If you are considering moving to Germany then there are a number of things you need to think about and research beforehand.
Unlike moving down the road or to the next town or village, in areas that you are familiar with, there is a lot more involved when moving abroad.
Your reasons for moving could be varied – for some it could be a move with work, for others it may be the economy, the culture, the way of life that attracts you.
For you it may just be about a change of scenery and a different way of life.
As well as the obvious logistical factors like finding a good international moving company to help you with the move, you will also need to consider the reason for the move and who is involved in terms of your family.
If it is just you or you and a partner there is not so much to think about as if you are moving to Germany with children.
Even so you will want to do your research first and find out as much about the potential country and whereabouts you would like to live, as you can.
This research will include the area you move to, the schools, the nightlife, when you will move and which international moving company will move you.
What Germany has to offer
The one thing that Germany excels at is its order.
Everything has an order – the streets are clean, the parks are well looked after and they have a certain way of doing things that may not always work in your favour (hovering is banned on Sundays in some towns).
The education system in Germany is very good however they do offer international schools.
With the Armed Forces from around the world being based in Germany for many years there are many expatriates living there and a wide acceptance of English speaking citizens.
If it is arts and culture that you are looking for then Germany does not disappoint – steeped in history and the birthplace of many composers and literary geniuses there is plenty of culture to experience.
If museums and history are not your thing then there are many festivals and holidays to enjoy including the world famous Oktoberfest.
We haven’t even mentioned the food yet but if you have ever tried German food then you will know just how good it is and for those beer and wine lovers, they don’t disappoint.
When is the best time to move to Germany?
When is the best time and is there a best time for moving to Germany?
Well you will obviously want to avoid moving over the Christmas holidays or during other public holidays.
You won’t want to turn up to your new life in Germany with your international moving company in tow on a public holiday with no access to anything when you aren’t fully versed in the language.
Make sure you do your research and learn when the German holidays are.
You may also have a preference to move when the weather is nice so that you get a brighter impression of the place.
If you are moving to the East of Germany, in particular, you want to avoid arriving in the middle of a Siberian type winter.
Moving can be a wrench especially if you have children so if you can arrive at a time when everything looks bright, colourful and inviting then the children may have a better time accepting their new surroundings.
Spring, summer and autumn may be a better alternative to winter unless you are moving to the south and want to see the mountains covered in snow.
Is now a good time to move? If you are based in the EU then you can move freely around the EU without any restrictions.
For Brits and Brexit there is no firm knowledge of how long this will continue – it could take years for all of the politics and bureaucracy to be resolved but until then now is a good time to move.
Where should you live when moving to Germany?
If you are moving for work purposes then it is probably predetermined whereabouts in Germany you will live.
Many large corporations will have offices in big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich and they may even have accommodation and transport arranged for you offering a complete relocation package for you and your family.
If you are not yet decided where you will live then there is a lot more to think about and you have a lot more choice.
Whilst moving to Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin or one of the other popular German cities is great for the hustle and bustle and activity, you may prefer somewhere more rural for a quieter life.
It may be a straightforward choice between East and West – the weather in the East is much colder with cold winds coming from Russia.
There is a definite North, South divide with the North being more grey and gloomy.
The South is not so grey and there is plenty of snow for skiing and an abundance of sunshine in the summer.
Moving to Berlin
As the capital city of Germany, many people favour moving to Berlin over other areas because of the work opportunities.
After the Second World War, in which much of the city was destroyed, a great deal was rebuilt – especially after the unification of the East and West.
Now the city is home to many lakes, parks and green areas with many different suburbs all offering their own unique perspective.
With these green areas covering a third of the city, it is no wonder that moving to Berlin is popular with so many expats, not to mention the history, culture and general standard of living that Germany offers.
Moving to Munich
If it is a quality of life that you are looking for then moving to Munich, Bavaria’s capital situated to the north of the Bavarian Alps could be the solution for you although it will cost you more than some other areas of Germany.
With a strong student population, an area that is popular with professionals and an area for the “stylish”, the city is diverse and has plenty to offer everyone.
Famous for its annual Oktoberfest, beer is a great tradition in this fabulous city which counts itself among one of the larger cities in Europe.
When it comes to things to see and do then there is no shortage of art and culture probably why it is such a popular choice. In fact, many expats choose moving to Munich as their number one choice.
Moving to Frankfurt
If you want a city that offers skyscrapers and plenty of work opportunities in the financial sector, then moving to Frankfurt is the right choice for you.
Situated in the centre of Germany in the state of Hesse it is another financial hub, not unlike Munich.
It is considered to be the “financial capital of Continental Europe” as Germany’s 5th
largest city it is a large transportation hub.
Given its central location, many people travel through the city on their way to other destinations.
For those expats that choose to live there (and there are many), it has so much to offer with a busy theatre district, in excess of 50 museums, a world-renowned opera as well as many places to eat and drink.
For those who aren’t considering a move here, it is definitely worth visiting.
The language barrier
You may speak a little German, you may speak none.
If you are moving to Germany then it is important to consider the language barrier and perhaps look at the whole family learning German before you move.
It can be difficult enough moving to a new place but when the language is a barrier, it can make it feel even more isolated – by having some knowledge of the language it will make life a lot easier.
Applying for a Visa
How easy is it to move to Germany and do you need a Visa
Currently, it is easy for EU residents who are moving to Germany – with the decision to leave the EU we are yet to discover how this will affect Brits looking to make a move to any country within Europe.
It is possible for non-EU residents to move to Germany first and apply for a visa once there but if you are buying a property you may want to get the paperwork done before you make the move.
If you have children, then you will want as little disruption to their education as possible.
Do your research and look at what local schools there are.
If you have very young children about to start school, then there are good German schools
where they will pick up the language very quickly (if you are going to be living there they will need to speak the language).
For older children that you don’t want to feel as isolated then there are international schools where there will be other expat children that they will meet.
Also, German children only go to school in the morning, so if both parents are working full-time too then you will need to find after school care for the afternoons.
Register your arrival
Once you arrive you will need to inform the authorities immediately of your presence. If you leave it you could face trouble later down the line.
You will need to open a German bank account
– especially if you are going to be renting accommodation.
Without one you are very limited.
Along with your bank account, you will also want to consider utilities, mobile phone, internet providers etc. by doing this before your move you will be able to make the transition more easily.
Removals and Storage
Once you have decided where you are moving to when you are moving and have sorted your accommodation etc. you will need to employ the services of a reliable international moving company who can offer the necessary storage and removal services making moving to Germany as straightforward as possible.
In Germany, the public transport
is regional, so tickets for the S-Bahn (train) is also valid for a streetcar or bus, you may want to check the type of public transport available if you choose to live in a more rural location.
If you are relocating because of your job your company will probably provide you with a car.
Alternatively, you may want to hire or buy a car when you arrive.
As the home of many car manufacturers like VW, Audi and BMW there are no shortages of cars.
You will need to consider if you plan to take your car that it is a right-hand drive country and that you may need to get yours converted.
It may be a better idea to buy a car once you get there.
Finding out more about moving to Germany
While there is much to discover we hope that the above has given you some useful information to start you off.
Of course, while it is difficult to cover everything you need to know in one article basics are there for you to start your own research.
The more you can find out before you move the better you will settle into your new life in Germany whether that be on your own or with your family.