Advice on Relocating to Germany

19 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi All,

First off let me just say if this should be posted somewhere else please let me know. First post and not sure where to go.

Situation;

My wife (German), my dog (Australian) and myself (Australian) are moving permanently to Germany.

My wife is already there arranging work for herserlf. She is an Architect.

Problem;

My wife has been offered jobs in 3 different areas and we are unsure as to which way to go. All things considered the jobs are respectively equal in interest to my wife but the areas are somewhat unfamiliar.

We have done some looking into the 3 areas and find many positives and negatives for each of them.

So I decided that perhaps the wise people here on TT could help us out with opinions and suggestions to help us with this difficult decision.

Any and all relevant feedback greatly appreciated.

The areas are;

Freiburg im Breisgau

Lünen

Fulda

Again, really appreciate anz help.

Regards,

TheDamstaFam

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Posted

Well, of the three I only know Freiburg. I've lived there and loved it. I've lived in many places in Germany (Frankfurt, Mosbach, Schwaebisch Hall, Heidelberg) and of them all, Freiburg is my favourite. You won't go wrong there.

Others will no doubt let you know about Luenen and Fulda.

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Posted

Again, really appreciate anz help.

I see OP is already practising his German keyboard skills :D

Fulda's nice enough, not a metropolis of any kind, and I haven't lived there so can only tell from visiting it, but it seems nice and is close enough to Frankfurt to give you a major city nearby (but I guess that's the same with the other two places).

Good luck on the decision anyways

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Posted

I hazard a guess that housing is cheapest in Lünen. The weather might be nicer in Freiburg, though.

Try youtube for videos about the areas to get an impression.

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Posted

From the three, I'd choose Freiburg, no doubt about it

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Posted

Thanky-you all for the feedback.

I am keen on Freiburg but have heard that it is an expensive place to live and hard to get an apartment at a reasonable price.

Also as we would like to buy a home I'm unsure if it may be a bit over the top price wise. But then again the price often reflects the value of living in such a beautiful place, and there we go again... good, bad - good, bad!

Any other feedback on the topic welcomed

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Posted

Freiburg for the reasons given above. Climate, proximity to Switzerland and France.

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Posted

I would advise posting in the three areas to ask people how they've found moving there. From my own experience, and from reading on here, most people seem to struggle with feeling welcome, feeling at home and finding things to do with themselves. But it seems to really vary around the country. And perhaps being in the North is less of a leap culturally - but I don't know myself. I am just dealing with Stuttgart where the locals are perfectly polite (I think, anyway) but they really are just getting on with their own lives and can often lack friendliness. Which has been very hard for me to get used to (from England) but might be even harder for an Aussie?

If you don't speak German (even if you will be learning) how much English is spoken in those 3 areas? Also consider what job you want to find for yourself and check there is some work available in those areas.

Hope this is of some use, good luck with the move :-)

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Posted

Seems most people here are familiar with Freiburg and not Fulda or Lünen... sorry but I can just reinforce the Freiburg clan!

I hadn't heard of Lünen at all, but having checked googlemaps I'd say the proximity to Dortmund / Essen makes it a lively corner of the country. I pass through Fulda all the time on the train, but it's a good 100km from Frankfurt which for my money does not make that such a convenient nearby city.

However, if you think you might fly regularly then the proximities of these cities could be useful.

Freiburg is likely considerably more expensive to live in than either other choice. There is a nearby airport but it's not the largest so is mostly good for reaching other German cities, London, popular mediterranean holiday destinations etc. Being close to France and Switzerland does make Freiburg an interesting multiculteral location. I live a little further south but it's pretty much the same location and the weather is actually considerably better here even than nearby Stuttgart. Being West of the Schwarzwald actually seems to make a difference!

Good luck making your choice! Sure you'll eventually find a lot of local knowledge for each area from this site.

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Posted

You haven't really told us what you are looking for.

Fulda a smallish town with a nice old city center and cathedral (seat of the bishop of Fulda). Not very exciting, though, if you are keen on big city life. Costs are quite reasonable, much chaeper than Freiburg in any case.

Connections to Frankfurt via high speed trains are excellent, as Frankfurt-Fulda-Hanover/Berlin is one of Germany's main high speed rail lines (for that reason and because of the reasonable prices Fulda seems to be the residential city of choice for police officers serving in Frankfurt).

If you are looking for a job for yourself as an English speaker there are few places in Germany that offer more options than Frankfurt.

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Posted

Freiburg would be the place to be, but ONLY because of the beauty the Black Forrest scenic areas display and the fairly short distance to France and Switzerland.

My experience in living approx. 1 hour away from it is that the people are staying mostly to themselves and it's hard to make contact if you are a stranger/foreigner. I especially noticed that after I moved to Bavaria, where people are a lot more open to talk and socialize with you.

International airport access is pretty far away.

Housing is very hard to come by and expensive, buying a house is high and involves lots of bureaucracy. Just an example: I paid 670 Euros for a 75qm place, now I have a place over 100qm, with real hardwood floors, modern bathroom fixtures, a huge terrace, a house janitor that takes care of taking out the trash, shoveling snow etc. and I pay 200 Euros less.

Access to large cities are the same.

Living in the Black Forest area with lots of tourists around of course has it's price.

I don't know anything about the other two cities.

Is it possible for your wife to pick other locations in Germany? :)

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Posted

Luenen is a flat, boring little place in the middle of nowhere. Don't go there, you'll die of boredom. Freiburg I'd say too....

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Posted

Freiburg is the city with the most hours of sunshine in Germany. If that is of relevance.

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Posted

Another vote for Freiburg here -- because I know Freiburg is lovely (even though most of my visits there have been to the hospital...) but I know nothing about the other two places!

In case you don't already know about it, you can get some idea of housing prices from www.immobilienscout24.de

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Posted

If this means anything, I am an architect and I'd see more chances to grow professionally and a more open mentality to the job in general in Freiburg.

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Posted

Eh, Fulda is a bit dull, even though it has some lovely nature just east of it. I've only seen Lünen while cycling to the Höhen Mark, and it seems to be your typical commuter city.

I personally wouldn't move to either.

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Posted

Thank-you everyone for the responses.

@ ovalle3.14, what about the ay to cost of living ratio. My wife has been offered the same money for all 3 locations.

She is drawn to one of the offers in Freiburg due to the fact that they use the CAD program she is most comfortable with. It may seem a bit trivial on the surface but after nearly 5 years working as an Architect in Australia she feels as though she has enough to catch up on without having to worry about the CAD software!

You say that you see more chances for her to grow professionally in Freiburg, why is that?

I must say that Luenen is all but off the table at this point and it really seems to be between Freiburg and Fulda.

The other problem with Freiburg is that is a 6hr trip to my wife's family which may become an issue as they are not getting any younger.

@ FDG, what in your opinion makes Fulda dull? Is it just too quiet or...

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Posted

I don't know Lünen at all, but it's only 15 minutes outside of Dortmund, so not the back of beyond by any means. Size-wise, it's a typical German small town, with the Ruhrgebiet on your doorstep. Not necessarily a bad place to be, you've got lots of big cities nearby.

Fulda is a bit larger, but as with several larger towns I'm familiar with in Hessen, it might as well be out in the middle of nowhere - if you look on a map, there's green all around. Having said that, it's on the main train route to Frankfurt, so actually not as isolated as you might think. Close to Frankfurt can be very advantageous (more English-speakers, large airport hub nearby). Plus it's more middle of Germany, so easy to get up north or down south, east or west (I don't know where your wife's family lives). Nice old town, affordable housing. Speaking against it: It's very provincial, very Catholic, very quiet.

Freiburg is a vibrant and youthful city, lots of students, lots going on - but very expensive housing (if you can get it), and down in the very southwestern corner of Germany, so a long way to anywhere else. Having Switzerland and France so close is a big plus as far as I'm concerned, but to get anywhere else will be a big hassle.

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Posted

From a native German perspective (though I'm from the north)I'd definitely choose Freiburg. The three locations compared, Freiburg has by far the best climate (real Summer, real Winter), is most interesting nature- and landscapewise (Woods&Mountains), and though it might seem to be a bit out in the sticks it tends to be the most openminded and friendly area of the three. Well, actualy it IS a bit out in the sticks if you just look at Germany, but still just 2 hours from Stuttgart, a good 3 hours from Munich and just a good hour from Basel (Swiss). Using ICE-trains it's even less. And though it might be 7 hours away from Berlin or Hamburg, it's 5 hours to Paris, 7 hours to Cannes, 6 hours to Prag, and so forth. Considering Europe, you're pretty much in the middle = )

On the downside it is one of the most expensive areas in Germany, but I'd say you get the most out of your money (quality <-> cost of living).

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