5 Things to Know Before a Move or Extended Stay in Germany
When it comes to the most populous countries, Germany is number one in Europe and has more than 11 million foreigners residing there as well. It is a popular destination for people working abroad on contracts or for families emigrating to start a new life. Although the language is said to be challenging to learn, the country has many great benefits and a high quality of life. The work-life balance is good with high environmental quality and good housing.
However, when moving to or having an extended stay in any country, some things will be unfamiliar. Knowing what these cultural differences are before you move can help you transition more smoothly. So here are 5 important tips to know before relocating to Germany.
What should you appreciate before you move to Germany?
There are some obvious considerations such as how to get a visa for Germany and how you will adjust to a new culture, but to make your move smoother here are 5 things you should know before you go.
1) Sunday is truly the day of rest
If you are from the UK and of a certain age then you may remember when trading hours were severely limited on Sundays. Back then only garden centers and a few small shops such as newsagents were allowed to open. Well, if you are moving to Germany prepare to take a step back in time as Sunday has remained a true day of rest there.
Smaller shops are allowed to open and there is some belief that this is because they then get a chance to take revenue that would normally go to bigger retail stores. It isn’t only shopping that is curtailed on a Sunday so be careful about disturbing your neighbors on the holy day too.
2) Bureaucracy can be confusing
Germany is well known for being super-efficient but when you first arrive it can seem that this efficiency is a barrier to starting your new life. To rent accommodation you will need a bank account, however, the banks require you to have an address. Relocation services can help smooth the way and this is a good article about relocating to Berlin and other parts of the country here. Relocation service companies can help with all the paperwork and admin that can seem so confusing.
Public transport in Germany isn’t as cheap as in some places but it is reliable, frequent and clean. It is very easy to get around cities by bicycle too as there are designated bike lanes but you could also consider buying a car. German cars are environmentally friendly and the country has some of the most scenic drives in Europe meaning you and your family can enjoy spare time discovering the beauty of the country.
4) Finding accommodation
It can take a long time to find accommodation in Germany and there are a few reasons for this. One of them is that you will often need 3 months’ worth of pay-slips and the other is that you need a bank account and as you know you won’t be able to get a bank account without renting accommodation first.
One way around this is to use a relocation service provider. If your company is moving to Germany then they will probably employ one and if not then you can hire a relocator service yourself. They will help find you a home through their network of landlords.
5) Go and explore the place before you move
While you are waiting for your move to arrive why not take a short break and visit Germany to familiarise yourself with the country and its customs first? There are some great benefits in visiting before you move as you will see how the city operates and you can visit shops, restaurants, and attractions. You will also find fun activities for families in Berlin before moving there and know a few ways to entertain the kids.
Other things to consider when you move
If you use a relocation service then you will receive assistance with visas, accommodation, bank accounts, and removals. However, there are still some things that you will need to clear up yourself. Don’t forget to cancel gym memberships, streaming services if they are unavailable outside of your country, subscriptions, bank accounts, insurances, and utilities. Also, make copies of all your important paperwork such as passports, medical perscriptions, etc.
It will also be highly beneficial to take some German language classes before moving to your new home as this will help you integrate much quicker and more smoothly.
Moving to Germany for work or to start a new life can be an exciting experience but of course, there will be some stress added into the mix. Familiarise yourself with German customs and foods, and the area that you will live in as much as possible. Use relocation services to help you with your paperwork and the complicated parts of moving and then you can use your time to enjoy the beautiful German countryside, make new friends, and learn the language.