Moving to Darmstadt

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We may be relocating to Darmstadt in the Summer. Are there any families about who could offer advice about schools, nice places (affordable) to live etc.

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Hi Colonial Girl,

 

I live about 14km outside of Darmstadt. Not having kids I cannot help you much on the subect of schools but maybe in other areas !

 

Are you looking to live in town or more in the suburbs? There are some nice areas in the town but the surrounding area such as the "Bergstrasse" is maybe more attractive for families . Drop me an email with some more info and I will try and help you more.

 

Caroline :D

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Hi,

 

I live in Griesheim just to the west of Darmstadt - this is a large village/small town that has grown as a commuter area for Darmstadt and Frankfurt. It is fairly quiet and does not have much character. It is on the Darmstadt tram system which is a big plus for most people. Prices are genrally a bit lower than Darmstadt proper.

 

Seeheim Jugenheim (to the south of Darmstadt) is also on the tram system and is quite popular and rents are probably a bit pricier than Griesheim

 

There are a number of small villages around Darmstadt which are nice but are a bit too quiet and cutoff for many people.

 

Erzhausen is to the north of darmstadt and is on the S-Bahn line to Frankfurt. This may be a consideration for those who may think of working there or sending children to the international school.

 

There are some good deals to be had and nice places (scenic) as you head into the Odenwald (SouthEast of Darmstadt) but these can also be a bit bit remote. Snow can be a bit of a problem in that direction.

 

Some people prefer to live in southern Frankfurt either because of the international school or becuase they prefer the big city atmosphere/facilities. It tends to be a bit pricey though.

 

Schooling is a bigger issue (which I don't know much about) - it depeneds on what type of schools, for what age(s), etc.

 

The Darmstadter Echo ( www.echo-online.de ) is a good place to look for apartments. It is a good idea to avoid the Maklers who will charge you two months rent plus VAT as their fee. Colleagues and word of mouth can be a good way to find somewhere to live (it worked for me!).

 

Ciao,

JG

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Caroline and jg

 

I very much appreciate your responses. Your comments have been extremely helpful.

 

Many thanks.

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Hi, I'm considering accepting a position in Darmstadt; I'd be moving from the United States.

 

I'm curious about churches in the area. My background is reformed protestant, I'm looking for a good solid bible-believing church (with English services). I figure that with Germany being the heart of the reformation, I'd hope there would be something!

 

I don't speak any German really, and I'm also concerned with how easy it might be to get around the area on English. Also, I'd like to find someplace rural to rent around the area - some place with a little bit of land, enough for a garden and to have a dog or something.

 

Other than that, all the questions are typical. How's the traffic? How's the cost of living? (I live in the Washington D.C. metro area now, so it's not the priciest place in the U.S., but it's well above-average.) Should I bring my cars, or is it cheaper to get rid of them and buy new cars there? That sort of thing.

 

Any ideas, links, advice would be very helpful.

 

Thanks!

 

Eric

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Once you get here, you might want to check some of the communities where there are US military. They often have private churches outside the base for various denominations. I can't say which ones there are in Darmstadt but Heidelberg has several evangelist type organizations like this one.

 

Search the forum on cars and traffic and you'll find a lot of opinions. If you have US gas guzzlers - IMO leave them there. They will cost you a fortune to fill up. Plus you have to have any US spec car modified to EU spec and it can cost you anywhere from 500 to 2000 euros depending on the car.

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Germany's a big country. Hessen is not squarely positioned in the middle of one dominant culture. I don't know much about religion but there's clearly a big evangelical presence here (more so than Catholic).

 

The living cost that is squeezed here is housing. Supply is short, demand is high and prices reflect that, at least in trhe centre, cheaper once you head out of town. Much cheaper if you are prepared to live a few km out. City centre parking (lack of) is also a notorious problem.

 

One point to bear in mind is that Darmstadt may well be close to Frankfurt and have had a large US military presence until recently (and have some US companies and EU institutions) but English is not really a fallback language here. You can probably get by in English in a limited way but you won't routinely see or hear much English round town (although a lot of Germans and other immigrants do know some of course). Town life is very much conducted and run in German. And that applies even more once you get out of town.

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Thanks, rhody and swimmer.

 

I have a 2002 honda accord, so it's not an american car anyway. Pretty good on gas, I'm not an SUV driver really.

 

I'm happy to live several KM out from city center, commute is the most important thing for me - many people around the Washington D.C. area commute for almost an hour, if not more, one-way. If I'm at 30 minutes or under for a commute, then that is absolutely wonderful to me. If that allows me to live in a prettier (and cheaper) rural area, perfect! I am more interested in having a bit of property and a garden than I am with being right next to a pub or nightclub. Any ideas of how far out one can live and reasonably commute into a city?

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I would get a diesel car when here if you plan on commuting by car. Depending on your profession and employer, you could ask for a company car. Here you don't need to be in sales or be the boss to get a car, it's kind of a benefit for professional level employees. Converting a 2002 Honda Accord to EU spec isn't worth it in my opinion. Even though it is Japanese, it is still US spec and needs some modifications plus you'll have to ship it here. Now a Porsche Boxster or 911 and now ya talking worth it.

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For English speaking churches, you can try Wiesbaden, as there is a large base there. In Frankfurt, there are several English speaking congregations. Christ the King is Anglican I believe, Trinity Lutheran, and Hope United Methodist.

 

There are a lot of suburbs around Frankfurt and also some of the neighborhoods in the city are also lovely. Darmstadt is a nice place to live too and so is Langen. Spend some time on their websites and see if they have what you want.

 

Using public transportation is very easy and very cheap. Many firms will subsidize your yearly ticket. I only paid 310 € last year for mine. Not a bad deal.

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Hi there my name is Jonathan I currently live in San Diego California and have lived here all of my life.If you have lived here before, or if you are a native of San Diego, or have come out here for a visit then you will understand why San Diego is such a hard place to leave behind despite the high cost of living . Here in the United States a study was done this year and San Diego ranked # 2 as the most desirable place to live in in our nation.

 

Anyways enough of me bragging and gloating about my fine city that I love.

 

I currently am possibly seriously considering taking a job in Darmstadt through my company that I currently work for. If I take the position I would be working in Darmstadt for 2 and a half years, since that is how long the contract is. My company is offering me a job promotion with a very generous pay raise, with housing assistance, relocation money, and also I believe a company car to use for work. I would be working on the U.S. Arny base in Darmstadt. Another nice benefit I would get is a military ID card that allows me to shop at the PX and commissary for food.

 

My main concerns about making the big move is me not knowing how to speak any German. Adjusting to the culture and mainly my saftey.

 

Living conditions I'm just looking for something centralized, but also quiet and to busy. All I would need is a 1 bedroom apartment or flat that has a kitchen, nice bath room, and enough room for a queen sized bed. I am currently right now live in 1 bedroom 1 bath condo that about 670 square feet. I will also need a good fast and reliable internet connection such as DSL . I also would like a place that has some greens and is close to parks to go running or bicycling.

 

I am also catholic and would like to find a english speaking catholic or christian church .

 

Sports wise I'm a huge fan of basketball and love watching my Los Angeles Lakers and of course NCAA mens college basketball. Do pubs in Germany show NBA games or do the cable or satellite companies offer the NBA League Pass package which allows you to watch every game? If not it's ok and I can get the online internet version of NBA League Pass broadband .

 

Also how far would I be from the closest beach if I were living in Darmstadt?

 

Sorry for the long first post with so many questions .

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The Army base in Darmstadt closed last year. If you want to go shopping on base, you will have to go to Wiesbaden or Heidelberg. I go shopping on base occasionally, and honestly, the prices are not that much better, and the quality of the fresh produce is not near as good as in the German markets. For electronic stuff or home items or clothes it is a fairly good deal though.

 

Germany is far safer than almost any city in the States, so am not sure why you are concerned about your safety.

 

I find the DSL connections here to be far more reliable than what I experienced in Ohio, so I doubt this will be a problem for you. There are tons of parks to run in and dozens of gyms in every city.

 

One can get along without learning much German, but it does make every day life a lot easier if you arrive with the attitude of trying to learn as much as possible.

 

St. Leonhards church in Frankfurt has Mass in English on Sat. at 1700 or 1730, I forget which, and on Sunday at 0930

 

The beach question confuses me. Have you never looked at a map of Europe? Or of Germany?

 

Glad to hear San Diego came in 2nd as best place to live in the US. Frankfurt came in 7th place as best place to live in the World though, so you will be near a wonderful city, with all kinds of culture and events to keep you amused and occupied.

 

Have you spent any time at all on this site reading earlier posts about living here? There is a nifty search function to use.

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The beach question confuses me. Have you never looked at a map of Europe? Or of Germany?

This one made my day...

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Hi, I'm new to the forum. I will be moving to Darmstadt in May with work and was wondering if anyone knows of any good English-language websites to search for apartments. Many thanks, Mk.

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The beach question confuses me. Have you never looked at a map of Europe? Or of Germany?

Well, there is something resembling a "beach" (in that I recall it has some sand but a lake not a sea) at Prinz-Ludwig-von-Hessen (an FKK site). Maybe you could thus class the local Freibad (the Woog) as much the same except possibly without any sand. I can confirm that we do actually have the internet in Darmstadt as well ;). No EL sources of apartment info that I'm aware of - but then it's Germany and German is what is routinely used, this is no "English as parallel language" town as mentioned earlier even though it's near FAM and until recently had a big US military presence (indeed, maybe that's why...). City centre flats are highly sought after, so expect small choice and much competition.

 

Also no shortage of parks and green. Darmstadt has enough parks and is also fairly compact and so, from the centre, you are only about 15 mins cycle from woods (notably the nort of the Odenwald) or open other country.

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Hello,

 

Don't really have a question (yet!) but would just like to say thanks for the advice I've read already.

 

Our Family will be moving from Devon for my wifes job (which is in Darmstadt) end of April. We have decided to send our children to the international pre-school in seeheim-jugenheim so are going to live down that way.

 

We've only had a 3 day visit and can't wait to move out there. Darmstadt seems nice enough and the area we have chosen to live seems lovely also. We'll be there just in time for the mayday vineyard tour :D

 

Cheers,

Andy

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@Jonathan SD

 

I have lived in Darmstadt for going on a year now. My wife and I found our apartment by posting an ad in the paper. Unfortunately Craigslist hasn't caught on here yet and people use mainly word of mouth, the newspaper, and realtors. I have heard from a number of people that using a realtor will cost you between 2 and 3 months rent, which can be significant.

 

Darmstadt is a good, safe place to live, albeit pretty boring if you are used to bigger city life. There are a limited number of decent bars and restaurants, although there is a great local brewery (actually three). Darmstadt was pretty much destroyed on Sept. 11th, 1944. This has sort of separated the city into the older section, which wasn’t destroyed or was rebuilt quickly, and the sections that are newer. Personally I like the older sections because of the older architecture which are mainly concentrated in the Johannesviertel and Martinsviertel. Both are close to downtown and a number of parks. There is a great park very close to downtown, but can be crowded when there is nice weather, something unusual here. There is also an amazing system of bike trails in this region that can take you to all the surrounding small towns.

 

There are a number of German Language schools in and around Darmstadt. In fact if you are from the US you may be required to take a German language test to stay longer than 3 years anyway. Most people under the age of 30 in Germany speak English, although you should not plan on relying on that.

 

Not sure about churches, although there seems to be one on every block.

 

Not sure about sports bars, although I think that you are going to have a hard time finding a bar that shows Lakers games. You would probably have to go to Frankfurt for that.

 

Darmstadt is about 6 hours from the ocean in the north, although there is a small lake (more like a large pond) in town where you can go swimming and get some sun during the summer.

 

One word of caution: if you plan on coming looking into the driver’s license thing BEFORE you come. There are different rules for different states, no joke. Some states do not require any tests. Others, like the one I had a license from, require a written and road test. It took me 4 months (because I have a full time job) to simply exchange my license at a cost of approximately 500€. I also passed everything the first time; it gets exponentially more expensive if you fail something. If you can, change your license to a state that is not required to take exams here. Check out this site: http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/driving.html

 

Good luck

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I have to say Darmstadt's been looking great this week, what with the sun and the trees in spring bloom :D . Herrngarten, Mathildenhöhe, main squares, Odenwald, Prinz-Ludwig-von-Hessen all look great (and the latter was already reasonably warm enough to swim in) etc etc. I used to find it boring but certainly don't now that I am settled, can speak good German, have loads of friends and work, know lots of amenities and nice cafes etc.

 

There are sports bar but afaik most tend to be Premiere-focussed (Bundesliga etc). Enough general cafes show the free to air German TV sport (the Man Utd game was on in the one I was in last night for instance). Little interest in US sport here from what I can see - there is very little overlap between the most popular sports in the two nations - only usually to the extent that a German like Novitski is involved.

 

EDIT - i also think it's harsh to refer to the Woog as a "pond". It's no sea of course but it's a significant stretch of water (maybe 250m as rough circumference) as many people who swim across / round it would testify :o . Anyone wanting a decent swim will be fine there.

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I agree, the weather the last two and half weeks has been wonderful. Especially in contrast to the what-felt-like 6 months of monochromatic steel grey skies. I have learned how to truely appreciate good weather.

 

I forgot to mention before: if you are coming from the US, something that you are probably not aware of is that apartments here normally do not come with kitchens. This means that you have to purchase and install your own counters, cabinets, appliances, etc. Except for the work required, it is kind of nice to get to decide what you want, but is definitely something to consider.

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Hello,

 

Darmstadt is a really nice city. It is not too big, but big enough to have lots of nice facilities. It has nice parks, lots of shops (open till 8pm weekdays and Saturday), lots of nice people (the majority speak at least a little English), Frankfurt is 20 mins away on the fast train, you can also get to Ikea by train and a short walk from Darmstadt, the surrounding countryside is pretty and only 15 mins away by bike, and the public transport is very good, efficient and clean, and I can walk around the city late at night alone and feel safe.

 

I used this site for searching apartments:

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/

Here is a link to a search for 1 to 2 bedroom (2 bis 3 Zimmer) apartments in Darmstadt...

http://tinyurl.com/d2s7zf

EBK = fitted kitchen included.

For translation, use LEO...

http://dict.leo.org/

...or Google translate...

http://www.google.co.uk/language_tools?hl=en

 

Before I came to Germany I bought a book called "Living and Working in Germany" by Pamela Wilson, which was very helpful.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Working-Ger...0304&sr=1-1

 

I live alone and...

I pay 750 Euros per month for a one bedroom flat in central Darmstadt. It is 65 square metres (more than ample space) with an underground garage. Rent price is "warmieter" so includes water, heating etc but not electricity.

I pay 60 Euros a month on electricity.

I pay 180 Euros a month for health insurance (although the price of this varies considerably depending on whether you choose private or public etc -- I chose the cheapest possible option).

I pay 18 Euros a month for a TV & radio licence.

I spend about 35 Euros a week on food.

Two 1.5 hour group German lessons per week cost me 110 Euros a month.

I pay ~100 Euros a year for other insurance (household contents and personal liability).

 

Hope this is helpful,

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