Berlin & Friends


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 on the 17.01.2020 Berlin is home to the International Green Week, a trade fair for food and agriculture including exhibitions from 61 countries around the world. It is an event which caters not only to the food industry, wholesalers, caterers and retailers but also to the general public and is well worth a visit with family and friends!

The Green Week Experience:

  • Comprehensive range of international and domestic foods and beverages
  • The very finest produce
  • Product markets for beer, wine and champagne, meats and sausages, seafood, teas, herbs and spices
  • Agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment, seeds and greenhouses
  • Gardening supplies, breeding stock, pets and everything relating to hunting and fishing
  • Kitchen appliances, kitchen fixtures and household appliances

Ticket prices range from 10-15€ or 31€ for a family of four.

(source: )

When Christmas has passed and we have welcomed in a new year – Winter really starts to take hold in Berlin and it can be a time where people start to develop the winter blues. We want to help you to find ways to keep yourself busy and to make this time of year as enjoyable as possible.

1. Winter walks – one of the best ways to keep on top of the winter blues is to stay active and get lots of fresh air. Berlin offers lots of opportunities for nice winter walks and often in winter because the leaves are not on the trees you can see and discover things which are hidden in other months by the foliage. There are so many great parks in Berlin or walking the banks of the Spree or even a stroll down Unter-den-Linden. One tip for a nice afternoon out is a walk around the Grunewald Lake in Dahlem and then stop in for a delicious lunch at 12 Apostoli Restaurant located in the beautiful old building of the Forsthaus Paulsborn .

2. Linie 1 Grips Theater – this is a classic play about Berlin East & West. It first debuted in 1986 and has been performed more than 1800x since then, needless to say, a huge hit. The show is performed in German with English subtitles and is a must-see for anyone living in Berlin. Synopsis: A young girl runs away from her provincial hometown, and ends up at Bahnhof Zoo at 6.14 a.m., searching for her Prince Charming, a rock musician from Berlin. She gets stuck in the underground line 1, known as the Orient Express to Kreuzberg. She encounters a kaleidoscope of urban characters and their fates. Her naivety acts as a catalyst provoking contacts, actions and reactions, which otherwise would not take place. It’s a show, a drama, a musical about living and surviving in a large city, hope and adaptation, courage and self-deceit, to laugh and cry at, to dream, and to think about oneself. (source: )

3. Cinema – what better time than cold winter days than to see some of the latest films. The York Kino in Berlin-Schöneberg has a selection of films in the original language. They also offer literary events, live broadcasts of Ballett from Moskau or Opera from London and Queer film nights.

4. Swimming – another great way to stay on top of the winter is swimming. Berlin has various indoor pool facilities including Sauna, swim schools and aqua aerobics.

A very special wellness and sauna experience awaits at Vabali in Berlin Mitte, a Bali-style Sauna retreat which spreads over 20 000sqm, including pools & a good restaurant – please be aware that this is an adults-only facility. They also offer all types of wellness treatments from massages to facials. A great place to spend a few hours or a day!

There are also some great thermal pools in the surrounding Brandenburg if you are looking for a more relaxing weekend activity. To find your local pool check out: Berliner Bäderbetriebe and for thermal pools, we can recommend: Spreewald Therme in Burg, Saarow Therme in Bad Saarow, Stein Therme in Bad Belzig.

5. Book browsing – contrary to many predictions the book is alive and well and Berlin has some excellent book stores you can visit, browse the books, spend some time finding gems and maybe even have a great coffee. Just a few on offer are Dussmann on Friedrichstraße in Mitte, Hugendubel on the Tauentzienstraße in City West, St Georges English Bookstore in Prenzlauer Berg and Lovestory of Berlin in the Helmholzkiez.

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.

A German Christmas is certainly a special affair which traditionally begins with the first Advent – the advent are the four Sundays before Christmas Eve on the 24th of December. Christmas markets open, the streets are decorated and the traditional foods have begun to be served. December is a time of many Christmas themed events, end of year work parties and performances at school for children.

Here are just some of the main events in a German Christmas:

Advent calendar – Adventskalender – this is a calendar counting the 24 days until Christmas. Something all children (and some adults!) look forward to opening all through December. They commonly contain chocolate or little pictures behind the doors, but many parents make the calendars for their children including small gifts & sweets. The calendar makes the wait for Christmas Eve sweeter!

Advent wreath – Adventskranz – this is a wreath decorated with 4 candles, each symbolising one of the four Advent Sundays, four seasons and the four periods of life. Every week a new candle is ignited to count the weeks before Christmas Eve. The wreath is usually made of pine or evergreen plants.

Christmas Market – Weihnachtsmarkt – this one needs little explaining. Small Christmas villages pop up all over the city, a place to take in the Christmas cheer, meet friends, buy gifts and ornaments, drink Glühwein and fill your belly with treats. At least one visit to a Weihnachtsmarkt before the 24.12 is tradition.

Christmas Cake – Weihnachtsstollen – this is a traditional cake which is found in Germany only during the festive season, it is also referred to as Christstollen. It is a sweet yeast-based dough filled with dried fruit and nuts with a powdered sugar topping. The most famous Stollen comes from Dresden. Stollen has been around since the 15th Century.

Christmas Eve – Heiligabend – In Germany, Christmas Eve 24.12 is the main event. It is the day which all the children are waiting for as gifts are exchanged on Heiligabend. The food on this evening is varied, however, it is common that people will eat potato salad and würstchen, goose with red cabbage or even carp. It is not a public holiday but stores tend to close around 2pm in order for people to get home in time to start celebrating. 25.12 is a public holiday and all stores are closed.

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.

Nothing says Christmas like a beautiful tree lighting up your home. Did you know this tradition stems from Germany and was popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the mid-1800’s when they were depicted in a drawing standing around a Christmas tree – thus a worldwide trend was started and now we can’t imagine the festive time of year without a twinkling tree.

One of the biggest questions in 2019 is real or fake – which one is better for the environment.

According to the Huffington post ‚The short answer, which may come as a surprise to some, is a real tree. But it’s actually more complicated than that. It ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including how far you drive to get your evergreen and how you dispose of it at the end of the holidays ― and, if you choose an artificial tree, how long you end up using it. ‚ and if you would like to learn more about the arguments for and against please see the article.

FUN FACT – In Berlin used Christmas trees are recycled as food for the elephants at the Berlin Zoo, so your beautiful tree makes a healthy snack!

However you decide, Berlin offers you options for both.

Real Trees – available at all Hardware Stores such as OBI, Toom, Bauhaus, Ikea. You can also rent trees in a pot and have them delivered and picked up again.

Mitte – Weihnachtsurwald

Prenzlauer Berg – Der Tannenmann

Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf – Tannentraum

Zehlendorf – Werderaner Tannenhof

Fake Trees: Available at all Hardware stores such as OBI, Toom, Bauhaus, Ikea, also at all the big department stores for example Karstadt, Galleria Kaufhof or KaDeWe.

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.

There are many ways to make your way around Berlin if you choose not to own a car. For many reasons shared economy options are a great alternative for transport, good for the environment and far less expensive than the purchase and upkeep of a car. Although the public transport in Berlin is excellent, there are situations where you might want or need a car/bike or scooter. However before you sign-up and use any ride-sharing, make sure you know if you need any third-party liability insurance.

Here are some alternatives for car, bike & e-scooter:

Ride/Car Sharing:

Drive Now –

SIXT-share Berlin –

Car2go –

WeShare –


Nextbike –

DB Call a bike –


Lime Scooters (& bikes) –

Circ Scooters –


BlablaCar –

Carpool World –

Disclaimer – when travelling with strangers please always ensure your own personal safety, let a friend or a family member know with whom, when and where you will be travelling.

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.


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!”



Marienstraße 19 / 20
10117 Berlin

Telefon: +49 (30) 28 48 24 50


If you want to get into contact with BAC or want further information on the BAC, please send an email to:

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.


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


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

Regional Committee Chair: Torsten Oltmanns, Roland Berger GmbH

+49 30 39927-3366


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.

eMail: info (at)

“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.”



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

Contact over the website:

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


Phone: +49 (30) 804 83 118

Fax: +49 (30) 804 83 111


To register for an evening lecture: program(at)

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.


Club Globals, Home of Berlin Expats

Berlin Office:

Friedrichstr. 191,

10117, Berlin

Managing Director: Mario Paladini

Phone:+49 30 56795499

Email: mail [at]

Online contact:

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

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


Berlin Expat Community for Berlin expats

Free membership

Online contact:

“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

This classic Opera debuted in 1791 shortly before Mozart’s untimely death and is still fascinating until this day. The Magic Flute gets a fantastical make-over by Australian director Barry Kosky at the Komsiche Oper Berlin in the form of a silent movie-style stage production. This unusual version of the opera has been shown around the world to almost half a million people and highly praised – Fiona Maddocks of The Guardian says ‚ Kosky has delivered a quixotic enterprise that buzzes and whirrs and spins with manic energy and joy. It is a tour de force.‘ And The Los Angeles Times said »A dazzling live-action cartoon far too adorable to offend.«

The Opera is sung in German but you can have a translation in various languages which is shown on the seat in front of you.

The Magic Flute appears to give rise to more questions and mysteries rather than provide answers. At the end the immense fantasy of this magical opera defies all logic and reason. Its secret lies in deeper layers of fundamental human experiences for which the fairytale appears simply to be the most adequate form of expression and only music finds the appropriate language. It is with good reason that the „eponymous hero“ of the opera is an instrument, or quite simply: music.

(Source: )

You can see a snippet of what awaits you on this youtube clip:

Tickets are available from 12€ – 100€ online or at the Komische Oper Berlin Behrenstraße 55-57, 10117 Berlin .

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.
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