Moving to Germany

Home to a landscape of dense forest, North Sea beaches and peaking mountains while also being one of the most industrialised and populous countries in Europe, Germany is a diverse and thriving country with exciting opportunities for newcomers of all ages and backgrounds.

Each city boasts its own personality so when moving to German, the lifestyle tends to be varied and exciting depending on the location. Dive into Berlin’s famed nightlife and clubbing scene whilst working or studying in the capital of the world’s fourth-largest economy. Or, enjoy Munich which offers a wealth of museums, historic buildings and the immensely scenic Bavarian Alps. Modern buildings fill cities such as Dresden or Cologne interjected by grand cathedrals which serve as stunning landmarks. Germany has become a cacophony of old and new, offering rich history and a high-quality of life for all who visit.

Finding accommodation

German living is characterised by apartments with most of the country opting for high-quality rental housing rather than buying. A small number of villas and an even smaller number of houses can be bought in suburban locations but, due to Germany’s high population density, renting is the go to. Apartments can be found in all sizes and price ranges with the most expensive rentals found unsurprisingly in prime tourist and business cities like Frankfurt or Cologne. It is, however, possible to find cheaper accommodation with enough searching or by travelling further afield into east Germany, or into the suburbs of the cities. Information about renting is best sought through websites and consultations with estate agents but don’t shy away from exploring advertisements in newspapers and publications for a look at flat sharing and student accommodation if that would suit your lifestyle.

Education

Germany offers a variety of school options for parents to choose from. Alongside state-funded public schools, there are a great many state-subsidised private schools and fully independent international schools. State schooling is a great option for quick integration as all classes are taught in German. International schools offer classes taught in over 50 languages alongside a variety of extra-curricular activities, but, do incur a fee.

Primary school begins at age 6 and continues until your child reaches age 8/9. From here, there is the option to continue to Hauptschule until age 15 and progress into vocational training. Conversely, a student may study at a Gymnasium or Gesamtschule and continue to university. Each school has its own admissions and grade progression policy so it is best to check the details and a breakdown of fees with the schools themselves and most will offer scholarships.

Culture

Life in Germany means enjoying vibrant traditions and time-old customs from the magical Christmas markets to the famed ‘Oktoberfest’ in autumn, all in the midst of an industrialised, cosmopolitan country. Discover culinary specialities unique to each city using locally sourced produce, such as Spätzle (a soft egg noodle) originally from Baden-Württemberg to Maultaschen (Germany’s answer to ravioli) from Swabia.

The environment and being economical are of high priority in German day-to-day life, so you’ll often find recycling points dotted around town and cycle lanes in regular use. It’s this unexpected mix of tradition and modernisation that makes Germany such an exciting place to live.

Good to know

There are a few rules and surprises in Germany that have been known to catch foreigners out so it may be wise to read up about traditions and regulations before visiting. Not using a designated crossing at a road is taken very seriously and results in a hefty on-the-spot fine.

It is also standard practice to serve water as sparkling in restaurants and tips are not given.

It may also be wise to note that most shops do not open on Sundays so be sure to do all shopping before.

Santa Fe Relocation is the local and international moving company that specialises in moves to Germany.

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