Why choose Berlin to move to?
Berlin is renowned for its famous sights in Berlin like the Museumsinsel, Brandenburger Tor and Potsdamer Platz. But the city offers a lot more delights, moving to Berlin is a popular choice for expats. Berlin is known for having most beautiful spring you will ever see and the most fun summer you will ever experience. Expats moving to Berlin can expect a lively and dynamic city, but perhaps most prominent is the alternative and artistic vibe of the city.
Estimated costs of moving
On average Berlin is not as expensive to live in, in comparison to the UK. For starters rent is around 60% cheaper, but rent in Berlin is much cheaper than other neighbouring Germany cities. Below is estimated prices for a variety of goods in Berlin:
|Product/ Service||London Price||Berlin Price|
|Bottle of wine||£8.00||£4.37|
|Month transport pass||£130||£70.82|
|Months rent (1 bed)||£1,681||£611|
Moving to Berlin is fairly east due to the close distance, there are also more options to choose from when shipping there. The type of transport is one of the main variables which will affect the cost of transport. On average to transport your household by road it will take on average 2-4 days and by sea 25 -31 days. Below are estimate costs of transport costs for different size households and transport type:
|Household size||Cost via Road||Cost via Sea|
|1 bed||£1,400 – £2,000||£2,200 – £3,100|
|2 bed||£1,800 – £2,500||£2,900 – £4,000|
|3 bed||£2,300 – £3,200||£4,700 – £6,400|
|4 bed||£3,100 – £4,200||£5,300 – £7,200|
|5 bed||£3,900 – £5,300||£7,300 – £9,800|
Other important variables that affect the cost of moving are the insurance type and additional options. These two factors can make your move a lot easier and stress free but of course convenience comes with a cost!
What to remember before your move to Berlin?
There are many differences with how the city runs in comparison to the UK. For example Stores are all closed on Sundays, so make sure you get all your shopping in before the day of rest. Radio also isn’t free and you have to pay €250 annually even if you don’t listen to it. Although the public transport in Berlin is known to be excellent, the U-Bahn stops running around 1 am, Sunday-Thursday so an expensive taxi is your only choice if you are planning on partying the night away.
- Health insurance – Being part of the EU means having an EHIC card is very handy. It protects you in any of the neighbouring EU countries for accidents. But doesn’t cover everything so it is advised to take out other health insurances for extra protection. Visit our page healthcare in Germany for more information.
- Bank – It is important to open a bank account on arrival as there is not much you can get without one! Most German banks won’t let you sign up unless you have an address. DKB – Deutsche Kredit Bank is one of the bank accounts you can set up from abroad without an address. But other popular banks include:
- Deutsche Bank Filiale
Sparda-Bank Berlin eG – Filiale & Zentrale
GLS Bank / Filiale Berlin
PSD Bank Berlin-Brandenburg eG
- Mobile contract – Getting out a mobile contract will save you a lot of money if using your UK account. Some UK phone providers such as EE and Three offer EU coverage in their contracts. So if you are still wanting to communicate with home it could be useful to look into these.
- Driving license – If you are staying longer than a year in Berlin you will need to exchange for a German driving license. However you still need a Führerschein to drive in Germany after your first six months in country.
- Pharmaceuticals – It can be tricky to pick up medications that are widely found in UK supermarket. So maybe bring a few packs of paracetamol etc before your move.
Where and how to find your new home
From modern chic housing to historic buildings, in Berlin you will find unique properties and quite a variety of housing to choose from. The most noteworthy about housing in Berlin is perhaps the reasonable prices of accommodation, considering it is an European capital.
When searching for a house in Berlin you will notice that the prices are listed as warm(warmmiete) or cold(Kaltmiete). Whereby cold rent means the price of the accommodation is the base price and therefore does not include additional costs. Warm rent in contrast, does include costs such as water, electricity and gas. A warm rent may even include waste disposal services, internet and cable.
Generally speaking the standard accommodation in Berlin is quite good and have relatively more space than properties in other popular capitals in Europe. Moreover, the Properties in Berlin are either well maintained if old or have been modernised. Expats moving to Berlin can also opt for newer or refurbished housing, however those come with a higher price tag.
An expat moving to Berlin will most likely have to rent an unfurnished accommodation because furnished accommodations intended for long term rent are rare. Unfurnished accommodation are usually really empty, so there may be no light fixtures, no carpet, no white goods etc. Furnished accommodation may be suitable for a short term rent, however it may get pricey should you rent long term, as you will be renting the furnishings as well. Another point that people moving to Berlin must insist on when renting an accommodation in Berlin is a written contract. This will provide a basis for legal action should you need it.
There are 12 different neighbourhoods in Berlin, each is very unique with it’s own characteristics and vibes. There is a place for you in Berlin no matter what your age, gender or race. No matter if you are a student looking to party or a family looking for a quiet neighbourhood. Below are the top neighbourhoods to live in:
- Prenzlauer Berg
Finding a job in Berlin
It is important for expats moving to Berlin or Germany to find work ideally before arriving in the city. The unemployment rate of Berlin recorded in January 2016 is around 10%. It is difficult to find a job in Berlin, compared to other cities in Germany. Expats moving to this capital city can start their job hunt by checking vacancies online as well as networking with other expats in their niche. One important thing to keep in mind among other thing is that even if jobs are advertised for English- Speaking positions, it does not mean that the language spoken at the office will be English. Therefore learning some basic German may be beneficial or may even give you a competitive advantage over other expats. Some of the main sources of employment in Berlin are as follows:
- Real estate
- Professional , scientific and technical services
- Wholesale and retail trade
- Social Work
- Catering and Education
Although challenging, finding a job in Berlin is not impossible. Above all things, perseverance is important when looking for a job in Berlin. Network online via LinkedIn and Upload your CV to websites such as EURES and other online portals as first steps to finding a job in Germany.
Transportation in Berlin
The public transport in Germany is known for being excellent. The main public transport methods include:
- U-Bahn (Underground trains)
- S-Bahn (Sub-urban trains)
Below are the prices for fares in Berlin.
|Single Trip AB||€2.80|
|Single Trip ABC||€3.40|
|4 Trip Ticket AB||€9.00|
|Day Ticket AB||€7.00|
|Day Ticket ABC||€7.70|
If you are using the public transport a lot it is advised to purchase a WelcomeCard which includes free travel on public transport in Berlin.
Ready to move to Berlin?
Berlin is a city that never ceases to amaze! If you need more information on how to plan your move to Berlin, we recommend you take a look at the pages below -so you can start your journey to Germany on the right foot! 🙂