Temporary Furnished Accommodaton in Berlin

Temporary Furnished Apartments: When does the tenant have to pay VAT (Mehrwertsteuer)?

Rollable room divider to seperate bedroom  from living room area

Why do tenants have to pay Value-Added Tax (VAT) when renting a temporary apartment in Germany?

Tenants renting a temporary apartment often have to pay VAT if they rent the apartment for less than 6 months and one day. The reduced VAT rate for short-term rentals is 7%. Otherwise private rentals and temporary apartments are not subject to VAT.

This is not because the landlord or the agencies want to charge this, instead the legislative authorities have agreed upon this charge and landlords are often asked to pay it by the fiscal authorities. For the tax office, renting a temporary furnished apartment is similar to renting a holiday home. It does not matter whether the tenant is in Berlin for professional or educational reasons.

 

What does this mean for the Tenant?

It means that the landlord adds, in addition to the rent, the reduced VAT rate to the overall total. This will then be shown separately in the contract. If you are self-employed, entitled to reclaim VAT, or when a company rents, it can be regarded as a transitory item. By private tenants, this is not the case.

The good news: although the rent increases by 7% per month with this tax, the final price for staying in temporary apartments is still a lot cheaper than staying in a serviced apartment, hotel, or holiday home. If you only rent for a few months, 7% VAT is not actually so much.

 

What happens if you extend your rental contract?

Those new to Berlin often rent temporary furnished apartments for a relatively short period of time when they arrive. They hope to find their own unfurnished apartment quickly. This is often more difficult than expected. The rent price has increased the past few years and yet the demand is still greater than what is available. Temporary tenants then decide it may be better to stay put and extend the lease on their temporary furnished apartment. This can happen, once, twice, or sometimes even more. In total their rental period could stretch up to a year or more. In any case, it is greater than the aforementioned 6 months. Theoretically, the tenant should then be exempt from paying VAT.

Sometimes the tax office agrees with this line of thought, however sometimes it does not. The tax office usually calculates from the original agreement – this would be the original short-term rental agreement. This depends on the individual tax offices and tax officer however, and cannot be generalised.

Our Tips for Short-Term Tenants

  • If VAT is added to the rental price, why not consider seeing if you can commit to 6 months + straight away?
  • Talk to the landlord or your rental agency. Often you can find a solution and make the total extension of your contract more than 6 months.

A Renter’s Guide to Water Sustainability in Berlin

penguin2

Thinking about the Environment when Renting a Temporary Apartment in Berlin: Save and Protect Water.

Everyone should be responsible for how we use our resources. It doesn’t matter whether you are the tenant or the owner of the apartment. Usually, when the bill for the utilities arrives, everyone has the intention to consume heat and electricity more ecologically for the coming year.

Temporary tenants can also take notice of this – even if you rent a furnished apartment and on the expose it states ‘inc. additional costs’. Tenants can use energy and all other resources, like water sustainably. Not only will your landlord thank you, but the environment will too.

 

This article will explore the theme of water sustainability.  And the question: Is saving water actually even an issue in Germany?

Germany is actually a water-rich country with many rivers and lakes and certainly does not suffer from water shortage. That is true even though every German, or those living in Germany, consume around 120-190 Litres of water a day.

There is good news though. Water consumption in Germany is declining! As we can see then the problem does not lie with water consumption itself. The problem is actually the use of warm water – especially because this needs more energy. As a result this costs more money. More money that your landlord, and at the end of the day, you as a tenant have to pay.

 

Be careful. The amount of water used is not the problem; instead it’s the associated energy costs. This distinction is important because saving cold water can actually be counterproductive. This is especially noticeable when using things such as the ‘eco’ flush button on the toilet. It is certainly meant well, but can actually leave debris and sediments in the pipes and lead to blockages in the sewage system. This may also sound absurd, but the more cold water is saved, the more the prices rise. The reason for this is the fact that the water and sewage system in Germany is oversized. The system has to be maintained and the water must continually flow and be used.

 

Here are our tips on saving hot water and handling water in an environmentally friendly way!

Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.

It is ecologically more sensible to use dishwashers and washing machines than to wash by hand. This is only the case when they are full. Running them when they are half full will offset the benefits.

Take showers instead of baths.

For a full bath you need 140 litres of hot water. For a shower you need a lot less. From 15 minutes of showering you only use 15 litres of hot water.

 

Take an ‘eco’ shower.

Only let the water run for as short a time as possible and switch off the water when you are soaping yourself! A water-saving showerhead will also reduce the usage of water.  You can ask your landlord if they will buy one for your temporary furnished apartment. They will most likely be supportive of your proposal.

 

So that is all for now on hot water and saving costs.

Now we will address the issue of the water cycle. As already mentioned, Germany has sufficient water reserves and even used water is re-added to the system. Of course it has to be cleaned first and this is where you can help.

 

Only use ecologically friendly cleaning materials without harmful chemicals.

Did you know that chemical cleaning materials can damage many surfaces?

They are also harmful to the environment.

 

Don’t use the toilet as a dustbin!

You can forget tips that tell you to save water by using the ‘eco’ flush. Flushing the toilet normally and allowing the water to flow through the pipes regularly is better than stoppages building up and having to use chemicals to clear them.

 

The following things don’t belong in the toilet:

  • Leftover food and oil: it’s dangerous and can block the pipes.
  • Even if you are staying in a temporary apartment and the pipes get damaged then you still bear the costs if the pipes need repairing.
  • Medical products: they can’t be filtered out of the system and will end up in the water and lakes. It’s better to take any medical products that are out of date or no longer needed back to the Pharmacy.

Avoid Microplastics:

Microplastics are small plastic balls that are found in many cosmetic products, like peeling cream, shower gels etc. They can’t be filtered out during the filtering process and eventually end up in the stomachs of wildlife. Wild animals often die due to a variety of plastic waste contamination.

Tip: Try to use ecologically friendly cosmetic products.

Not only cosmetics but also synthetic clothing is a problem. When washing functional clothing, polyester etc. parts of the fabric break off and enter the water cycle. Washing machines can’t filter these out. This is only possible when you use a special washing bag. You can buy one yourself and it is actually quite cheap at around €30.

Pass the mic and tell your friends!!

Save warm water and put no chemicals or waste into the water system.

If you follow these tips then you will use water sustainably, save money, and protect the water system and wildlife.

Categories: Uncategorized

How to Find a Job in Berlin

How to Find a Job in Berlin – Our Insider Tips from the Professionals

®SebraFotolia
Have you recently moved to Berlin and are wondering what is the best way to find a job in this busy and exciting 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.

Here at Crocodilian, Berlin’s leading furnished apartment rental agency, we receive many job applications every month. In order to help you in your search for a new job, we decided to give you a few tips on how you can improve.

If you are coming from abroad 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. We will guide you through some essential steps and give you some insider tips to finding a Job in Berlin, with specific tools on how to ‘wow’ German Employers, make a great German CV,  and to master your interview and important post interview tips.

The applications we get range from the very good to the very bad. In order to increase your success of getting an interview or landing the position, we have provided some steps you can take in order to send in a top quality application:

Popular Job Databases
The Alternative Method: Contact Companies Directly
Improve Your German
Create A Successful Convincing Cover Letter
Make an Outstanding German Style CV
Focus on Your CV Layout
References or an Arbeitzeugnisse
What German Employers are often Suspicious of
Don’t Hit ‘Send’ yet!
Do Research on the Company
Prepare Engaging Questions for your Interview
Be Your Authentic Self
Dress for the Part
Post Interview Task
Be Open to Working Different Kinds of Jobs

 

The Best Platforms for Finding a Job

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 to find a job. (If you’re already a pro and know where to go, simply skip this first step! )

Below, you will find a list of the best places to search for jobs in your field, offering a wide selection of positions and in many different languages:

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)

LinkedIn (Germand 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)

These lists are not exhaustive, however as you have seen there are many opportunities available.

If you’ve already scanned through the job search platforms and have not found what you are looking for, there is an alternative route.

 

The Alternative Method: Contact Companies Directly

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 for a Job

 

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 . It can not be stressed enough, without German you have to have expert experience in your field to be considered for a top-paying job.

 

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:

 

Create a Successful Convincing Cover Letter

Your Cover Letter should never be generic or copy and pasted, from 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. You should 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.If you can not find it here, phone the company number and ask who you should send the job application to. 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. This is something that is integral in the application process, as the employer will have little interest unless you are realistic in your expectations.

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.

 

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. If you are a foreigner applying for a job in Germany, it will be noticed if you have adopted your CV to fit the expected standards.

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, and not a selfie from your smartphone.

 

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 and leave the Hiring Manager impressed.

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.

 

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 reading. 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. More pages and the Hiring Manager will start to look elsewhere.

 

Include References or an Arbeitzeugnisse in your Application

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. These are an essential part of the evaluation process in Germany. A great reference could be the big difference in you finding a job in Berlin over someone else.

 

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. This all ties back to the way you present your CV. If the job is not relevent don’t include it in your application.

 

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
  • 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 the same 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…

break2
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!

 

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 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 Job 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…

Do your Research on the Company


Know who their competitors are, who their target audience is etc. If you don’t, it will be obvious you did zero research and you will be out of the running. This is one of the major turn-offs for hiring managers, as it seems you couldn’t be bothered to put a little basic research in to the job your are applying for.

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?

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.

 

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:

Post Interview Task

This part is important, so take notice.

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.

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 Conclude…

Berlin may seem like a tough place to get started – but stay determined, you will find a job.

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 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 Insurance for Your 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 happens 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 you, the tenant would be responsible for. And what would be the worst case scenario? Your downstairs neighbours’ apartment is now damaged or affected as well.

But beware: not all damages are always insured. A distinction is made between damage to the stationary 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 keep an amount of your deposit until everything has been taken care of through insurance and the damage is fixed.

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, 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 obtaining liability insurance is a residence in Germany. You must already be registered in Germany. (Completed your Anmeldung) As well, 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 lived in the rented apartmen for some time.

 

Advantages of Liability 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

THINGS YOU SHOULD ALSO TAKE NOTE OF:

  • 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:

Haftpflichtversicherung

 

 

 

 

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

invoices

 

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:

 

invoice

 

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:

Verbling
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:

Mitte
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)

Friedrichshain
speakeasy Berlin (Warschauer Str. 36, 10243)

Kreuzberg
Sprachpunkt (Lausitzer Str. 13, 10999)

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

Schöneberg
Alpadia (Hauptstraße 23-24, 10827)

Wedding
IIK berlinerID (Oudenarder Str. 16, 13347)

Charlottenburg
Steinke-Institut (Wilmersdorfer Str. 58, 10627)

Wilmersdorf
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