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Is Heidelberg a safe/pleasant place for black people?

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Hello everyone,

 

I'm a (white) German/British citizen who left Germany over a decade ago. At the moment, I live in the Caribbean with my Jamaican partner. We both want to be somewhere safer to start a family, and since UK property prices are highway robbery and Brexit is, well, Brexit, we're looking at Germany. (He's already learning German quite enthusiastically and he's good at it, so we're not too worried about the language issue.)

 

Luckily, I have a very decent, location-independent freelance income, so we're pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a city. I'm thinking of Heidelberg because it strikes me as a liberal, international place that, thanks to having an educated population, has been spared all the AfD bullshit going on these days, more or less. It's also stunning and just the right size. Still, I'm concerned about the "Rechtsruck" and worried that my partner and future kids might face discrimination. I get proportionally more concerned whenever I make the mistake of looking at the comment sections underneath articles in the FAZ and suchlike. We're looking at renting and doing a "trial run" for a couple of years first; if he isn't happy in Germany, London is always an option. But I would really appreciate some insights from visible ethnic minorities living in HD. 

 

Thanks. :)

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On 11/6/2017, 6:43:11, potential repat said:

...Still, I'm concerned about the "Rechtsruck" and worried that my partner and future kids might face discrimination...

 

Then you'll be worried wherever you go. Though I'm fairly certain your kids won't have any issues. 

 

That being said, I can't think of any place, except for some AfD-influenced towns and villages of the former DDR, where you will have any real problems.In Mannheim, where I live, which is ethnically quite mixed, there are certain sections that voted AfD, but there's more problem with the refugees than anything.  I am visibly racially mixed and yet I've never felt uncomfortable anywhere I've lived in Germany - Freiburg, Esslingen (near Stuttgart) or Munich. 

 

But your partner, as a dark-skilled male, will not have it easy. People will look at him, might become fearful. That's just the sad truth,. And even when he becomes fluent in German, can chit-chat and banter with the little old lady at a bakery, people might still not accept him. That being said, I find Germans very open-minded. If you're educated, you'll have it easy. And your children should not suffer. It's not unsual to see mixed racial couples walking the streets of Mannheim (or Heidelberg), but prejudices still exist and they'll likely not disappear anytime soon.

 

 

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Hello,

 

I am not black but one of my best friends here in Munich is British of Nigerian descent. I have talked about being black in Germany with her before, since obviously coming from diverse London to Munich was a big change for her. She has had absolutely no problems and is quite happy here. I can't speak for Heidelberg, but just anecdotally my black friend absolutely loves living in Munich and doesn't want to go back to London.

 

I would recommend looking into Munich and the surrounding areas, although it is definitely pricier than Heidelberg - but still a fraction of what the UK costs. My husband and I live here pretty comfortably on my income and his PhD stipend - and I am only junior level.

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Thanks, abbeymg. I suppose it would make sense going for a larger city like Munich, although I'd probably choose Frankfurt in that case (I'm from the area and my parents still live there). It's not quite as pretty and certainly not as compact as Heidelberg, but it's definitely a lot less white, so that might be a better choice. I think it will come down to Frankfurt vs. Heidelberg in the end, so if anyone has good arguments in favour of/against either, bring 'em on. :)

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Hamburg´s also a pretty liberal city, potential!  Internationally minded as a trading town... lived there for  25 years or so. Wherever you both end up, I hope you live well and safely. 

:ph34r:..but the weather in Hamburg...aching .ageing bones like SUN!!!

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3 hours ago, abbeymg said:

 

I would recommend looking into Munich and the surrounding areas, although it is definitely pricier than Heidelberg - but still a fraction of what the UK costs

That is just so untrue. Munich is more expensive than most UK cities.

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I live in the Heidelberg area and am also from the Caribbean area and dark skinned. I have lived over 40 years in Germany (HD outskirts, Frankfurt and Freiburg) and I count "incidents" on one hand. In the last 10 years or so, not a single unpleasantness. However my son says  there's a definite change since the refugee influx, which probably only affects males.  He could easily pass for a refugee. Sometimes it's almost innocent, for instance when he went to work in a little old lady's garden aund she told her neighbour, quite without guile, "you don't need to ne afraid of him, he's not a foreigner,  I know him." He feels he's watched, which wasn't the case before. And he's not even black, more middle eastern in appearance. So there could very well be awkwardness.

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PS that same son of mine recently went to Berlin for a week and he loved it. He doesn't usually love German places, especially not cities. He felt totally at home and accepted there. People were relaxed and open, he said, and he didn't feel like a foreigner  (which he isn't ).

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Interesting post, arunadasi! Yes, I´m sure the refugee issue has made life more unpleasant for many who are not refugees. Your point about males: I remember a comment somewhere (Guardian reader?) 20-30 years ago  when the far right National Front were campaigning in the UK  and someone wrote " would you be campaigning if a 1,000 blond Swedish nurses were flocking to Britain? (obviously, at least back then, nurses were usually female...)...

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On 11/6/2017, 6:43:11, potential repat said:

Luckily, I have a very decent, location-independent freelance income, so we're pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a city. I'm thinking of Heidelberg because it strikes me as a liberal, international place that, thanks to having an educated population, has been spared all the AfD bullshit going on these days, more or less. It's also stunning and just the right size. Still, I'm concerned about the "Rechtsruck" and worried that my partner and future kids might face discrimination. 

 

Thanks. :)

 

 

Sadly, AfD has extended its reach in Heidelberg, too. In the most recent elections the AfD got a (to me) surprisingly high number of votes in Heidelberg, up to nearly 20% in some boroughs of the city, and as much as 7% or thereabouts even in the boroughs I would consider to have especially liberal, international (and Heidelberg-University-oriented, outward-looking) populations.  HD may still be worth a try for all the reasons you mentioned, but a haven from the German right-wing it is not. :-( 

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All West Germany is safe with  the south having significantly lower crime level than the north.

 

Regarding pleasant? Well, Schwaben is not considered pleasant by German standards (which are already low since Germany is more of reserved culture), but the University towns are exceptions. If you live in the neighborhoods where students normally live, you will have pleasant neighbors.

 

But you will also have loud drunks/party animals as neighbors, and think whom do you like more: cold retired Schwabs saying Grüß Gott in cold voice, or pleasant  and friendly but very noisy students? If the latter, Heidelberg is a good but not the only such place.

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2 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

Regarding pleasant? Well, Schwaben is not considered pleasant by German standards (which are already low since Germany is more of reserved culture), but the University towns are exceptions.

 

Heidelberg is not Schwaben but Baden. 

 

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Indeed, my bad! It's almost near Saarland (that part of RP in between used to be Bavaria!). People must be good there!

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Thank you, everyone! Regarding Hamburg, I'm a big fan of the place, but if I am dragging my man out of the Jamaican sun into a drizzly western European climate, the least I can do is stick to the southern parts... ;) 

 

Yes, the recent paranoia about foreign men that seems to have sprung up in the wake of the refugee influx is certainly worrying me. I didn't realise HD had succumbed to the fear-mongering to quite the same extent, but it's good (albeit highly unpleasant) to know. :-/ 

 

Yourkeau, I'm not wondering about the livability of Heidelberg per se (and I wouldn't dream of moving into a studenty area, I'm an old soul), as I've plenty of experience of living in Germany -- only as a native German who doesn't stand out, though. I'm looking for a pleasant place to raise a mixed-race family without my partner feeling uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried that he'll be in any actual danger I'm sure there's no real risk of physical attacks or overt abuse, and anywhere in (western) Germany will feel much safer for both of us than the area in which we're currently living. But if there's a place that will make things easier than they would be elsewhere, I want that place. (Unfortunately, neither of us really like the idea of Berlin very much, so that's out.)

 

I suppose I will leave it up to him to an extent, as I can't put myself in his shoes, anyway. We'll spend some time in HD and FFM, maybe a couple of other cities, during our next visit and see how he feels. 

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30 minutes ago, potential repat said:

Yes, the recent paranoia about foreign men that seems to have sprung up in the wake of the refugee crisis is certainly worrying me. I didn't realise HD had succumbed to the fear-mongering to quite the same extent, but it's good (albeit highly unpleasant) to know. :-/ 

 

Sadly virtually any place has an amount of that fear-mongering and hate those days, including Toytown Germany. 

 

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14 hours ago, RenegadeFurther said:

That is just so untrue. Munich is more expensive than most UK cities.

Um... not London, which is where she said they would move to.

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1 hour ago, abbeymg said:

Um... not London, which is where she said they would move to.

 

With the depreciation of the pound, you will probably find that Munich is in fact more expensive than London.

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The difference is probably that the affordable bits of Munich are still pleasant, while the affordable bits of Greater London are complete dumps. 

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On 11/7/2017, 8:48:27, someonesdaughter said:

 

Heidelberg is not Schwaben but Baden. 

 

Kurpfälz not even really Badisch.

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