Moving to Berlin as a young family

138 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello All,

we live around London and my husband received an offer from his company to work in Berlin. Looking to get some insight while we are evaluating - since it is still confidential he can not ask around at work.

What are the areas recommended to live in for a young family? I can not get this insight from the various websites with property listings. We have a 2 yr old daughter and baby2 on the way (in few weeks...), would like to rent a house, place of work is Kemperplatz, both of us driving, would be nice to have some shopping/restaurants nearby - is there an area you would recommend so I can research cost etc?

Also I plan to return to work after maternity leave (there might be a possibility for me to transfer to Berlin within my company too), but I read that childcare availability is very limited in Germany. What are the options in Berlin - are there creche, nursery, kindergartens caring for below 3 yr olds? If not how do working mothers manage - cost/availability of babysitter, au pair etc (I never had before)? Or if I decide to be a stay at home mum are there any tax reliefs (eg in Belgium there is a 7K€ tax deduct to compensate for giving up job).

Any info/advice is very much appreciated.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I currently live in Prenzlauerberg myself where there is an unbelievable amount of young families.

It's a very social neighborhood with loads of little shops and restaurants in any price range. The parks here are normally full of families and children when the weather permits.

With that there are lots of schools for any age range, as well as mom and kid playgroups and meet ups.

Babysitters seem to run around 7 euro/hour, and you can get an aupair for anywhere from 60 to 100 euro/week (although this requires a special visa and you may have to also pay for german language classes)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Ive heard that the german government gives tones of help to families, as the population is so rapidly decreasing, but as I'm not planning on starting a family anytime soon I havent really looked into it.

It would be fairly easy to find an aupair for Berlin, I'm currently working here and know that I had to battle a fair bit to get my job here. The family I work for is in Prenzlauerberg and there are tones of playground and parks around. Its definatly where all the 'hip' young moms live.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

globalgirl, how would you compare prenzlauerberg to kreuzberg in terms of price ranges? we're also a young family, and although i have spent some time in kreuzberg and really liked it, hearing all this stuff about pberg is making me wonder if we should consider that area instead...my husband's already in berlin and is about to start looking for a place for us, and baby and i will join him probably in a month or two...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

talking with friends with a small baby that have lived in berlin for a few years, they agree that as far as having children and thinking about schools there is no comparison. the schools in kreuzberg do not have a good reputation.

Because pberg is still east Berlin, and a lot of buildings are only newly renovated, there is a large range in what you want as far as accommodation. There are some fantastic bargains around, and especially compared to the UK, or really anywhere else in Germany.

Berlin is actually a lot smaller city than I was expecting, so even by public transportation most places only take 30 mins to get to, maybe an hour if your going from one oposite side of the city to the other. I'm super lazy but use my bike to get most places cause they're never really that far.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

schools in kreuzberg do not have a good reputation

well, that's not really a concern for us right now since we're still only expecting the baby :) there's quite a bit of time to think about schools, and besides we don't even know how long we'll be in berlin, very likely it'll only be a year or two. is that the only downside?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Price may be a consideration - Pberg is generally more expensive than Kreuzberg, and also said to be a little "nicer," which some people read as less interesting. Pberg seems to be the choice for young english-speaking families (seem to hear a lot of 'em in the streets). Then again, I haven't spend a lot of time in Xberg so I can't really compare...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks everyone for the advice. I can not see any house for rent in Pberg or Kreuzberg area :-( It seems we have to move further out - is Steglitz, Zehlendorf a nice area for young families? Or is there a closeby suburb worthwile looking at (eg max 30min drive from work, Kemperplatz). The rental prices seem so much lower than in the UK, so this is definetely a pro for moving!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Must your husband drive to work, i mean does he need the car for work 'coz the public transport is excellent in Berlin.

What sort of budget are you looking at? some really nice accomdodation (house style) the further you move out. e.g. Koepenick in old East, or out Spandau in the west. Must it be a house? might be a bit lonley away from where it is all happening.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If you want to get further outside, I know of a few people who recently moved to Pankow (the old definition, so north of PBerg) and seemed pleased. At least one has a single family house, but I think the majority up there is still going to be Multi-Res options.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It seems we have to move further out - is Steglitz, Zehlendorf

We moved to Steglitz in December 2005 after having lived in Köpenick. Steglitz is so full of life and there's so much to do. The famous Schlossstraße is complete with shopping malls and restaurants. Practically everything one would need is just walking distance for us. And, it takes us 10-15 minutes by Bus/Bahn to reach any of the city's hot spots like Kudam or Potsdamer Platz etc. Compared to dull old Köpenick, we're sure glad we moved :rolleyes:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Pberg is generally more expensive than Kreuzberg

Having lived in both neighbourhoods, I definitely prefer P-Berg. I don't have a family, but as a young, single girl I find it safer, nicer, and it has more of a 'community' atmosphere.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

newfoundlander, sorry to be so nitpicky, but could you help me get an understanding as to what's more expensive in pberg, so that i can figure out how much of an effect it will actually have on our admittedly small budget. is it the grocery/household stuff shopping? or the going out (which we probably won't do much of, with a baby)? or the housing? or clothes shopping? or all of the above? i know groceries are pretty cheap in kreuzberg because of all the turkish supermarkets/vegetable shops and also there was a great twice a week market on i think paul lincke ufer near where i lived, is there anything like that in pberg?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

When I say more expensive, it's mostly referring to rents. From what I see, you're looking at about 10-20% premium, maybe more, in Pberg versus similar space in Xberg.

I'm guessing the choice in local food markets is likely a little pricier on average in Pberg than in Xberg - a product of the clientele maybe. But I'm under the impression that you can find the good value "Turkish" food markets everywhere. I think the grocery chains are everywhere and prices don't vary that much.

I expect the other stuff is relatively similar.

Hope that helps.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi all,

since visiting Berlin over a year ago my partner and I (both early thirties) have been inspired to seriously consider relocating there. We were especially taken with the family orientated lifestyle of Prenslauerberg (whilst searching out a famous chocolate shop which had sadly closed!). We have 2 children (7 and 2) and think it would be a great opportunity for them too. We had toyed with the idea of moving to mainland Europe over the past few years, but Berlin seemed to offer pretty much everything we enjoy: arts/musems/vibrant city life/great public transport (which was second to none) etc.

Concerns really are:

* I run a thriving childminding business here in Manchester, does Berlin have a network of childminders (childminding from their own homes as opposed to working as a Nanny);

* Schools - I read the schools thread and I'm still trying to get to grips with choices. The eldest daughter I wouldn't consider having any problems picking up a new language but it's the international/state school I'm a little unsure of - we won't be able to afford private;

* My partner has for the past year been rennovating the house whilst also starting a small media company/business (digital video/music - has been freelancing as a camerman). I've read that studio/office space is relatively cheap in Berlin though he could equally work from home. Obviously getting work in that line might be an issue...

* The house will more than likely be put out to rent here which would help out with rent in Germany (I gather renting over buying there is the norm?). Family area's are more preferable for us but costs will need to be taken into account.

We were struck at the vibrancy (and kid friendly mileu) of Eberswalder Strasse (?? from memory...the street leading down from the train station?). Didn't really check out in full other area's though we pretty much took in most of central Berlin by U-Bahn/S-Bahn - we were staying in Postzdamer Platz. Actually spent most breakfasts at the original Cafe Einstein on/near Kurfurstenstrasse!

* Transport - not entirely sure we would need a car early on - I really couldn't fault any of the public transport systems we used...the UK is pretty much in the dark ages in comparison (and we have trams here in Manchester).

So there's a lot to consider...it's a big thing, but I think we'd one day regret at least not giving it a shot and such a change/move I'd hope would benefit us all. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and regards,

Wendanne.

Topics merged by admin

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi,

I'm afraid I can't give you any practical advice since I don't know much about Berlin (but I really liked it when I went there on holiday once), just wanted to say welcome to Toytown and good luck! :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the welcome Kay!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

How young are you? Prenzlauer Berg is great fun, really lots of young families, apartments with great potential if you have a hand at renovating, but I don't know of any bilingual schools there. But lots of Waldorf schools and other alternatives if you're worried by culture shock at a German public school. Kreuzberg also has young families but none of the Germans or other Americans or Brits I know who live there send there kids to public school. Is anyone out there?

We live in Zehlendorf because of my son's school. (My son did a timeline of parents' birthdays in third grade and I was at 41 the second youngest mother!!)Zehlendorf has mostly families, is not really an exciting corner of Berlin but full of lakes to go swimming and sailing in the summer. In Zehlendorf there are two public bilingual schools: Quentin Blake and John F. Kennedy. In Wilmersdorf there is the State International School in the Pfalzburger Str. and in Charlottenburg there is the Charles Dickens School. Some of the schools are easy to get your native English speaking child into, others not. The private schools start at about 8000 Euro per year. Hope this helps.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

By the way, you can child mind at home (be a Tagesmutter) either privately, by advertising at some of the bilingual schools, or get a permit from the Bürgeramt and do it officially (lots of paperwork). I think it's a great idea, and I can imagine you would have great success in finding children to take care of.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Cedarwoods - sorry didn't reply earlier, we've all been struck down with Flu!

Thanks for the information.

Me and my partner are 35/33 respectively; one daughter is 7 the other 2 years old. Quite liked the idea of living close to Central Berlin rather than on the outskirts/countryside. Would definitely consider renovating if it kept costs down - we've done the same thing over here so would certainly consider it (though my partner would be a little unsure of the electrics situation there depending on the state of the places).

Is Wilmersdorf close to central Berlin? Close to Prenzlauerberg? I don't expect we would be sending our children to private school!

Over here you are only allowed to childmind if you register with the local authority, is it a requirement in Germany to register or is it just personal choice? I know if you childminded here without registering you would get into trouble and was wondering if it would be the same in Berlin, otherwise I would quite happily do it privately.

Thanks again for you reply, it was most helpful.

wendanne.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hello Speedygonzi, Wendanne,

First, let me say that Berlin is a wonderful place to live with a young child/children. Of the big cities known to me it is by far the most child-friendly. It is incredibly easy to move around (use public transport or bike -- the pavements are so wide you can ride along the pavement with the little one(s)), there are great parks and playgrounds, more child-oriented activities than you could imagine (puppet theatres, special events at museums, children's music groups, art workshops, etc., etc., etc.)

One general thought is that the more prepared you are to enter into the spirit of the place the easier it will be. Berlin's attitude is quite bohemian, somewhat anti-bourgeois (saving the planet, banning nukes), big on culture and nightlife. If your idea of the good life, is watching the telly, mowing the lawn and washing the car at the weekend, this may not be the place for you -- you'll find plenty of that in the rest of Germany. ;)

With that in mind, I'd endorse what Cedarwoods says. For obvious historical reasons, Berlin isn't surrounded by lots of 'burbs full of single-family houses. The villas in Zehlendorf and Dahlem are huge and magnificent, but wouldn't be my first choice. If you want to enjoy the woods or the Wannsee, it's easy enough to get out there on the weekend.

Most Berliners rent apartments and there are great ones out there at prices that seem a complete give-away by the standards of the U.S. and the south of England. I'm living at the moment in a huge apartment with twelve-foot ceilings (!) in a non-renovated building. OK, it's quite ramshackle but the people I'm renting it from have made it very comfortable. I like it much more than the place I rented in Cambridge, Massachusetts for twice the money.

I know Prenzlauer Berg best, because that is where my wife and daughter are living and it is great for small children (and full of them!). But I wouldn't say that you *had* to live there. If I were being sent by my company I would certainly also be looking in Charlottenburg (which is, traditionally, the best area) but, if I didn't have much money, I wouldn't turn up my nose at any area. There are nice buildings, safe streets, good shops, playgrounds, etc. pretty much everywhere.

Some warnings, though.

Germany is NOT set up for working mothers. The school day is short and you'd be astonished how often school is cancelled (Hitzefrei, Kaeltefrei -- you name it!) and you have to hunt for childcare. Very few Germans are in that cycle: have the kids, work all hours to pay for the childcare so that you can go back to work ... If you do want to go down that route, take a lot of advice. On the other hand, you can live here very well on not that much money, so, if you're tempted to take some time to enjoy the kids while they're young, it's more practical than in most places.

Berlin schools certainly have problems. My daughter is in the S.I.S. (Staatliche Internationale Schule/Nelson Mandela Schule). It's a good school, very over-subsribed and has serious difficulties. A lot has to do with Berlin's terrible financial situation and the legacy of re-unification (there are many former East German teachers in the system who are, to be frank, not very good). If you're putting your child into the state system, be very careful. I have heard mixed reports about kindergartens but I can strongly recommend the Waldorf kindergarten in Prenzlauer Berg (see Cedarwoods' post).

Finally, I'd be very careful about establishing any kind of a business without all the necessary paper-work, least of all one involving children. Germans are very keen on the letter of the law (does that surprise you? ;)) and if, God forbid, anything were to go wrong, I think you'd find yourself in big trouble.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I can take up where Mike the Brit left off. You're definately safer, if you want to care for children at home, to do it through the district offices (Bezirksamt) where you'll be living. It's lots of paperwork, but you have guaranteed payment through them, including insurance and rules (that are good for you in the end...ie how many hours a day the kiddies are allowed to be by you), insurance (in case a child gets hurt at your home), how sick a child is allowed to be when it is brought to you. (Don't seem shocked by this, parents brought their kids to the kindergarten where my son was with high fevers and antibiotics with directions about how often, etc...and the kindergarten people had to get the contract out in order to convince the parents to take their children home.) Be that as it may, I found several private home day care possibilities back when I went to work that weren't connected officially with the Bezirksamt. There were also contracts to sign, they wanted to make sure to get paid and didn't want to get "stuck" with your child until 8 at night when you promised to come at 4. The money is better when you do it privately, and, although people here aren't as litigation happy as in other unnamed countries, you still have to make sure that you are well-insured.

I also agree that Charlottenburg has some amazing "altbau" (older buildings) apartments, but I haven't heard of many deals there, unless you really get lucky with and find an unrenovated apartment. The area around Klausener Platz is beautiful, great fun (lots of cafes) and across the street from a palace with big gardens to go walking in. I think Winterfeldplatz, Goltzstraße, Eisenacher Str. in Schoeneberg are also great, the rents are more affordable than Charlottenburg (in general), lots of kids, many good schools, a real neighborhood feeling, and a classic mix of all the different cultures, subcultures that make Berlin what it is...and very central.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

hmmm.. we pay 400 a month for a two room apartment (excluding bathroom and kitchen, no tub). About 58 sq meters. There is an apartment near us empty. On danziger str about 10 minutes walk from Eberswalderstr, across from a theatre. Tho you may want to get one not facing danzigerstr, as you've got the pollution from cars. we didn't move our family here, tho we did move from a one-bedroom so we could put the baby and mom in the small room, quiet. I've had to carefully go over the windows, they are old wooden frames, outside and inside windows. Maintained poorly over the last 15-20 years, except for occasional painting. Now they are insulated, takes down the noise quiet a bit from the street, plus, we're up on the third floor, cuts down on noise. No elevators, so it's a bitch getting the pram up and down. Tho for sure exercise, specially in the winter, is appreciated. Oh, and the managers put in the contract we were responsible for painting. Defo take a copy of it first, and have your lawyer look it over. Prob is I can't have the bother to read such a long litany. And at least that's the worst of it. Wouldn't want a couple of goons working on the windows anyway, seeing as how badly they've been done up in the past.

Older non-retaining walls are this crappy sandy concrete. Guess the east germans didn't have enough cash for proper concrete.

I would also defo recommend looking for something south facing. The sun is your friend, here. The number of tanning salons proves it.

Anyone can PM me if they like. I rarely monitor threads.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hello everybody!!! :rolleyes:

I am a 22 year old girl who spent a year in Munich last year. I thought that Germany wasn't for me and set off for an exciting life to my own dirrrrty capital:LONDON. All was not how it seemed!!!

Anyway, getting to the point. I am pregnant now and my German boyfriend and I are planning to move to Berlinaround christmas time. I know he should be sorting all this out as he is in Germany already, but he is slow so it is time to take matters into my own hands.

So, fellow Toytowners... can you help?

I need info on:

Renting a flat (2 bedrooms... not too expensive we are both graduates)

English speaking theatre company in Berlin???

Baby meet ups... oh my god...

and anything else you might think is useful to know about berlin... e.g. the place to live... the place not to live!!!

Hope this makes sense.My hormones are making me a little dazed and confused at the mo!!!

Danke.

Kirsty

xxx

Topics merged by admin

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Kirsty,

theatre: http://www.etberlin.de/

flat: http://www.studenten-wg.de/

http://www.immobilienscout24.de

http://www.immowelt.de/

http://anzeigen.tagesspiegel.de/miet.php

http://kleinanzeigen.zitty.de/Wohnungen

http://www.berlinonline.de/tip/service/anz...ndex.php/Wohnen

place to live/not to live: difficult. if you're in search of a young neighborhood with young parents, then the west/south of Prenzlauer Berg is the place to be. However, it's not the cleanest place around (although it's getting better) and it's getting more and more expensive (however, nothing compared to london!). We have a small baby (2 month) and live happily in Friedrichshain - it's a bit rougher than Prenzlauer Berg (more punks, more graffiti...), but we like it here, also many young parents, many things to do and not as expensive as Prenzlauer Berg. We gave birth to our baby at Oskar Ziethen Hospital in Lichtenberg (only two stops from Ostkreuz station) by the way and we were satisfied with it (german as mother tongue, though - don't know how it is if you speak english). pain in the ass of course: bureaucracy after birth. but even this was ok after all, just plan to spend some time on it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now