VIEWS: 152 PAGES: 56 POSTED ON: 4/7/2010
Berlin 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 (Bezirke). 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 A10. 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 http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Germany/Germany1.html to obtain the link for their website. If you don’t see yor country listed, try this list for German embassies without websites: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Germany/Germany3.html. 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 Friday Accommodation Temporary Accommodation Hotels Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin www.kempinski-berlin.de 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 berlin.concorde-hotels.com 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 www.westin-grand.com 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 www.hilton.de 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 http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-5342-sofitel-berlin-gendarmenmarkt/index.shtml 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 http://www.moveandstay.com/berlin/servicedapartments.asp Accommodations searchable by location, size and length of stay. Apartments from EUR85 - 200 per night. ARC Corporate Housing and Serviced Apartments http://www.arc-corporate-housing.com/ap/serviced-apartments-Berlin.html Exact dates can be searched, but locations within each city cannot. Three quality apartments available from EUR68 - 92 per night. Biz Stay http://berlin.biz-stay.com/home.cfm 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 neighborhoods.) 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 restored. 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 neighborhoods. 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 Schmöckwitz. 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 Rummelsburg. 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 apartment. 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. Renting 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 (http://www.zitty.de/) and TIP Magazine (http://www.tip-berlin.de/) 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 www.immobilienscout24.de (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. EXBERLINER Property 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 http://www.exberlinerproperty.com/index.html Nordstadt Nordstadt Immobilien GmbH Berliner Str. 137 D-13467 Berlin-Hermsdorf Telephone: +49 30 40 50 88 88 Fax: +49 40 50 888 99 E-Mail: email@example.com http://www.nordstadt.com/english/ IMOINVEST Germany Reinhardtstrasse 27 10117 Berlin Tel:+49(0)305 059 6944 Fax:+49(0)305 059 6913 http://www.berlinforsale.com/ 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 Food 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 www.aldi.com/deutschland.html - Netto Marken-Discount, several locations www.netto-online.de A bit more expensive, but with a much broader selection, are: - Kaiser's Supermarkt, several locations www.kaisers.de - Reichelt, several locations www.reichelt-berlin.de - extra Verbrauchermarkt Berlin, several locations www.extra.de 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. - http://berlin.barwick.de/shopping/out-of-hours-shopping.html 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 http://www.brokenenglish.de/ - Kaufhof several locations, www.galeria-kaufhof.de - Hertie several locations, www.hertie.de/ - Karstadt several locations, www.karstadt.de - KaDeWe Berlin Tauentzienstr. 21-24 +49 30 2121-0 www.kadewe-berlin.de The basement of Galeries Lafayette contains a food market, and has French groceries and wine. - Galeries Lafayette Berlin Friedrichstraße 76-78 +49 30 209480 www.galerieslafayette.de Restaurants 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; http://www.jolesch.de/relaunch/welcome.htm Well-priced German and Austrian fare, and is open for breakfast, too. Henne; Leuschnerdamm 25; tel: 614 7730; http://www.henne-berlin.de/willkommen.htm 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 unauthentic. Notable ethnic restaurants include: Al Contadino sotto le Stelle; Auguststrasse 34; tel: 281 9023; http://www.alcontadino.com/ 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; http://www.thebirdinberlin.com/ Steaks, a rare commodity in Berlin, and American food, medium-range prices. Restaurant Pasternak; Knaackstrasse 22/24; tel: 441 3399; http://www.restaurant- pasternak.de/ Russian food, well-priced. Le Cochon Bourgeois; Fichtestrasse 24; tel: 693 0101 Medium-range priced French food. Timeout Berlin (http://www.timeout.com/travel/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. http://www.hungryinberlin.com/ has useful links for cooks, a comprehensive market schedule and market and restaurant views from expat locals. Communications Telephone 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. http://www.telekom.com/dtag/cms/content/dt/en/startpage 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) http://www.eplus.de/ Vodaphone (an international company; German site in German only) http://www.vodafone.de/ O2 (an international company; German site in German only) http://www.o2online.de/ 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). Internet 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. Arcor http://www.arcor.de/ Freenet http://www.freenet.de/freenet/ Television 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. www.ard.de - ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) Antenna: channel 33; cable: channel 8. www.zdf.de 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. www.rtl.de - RTLII Antenna: channel 47; cable: channel 4. (Some nudity is shown on this channel.) www.rtl2.de - SAT.1 Antenna: channel 25; cable: channel 9. www.sat1.de - VOX Antenna: channel 29; cable: channel SK11. www.vox.de 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) (http://www.gez.de/) 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 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. Transportation 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 www.wuerfelfunk.de 0800 0 26 10 26 Maxi Taxi Taxibetrieb www.maxi-taxi.de (030) 291 56 95 Quality Taxi Vermittlungs GmbH & Co. www.taxi263000.de (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. http://www.stadtauto-muenchen.de/english.shtml 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 (www.bahn.de). Passes are available for EU, non-EU and visitors. - Hauptbahnhof - Main train station, large hub where north/south and east/west trains intersect. - 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. Trams 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 (http://www.bvg.de/index.php/en/Bvg/Start - 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. Buses 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 night. 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 website, www.bahn.de. 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, http://www.tuev-sued.de/home_en) - “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) Shopping 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 shops. 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 (www.ikea.de)! 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. www.moebel-huebner.com 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. www.stilwerk.de 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 http://www.babykorb.de/ Bookstores 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 www.kulturkaufhaus.de 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 http://www.saintgeorgesbookshop.com/ Malls The following malls are the most popular in Berlin, and offer typical mall fare, with well- known stores and food courts. Europa-Center Breitscheidplatz Tel: (030) 26497 940 http://www.europa-center-berlin.de/ Gesundbrunnen-Center Badstraße 4 Tel.: (030) 493 000-0 http://www.gesundbrunnen-center.de/ Schönhauser Allee Arcaden Schönhauser Allee 80 Tel.: (030) 44 711 711 http://www.schoenhauser-allee-arcaden.de/ Alexa Alexanderplatz 4 Tel.: (030) 26934-00 http://www.alexacentre.com/ Leisure Movies 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 (http://www.berlinale.de) 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: http://www.tip-berlin.de/kino-und-film/filme-von-a-z. 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 Arsenal 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 www.freiluftkino-berlin.de Freiluftkino Kreuzberg Mariannenplatz 2, Innenhof Haus Bethanien, Kreuzberg Phone: +49-(0)30-29 36 16 28 www.freiluftkino-kreuzberg.de 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 www.freiluftkino-insel.de DVDs 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 www.kulturkaufhaus.de For rentals, Video World (www.videoworld.de) 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 ilmkunst-berlin.de 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 www.filmgalerie-berlin.de 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: http://www.deutscheoperberlin.de/tickets/ 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 www.staatsoper-berlin.de Komische Oper Berlin (Opera) Behrenstraße 55-57, D-10117 Berlin - 030 47997400 komische-oper-berlin.de Theater des Westens (Major plays, touring companies) Kantstraße 12, D-10623 Berlin, +49 30 319030 www.stage-entertainment.de Dance 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: http://www.hebbel-am-ufer.de/de/intro.html - Volksbühne: http://www.volksbuehne-berlin.de/ - Haus der Berliner Festspiele: http://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/ And two festivals (one with big names in August; a more locally-themed festival in January). - Tanz im August: http://www.tanzimaugust.de/ - Tanztage Berlin: http://www.tanztage.de/ Local dance-oriented spaces that present excellent work are: - Sophiensaele: http://www.sophiensaele.com/ - Dock Elf: http://www.dock11-berlin.de/ Sport and Fitness Gyms 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 www.swiss-training.com 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 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 www.luise-berlin.de (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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Golf 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 www.sporting-club-berlin.com 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 visitors. Berliner Golfclub Stolper Heide e.V. Am Golfplatz 1 D-16540 Stolpe Telephone +49 33 03 5 49-214 Email only, Info@golfclub-stolperheide.de Small restaurant and changing rooms are available. Massages 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 http://www.saphirebar.de/ Riva boasts an oval-shaped bar and exotic cocktails in very chic surroundings. Dircksenstrasse 142 Mitte Telephone: +49 030 24 72 2688 http://www.riva-berlin.de/ Green Door is cozy and offers an undending list of experimental cocktails as well as the classics. Winterfeldstrasse 50 U1/15 Nolledorfplatz Telephone: +49 30 215 2515 http://greendoor.de/ 6vorne serves food and has what is arguably Berlin’s best and largest selection of vodkas. 11 Hektorstrasse Telephone: +49 163 606 1666 http://www.6vorne.de/ 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 http://www.zurletzteninstanz.de/ 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 http://www.brauerei-lemke.de/ 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 http://www.lindenbraeu-berlin.de/ 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 http://www.restauration-1900.de/ 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 http://www.mommseneck.de Clubs 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, www.sage-club.de) 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, www.berghain.de) is your place. Kaffee Burger (Torstrasse 60, 2804 6495, www.kaffeeburger.de) 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, www.reedereiwinkler.de - Reederei Riedel GmbH departure stations: Märkisches Ufer, Kottbusser Brücke, Hallesches Tor, Corneliusbrücke, Potsdamer Brücke, Hansabrücke, Phone +49-(0)30- 616 579 30, www.reederei-riedel.de - Stern und Kreisschiffahrt GmbH departure stations: Treptow, Wannsee, Tegel, Phone +49-(0)30/53 63 60-0, www.sternundkreis.de 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. Grossbeerenstrasse August-Bebel-Straße 26-53 14482 Potsdam Tel.: +49 (0) 331 7212738 http://www.filmpark-babelsberg.de/index.php?id=137 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 http://www.zoo-berlin.de/ - Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde GmbH, Am Tierpark 125, 10319 Berlin, Tel. 030.51 53 10 http://www.tierpark-berlin.de/ - Zoo Aquarium Berlin, Budapester Straße 32, 10787 Berlin, Tel. 030.25 40 10 http://www.aquarium-berlin.de/ Weekend Getaways Sylt 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 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. Schools Berlin International School www.berlin-international-school.de email@example.com 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 www.eis-b.de firstname.lastname@example.org 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. http://www.aca.ch/joomla/index.php 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. http://www.agbc-berlin.de/ 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. http://www.awcberlin.org/ 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. http://www.biwc.de/ 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. http://www.debrige.de/en 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. http://www.healthcareinternational.com/ 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. http://expacare.com/home/ 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. http://www.expatriateinsurance.com/ For more than a decade, IMG has provided medical insurance to individuals, families and groups who are living or traveling abroad. http://www.imglobal.com/ 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. http://www.bupa-intl.com/ Administrative Tasks Banking 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 http://www.db.com/ Commerzbank https://www.commerzbank.com/ Postbank http://www.postbank.com/ Dresdnerbank http://www.dresdner-bank.com/ Volksbank https://www.berliner-volksbank.de/ Sparkasse http://www.sparkasse.de/ 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. 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 month). Please note that credit card companies also request automatic payments directly from your bank account. Getting a Driver’s License in Germany (PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS TOO EXPLICIT, OR IF YOU’D RATHER HAVE LINKS TO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ REQUIREMENTS) 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: Connecticut Florida Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Nebraska North Carolina Oregon Tennessee 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 http://www.foreverclean.de/ BECKER Immobilienvermittlungs GmbH http://www.beckerimmo-net.de/ Nanny service in Berlin: Great Nannies http://www.greatnannies.com/fastfind.cfm/search/aupair/proximityrange/30/proximityuni t/1/proximity/6311148 For any of the above work, or to post an ad looking for someone to assist you, you can also check Craigslist.org (in German or in English) http://berlin.en.craigslist.org/ and Kajiji (in German only) http://www.kijiji.de/. Language 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. http://www.berlitz.com/ 2. Use a computer-based langauge course, such as the wildly popular Rosetta Stone (http://www.rosettastone.com/), or other types of courses that fit your learning style (see http://www.languageresourceonline.com/group.asp?grp=947 for exmaples). 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. http://www.sprachenatelier-berlin.com/en/content/german-language-courses-berlin-learn- german-sprachenatelier 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. http://www.deutsch-in-berlin.de/ 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 month. http://www.goethe.de/ins/de/enindex.htm 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 sessions. http://www.prolog-berlin.com/en/index.htm 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 invitation. 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: http://jwsell.wooster.edu/Skat/Skatdflt.html. Cost of Living Summary Following is a link that can help you assess an average monthly budget. http://www.tefl.com/home/col_survey.html?ci_id=31&tefl_session=9fad1961fc581111f9 47e98b26b81f3d&x=1&y=1 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. Books Tourism 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 Germany. 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. Fiction 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 Amazon.com 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.” Internet 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”: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=berlin&w=all 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 http://www.expat-blog.com/en/destination/europe/germany/berlin/ Expat Women is a site designed to help all women living overseas. Their German blog directory can be fond at http://www.expatwomen.com/expatblog/index.php?c=190 Interesting group sites about Berlin and its culture: http://berlin.metblogs.com/ http://berlin.moleskinecity.com/ http://gridskipper.com/tag/berlin For professionals, a wonderful resource is LinkedIn.com. 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.
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