Moving to Berlin as a young family

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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?

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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...

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

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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! :)

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Posted

Thanks for the welcome Kay!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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