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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

 

Encountering a new school system can be a real challenge for parents and children. We would like to help you understand the basic structure of the German school system and what you and your child will encounter.

Although there is a wide range of international schools in Berlin (and Germany), often families relocating to Germany choose to send their children to the local school. Chances are you are not familiar with how the school system is structured and how your child’s school day will look.

School attendance is mandatory from age 6 and schools are state-run and therefore have no fees. Although there are private schools, most schools are state schools. The individual states within Germany are responsible for the education curriculum in their own state, therefore the curriculum can vary from state to state. After the first 4 years of elementary school ‚Grundschule‘, children are streamed into one of three different types of schools according to academic ability and in consultation with teachers and parents. Berlin and Brandenburg are an exception, here Elementary school can go up until 6th grade. The three types of school are Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, these can then be from 5 – 9th grade or up to 12th grade.

If you decide to send your children to the local school, you will be assigned to a school in your catchment area. If you want your child to attend a different school, then an application will have to be made to the city and approved, this will usually be based on if there is sufficient places at the school you wish your child to attend. Regarding language ability ‚When parents register a child for primary school, the school tests the child’s ability to communicate in German. Wherever a need for improvement is identified, the children are required to take a half-year language reinforcement course before they enter school. This way, all children start school equipped for success.‘ (source: https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/information-for-new-berliners/schools/)

If you choose a private school or an international school the curriculum could be very different from the German system. Private schools have varying fees and will also be subject to an application process.

The school year starts in August, the date depends on which state you live in. School vacations are staggered state by state over the summer to avoid a big rush. There are various vacation during the school year, Fall-break, Christmas, Winter-break, Spring-break (Easter) and then public holidays. Summer is the longest break at around 6 weeks, Christmas is usually around 2 weeks.

The school day starts around 8am and goes until around 1.30pm (this can vary). The lesson periods are 45min and include breaks for snack/play. The exception to this can be so-called ‚Ganztagsschulen‘ which offer a longer day. However, all schools offer ‚Hort‘ which is an after-school programme where children are served lunch, home-work help and can play – this needs to be applied for separately.

Hort is a childcare service offered by schools offered to parents for before and after school hours. Childcare is usually offered from 7am – 6pm, for parents who need childcare due to their own working hours. This is available for children from 1-4th grade, for 5-6th grade a special application needs to be made. Hort fees depend on the state, in Berlin grades 1-2 are free and further grades are based on income.

Hot lunches are also free for all children in Berlin from grade 1-6.

(Source: https://www.berlin.de/familie/de/informationen/berliner-schulsystem-im-ueberblick-101

https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/information-for-new-berliners/schools/

https://www.expatica.com/de/living/family/daycares-and-preschools-in-germany-107640/ )

 

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.

Berlin was founded in the 15th Century by Albrecht der Bär on the banks of the river Spree, it went on to become the capital of Prussia and a central player in the formation of the German Empire. Berlin was divided by a wall for 1961 to 1989 after WWII and upon reunification, the city started to flourish again.

In the 21st Century, it is the capital of Germany and one of the most interesting and beloved cities in Europe. Home to almost 4 million people, of which it is estimated 30% are ’new Berliners‘ from 190 different countries around the world. Berlin is a melting pot of people, culture, music and it is set in beautiful leafy streets and surrounded by forests and lakes.

Where you choose to live will depend on various factors, work, family, lifestyle and we hope to give you an overview of what the districts have to offer. Often ’new Berliners‘ have only heard of one or two districts but Berlin really has a lot to offer and as the city continues to grow it is often good to look outside just the usual choices.

This is an overview of some of the main districts in Berlin:

Mitte – this district is the centre of Berlin and home to some of the most iconic attractions like the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag. Home to many shops, restaurants and opportunities for nightlife. This area features mainly apartment living. Mitte is an area which is very popular with young professionals, the apartment prices are high and there is plenty of competition for rental properties but the lifestyle payoff is good.

Prenzlauer Berg – this area is located directly next to Mitte and is equally as popular for living, working and lifestyle. Prenzlauer Berg has been beautifully flourished since the fall of the wall, with many pre-war buildings restored to their former glory. It boasts great restaurants, cafes and boutique shops. It is hugely popular and this is reflected in the apartment prices and hardly any availability and huge competition for both potential renters and buyers. Apartment living is the mainstay here, occasionally if you are lucky, you can find apartments with a roof terrace or a small outdoor space

Kreuzberg – Kreuzberg an inner-city district, neighbouring Schöneberg and Mitte. It is home to young families students, artists and a very multi-cultural population. There are many restaurants around Kottbusser Tor. It is famous for the Bergmannkiez area, which is known for quirky shops and cafes. After the fall of the wall, it was a place in which counter-culture flourished but now it is trendy and a very popular place to live.

Oberbaumbrücke linking Friedrichshain & Kreuzberg

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – this is the former centre of West-Berlin and is often referred to as City-West. It is home to the famous Kurfürsten Damm, KaDeWe, Bahnhof Zoo and the stunning baroque Charlottenburg Palace with its stunning gardens and park. Traditionally this is a very elegant neighbourhood and it boasts beautiful buildings and tree-lined streets. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes and extensive shopping too. This area is also good for family living, there is a selection of international Kindergartens and good schools.

Zehlendorf (Nikolassee, Schlachtensee, Wannsee) – this district is on the south-west edge of of the city. It has lakes, forests, cultural landmarks and is thought to be the most affluent of districts in Berlin. Zehlendorf is made up of neighbourhoods of mainly singular and terraced housing and occasional apartment blocks. Zehlendorf is well connected to the city centre by the AVUS autobahn, this is a huge advantage if you want to have a quieter lifestyle in a house with a garden but are working in the city. Wannsee is a popular destination on a beautiful day, for swimming, a cruise on a boat over the lake, walks in nature and cafes – it is also home to many important landmarks and boasts a high quality of living.

Steglitz – Steglitz combines proximity to the city centre with nice residential areas. The main attraction is the Botanical Garden, which houses 20,000 plants from all over the world. Schlossstrae is the districts main shopping street and a bustling local centre with all the high street shops, restaurants and cinemas. A beautiful quiet and green residential area called Friedenau also falls within Steglitz, while another sub-district called Lichterfelde to the south is characterised by 19th-century townhouses.

Charlottenburg Palace in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

Templehof-Schöneberg – this district is nestled between Mitte & Friedrichshain in the north, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the West and Zehlendorf in the South. Schöneberg is a bustling inner-city district with a very multi-cultural population. It has lovely little neighbourhood centres such as the Akazienkiez, trendy cafes and is home to the famous Rathaus where John F. Kennedy proclaimed ‚Ich bin ein Berliner‘. It is known for its lively gay scene, which has historically been based around the Nollendorf Platz. Schöneberg is an area which has remained one of the more affordable inner-city districts. It is well connected to Mitte by the S1 train and the U7 with City-West and also Neuköln.

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.



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. https://gruen-berlin.de/en/britzer-garten
  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 – https://www.baumbluetenfest.com/
  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. https://www.berliner-staudenmarkt.de/
  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. https://www.zoo-berlin.de/en
  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. https://www.mutter-fourage.de/
  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 (http://garagedupont.de/) There is an awesome app/webpage on which you can plan bike routes and hiking trails called – https://www.komoot.de/
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