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Spandau is separated from the rest of Berlin by the Havel river, resulting in a unique feeling: the Spandauers are local patriots.  This pride is well-founded as the center of the old town of Spandau (the Kolk) is more senior than Berlin.

The lively old town is characterized by small stores, department stores, and restaurants and has the largest pedestrian zone in Berlin.

Spandau offers swimmers, paddlers, and cyclists a world of water at their front door. The water quality is excellent. Sports enthusiasts and landscape lovers will find everything they need by walking and cycling along the Havel, dangling their legs in the water here and there, and exploring a piece of history on their tour northwards: an old GDR border watchtower. The district of Spandau is one of the most western in Berlin and has nine localities.

Localities of Spandau:  Falkenhagener Feld, Gatow, Hakenfelde, Haselhorst, Kladow, Siemensstadt, Staaken, Spandau, Wilhelmstadt

There is a lot of history to discover in one of the largest districts of Berlin. Founded as early as the 13th century as a medieval fortress town, Spandau has experienced many things through the ages – the traces are everywhere. The most imposing testimony is the early Renaissance Zitadelle Berlin (Citadel), which conceals exciting treasures behind its four-meter-thick walls and a destination for some 10,000 bats that hibernate here every winter.

Just a few steps further on, you are among the quaint cobbled streets and alleyways of the Kolk quarter, the oldest part of Spandau. The district also has a long tradition as a center of industrial production. On Eiswerder Island, the former production halls of the Royal Fireworks Laboratory are a reminder of its explosive past. The history of the world’s largest electrical company began in the Siemensstadt district.

Spandau borders the Berlin districts of Berlin/Reinickendorf, Berlin/Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin/Steglitz-Zehlendorf, and the Brandenburg districts of Oberhavel and Havelland as well as the independent state capital Potsdam.
Spandau is diverse. It ranges from the typical Berlin apartment buildings in Siemensstadt and the large housing estate Falkenhagener Feld to villas and single-family homes in an almost village-like atmosphere in Kladow and Gatow.

Thanks to the good transport connections, you can quickly reach the center of Berlin or the surrounding area. The U7 from Rudow runs via Siemensstadt and Haselhorst, as well as Altstadt Spandau to Rathaus Spandau. The S75 and S9 are extensions of the Stadtbahn and run to the Spandau long-distance train station.

Sights
  • Zitadelle Berlin (Citadel)
  • Kulturhaus Spandau
  • Gotisches Haus
  • Gartenstadt Staaken (one of the most critical urban architectural monuments of the 20th century)
  • Siemensstadt (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008)
  • Little Venice (Klein-Venedig)
  • Fort Hahneberg (one of the last fortress buildings in the Prussian style in Germany)
  • Gutspark Neukladow (idyllic country park)
  • Garten Fraenkel (The listed country house garden is one of Spandau’s most beautiful public green spaces)
  • Atelier Burgwallschanze (small cultural center which is available to artists as a workshop and venue for events)
  • Kladower Hafen (Waterfront and ferry pier)
  • Gatower Windmühle (historic windmill hill from 1845, the trestle windmill is fully functional)
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is the former center of West Berlin and is also known as City West.
It is considered a high-end district in terms of living, it offers a fabulous selection of restaurants and shopping and is host to the famous Kurfürstendamm,  the Charlottenburg Palace, and some lovely parks.
Living in this district is highly sought after and can be expensive. The most famous landmark is the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächnis Kirche, situated on the main avenue Kurfürstendamm (Breitscheidplatz), which was damaged in WWII and left as a symbol of remembrance.
Location

This area is what is now known as City-West, the heart of the former West Berlin. From here, it stretches out towards the West with West-end, where you can find the Olympic Stadium and down towards the South-West into Grunewald, which is one of the wealthiest parts of Berlin – home to large scale Villas and many foreign Embassies and Diplomats. Towards the east, it meets up with the lively and bustling Schöneberg.

Rental prices average around 16€ per sq m (2021 – source: https://guthmann.estate/en/market-report/berlin/charlottenburg/)

Housing

Very green (Lietzenpark), Apartment living in the inner city part (Wilmersdorf, Charlottenburg & Schmargendorf) and single-family homes and villas out towards West-end & Grunewald.

Landmarks & scenes

A visit to the Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm as Berliners call it, is one of Berlin visitors’ top priorities. The world-famous boulevard in the west of the city is not only a shopping mile – strolling down the Ku’damm is also worthwhile because of architectural and cultural highlights.

The Kurfürstendamm is the lifeline of City-West and is one of the most famous streets in the world, it is 3.5 kilometers long and is located between Breitscheidplatz and Halensee. Berliners and tourists stroll on the wide sidewalks past elegantly decorated shop windows or take a seat in one of the numerous cafés. At the corner of Joachimsthaler Strasse, Berlin shines as a world metropolis – all around the Gedächtniskirche, large department stores, and fashion stores, in the direction of Olivaer Platz, well-known luxury brands showcase have their flagship stores.

  • Charlottenburg Palace – built between 1695-1713 in the Baroque style. Surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park.
  • Olympic Stadion – situated in Berlin-Westend, built between 1934-1936 for the 1936 Olympics.
  • KaDeWe – Berlin’s most famous luxury department store, shopping to your heart’s desire. Situated at Wittenbergplatz.
  • Grunewald Forest – When the Berlin Wall still stood, the Grunewald was the largest forested area in the western part of the city, and often enough, overrun by strollers and bike riders. Today, it has become much quieter in the “Green Forrest”. But it is still beautiful. All through the year, the 3,000-hectare large forest is a relaxing place for walks. To the west, the forest is bounded by the Havel. (Source: https://www.visitberlin.de/en/grunewald)

When you move abroad, it might not only be your family members of the two-legged kind you want to bring – your pet is coming too! Or you want to get a pet while living in Germany, here is what you need to know.

When moving to Germany from outside the EU, each person is allowed to bring in a maximum of five animals as part of their „personal or household items“. The animals must be your pet and not brought to Germany in order to be sold. Animals brought into Germany do not have to be quarantined if they have the proper vaccinations and if they come from a country on an EU-approved list.

If you are considering going into furnished temporary living upon moving to Germany, you must check with your landlord regarding pets as this can be an issue, or perhaps consider bringing your pet at a later date when you have organized a more permanent arrangement.

The authority responsible for the import of pets is the Zollamt, for more information please click here.

Further information on registering a dog here.

When acquiring a new Pet

If you are looking to add a new ‚four-legged‘ family member to your household, then make sure you keep these points in mind:

  1.  Although there are no official pet-bans, if you are renting, it is very important to let your landlord know about any pets.
  2. If you own a dog,  you must register your dog with the tax office right after moving to Berlin, since there is a dog tax that every owner has to pay in Berlin. Currently, this tax is around 120 euros per year for the first dog and 180 euros for each additional dog. 
  3. In case your pet is involved in an accident or damages property, every owner is required to take out liability insurance.

Auslaufgebiete: 

According to Berlin laws, Dogs must be kept on a leash. However, there are various parks and areas in Berlin, where dogs are allowed to move freely. On the outskirts of the city, you will also find some large wooded areas where your dog is allowed without a leash. In the city center, there are also multiple „Auslaufgebiete“. Check out the following: 

  1. Schlachtensee/Krumme Lanke Auslaufgebiet
  2. Grunewald (Hüttenweg)
  3. Hundeauslaufgebiet Wannsee-Düppel
  4. Hundeauslaufgebiet Jungfernheide
  5. Hundewiese Tempelhofer Feld 
  6. Hundeauslauf im Park am Gleisdreieck 
  7. Hundeauslaufgebiet Stadtpark Spandau

Adoption Process: 

 There are a couple of steps to adopt your pet in Berlin. After confirming your decision, you will be asked to answer multiple questions about your living conditions and to bring with you your ID to undergo the provisional registration. Furthermore,  you will have to pay an adoption fee, which covers the care costs, vaccinations, microchips, and castration. 

Although there are various provisions when it comes to bringing, buying, or adopting your pet, Berlin is a great place for pet owners and their four-legged friends!

Steglitz-Zehlendorf is one of the more affluent areas of Berlin – the idyll and tranquillity, far from the big city’s hustle and bustle, provides a much sought-after balance.  Above all, The district is characterized by quiet residential areas, forests, and tranquility provided by the proximity to the numerous lakes.

Steglitz is closest to City-West and very urban. It is considered a middle-class residential neighborhood with excellent shopping facilities. It is well connected to the rest of the city by U-bahn and buses. Schloßstraße in Steglitz is a shopping mile, it features several malls and all the typical high street stores, restaurants, supermarkets and a weekly market.

Dahlem district is one of the most expensive residential areas in Berlin.  It is a science research location, home to the Free University of Berlin (FU), numerous research institutes, and many museums have been established here.

As you travel further South-West to Zehlendorf, Schlachtensee, Nikolasee and Wannsee almost 50% of these districts consist of water and forest. Several lakes attract the inhabitants of Berlin to the cool water in hot temperatures. Particularly popular is the Großer Wannsee, and its lido opened in 1907 – but the other lakes of the district are also worth a visit.

For those seeking recreation, numerous sports clubs and the Botanical Garden offer a balance to everyday life. The area is home to several international schools and a large English-speaking community.

Rents in this district are high, but there is a choice between social housing, city villas, and single-family homes.

The western part of Zehlendorf with Wannsee, Nikolassee, and Schlachtensee is upscale and exclusive. In the south and east, the residential areas are simpler and somewhat less expensive. Steglitz itself is still very urban with mixed rents. Lankwitz and Lichterfelde have a more small-town feel and have more reasonable-priced rents.

Zehlendorf Mitte also features a town center with a large variety of shops, doctor’s practices, restaurants, and the Zehlendorf Rathaus.

There are also small ‚town‘ centers in Dahlem, Schlachtensee, Mexicoplatz, Nikolasee, Lichterfelde and Wannsee – all with opportunities for bakeries, grocery shopping, bookstores and restaurants.

Places of Interest:

About the author

Hi there! I’m Juli, I have 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.

The multicultural district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg is known for its parks, such as Tempelhofer Feld on a former airport site, the Park am Gleisdreieck, and the Natur-Park Südgelände, both former industrial sites. People from a wide range of social classes and cultures live in Tempelhof-Schöneberg making it wonderfully colorful and diverse.

Situated in the south of the city, it shares borders with Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg in the north, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Steglitz-Zehlendorf in the west as well as Neukölln in the east.

In the northern part of the district, urban life pulsates around the KaDeWe department store. You’ll find charming galleries, Turkish and Arabic restaurants, and upcoming new restaurants on Potsdamer Strasse. The cafés on Motzstrasse, and the area around Nollendorfplatz, are a little capital for the LGBTQ community.

Schöneberg has a varied and interesting historical and cultural history that continues to influence it to this day. David Bowie, the Comedian Harmonists, Marlene Dietrich, Günter Grass, and Billy Wilder all made the district their home. During the partition of Germany, the historical Rathaus Schöneberg became the town hall of West Berlin and is the famous location where, 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy made his famous speech, proclaiming “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

The highest quality of life offered in the renovated old buildings in Bayerisches Viertel (Bavarian quarter) between Viktoria-Luise-Platz and Bayrischer Platz. The entire neighborhood impresses with cafés, restaurants, and shopping opportunities.

Tempelhof is a mix of housing estates, apartment blocks, parks, industrial sites, and shopping centers. There are many parks and green spaces, particularly since 2008, when the Tempelhof Airport was decommissioned and turned into a public field. Another highlight in Templehof is the Tempelhofer Hafen, a little harbor on the water with restaurants, boats, and a big shopping mall.

Localities of Tempelhof – Schöneberg: Schöneberg, Friedenau,Tempelhof, Mariendorf, Marienfelde, Lichtenrade

 

The district Treptow-Köpenick emerged after the 2001 administrative reform by merging the previously independent districts. It is Berlin’s district with the largest area and lowest population density, consisting of seventy percent water and parkland. The district has a unique natural beauty, which makes it stand out. Fifteen localities that stretch from some of the trendiest parts of the inner-city to the southernmost border’s sleepy villages are part of this district. Ideal for nature lovers, the Köpenick Forest is the largest forest area in Berlin.
Müggelsee is the city’s biggest lake, and along the banks of the River Spree, Treptow Park boasts beautiful meadows and picnic areas. With a wide variety of residential areas to choose from and some of the most competitive rental prices, Treptow-Köpenick is a district that deserves attention.
The rental prices range between 11.95 -16.00 Euros per sq meter (2020).

Localities of Treptow – Köpenick: Köpenick, Treptow, Oberschöneweide, Grünau, Schmöckwitz, Müggelheim, Rahnsdorf, Friedrichshagen, Plänterwald, Baumschulenweg, Johannisthal, Niederschönedweide, Adlershof, Altglienicke, Bohnsdorf

Points of Interest include:

  • Müggelturm (popular day-trip destination in Köpenick with a spectacular view)
  • Altstadt Köpenick (small streets and old buildings from the medieval period)
  • Schloss Köpenick (the palace of Köpenick houses treasures from the Kunstgewerbemuseum
  • Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)
  • Falkenberg garden city (Falkenberg Gartenstadt – early example of social housing)
  • Schöneweide Industrial museum (industrial history of Schöneweide as an industrial zone from Bismarck to the present)
  • Archenhold Observatory in Treptower Park (the longest extendable and pointable telescope in the world)
  • Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre (Memorial to the Former Forced Labour Camp in Schöneweide)
  • Stadttheater Köpenick (family theatre)

Reinickendorf was formed in 1920 from Reinickendorf, Wittenau, Tegel, Heiligensee, Hermsdorf, Lübars, and three estate districts. In addition to many forests and bodies of water, Reinickendorf also has two large high-rise housing estates – Weiße Stadt and Märkisches Viertel. It is a green district with much of the western part comprising the Tegel Forest (Tegeler Forst) and Lake Tegel (Tegeler See). Due to large green spaces, Reinickendorf has the third-lowest population of all Berlin districts.  The median rent price is between 10 – 15 Euros per sq meter (2020).

Reinickendorf’s offerings range from almost village-like districts such as Heiligensee, Konradshöhe, and Lübars to urban neighborhoods such as Reinickendorf and Tegel, Märkisches Viertel, and Wittenau. Waidmannslust, Hermsdorf, and Frohnau are also relatively quiet places to live. In the latter, the single-family homes that dominate the district often have the character of villas.

Localities of Reinickendorf: Frohnau, Heiligensee, Hermsdorf, Konradshöhe, Lübars, Märkisches Viertel, Reinickendorf, Tegel, Waidmannslust, Wittenau, Reinickendorf

While some of the localities have their origin as rural villages founded in the 13th century, most of the district’s history began in the 19th century. It developed as an industrial powerhouse for the city.

Reinickendorf is located in the northwest of Berlin. Neighboring districts are Spandau in the southwest, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the south, Mitte in the southeast, and Pankow in the east. The entire north borders on the Brandenburg district of Oberhavel.

Points of Interest include:

  • Schloss Tegel
  • Theravada Buddhist temple complex in Frohnau (Buddhistisches Haus). It is considered to be the oldest and largest Theravada Buddhist center in Europe and has been declared a National Heritage site
  • The side farmstead of the Bauernhof Großkopf, Alt-Reinickendorf 37
  • Segenskirche
  • The Weiße Stadt (built between 1929 and 1931), ranks today as one of the key housing estates of Berlin modernism. UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 Cultural heritage monuments Little Lette-Colony
  • Museum Reinickendorf
  • Hannah-Höch-Haus
  • Village church in Alt- Reinickendorf (Dorfkirche in Alt-Reinickendorf) Borsigturm – a landmark of the Borsig Werke, where steam locomotives were manufactured (first high-rise building constructed in Berlin and a highlight of Berlin Modernism

 

Moving abroad is a very exciting prospect, however, the details of relocation can also be very daunting. Navigating a new system, a new language and dealing with formalities can be a challenge, this is where private relocation support can make all the difference.

Your top priorities when relocating to a new city should be visa (immigration), finding a place to live (home search), employment or educational opportunities and integration. Your relocation consultant can advise you on your options in advance.

Visa/Immigration: the type of visa you are eligible for will largely be linked to your country of origin, employment situation or educational studies. It is very important to know your options for immigration before you plan a move. IRC Berlin has the expert knowledge to guide you through your visa & immigration options.

Home search: knowing the housing market, areas of the city, and ballpark figures for rental costs/utilities is key for a successful home search. It is helpful to have a realistic expectation when you consult with your relocation assistant about what will be most suitable for you. IRC Berlin consultants have extensive knowledge of the city and can advise you as to the perfect match for you regarding area, amenities, public transport needs.

Cultural integration: This is where IRC can help, we offer intercultural training for new arrivals and their families to make their start in the new and foreign environment as easy as possible. Giving an insight into cultural differences, those ‘quirky’ German ways, and just how to navigate the German business landscape.

IRC Berlin is branching out into private relocation offering all the same benefits as we offer to our corporate clients. Our experienced consultants can support and assist every step of the way from visa and immigration, work permits, home search to giving a comprehensive orientation tour upon arrival. We want to make you feel at home in Germany and to make your transition process pleasant and successful so that all you need to worry about is enjoying your new home!

Berlin Overview – Dynamic economy, declining migration. Berlin’s positive economic development is unbroken and will probably receive a further boost in the near future. In terms of demography, the city is growing at a more restrained pace, especially in areas where there is little new construction.

New construction – activity remains heterogeneous and growing. In Berlin, the construction of rental apartments dominates project activity. Numerous major projects are being implemented or are in the new-construction pipeline.

The housing market – is more diverse than ever. The cheapest offers for rental apartments are stagnating in part, while prices, in general, continue to rise. Sales prices continue to rise, especially in the lower
segment. The highest prices for condominiums and most properties for ownership are offered in the city
centre.

Metropolitan Area – Families, in particular, are moving to the outskirts of the city. As has been the case for years, the asking prices in the surrounding areas are continuing to rise. First and foremost, Berliners are moving from the city to the outskirts. For commuters, the decisive factor in which area they chose is often how quickly they get into the city and back again.

 

We would like to help you understand how to use a relocation company to assist your employees. What are the benefits for your business and your team in outsourcing this service to new recruits or employees who are taking up a position in a new location?

Whether you are hiring new recruits from abroad or moving existing employees from one office to another office in a different location, there are many administrative tasks and other things which need to be organised to get the person moved, settled in and integrated into their new role.

  • Time is money and if your employee can be efficiently supported then the time it takes to get their move organised can be optimised. By working with a relocation company you won’t need an in-house department and you will draw on people who bring the highest levels of experience and expertise.
  • Providing the option of a supported relocation is good for the company image, it shows that you value your employees, their families and their wellbeing.
  • Being able to offer a professionally supported relocation is a big asset when headhunting, it will give your company an advantage as it gives the employee incentive to move without feeling like a relocation would be too overwhelming.
  • Show your employee that you value their time by letting them avoid the ‚leg‘ work when they partner with a relocation consultant they are relieved of all the big and small organisational tasks related to a move.
  • Supporting not just the employee but also their spouse and/or their family is also hugely beneficial to the overall well being of the employee. 
  • The way an employee feels once they have moved to a new location can be imperative to their productivity. If they feel settled and happy then they will be motivated to start into their new role. They can be present physically and mentally knowing all the formalities of their move have been taken care of.
  • There are many costs, such as hotel costs, which can be avoided if an employee can relocate directly into furnished accommodation or their own apartment/house. Having a relocation partner on the ground makes organising this possible!

At IRC we can provide the support your employees need for a successful relocation. We have experienced staff, who understand the relocation from both a professional and personal point of view and who have the know-how to navigate any challenges which may arise. Let’s begin the relocation journey together!

Contact us now on: www.irc-berlin.com  

E-Mail: info@irc.berlin

Nestorstraße 2, 10711 Berlin

+49 (0)30 89702431

 

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