 8
Alt- Lietzow 28                        13086 Berlin
10587 Berlin
                                       Standesamt Pankow von Berlin
Standesamt Spandau von Berlin          Johannes-R.-Becher-Str.
Carl-Schurz Str. 2-6                   13187 Berlin
13597 Berlin
                                       Standesamt Treptow von Berlin
Standesamt Wilmersdorf von Berlin      Grosberliner Damm 35/37
Berkaer Platz 1                        12487 Berlin
14199 Berlin
                                       Außenstelle Berlin-Buch
Standesamt Zehlendorf von Berlin       Wetbergstr. 38
Teltower Damm 10                       13125 Berlin
14169 Berlin
                                       Standesamt Marzahn von Berlin
Standesamt Schöneberg von Berlin       Helene-Weigel-Platz 8
John-F.-Kennedy-Platz                  12681 Berlin
10825 Berlin
                                       Standesamt Hohenschönhausen von
Standesamt Steglitz von Berlin         Berlin
Goethe Str. 9/11                       Zingster Str. 2
12207 Berlin                           13051 Berlin

Standesamt Tempelhof von Berlin        Standesamt Hellersdorf von Berlin
Tempelhofer Damm 165/169               Alte Hellersdorfer Str. 41
12099 Berlin                           12629 Berlin

Standesamt Neukölin von Berlin
Donaustr. 33/34
12043 Berlin

Standesamt Reinichendorf von Berlin
Eichborndamm 215/239
13437 Berlin

Standesamt Köpenick von Berlin
Alt Köpenick 21
12555 Berlin

Standesamt Lichtenberg von Berlin
Anton-Saefkow-Platz 7
10369 Berlin

Standesamt Weißensee von Berlin
Regional Foreign Affairs Department (Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten)
Ausländerbehörde (Abteilung IV)
At: Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24, 13353 Berlin
Tel: 030 902 690
Open: Monday and Tuesday 07:00-14:00, Thursday 10:00-18:00; closed on Wednesday and

Temporary Accommodation


Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin
Kurfürstendamm 27
D-10719 Berlin
+49 30 884340
Five -star hotel, rates from USD$130 - $600, area: Wilmersdorf, Extensive business services,
including an on-call IT manager. Facilities include a heated pool, massage services, sauna,
steam room and cold plunge pool.

Hotel Concorde Berlin
Augsburger Str. 41
D-10789 Berlin
+49 30 800999-0
Five-star hotel, rates from USD$150 - $272, area: Wilmersdorf. Award-winning concierge
services, spa, massages, jogging maps available.

The Westin Grand Berlin
Friedrichstrasse 158-164
D-10117 Berlin
+49 30 20270
Five-star hotel, rates from EUR219 - 489, area: Mitte. Laundry/valet, city tour arrangements,
babysitting, 24-hour room service, barber and indoor heated pool in the spa.

Hilton Hotel - Berlin
Mohrenstraße 30, Berlin
+49 30 20230
Five-star hotel, from USD$183 - $258, area: Mitte. Executive lounge, six restaurants, 24-hour
gym, room upgrades.

Sofitel Berlin Gendarmenmarkt
Charlottenstr. 50-52
D-10117 Berlin
+49 30 203750
Five-star hotel, rates from USD$265 - $333, area: Mitte. A wide variety of meeting rooms,
hammam, fitness centre, massage.

Serviced Apartments

Move and Stay Executive Lifestyle Worldwide
Accommodations searchable by location, size and length of stay. Apartments from EUR85 -
200 per night.

ARC Corporate Housing and Serviced Apartments
Exact dates can be searched, but locations within each city cannot. Three quality apartments
available from EUR68 - 92 per night.

Biz Stay
Offers choices by city location, and includes hotels in search results. Links take you directly
to individual sites; all are of good quality.
Permanent Accommodation

                                        QuickTime™ an d a
                              TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
                                 are need ed to see this picture.

(source: Penguin’s Berlin Guide)

Areas to Live In

(I’d like to make a case to have this section stay as is, with no chart. Including all the
information about each neighborhood as a general sketch allows the recent arrival to not
only look for housing, but also to weed out bad real estate agents who are trying to talk
up an area that shouldn’t be considered; to immediately accept or dismiss offhand
various real estate ads that mention neighborhoods; to know the basics of where and
how a person lives when they mention where they live; and having a guide to all
neighborhoods can be used in advance of visiting a certain neighborhood for the first
time. As an expat, I’d find this list much more useful than a chart showing only the best

Although Berlin still has several sections ravaged by the effects of Communism, the areas
closer to the city centre have newer housing that still remains affordable. There are 12 districts
(Bezirke) in Berlin, and within those are several neighborhoods (Kiez or Kietz), offically
known as subdivisions (stadtteil).

Most apartment buildings are mixed use, with businesses and retail on the ground floor and
apartments on the floors above.
The 12 districts of Berlin are as follows, with their administration numbers:

01 Mitte
Mitte, which means “middle” in German, is located in the geographical center of Berlin, and
is composed of the neighborhoods Moabit, Hansaviertel, Tiergarten, Wedding and
Gesundbrunnen. The oldest parts of Berlin are in this district. As the western-most part of the
former East Berlin, there have been a lot of changes in recent years.

Moabit is quiet and on the river, and many buildings boast beautiful views. Hansaviertel has
award-winning architecture, and is very pricey but apartment layouts are cramped. Tiergarten
has elegant apartments, but the downside is being close to the zoo, which smells in summer.
Wedding and Gesundbrunnen are areas to stay away from during your housing search.

02 Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Friedrichshain is bohemian, cheap, funky and young, but apartments might have coal heat
(see rental guidelines below). In Kreuzberg, stay toward the southern hald, half closer to the
canal and Bergmanstrasse; the area has beautiful late 19th-century apartments lovingly

03 Pankow
Pankow’s neighbrhoods are Prenzlauer Berg, Weißensee, Blankenburg, Heinersdorf, Karow,
Stadtrandsiedlung Malchow, Blankenfelde, Buch, Französisch Buchholz, Niederschönhausen,
Rosenthal and Wilhelmsruh.

Prenzlauer Berg is chicest new address, and provides your highest chances of a fully fitted,
expensive, well-renovated apartment in a lively, artistic neighborhood. The rest of the
neighborhoods are located far outside the city, and inconvenient.

04 Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
This district’s neighborhoods include Schmargendorf, Grunewald, Wested, Charlottenburg-
Nord and Halensee. This is the former city centre of West Berlin, and is near Zoo Station and
much of Berlin’s finest shopping.

Schmargendorf is dull and not welcoming to foreigners. Grunewald is dominated by an
enormous forest, and there might be some single-family homes available in this area. Wested
is busy with high-end housing; diplomats live there and there are lots of families, expensive
shopping, and a huge hospital complex. Charlottenburg-Nord has nice housing, but otherwise
is not very interesting. Halensee is beautiful, has a small lake, and features gorgeous housing.

05 Spandau
Spandau is home to the Haselhorst, Siemensstadt, Staaken, Gatow, Kladow, Hakenfelde,
Flakenhagener Feld and Wilhelmstadt neighborhoods.

Siemensstadt is a planned housing development for employees of the Siemens factory; it is
welcome to all, but if you or your spouse is not an amployee of Siemens, you might feel a
little left out. Gatow is a farming community, and lacking in much public transportation.
Spandau is older than Berlin that voted in 1922 to become part of Berlin; it has a medieval
Altstadt and the citadel, an old castle/prison, housing is affordable but a long way from
downtown Berlin, as is the remaining neighborhood of Kladow.
06 Steglitz-Zehlendorf
This district is comprised of Lichterfelde, Lankwitz, Dahlem, Nikolassee and Wannsee

Steglitz is a quintessential West Berlin neighborhood, with lots of high-end housing in
excellent repair, quick transit connections to the city centre, quiet, and has high-end shopping.
Lichterfelde is more middle-class and residential. Dahlem is where the free university was set
up when Berlin University was in red territory, and is much like a village with many gorgeous
houses; it’s a bit far but good for the US consulate and faculty of the university. Nikolassee
has a nice lake with a nude beach and tennis courts. Wannsee is very nice, and there are villas
available; the American Academy is located here with scholars in residence and lecture
programs; the downside is it is a full 30 minutes from the city centre.

07 Tempelhof-Schöneberg
Neighbohoods include Friedendau, Mariendorf, Marienfelde and Lichtenrade. This is a
residential district, and hosts the Lesbian and Gay City Festival every year.

Mariendorf is at the end of the subway line, and has single-family homes and duplexes, all
brand new and very affordable. The other neighborhoods are too far out and uninteresting to
be viable options.

08 Neukölln
Neukölln is also home to the Britz, Buckow, Rudow and Gropiusstadt neighborhoods.

Britz is very insular and not friendly to foreigners. Neukölln has a large immigrant population
and poor housing, but recently artists have been moving in and shaping up the area.
Buckowand Rudow is much too far. Gropiusstadt contains crime-ridden projects and should
be avoided at all costs.

09 Treptow-Köpenick
This is Berlin’s largest district, with 15 neighborhoods including Alt-Treptow, Plänterwald,
Baumschulenweg, Johannisthal, Niederschöneweide, Altglienicke, Adlershof, Bohnsdorf,
Oberschöneweide, Köpenick, Friedrichshagen, Rahnsdorf, Grünau, Müggelheim and

This entire district is extremely far away from Berlin’s city centre and not recommended.

10 Marzahn-Hellersdorf
Also includes Biesdorf, Kaulsdorf and Mahlsdorf. This is a very poor area, and not
recommended for housing searches.

11 Lichtenberg
This district houses the following neighborhoods: Friedrichsfelde, Karlshorst, Falkenberg,
Alt-Hohenschönhausen, Malchow, Wartenberg, Neu-Hohenschönhausen, Fennpfuhl and

Lichtenberg is as far east as you want to go, and the rest are just too far out of the city centre.
There has been a big push on renovating Lichtenberg in recent years, and it’s starting to pay
off. The area features a large Vietnamese neighborhood, with many wholesale markets
selling knock-off goods.
12 Reinickendorf
Berlin’s last district includes Tegel, Konradshöhe, Heiligensee, Frohnau, Hermsdorf,
Waidmannslust, Lübars, Wittenau and Märkisches Viertel. This district is not recommended
for housing searches.
Puchasing Property as a Foreigner

Property in German real estate lingo is “Objekt.” Anyone of any nationality can buy property
anywhere in Germany. To arrange financing, you can apply for a mortgage for up to 70
percent of the price of the property. If you need the entire amount, additional proof of
financial security will need to be presented, possibly from income or other sources.

Germans are not particularly into owning property, so the housing market is not quite the cut-
throat bidding war to be found in other countries. However, there can sometimes be
heightened interest in the more popular areas of Berlin.

It is important that you hire an architect to give you a full assessment of the property before
you close on the property, especially if it is a renovated property in the former East Berlin.
This is due to the lag in EU-standards retrofitting and renovating in the area.

Another crucial member of your purchasing team is your lawyer, who can also double as your
notary. Your lawyer can assist you in ensuring that all the paperwork associated with your
prospective property is in order (again, a common problem in the former East Berlin). Of
particular interest is the land title register (Grundbuch), as this is necessary to secure your
mortgage by the notary.

Your lawyer should draw up a detailed list of your requests for the property to be included in
the sale contract: Any work to be done before settlement, elements of the property you do not
want taken or worked on, and even communal areas of the property if you’re buying an

Once everything is in place, the notary’s office is where the final settlement takes place. The
notary reads the contract aloud in front of all parties and their representatives, and then all
parties sign the contract. Make sure to have your passport with you at closing.

Costs and fees vary, but can total up to 12 percent of the price of the property; here is a
general overview:

Notary (Notar) - about 1.5 percent of the purchase price
Stamp Duty or Property Tax (Grundsteuer) - 3.5 percent of purchase price
Real estate agent (Makler or Immobilienhändler) - between 3.5 percent and about 6 percent of
the buying price, including VAT, depending on the area you’d like to buy in.
Registration of the property – between 0.8 and 1.2 percent

In addition, anytime paperwork moves through local or federal administrative pipelines a fee
is usually charged; it’s usually nominal, but it can add up and should be included in any
housing purchase budget.

When looking at an apartment, the first question to ask is if the rent is “warm” (warm) or
“cold” (kalt). This means whether or not the charges for central heating, water, garbage
disposal, cable, etc. is assumed by the landlord or the tenant. Cold means you pay everything
yourself; warm means the charges are included in your rent, but it varies in degrees and
depends on the landlord.

The next thing is the nebenkosten. This involves a wide variety of services including
maintenance, salary of the hausmeister (super), a cleaning crew for public areas, window
washing, and cleaning the heating in the spring. Find out what the nabenkosten for your
apartment is, and confirm it is paid yearly. The landlord actually pays it, and then sends a bill
to all the tenants.

Electricity, gas if any, and telephone are all separate to be set up by tenant. You can have the
previous tenant sign over the account to you, for an easier transition.

Many old buildings have coal heat in defiance of EU regulations. Under no circumstances
should you accept coal heat unless you want it. Be aware that you will have to buy coal in
great amounts, wood and fire starters, and you need to dump the ashes every morning and
after sifting through them to check for ignitable pieces.

The other heating, also not recommended, called gasetagenheizung, features individual gas
heaters in rooms that are started with a flint.

If you go through a broker (Makler) you will have to pay a fee, which varies widely. For the
landlord’s security deposit you will have to open a mietkautionskonto, a bank account at very
low interest that you and your landlord own in common. You normally deposit three months
rent into that account. Upon moving out you must paint all walls flat white, fill in any dings
and holes, remove any floor coverings, and remove all fixtures you’ve added. When the
landlord approves the condition of the apartment, the money will be released to you via direct
transfer into your bank account.
How to find a place to live

Rentals: Zitty Magazine ( and TIP Magazine (
are published two times a month, and both offer housing classifieds. However, their online
portals are updated in real time, so it’s best to check online for up-to-date listings.

Your absolute best bet is to research the area you want to live in, then go to (in German only). Set up an account, type in your criteria, and
then sign up to receive email alerts whenever something is listed on the site. You will receive
extremely targeted alerts, it’s very efficient.

Also, the following real estate agents are reputable and have good relations with the expat
community for housing sales.

Iomauna Media GmbH
Metzer Strasse 19
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Monday-Friday 10am-6pm
Phone: +49 (0) 30 4737 2968
Mobile: +49 (0)176 65117043
Fax: +49 (0) 30 4737 2963

Nordstadt Immobilien GmbH
Berliner Str. 137
D-13467 Berlin-Hermsdorf
Telephone: +49 30 40 50 88 88
Fax: +49 40 50 888 99

Reinhardtstrasse 27
10117 Berlin
Tel:+49(0)305 059 6944
Fax:+49(0)305 059 6913
Dictionary of terms to understand advertisements

2 Zi. Whg = 2 Zimmer Wohnung = 2 room apartment (i.e one bedroom and one living room)
EBK = Einbaukuche = Kitchen is included (stove, cabinets, fridge, sink). Otherwise, it comes
bare to the walls.
VHB - verhandelbar - negotiable
Parkett = Parkett flooring = Hardwood floors
Helles, schones, Bad mit F. = Bright, nice, bathroom with window
Miete = Rent
Spülm. = Spülmaschine = Dishwasher
WaMa = Waschmaschine = Washing machine
+NK +TG +3MM KT = Plus maintenance costs (Nebenkosten), plus charge for underground
garage (Tiefgarage), plus 3 months' deposit
Provisionsfrei = No agency fees; + Prov. = Plus agency fees
ab sof. = sofort frei = Available immediately
PLZ = Postal code area; followed by a number

Berlin food centers mostly on pork, cabbage, and root vegetables. At Christmas, goose is the
main dish; if you prefer another type of meat at holiday time, you’ll need to order it
beforehand from your local butcher.

Grocery Stores

It is important to note about Berlin grocery stores that they are generally smaller than what
you might be used to, and have a drastically smaller selection. Also, you will be charged for
bags, and there are no baggers, so arrive prepared. Note that beer, wine and spirits are
available in grocery stores.

Discount grocers, which also have the least selection, include:

-   Aldi, Turmstrasse 72, 10551 Berlin
-   Netto Marken-Discount, several locations

A bit more expensive, but with a much broader selection, are:

    -   Kaiser's Supermarkt, several locations
    -   Reichelt, several locations
    -   extra Verbrauchermarkt Berlin, several locations

If you need to shop at off hours, we recommend checking this extensive list of 24-hour and
late-night shopping for the stores nearest you.


General open-air markets are plentiful; the best are Winterfeldplatz and Kollwitzplatz, with an
extensive selection of organic produce from local producer, including homemade pastas and
wonderful baked goods.

There are many ehtnic food markets, located everywhere. The two big chain Asian
supermarkets are Asia Mekong and Vinh-Loi; they each have specialities covering east-Asian
food well, Indian food pretty well, and Japanese and African food only the basics. Vinh-Loi
imports Dutch-grown exotic produce.

    -   Asia Mekong, Henriette-Herz-Platz 1, Im DGB-Haus, 10178 +49 30 2478282
    -   Vinh-Loi Asien Supermarkt, Rheinstr. 45, Berlin - +49 30 8511235 and Müllerstr. 40,
        Berlin - +49 30 45798988

Broken English has two stores with British groceries. The food markets of high-end
department stores have American groceriees. Kaufhof, Hertie, Karstadt, KaDeWe are some
examples of these department stores.

    -   Broken English
        Koertestr 10, 10967 Berlin - Kreuzberg
        Tel: 6911227

   -   Kaufhof several locations,
   -   Hertie several locations,
   -   Karstadt several locations,

   -   KaDeWe Berlin
       Tauentzienstr. 21-24
       +49 30 2121-0

The basement of Galeries Lafayette contains a food market, and has French groceries and

   -   Galeries Lafayette Berlin
       Friedrichstraße 76-78
       +49 30 209480


Dining out is an inexpensive activity in Berlin. All prices on menus include VAT (sales tax).
Tipping is welcome, usually no more than 10 percent; however, leaving the tip on the table
for the waiter is not customary. Instead, when paying the bill, simply tell the waiter how much
you’d like back in change, and he or she will keep the rest as a tip.

Notable restaurants offering typical German fare include:

Jolesch; Muskauerstrasse 1; tel: 612 3581;
Well-priced German and Austrian fare, and is open for breakfast, too.

Henne; Leuschnerdamm 25; tel: 614 7730;
Extremely traditional, it’s a bar that serves chicken, potatoes and cabbage salad, but this place
is famous for it.

Unlike many European cities, brunch is a common dining event on the weekends, and usually
features buffet-style service. Charlottchen, Droysenstraße 1, tel +49 30 324 47 17, and
Strandbad Mitte, Kleine Hamburger Straße 16, tel+49 30 24 62 89 63 are especially great for
families, as they have play areas for kids.

However, the main draw to Berlin’s food scene is the incredible range of food you can have.
There is a wide variety of ethnic food available in the city’s many restaurants. Affordable
French food is rare; east Asian food is usually wok-style noodles; you’ll find very little
authentic Chinese food; Vietnamese food is restricted to the Lichtenberg neighborhood;
Malaysian food is unknown; and Indian restaurants are everywhere but extremely

Notable ethnic restaurants include:
Al Contadino sotto le Stelle; Auguststrasse 34; tel: 281 9023;
Upscale Italian food.

Trattoria Paparazzi; Husemannstrasse 35; tel: 440 7333 Well-priced southern Italian food.

Ostwind; Husemannstrasse 13; tel. 441 5951 Well-priced and authentic Chinese food.

The Bird; am Falkplatz 5; tel: 51 05 32 83; Steaks, a rare
commodity in Berlin, and American food, medium-range prices.

Restaurant Pasternak; Knaackstrasse 22/24; tel: 441 3399; Russian food, well-priced.

Le Cochon Bourgeois; Fichtestrasse 24; tel: 693 0101 Medium-range priced French food.

Timeout Berlin ( has the best restaurant guides in
English; you can pick up a copy at almost any newsstand in the most touristed areas of Berlin. has useful links for cooks, a comprehensive market schedule
and market and restaurant views from expat locals.


Telephone service, both landline and mobile, is reliable. The Berlin telephone book is
published once a year and consists of a two-part residential directory (Das TelefonBuch -
Berlin) and the Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten). It’s free, comes out every summer and is
available at the post office and various supermarkets.

Deutsche Telekom is a national company affiliated with T-Com, with a worldwide market for
landlines, mobile phones (T-Mobile) and broadband service. T-Com offers a €10 credit for
paperless billing with direct debit of payments.
T-Com's free customer service number: Tel: 0800 330 1000

The word for telephone connection is Telefonanschluss. T-Com requires one week’s notice if
you’re moving from place to place. Their customer service is in English, very helpful, and
first-time hookups as well as their other services are fast and efficient.

A mobile phone is called a “handy.” Other mobile phone providers include:

E-Plus (German only)
Vodaphone (an international company; German site in German only)
O2 (an international company; German site in German only)

All mobile phones can be activated immediately upon purchase, and can be found both at
flagship stores for the above-mentioned companies and at stores that carry all brands of
mobile phones. You must bring proof of ID, passport and/or residence registration and/or
utility bill, depending on if you want to pay-as-you-go, which is good if you’re not sure how
long you’ll be in Berlin, or a contract, for stays of two years or more.

Telephone bills come every month and are due within one week. Methods of payment include
direct debit (Lastschrift), in person at the post office or by bank transfer (Ueberweisung),
which is set up through the telephone company. As of now, there is no option available to pay
by ATM machine transaction.

There are still payphones in Berlin, but with the rise of cell phone use they are becoming quite
rare. Some are coin-operated, while most require telephone cards that you can purchase at
newspaper stands or the post office.

There is also a free, 24/7 national number for reporting lost or stolen mobile phones. They
connect you directly to your service provider. The number is116 116, or if outside of
Germany, +49 116 116 (fees apply).

In addition to Deutsche Telekom, Arcor and Freenet also offer Internet services. Sites are in
German only. However, everyone pretty much goes with Deutsche Telekom, and it is
available as a package deal with telephone services for about 50 euro per month. Like other
services, installation is fast and efficient.



Cable hookups are common in apartments. You’ll need to buy the physical cable yourself.
Your building will have a pool-use contract, or you can sign up with Deutsche Telekom,
which has excellent service and even offers a TiVo-type device for recording shows. Cable
has CNN, BBC World, MTV and NBC superchannel at night. Satellite use is only for non-
cable places, mostly in East Berlin.

If you use the cable hookup and a house aerial, but do not sign up for cable use, you should be
able to receive the following stations: Germany has two national public networks. Almost
without exception, programs are shown in German, or with German dubbing.

   -    ARD (Arbeitgemeinshaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der
        Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Antenna: channel 7; cable: channel 10.
   -    ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) Antenna: channel 33; cable: channel 8.

Commercial channels are much more sensastionalist, and include more American and other
English-language fare, but again dubbed in German. Thse stations include:

   -    PRO7 Antenna: channel 44; cable: channel SK20.
   -    RTL Antenna: channel 56; cable: channel 11.
   -    RTLII Antenna: channel 47; cable: channel 4. (Some nudity is shown on this channel.)
   -    SAT.1 Antenna: channel 25; cable: channel 9.
   -    VOX Antenna: channel 29; cable: channel SK11.

If you simply have “bunny ears” on your television and no other hookup, you will only
receive the two public stations and a poor assortment of budget channels.

A tax on each television in your home is paid each quarter; it is 35 euro and payable to GEZ
(Gebühreneinzugszentrale) ( when the bill arrives. Trucks can come by
and scan the building for usage, or people can come to the door and ask to see your home, but
you don’t have to let them in. Neighbors can also be keen to inform on foreigners. Otherwise,
it is simply assumed that you have a television and the burden of proof falls on you to show
you do not own a telelvision; wonership is also traced back to cable usage.


Radio has Am and FM stations. Popular radio stations based in Berlin include:

87.9 Star FM - Rock music
91.4 Berliner Rundfunk - Music, mixed format
91.8 Power Radio - Music, mixed format
93.1 InfoRadioBerl.-Brand.
97.2 Blu FM - Dance music
104.1 Motor FM - Music, mixed format
104.6 RTL – Best of Modern Rock & Pop
105.5 Spreeradio Trus Collection - Music, mixed format

NPR FM 104.1 is America’s NPR, in English.

Newspapers and Magazines

National German-language newspapers include:

Suddeutsche Zeitung - liberal, and highest circulation
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - conservative
Berliner Zeitung - center-left
Bild - tabloid, and largest circulation
Das Handelsblatt - financial news
Die Welt - conservative

Top magazines include:

Der Spiegel (in German and English) - weekly, general interest, worldwide repuation
Stern - weekly, general interest, snarky
Burda Mode - monthly, women’s fashion, includes patterns
Birgitte - monthly, popular women’s interest
Wirtschaftswoche - weekly, financial news
Bunte - weekly, women’s interest and celebrity gossip

Magazines are available at newsstands on the street, in train stations, and tobacco stores.

Public transportation is fast, efficient and economical in Berlin and throughout Germany, so
owning a car is not a necessity unless you want to travel frequently to small hamlets outside
the city, or take road trips on your own schedule. Berlin is accessible by the A10 Autobahn
from all directions. Be vigilant about parking charges, watch for times and days of legal
parking and look for the meters along the streets.

Taxi service is safe, fast and reliable. You can call from your own phone, or have a restaurant
or hotel call for you. The top taxi services are:

Funk Taxi Berlin
0800 0 26 10 26

Maxi Taxi Taxibetrieb
(030) 291 56 95

Quality Taxi Vermittlungs GmbH & Co.
(0)30 / 26 300 - 100

There is also a carshare service, called STATTAUTO. Cars are available 24/7 and you can
book via phone or website, as well as via cell phone while in a parking lot of theirs for
immediate service. You must have a German driver’s license.

If you’d like to rent a car for extended use, all the internationally known major car rental
services operate out of Berlin’s airports, and reservations are available online via their
websites as well as travel websites like Expedia.

Berlin Train Stations

Deutsche Bahn is the national railway ( Passes are available for EU, non-EU
and visitors.

   -   Hauptbahnhof - Main train station, large hub where north/south and east/west trains
   -   Ostbahnhof - Starting place for east/west national and international trains.
   -   Zoo - Regional trains.
   -   Lichtenberg - East portal.
   -   Südkreuz - Brand new station and the south portal.
   -   Gesundbrunnen - North portal.
   -   Spandau - West portal.
   -   Alexanderplatz - Regional trains.
   -   Friedrichstrasse - Regional trains.
   -   Wittenbergplatz - U-Bahn (Untergrundbahn; metro) station only.
The U-Bahn has nine lines and is the way most Berliners get around the city; there is also the
S-Bahn, with 16 lines. Most stations are underground, while some are on street level or
elevated. You can purchase individual ride tickets, passes for the day, week, month or year,
group passes for over five people, and special passes for bicycles on the train.

In general, there are reduced fares for children 6-14; younger ride free; dogs pay a reduced
fare. Tickets are priced by zone.


Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) tram service (Berlin Straßenbahn) has been around for over
80 years, and provides a comprehensive network to get around the city. Their website
( - in English) can give you best routes, the latest
news regarding service and other features. Ticket fares are by zone (A, B, C, going from the
city centre out to greater Berlin and Potsdam) and are available by trip, week, month, year, as
well as special rates for groups and those with bicycles.


Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) also runs the bus lines, and you’re likely to see plenty of
double-decker yellow buses zipping around town. There are 150 daytime bus lines and 54
night lines; in Zones B and C, you may request to the driver to be let off between stops at

Metrobuses are within the city centre, and have an M and a two-digit number. They vary in
size depending on their routes. ExpressBus lines have an X in their route number, and run
through the cty centre as well as out to the suburbs.

As with trams, a variety of passes are available for all types of travelers. Tickets and passes
can be in a combination of zones as well.

Tickets for all public transportation range from 1.40 - 2.80 euro one way for a single ticket, to
670 - 1,710.10 euro for an annual pass.

Schedules, maps and additional fare information can be found at Deutsche Bahn’s interactive
Driving in Germany

Although you will most likely be depending on public transportation, here are some tips about
driving in Germany.

Your car must have the following items in order to maintain legal status:

   -   Car ownership title (Fahrzeugschein)
   -   Technical Inspection (TÜV) sticker on the back license plate (bi-annual inspection
       must be performed within 90 days of the car’s arrival or purchase) (website,
   -   “D” decal for traveling out of GermanY
   -   Triangle caution sign
   -   First aid kit (DIN number 13164)
   -   Vehicle Exhaust Emission Test (ASU) sticker on front license plate (every year for
       diesel cars, every two years for American cars) (license plate - Kfz-Kennzeichen)

Speed limits are 50 kph in town and 100 kph on the highway unless otherwise marked; there
is no speed limit on the Autobahn, but a top speed of 130 km is recommended by the German
authorities. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers, and children under 12 may not ridein
the front seat, belted or not. Black ice, or Glatteis, is a common danger along winter roads.
Snow chains are available for rent at gas stations.

White posts with arrows along the roads will show the way to emergency call boxes, and the
operators who respond will be able to speak English or find someone who will.

Car insurance for third-party liability (Haftpflichtversicherung) is required; there are over a
hundred car insurance carriers, so be sure to shop around. Germany has the highest rate of car
accidents in Europe, so drive carefully!

Even the slightest dent while trying to navigate a parking space is considered to be an offense,
so take special care especially if driving a larger American car. If you ding someone, you
must call the police and file a report. Don’t hope that no one saw you, because if someone did,
and saw you leave the scene, they will report you.

Loss of Vehicle Documents

Although initial German documents are issued free of charge, replacement documents are
subject to the following fees:

• Title (Fahrzeugbrief) - EUR 23.60
• Registration (Fahrzeugschein) - EUR 10.70
• International Vehicle Reg. - EUR 10.20 (only issued with export plates)
• German Drivers License - EUR 35.00
• International Drivers License - EUR 13.00

Automobile Clubs

• ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club)
24 hour Auto Assistance (Pannenhilfe):
From mobile phone: 22 22 22
From Festnetz: 0 180 2 22 22 22 (0,062 EUR/call)

In Berlin, most larger stores open from about 9AM to about 8PM. Supermarkets open as
early as 7AM or 8AM; bakeries (Bäckereien) open as early as 6AM. Larger business close
around 8PM, but many small businesses close as early as 6PM, and almost all businesses are
closed on Sundays except for large businesses during state-sanctioned times of the year
(normally on long holiday weekends, and the four Advent Sundays except when the last
Sunday is Christmas Eve). Lunchtime closings for stores is practicaly unheard of in Berlin.

Gas stations (Tankstellen) outside of the city centre can have quite large convenience stores
attached, although prices can be a bit steep. Some are open 24 hours, but during the night you
may have to order what you want through the window. DVD rental stores and Internet cafes
sell snacks and drinks, again at pretty steep prices; but, they tend to be open later than the

Main Shopping Areas

Friedrichstraße is in the historic centre of East Berlin, and there are lots of Russians on
vacation who shop here. Quartier 206 is a type of luxury goods mall in this area.

In West Berlin, KaDeWe on Wittenbergplatz has many stores, and Fasanenstraße has upscale
shopping. The area between Hackescher Markt and Torstrasse in Mitte has many
independently owned boutiques.

Home and Furniture Stores

There’s always IKEA (! In fact, there are two:

Ruhlebener Straße 23, D-13597 Spandau, Berlin - +49 180 5353435
Sachsendamm 47, Berlin - +49 180 5353435

Other furniture retail stores include:

Möbel-Hübner is like the German version of IKEA, but a bit more expensive.
Genthiner Str. 41, Berlin - +49 30 25405-0

Stilwerk is an upscale interior decorating marketplace, kind of like a mall with over 50 stores
all catering to home products.
Kantstr. 17, Berlin +49 30 315150

Bassam's Stöberstube sells home miscellany.
Stargarder Straße 23 10437 in the Prenzlauer Berg district

Baby-Korb has furniture for the young ones.
Bundesallee 17
(030) 8833007

The biggest bookstore in Berlin is called Dussmann, and it is open every day until midnight.
It is more like a “culture department store,” with DVDs, records, sheet music, software, even
globes. There is an extensive English language section, and smaller French, Portugese,
Spanich and Italian sections.

Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus
Friedrichstraße 90, Berlin
+49 30 20251111

The best English bookstore in town is St. George’s. They have new and used books, and
boast an active calendar of events including author readings and movie nights. It’s a great
place to get to know the English-speaking community in Berlin.

St. George's Bookshop
Wörther Straße 27
030 81 798 333


The following malls are the most popular in Berlin, and offer typical mall fare, with well-
known stores and food courts.

Tel: (030) 26497 940

Badstraße 4
Tel.: (030) 493 000-0

Schönhauser Allee Arcaden
Schönhauser Allee 80
Tel.: (030) 44 711 711

Alexanderplatz 4
Tel.: (030) 26934-00


The area around Potsdamer Platz is the place to go in Berlin for movies, with three large
movie houses offering a total of 30 screens as well as dozens of other smaller houses. To see
English-language movies, look for “OMU” in the listings next to each film - this means the
film is being shown in the original language with German subtitles. Some “OV” or original
version without subtitles can also be found. There is also an IMAX theater, and the Berlin
International Film Festival ( is in the Theater am Potsdamer Platz.

For popular American movies, the release dates may differ from American dates depending
on the marketing plan for the film. Ticket prices also vary, depending on the time of day
(before 5PM is discounted) and the day of the week (the earlier in the week, the cheaper).

Movie listings can be found in Time Out Berlin magazine, Zitty Magazine, TIP Magazine and
TIP Magazine's Online Listing: Also, a
twice-monthly free magazine, (030), can be found in cafes all over Berlin, and have listings
for movies.

Large Capacity Movie Houses

CinemaxX at Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Straße 5, Tiergarten, Phone +49 18 05 / 24 63 62 99

CineStar Original in the Sony Center
Potsdamer Straße 4 (Sony Center), Tiergarten, Phone +49(30) 26 06 62 60

IMAX 3-D Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Str. 4 (Sony Center), Mitte, Phone +49(30)26 06 64 00

Cubix-Ufa Palast
Rathausstraße 1, Mitte, Phone +49(30) 257 61 10

Art Film Houses

Potsdamer Straße. 2 (im Filmhaus), Tiergarten, Phone +49(30) 269 55 100

Fsk Oranienplatz
Segitzdamm 2, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg , Phone +49(30) 614 24 64

Open Air Movies

Freiluftkino Friedrichshain
In Volkspark Friedrichshain
Phone: +49-(0)30-29 36 1629
Freiluftkino Kreuzberg
Mariannenplatz 2,
Innenhof Haus Bethanien, Kreuzberg
Phone: +49-(0)30-29 36 16 28

Open Air Kino Spandau
Carl-Schurz-Straße 13, Spandau
Phone: +49-(0)30-333 60 81

Freiluftkino INSEL
in Cassiopeia, Friedrichshain
Revaler Str. 99 / Ecke Simon-Dach-Str.
Phone: +49-(0)30-54 71 32 47


It should be noted that all German-made films sold or rented on DVD are in German, with no
subtitles available. Also, DVDs sold in Germany are Region 2, which is for Europe; the U.S.
is Region 1. Region 2 DVDs will not work in DVD players purchased in another region.

Dussmann is by far the most popular place to buy DVDs. They have an exensive selection of
DVDsin all languages.

Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus
Friedrichstraße 90, Berlin
+49 30 20251111

For rentals, Video World ( is a popular chain with locations all over
Berlin; you’ll need ID and a credit card to open an account, and your account is only valid in
the branch you joined. There are also excellent, reputable individually-owned stores for rental
and purchase in every neighborhood. Most rental places have ATM-like machines with which
yo can use your account card to rent DVDs 24/7.

Filmkunst-Berlin has films organized by country of origin.
Revaler Straße 8, 10245 Berlin +49 30 41997165

Filmgalerie 451 has classics and art house films.
Torstr. 231 (Mitte), Berlin - +49 30 23457911
Esplanade 21, Berlin - +49 30 43720889
Saarbrücker Str. 24, Berlin - +49 30 33982800

Opera, Theater and Dance
The performing arts are an extremely popular parttime for Berliners, and people go just as
often to see opera, theater and dance as to the movies, if not more so. Many of the most
popular theaters and groups have subscriptions, so tickets can be hard to come by - best to
book as eary as possible.

Tickets are availble at the venue, at the venue’s site online, and at ticket stalls in major
department stores; there is no additional fee only if bought at the venue.

Deutsche Oper Berlin (also home to Staatsballett Berlin ballet)
Richard-Wagner-Str. 10
D-10585 Berlin
+49 30 34384-0
Ticket sales: or at the box office at Bismarckstr. 35,
10627 Berlin (+49 (0) 30 - 343 84 343)

Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin State Opera)
Unter den Linden 7, Berlin - +49 30 203540

Komische Oper Berlin (Opera)
Behrenstraße 55-57, D-10117 Berlin - 030 47997400

Theater des Westens (Major plays, touring companies)
Kantstraße 12, D-10623 Berlin, +49 30 319030


Berlin is one of the world’s top cities for dance of all kinds. There are three large theatres that
offer an extensive season of dance performances:

   -    Hebbel-Am-Ufer:
   -    Volksbühne:
   -    Haus der Berliner Festspiele:

And two festivals (one with big names in August; a more locally-themed festival in January).

   -    Tanz im August:
   -    Tanztage Berlin:

Local dance-oriented spaces that present excellent work are:

   -    Sophiensaele:
   -    Dock Elf:
Sport and Fitness


Gyms in Berlin vary greatly in style, price, equipment and scene, so it’s best to take a good
look at what is available in your area before joining. Contracts usually have a six-month
minimum, and you can expect to pay much, much more for shorter contracts. Many gyms
have multiple locations, and for an extra fee tacked onto your contract you can avail yourself
of all the city’s locations.

Swiss Training
Immanuelkirchstr. 14, 10405 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg, Tel: 443 58 344
NOT open on Sundays. Extensive class schedule, but no free weights.

Healthland - Fitness International
Behrenstr. 48, 10117 Berlin - Mitte, Tel: 20 63 53 00
No website, but has four locations and is used by the rich and famous of Berlin.

Fit Sportstudio
Richard-Wagner-Platz 5, 10585 Berlin - Charlottenburg | Tel: 342 65 02
No website, four locations as well, and English-speaking staff. Serious about working out,
and not much of a social scene.


Swimming for fitness is a popular pasttime, and there are many places in Berlin that will
accommodate your needs. Note that many of the pools keep strict schedules for different
swimmers of all ages and abilities - seniors, pregnant women, “fun” bathing (playing in the
pool, as opposed to swimming laps), women only, etc. Also, you might want to look into
these venues for an extensive menu of features; see below for more information.

Please note that German culture is such that bathing, sunbathing and swimming in the nude is
considered completely normal. However, there are scheduled times at pool centers, and many
times there are specific beaches for nude bathing, so check first to participate or avoid these
times or places.

Stadtbad Mitte
Gartenstr. 5, 10115 Berlin - Mitte +49 30 30880910 (historical information only, in German)
One of the oldest baths in Berlin, and architecurally gorgeous. It only has one pool, 50
meters, but it does have limited gym equipment as well. English-speaking staff.

Sport- und Erlebniszentrum (SEZ)
Landsberger Allee 77, 10249 Berlin - Friedrichshain | Tel: 42 182 320
Email for schedule
Offers tanning, fitness classes (in and out of pool), bowling, and even an outdoor pool, many
come here for a day of activity and relaxation.

Stadtbad Charlottenburg, Alte Halle
Krumme Str. 10, 10585 Berlin - Charlottenburg | Tel: 34 38 38 60
No website or email
There are pools, Finnish saunas, Russian baths, tanning services and a restaurant.

Hamam in der Schokofabrik
Mariannenstr 6, 10997 Berlin - Kreuzberg | Tel: 615 1464
A Turkish bath, women only, also have massage service starting at just 13 euro.

Note that nudity is the norm in saunas, and you must shower before entering a sauna or
swimming pool; also, covering your seating area with a towel is customary, so make sure to
bring an extra towel with you.


While you’re not going to find any links within the city limits, the area’s golf courses are
within easy driving and public transportation distance.

Sporting Club Berlin Scharmützelsee e.V.
Parkallee 3
D-15526 Bad Saarow
Telephone       +49 33631 63300
Three 18-hole courses (designed by Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo and Stan Eby, respectively)
and one 9-hole par three designed by Jake McEwan; covered, heated driving range; practice
area; small restaurant and changing rooms, as well as massages are available to members and

Berliner Golfclub Stolper Heide e.V.
Am Golfplatz 1
D-16540 Stolpe
Telephone      +49 33 03 5 49-214
Email only,
Small restaurant and changing rooms are available.


Many of the fitness centers and saunas in Berlin offer top-notch massage services; for
something more spa-like and upscale, as well as berlin’s best spa services, inquire at the
hotels in the front of this guide for their spa services for non-guests. Spas are more often than
not inside hotels in Berlin.
Clubs, Pubs and Bars

Bars, Cocktail Lounges

Saphire Bar - extensive selection of Scotch, and wonderful cocktails.
Bötzowstr. 31
Telephone: +49 30 25562158

Riva boasts an oval-shaped bar and exotic cocktails in very chic surroundings.
Dircksenstrasse 142 Mitte
Telephone: +49 030 24 72 2688

Green Door is cozy and offers an undending list of experimental cocktails as well as the
Winterfeldstrasse 50 U1/15 Nolledorfplatz
Telephone: +49 30 215 2515

6vorne serves food and has what is arguably Berlin’s best and largest selection of vodkas.
11 Hektorstrasse
Telephone: +49 163 606 1666

Beer Bars, Pubs

Beer bars and pubs in Berlin are not the great cavernous biergartens of other German cities,
but more like traditional local pubs. Almost all of them serve snacks at the very least, and
many times have full meal menus. Families and children are welcomed.

Zur Letzten Instanz is Berlin’s oldest pub, located in Mitte. Cozy wooden interior.
Waisenstraße 14-16
Tel. 030 - 242 5528

Lemkes Spezialitätenbrauerei GmbH in Mitte has outdoor seating for good weather days and
a large selction of seasona; beers.
Dircksenstr., S-Bahnbogen 143
Tel.: (030) 247 28 727

Lindenbräu am Potsdamer Platz is centrally located (in the Sony Center) and has reasonably
priced meals and a lively atmosphere.
Bellevuestraße 3-5
Tel.: (030) 2575 1280

Restauration 1900 looks more like a French café than a brew pub, and features outdoor
seating for nice weather; in the Prenzlauer Berg district.
Husemannstr. 1
Tel: 030 - 442 2494

Mommseneck-Am Potsdamer Platz is another centrally located pub with outdoor seating, a
large, bright interior, and 12 draught and 100 bottled beers avaialble.
Alte Potsdamer Straße
Tel: 030 - 2529 6635


Berlin has a club for practically every music genre, style, budget and proclivity. As with all
cultural venues and events, check Time Out Berlin, TIP and Zitty magazines for information
and general listings around the city.

Sage Club The Sage-Club (Köpenicker Strasse 76, 278 9830, has DJs and
live music; check their website for updates on acts and special guests.

If techno is your thing, Berghain (Am Wriezener Bahnhof, no phone, is
your place.

Kaffee Burger (Torstrasse 60, 2804 6495, has art shows, live bands,
DJs, theme nights and other performances.
Fun things to do on week-ends in the city

Major Berlin attractions include:

   -   Brandenburg Gate
   -   Reichstag
   -   Ku'damm
   -   Potsdamer Platz
   -   Television Tower
   -   Memorial Church
   -   Checkpoint Charlie
   -   East Side Gallery

Below is a list of non-historical, fun things for the whole family in and around Berlin.

Berlin state museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) have free entry on Thursdays from four
hours before closing time, and to accommodate the crowds the New National Gallery,
Gemäldegalerie, Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, Old National Gallery and the Museum
for Photography) have extended opening hours on Thursdays until 10pm.

Berlin outranks even Venice, Italy for the number of bridges, and seeing Berlin by boat can be
a fun day outing to see how many you can count. Many tours offer commentary in English.

   -   Reederei Bruno Winkler offers tours starting from Schlossbrücke/Schloss
       Charlottenburg, Phone +49-(0)30-349 95 95,
   -   Reederei Riedel GmbH departure stations: Märkisches Ufer, Kottbusser Brücke,
       Hallesches Tor, Corneliusbrücke, Potsdamer Brücke, Hansabrücke, Phone +49-(0)30-
       616 579 30,
   -   Stern und Kreisschiffahrt GmbH departure stations: Treptow, Wannsee, Tegel, Phone
       +49-(0)30/53 63 60-0,

Filmpark Babelsberg at the Babelsberg Film Studios in Potsdam is a great day outing for the
whole family. You can tour the studios, see a stunt show, try out your skills on a real TV set,
visit the Sandman’s puppet house and watch “4-D” movies.
         August-Bebel-Straße 26-53
         14482 Potsdam
         Tel.: +49 (0) 331 7212738

Lietzensee Park has play areas, duck feeding, a café and in the winter, ice skating on the lake.
In summer months, there is sun bathing on the eastern side of the park, much of it topless as is
German custom.

Although the birth of white polar bear superstar Knut brought much attention to the Berlin
Zoologischer Garten and Aquarium, it’s actually a famous attraction in its own right. And it’s
easy to get to - it’s located right near the aptly named Zoo Station! Also part of the Berlin
zoological scene is the Tierpark Berlin, a 160-hectare zoo in Tiergarten.
-   Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, phone +49 (0)30.25
    40 10
-   Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde GmbH, Am Tierpark 125, 10319 Berlin, Tel. 030.51
    53 10
-   Zoo Aquarium Berlin, Budapester Straße 32, 10787 Berlin, Tel. 030.25 40 10
Weekend Getaways


Sylt is an island in the North Sea, about 420 km (290 mi) away from Berlin and an extremely
popular summer resort.

Nude beaches are common, the most popular being Buhne 16 (133A Listlandstrasse,
Kampen). If you’re feeling modest, Am Roten Kliff will be more your speed, as well as much
less populated, as Germans are accustomed to sunbathing in the nude. Fun-Beach
Brandenburg has many organized and informal sports activities. Hörnum beach features a
lighthouse, if you want to include some (appointment only) sight-seeing into your day.
Wenningstedt has a great play area for small children.

There are also beach saunas available all year-round, many organized beach fitness activities
(schedules available at the tourist office), outdoor concerts and late-night beach parties.

Sylt is reachable by train diriectly from Berlin; it’s about a five-hour ride. If you drive, you
can take the Autobahn to Niebüll, then you must load your car onto a train that takes you the
last 30 minutes of the way to the island over the 11 km-long Hindenburgdamm, as there are
no auto routes there. There are also flights available from Sylt Air, Lufthansa and Air Berlin,
all seasonally.


Leipzig is a little over an hour from Berlin, and easily accesible by car or train
(InterCityExpress). The city is well over a thousand years old, and was not as damaged by
bombing in World War II as other German cities; subsequently, some of Germany’s finest
architectural treasures can be found here.

Christmas time can be a great time to make a weekend trip to Leipzig, as it has a famous
Christmas market with carolers, food and of course, shopping. Also, the zoo is a great place
in the warmer months for the kids. It’s the largest zoo in Germany. While we’re on
superlatives, the oldest botnical garden is in Leipzig, and is a part of Leipzig University.

There are also several music festivals during the summer, ranging from punk to jazz to a
capella offerings. Music is a part of Leipzig, going back to when it was home to Bach,
Wagner, Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn. Try if you can to catch a performance of the
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, or the choir of St.Thomas Church.

Berlin International School
Körnerstrasse 11, 12169 Berlin - Steglitz | Tel: 790 00 70, Fax: 79 00 03 79 | U9
Schloßstrasse | Director: Andreas Wegener | Grades: K - 11 | Curr./Exams: International |
Enrollment: 180 | Nationalities: 32

The Berlin International School was founded in 1998 as a branch of a long-existing private
school, the Private Kant-Schule. The school offers students a combination of the IB and the
German Abitur, required for admission into a German university. Its location in Steglitz
allows easy access by public transportation or by car and is just minutes away from the
residential areas for many international parents. The school has modern facilities and well-
equipped classrooms.

British International School Berlin
Heerstr. 465, 13593 Berlin - Spandau | Tel: 36 43 98 20, Fax: 36 43 98 21 | Headteacher:
Mark Gifford | Grades K -Y 12, 3 - 168yrs | Curr./Exams: UK / IGCSE (International General
Certificate of Secondary Education)/ A Level | Enrollment: 110 | Nationalities: 20

This school is the result of UK company deciding that, due to the growth of international
students in Berlin because of the relocating of Germany’s capital, to make a major investment
in the Berlin market. The program is based on the English National Curriculum and adapted
to the needs of the international students. The school runs a bus system.

Erasmus International School
Flotowstrasse 10, 14480 Potsdam | Tel: (0331) 74 81 690, Fax: (0331) 74 04 361

The Erasmus International School is a non-denominational private day school offering a
complete K - 12 programme and plans to have 1450 students by 2010. Students will have the
choice of matriculating with the International Baccalaureate or the German "Abitur." Principal
Huib de Priester has a background in international education and was formerly acting head
teacher at the Berlin International School.

John F. Kennedy - School
Teltower Damm 87 - 93, 14167 Berlin - Zehlendorf | Tel: elementary school office - 6321
5701 / high school office - 6321 5758, Fax: 80 91 29 7 | S-Bahn Zehlendorf | Director: Dr.
Darryl Hersant, Principals: Ulrich Schürmann (High School), Charles H. Hanna, Gudula
Lennert (Elemetary School) | Grades: K - 12/13, (five classes per grade level) | Curr./Exams:
High School Diploma / Advanced Placement/Abitur (German Secondary School Completion
Certificate)| Accreditation: European Council of International Schools/New England
Association of Schools and Colleges | Enrollment: 1650 | Nationalities: German/US (Most
students are of US or German nationality, but there about roughly 15-20% of third country
students in the various grade levels, representing about 30 different nationalities.

While students must choose between the American high school diploma or German Abitur
program after grade 10, bilinguality and biculturality are fostered not only theoretically, but
through close interaction between students of different backgrounds in the classroom and in
extracurricular activities. The JFK school is a tuition-free school supported fully by the
government. Its extracurricular program features about 100 activities.
Expat Organizations and Clubs

American Citizens Abroad (ACA) is a non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer, member-supported
organization whose mission is to defend the rights of Americans living overseas.

The AGBC Berlin e.V. is a club of entrepreneurs and mid-size enterprises of various
nationalities with more than a decade of successful international networking – a source of
valuable information, business experience and opportunities.

The American Women’s Club of Berlin e.V. promotes the unity of the American community,
to keep up traditions such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, and to enrich life in Berlin. Its
purpose is to further social contact, to provide information about the community, to reach out
to their German hosts and to promote charitable programs.

The Berlin International Women?s Club e.V. (BIWC) is a young and lively yet well-
established organization founded in 1992 in which all nationalities are equally recognized.

Friends Club InternationalEnglish Speaking Social Club in Berlin meets without fail every
Tuesday at 7.30 pm in “La Rosa Mexicana” located at the crossing of Koch and Friedrich
Strasse near Check Point Charlie. Make contacts, network, participate in group and social
activities and of course improve and practise your English. No website.

The Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft e.V. is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental and
politically independent registered association. Its aim is to promote German-British relations
in all areas of public and cultural interest.
Medical facilities / Health insurance

Germany has solid medical care adminstered by educated professionals in modern settings.
Aesthetically, Americans who have not spent time in Europe might be put off by German
hospital settings, which are often comprised of a series of small builings arranged in a
complex rather than one large structure.

Pharmacies close about 6:30PM, and those located in large shopping centers close coser to
8:00PM. At night, pharmacists offer an after-hours service 24/7 (Notdienst /
Apothekennotdienst) on a rota basis. Times and locations should be on display in the window
or by the door of every pharmacist, and in free local newspapers. After-hours pharmacies are
always closed; you have to ring the bell, and the pharmacist will communicate with you
through a small window. There is an extra charge of a couple of Euro for using this service,
and you'll probably only be able to pay in cash.

Unlike large pharmacies that carry health and beauty aids, German pharmacies tend to carry a
selection of only medicines and medical supplies; however, pharmacists often act as de facto
doctors for minor ailments, and stonger medicines that would require a prescription in other
countries are available over the counter after speaking with the pharmacist.

Following is information about receiving medical care while living in Berlin.

Note that those with no permanent address in Germany are expected to pay in cash for any
health services rendered.

EU and European Economic Area member states have transferable social security agreements
between countries, and this includes health insurance. If you are an EU citizen moving to
Berlin, make sure to contact your home country’s social services bureau to get the forms you
need in order to transfer your social security benefits to Germany. Benefits are transferrable
only if contributions have been made in one’s home country and have worked at least 360
days over the last three years in their home country.

USA, Canada, and Australia have social security agreements with Germany allowing their
citizens to make claims for benefits from their home country while working in Germany, and
are exempt from paying pension contributions in Germany. Your employer should file an
application with the closest Krankenkasse.

If you are being transferred to Berlin with your existing job, please check with your company
about their policy regarding your health coverage while abroad.

If you will not be paying into company health insurance benefits while in Berlin, the
following are some of your options for purchasing short-term health insurance specifically for
overseas travel:

Healthcare International is a specialist provider of global private health and related personal
insurances, designed to provide not just the basic health cover, but also a wide range of
benefits providing peace of mind for you, your family or your personnel.
Expacare is one of the world’s longest established international health insurance
organisations, providing a range of flexible healthcare benefits for people with international
lifestyles living and working abroad.

England's largest and oldest insurance syndicates now offers health insurance to all
expatriates with policies that are simple to understand and very reasonably priced.

For more than a decade, IMG has provided medical insurance to individuals, families and
groups who are living or traveling abroad.

Bupa is the world's largest provider of international expatriate health insurance, supplying
quality individual and group medical cover to people who are in their home country or living
and working abroad.
Administrative Tasks


Banking hours in Berlin are generally as follows, although main branches of banks do not
close for lunch:

Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri 0830-1300 and 1430-1600
Thurs 0830-1300 and 1430-1800

The major banks in Germany are as follows, and each bank has several locations in and
around Berlin:

Deutsche Bank

Banking services include online transactions and bill payments, as well as extensive ATM
transaction options. Many banks have attractive ATM no-fee withdraw offers using other
banks’ machines.

How to Open a Bank Account

German bank policy is one of the easiest when it comes to foreigners opening accounts.
However, the paperwork can be cumbersome. You’ll need to bring with you:

Passport (student accounts need proper student identification)
EU citizens need to show proof of registration in Germany (polizeiliche
Anmeldebestätigung). All others need residence permit or registration confirmation.
Residential address in Berlin; no proof necessary, but it definitely helps things along; a utility
bill, lease or letter from landlord will suffice.

Most branches have at least one English-speaking employee. When you ask to open an
account (ein konto eröffnen), a bank representative will assist you in English in filling out the
paperwork. You will receive materials for your records as well as a “Welcome” brochure
featuring their services now avialble to you. You may receive a starter bank card, but your
official card will be sent to you in the mail.

Bank customers typically have a friendly relationship with at least one customer service
representative at their bank branch, and it is common to call him or her when you need

Services normally offered include:

  * Current account (Girokonto)
  * Debit card (EC Karte)
  * Overdraft (Dispokredit)
  * Partner banks offering free withdrawal from their ATMs
  * Statements(Kontoauszüge) available online and by mail, monthly, as well as printed out
on demand at self-service bank terminals in any branch. On statements, credits are Haben (H)
and debits are Soll (S).
  * Setting up standing orders (Daueraufträge)
  * Opening a second account or joint account
  * Opening a savings account (Sparkonto), for which a separate EC card is issued.

Administrative costs which may be charged:

  * Charges for opening an account
  * Yearly administrative costs (monthly or quarterly)
  * Credit card costs (difficult to obtain, use your own)
  * Withdrawal costs from other banks

Checks are almost enver used throughout the country, and you will most likely not be issued
checks, nor will the bank ask you if you’d like them. Note that German numbers are written as
follows - commas and decimals are in opposite places:

  * €10,000.00 is written: €1o.000,00
  * 34.8% is written: 34,8%

When arranging for payments to be sent or received directly from your bank, you will need to
know your account number (Kontonummer) and your branch’s bank sort code (Bankleitzahl).
For international transfers (Überweisungen), you will need to ask your bank for its IBAN
number and SWIFT code. You will also need to provide the exact name of the account holder,
the account number and the exact name of the bank.

Your bank card can be used not only at ATMs, but as a debit card for payments in retail stores
and restaurants. You’ll need to know your PIN number, which the sales person will ask you
to enter at the time of purchase. Your transaction will be immediately approved, and you will
receive a receipt (Quittung/Beleg) from the card machine as well as from the establishment’s
register. You may not receive cash back on these types of transactions.

Automatic transactions (Dauerauftrag)

All of your utlities prefer direct debit authorisation (Einzugsermächtigung) to your bank
account. You can set up this automatic payment at a bank’s self-service machine, by phone or
in person with a teller. You will be prompted for information including your utlility account
information and the requested dates of payments to the utility (e.g., on a certain date every

Please note that credit card companies also request automatic payments directly from your
bank account.
Getting a Driver’s License in Germany


             U.S. driver's license holders must be in possession of a German license six
              months after entering the country, if they wish to continue driving. U.S.
              citizens planning to stay less than a year, however, may legally drive in
              Germany for up to 364 days in Germany on their U.S. driver's licenses.
              However, they must go to their local driver's registration office
              (Führerscheinstelle) prior to expiration of the six-month period after arrival
              and notify that office that they want to continue to drive on their U.S. license
              until their departure (up to 364 days, as stated above). Note that an official
              translation of the U.S. driver's license must be brought to the
              Führerscheinstelle, as well as proof that you are leaving Germany before a year
              has passed. Proof could be in the form of a return ticket to the U.S., a work
              contract with an expiration date before a year, etc. A U.S. license holder
              requiring a German license must contact a local German driving school which
              will provide information on the necessary paperwork and register the applicant
              for testing. Applicants do not need to take theoretical or behind-the-wheel
              lessons. However, driving schools recommend that applicants take one or two
              driving lessons in order to become acquainted with the skills to be tested. Total
              costs (without driving lessons) may average as much as EUR 425 for license
              holders from states with no reciprocal agreement with Germany.
             Reciprocal Agreements - The German Ministry of Transport in conjunction
              with the German Länder has approved exemptions to the practical (road) and
              theoretical (written) tests for license holders from:

       Alabama                           Kansas                             South Carolina
       Arizona                           Kentucky                           South Dakota
       Arkansas                          Louisiana                          Utah
       Colorado                          Massachusetts                      Virginia
       Delaware                          Michigan                           West Virginia
       Idaho                             New Mexico                         Washington State
       Illinois                          Ohio                               Wisconsin
       Indiana                           Oklahoma                           Wyoming
       Iowa                              Pennsylvania                       Puerto Rico

       License holders from these states can submit an application for a German driver's
       license directly to their local Stadtverwaltung (Führerscheinstelle). An applicant will
       usually be asked to present the following documents:

         * an official identification document such as a passport
         * a residency registration certificate from the Einwohnermeldeamt
         * the original U.S. license together with a German translation
         * a statement by the applicant that the license is still valid
         * a recent photograph (35mm x 45 mm)
         * Documentation of a recent eye test is also often required.

       Partial reciprocity agreements (exemption from the road test) have been approved for:
North Carolina
District Of Columbia

License holders from these states should also approach their local
Stadtverwaltung (Führerscheinstelle) to submit an application for a German
license and to be registered for the written test. The test can be taken in English,
costs approximately EUR 40, and includes a separate test of German license-
related vocabulary.
Domestic Help

For babysitters, housekeepers, handymen and odd jobbers, your best bet is to ask around.
That being said, here are two organized cleaning services in Berlin:

Forever Clean dienstl. & Integrations Service f. Frauen GmbH

BECKER Immobilienvermittlungs GmbH

Nanny service in Berlin:

Great Nannies

For any of the above work, or to post an ad looking for someone to assist you, you can
also check (in German or in English) and
Kajiji (in German only)

Despite the fact that the language German most closely resembles is English, for the
majority of language students German is the hardest of the Western European languages
to learn. If you are a first-time learner of a foreign language, or if you have only studied
Romance Languages, you might find it takes longer than you had anticipated to get up to
speed on German.

However, learning as much of the language as you can in any foreign country you’re
living in is always the best course of action. You’ll be able to mae a wider circle of
friends, and knocking down the language barrier is the single best way to overcome
culture shock, homesickness and feelings of loneliness.

That being said, English is the unofficial, international language. Berlin is Germany’s
capital and as such has plenty of native English speakers roaming its streets, as well as a
considerable number of English-speaking Germans. Almost all major businesses have
websites, telelphone prompts and customer service representatives who speak crisp, clear
English. Even some shop owners know the basics!

Before Moving

If you’re looking to learn as much German as you can before arriving in Germany,
depending on the amount of time you have and your resources, you have some options:

   1. Take a German language course at your local university, adult education center,
      or language school. An example of a language school would be Berlitz, which has
      locations worldwide and offers classes in a wide variety of langauges.

   2. Use a computer-based langauge course, such as the wildly popular Rosetta Stone
      (, or other types of courses that fit your learning
      style (see for

   3. Cobble together your own curriculum based on tapes, language learning books
      available online or at your local bookstore, and German conversation groups in
      your area.

After Moving

Once you’ve arrived in Berlin, your classroom options increase exponentially. Following
are some German language schools in Berlin (which is also a great way to meet other
new arrivals).
The Sprachenatelier (“Language Studio”) in Berlin is an institute for languages, art and
culture. They provide German courses and foreign langauge courses, mixed with lectures
and symposia from visiting artists.

DIE NEUE SCHULE welcomes students with previous knowledge and advanced
learners can begin courses any Monday. An oral and written placement test ensures you a
place in the right course. Language courses for absolute beginners always start on the
first Monday of a month.

The Goethe Institute has 50 years' experience in teaching German as a foreign language.
Courses offered all year round, for everyone from beginners to advanced learners and
combines language training, culture and leisure time. Examinations available every

International House Berlin PROLOG has business German courses that are customized
not only toward the language but also your schedule - in the morning, after lunch, or in
the evening; in-house at your office or at the school; one-to-one, a small group, or a range
of classes; a crash-course with 30 teaching sessions or a weekly class with two teaching
Official Holidays in Berlin*
*Please note that other parts of Germany celebrate more or other holidays as well as the
ones below.

New Year's Day                Neujahrstag                    January 1
Good Friday                   Karfreitag                     Easter Sunday - 2d
Easter Monday                 Ostermontag                    Easter Sunday + 1d
Labour Day                    Tag der Arbeit                 May 1
Ascension Day                 Christi Himmelfahrt            Easter Sunday + 39d
Whitmonday                    Pfingstmontag                  Easter Sunday + 50d
Corpus Christi                Fronleichnam                   Easter Sunday + 60d
German Unity Day              Tag der Deutschen Einheit      October 3
Christmas Day                 Weihnachtstag                  December 25
Boxing Day                    Weihnachtstag                  December 26
Habits and Customs

Swimming, public bathing (saunas, steam rooms), and sunbathing are popular pasttimes
done in the nude throughout Germany, although often there will be signs alerting you to
this fact. It is considered natural and normal for an entire family to frolick on a public
beach in the nude.

You should answer your phone by giving your surname, and if answering someone else’s
phone, start with your surname and then give theirs.

Lateness is frowned upon, even at social gatherings. If you are going to be even a few
minutes late for any appointment, it is customary to call ahead and let them know. If
you’re hosting a gathering at your home, expect guests to arrive at the exact hour of your

When a guest in someone’s home, it is customary to bringflowers, or a German wine.
Red wine is greatly appreciated, as it is not usually bought or served; ask first what the
host will be cooking.

When food is served, people say "Guten Appetit" to each other before eating.

Recycling is considered mandatory for all households, and there are separate containers
available for plastics, paper or cardboard, glass, compostable food, garden cuttings,
batteries, clothing and even Christmas trees. If a police officer sees you disposing of
something in the wrong container, you can be issued a ticket.

Breakfast (Frühstück) usually consists of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, cold meats and bread with
cheese and butter, or a boiled egg. Lunch (Mittagessen) is typically a full sit-down meal,
and coffee is drunk after. An afternoon treat is also customary, called zum Kaffee, and
consists of a sweet food and coffee or tea. Dinner (Abendessen) is early by European
standards, and usually is usually fnished by around 8:00PM.

Married Germans wear wedding rings on the right hand.

Germans love to play a card game called Skat. This page will give you a good primer on
the game:
Cost of Living Summary

Following is a link that can help you assess an average monthly budget.

Transportation: Monthly pass, zones AB, €72 each for adults, free for kids under 14
traveling with adults; monthly passes for children enrolled in Berlin schools are €26.


Daytrips Germany: 60 One Day Adventures by Rail or by Car in Bavaria, the Rhineland,
the North and the East
By Earl Steinbicker
Daytrips Germany features information, maps and guided walking tours of 60 locations
throughout Germany, and is especially concentrated on the previously forbidden East

If I Lived In Germany
By Rosanne Knorr
A good book for children, with vocabulary and German customs.

Germany: First Reports
By Shirley W. Gray
Designed to teach children about germany’s geography, history and culture, it’s actually a
pretty straight-forward primer in all things German for people of all ages.

Rick Steves' Germany 2009
By Rick Steves
Rick Steves offers the best overall guidebook for families without being too kid-centered;
also has reasonable budgetary information for traveling while having fun.

Phrasebooks and Language

Langenscheidt's Compact German Dictionary: German-English English-German
The world leader in accuracy in translation dictionaries.

Rick Steves' German Phrase Book and Dictionary
Offers the most real-life examples, as well as amusing turns of phrase. Much better than
Lonely Planet, which caters to student and single life conversations.


You’re going to be hard-pressed to find popular fiction set in Germany that does not have
to do with World War II or earlier; i.e., there is not a lot of English-language modern
literary fiction set in Germany. There also is a dearth of travel memoirs about Germany -
no Frances Mayes or Peter Mayle to be had. Your best bets are works by Hermann Hesse
and Franz Kafka. Other noteworthy mentions are:

German Lesson
by Siegfried Lenz, translated into English
Kirkus Reviews calls this a “political parable which, in spite of its sophisticated narrative
procedures, rests on a banally simplified vision of German social psychology during the
Third Reich.”

Five Great German Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book
by Stanley Appelbaum
Heinrich von Kleist's "The Earthquake in Chile," E. T. A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman,"
Arthur Schnitzler's "Lieutenant Gustl," Thomas Mann's "Tristan," and Franz Kafka's
"The Judgment." For each selection the editor has supplied complete literal English
translations on facing pages. Excellent for learning the language and the culture.

The Good American: A Novel Based On True Events
by Ursula Maria Mandel description: “The manuscript of a novel, written by the daughter of his
father's mistress and reconstructed from a childhood memory, becomes the catalyst of
change for a man who cannot forgive his father's infidelity. The manuscript tells the story
of a young American pilot and a destitute but spirited young mother who, in 1948, doesn't
take no for an answer when she decides to whisk her sister's small daughter out of Berlin
before the Russians blockade the city.”

In this day and age, most people are Internet savvy when it comes to finding the
information they need. In this section are some unusual or out-of-the-box finds around
the Internet.

A fun resource for learning more about Berlin, as well as meeting people who live there,
is Flickr, the photo sharing website. By searching for “Berlin”:

You can see many stunning photographs of the city, and then comment on the photos or
send a message to the user and start a conversation. You’ll find many Flickr members
are open, friendly and eager to share their knowledge of the cities they photograph.

Expat blogs are a good way to learn about the day to day life of people living in Berlin.
Some resources for finding expat blogs based in berlin:

Expat Blog Directory

Expat Women is a site designed to help all women living overseas. Their German blog
directory can be fond at

Interesting group sites about Berlin and its culture:

For professionals, a wonderful resource is Once you fill out your profile,
you can search for working groups to join that are based in Berlin, as well as search your
business network connections for Berlin-based information and contacts.

To top