Temporary Furnished Accommodaton in Berlin

VAT for furnished flats rented out temporarily?

Please note: This article reflects the opinion of Crocodilian. This is no legally binding information.
As a temporary housing agency, we cannot and must not advise you on tax issues.

Do landlords of a furnished apartment have to pay VAT? If so, when exactly? Is it also possible to let an apartment temporarily without paying 7% VAT?

Umsatzsteuer möblierte Wohnung auf Zeit

Many landlords of Crocodilian ask us these questions. Most landlords would like to avoid the value added tax and/or do not want to concern themselves at all closer with this topic.
In addition, they also fear that their apartment will be too expensive for private tenants if 7% VAT is added to the rental price or that the rentability of the apartment will be restricted as a result. Under certain circumstances the landlords can even profit from the VAT obligation. The 7% input tax of your rental income can then be offset against the input tax of agency fees, other current expenses, or the acquisition costs for furniture and equipment.
The question as to whether temporary letting is subject to VAT cannot be answered in general. It always depends on the individual case.

Our tip: Clarify all detailed questions to the VAT with your tax consultant.

  1. No VAT for renting out furnished apartments
    Good news: If your income from temporary rentals is less than 17500 euros and you do not expect to earn more than 50,000 euros in the following year, you will not be liable to VAT. Then you are subject to the small business regulation §19 (1) UStG anyway. However, this only applies if you do not receive any further income from other entrepreneurial activities.
  2. Higher total turnover and other entrepreneurial activities
    If the landlord is entrepreneurial, the situation is different. In this case the turnover limits of 17500 and 50 000 Euro do not only refer to the turnover achieved with the letting. Here the total turnover is decisive, i.e. all income which the landlord earns through entrepreneurial activities. These will then very probably exceed the 50,000 euro limit. This means that the landlord is no longer subject to the small business regulation. In this case he must calculate with 7% VAT on the rent, e.g. when letting of a vacation home to tourists.

What are the legal requirements for temporary rentals?

In Berlin, the ban on misappropriation of apartments (Zweckentfremdungsverbot) has already been in force for several years. Accordingly, landlords may not rent to tourists without a permit, but only to people who come to Berlin to work or to trainees.
The target group for temporary accommodation in Berlin are people who would like to live in Berlin for a longer period of time and who also register here. The vast majority of tenants register, because without an address they cannot open a bank account, get no Schufa and also no mobile phone contract.

Difference of long- and short-term letting

The legislator distinguishes between long-term and short-term rentals, normal, permanent rentals and short-term rentals (“rentals of residential and dormitories for short-term accommodation”).
There is no sales tax on normal, long-term letting of residential space.

Short-term rentals – include:

  • Letting of holiday apartments to tenants who are “for pleasure” temporary in Berlin
  • Letting to persons who work in Berlin for a limited period of time. For example, the tenant has a three-month work stay in Berlin and then returns to his home town.

Indications of long-term, “permanent” letting are the following:

  • Either the tenant is staying in Berlin for more than 6 months
  • Or the tenant is in Berlin, has a job here, is registered in Berlin and pays taxes here.

Tip for landlords of furnished apartments:

Talk to your tax advisor

Most tax consultants, if they are not specialized in real estate, are understandably not familiar with temporary letting. Therefore, the question of whether 7% VAT has to be charged on the rent is usually answered in the affirmative.
It would be useful if you explained this leasing model to the tax consultant. The tax office has a lot of room for manoeuvre, so it is worth considering details instead of classifying everything as a short-term letting.
For tenants who rent on a temporary basis, the rented apartment is the first place of residence. The amount of tenants who only spend a short time in Berlin to work here for a limited period is much lower.
Many tenants first rent for a few months and then extend their lease again and again. Most tenancy agreements include an extension option. In our opinion, the extension option also contradicts the short-term nature of the lease.


As a small entrepreneur with a maximum rent of 17500 Euro – and no further income from commercial activities, you are not subject to sales tax.
All other landlords with higher incomes should consult their tax consultant and explain the rental model in detail.

Categories: Uncategorized

Wedding – the Insider Tip for Temporary Rentals in Berlin

Wedding is the insider tip for temporary living. If you are moving to Berlin and still want to get to know the original Berlin and a largely authentic neighborhood, Wedding is a good choice. Gentrification in Wedding is still not very advanced and living space is still cheaper than in other districts.
Wedding also surprises newcomers with many large parks that invite them to relax and unwind. Those interested in culture will find something interesting in Wedding, off the beaten track.

Questions about living in Wedding are answered here


1.) Is temporary or permanent living in Wedding expensive?
2.)Is it Wedding or “der” Wedding – “in” Wedding or “im” Wedding
3.) Does one live centrally in Wedding? What is the connection like?
4.) Who lives in Wedding?
5.) How do you live in Wedding?
6.) What are the shopping possibilities in Wedding?
7.) What can you do in Wedding?
8.) Who likes to live in Wedding?
9.) Is living in Wedding dangerous?
10.) Are there many tourists in Wedding?
11.) What sights are there in Wedding?


1.) Is temporary or permanent living in Wedding expensive?

The rent level has also risen in Wedding in recent years. However, on average it is still below the Berlin average. If you are looking for a cheap, furnished apartment for a limited period of time or an apartment for an indefinite rent, you will be more likely to find it in Berlin Wedding than in other parts of the city. However, there are exceptions here as well, namely apartments that are absolutely overpriced. On average, Berlin Wedding offers a good price-performance ratio.


House in Wedding


2.) Is it Wedding or “der” Wedding – “in” Wedding or “im” Wedding?

Correctly one says “the Wedding” and “in the Wedding”. The Berliner also says “uff’m Wedding”. Wedding is one of the few place names in German that have an article.


3.) Does one live centrally in Wedding? What is the connection like?

Since 2002, Wedding has officially belonged to the Mitte district, although Mitte has a completely different character. The good thing about Wedding is its central location. With the U6 you are in Mitte, Kreuzberg, with the U4 in City West, with the tram M13 in Friedrichshain at the Warschauerstr. Not to forget the connection to the Ringbahn with the S-Bahn stations Wedding and Gesundbrunnen. From Wedding you can also quickly reach Berlin Tegel Airport. This location is extremely practical for those of you who rent an apartment for a limited period and are weekend home flyers.


Malplaquetstr Berlin Wedding


4.) Who lives in Wedding?

Wedding is a multi-cultural district. 48% of all residents have a migration background.
The residents of Wedding come from abroad:
– Germany: 52
– Turkey: 8% Africa: 6%
– Africa: 6% Arab states
– Arabic states: 6%
– Poland: 6 %
– former Yugoslavia: 5%.
– former SU: 2%
– Asia: 4% The Wedding is still
Wedding is still a working class district, or a district of small people. In addition, Wedding is the most popular neighbourhood among students, just behind Neukölln.
n-between, more and more artists, young people and even higher earners are discovering the special charm of Wedding for themselves and moving to the neighbourhood. Here, too, you will find original cafes, speciality cafes, second-hand shops and organic shops.


Cafe im Wedding


5.) How do you live in Wedding?

In Wedding, in the southern part adjacent to the centre, you will find the typical Berlin apartment buildings with backyards. Many of them were demolished in the 60s and 70s. One example is the infamous Meyers Hof in Ackerstr. 132, an extremely densely built-up tenement with six backyards. In Wedding these buildings were replaced by modern social housing buildings.
In the northern part of Wedding there are many settlements from the 20s and 30s, such as the African Quarter and the settlement Schillerpark.


Obst - und Gemüsegeschäft in Berlin Wedding



6.) What are the shopping possibilities in Wedding?

Wedding is a good place for shopping. Especially fruit and vegetables. For vegetarians, vegans and fruit and vegetable lovers, living in Wedding is highly recommended. You only have to be strong when passing the Halal butcher’s shops. In addition to the many Turkish fruit and vegetable traders, there is also a wide range of weekly markets, including organic markets, such as the market at Rathaus Wedding Center, Ostender Str, Leopoldplatz, Gesundbrunnen (Iranian/Reinickendorfer Str) and Nettelbeckplatz. The prices are moderate and lower than in other parts of the city.
The main shopping street is Müllerstraße. A branch of the Karstadt department store chain is also located here. A large shopping center is located at the S-Bahn station Gesundbrunnen.


Rehberge Wedding



7.) What are the shopping possibilities in Wedding?

– Walking, doing sports, lazing around in the park
Many people think of Wedding as grey rental cash registers. Very few people know that Wedding is a very green district with many parks. Why take long journeys to the Tiergarten when the most beautiful parks are around the corner? The largest is the landscape park Rehberge, where you will find lakes, natural meadows and many trees. There is also a zoo, an open-air cinema and many sports facilities. The Goethepark is located next to Rehberge. In the English quarter you will find the Schillerpark and further east the Humboldthain.
– Swimming in the Plötzensee


Rehberge Berlin Wedding Wiese


8.) Who likes to live in Wedding?

Turkish fruit and vegetable shops, Arab hairdressers, Indian restaurants, Asian supermarkets. All this can be found in Wedding. And people from all over the world. Other districts may be more beautiful, and in fact it’s not always love at first sight with most Wedding fans. But once you’ve fallen for the rough charm of Wedding, you usually don’t want to leave. Here you’ll find what often doesn’t exist anymore in other districts: A colourful mixture of different cultures, diversity and authenticity. If you like that, you will feel at home in Wedding.



9.) Is living in Wedding dangerous?

Wedding doesn’t have the very best reputation. Most of those who talk badly about Wedding have not been there themselves yet. Even many Berliners know Wedding only from stories.
The crime rate in Wedding is indeed higher than in Berlin as a whole. That doesn’t mean, of course, that temporary living in Wedding is unsafe. The crime rate in Berlin is below that of other European and other metropolises. You are right in Wedding if you know how to interpret statistics. And if you are aware of the fact that you have to protect yourself from pickpockets everywhere and also lock the apartment door.




10.) Are there many tourists in Wedding?

No. Tourists are mainly to be found at “Berliner Unterwelten”, in the Bernauer Str. memorial centre (the centre is in Wedding, the death strip in the centre) and in the Mauerpark between Wedding and Prenzlauer Berg. However, Wedding is not yet on the tourist route – no hop on hop-off bus stops there. You can still experience the authentic Wedding and discover it for yourself.


11.) What sights are there in Wedding?

Wedding does not offer the usual tourist attractions. In addition to the “Berlin Underworlds”, the Wall Memorial and the Wall Park, there is interesting architecture, for example. In the 20 years Wedding was avant-garde. New living was the buzzword. After the 1st World War there was a great housing shortage. Here, the best architects built apartments for workers – including Bruno Taut, the Friedrich-Ebert-Siedlung and the Schillerpark estate. One of the most famous architects of the 20th century, Mies van der Rohe, also stands on the African Road. In contrast to the tenements of that time – 40% of the apartments consisted of one room, the WC was located on half a staircase in the staircase and was shared with other tenants, these houses were extremely comfortable in terms of size and equipment. In addition, they still look modern.
Also of interest are the Wedding Crematorium in Antonstr., Berlin’s first crematorium, built in 1910, now a cultural centre, and the Old Nazareth Church in Schinkel dating from 1835.


Berlin Wedding

Storage Space in a Furnished Apartment

Are you moving to a new city and looking for a temporary furnished apartment for the transition? The question quickly arises: where to put your own furniture, books, clothes, personal items and your own household? What is the best solution here? Move with everything or store everything? Or maybe sublet your own apartment with all your inventory?
Before you make a decision here, you should know what is not possible if you rent an apartment on time. Bringing your entire household with furniture into the rented apartment is a no-go. Temporary living is not meant for that. The idea is: the tenant arrives with one or two suitcases and everything he needs for the next few months is available in the apartment.

Storage space in furnished apartment

1. What do I do with my own Furniture if I rent an Apartment for a limited Period of Time?

Apartments that are rented out furnished for a limited period of time are usually fully and not partially furnished.
The tenancy agreement also stipulates that the tenant may not change the furniture or move furniture. Nor is it permissible to store the furniture of the furnished apartment externally or in the cellar and to bring your own furniture with you instead. By the way, cellars are not rented out with the time rental. Therefore you should store your own furniture etc., but not bring it with you to Berlin.

2. Why do Landlords not rent out the Cellar of a furnished Flat?

In Berlin, the cellars in old buildings are often damp and not suitable for storing furniture, books, clothing and everything that gets moldy. Cellars often also smell slightly musty. In addition, cellars can be flooded both in old and new buildings.

Burglaries in cellars are also quite common in Berlin. Valuable objects, and/or everything, on which one hangs, should be stored therefore as well as not in the cellar. The household contents insurance of the landlord would not step in in case of theft of the objects of the tenant and with flooding by the way and an own household contents insurance, only because of the cellar, is not worthwhile for tenants on time (in contrast to the liability insurance, which is important for living on time). After all, the household contents, i.e. the entire furnishings, are the property of the landlord.

3.Is there enough Storage Space in furnished Flats for a certain Period of Time?

Storage space for clothing is always available in temporary flats. For larger apartments more, for smaller apartments less. Practically all apartments above a certain size have a wardrobe. Only in exceptional cases can you find a clothes rail. In larger flats there are often further clothes – or closets, sometimes also storerooms. These are particularly suitable for packing suitcases away. 4.
4 What should and what can I bring with me if I rent a furnished apartment for a limited period?

Temporary flats have everything you need for your daily life: Bed linen, towels, dishes, cutlery, pots, pans, kettles, toasters, tumble dryers, irons and ironing boards. Actually you don’t need to bring anything at all.

Our Tips:

Store your furniture and everything you don’t need immediately and organize your move only after you have found a permanent home.
Is there too little storage space in the apartment? Then it’s best to talk to the landlord. Many landlords are willing to buy additional furniture. However, this usually requires the tenant to rent the apartment for a longer period of time.
Do not bring your own furniture with you.

Furnished flats in Berlin Wilmersdorf

Furnished Apartments Berlin Mitte

Furnished Aparment in Berlin Charlottenburg

Furnished Flat in Berlin Tiergarten

Furnished Flat Berlin Friedrichshain

Furnished Apartment Berlin Schoeneberg





10 Important Facts about Furnished Apartments that might surprise you when you first move to Germany

Are you moving to Germany for the first time? Then read on …

We have gathered for you 10 Facts about Furnished Apartments in Berlin and in the rest of Germany that you might find surprising

Shark Armchair



1.) Apartments in Germany are not numbered.

You have rented a furnished apartment online and you have received the address of your temporary home, but the number of the apartment is missing! This is no mistake, apartments in Germany don’t have numbers.

How do you find your apartment then?
You mainly need the name on the doorbell or additional information of the apartment’s location.  For example: front house, side building, garden building or floor number.


2.) Air conditioning

Air condition is a frequent request from Americans who search for furnished apartments in Berlin.
Unfortunately, apartments in Berlin (and the rest of Germany) do not have air conditioners. There are a few exceptions though– Some very expensive luxury flats have them.
However, it is safe to say that you won’t need air conditioning anyway. The temperature in Germany is rarely hot enough to require an air conditioner, even if it’s hot outside.


3.) Small Refrigerators

Americans often search for the fridge in our photos. Yes, it is always there – fridges are standard items for furnished apartments, but the standard size of a German fridge is much smaller than the American model. Unless you rent a large and more expensive family apartment.
You can always find supermarkets within walking distance (you don’t even need a car) so there is no need for a large fridge anyway.


4.) Number of Rooms

In Germany, we count the number of rooms, not the bedrooms. For example, a 2-room apartment is an apartment with one bedroom and a living/dining room. The kitchen does not count as a room.
If you are searching for a 2-bedroom apartment, you have to go for a 3-room apartment.


5.) Washing machine – but not always a dryer

A washing machine is a standard item for a furnished flat, a dryer is not. You most often find dryers in larger apartments where there is enough space or in luxury flats.


6.) Owners always pay an agency fee

In Germany, it is always the landlord who pays the agency fee. Everything else is now illegal. Brokers, platforms etc. cannot even ask for a handling fee from the tenant.


7.) Heating

All apartments have a heating system – either gas, central, underfloor heating etc.
However, since energy is very expensive in Germany, we recommend tenants to obtain additional information on how to stay resourceful and  environmentally conscious. For example:  Always use the thermostat and don’t regulate the temperature by leaving windows open for long periods of time.


8.) Airing and Venting

Whether you rent a furnished or unfurnished apartment: Airing and venting is always a must. Tenants have to air and vent daily to prevent humidity from building up. At least 10 minutes a day  should do the trick. Don’t forget to air and vent after you have taken a shower.


9.) Windows open differently

In the US, UK and in Scandinavia you mostly find sash windows. But not here in Germany. We have casement windows which guarantee good insolulation and are energy efficient. The advantage if casement windows: You can swing the entire window open which is a plus when airing and venting the apartment :-)
Casement windows are also much safer. Casement windows are difficult to break into. The casement locks are hook-shaped, and these hooks are embedded within the frame. You can open the window only from the inside, unless you leave the window in a tilted position. This should be avoided, if your apartment is located on the ground floor etc.


10.) Recycling Bins

All apartment buildings in Berlin and the rest of Germany have material-specific recycling bins. It is common practice to separate plastics, papers, and compost materials and to dispose of them in their designated bins. Not only does this keep our trash neatly organized, but it helps at reducing the environmental impact as well.

Anything you find surprising?  We’d love to hear from you!

Explore East Germany: 7 Day Trips from Berlin

Das Terassenufer DresdenThe “Terassenufer” in Dresden

Despite Berlin having it all, even the older city-dwellers enjoy a break out of the city to see something new. This selection of day trips from Berlin, ranging from a snappy 20-minute RegionalBahn train for a cosy Christmas market, to just under 3 hours to wonder at impressive fairytale-like castles that Germany has to offer.

The Crocodilian team has come up with 7 particularly photogenic destinations you can travel to by train, without even stepping in the car. In all of these cities and towns there is plenty to see and do. These day trips include something for everyone: sight-seeing, people-watching in cafés, or simply taking in all the scenery by taking a stroll through them. For nature lovers, we include an added-extra day trip idea in the east of Germany.

City Distance from Berlin Travelling time from Berlin Average price
1. Potsdam 35 km 0:22h 8 EUR
2. Leipzig 191 km 1:15h 26 EUR
3. Erfurt 310 km 1:44h 30 EUR
4. Dresden 193 km 1:51h 30 EUR
5. Görlitz 216 km 2:39h 44 EUR
6. Schwerin 224 km 2:52h 27 EUR
7. Lübbenau,
97 km 1:24h 20 EUR


From 20 minutes to just under 2 hours’ travel time

Day trip from Berlin nach Potsdam


Just a stone’s throw away from Berlin, Potsdam is in the C region meaning you can travel there in just 22 minutes for just 3.40 (around £3), making it an absolute steal for a day trip away. Not only can you stroll through the magnificent gardens around Sanssouci Palace in summer, in winter you sip a Gluehwein as can walk around the cosy christmas market square. The square itself is surrounded by houses boasting timber framing, glowing amber from the inside in the evenings.

Day trip from Berlin nach Leipzig

Leipzig Altstadt

Steading moving more into the spotlight due to its techno scene, just 1 hour 15 minutes away is Leipzig, an up-and-coming city often considered as Berlin’s younger cousin. This short train journey is easy to make from the capital city.  History fans are in for a treat due to its selection of unique museums including: the secret military bunker, Museum in der “Runden Ecke”, which contains equipment used by the Stasi police, and finally you can visit the iconic neon billboard of the Löffelfamilie, originating from the former East Germany.


Day trip from Berlin nach Erfurt

Erfurt Kraemerbruecke

This medieval town has a beautiful fortress called the Zitadelle Petersberg, a 36-hectare citadel which has been well looked-after to preserve its original architecture.  A must-see place which is particularly unique is the Krämerbrücke. Here, locals including shopkeepers are even living on the bridge itself. The idyllic half-timbered houses run along both sides of the bridge, making it a perfect photo-opportunity. Stop by Goldhelm Schokolade to try their hand-made chocolates, sit next to Der Sandmann on his bench or go see the puppet maker, where children get a mini fairytale told to them by the puppets for a 1.

Day trip from Berlin nach Dresden

Dresden Neumarkt

From the Kunsthofpassage to the Green Vault, Dresden is rich in culture, history and sightseeing opportunities. It is the home of the Opera House, Semperoper, a beautiful concert hall with baroque revival and renaissance architectural styles. Go here to see a play at the theatre, or enjoy some more culture with ballet.

The Frauenkirche or “Kirche zu unser Liebfrauen” was built in the 11th century and is a precious remnant of the Baroque era.  


Just over two hours: a day trip from Berlin

Day trip from Berlin nach Görlitz

Goerlitz Altstadt

Located in Saxony, this is the 6th largest town with 56,000 inhabitants it lies near the polish town of Zgorzelec, which used to be part of Görlitz in 1945. You can take a tour around the cathedral and Old town. If you’re feeling adventurous you could walk up the Landeskrone Mountain 200m above city level, which is a nice walk and a great opportunity to spend time within nature this autumn.


Day trip from Berlin nach Schwerin

Schloss Schwerin

In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern there is an island surrounded by Lake Schwerin, just under a 3-hour train ride from Berlin. Schwerin is a colourful town with museums, churches and a historical old town. Every year, many couples get married here on the surrounding grounds. The town itself has a castle named Schloss Schwerin dating back to 1845; with such a picturesque view of the castle which is accompanied by glorious surrounding gardens, this magical castle visit will not disappoint.

For nature lovers

Day trip from Berlin in den Spreewald (Lübbenau)


Go solo kayaking or as a pair across the Spreewald river, where you can float past wooden huts and through nature and enjoy moments of calm in the upon the lush green areas in this forest. Spreewald, having a lot of forest and mineral-rich soil, is famed for it gherkins. They are a remnant of the GDR which managed to survive after the Fall of the Wall, so ensure to try some from the Brandenburg region.


Travel tips:

Take the train to most of these destinations with GoEuro, a search and booking platform covering trains, buses and flights across Germany in 36 other countries.  Save time by avoiding the queue for the kiosk and travel in style using mobile ticketing.

7 Tips for Owners: What You Should Pay Attention to When Furnishing a Temporary Apartment



Owners, who want to rent out a furnished apartment, often ask the same questions:
How should the apartment be furnished, what is the quality standard and which furnishing style is in demand popular with tenants?


1.) How to Furnish an Apartment so it is Suitable for Temporary Rentals

The furnishing style of a temporary apartment should be modern and clean, but not cool and uncomfortable. Currently, the Scandinavian living style is very much in demand. A homely feeling is very important for tenants. Much more than years ago when minimalism was the trend. Above all, the apartment should meet the requirements oft he tenant.

Our recommendation:
It is worth the effort. Apartments that are furnished with attention to details will always find good tenants. It is best to go for clarity, muted colours and some colourful highlights. The apartments should neither be to coulourful, nor too bland.


2.) Equipment

Furnished apartments should be fully equipped. Everything the tenant needs, like internet, lowels, bedsheets, dishes, kitchen equipment should all be in the apartment.


3.) Target Group – Who Will Rent Your Furnished Apartment?

Before you plan the interior of your furnished apartment in detail, you should determine th target group. Who would want to live in your apartment? All owners would like to have a CEO, or weekend commuter with an unlimited budget as a tenant.  It is much better to set up the apartment for a target group for whom your apartment is their first choice.


Apartments in Wedding are also easy to rent out, but there is a different target group than Prenzlauer Berg or Mitte: younger, early in their careers, a student at the VLB Brewery Berlin or a PhD student. This target group often moves to Wedding, since the rents are lower than in the surrounding districts. A high-end design apartment in Wedding therefore would not make sense.

With a newly built apartment in Prenzlauer Berg you are addressing a different target group – who are better earning and more demanding. For such an apartment you will achieve a higher rental price and the furniture should be of higher quality.

Number of Rooms:

For apartments with at least 3 rooms, it is possible to set up 2 bedrooms. You can choose between a combination of a bedroom and study with a sofa bed and desk – or simply for a second bedroom, either with single or double bed. Furnished multi-bedroom apartments are in high demand in virtually all of the neighborhoods in Berlin. If you want to rent to a family or two colleagues sharing an apartment, two bedrooms with proper beds is a better alternative. Having two bedrooms is more suitable for tenants who want to rent for a longer period, because sleeping on a sofa bed is not very suitable for several months.


4.) Quality of the Apartment

If your apartment is high-quality, with a modern and stylish bathroom and a fitted kitchen etc. it would make no sense to furnish the apartment with very cheap and simple furniture.


5.) What Should You Consider when Choosing Individual Pieces of Furniture?


  • The bed is the most important piece of furniture in an apartment. Of course, it does not necessarily have to be a designer bed. A simple bed of good quality will suffice. You should pay particular attention to the quality of the mattress. Your tenant will thank you at a later date.

Wardrobe and Storage Space:

  • Even if the apartment is small, it is imperative that you put a wardrobe or closet where your tenant can store clothes. A clothing rail is not a good alternative. Clothes hanging open on a pole never look tidy.

Blocking out the Light:

  • It is important that the tenant has the opportunity to block out all outside light. The best options are ‘blackout curtains’ that do not let through any light. Persian blinds, rolling blinds, and normal curtains are other options.

Living Room:

  • Television: a TV is still part of the basic equipment required in a furnished apartment. Make sure the TV is not too small.
  • Sofa: choose a sofa in a muted colour. The cover should be as non-sensitive as possible.
  • Side Table: a sofa without a side table looks lost. Side tables, often several, are more modern, space-saving and flexible than coffee tables.
  • A rug should be placed in front of the sofa.


  • Fitted kitchens that are low-maintenance are best suited for temporary furnished apartments. How the kitchen is equipped also depends on your target group. Families have different needs than individuals who mostly eat out. The latter appreciate microwaves (ideally with an oven function if no oven is available).
  • A washing machine should be present in each apartment, a dryer would be good if the apartment is large, or aimed towards a family.


12487-09- Work space with sofa bed

6.) Atmosphere and Comfort: How to create a home from home for your tenant

A temporary furnished apartment should be functional and easy to clean and maintain. But it also has to be homely.

After all, your tenant should feel comfortable there.

Tenants are not just looking for an apartment, but a temporary home. Furnished apartments may only be rented to persons who come to Berlin to work here – or who are here for educational or training purposes. Many have a stressful job. The apartment is their retreat, where they can relax and recharge their batteries. Therefore, when furnishing your apartment, you should not only think about the practical but also the emotional needs of the tenant. Create a home in which your tenant feels comfortable.


Comfort Through the Correct use of Textiles/Fabrics


A rug in the living room – in front of the sofa – is an essential item. Rugs/carpets divide individual areas, improve the room acoustics (less reverberation) like all other textiles, and make the room feel more comfortable. Parquets or floorboards without rugs often look barren.

Curtains and Blinds:

Curtains and blinds are important for some tenants. They do not want people to be able to see inside when the apartment is lit up during the evening. Curtains also improve the room acoustics and help to make the apartment feel more comfortable. When choosing curtains, pay attention to the color. Hard contrasts to the colour of the walls should be avoided. Curtains that are too long should be shortened, because bulging curtains do not look good and will get dirty quickly.


You should decorate the sofa with cushions of a contrasting colour.


Many landlords pay too little attention to lighting. This is a pity, because light is extremely important when it comes to creating atmosphere.
Instead of just one light per room – usually on the ceiling and almost always in the middle of the room – you should opt for a concept with different light sources and light types: a work light on the desk, a reading light by the sofa or armchair, and several table and floor lamps for mood lighting will create an altogether better atmosphere.


It is also advisable to select a few different decorative items. These small details go a long way in making a difference in the apartment.


Pictures with views of Berlin should be avoided. This style of cheap photography bought at general furniture stores can be seen in countless apartments. The target group of furnished apartments is not tourists. Views of Berlin look less high quality.
Examples of more beautiful pictures and posters can be found here


You can alsomake mistakes when hanging pictures. Take the time to read this article written by interior design experts, to better inform yourself on the subject.


 7.) Invest in Quality

It pays to invest in the quality right from the start.

After all, you want your furniture and appliances to last for many years and give joy to many tenants. Therefore, it makes no sense to save on the initial investment and buy cheap furniture and the cheapest electrical equipment. Good tenants have certain expectations. It does not always have to be high-end, but it should be quality and in our experience, tenants handle furniture with care when it comes to quality products.

Categories: Uncategorized

Best Indoor Playgrounds in Berlin

ball-pit with children

Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: 3dman_eu


We know what it’s like to be trapped indoors by Berlin’s often rainy, grey weather. When going outside with your kids isn’t an option, restlessness can ensue.

Have no fear – we’ve got you covered with some amazing indoor playgrounds and activities so you don’t have to feel guilty about popping on another movie or having to endure ‘just one more’ episode of Paw Patrol.

Below are some of Berlin’s best indoor playgrounds and activities to enjoy when the weather is less than ideal.


Berlin’s Best Indoor Playgrounds:

Eltern Kind Cafés (Kid friendly cafes)

Perfect fun for you and your tots alike, these kid friendly cafes allow you to enjoy some coffee and cake or brunch, while your little ones can play and make new friends. They often have slides, games, indoor sandboxes, ball pits and toys to entertain your kids.  For more indoor friendly fun, some cafes offer different birthday party packages like sports, dance, theatre, pottery workshops and more.

Some of the most popular kid friendly cafes are Amitola in Friedrichshain, Milchbart in Prenzlauer Berg, and Das Spielzimmer in Mitte.

Who should go: Suitable for babies to children up to age 12

Things to Note:

•    There’s usually a charge of 1€ per child

•    Kids 2 years and up are allowed to play in the play areas


Jump Berlin

Located in North Berlin, Jump is the perfect place for your kids to release their rainy day pent up energy! Jump Berlin has a huge selection of different trampolines and games for kids and adults alike. They also offer birthday party packages, with a free present for the birthday kid.

Location: Königshorster Str. 11-13 13439 Berlin

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Jump from central Berlin is the U8, all the way to Wittenau. From there you can take a variety of bus options. It should take under an hour to get there, even if you’re coming from Neukölln.

Cost: Different packages available, starts at 13€ per person

Who Should go: Good for all ages, however, children under 7 years must be accompanied by a paying adult

Things to Note:

•    You have to wear special trampoline socks, which Jump can provide you with for €2.90


Science Center Spectrum

The Science Center Spectrum is a fun and educational experience for everyone. You and your kids can go on a tour, or check out the exhibits and try science experiments on your own. There are four floors of interesting and hands on activities for kids to explore being a scientist – this will keep your young ones engaged and learning for an entire day.

Location: Möckernstr. 26, Berlin

How to get there: The closest station is U-bahn Möckernbrucke strasse which serves the U1, U3 and U7 lines.

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 9:00 to 17:30

Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 18:00

Mondays: Closed

Cost: Admission prices range, but they offer a Mini Family ticket (1 adult and 2 children up to the age of 14) for €9, as well as a Maxi Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children up to 14) for €17

Who should go: Everyone is welcome, although it is recommended for children aged 4 and up

Things to note:

•    You can also use your admission ticket to visit the Museum of Technology if you go within the same day

•    The Science Centre Spectrum is open 9:00 to 18:00 on most public holidays


SpreeWelten Water Park

Located just an hour outside of Berlin, The Spreewelten Water Park is as much a treat for your kids as it is for you. Spend an entire rainy day enjoying the wave pool, giant water slides, and the sauna. If it’s not raining, the outdoor fun includes swimming with penguins (between a glass division), a big lawn for sunbathing, beach volleyball and more.

Location:  Spreewelten Bad Lübbenau  Alte Huttung 13, Berlin

How to get there: You can easily get to the Spreewelten Bad in a little over an hour with public transit – you will likely take a regional train like the RE2.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday 9:00-22:00

Friday and Saturday: 9:00 – 23:00

Cost: Prices vary, but a Family Day Pass (includes two adults 1 teen and children) costs €44

Things to note:

•    The sauna is only open to all ages on Wednesdays (every other day, it’s open to people 7 and up)

•    There’s also a baby pool and a solarium

•    Open New Year’s Eve from 9:00 to 21:00

Regular swimming pools also make a great alternative to outdoor playgrounds. Some of the best kid-friendly indoor swimming pools are the Schwimmhalle Holzmarktstraße, in Friedrichshain, the Schwimm und Sprunghalle im Europasportpark (SSE), in Prenzlauer Berg and the Kombibad Seestraße – Halle und Sommerbad in Wedding.

The above mentioned swimming pools have options for babies and toddlers, like smaller slides and areas for ‘non-swimmers’.


Labyrinth Kindermuseum Berlin

The Labyrinth kid’s museum located in Wedding is more so an indoor playground as opposed to a museum.  It’s a shoe free zone that has multiple floors filled with fun activities for your young ones. There are lots of different hands-on workshops to participate in, supporting education and creativity that can surely fill up an entire day with fun.

Location: Osloer Str 12, Berlin

How to get there: The museum is not too far from the U8 Station Osloer Strasse, but you can also hop on a tram (the 50 or M13) for two stops as well.

Hours: They have seasonal hours that vary, check their hours:

Cost: €6.50 per person (€5.50 on Thursdays and Fridays between 13:00 and 18:00), as well as Family and group pricing

Who should go: Ideal for kids 2 and up

Things to note:

•    You can bring your own snacks (there’s also a café inside)

•    The museum is closed on Wednesdays

•    It’s often open on Public Holidays

•    It’s a shoe-free zone, so always bring slippers, non-slip socks, or indoor shoes


planetarium in berlin

[CC BY-SA 3.0]

Planetarium in Prenzlauer Berg

An educational and fun activity-for kids and adults alike!  This impressive 30m2 dome was the last project created by the GDR. It is one of the largest planetariums in Europe. It uses artistic elements like music and theatre in combination with animation to tell the stories of the birth and death of stars and other interesting scientific findings. They offer many shows in English as well as other languages.

Location: Prenzlauer Allee 80, 10405 Berlin

How to get there: The planetarium is located right across from the Prenzlauer Allee so it’s easily reachable via the S85, S8, the 156 bus and the M2 Tram.

Cost: Most shows are 8€ for adults and 6€ for children. Tickets can be purchased on their website in advance.

Who should go: Ideal for kids 4 and up

Things to note:

•    A list of the shows offered in English and other languages can be found here

Berlin has a lot of unique indoor activities for your kids to explore when going outside is not an option. We hope this list comes in handy next time you’re looking for some indoor fun! What’s your favourite indoor playground in Berlin?



Indoor playgrounds in Berlin are a great option to keep your kids entertained when the weather is looking grim. Even when the weather is good they are a nice alternative. Tell us what you think about the options we provided? Did we miss anywhere? Did your kids enjoy them?


Bonus: If you want a playground outside check our best outdoor playgrounds guide here.

Best International Schools Berlin

child solving math problems

© detailblick-foto/Fotolia #163363789

International Schools Berlin

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about the different private and public international schools located in Berlin. The private schools have varying tuition prices, whereas public schools do not have fees.

Most of the schools run for full days. Many of the schools also offer a variety of different after school extra-curriculars including sports, languages, and music programmes.

Below you can find important information on what each school offers as well as how and when to apply to each one. 


International Public Schools


International Private Schools


Useful Tips During the Application Process


International Public Schools

John F. Kennedy School – Zehlendorf

Address: Teltower Damm 87-93, 14167 Berlin, Zehlendorf
Questions E-mail: welcome@jfksberlin.org
Admissions E-mail: admissions@jfksberlin.org
Fees: No
School Year Starts: Mid-August
School Year Ends: End of June/Early July


The John F Kennedy School located in Zehlendorf is an American school, and offers the opportunity for students to master both the English and German language. Over 2/3 of the students are of American or German background. This school has been educating students for over 50 years, and prides itself on preparing children for a multicultural and technology-focused world.


      • Elementary School (Grades 1 to 6)
      • Secondary School (Grades 7 -12)
      • Languages: English and German (French and Spanish also available)
      • Certificates: Abitur or High School Diploma
      • Advanced Placement Classes available (opportunity to receive university level credits)


How to Apply to John F. Kennedy School

You can only apply to JFK school if your child is registered in the city of Berlin. (If you are living in Brandenburg, you are not eligable.)

Send all applications and supporting documents via Mail to:

John F. Kennedy School
Teltower Damm 87-93
14167 Berlin, Germany


      1. Entrance Class Admissions

The Entrance Class is designed as a bilingual pre-school curriculum.


      1. Elementary School Admissions (for Grades 1 to 6)


      1. High School Admissions (for Grades 7 -12)
      • Complete the High School Application Form
      • American and International Students: Must provide report cards or transcripts from previous years
      • Note: Non US-applicants must take a US History course before applying to Grade 12
      • German Students: Must have suitable English proficiency and are required to take an English Test
      • Apply within these application deadlines


More information on Applying to John F. Kennedy School can be found here.



Nelson Mandela School

Primary Campus: Pfalzburger Str. 23, 10719 Berlin
Secondary Campus: Pfalzburger 30, 10717 Berlin
School Hours: 8:30 am – 3:50 pm (End times vary for higher grades)
Fees: No
School Year Starts: Mid-August
School Year Ends: Early July

The Nelson Mandela School is located in West Berlin, in Wilmersdorf. It is a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project and the International Baccalaureate Organisation. As a government school, it does not have any tuition fees. Some of its notable extra-curricular programs are the orchestra, and Model United Nations club.


      • Flex to 6 (Elementary years, grades 1 and 2 learn together)
      • Secondary School (Middle: Grades 7 to 10)
      • Secondary School (Grades 11-13)
      • Middle School Certificates:
        BBR: Berufsbildungsreife (certificate of vocational education)
        eBBR: erweiterte Berufsbildungsreife (further certificate of vocational education)
        MSA: Mittlerer Schulabschluss (general certificate of education)
        MSA (GO): general certificate of education and qualification for Abitur / IB


How to Apply to the Nelson Mandela School

Things to note:
All of the following applications and documents must be sent by mail, not by fax or e-mail.
An Entrance Exam will be necessary for students applying for grades 7-10.
Registration for grades 2 to 10 for the 2018/2019 year is April 9, 2018.
Due to the high level of inquiries, questions about admissions sent by e-mail will not be answered.


        1. Grades 2 to 6
        • Read this checklist and provide all supporting documents
        • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


        1. Grades 7 to 10
        • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents listed
        • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


        1. Application for IB Candidates
        • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents listed
        • Fill out the application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


      1. Application for Abitur Candidates
      • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents
      • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


Elementary classroom, back to school concept

© annanahabed/Fotolia #162294388

International Private Schools

Berlin International School

Lentzeallee 8/14
14195 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 82 00 77 90
Email: office@berlin-international-school.de
Office hours: Mon to Fri: 08.00h – 16.00h
Fees: Yes, See Fees Table (2017-2018 fees, these are subject to change)
School Starts: Late August
School Ends: Early July


The Berlin International School is located near Friedenau, and offers students from age 6 to 18 a diverse and comprehensive education. This school offers the International Baccalaureate program for its students in grades 10 to 12. Over 90% of its students pursue higher learning in a university setting upon graduation. This international school embodies diversity, as its students come from over 60 countries all around the world. The teachers are also multi-cultural, coming from over 20 different countries.


      • Primary School (for grades 1-5)
      • Middle School (for grades 6 to 8)
      • Secondary School (for grades 9 to 12)
      • Certificates: MSA for middle grades
      • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for Grades 9 and 10
      • IB for Grade 11 and 12
      • Students interested in partaking in the German Abitur can do so at the International Schule Berlin (Steglitz)


How to Apply to Berlin International School

The admissions at B.I.S are based on 2 to 3 years of school records and the application form. Expat students are allowed to apply at any time of the year. German nationals who have spent time and have done some education abroad are also eligible to apply.

      1. All Grades
      • Fill out this Application Form
      • Students applying for grade 1, must be 6 years old by December 30th of the year of application.
      • Students in grades 9 to 12 should also provide their transcripts from previous years

Things to Note

      • There is a sibling reduction fee
      • Families in a lower income bracket can apply for school fee assistance. Application forms can be found at the admissions office.
      • Students in grades 1-10 whos families are unable to fully pay school fees can apply for scholarships


Berlin Cosmopolitan School

Rückerstraße 9, 10119 Berlin
Phone: +49 030 68833230
Email: office@cosmopolitanschool.de
Fees: Yes, See Fees Table (2017-2018 fees, these are subject to change)


The Berlin Cosmopolitan School, located in Mitte close to Rosa-Luxemberg Platz offers education for Kindergarten aged-scholars all the way to Secondary school students. The school focuses on science, music and dance. This not-for-profit school promotes diversity, an International Baccalaureate program and over 50 different extra-curricular programs and courses including: Chinese, IT , Cooking, Orchestra, Rock Bands, Digital Music, Skateboarding, 3D-Print, Ballet, Judo, Basketball and Creative Movie Maker and more.


      • PYP Program -Primary School (Grades 1 to 5)
      • Secondary School (6-12)
      • Languages: English and German
      • Third Language: Spanish or French (offered starting in grade 5)
      • 1 to 2 week long internships for students in grades 6 to 10
      • Student Exchange program
      • Certificates: MSA for middle school students
      • IB and Abitur for Secondary students (Dual Diploma)


How to Apply to Berlin Cosmopolitan School

The application is available to complete online, and there are no deadlines for application. Entrance into the school can happen on a rolling basis, as spots become available.

All Grades

      • Fill out the application here
      • There is an application fee of 50 euros.
      • Upon successful application completion your child will be put on a waiting list
      • Priority is giving to students who already have a sibling enrolled in the school
      • When a space is open, you will be offered a meeting and trial day
      • Your application is valid for one year


Berlin Metropolitan School

Linienstr. 122, 10115 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 8872 739 0
E-mail: info@metropolitanschool.com
Fees: Yes (parental contribution based on income) See Fees Table


The Berlin Metropolitan School is the oldest and largest International school in Berlin. It has 1000 students from kindergarten to grade 12, and 200 employees coming from 18 different countries. The school located in Mitte has small class sizes, (max 24 per class) and promotes team spirit, togetherness, respect and academic excellence. It offers a full day program, with after-school extra-curricular activities. Berlin Metropolitan School offers many certificates including the IB program and the Cambridge University IGCSE. This school can sometimes accommodates families who move back and forth to Berlin (keeping your spot by paying a retainer)

      • Early Learning Centre (Kita age group: 3-4 year olds, and preschool age group: 5 year olds)
      • Primary School (Grades 1 to 6)
      • Middle Secondary School (Grades 7-10)
      • Upper Secondary School (Grades 11-12)
      • Languages: English and German + French or Spanish (in Grades 7 & 8)
      • Other optional languages: Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, German as a Foreign Language
      • Certificates: IB Diploma, IGCSE (Cambridge University), MSA, Berliner Bildungsreife
      • Full Day Program from 7:30AM to 6PM (including extra-curricular programs)


How to Apply to Berlin Metropolitan School

      1. All Grades
        The Berlin Metropolitan School accepts applications throughout the year on a rolling basis. Spots become available as families move on.
      • All applicants should fill out the following Application Form (for all grades) and send it to admissions@metropolitanschool.com
      • When applying for a child from grade 2 or above, include their last two report cards
      • Any report cards not written in German or English must include a translation
      • Grades should have a written explanation included
      • Once there is a vacancy and your child meets the criteria, you and your child will go to a tour and a meeting (around 1 hour long)
      • Once your child is offered a trial day and is accepted, you will receive a contract and a tax-declaration form to be signed and sent back
      • More details on applying to this international school can be found here
      • Additional forms for applying


Useful Tips During the Application Process

      • Many schools have open house days, where you can tour the school and meet staff etc
      • It’s best to apply to many schools as demand is high and to increase your chances


To Wrap Things up…

There are plenty of great education opportunities for expat children in Berlin. The International Schools in Berlin offer a great multicultural and highly regarded academic learning environment. The application process varies across schools, so it’s helpful to pay attention to the details, and to apply in advance. Let us know in the comments which International Schools in Berlin you find the best!



How to Open a German Bank Account

ATM machine on a city street

© Srdjan/Fotolia #193227719

Why Do I Need a German Bank Account?

Opening a bank account in Berlin is one of the first things everyone needs to do upon moving. Without a German bank account, you won’t be able to rent certain apartments, get a cell phone or Internet contract. In addition, your employer won’t be able to send you your salary. In other words opening a German bank account is very important! For people new to Berlin and Germany in general this may be a daunting task. However, don’t despair. We have provided a variety of options for you to look, in order to find out what the best option is for you.


How to Open a German Bank Account

The process for opening a bank account will vary bank to bank, but in general, you will need the following to open up a bank account in Germany:

  • Passport or ID Card
  • Registration Document (Meldebescheinigung)
  • Tax Id Number (Sometimes needed)
  • Monthly Income (Sometimes needed)


You will soon notice that many German Banks only operate in German, so the process of opening an account can be a little tricky if you have little German. Below, we will compare some brick and mortar and online banks so you can determine which bank are suitable for you.


Brick and Mortar Banks

The traditional route to opening a bank account is to actually go into the bank and open it in person. Like many countries worldwide, there are not many different banks operating in Germany. The following are the main ones:


The first three operate in a so-called ‘cash group’. This means you can use your card to withdraw money from any of the ATM’s without charge. If you use another bank you will be charged around 5€ (or more!). For the other banks you simply have to use their ATM’s or face a transaction charge.

If you prefer to go with the traditional route,  it is advisable to go with a bank that is close to where you live. It may also be worth noting that many employees don’t want/aren’t allowed to speak English. So you’ll have to either bring an interpretor or struggle you way through.

Note that due to brick and mortar banks having to pay for the storefront and their tellers, they often charge higher banking fees. Even so, they do provide a traditional sense of security and if/when issues arise you can always go an talk to your bank in person.

Below we will list a few of the brick and mortar banks that could be used:



How many branches in the central Berlin area: Around 22

Post Bank Giro Plus

  • Debit Card included
  • Can opt in for a free visa credit card (the first year is free of charge: this increases to 29€ or 59€ p/y after the 2nd year))
  • 3,90€ account fee per month
  • Free cash withdrawals at Deutsche post, Shell gas stations and at approximately 12,000 ATMS around Germany, so you have a lot of options instead of getting charged by using a non-Postbank affiliated ATM.
  • Online banking possible



How many Branches in the central Berlin area: Around 50


  • Around 25.000 ATM’s in Germany
  • 8,50€ account fee per month
  • Credit Card – 35€ per year
  • Debit Card included
  • Online banking possible


Note: Sparkasse has by far the most individual ATM’s in Germany. So no matter where you are you can usually find one..

However, Sparkasse banks operate regionally. This means if you open an account in Berlin, but then move to Munich, you will not be able to go into the bank there and use their services (you can still use the ATM’s for free). You would have to open an account with the Munich branch, then transfer your money from your Berlin account. This is really annoying if you are not sure how long you will stay in one city, or plan on moving in the future.


Deutsche Bank

How many Branches in the central Berlin area: Around 25


  • 5,90€ account fee per month
  • Credit Card – 39€ per year
  • Debit Card included
  • Online banking possible
  • Around 9,000 ATM’s available to use and also the possibility to use Shell Gas stations to withdraw money


These options are a brief overview of what the ‘traditional’ banks in Germany offer. There are many varieties and depending on your circumstances, some are more suitable than others. Before opening a bank account in Berlin with one of these, it is perhaps also wise to check out the alternatives.


Online Banks – The Alternative

Online banks are becoming increasingly popular. They allow you to access your account, make transactions and simply bank ‘on the go’. They are convenient, offer better rates than traditional banks, and are generally easy to use for transferring money.

What must be noted is they have no physical counter to visit and no face-to-face customer service. For some people is this ok, however others do value having a relationship with the person looking after their money.

Below we will show you a few of the most popular online banks:



Standard Free Card

  • Completely Online and English sign up process (as well as other languages)
  • You can sign up from abroad
  • 5 Free cash withdrawals within Germany at any ATM
  • MasterCard Credit card included, 0€ per month
  • Withdraw cash for free at 7000 retail stores
  • No exchange rate mark up with TransferWise

Things to Note

  • 3% charge to deposit cash into your account
  • Foreign currency ATM withdrawals charge 1.7%


N26 also offers two other cards, N26 Black and N26 Metal, which have monthly fees of €5.90 and €14.90 respectively but offer more services like free foreign currency withdrawals, insurance and more.

N26 is a convenient option for expats. Firstly, the whole process can be done in English, and secondly there are no upfront fees.  Transferring money to and from abroad is also relatively easy and doesn’t cost as much as traditional banks.


DKB- Deutsche Kreditbank AG

Cash Card

  • No Annual fees
  • Free Debit Card and Visa Card
  • Free International Cash Withdrawals
  • Free ATM Withdrawals
  • Emergency package when traveling

Things to Note

  • You can sign up online, however, everything is in German
  • 24 hour emergency number that provides you with customer support should you lose your card, or if you have any other issues
  • You may have to prove your income and have at least €1000 euros coming in monthly, or at least that you have a stable salary coming in



Debit Card

  • No Annual Fees
  • Free cash withdrawal from Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank, Postbank, and their subsidiaries
  • 24 Hour Customer Service
  • Open your account online, however it is in German

Things to Note

  • Comdirect also offers a Visa card that allows you to take out money in countries with different currencies for €9.90.
  • Purchases made outside of Europe are subject to a 1.75% conversion fee


As you can see, there are very similar offers across the market. However, N26 is the only bank with English in the sign-up. This could then be very helpful if it’s the only language you speak. Overall we recommend looking and comparing a few accounts to see what suits you best. Every situation is different and something that is suitable for one person may not be for another.


What About Transferring Money?

How do you transfer money to your new account? The best and most affordable way is with Transferwise. If you go with N26, they are partnered with Transferwise so you can make transfers for free or for less than you would using an international money transfer company.

Sometimes it can be more affordable to take out money from an ATM using your home country card (depending on your bank) and then depositing it into your new German bank account.

Traditional German banks can charge up to 5% for such a service, so if you are transferring a large amount, this can add up to a lot.


Banking Words You Should Know

Here are some German words that we have translated to English in order to help you on your way when dealing with the tricky steps of opening and using your bank.
Abhebung – Withdrawal

Bargeld – Cash

Einzahlung – Deposit

Geldautomat  – ATM

Girokonto – Chequing Account

Kontostand – Bank Balance

Münzen – Coins

Sparkonto – Savings Account

Überweisung – Money transfer

Unterschrift – Signature (Important for singing the contract!)

Zinsen – Interest rates


Are there any more words you have found out about? Let us know during your journey of opening a bank account here in Berlin (or Germany)!!!

Protection Against Burglaries in Temporary Furnished Apartments

Bedroom Ransacked During Burglary

Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: highwaystarz #195993453

How safe is Berlin? Tenants, who move here from home or abroad, often ask this question. The answer is not so clear.

In comparison to other major cities, Berlin is relatively safe. The probability of being attacked on the street or being the victim of a serious crime is low.

However, in terms of thefts, things look very different. Caution should always be taken in Berlin. Pickpockets, bicycle theft, and burglaries are the most common offences.

Fortunately, the number of thefts is declining. One of the reasons for this is that apartments are becoming increasingly well protected against burglary. Even so, tenants who rent temporary apartments should also take time to deal with this issue.  From experience, burglars who successfully gain entry to the apartment do not steal bulky items, such as furniture or televisions; rather they go for smaller items such as smartphones, tablets, ID cars, and money. Unfortunately, if these types of items are stolen, no insurance company in Germany compensates for this. Even the property insurance of the Landlord will not help.

For tenants coming from abroad, it may be useful to check whether there is insurance in their home country that covers against theft in furnished apartments. However, there is no need for fear and panic. So far there have been only been a handful of burglaries in furnished apartments mediated by us in Berlin. An overview of burglary statistics in the various districts in Berlin can be found here.

It is worthwhile for tenants of a temporary apartment to inform themselves on the issue at an early stage and to protect against burglary.


Read our three tips here:


1) Always double lock your temporary apartment.

With a furnished apartment that you have rented temporarily, it is always best to use a double lock. While it is true that thieves can theoretically crack any door, they generally don’t have the motivation.  If they do not succeed to break open the door in a couple of minutes, they will just move on to the next apartment.

You should also lock your door even if you only leave your place for a few minutes, especially during the day. Many burglaries take place during the day when the residents are working.

If you don’t lock your apartment properly and a burglary takes place, insurance companies regard this as gross negligence. The resulting damage, e.g. to the front door, could then be charged directly to you.


2) Always close windows and doors.

Watch out for tilted windows, skylights, open balconies, and patio doors. This rule applies especially to apartments on the ground and mezzanine floor. However, it is also applicable to all other apartments where windows and balconies are easily accessible; some thieves even come over rooftops. Even if you only have to go shopping for a few minutes you should not forget this. Burglars can easily open tilted windows and get into the apartment. You should also use the lock on the windows if they are equipped with this function.


3) Prevention:

You should regularly back up data.

It is annoying if your laptop is stolen. However the device is replaceable, the data is not. Therefore, it makes sense to back up your data on an external device, or cloud regularly. In the worst case scenario, your laptop is gone, but not the data.


What we recommend to tenants of temporary furnished apartments in Berlin:

  • Always double lock your apartment. – Even if you are just going to get bread rolls.
  • The same applies for windows: avoid leaving them in a tilted position.
  • Do not keep cash in your apartment.
  • Secure your laptop with a complicated password and back up your data regularly to an external hard drive.