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Berlin & Families

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Meet Sabina!

Sabina Heyn is an Account Manager and Relocation Consultant at IRC. She has been with IRC since 2017 and working with Assignees to start life in their new hometown of Berlin.

In her own words – I am a native German, has been living in Berlin since 1978. Throughout the course of my career as a flight attendant, she has had the chance to travel all over the world. She spent an extensive amount of time in the U.S.A. as well as Indonesia. It is through my travels and my work experience in an international environment that I have developed my intercultural sensitivity. My intercultural competence has been deepened further by specific intercultural training.

Favourite Place in Berlin – Wannsee and all other green neighbourhoods.

A great place to eat in BerlinAux delices Normands (great french cakes, tarts, coffee and bread), usually very nice locations, several branches in Berlin.

A hidden gem in BerlinMutter Fourage, a beautiful cafe and organic shop located in the lake district of Wannsee.

Best day trip from BerlinSpreewald, a really unique area with forests and canals around 2 hours outside of Berlin (South East).

Meet Radha!

Radha Barna Roa is the Chief Technology Officer at IRC. He has been with IRC since the end of 2017 as a freelancer for technical support and at the beginning of 2020, he started the position as CTO. As CTO it is very important to introduce well developed and scalable tools to make the work more effective and easy to use in the mobile world.

Radha speaks German, Spanish and English. He has lived in Germany and Columbia. He enjoys working at IRC to learn to use established tools and adapt them to the conditions of the highly dynamic relocation business. He also supports the IRC team in all things technical/digital related.

Radha on LinkedIn

Favourite Place in Berlin Schloßpark Charlottenburg

A great place to eat in BerlinPanzerotto – Italian easy food

A hidden gem in BerlinRieselfelder Karolinenhöhe, in the 19th century the Gatower Karolinenhöhe, between Potsdamer Chaussee and Gatower Straße, became one of the 20 Rieselfelder in Berlin. Based on the idea of ​​James Hobrecht and Rudolf von Virchow to build a closed water system in Berlin, these fields were used for the biological treatment of wastewater.

You can stroll, ride or cycle through the fields on numerous paths and trails in this protected area. The untouched nature makes you forget that you are still in the capital city of Germany. In the summer you can find a shady spot under trees and picnics overlooking the fields. If you want to experience a bit of culture and history afterwards, it is worth visiting the Military History Museum, Fort Hahneberg or continuing on the Wall Trail.

Best Daytrip from BerlinKönigswald mit Havelseen und Seeburger Agrarlandschaft.

In June 2019 the Mietendeckel (Rent Control) Law came into force. We would like to provide you with a basic overview of the current situation and some links to further articles by local providers.

From when does it apply – The law will then be applied retroactively from June 18th, 2019, which means that any recent rental increases may be deemed as not valid.

Which apartments does it apply to – Apartments built before 2014. This does not apply to newly-built apartments that were ready to be occupied as of January 1, 2014 or social housing. Also not affected are living spaces which were previously uninhabitable or uninhabited – newly built attics, for example.

How should this be handled by tenants? – Tenants are being asked to comply with the law, check rent from June 2019 and then lower your payment – if there is an issue with the landlord, contact authorities. Estimated, one in six Berliner is eligible. It is, however, advisable to SAVE the extra rent money just in case this law is found to be illegal in the coming months and so that you stay on the safe side.

The major impact will be on new contracts, 9 out of 10 advertised flats will be offered at lower prices. Fines for landlords who do not comply can be up to half a million euros.

For more articles on the subject see:

Deutsche Welle: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-berlin-parliament-passes-five-year-rent-freeze/a-52210612

KCRW Berlin: https://kcrwberlin.com/2020/01/in-brief-berlin-passes-the-first-rent-cap-law-in-germany/

The Local.de: https://www.thelocal.de/20200313/berlin-regional-court-considers-rent-price-caps-to-be-unconstitutional

About the author

Hi there! I’m Juli, German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.

Temporary Precautionary Measures in effect as of Monday. March 16 th 2020

Dear clients, partners, “New Berliner”, staff and those supporting IRC Berlin.

Several weeks ago, everything still felt in order. In the meantime, the WHO has officially declared Coronavirus a global pandemic and the German government has taken stringent measures, also the City State of Berlin. This is what generally happens in cases that involve exponential growth. Coronavirus is one of those cases as all numbers being collected around the world show.

What is important to understand, we need to adjust our daily habits and routines because they directly relate to the speed of the infection spreading — and we need to do so now. We, as a company, are also the ones who are responsible to keep infection numbers down. The health of our client’s employees, our partners and the IRC Consultant’s team and staff is our top priority. With our decision to close our office we are following the recommendation of the Berlin public health officers to avoid people-to-people contacts.

That’s why we as a company are taking these cautionary measures: 1. No more travel. 2. No Conferences/Events;/Team Meetings: Neither host nor participate. We only hold video meetings/trainings / conferences. 3. Only work from home / Only remote consultation 4. Stay away from any public spaces as much as possible. The Berlin authorities are dealing with the situation and have a partial closure. 5. Avoid public transportation 6. Avoid shaking hands

In general, we are very well prepared for the full remote work scenario, as we have had a chance to learn how to work partly remote during the last years. We are facing a situation that we as a company and as a team have never faced before. But we will do everything that is in our hands to navigate the upcoming. Please support us in doing so during the next weeks. If we all change our behaviour and act responsibly we can have a positive impact on the crisis itself. And additionally, if we all together, as a team do our best to navigate this crisis, we are extremely confident that we can come out of this crisis stronger than before.

We are experiencing a more supportive and genuine “WE” feeling in our community and amongst our competitors. This alone has been the most heart-warming experience in this very trying time. We hope you understand our preventive safety measures and we look forward to a brighter and healthier future. Thank you.

In this spirit, act now but stay calm and healthy!

Niklas & Ariane Almerood with the whole IRC Team

What’s almost as famous as beer and bretzeln? The Autobahn! And although Germany has incredibly good public transport you may want to purchase a car and or make use of car-sharing services. In order t do this, you will have to ensure that you have the correct drivers license for driving in Germany.

If you are considering staying longer than 6 months and will ever want to drive, it is important to deal with the drivers license issue as soon as possible, especially since for some license holders time can be of the essence, because when certain deadlines run out you may be required to re-do your license altogether and this is an expensive and lengthy process in Germany.

Non-EU citizens who will be living in Germany longer than a year will need to obtain a ‚Führerschein‚ – German license. It is often as simple as exchanging the existing license for a German one. In some cases, it will be required for people to take an exam, a driving test, or perhaps both.

Licences from the following countries can be exchanged Canada or the U.S. states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Licences from Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee or Washington D.C. – licence holders will need to take the written test, but not the driving test.

For people planning to reside in Germany for longer than six months but less than one year, you can obtain a six-month extension to use your existing license. Licenses which were issued by a country which is not in the EU or the EEA, are usable for six months from your date of arrival.

Full LIST here for all countries and USA States.

Happy Driving!

(Source: https://www.adac.de/verkehr/rund-um-den-fuehrerschein/auslaendische-fuehrerscheine/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_licence_in_Germany & https://res.cloudinary.com/adacde/image/upload/v1572337531/ADAC-eV/KOR/Text/PDF/staatenliste-nicht-eu-land-umtausch-fuehrerschein_v2ag0f.pdf )

If you want to hear a good overview/discussion on the ‚Mietendeckel‘ Rent Control/Rent Freeze which came into effect on the 01.03.2020 – then listen in to this KCRW Podcast: HOW WILL THE ‘MIETENDECKEL’ AFFECT BERLIN RENTERS AND LANDLORDS?

104,1 FM Berlin’s English Language Public Radio Station.

(Source: https://kcrwberlin.com/2020/02/studio-berlin-broadcast-february-29-2020-rent-control-in-berlin/ )

Just a heads up on the actions you can take to keep yourself healthy and safe when dealing with infectious illness such as Covid 19 (Corona Virus). It is important to be aware and if you have reason to believe you may be infected – specifically if you have been to North Italy or China – then you must CALL a doctor or hospital on the phone, do not turn up at the doctor’s practice. You will be advised on the phone how to further proceed. This comes from the press conference given by the Minister of Health on the 27.02.2020.

Concrete actions, to protect yourself and others from infection:

  • Keep a distance from the sick (one to two meters)
  • Regular, frequent and careful handwashing (at least 20 seconds with soap, up to the
    Wrist)
  • wear gloves if necessary (wash after daily change)
  • Shake hands and hug by replacing elbows (so-called „Ebola handshake“)
  • Touch faces less
  • Do not touch mucous membranes on the face (mouth, eyes, nose) with your fingers
  • Do not sneeze in the hand, but in the crook of the arm
  • Dispose of used tissues quickly
  • Breathing masks offer little protection to healthy people, and the mask is moistened by condensed breathing air
    removes the barrier protection after only 20 minutes [2], masks should be used by medical personnel
  • Develop other protective habits: for example, pressing elevator buttons with ankles
    instead of fingertip
  • Avoid busy places and events, prioritise where you need to go

Source: https://www.sciencemediacenter.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Fact_Sheets_PDF/FS_Pandemie_Verhalten_CoV.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1lFME5ZqwP9__I_YPO2xqdv93JVwdDP6Ui5zGjEobtTUn7qmljIzMrJcY

Meet Niklas! He is the General Manager of IRC.

In his own words:

I joined IRC-Berlin in January 2019 and took over from Ariane in January 2020. Currently, I’m adjusting and setting up my vision in my new position as General Manager for IRC.

My vision for IRC is to be a company which understands the needs of its customers combined with the solutions of our digital sphere in 2020. As I’ve worked in several digital businesses I see my biggest personal challenge to implement the heart of a truly digital company into IRC’s services. Additionally, it’s super important for me to understand the whole journey of the relocation process which means what happens before and after the relocation. Therefore I’m setting up business models and structures which allow to support these specific phases in the overall process. After setting up our Change Management Workshops and Intercultural Trainings IRC will be able to be the ultimate partner when it comes down to having a full package. We can support our clients in every tough situation while moving over to Germany and after the settling in process.

Berlin is just the start for us!

My favourite place in Berlin is hard to pick – there are so many places and districts that are fantastic. Every district in Berlin is like a whole new city. If I’ve to choose I would go with Kreuzberg for all the variety of tasty food and different cultures. Currently, I’m living in Mitte and it feels like the perfect mixture between Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg where I used to live.

A great place to eat in Berlin is Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg – this vivid place offers you a fantastic variety of freshly made food. You can choose between so many nice dishes which are prepared directly in front of you. This place is full of life!

My hidden gem in Berlin for sure is the Lietzensee which is located in the centre of Charlottenburg. This area is perfect to have a run or just to relax in the sun during summer. Most important it’s not overcrowded like most the parks in Berlin.

Favourite Place in Berlin, when it comes down to the best trip from Berlin I would say Prague! It takes you around 3 hours to go there and this city is just breathtaking! For watersport enthusiast like me, I also enjoy having a time out in Zossen where you can find a Wakeboard Cablepark which offers the perfect conditions to spend a whole day switched off!

Meet Ariane!

Ariane Almerood has worked in the relocation sector for 21 years, she founded IRC 15 years ago and built the company to what it is today. 2020 she passed on the leadership of IRC to her son Niklas Almerood, but she is still supporting IRC and the consultants with her extensive knowledge in her role on the Board of Advisors.

In her own words:

The fact of moving all my life, living on three different continents, Asia, North American and Europe made me “experienced”. New cultures, new social structures, new languages, new environments, new colours and new smells, were part of my lifestyle. I had been doing this most of my life. However, my move from Munich to Berlin in 1998 was the most difficult.

We, my family and I were supported by a relocation agent and I understood how important it is was to have someone by my side to explain the new environment and with whom I could discuss the challenges. Berlin was rough in 1998.
I spoke the language but felt like a stranger. I asked myself, what does a New Berliner do when they can’t understand the language, nor the strange German ways. The seed for IRC was planted.

The moving boxes were unpacked, the house now a home, my children in school, my husband at work in a familiar corporate culture, my cat happy in the garden and I was needy.
I gave up my job, my friends and my comfort zones. This experience sparked my decision to assist others with their adjustment processes. My first relocation company was established in 1999 and IRC Berlin grew out of this experience in 2005.

We take the needs of each family member serious and offer guidance to resolve these. What drives us to excel, is the challenge to assist the New Berliner with organizational tasks allowing them to settle emotionally. The entire IRC Team has experienced living abroad and can emphatically support New Berliner.

Favourite Place in Berlin:
I have become a typical Berliner, after 20 years, and my favourite place in Berlin is my „Kiez“. I love walking down the Ku’damm, there is always something new to see and experience, or drink coffee at Stuttgarter Platz, with its historical past or just around the block. I love watching my Kiez change its face with new buildings, new shops and new Cafés and restaurants. I now have my „Koffer“ in Berlin and couldn’t live in any other German city.

A great place to eat in Berlin:
In Berlin, there is such a large variety of interesting and good restaurants. I stay within my Kiez. Stuttgarter Platz offers a wide variety of restaurants. The square full of tables outdoors, always lively and with a historical past …. I love it. And the adjoining streets, the Leonhardt Strasse has a special “feel good” flair with its speciality shops and restaurants and the Windscheidtstrasse offer such a special atmosphere, as well as great yoghurt ice cream. 

A hidden gem in Berlin:
My favourite places aren’t hidden but offer many gems. Berlin is one of the greenest cities in Germany. The Tiergarten is a special place with its beer gardens, flea market, the zoo and many paths for biking and walking only to end in front of Brandenburger Tor, Reichstag and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. I also love walking along the River Spree, the Museums Island, the Monbijou Park with its open-air tango and salsa dancing lessons. This is Berlin and this could be my hidden gem! It’s a feel-good experience.

Best day trip from Berlin: I grew up in California, near the beach, and in Munich, I had my „hide-away“ place at Starnberger See. Water is my element. The Ostsee certainly isn’t the Pacific but Usedom and the Darß are my favourite day trips (although I prefer a few days on the Darß).

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