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We want to keep you updated on the current (25.05.2020) status of Corona rules in Berlin. Although there has been a significant loosening of the lock-down rules, many important rules are still in place to stop the spread of Covid 19.

Masks are required in all shops and supermarkets and on public transport at all times.

Social Distancing and keeping all contacts to a minimum are still in place, at the moment this will be reviewed on the 05.05.2020. You may meet with people from up to two households while keeping social distancing rules. Large gatherings are forbidden, this excludes demonstrations up to 100 people and church services up to 50 people. BBQs in the park is forbidden.

Clubs, Theatres and Cinemas are still closed. The only exception is drive-in Cinemas.

Sport is allowed in groups up to 8 people, social distancing must be adhered to at all times. Fitness/Yoga studios remain closed, this will be reviewed at the end of May, 2020.

(Source: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/immer-mehr-corona-lockerungen-was-ist-in-berlin-eigentlich-noch-verboten/25856090.html)

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.

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/ )

The German system for waste and recycling might be a little more extensive than elsewhere, however, it’s great news for the environment because most people take it seriously and do what they can. Read on to learn how to correctly dispose of your household waste and other things and once you have the hang of it, it’s pretty easy!

Yellow Bin/Yellow bags (Gelbe Sack) – If you live in an apartment then you will have a yellow bin and otherwise you will have yellow sacks (these are provided by the BSR) Cans, plastic, polystyrene, aluminium, tetra cartons, old pots and spray cans (empty) are all destined for the yellow bin/bag – the items need to be rinsed. If you place your plastics in a yellow sack, you will have to check which day of the week these are picked up outside from the street in your neighbourhood.

Blue – Blue bins are for paper, cardboard, magazines. Make sure you break everything down, especially boxes. You may be required, especially if you live in a house to organise the blue bin and pick up, this costs approx 100€ a year but check with your Landlord if this is included.

Brown (or brown lid) – This is the compost or bio-waste bin. If you live in a house, you can also alternatively have your own compost. This bin takes all biological waste such as vegetable scraps, fruit peel, garden waste, coffee filters and also tea bags.

Glass – There are two types of glass recycling in Germany. One is with ‚Pfand‘ which means you have paid a small deposit on the bottle which will be returned to you when you take it to a recycling station in the supermarket – this can be anything between 10 – 30 cents.

All other glass is sorted by colour and put into recycling bins, there are a few of these around every neighbourhood. It is best to use these between the hours of 8am – 5pm during the week/Saturdays and not at all on Sundays, as they can be a bit noisy when you throw in the glass.

Black – the black bin covers all other household rubbish such as non-compostable food scraps, nappies, mirror glass etc. In Berlin, this waste is burned in a waste heating power plant. This creates electricity and heat. 5 percent of apartments in Berlin use this electricity and heat for heating.

Appliances & Furniture etc – If you have larger items or electrical items to get rid of, you must bring these to an official rubbish dump run by the city. In Berlin, this is the BSR Recycling Hof – there are 15 around the city.

About the author

Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I 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.

Starting in 2020 IRC is excited to announce, that we will be partnering with WEcreation to offer Change Management workshops to support our clients and their staff on their relocation journey.

We have come to realise that relocation is not just the act of physically moving to another place and starting a new position. Integration into a new team can take time, not only for the new member but for all the existing team members and it can be a perfect opportunity to introduce new positive structures. We wanted to find a solution to help support the companies we work with to optimise this process and this can be done using Change Management.

We would like to introduce WEcreation, Nico, Nils and their team.

Christian, Simone, Nico & Henning

WEcreation says ‚Change begins in the mind. Other results can only be achieved sustainably on the basis of a new mindset and attitude. This includes a new kind of cooperation that builds on teamwork, mental flexibility and intrinsic motivation and focuses on people.‘

WEcreation facilitates Change management workshops which are not just about quickly integrating a new team member but it also gives the existing team, structures and company culture a moment to look at ways to improve and optimise and become stronger.

It is our belief that through providing the chance for your employees to enjoy the support of a Change Management workshop, you will integrate your relocated staff in a swifter and happier manner – thus making the workplace a better environment for your entire team.

For more information, please contact us on: info@irc-berlin.com

About the author

Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I 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.

An English-speaking club can be a terrific way for newcomers to get into the social whirl – or maintain business contacts. There may be no better way for the English-speaking expatriate to get into the swing of German life than to join one of the many clubs and other organizations available to them. Making social contacts is a very important step in being able to call a new place home. It can be hard to gather the courage to go out and join a club but it is a very valuable endeavour.

Women’s clubs perform a large number of services, with sub-groups for all categories of women from „Empty Nesters“ (single income, no kids) to working women.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN CLUBS

1. THE AMERICAN WOMENS CLUB OF BERLIN E.V. – the American Women’s Club of Berlin is open to women of ALL nationalities who “embrace the American spirit!”  

Membership@AWCBerlin.org

Contact: http://www.awcberlin.org/contact/

2. BERLIN INTERNATIONAL WOMEN`S CLUB

www.biwc.de

Marienstraße 19 / 20
10117 Berlin

Telefon: +49 (30) 28 48 24 50
E-Mail: info@biwc.de

3. THE BERLIN AMERICAN CLUB e.V.

www.berlin-american-club.de

If you want to get into contact with BAC or want further information on the BAC, please send an email to:
info@berlin-american-club.de

The Berlin-American Club e.V. was founded in 1990 by women as a non-profit organization. The goal of the Club is to further friendship, tolerance and understanding among women from the US, Germany and other countries by undertaking projects that benefit people in need.

The Club brings together women of a wide range of nationalities, professions, interests and talents to contribute to the local and worldwide community. We seek to enhance the continuing special relationship between Berlin and the US, while also embracing the international community in Berlin.

The elected board of the BAC is composed of five women; in addition, individual chairpersons are appointed for various committees. As such, the Club is able to respond quickly to local and international needs.

The BAC takes an active approach to fundraising and hands-on projects in support of handicapped and disadvantaged children, senior citizens, international youth programs, schools, women’s shelters, programs for the homeless and worldwide emergency relief, among others.

BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

American German Business Club Berlin e.V.

The American German Business Club Berlin e.V. (AGBC) is a not-for-profit organization, presently with nine chapters. Its aim is to support German and American commercial relations and act as a forum for social and business networking. Activities include informal leisure time get-togethers, networking evenings, dinners, charity fundraising, sponsorships and events with keynote speakers.

American German Business Club Berlin e.V.
P.O.Box 08 04 27
10004 Berlin
Germany

Email: president@agbc-berlin.de

Tel: +49 30 224 888 96

Amerian Chamber of Commerce in Germany / Berlin Brandenburg Chapter

The Amerian Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) was founded in 1903, making it one of the oldest bilateral economic organizations in Europe. It has some 3,000 German and American members. It’s mission is to promote unrestricted competition, trade and investment between Germany and the United States. Luncheons with speakers are held regularly in a number of German cities, and there is also a program of seminars, business conferences, New Year’s receptions and tours of member companies and other institutions of interest. For complete information on Chamber activities, visit its website at

http://www.amcham.de/amcham-germany/amcham-germany-regional-chapters/berlin-brandenburg/

Regional Committee Chair: Torsten Oltmanns, Roland Berger GmbH

+49 30 39927-3366 torsten.oltmanns@rolandberger.com

FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

The John-F.-Kennedy Friendship Center is a non-profit organization established by parents and teachers of the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, though membership is open to the general public. It is dedicated to fostering the German-American community, sponsoring several bilingual daycare centres and offering various activities for the community, including language classes, playgroups, art, dance and drama courses, as well as holiday celebrations at Fasching, Halloween and Thanksgiving. The John F. Kennedy School, part of the Berlin public school system, provides a German-American bicultural, bilingual education.

http://www.rotary-berlin-international.de/

eMail: info (at) rotary-berlin-international.de

“Chartered in November 2009, we are the only Rotary Club dedicated to Berlin’s international community. Our 46 members represent 14 nations. All our meetings are held in English, which makes us the ideal Rotary Club for expatriates living in Berlin as well as visiting Rotarians from around the world.”

INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING

ASPEN INSTITUTE GERMANY E.V.


Friedrichstraße 60
10117 Berlin | Germany
Tel.: +49 (0) 30 804 890 15
Fax : +49 (0) 30 804 890 33
Email: info@aspeninstitute.de

Contact over the website: http://www.aspeninstitute.de/kontakt/?lang=en

www.aspeninstitute.de

The Aspen Institute Germany was founded in 1974 as the first international Aspen affiliate. In keeping with the Aspen mission, Aspen Germany seeks to promote an international dialog on the values, ideals and ideas that are necessary to master the challenges of a globalized world. To this purpose, Aspen Germany invites leading personalities from politics, business and society to participate in conference programs and discussion groups. Aspen Germany is a nonprofit organization financed by the Shepard Stone Foundation, public funding and private donations. It is headquartered in Berlin; an increasing proportion of its events, however, are carried out in key industrial states such as Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

The American Academy in Berlin

The American Academy in Berlin GmbH

Am Sandwerder 17-19

14109 Berlin

Germany

Phone: +49 (30) 804 83 118

Fax: +49 (30) 804 83 111

Email: mailbox@americanacademy.de

To register for an evening lecture: program(at)americanacademy.de

The American Academy in Berlin was established in 1994. Its primary goal is to foster greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany through its presence in Berlin, a city with which the United States should maintain its unique cultural, social, political, and historical links.

EXPAT CLUBS

Club Globals, Home of Berlin Expats

Berlin Office:

Friedrichstr. 191,

10117, Berlin

Managing Director: Mario Paladini

Phone:+49 30 56795499

Email: mail [at] ClubGLOBALS.com

Online contact: http://clubglobals.com/contact/

FROM EXPAT TO LOCAL, Club GLOBALS helps makes international life easier,

by connecting expats with recommended service providers online and at exclusive events.

InterNATIONS

Berlin Expat Community for Berlin expats

Free membership

Online contact: http://www.internations.org/berlin-expats

“Our network enables you to connect with as many of them as possible, both online and face to face. Starting from online forums and all the way to real-life events going on in Berlin on a weekly basis, the opportunities for connecting with global minds are more numerous than ever. You can also use InterNations to join trips to famous German landmarks around Berlin, or simply organize them yourself.”

Stand 10.2018

Author: Ariane Almerood – including edits by Juli Buchanan

It is no secret that moving is stressful, then if you add moving to another country and bringing a family then the idea can seem exciting but at the same time very daunting. Not only will the person being relocated be starting a new job, which in itself is a big change but there will be a lot of other adjustments on a personal level.

A new country may mean new language, new culture and a completely new place to navigate. It is very important to do your research and have some idea of what will be expecting you when you arrive. This will help you to feel a little more secure and confident in this awesome adventure ahead!

Your first port of call, if you have a chance is to connect with colleagues or perhaps even friends or acquaintances who might be able to give you an insight into your new home city. Talk through some of their experiences and ask lots of questions. There are also many blogs & ex-pat groups on Social Media, make use of these, ask other ’new Berliners‘ your specific questions and get advice on topics which will be important to you in your new home. Lastly, your relocation consultant, make use of this fantastic resource, explain where you are coming from and what your needs will be, especially regarding your spouse and children.

Language – Berlin is very international and most germans speak reasonable English, however, it is very important for your integration to learn some german. It will help with integration in all areas but especially for meeting new people and community – which in turn is crucial to feeling at home longterm in a new place. Spouses and children should also do a german course if possible. Let people you meet know you don’t speak the language but you are willing to learn, this always help break the ice.

Culture – there is no doubt you will experience all kinds of cultural differences. Be open, be willing to learn and you can read about some of those quirky german ways here…. Germans are generally open and interested in people from other places. Berlin is very multi-cultural and there is a good chance you will also have plenty of opportunity to connect with people from your home country if you would like, this often helps to alleviate homesickness.

Weather – this seems like it wouldn’t be important but it is. If you are coming from a much warmer or sunnier climate then you will find that you should make yourself familiar with what to expect in Berlin. Spring is the awakening after what can be a very long, cold and dark Winter. Summer is usually good and it can be very hot at times, up to 35-39 degrees Celcius. Fall is usually mild with a good mix of rain and shine, golden and a very beautiful time of year and then from mid to late October Winter can appear again and last through to March or even April. Winters can be extremely cold, temperatures plummeting to -10 degrees Celcius at times – a good winter wardrobe is required for all the family, especially children, as in Kindergarten and school the children will spend time playing outside no matter what the weather.

Children: Schools/Kindergarten – It is vital that you do your research regarding how your children will be integrated in your new home town. If you have kindergarten or school-age children, it is important to have an idea what is on offer and particularly if your children have any special needs – how/if these can/will be catered to. International schools may offer a familiar environment but if you are thinking of entering the german school system then it is advisable to understand the basics of how the system is set up and what will be required especially if your children are not yet speaking the language.

A move with children is a big upheaval, but the great news is, children especially those attending school and kindergarten tend to integrate the fastest due to their open nature and quick ability to pick up on language.

The success of a relocation with a family is ensuring every family member is well taken care of and happy. Moving to a new place is such a fantastic experience which will teach life long lessons and make precious memories for life.

Some resources below:

www.berlinforallthefamily.com

www.toytowngermany.com

www.thelocal.de/20170814/how-living-in-berlin-has-changed-me-for-life

www.german-way.com/tag/raising-children-in-germany/

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.

Welcome to Germany, what do you know about life in Germany? Is it all oompah music, steins of beer, Lederhosen and large portions of Meat & Potatoes? Well yes, there is that too but there is so much more to learn about those quirky german ways and soon enough you’ll be following the rules whilst wearing lederhosen, dancing to oompah music with a beer in your hand!

  1. What do you mean there is no kitchen?! It’s no joke, many german apartments/houses come without an inbuilt kitchen. This will appear as a shock to most ex-pats as a kitchen would seemingly be just part and parcel of a rental. But in Germany, this is most often not the case. The theory is, it stems from the fact that germans rent for longterm, meaning for the rest of their lives (well not always but sometimes!) and therefore they want to pick a kitchen which is theirs and consistent with their own style. So you may find yourself having to purchase a kitchen – however, it has become more common in the past 10 years for there to be a kitchen already installed.
  2. Introductions, where do you begin? When being introduced to someone, it is common to shake hands as a greeting and to introduce yourself by saying your last name. Germans will feel embarrassed if you introduce yourself with your first name. It is also common to shake hands when saying good-bye. When being introduced to a mixed crowd, always shake the hand of the woman first – erst die Dame – Ladies first. And be careful not to cross your arm over another couple shaking hands – this is bad luck in Germany!
  3. Introductions continued! – Always address Germans formally with Frau (Mrs./Ms.) and Herr (Mr.), or should the person have a title such as Dr. be sure to use it. The formal “Sie” and the informal “Du” (as in French vous and tu) sometimes cause confusion. Germans are very careful with offering someone the “Du” form, and the offering is always done by the older person. Adult women are always addressed as “Frau” whether married or not. The term “Fräulein” is out and is never used.
  4. Prost! A toast to your new life in Germany – be careful, a possible faux pas is lurking – When toasting, be sure to look the person with whom you are toasting directly in the eye, otherwise, it is 7 years of bad luck, and bad manners. “Zum Wohl” means “cheers” or more literally “to your health”.
  5. Sundays are for rest. There is a multitude of things you are not supposed to do on a Sunday, mow the lawn, vacuum, any kind of handyman jobs and you are not allowed to hang your laundry outside on a Sunday – historically to keep churchgoers who walk to church from being exposed to this unpleasant sight!. This can be expanded into the topic of „Ruhezeiten”, or quiet times in Germany, are every day from 13.00 – 15.00, including Saturdays, all day on Sundays, and every day after 22.00. You are not allowed to “make noise” during this time (e.g. mow your lawn). However, you are allowed to have a party (i.e. make noise) once a month!! It is customary to announce your intentions to make noise to your immediate neighbours or better yet, invite them to your party!.
  6. Happy Birthday! …. Now that you know how to say cheers and when you may party, the next important point is: Birthday celebrations, in Germany it is the responsibility of the birthday boy/girl (this also applies to adults!) to organise the celebrations. This means you give (i.e., pay) for your own birthday party/dinner. Often times, the one celebrating a birthday will bring cake and drinks into the office to share with colleagues.

Now, of course, all of these points are general and it will depend where you are living in Germany. Often Berlin is thought of as much more liberal than say a small town in the South but it’s always good to know the general rule.

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