Berlin & Families


Moving to Berlin in 1998 was an adventure:

Adjusting to the “Berliner Schnauze”, their rough, often hurting tone and choice of words, was a challenge after leaving Munich and their “Grüss Gott” culture.

But what I truly admired was the well thought through ”city-planning” and  options to get through the city, stress free. The Hohenzollerndamm, a connection to move from the West towards the eastern parts of the former “West Berlin” and the “Stadtautobahn”, another fabulous means to travel without stoplights through the former West Berlin area were worthy of my praise.

Now many years later, I have decided to no longer move through Berlin with a car. The absolutely incompetent city government has NO oversight of the construction sites; the streets blocked for whatever other reason and NO plans how to properly detour the traffic. The crazy bicyclists who follow no rules except “ME FIRST” are a threat to any driver, at any time of day and are always in the right, even if they cycle without lights at dusk, cycle through red lights and sway left or right without signalling. No respect for rules. They are the biggest threat in Berlin.  It’s almost as if car holders are the bad guys. We now have a politician who wants to ban cars all together from the city. That being said …… I have resorted to using public transportation.

The S-Bahn, the U-.Bahn (not at night as a woman alone), the busses, which never come as planned, the trams and if necessary, a taxi, bring me through the city at all times of the day, safe and usually not stressed..

If only the BVG, the Berlin public transportation company, offering great connections throughout the entire city, would realize, it’s more beneficial to repair and build new connections not all at the same time….. hampering a smooth moving forward.

The BVG offers two great Apps.  BVG Fahrinfo (in German)  listing most of the best connections                            (unfortunately not all) and the BVG Tickets. This last App saves me from looking for coins to pay for my tickets, as I do not buy the monthly ticket, which I would recommend for those of you who travel to work daily.

I am a BVG fan!

One of the most important topics for a family with young children moving to Berlin is finding a kindergarten which suits their children and where they feel their children will be well looked after.

So here we have just a small overview of the most important points regarding Kindergartens in Berlin.

Kindergarten in Berlin is called ‘KiTa’ this stands for Kindertagestätte which means Children’s Daycare. Children usually attend Kita from age 2 until they are school age, this can be up to 5.5 – 6.5 years old depending what their birthdate is or even if the parents would prefer they start school a little later giving them more time to mature. There are also Kitas which include a ‘Krippe’ this is for children under 2 years, but not all Kitas provide this option.

Kita care is essentially free of charge in Berlin, you are allotted an amount of Kita care depending on the child’s age and your work situation. If it is a private Kita, then there can be extra fees. All Kitas charge 23€ a month for food & depending on what the Kita offers, there can also be extra charges for sports, arts, music. The funding comes through the application for a ‘Kitagutschein’ and this is then approved by your local authorities. The Kitagutschein needs to be applied for at least 8-10 weeks prior to Kita starting.

  • *Children under 1 year oldcan attend Kita or have a nanny (Tagesmutter) for a 4-5 hours per day. This is called half days or halbtags To receive this care, you must prove that your child requires it. You can do this by showing your work contract hours or freelance work commitments. Children living in homeless shelters or collective housing are also entitled to halbtags care.
  • *Children over 1 year oldare entitled to 5-7 free hours per day. This is called part time or teilzeit
  • *Children over 3 years oldare entitled to 7-9 free hours per day. This is called full time or ganztags

(Source *

Finding a Kita place in Berlin can be difficult and it is advisable to start looking early and to be patient with the process. The reason for the lack of spaces is due to a large growth in the population of Berlin in recent years. Kitas usually have waiting lists and the places become available around May/June for the start of the new school year end of July/August. Of course, places do become available during the year too, with a bit of luck. It is always sensible to apply to a few different Kitas in order to boost the chances of getting a place.

The winter in Berlin can be long, cold, very grey and at times the city just simply cannot seem any drearier but come late March slowly but surely the sun begins to shine, the city starts to come to life, and we become hopeful for Spring!

Spring in Berlin is beautiful, colourful, optimistic and to be thoroughly enjoyed, so here are some tips for you and your family on places to discover at this time of year.

  1. Britzergarten – 90 hectares of landscaped gardens including a 10-hectare lake at the centre, lovely at any time of year but in spring it is the perfect place to see the sea of tulips and enjoy a walk. A fantastic place to go with children.
  2. Baumblütenfest Werder (Cherry Blossom Festival) – The town of Werder is located south-west of Berlin on the Havel River and surrounded by countryside and lakes. It holds a Cherry Blossom Festival annually and this is only the precursor to the delicious cherries which it then produces a month or so later. Werder can be reached by train and is a lovely place to explore. 27.04-05.05.2019 –
  3. Staudenmarkt Botanischer Garten – Perennials Market at the Botanical Gardens. Spring is the time to brighten up your living space, even if you only have a small balcony. This annual market for plants of all shapes and sizes is fun to visit.
  4. Berlin Zoo – the Berlin Zoo is wonderful at almost any time of year, but spring time brings the baby animals, and this means extra cuteness all around. There is also a fantastic adventure playground for children and a café for parents to sit and watch.
  5. Mutter Fourage Café, Nursery and Café – This is a real gem located in Berlin-Wannsee in the very south-west of the city. It is reached by s-bahn & bus and offers a gorgeous café with indoor and outdoor seating, an art gallery and a beautiful plant nursery & flower shop. The food is vegetarian and organic.
  6. Bike Tour Wannsee to Potsdam – once the days are a little warmer, a bike tour along the lakes from S-Bahnhof Wannsee to Potsdam is a wonderful way to get to know the surrounding area. Take the S-bahn to Wannsee with your bike on board and then there are several options to make your way to Potsdam, for example along Königsstrasse over the Wannsee hill, past the stunning Schloß Glienecke (Summer Palace) and down to the famous ‘Bridge of Spys’ Glienicker Brücke. From the Bridge there is a beautiful view over the water to the Schloß Babelsberg and then you can carry on to where a delicious lunch is waiting for you at Garage Du Pont ( There is an awesome app/webpage on which you can plan bike routes and hiking trails called –
Pin It