Temporary Furnished Accommodaton in Berlin

How to Find a Job in Berlin



Find a Job in Berlin – Our Expert Tips from the Professionals

Have you recently landed in the creative and dynamic city of Berlin, eager to get your career started in this busy and creative metropolitan? You came to the right place! Despite what you may have heard, Berlin has a good job market, with lots of companies searching for international candidates to help their businesses flourish. The startup scene is also booming- you may already be familiar with Berlin’s nickname – The silicon valley of Europe.

But why then, have you been applying to jobs, with no success of getting an interview or landing the position?

It’s likely that you need to adjust your strategy; and essentially get into the mind of a German employer, so you can give them what they are really after.


In our foolproof guide, you will learn the crucial factors to wowing German employers and landing a job in Berlin. In this article, you will learn 15 essential tips to finding a Job in Berlin, with specific tools like how to make a great German CV, to mastering your interview and important post interview tips:

15 Tips on How to Find a Job in Berlin

1. Popular Job Databases
2. The Alternative Method: Reaching Out to Companies You Like
3. Improve Your German
4. Create A Successful, Convincing Cover Letter
5. Make an Oustanding CV
6. Focus on Your CV Layout
7. References or an ‘Arbeitszeugnisse’
8. What German Employers are often Suspicious of
9. Don’t Hit ‘Send’ yet!
10. Do Research on the Company
11. Prepare Engaging Questions for your Interview
12. Be Your Authentic Self
13. Dress for the Part
14. Post Interview Task – Do this!!
15. Be Open to Working Different Kinds of Jobs


The first step of course, is knowing where to search. If you are new to Berlin, you may be unsure about which platforms to use. (If you’re already a pro and know where to go, simply skip this first step! 😉 )

Check out our lists below of popular, helpful job search databases with wide ranges of job types in many different languages:

The Best Platforms for Finding a Job:


Below, you will find a list of the best places to search for jobs in your field.

1. Popular Job Databases

The platforms below are most commonly used, and advertise a wide range of positions at varying qualification Levels.

Indeed (German and English)

StepStone (German and English)

Monster (German and English)


These platforms and Facebook groups below are smaller, with more specific jobs, or are more catered towards English speaking candidates:

English Speaking Jobs in Berlin (A Facebook group for English speaking job seekers)

English Jobs in Berlin (A Facebook group for English speaking job seekers)

The Local (German and English Jobs)

Exberliner (German and English Job Database)

Creative City Berlin (Creative jobs in German in English)

Berlin Start Up Jobs (International start-up jobs, many in English)

If you’ve already scanned through the job search platforms and want to take an alternative route, check out another way to search for jobs:


2. The Alternative Method: Reach Out to Companies You Like


Instead of limiting yourself to job postings, reach out to the companies you would love to work for. Maybe a friend has said good things about XY Company, or perhaps you follow their beautifully curated feed on Instagram. Good companies that are growing are always looking for new talent, and if they like your application, they will keep your information on file for upcoming roles, or better yet, invite you for an interview to get to know you better.

When reaching out to these companies, apply like you would for an actual job, with a cover letter and CV, stating why you think their company is great and how you could contribute. You could also ask them for an information interview, in which you would ask questions about the company and express your interest. Once employers see enthusiasm and can put a face to a CV, they will be more likely to reach out if an opening becomes available, depending on how your meeting went.


Now you may be wondering…what makes German employers different? What are they really looking for in a candidate? Take a look at our next tips to learn how to stand out to employers in Berlin:

 How to Stand out to German Employers When Applying

First and foremost, it’s important to be realistic with yourself. If you are looking for a high paying position in Berlin, you will definitely need to master German. If you are determined to have a great career here all you did to do is stay persistent and improve your German, which you can do by reading our helpful tips to improve your German .

3. Improve Your German

German employers find it much easier to integrate their new employees into their processes if they speak the language – they also appreciate it if you show them you are working hard to improve. If you speak no German at all, and don’t show a willingness to learn, you will likely have to settle for a less qualified position, or accept that there may be minimal opportunities for promotion. If you are new to the city and are just starting out, we recommend reaching out to international startups, as many of their offices operate in English.

Another extremely important factor when employers are comparing candidates is the application itself.

To catch their eye, you must have a German style CV that is free from errors (have someone else proofread it!) and is easy to follow. Your application is essentially the company’s first look at your work so you want it to be a great representation of your skills and professionalism, which leads us to our next tip:


How to Make a Great Cover Letter and German CV

4. Create a successful convincing Cover Letter

Your Cover Letter should never be generic, or copy and pasted, application to application. Customize each and every one to the job you are applying for, and take the time to do so. You don’t Need to send your application 10 minutes after the job has been posted. Employers want to know that you’ve familiarized yourself with what the role entails, and that you’ve done at least some research on the company. Next, clearly explain why they should want to meet you- tell them why you make a great candidate for the role, which specific experiences or skills you have that will enable you to contribute immensely to the position and to the company. You should essentially take details from the job posting and work them into your cover letter.

Don’t be discouraged from applying if you don’t meet every single requirement – employers are looking for people who are motivated, enthusiastic and willing to learn and put in effort. Try to express that you exude all those things in your letter, by using an example from a previous experience in which you grew and improved your skills over time, or mention why you received a particular promotion.

It’s also in your best interest to address the cover letter to someone at the company, not a generic ‘To Whom it May Concern’. If you can’t find a name in the job posting, you can often find names of people working in HR on the company’s website, or on LinkedIn. Going that extra mile to do research to obtain this information also shows the employer that you’re serious.

Don’t forget to add your earliest starting date and if asked, your salary expectations. Sometimes an employer will ask for your salary expectations to determine whether you are realistic. If you are just starting out with little experience under your belt, and are applying for junior customer consultant, asking for 35 000 is a little unreasonable. But, if you ask for a more sensible range, like 19000-22000, the employer will take you more seriously. Always express your willingness to learn and improve if you want to get your foot in the door. Responsible, respectful employers will always pay a fair living wage to young candidates starting out, and will give raises when they see you making quick progress and achieving the goals you have set.


5. How to Make An Outstanding German Style CV

German Style CVs do have some differences compared to American or British styles and it is critical that you pay attention to them.

An obvious difference is that German employers like to see a few more personal details:

  • Include your date of birth – this is standard. German employers look to compare your age to your experience.
  • Nationality– this is also standard as employers will have to determine if you need a working visa or get sponsorship from them. If you write a captivating and immaculate cover letter explaining why the company will truly benefit from hiring you, figuring out any working visas will be of secondary concern to them.
  • Include a Photo – You have photos on LinkedIn and Facebook, so why not add one to your CV? German Employers can’t necessarily ask for it, but it’s become the norm and they will be expecting it. Make sure it looks professional!


It’s important to customize your CV as well as your Cover Letter, so be sure to include only relevant job experiences, or relatable skill sets. (E.g. it may not make sense to include your experience as a dog walker when applying for a job as a customer service agent)

Keep your CV focused; it’s great to have a lot of experience in many different fields, however, this can often come across as unfocused instead of versatile. (E.g serving in a bar, working in a legal office, freelance yoga instructor)  Try to maintain relevance and provide only similar roles or job titles if possible. This will also give your skills a bit more credibility.

If your German is at about a B2 Level, you should also send your CV and Cover letter in German. This will express your motivation to improve your German.


6. Focus on Your CV Layout

Is your CV easy to follow or hard on the eyes and busy? It is crucial to have a solid structure that is concise as employers will move on quickly if they find it messy or difficult to read. This is basically your first chance at moving forward in the application process -if the employer can easily follow it, they will continue readng! The organization of your CV will determine how much effort you put into your work, and your level of professionalism. An organized one page CV is preferred.


7. Include References or an Arbeitzeugnisse 

If you’ve already worked in Germany, or have done some volunteer work, always ask for a reference letter. In Germany, you will always receive an ‘Arbeitszeugnisse’, which is a standard letter or certificate from an employer stating you’ve worked there. A good ‘Arbeitszeugnisse’ will also mention why you were a great asset to the Company and team, or what you have achieved in great Detail. If you have references from employment or volunteer work in your home country or elsewhere, be sure to include them in your CV.


8. Keep in Mind: What German Employers Are Often Suspicious Of

German employers are usually suspicious of workers jumping from job to job. It happens sometimes that a position may not work out, or that you’ve been fired, but try not to make a habit of it. It’s also great to mention why you’ve had short stints of work, for example. It could have been a summer internship, or covering for a maternity leave etc.

To summarize:

What to Include in your Cover Letter:

  • Easy to read, 1 page max
  • Your earliest Starting Date
  • What interests you about the company/role
  • Salary expectations (if asked in the job posting)
  • Why you are a great candidate and what you are willing to learn if you don’t meet all the requirements of the role contribute to the role
  • Evidence that you’ve done research on the Company

What to Include in your CV

  • Date of Birth, Contact Info, Nationality
  • Professional Portrait Photo (no selfies or beach shots!)
  • 1 page is sufficient
  • Stick to the facts
  • Organized Layout (link to CV template)
  • Relevant experience and skills, specific achievements
  • Send both a German and English CV if possible
  • Always, always send your CV and Cover Letter together in a PDF document


So perhaps you’ve already mastered creating a perfect German CV and Cover letter… good job! You’re already half way through our tips…

Photo: Pixabay

So now, you have your perfect application ready to go! But what next? Before you send it off, take a peek at this essential guideline that will put you high on the list of potential candidates!

9. Don’t hit “Send” yet!

Before you launch your perfectly crafted application into cyber space –hold on a minute!  There is a little something you can do that will pick you out of the crowd and impress employers even more.

Give the company a call and introduce yourself and ask any questions you may have, (besides payment or anything that is already stated in the job posting.) Lead an efficient yet pleasant conversation and express your personality as best you can. In this phone call, you can also offer to work an unpaid trial of around three days – no employer should really accept this (as it is illegal to do unpaid trials,) but they will read you as super motivated and eager to work for them. If they agree to a paid trial, this is also a great way for you to decide if it’s the right work environment for you and get a Little bit of experience if you are new to the working world.


After your call, thank the person for their time and let them know you will be sending your application through shortly.


When you send your e-mail, remind the person you spoke with that you chatted with them and relate something you talked about into your e-mail. Perhaps you will be sending your e-mail to a different person, but be sure to include that you had a nice conversation with so-and-so and that you appreciated learning more about the company.  Hearing and seeing your name in more places than one, will help make it stand out to the employer, and they will surely appreciate your zeal.

Also – do one last read through of your application, just in case. 😉


Next up, learn how to ‘wow’ the person interviewing you!

 Master Your Interview

After following all of our steps, you’ve landed yourself an invitation to an interview! Congrats!
The interview is really important, so be sure to get this part right. This is your chance for your personality and professionalism to shine through. So make sure you…

10. Do your Research on the Company

Know who their competitors are, who their target audience is etc. If you don’t, it will be super obvious you did zero research and you will be out of the running.

11. Prepare Engaging Questions

It’s important to ask your interviewer well prepared questions about the role and the company. This will show them that you are really interested in the Job:

  • What specific qualities would a candidate in this role have?
  • How would they measure an employee’s success for this role, 30 days into the job and 6 months down the road?
  • What would the typical career path look like for someone in this role?
  • What does the employer value about the company culture?


12. Be your Authentic Self

Be real, and show your confidence.  Unless asked, it’s not advised to address your salary in the initial meeting. If they aren’t interested in you yet, they won’t make an offer.
Again, if you don’t have a lot of experience and your German isn’t great, emphasizing your eagerness to learn and improve on your skills is crucial. Tell them what you can already offer, but let them know you’re a quick learner and perhaps show examples of this in your CV.

13. Dress for the Part

Most companies are quite casual here in Berlin, but it’s always better to overdress a little bit for an interview.

Go for a business casual look and you’ll be fine!

After your interview, make sure to do this next step:

14. Post Interview Task

This part is super important, so hang tight!

If you got a great impression of the company culture and are still interested, here’s what you need to do:

After you’ve been interviewed, be sure to send a follow up e-mail within the same day or at the very latest, within the week. You want to stay fresh in their memory! Thank them for meeting you and express that you are even more interested in the position now. This is a very effective way to stand out, and at Crocodilian; we are always impressed when people reach out after an interview. Hardly anyone does this, but it’s so easy and quick to do, and shows us that the candidate is confident and really wants the position!


Our last piece of advice – we know it’s tough out there, but don’t be discouraged! Follow our last guideline and you will be sure to succeed in no time.

 Stay Flexible and Persistent

If you’ve been searching for a job in your desired field with no luck, don’t get discouraged. There are still ways of getting your foot in the door.

15. Be open-minded to working different kinds of Jobs

In the beginning of your job search, it may be discouraging, just sitting around sending off a bunch of e-mails all day long and waiting to hear back. Why not walk around your community and hand out your resume to cafes or restaurants. A lot of bars, restaurants and cafes will hire if you have some basic German and are willing to improve it. Some part time work will allow you to make some money, get you out from behind your Computer, and meeting people, until you find what you’re really after.

You can also search for things like babysitting or pet sitting to make some cash. And who knows? Perhaps the parents of the kids know someone in your field, or work for a company you’re interested in. Making personal connections and networking in Berlin will definitely increase your chances of finding work.


Below are some great apps and websites for part time and flexible work, that can often lead to more:

Pawshake Create a profile on this app and get paid to take care of pets!

Betreut.de Find all kinds of flexible jobs like babysitting, senior care or garden help

University Tutor Offer tutoring services for kids or adults and set your own rates


Networking via casual or part time jobs is the perfect way to meet more people! So get out there, and you may be surprised where this flexibility and persistence will take you!

 To Wrap it Up…

Berlin may seem like a tough place to get started – but stay determined, you will get there!

Remember, learning German or improving what you already know will show employers that you care and are determined to get further in your career. If you’re super new here, fear not, you can often find English speaking Jobs in start-ups.

If you follow our guidelines for creating a German style CV and create a compelling Cover Letter, go out of your way a little to chat with someone from the company and follow up, we know you will find more opportunities.

Following our tips and learning more about what German employers are looking for will surely help you on your path to landing a job here in Berlin. Remember to stay confident, and don’t get down if you face rejection sometimes. You can always ask an employer what was missing from your application or interview so you can be better prepared and nail it the next time!

We would love to hear back to see how your job hunt is going, and if you’ve found any progress while using our tips! Good luck, you have got this!

you're hired

Photo: Pixabay




Liability or Tenant Insurance for Your Furnished Apartment in Berlin

Why you really Need Liability/Tenant Insurance for your Temporary Furnished Apartment

Haftpflichtversicherung moeblierte Wohnung auf Zeit


Liability insurance is the type of insurance that everyone should definitely have, without a question.
Picture this: you’re walking through an intersection while the light is red, and an approaching car stops suddenly to avoid hitting you. As a consequence, it hits a street lamp. And then it gets even worse: the driver is injured. It’s possible that they sustain permanent injuries, and become incapable of working ever again.The damages of this type of accident can run into the millions. Luckily, liability insurance covers incidents like these and the damages you could cause.
Better yet, the cost of this kind of insurance is extremely affordable for everyone. For only 50 euros a year you can purchase liability insurance as a single person.

Liability insurance also applies if you cause damage to a furnished apartment. It can happen a lot easier than you may think: say, you decide to vacuum the flat and hit the TV while doing so. It falls to the ground and breaks. Or you leave a roof window open, the rain gets in and water spots ruin the flooring. A bad scenario would be water damage, for which the tenant would be responsible for. And what would be the worst case scenario? The apartment underneath is damaged or affected as well.

But beware: not all damages are always insured. A distinction is made between damage to the permanent fixtures- everything that is permanently installed such as the sink, the flooring, etc. – and movable items – TV, sofa, all the furniture and equipment that can be pushed back and forth.
Therefore, it is important to check your own insurance before moving into a furnished apartment and if necessary, switch to another policy. A policy that insures damages to the movable items only costs a few euros more.
Incidentally, if you rent your own apartment after moving out of the furnished apartment, your liability insurance covers damage to this apartment as well. You don’t need to purchase new insurance for this.

Damages must always be reported to Landlord and Insurance as soon as possible

Liability insurance is always a good thing to have. Nevertheless, you should always handle your furnished flat’s furniture carefully to avoid damage. Since you are the one renting the apartment, you are responsible should anything be damaged during your stay. This is another reason insurance is extremely beneficial – it offers peace of mind. The landlord will, until everything has been taken care of through insurance and the damage is fixed, keep an amount from your deposit.

Sometimes the assessment of damages differs between landlords and tenants. What one person says is damage, the other describes as wear. What happens if the landlord claims you’ve damaged something, and you have to settle the damages that you did not cause?
Again, the liability insurance will help you in this scenario as well. It refuses unjustified claims from the landlord.
We always recommend a detailed handover protocol, which states which damage or signs of wear already existed when moving in.

Incidentally, a condition for the assumption of liability insurance is a residence in Germany. You must already be registered in Germany. Some insurance companies may require you to have a German bank account, but others do not.
In addition, you can opt to get insurance at any time, even if you already live in the rented apartment.


Advantages of Liablitiy Insurance for Temporary Housing

Damages are insured not only for furnished apartments, but also damages caused in unfurnished apartments. This is important if you move to your own apartment after moving out. You then do not need to obtain a new insurance policy.

  • Key loss or damage resulting from the loss of keys is also insured.
  • It is cheap (from about 50 euros for single person, from about 110 euros for a family)
  • It is valid worldwide (if you have settled in Germany but decide to go on a holiday abroad or rent an apartment or a furnished apartment elsewhere)
  • You can complete your application for insurance online


  • Liability insurance is valid for at least one year and must be cancelled if you plan to leave Germany.
  • Some insurance policies can also be terminated before the end of a year, if the policy holder previously deregisters at the Bürgeramt and leaves Germany. In this case, a copy of the insurance’s opt-out certificate must be sent.
  • The insurance documents and the information regarding it both online and offline, are only available in German.
  • Before you go ahead and purchase an insurance policy, find out how much you will be insured for, and the amount of a possible deductible.
    Glass damage is not covered by any liability insurance.

An overview of many insurance providers can be found on Check 24

Here are some examples of liability insurance, which includes cover for rented furnished apartments and key loss:






Should you get an Invoice and a Rent Receipt if you Rent a Furnished Apartment?



Sometimes tenants request an invoice for the rent of their furnished flat. Most often, it is their employer’s accounting department who requires an invoice.

In Germany, there are no rental invoices for apartments, whether you rent furnished and temporarily or unfurnished with an open-ended rental agreement. You will always get a rental agreement though. All information regarding the rent, payment etc. is specified in this agreement.

If you are renting though a business, the rental agreement should be passed on to the accounting department. It works as an invoice, and is also eligible for tax purposes.

The payment of the rent is always monthly. You transfer the rent and the deposit to the owner’s account. It is not common to receive a rental receipt either, since the rent is paid by bank transfer. Please note that the rent cannot be paid by credit card.

Your bank statement is the receipt and proof that you have paid, but you can still ask the owner whether your payment has arrived. It is best to ask after the first payment, and then set up a standing order.

Owners of furnished apartments are private individuals and not businesses.


Rent and VAT

Sometimes companies ask for an invoice including VAT. There are only a few apartments where the rent includes VAT or VAT has to be paid. Should an apartment’s rent include VAT- or if it has to be added – the relevant information should be on our website and also in the rental agreement.


Furnished Apartments Versus Serviced Apartments

Furnished apartments are most often privately owned, whereas serviced apartments – often a whole complex – are a business. If you rent a serviced apartment, you receive an invoice, a receipt, and the rent includes VAT.

In a nutshell – the differences between furnished and serviced apartment in our handy table below:




Links: Luxury apartments in Berlin

Best Way to Learn German in Berlin: 7 Expert Tips + Help with Choosing German Language School

learn german in berlin


Determined to Learn German? Read Our Tips and You’ll Surely Succeed!


If you’re not new to the city, chances are, that you’ve already attempted to learn German but have most likely given up, or are taking a ‘break’. It might not be that you’re lazy, but it’s just so easy to survive in Berlin without speaking a word of German. The other reason might be frustration – German is a very difficult language, and it may feel like it would take a lifetime to learn!

Don’t give up, help is on the way! It is possible to improve your German, even if you don’t have time to spend the next few years at a language school.

In this article, we’ve gathered 7 great tips on how to learn German in Berlin and advice on how to go about choosing the right language school. If you’re an expat living in Berlin, and have lost confidence in mastering German, read our helpful tips below to find the best combination of tools you need to succeed!


1. Too Often Overlooked: Online Courses
2. German Tandem Partners
3. German Private Tutors
4. Language Apps! Fun, Flexible, and often Free!
5. The Classical approach: learn German at a language school
6. Take an Educational Leave from your Job to learn German in Berlin
7. Immerse Yourself in German Everyday
8. Conclusion


1. Too Often Overlooked: Online German Courses

You may be surprised that our first tip is about the benefits of online courses. There seems to be a belief that attending a face-to-face language course is the best option to learn German. But before you skip over this paragraph, hold on!
The options we have to present you with, are not your typical, ordinary courses. They actually introduce you to a new way of learning languages. These courses are suitable for beginners and learners with a language school past who still struggle when they try to form a German sentences.  Does that sound familiar? They’re the ones with the long pauses, when they go through the conjugation and declination table.

Plus, don’t forget the main benefit of online learning: complete flexibility for a busy or irregular schedule.


smarterGerman: The Unconventional Online Course from Berlin   

Michael Schmitz – founder and tutor of smarterGerman – has been teaching the language for more than 15 years. He has come to the conclusion that group classes just aren’t always effective. Schmitz even stated that they are a waste of time, money and energy.  A strong opinion indeed, but his argument actually makes some sense. In conventional language classes, it takes ages before you learn to use an ‘object’. To combat this, the accusative case should be introduced first. In traditional classes grammar dictates how and what you learn, and you can spend weeks learning to introduce yourself and saying where you come from. This may not always give you the results you’re looking for.  Schmitz teaches patterns, not grammar. In his course you learn to use the past tense in the second session. He concentrates on the relevant pieces of information. This approach makes learning German faster and much more efficient.  And the best bit –  you also use your mother tongue to learn German. The idea behind this is that you learn the way German differentiates from your mother tongue, as well as what the similarities might be. This may sound academic but it is not. In German you say: “Sprichst du Deutsch?” – which would be “Speak-st you German” – and not “Do you speak German?” This helps beginners and advanced learners to understand the order of words.
Are you curious if this method is right for you? Check out the free trial and the Youtube videos. We especially recommend the German articles unit. The technique Schmitz uses is not new, but surprisingly, no one has used it to teach German besides him.

The Course: Smarter German
Cost: €357 + VAT, can be paid in installments over 3, 6 or 12 months
Levels: A1-B1 – You can take the course on your own time, and for as long as you like.
Other Benefits: Live chat with Michael Schmitz once a week


Rocket German: Authentic Conversation

Learning Grammar first – this is on Rocket German’s not-to-do list! This program is available not only for German but for many other languages.  What makes Rocket German special is their emphasis on spoken German: modern dialogue which is entertaining, and sometimes even funny. Rocket German chooses real life situations, which is what you actually need when learning a new language. So instead of booking hotels over the phone, something people don’t often do anymore, introducing yourself or asking for directions, the lessons start with ordering a coffee. What could be more relatable for life in Berlin?
Our only criticism: The voice recognition does not seem to be ideal in order to improve your pronunciation. Nik, one of the teachers, is a little too chatty. She and Paul, who are introduced as Bavarian, aren’t German native speakers, as they have a slight American accent.
Finally, this course is interactive. You play a part in a dialogue, which includes vocal training. So what are the unique benefits of Rocket German? It’s an award winning system, with practical conversation skills, and you can download the content easily to learn at your own pace.

The Course: Rocket Languages German
Cost: Levels 1 & 2 range from €210 to €250 (comes with a 60 day refund policy)


If you want to peruse more options, check out our other recommendations for online and self-study courses below:

FluentU – Online video-based language course. Free trial, but you have to register a credit card.
Fluenz –  Attempts to simulate one-on-one tutoring. The courses are all designed from the point of view of an English speaker, but the method is not new and progress is slower than with other programs.
ASSiMil – With ASSiMil you learn the language as a child learns. ASSiMil offers short units, and you learn 20 minutes a day within the context of a dialogue. This is a useful method, but the materials are not as advanced as those of their competitors.



2. Tandem Partners: Make a German Friend, Improve your Conversation skills!

Finding a German tandem partner is a great idea if you want to brush up on your language and conversation skills, in exchange for helping your partner improve the language you can offer them.  It’s also a good way to make some native German-speaking friends! Meeting a tandem partner only makes sense if you already have a good working knowledge of German.  With a tandem partner you simply chat, but if you are unable to express yourself, the conversation might become boring or you might find yourself switching back to English.  In our opinion, tandem partners only make sense if you are at least at a B1 level.


You can find a tandem partner on various platforms:

On Facebook: Tandem-Partners Berlin
Tandem Partners – Free of charge, lots of Berliners German native speakers.
Tandem – This language school helps you find a suitable partner for a very small fee, or for free if you’re signed up for one of their courses.
Scrabbin  Create an account for free to meet lots of potential tandem partners.
Meetup – Not only for tandem partners, Meetup is a social connection site where you can join a special interest group or start your own group. 



3. German Tutors: One-on-One Learning

There are a few options for finding a great tutor to help you. You can find a tutor at any language school in Berlin. Pricing starts at about. 35 Euro/unit (incl. VAT). You generally have to book a session of two units, which forms a total of 90 minutes altogether. Private sessions can take place at a language school, your office, or at home. If the teacher has to travel to you, this may likely cost you extra. Private tutoring is, of course, much more intensive, and you get to decide what you’d like to focus on. Private lessons are a great choice if you can’t commit to a weekly course, or if you need help with a specific topic.

An alternative way to find a private tutor is to search on these online platforms where many teachers advertise their services:

Online private tutors and teachers hold lessons for you via video tutoring. Teachers are given a star rating based on reviews from other students. The prices of each teacher’s services vary. For a few Euros you can book a 30 minute trial. There are short videos of every tutor so you can choose one that appeals to you, as well as a schedule to show their availability.

Teacher Finder
On Teacher Finder you can book a private tutor in your desired city. Prices are fixed, and the lessons are always 25 Euro per hour in Berlin, if you live close to the city centre. If you’re further out you may have to pay extra.
You cannot choose a teacher, but instead you register online and explain what you are looking for. A teacher will contact you and you arrange either face-to-face lessons or online lessons.
This option is fairly affordable, so even though there is no guarantee that the teacher is qualified, it can be worth giving it a try.

With these options you have to evaluate your teacher’s qualifications yourself. It might take you meeting a couple different tutors to find someone who is right for you.



4. Language Apps: Fun, Flexible and often Free!

Apps are a fun and easy way to get started with German, and are mainly helpful for learning or brushing up on vocabulary. Try practicing while you’re travelling to work, perhaps on the train or on the bus. Some apps even connect you with your friends, so you can add the element of competition to your learning, which helps a lot with motivation.


Try out these popular apps and get started today:

  • DuoLingo (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
    This is the best app for language learning. It is interactive, colourful, simple and fun to use. Plus you can add your friends to help motivate each other.
  • Babbel (iOS, Android)
    Simple and easy to use, plus the app can synchronise across devices.
  • Memrise (iOS, Android),
    Memrise focuses on vocabulary, and is easy and entertaining. You can also follow other users and compete for points for a higher ranking.
  • Busuu (iOS, Android)
    Busuu functions as a standalone language tool more than other apps. Plus, you don’t need an internet connection to use it.
  • Mindsnacks (iOS)
    The most visual app on the market. Mindsnacks is fun and easy to play while commuting to work. It’s more like a game, and less like studying!



5. The Classical Approach: Learn German at a Language School

A language school is often the obvious way to learn German. In Berlin, there’s an abundance of schools. Most of them offer intensive, daytime or evening and test preparation classes. It is impossible to know which school is the best, as it really depends on the teacher. Most teachers who teach German as a foreign language are dedicated and encouraging, but they should also know how to simplify the process and guide you. The most obvious difference between schools is the price.  The more expensive schools don’t automatically guarantee superiority, but it is likely that they have students that are more eager to learn.

One of the more affordable schools is the Volkshochschule. There are 12 locations across Berlin, and they provide evening classes. On the other end of the spectrum is the Goethe Institut:  it’s the most expensive and prestigious language school in Berlin. Their courses are over €1000.  Something to note is that both the Volkshochschule and the Goetheinstitute have larger classes  (Goethe <16) than the private language schools .

So, what factors should you consider when looking for the right language school?


Here is a list of things to consider when choosing a German language school:     

  • Choose a school nearby
    It’s better to book a course close to your home or work. If you have to travel across the city, it will be harder to stay motivated.


  • Take a trial class.
    The quality of any school depends on the instructor. They all offer fairly the same structure, so it really comes down to the teacher. If you take a trial class, you can find out if you like the atmosphere, the teacher and learning style before you commit to an entire course. Most schools offer trial classes, so we reccommend testing them our before committing to an entire course.


  • Class size
    The size of the class is definitley important. The students should speak in class and the teacher should correct improper pronunciation. This is difficult if there are too many students. The fewer, the better.


  • Testing to check your level.
    Every school should offer a test before you begin. Online tests are okay, but they don’t actually say anything about your active knowledge. The tests are always multiple choice. With tests like these, there is a good chance you will end up as an advanced beginner, even for Mandarin. There should always be an oral and/or written test at the school.


  • Finding the right level
    You have a better chance to find a course that really suits your level if you enrol at a larger German language school. In smaller schools, there are often fewer classes. Because of this they sometimes put students at different levels in one class all together.


  • Grammar should not be taught in German
    Language schools often promote the total immersion of a language. This often means that grammar is also taught in German. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, you have to understand the grammar. If you don’t, you’ll likely feel lost. If you are a beginner, a mono-lingual course in German does not make sense. It’s hard enough to use grammer correctly, why do you need to learn it in another language first? The aim is to avoid wasting time. You probably wouldn’t have German explanations in your home country. Mono-lingual only classes make sense if you are at a B1+ level, not lower.


Here is a small selection of schools:

DAS Akademie (Torstr. 125, 10119)
did Deutsch-Institut Berlin (Novalisstr. 12, 10115)
Humboldt Institute (Invalidenstraße 19, 10115)

Prenzlauer Berg
GLS Berlin  (Prenzlauer Berg, Kastanienallee 82, 10435)

speakeasy Berlin (Warschauer Str. 36, 10243)

Sprachpunkt (Lausitzer Str. 13, 10999)

Transmitter (Allerstr. 15, 12049)
Sprachmafia (Schillerpromenade 25, 12049)
die deutSCHule (Karl-Marx-Straße 107, 12043)

Alpadia (Hauptstraße 23-24, 10827)

IIK berlinerID (Oudenarder Str. 16, 13347)

Steinke-Institut (Wilmersdorfer Str. 58, 10627)

Die Neue Schule (Gieselerstraße 30a, 10713)



6. Take an Educational Leave from your Job

Perhaps you did not have enough time to improve your German but, German is essential to your job in Berlin.  If so, take a Bildungsurlaub! (educational leave). Instead of going to work, you can take an intensive German language course. If you’re over 25 you can take 10 days of leave within two years, if you’re under 25 you get 10 days each year. The course you attend must be certified for a Bildungsurlaub.
Check out these certified German Classes:
Sprachenatelier (Frankfurter Allee 40 10247)



7. Immerse Yourself in the German Everyday!

Listen and speak German as often as you possibly can, if you already have a working knowledge of German. Watch television, listen to the radio, switch your Netflix to Deutsch and read German newspapers. You can start with the tabloids, as they are easier to understand. And most importantly: Speak German in your everyday life! Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s always better to try. If people respond to you in English, hold your ground, and reply ‘auf Deutsch’!
You can also read the Crocodilian blog in German from now on 😉



8. To Summarise:

Ultimately, there isn’t just one way to learn German. Everyone has a different way of learning, and not every method works for everyone. You may also find it helpful to use a combination of the above methods.
Take your time and test different options yourself. After a few days if you still remember what you learned in the trial, whether on or offline, you’ll know it’s a good sign and to keep persuing it.

Stick with it, stay persistant and remember, you can do it!

We’d love to hear from you! Add a comment below and let us know about your learning experience.

From Berlin to the Sea: 7 Day Trips to the Baltic Sea

Are you craving for some fresh air? Escape Berlin for a few hours and discover nature by the Baltic Sea. Of course, there are plenty of beautiful destinations around Berlin, but if you’d like to wander the beach and experience the water, then a day trip to the Baltic Sea is your best chance. Find a lovely café and enjoy a classic Fischbrötchen (fish sandwich).

You can get to the Baltic Sea easily – in the morning and evening there are buses and trains between the two locations.

Here at Crocodilian, we love a great escape. And to share our knowledge we’ve chosen 7 day trips that are easily accessible without a car. Better yet, in each of the towns the beaches are within walking distance! Leave Berlin in the morning and head towards the Baltic Sea to enjoy many hours of sand and sea. Leave late afternoon to be back in the evening for dinner. Are you ready to pack your things and go?
So without further ado, we present: From Berlin to the Sea – 7 Day Trips to the Baltic Sea

day trips to the baltic sea

Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: TorstenDorran

1. Day trip from Berlin to Warnemünde

For Germans, the former fishing village of Warnemünde is one of the most popular getaways. The long sandy beach is perfect for a stroll. Warnemünde is very easy to reach from Berlin – take the train for maximum comfort, or save money with an inexpensive long-distance bus. You could even pass the time by reading a book or taking a nap before you arrive.

Travel time: approx. 3h
Sightseeing tip: Warnemünde Lighthouse


2. Day trip from Berlin to Zingst

Zingst is located in the far north of the country, in the middle of Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park. To make your day trip to Zingst worthwhile, you should arrive as early as possible. The beach is extensive and untouched, and the surrounding landscape offers pristine views. As an added benefit, the bus arrives directly in the centre of Zingst.

Travel time: from approx. 4h
Sightseeing tip: Max Hünten Haus


3. Day trip from Berlin to Wismar

Arriving at the tranquil station in the Hanseatic city of Wismar, it is worth taking a walk through the old town. To get directly to the beach, you change at the port to one of the regional bus lines. These run several times an hour. It takes approximately 15 minutes to reach Wendorf beach.

Travel time: approx. 4h
Sightseeing tip: Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas Church)


4. Day trip from Berlin to Timmendorfer Strand

Timmendorfer Strand boasts a seven-kilometre-long stretch of sand with typical beach huts and a sophisticated atmosphere. In the popular village there are numerous quaint stores to wander and shop. After a long stroll, numerous restaurants and cafés on the waterfront invite you to relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Travel time: approx. 3.5h
Sightseeing tip: Hafen Niendorf (Niendorf Harbour)


5. Day trip from Berlin to Usedom

Bus and train travel directly from Berlin to Heringsdorf on Usedom: the second largest island in Germany. It’s easy to forget the noise of city as you pass the beautiful pier, on the beach of Heringsdorf.

Travel time: from approx. 3h
Sightseeing tip: Villa Irmgard


6. Day trip from Berlin to Ueckermünde

Particularly worthwhile in terms of history is a day trip to Ueckermünde. In around two and a half hours you can get from Berlin to Ueckermünde Stadthafen via Pasewalk. You can stroll through the dreamy old town towards the beach, which promises even more relaxing walks.

Travel time: approx. 2.5h
Sightseeing tip: Haffmuseum in the Castle Ueckermünde

day trips to the baltic sea

Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: WaldNob

7. Day trip from Berlin to Rügen

Leave early via train or bus to get to Germany’s largest island Rügen, and the relaxing resort town of Binz. On the way you’ll see the impressive beach promenade, and the many villas that boast typical seaside architecture. City stress? Far away.

Travel time: approx. 4h
Sightseeing tip: Colossus of Prora


Travel Tips:

To book the cheapest and best train or bus tickets, compare prices via GoEuro
Information and timetables available from Fahrplan Guru

Berlin’s Best Museums: 8 Must-See Spots

Berlin boasts a mind-boggling 175 world-class museums. As one of Europe’s cultural capitals, the city offers everything from the historical wonders of the Pergamon Museum, to the acclaimed Daniel Liebskind-designed Jewish Museum. Steeped in history, each location is a treasure trove of monumental architecture juxtaposed alongside contemporary adaptations. Whether you’re a recent arrival, or have been in the city for some time, Berlin’s best museums should be high on your must-see list.

So which spots should you check out? We’ve gathered our 8 favourites. Take a peek below and check out Berlin’s best museums.


Berlin’s best museums

Foto: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

1. New Museum (Neues Museum)

Inside the Neues Museum you’ll encounter one of the Ancient Egypt’s most famous treasures: the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. It’s part of the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, which forms the three-part collection. The impressive prehistoric collection also includes a Neanderthal skull and legendary archeologist Heinrich Schliemann’s Trojan antiquities. The David Chipperfield-designed interior is incredible in its own right. It is truly a joy to wander the various rooms and observe each individual wall’s decorative style.

Where: Neues Museum, Mitte (Museum Island – Bodestrasse 1-3, 10178)
Opening Hours:
Everyday 10 – 18
Thursday 10 – 20
Cost: 12€
More Information: Neues Museum



Berlin’s best museums

Photograph of the ‘Lichthof’ of the Berlin Naturkundemuseum Foto: ilja.nieuwland at English Wikipedia

2. National History Museum (Museum für Naturkunde)

Tristan, as he is affectionately named, is the Museum für Naturkunde’s superstar, and Europe’s only original dinosaur skeleton. The stately façade of this museum leads to over 30 million (and counting) zoological, paleontological, geological and mineralogical specimens; perfect for those with a fascination for all things planet Earth.

Where: Museum für Naturkunde, Mitte (Invalidenstrasse 43, 10115)
Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Friday 9:30 – 18
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10 – 18
Closed Monday
Cost: 8€
More Information: Museum für Naturkunde



Berlin’s best museums

Altar to Zeus in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin Foto: Jan Maksymilian Mehlich

3. Pergamon Museum

The Pergamon was built on Berlin’s Museum Island between 1910 and 1930. It houses some of the most impressive historical wonders of the ancient and modern worlds, including the Pergamon Altar, for example, and the remarkable Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Expect a dazzling array of artefacts from the Middle East, Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt and the Caucasus.

Where: Pergamon Museum, Mitte (Museum Island – Bodestrasse, 10178)
Opening Hours:
Everyday 10 – 18
Thursday 10 – 20
Cost: 12€
More Information: Pergamon Museum



Berlin’s best museums

The Topography of Terror, with the Berlin Wall in the background.
Foto: Kevin Rutherford

4. Topography of Terror

Berlin was a volatile place throughout the 20th century. The Topography of Terror remains one of the city’s most compelling exhibits. Running alongside a remnant of the Berlin Wall, this open air display charts the ride and fall of the Third Reich, offering a profound insight into the events leading up to, and following, the Second World War.

Where: Topography of Terror, Mitte (Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963)
Opening Hours:
Everyday 10 – 20
Cost: Free
More Information: Topography of Terror



Berlin’s best museums

© Jorge Royan http://www.royan.com.ar CC BY-SA 3.0

5. Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum celebrates the social, political and cultural history of Germany’s Jewish populations from the fourth century to the present. Most importantly, it was also constructed to acknowledge and integrate the repercussions of the Holocaust. Designed by revered architect Daniel Liebskind, this is one of Berlin’s best museums and a compelling experience that is also acclaimed for its unique and thought-provoking design.

Where: Jewish Museum Berlin, Kreuzberg (Lindenstrasse 9-14, 10969)
Opening Hours:
Monday: 10 – 22
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 – 20
Cost: 8€
More Information: Jewish Museum Berlin



Berlin’s best museums

The DDR Museum

6. DDR Museum

Here you can sit in a Trabi, or dine at an authentic Soviet-era restaurant. The DDR Museum is located in the heart of the city, and documents life as it was for East Berliners under the DDR regime. This exhibition is an interactive one, and let’s you feel, grasp and play with a number of objects and furnishings.  The museum covers topics such as the Stasi, the Berlin Wall, and the day to day affairs of East Berliners during the Wall years.

Where: DDR Museum, Mitte (Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 )
Opening Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 10 – 20
Saturday: 10 – 22
Cost: 5,50€
More Information: DDR Musuem



Berlin’s best museums

The Frankfurt Kitchen, originally designed by Architect, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
Foto: Jonathan Savoie

7. Museum of Things (Museum der dinge)

The Museum of Things is one of Berlin’s most unique and interesting experiences – a rare exhibition of design and culture from throughout the 20th and 21st century. The museum displays over 20,000 everyday objects centered on the German Werkbund (DWB), which is an association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists that contributed to the creation of the Bauhaus School of Design.

Where: Museum der Dinge, Kreuzberg (Oranienstrasse 25, 10999)
Opening Hours:
Everyday: 12 – 19
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Cost: 6€
More Information: Museum der Dinge



berlin's best museums

Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) (1930), featuring Marlene Dietrich.

8. The German Film Museum (Deutsche Kinemathek)

The German Film Museum’s permanent exhibition spans the entire duration of German film and television. With particular focus on Marlene Dietrich, the exhibit also boasts information relating to the exile of artists to Hollywood during the Nazi era. As well as the permanent exhibition, the museum also offers a regular circulation of temporary exhibits, such as the celebration of 100-year-old UFA production company in Babelsberg.

Where: Deutsche Kinemathek, Tiergarten (Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785)
Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 – 18
Thursday: 10 – 20
Closed Monday
Cost: 7€
More Information:  Deutsche Kinmathek


6 Tips to Survive New Year’s Eve in Berlin

When it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations, none really compare to the sheer chaos and craziness of Berlin. Long before the clock strikes 12am, Berliners will have been ringing in ‘Silvester’ with an inordinate number of explosives, lighting up the streets and sky – terrifying tourists and those unprepared for the ecstatic celebrations.

Fireworks are taken seriously in German cities. Ordinarily illegal, the city lifts its ban for one week after Christmas to allow citizens the chance to purchase their weight in dynamite.

But where did this tradition begin? Harking back to the pagan celebration Rauhnächte, Germanic tribes observed twelve nights of festivity. Known as ‘hairy nights’ due to the woolly figures of winter demons, these nights were considered a moment of realignment between the solar and lunar years. Silvester fell somewhere in the middle of these twelve days, and was the night of the god Wotan’s (a.k.a Odin’s) wild hunt. Firecrackers, drums and chanting were employed to drive away the malevolent spirits, while Germanic Teutons emulated the sun by lighting wooden wheels on fire and rolling them down hills.

These days it isn’t much different. Along with the huge festival by the Brandenburg Gate, large social groups congregate in the streets, tossing firecrackers, releasing explosives and drinking sparkling wine. If you’ve decided to brave the bash, read on below for 6 helpful tips to survive the world’s craziest New Year’s celebration.

3, 2, 1 …let the party begin…

new year's eve

Foto: Ian Schneider

1. Expect the unexpected

The best way to prepare for a New Year’s Eve in Berlin is to expect a few surprises. As the sale of fireworks is legal between Christmas and the new year, every retail outlet, supermarket and corner store transforms into a pop-up ‘Feuerwerk’ emporium.  And don’t expect Berliners to wait until the 31st to release their purchases – the explosions begin as early as the 27th of December and increase in the lead up to NYE. Much like being caught in the eye of the storm, the fireworks tend to cease an hour or two before the countdown, most likely allowing individuals to gather firepower for the main event.

Don’t forget: to pack your sparkling wine

new year's eve

View over Warschauer Brücke. Foto: Max Langelott

2. Keep your eyes and your ears peeled

You’ll hear the fireworks before you see them – thunderous ‘ka-booms’ that resonate for hundreds of metres in every direction. Although Berlin is one of the safest cities in the world, you might be mistaken for thinking you’d ambled into a war zone. Keep your wits about you and avoid stepping on any unexploded ordnances.

Look out for: young children wielding firecrackers

new year's eve

Foto: Zara Walker

3. Prepare yourself

If you’ve not yet experienced a Berlin New Year’s Eve, the best thing you can do is to prepare yourself. Your nerves with be shot, your adrenaline pumping and most likely your ears ringing. Despite the deafening roar of explosions, Berliners generally seem impervious to the ear-splitting noise. Pack yourself some earmuffs to ward off the cold and keep your nerves somewhat intact.

Additional provisions: fire extinguisher, safety goggles and drinking water.

new year's eve

Foto: Gabriel Gurrola

4. Close your apartment doors, windows…and curtains

Over the years a number of horror stories have emerged of individuals who failed to close their flat’s windows before heading out for New Year’s Eve. As you can imagine, fireworks entering one’s furnished flat is highly undesirable, and should be avoided at all costs.

Remember: to close your windows and lock them tight!

new year's eve

5. If you have a car, park it in a garage

Similarly, if you have a vehicle parked in the street, you may want to consider housing it safely overnight in a garage. Stray fireworks, broken glass and other miscellaneous debris can damage your automobile, so parking it securely is the best option.

Tip: drive away…fast!

new year's eve

Foto: Daniel Von Appen

6. Avoid the hotspots

Although the entire city is teeming with people, some areas of Berlin become particularly hectic on New Year’s Eve. Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Neukölln can be especially chaotic, so if you’re looking for a somewhat peaceful evening, these spots should be avoided.

Look out for: Kottbusser Tor, Görlitzer Park, Oberbaumbrücke, Alexanderplatz, Kultur Brauerei, Potsdamer Platz, Ku-Damm, Hermannplatz, Mehringdamm

And of course, if you decide to skip the madness and spend the evening at home, you must follow the German tradition of watching the 1963 TV recording of British comedy sketch ‘Dinner for One’. Rather unknown outside of Germany, it holds the Guinness World Record for Most Frequently Repeated TV Program.

new year's eve

© visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

From all of us here at Crocodilian, we wish you a safe and enjoyable night.

Happy New Year and Glückliches Neues Jahr!

– The Crocodilian Team

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Life in Berlin

There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions we typically overextend ourselves by setting unreachable goals. ‘Spend less, save more’, ‘get fit’, ‘live life to the fullest’, the list of New Year’s resolutions maintains its predictability year after year. So why not set in motion some manageable objectives to jumpstart January with enthusiasm? Below we’ve gathered 7 New Year’s resolutions for life in Berlin – realistic targets that anyone can accomplish, and goals that are not only achievable, but will improve your life in the city.

new year's resolutions

1. Finally learn German

You’ve been so busy reveling in the city’s nightlife, enjoying your furnished flat, making new friends and working that a year (or more) has passed and you still haven’t perfected the native language. Learning German not only facilitates interactions with bureaucratic offices and their associated paperwork, but helps you settle into life in Berlin.

new year's resolutions

2. Immerse yourself in the city’s culture

On average, Berlin has more museums than rainy days. This can be easy to forget thanks to the fact that we dwell within comfort-zones, and that Berlin’s rain feels perpetual.  An outstanding cultural capital, you can make 2018 your year of cultural immersion by purchasing a museum pass and visiting the city’s many attractions.

There are a few options when it comes to buying tickets. If you have an entire weekend to spare and want to skip the queues, look at purchasing a 3-day pass. This 29€ ticket offers access over three consecutive days to 35 different museums, and can be bought online or at any of the participating establishments.

To enjoy art and culture as often as you’d like, consider an annual membership pass. The costs range from 25€ for off-peak entry to permanent exhibitions, and up to 100€ for unrestricted access. Find out more about the annual Staatliche Museen passes here.

There are also a number of museums around the city and regional areas that are free. You can find the list here.

new year's resolutions

3. Get out of Berlin!

With low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet offering budget travel throughout Europe, it’s easy to forget that we some of the best destinations right at our doorstep. Germany is blessed with a wide variety of vibrant international cities, historic towns and picturesque countryside.  Venture out of your comfortably furnished flat in Berlin and take a peek at what Germany has to offer.

If you’re on a budget you might want to consider keeping an eye on Deutsche Bahn’s regular sale tickets (Sparpreis), which provide one-way trips as low as 19,90€ between German cities.

new year's resolutions

Eibsee, Bavaria (roughly 100 km southwest of Munich)

4. De-clutter your flat

Over the course of a year, your furnished apartment or studio in Berlin is likely to have amassed its fair share of domestic miscellany. Unused household items accumulate within cupboards and drawers fill with years’ worth of papers. The advent of a new year is the ideal time to de-clutter your home, focusing on only retaining the necessities.

new year's resolutions

5. Embrace a more ‘Berlin’ wardrobe

Style-wise, Berliners are ahead of the crowd when it comes to an individual, down-to-earth dress-sense.  While the common Berlin ‘uniform’ embraces anything black, shapeless and urban, the reality is that there is freedom to express oneself through fashion. If your old outfits are dull or dowdy, why not replace them with something fresh?

And when better to rejuvenate your wardrobe than the start of a new year? As 2018 approaches, take some time to audit your wardrobe, exchanging old items with new and inspired pieces.

6. Unplug from technology

Our lives are becoming more and more dictated by technology and the internet. As life gets faster, we have fewer moments to focus on ourselves, with things like social media soaking up our free time. Technology, if we let it, easily zaps time from our day – from walking down the street, waiting for a friend or sitting on the train.

If you’re feeling ‘tech-sick’ now is the time to unplug and restart. Take a break from technology and improve your digital health by implementing some restrictions in the new year. You could skip social media during the day, avoid checking your emails when you wake up, or simply shirk smart phones in the bedroom.

new year's resolutions

7. Drink less beer

There’s little doubt that most Berlin citizens who wake (or more aptly go to bed) on New Year’s Day will be starting 2018 with an aching head. Sure, it’s a cliché, but drinking less is certainly something that most individuals will implement come January 1st.

In Germany, beer is more than simply a recreational beverage – it’s a cultural treasure, and something that is well preserved thanks to the over 500 years of Reinheitsgebort (German Beer Purity Law). This law was introduced in 1516 to limit undesirable additives, but also to prevent the price competition of wheat and rye between bakers and brewers. The result is a dependable and high-quality brew which has become synonymous with Germany. Of course, with such superb availability to first-rate beer, there is likely to be a little overindulgence at times.

Start the ball rolling in 2018 by cutting back on beer, and giving your body a revitalised kick-start.

new year's resolutions

Rent a temporary residence in Berlin

Celebrating 100 Years of UFA

Located in historic Potsdam, just a short 30 min train ride from Berlin, you’ll find one of the oldest and most iconic production powerhouses in the world. The Universum Film AG (UFA) was founded on December 18, 1917 – exactly 100 years ago – and its history is as illustrious (and notorious) as the region it calls home.

Producing films since 1912, the Babelsberg Film Studio remains Europe’s oldest and largest studio, covering a floor plan of approximately 25,000 square metres. Despite the ebb and flow of its success and failure over the years, the UFA has proven itself a stubborn brand – an enduring asset to Germany, producing contemporary and historic content for a range of audio-visual platforms.

Established just a year before the end of World War I, the UFA provided greater competition against foreign-made films, while delivering massive publicity to the German Empire’s war efforts. Under the Third Reich, it became the HQ in charge of delivering a pastiche of provocative Nazi-era propaganda.

From the 1920s onwards, the company made headway with popular genre films, successfully competing against the likes of Hollywood’s ‘big-5’ studios. Credited with kick-starting the international careers of many of Germany’s biggest acting exports, the studio also played host to a number of iconic films, including Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel.

To celebrate the studio’s 100-year milestone, an exhibition on the facility has opened at the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum for Film and Television in Berlin – a must see for a taste of Berlin’s, and Germany’s, incredible and at times volatile history.


Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel

Inimitable directors and iconic actors

During the early years UFA supported many groundbreaking directors and producers. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Georg Wilhelm Papst, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang and producer Erich Pommer were among the finest, producing enduring 1920s classics.  Not one to fall victim to changes in technology or trends, UFA moved on to making ‘talkies’ – 1930s sound films that would ensure their relevance in coming decades. It was during this era that Marlene Dietrich received her starring role in Sternberg’s The Blue Angel.


The well-known director Fritz Lang during the shots of the space film “Woman in the Moon”, whose premiere is met with great anticipation.

Political motivations

Born during a politically turbulent era in the country’s history, UFA put German cinema on the map. Demanding international attention and defining itself as a prominent vehicle to voice issues and views, the UFA brand allowed leaders to exert their political influence. Following the end of the war, the studio was able to embrace the 1920s silent-film movement, eventually being rescued from financial ruin in 1927 by Alfred Hugenberg, owner of the powerful media company Scherl Group.  Thanks to Hugenberg’s position as Chairman of the German National People’s Party, in 1933 the company was well placed to serve the goals of Joseph Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda machine. Despite this rather dark time in the company’s history, the business bounced back from ruin yet again, becoming fully privatised in 1956, and continuing to develop new strategies to accommodate a changing media environment.


Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam

The exhibition

From the great highs of altering the cinematic landscape to the troubling lows during the Nazi-controlled 30s and 40s, UFA has proven itself a cultural treasure, as well as a persevering and determined brand. If you’d like to learn more about UFA’s cinematic history, Ufa – The History of a Brand is on at the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum for Film and Television in Berlin from 24 November 2017 to 22 April 2018.

Where: Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Tiergarten (Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin)
When: 24 November 2017 to 22 April 2018
Cost: 7€ (free on Thursdays from 4 – 8pm)


Berlin in 1920: An UFA film set in Tempelhof.

Buying Christmas Trees in Germany: What You Need to Know!

Just like that, the year is almost over, and the 2017 Christmas season is in full swing! There’s nothing quite like the smell of pine needles permeating the living room to cue forthcoming festivity, and with 29,5 million Christmas trees sold in Germany last year, there’s little doubt that the humble Christmas tree remains the most festive and popular December household addition. When buying Christmas trees in Germany, there are a few things you’re going to want to know – check out our definitive guide below…

christmas trees in germany

The humble history of the German Christmas tree

Where exactly did the idea of erecting a tree in one’s living room come from? Thousands of years before the advent of Christianity the Pagans employed branches from Fir trees to brighten the home during solstice. Even the Egyptians added a little greenery in the form of palms to worship their god Ra, as well as the Romans, who decorated their temples during the festival of Saturnalia. The Christmas tree itself however likely became popular in the mid-16th century thanks to Protestant reformer Martin Luther. As the story goes, Luther was walking in the forest a night before Christmas, saw the light shining through the tree branches and went home to tell his children that it reminded him of Jesus. From then on, people took Luther’s lead and added an evergreen tree to their living rooms. Not simply a German tradition, the popularity of adding a tree to one’s living room spread internationally, with the United States and United Kingdom leading the charge.

christmas trees in berlin

Timber versus plastic

Suffice to say, Germans are fond of wood – with over 90 billion old and young spruces, oaks, beeches, and firs throughout Deutschland, the forest is national symbol, the basis for much of the country’s 19th century Romantic-era poetry, fairy tales and legends.

When it comes to the yearly Christmas tree, whether or not to go with real or artificial is a crucial question. There are pros and cons to each. On the one hand, artificial trees can be purchased once and re-assembled each year; you don’t have to water them, and they won’t die if you place them next to your central heating. On the hand, they’re fake, they don’t smell Christmassy, and their eco-friendliness is questionable. In the end, nothing quite beats the smell, feel and cultural appropriateness of a bona fide timber tree.

Varieties, types and options

When it comes to choosing a tree, you’ll find are several types to consider:

  • Nordmann Fir – The most popular Christmas tree, it will last up to six weeks and boasts shiny, soft needles.
  • Noble Fir – With dense blue-green foliage, this is a hardy tree that easily lasts for weeks.
  • Douglas Fir – Not as tough as some other Firs, with a tenancy to drop needles after two to three days.
  • Korean Fir – A less common variety, the Korean Fir is beautiful when cared for well.
  • Red Spruce – Delicate and appealing, the Douglas Fir doesn’t last as long at some other varieties, but is a popular tree offering extremely dense yet slender branches.
  • Black Pine – Not your classic Christmas tree, this variety offers long needles, a pleasant scent and can last for longer than three weeks.

christmas trees in berlin

When to buy…

For years I’ve been a steadfast supporter of waiting until the very last moment to purchase my Christmas tree. This wasn’t out of laziness, but rather to avoid any untimely tree death only days into the festive season. Over time I’ve realised that with the right maintenance and care, a good quality tree can easily live four to six weeks (and sometimes even longer).

What size do I need?

When choosing the size of your tree you’ll want to consider a few things – how large is your flat, is it a furnished apartment, and what is the ceiling height? In Germany you’ll find there are a few different types of apartment buildings: Altbau (old buildings <1949), Neubau (new buildings >1950), Plattenbau (pre-fabricated homes, which often feature low ceiling heights, 1926>) and contemporary construction. Altbauten generally feature higher ceilings, whereas Neubauten and Plattenbauten can have limited ceiling heights. When renting a furnished flat in Berlin, you will need to check your ceiling height to determine the right size for your apartment.

The general rule for purchasing the right Christmas tree size is to pick one that is at least 20cm lower than your ceiling height. Measure your ceiling height with a tape measure to ensure you don’t purchase a tree that is too tall. Of course, the size of your tree will also be influenced by your budget, and a more compact tree can look just as magical when decorated and lit.

Tree size and width will vary depending on variety, but generally come in three options, full, narrow and slim. In furnished flats, you’ll want to consider the diameter of your tree in order to ensure the room remains liveable and comfy.

How much should I pay?

The price of your tree will vary depending on height and shape, but expect to pay between 15€ to 60€ for a 115 to 200cm high Christmas tree. You will also want to invest in a good stand to safely house your tree. I personally like the German-invented Krinner stands, which are simple and easy to use.

christmas trees in germany

So, where do I find my Christmas tree?

If you’ve decided to adorn your Berlin apartment with a living tree, you’ll be wondering where to pick one up. Dedicated Weihnachtsbäummarkts pop up in shopping centre parking lots around the city, and offer a range of differently sized trees. Shops such as Bauhaus and Ikea also offer inexpensive trees, while online purchasing is becoming popular thanks to the added convenience of delivery. If you don’t have time to head out and pick up a tree from the market, check out these online stores: 123Tannenbaum and Tannen Express.

Keep in mind, there’s always the option of renting a tree too. Eco-friendly and sustainable, these rental trees (known as ‘wandering pines’), are in a sense ‘recyclable’, dug out of the ground with their roots intact, put into pots, and then replanted once the season is over. However, warm conditions of apartments over winter can easily destroy the tree’s delicate root system. To combat this, most companies acclimatise their trees to the heat first, and reacclimatise them to the cold afterwards. Once they’re replanted, they’ll recover for two years, before being dug up for another season. Check out Paderbäumchen and Green Tree for more info on rental trees.

Now I’ve got a tree, how do I get it home?

Obviously, this will depend on where you purchase it, and how far away from your flat it is. Most likely, a local tree market will be a short walk from home, and the tree can simply be carried back to your furnished apartment. If you live further away, you can rent a furniture taxi, or sign up for a car-share service such as DriveNow or Car2Go.

Placement and keeping it fresh

The secret to a lush Christmas tree is all in the care and maintenance. You’ll want to pay attention to where you locate your tree, along with how often you water it, what you feed it and, most surprisingly, how you decorate it (hot lights can dry out the branches).

The most common varieties of Christmas trees (fir, pine and spruce) don’t live long when exposed to hot temperatures. To combat your tree’s premature passing you’ll want to ensure you keep it away from excess heat. Opt for a cool and dark space away from damaging daylight or heaters. Additionally, watering your Christmas tree will ensure your Berlin apartment looks green and vibrant throughout the season. For a medium sized tree (approx.160cm) about two litres of water per day should do it. If you’re looking to be more specific the average tree absorbs about 950ml for each 2,5cm of its diameter.

Feeding your tree is a contentious issue. Some swear by it, and others deem it unnecessary. I heard of a range of options from commercial tree preservers to homemade preparations such as lemonade, glycerine, corn syrup and even aspirin. Personally, I don’t do it. Any living Christmas trees I’ve purchased have easily survived the full season with only daily watering.

christmas trees in germany

Decorating a Christmas tree

Essentially, there are no rules as to when you can purchase and start decorating your tree. Traditionally, twelve days before Christmas was a popular time, whereas some put would start on December 6 in honour of Saint Nicholas. If you’re Catholic, you might wait until after noon on Christmas Eve. As with many traditions, they tend to fade over time, and these days it’s very much up to the individual. As a keen observer of all things Christmas, I generally aim to have a tree up in the first week of December, as soon as I locate a suitable one to lug home.

As well as baubles and tinsel, lighting is an important consideration when decorating your tree. Choose small LED lights that will emit a low heat, ensuring your tree doesn’t dry out prematurely.

Got a large budget to work with, and no time to decorate? These days there are plenty of services that offer pre-adorned Christmas trees to time-poor consumers. Expect to spend upwards of 200€ depending on the style and choice of decorations. Check out Weihnachts Baumversand (Germany-wide service) and Tannen Paradies (Berlin and Brandenburg).

Disposal and recycling

Two of the most common questions surrounding Christmas trees in Germany are when to take down your tree, and what happens to them once the season is over.

The traditional time to take down it down is January 6, aka Three Kings Day. Known also as Epiphany or Dreikönigsstag in Germany, this traditionally marks the twelfth day after the birth of Christ and the day the Magi (the Wise Men) arrived at the manger in Bethlehem.

But what do you do with it then? Depending on your district, the local council stipulate certain days where they will pick up your tree from the side of the road. You can find the scheduled dates here, or enter your address via this website. Remember to leave them un-bagged, un-crushed and by the road no later than six o’clock the morning of the pick up! Once your tree is collected they will be shredded and used to generate ‘green’ energy – offering a substitute to fossil fuels, an eco-friendly contribution to the energy grid.

As for all those unsold Christmas trees, for the last several years the Berlin council has repurposed them as elephant fodder, with the Tierpark Zoo taking the festive foliage and gifting it to their African and Asian elephants as a fun snack.

It’s good to know that everyone gets to enjoy the nourishing goodness of a Christmas tree in Berlin come Christmas time.

From all of us at Crocodilian, we hope yours is particularly special.

Merry Christmas, and Frohe Weihnachten!

– The Crocodilian Team

christmas trees in germany