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Public Transportation Germany

Public Transport in Germany: The Ultimate Guideline

As an expat living in Germany, we know that the functioning of public transport can be quite confusing. However, once you get used to it, you will realise that Germany has one of the most efficient transportation systems in Europe and most people use public transport to get around, especially in big cities.

There are five different types of transport that are often used: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, regional trains, trams and bus. Let’s find out more about them!

S-Bahn

S-Bahn is the name given to hybrid urban-suburban rail lines that serve a metropolitan region. It connects the suburbs and commuter regions to the city centre and the main railway station.  The acronym S-Bahn stands for Schnellbahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid rail), and therefore it is the fastest mode of public transport that we can find in Germany. These trains usually provide second class only and seats are taken without reservation. If you find yourself in a Hauptbahnhof and must take the S-Bahn, just follow the signs with a white “S” on a green background and you will easily reach it.

U-Bahn

In Germany, there are only 4 U-Bahn systems that we can find in larger cities: Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Nuremberg. The U-Bahn (or Untergrundbahn) is the German term for the metro, subway, underground or “Tube”, as it is called in English. In most stations, you can transfer from the S-Bahn to the U-Bahn (or vice versa) using the same ticket, and a blue sign with a white U on it will help you identify a U-Bahn station. Regarding timetables, both S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains usually run all night over the weekend, which makes them extremely practical after a night out!

Regional trains

No matter how long you have been in Germany for, we are sure that you are familiar with the famous Deutsche Bahn (DB) already. Despite its common delays, regional trains in Germany offer you the possibility to travel around the country easily for reasonable prices. There are two different types of trains offered by the DB: RegionalBahn (RB) trains, which offer several stops, and RegionalExpress (RE) trains, which are faster but have fewer stops.

If you travel by train quite often, we recommend you to download the Deutsche Bahn app on your phone. This way, you can have access to your tickets and up-to-date departure information at all times. In addition, it is possible to purchase the so-called BahnCard that will get you a discount of 25% or 50% of the total price depending on your choice, so travelling around Germany can be very affordable.

Buses and trams

Unlike in other cities, the bus and tram system in Germany works as well as the rail lines. They have multiple stops within the city centre and many German cities rely on buses and trams to connect distant locations and operate late into the night when the rest of forms of public transport are unavailable. In general, tram stops are combined with bus stops and the symbol for both is a green H in a yellow circle.

Buying tickets for public transport

The most common way to get your tickets is to buy them from a ticket machine at any of the stations. Before you board the train, you must validate your ticket using the ticket validator machine (Entwerter) at the platform, which stamps the ticket with a date and a time code. In the case of buses and trams, you can get your tickets directly from the bus driver or from the ticket machine on trams. Likewise, you need to validate it as soon as you get on them. Don’t forget to do this, otherwise, it will be the same as if you didn’t pay for your tickets.

Since you do not need to pass any kind of barrier or ticket check to enter the different means of public transport in Germany, some people may feel tempted not to buy tickets. Nevertheless, you never know when a controller might swing by to check that everyone has a valid ticket. If you get caught without one, you will have to pay a 60 € fine, so it is definitely not worth risking it!

Tickets prices

Concerning the price of your tickets, there is a zone system in most German cities that will determine the amount of money that you have to pay. For instance, Berlin is divided into three zones: A, B and C. The further out of the city that you go to (zone C), the more you have to pay. The different zones can be found on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn maps, which are available online and at the stations.

We are aware of how tricky it can be to become familiar with the way that public transport works in Germany. We really hope that you found this article useful and that you won’t get lost trying to find your way around the cities!

 

 

Best day trip ideas in Germany

A Day Trip in Germany: 5 Top Ideas

As we transition from the cold and moody weather to the sunny and lovely summer, we all start to get excited about the upcoming holiday season. If you’re tired of always hanging out with your friends in the same old boring places and are looking for alternative plans, we’re here to help. There are a lot of beautiful hidden jewels worth visiting on a day trip in Germany, so let’s dive right into them!

Zugspitze – a nature’s gem

Being the highest mountain in Germany, it goes without saying that this beautiful location will blow your mind away. The Zugspitze is situated on the Austrian border –in the southern part of a town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen– and is fairly easy to reach by public transport, especially by train.

For those of us who wish to escape the everyday stress of vibrant cities, this spot in the Bavarian Alps is the definition of paradise. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or a nature lover, a breath-taking view of more than 400 summits in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy awaits you on the top of the mountain. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to climb the Zugspitze – there are easier routes that lead to its peak and it is also possible to hop on a cable car!

The best time of the year to visit this magnificent scenery is the month of August, since the risk of avalanche is lower during the summer. Biking, hiking, strolling around with your friends or simply tasting some traditional Bavarian dishes – we are sure that this day trip in Germany won’t disappoint you!

Starnberger See – the best getaway

If you want to take a break from the crowd in Munich and enjoy some quality time while you breath fresh air, Starnberger See is the place to go. Less than one hour and a half away from the capital by S-Bahn train, the second largest lake of the Bavarian state offers an endless range of options to choose from.

From a cultural point of view, Starnberger See holds a significant historical value, since the king Ludwig II drowned there in 1886. However, despite being a popular touristic destination, you may as well find the peaceful moments you’re searching for.

Several paths along the shore will allow you to have relaxing walks and find nice cafes, restaurants and even Biergartens with an impressive view of the Alps in the background. Besides having picnics and going for a swim with your friends, it is also possible to take a boat tour from spring to autumn and explore the villages and properties around the lake. Trust us, it will be worth it!

Heidelberg – a picturesque old town

Located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Heidelberg is one of those cities that you cannot miss as a day trip in Germany. Once you set foot in this town, you will feel like you stepped into the pages of a fairytale. If you don’t trust us, a quick Google search will be more than enough to get a glimpse of what we’re talking about.

This quaint city surrounded by forests becomes even more captivating in the spring, when flowers start blooming and the sun shines bright. With a medieval castle and a charming market square, there is almost nothing that this town cannot offer. Its main streets are bustling with visitors who enjoy wandering around the city and dining in good restaurants, while a stroll around the Neckar River will help you connect with nature. What’s more, we forgot to mention that Heidelberg is a famous university town, and therefore its nightlife will not disappoint you!

Bodensee – an exciting adventure

Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance, is a wonderful summer retreat during the hottest months of the year. Many cities have direct connections to the lake by train, including Karlsruhe, Munich, and Stuttgart, which makes it the perfect day trip in Germany to plan with your friends!

Not only will you be able to go on a boat ride and visit the idyllic Mainau Island, but also you will have the chance to test your adventurous skills. Action and water sports are the most popular activities at Bodensee. If you are ready for an adrenaline shot, there are several options for you: you can try windsurfing, stand up paddling, canoe trips, diving, sailing and so much more.

In case you prefer to have a calm sunbathing day, you can always choose to stay on the shore. However, you should keep in mind that the water temperature below the surface is really cold (since it is fed by the Alps), so be ready to soak the full experience in!

Neuschwanstein – the Disney fantasy

The German castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is a must-see for all the Disney fans out there. This 19th century Romanesque palace is one of the most popular touristic attractions in Germany, but this shouldn’t stop you from visiting it. Trekking up to the castle of the King Ludwig II is a magical experience from start to finish. Its magnificent architecture along with the marvellous landscape that surrounds it make it the perfect choice to spend a day with family and friends.

For Instagram lovers, taking the best pictures will be the highlight of the trip. We highly recommend you to walk up to the recently restored Marienbrücke, which bridges the Pollät Gorge waterfall and provides a spectacular panoramic view of Neuschwanstein and the nature around it.

Even though it is possible to reach the castle by public transport, there are no direct connections and it can take quite some time, which is why it might be better to book a one day trip from Munich that will take you directly to the castle and includes a guided tour to visit its interior.

 

If you’re still a bit skeptical about these trips due to their expenses, we have good news for you: as fuel prices continue to rise, the German government will offer a 9-euro ticket for unlimited trains, buses and trams from the 1st of June with the aim of encouraging citizens to take public transport. If you want to get more information about this ticket, check out their webpage. This means that you can spend a weekend in Berlin with your friends and head back home for only nine euros! How does it sound?

ENT doctor

Everything You Need to Know about an ENT doctor (HNO)

We know that deciding whether we need to pay a visit to a general practitioner or another specialist can be quite difficult, especially if you are an expat who recently moved to Germany and is still not used to the national healthcare system. If this is the case, don’t worry – we are here to help you. Do you know what an ENT is responsible for and when we should see this doctor? Let’s find out more about it on this article!

What is an ENT doctor?

Our partner Prof. Dr. med. Markus Hambek, ENT in Frankfurt, explains that the acronym ENT stands for “ear, nose and throat”. Therefore, an ENT doctor specializes in every disease that is related to those parts of the body and are also referred to as otolaryngologists. Yes, we know that this term can sound quite difficult, but it actually comes from Ancient Greek and it makes total sense: ὠτός otos, meaning “ear”; ῥίς rhis, meaning “nose”; λάρυγξ larynx, meaning “larynx” and λογία logia, meaning “study”. In German, ENT doctor is translated into HNO-Arzt, which stands for “Hals, Nasen and Ohrenheilkunde”.

When should you visit an ENT doctor?

In general, if you have problems with your ears, nose, throat or neck, you should look for an appointment with an ENT doctor. It is true that a general practitioner could provide a general examination of moderate diseases. Nevertheless, there are many occasions in which you should seek a specialist. Since the ear is a very complex organ and its connection to the throat, nose and neck is very delicate, an ENT doctor can always give more thorough advice than a GP could.

What are the most common conditions?

Severe ear pain, sudden hearing loss, swallowing and speech problems, sinusitis or swollen lymph nodes are some of the most common reasons to visit an ENT doctor. We are very familiar with some of these problems: for instance, ear infection or nose bleeding are very common among children. However, not everyone is conscious of the importance to visit an ENT doctor and there is a considerable lack of information about how we should treat these organs.

Have you ever wondered how often we should clean our ears? There is a widespread myth that we should be doing it every day. However, ENT doctors recommend not to clean them daily with cotton swabs, since the ear canal has a self-cleaning mechanism. The cerumen prevents the dehydration of the ear canal, so removing it with our own fingers should be enough.

Additionally, some HNO doctors are also allergologists. If you have symptoms like recurrent sneezing or long-lasting cough, they will be able to help you with a treatment for your allergy.

How should an ENT doctor help you?

The doctor and the patient always make the decision for a medical procedure together. The good indication given by the doctor represents his real and intellectual achievement. It is also the doctor’s responsibility to enable thepatient to be participle in the decision making doctor by providing comprehensive advice and information.

In other cases, ache or discomfort in the ear-nose-throat-neck area can also be caused by diseases sprouting fromother disciplines. It is important to bear this in mind in order to take the necessary steps accordingly. In suchcircumstances, the ENT doctor will get in touch with renowned colleagues in the respective departments of specialization. The competence in the particular case is decisive.

We hope that you found this article useful and that it helped you better understand when you should visit an ENT doctor. If you wish to find out more information about Prof. Dr. med. Hambek, check out his contact details here. And remember: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

German Superstitions

German Superstitions – Common “Aberglaube” in Germany

No matter where you come from, we are sure you are familiar with some strange superstitions. As irrational as they might be, we all have an overly superstitious friend – sometimes, we are even that friend! Every country has its own odd beliefs and Germany is not an exception to the rule. Whether you consider yourself to be a superstitious person or not, if you recently moved to Germany and want to avoid some awkward situations, it might be useful to get to know some of the most common beliefs across the country. Here’s a guide to the top must-know German superstitions!

Friday 13th

Every time the 13th day of the month happens to fall on a Friday, it is traditionally considered to bring bad luck in many countries around the world, especially in Western cultures. In Germany, this day is also thought to be an unlucky day. For instance, some Germans prefer not to take a plane on Friday 13th just in case something bad happens.

Knock on wood

We all know that knocking on wood three times is an international sign of superstition. In Germany, it is common to touch a piece of wood right after you mention something that you might find scary or that you don’t want to happen. As a curious fact, the material Italians touch is iron.

Prost

If you go out for drinks with your German friends and they suggest making a toast, be careful about where you are looking at. While raising their glasses and saying Prost, they will always make eye contact. Not looking into the eyes of your friends is not only considered to be rude, but it can also bring you seven years of bad luck in your sex life, so make sure you remember this rule!

Toi toi toi

Coming from abroad, the meaning behind this one might surprise you most out of all German superstitions. The phrase “toi, toi, toi” traces its origins back to the old tradition of spitting over your shoulder three times in order to keep the devil or other bad spirits away. Of course, spitting on someone is not the nicest thing to do! That’s why Germans thought that imitating this sound would be a kinder way to wish someone good luck – dankeschön for the consideration, I guess!

Never an early birthday

Even though in other parts of the world we might think it is nice to wish our friends a happy birthday in advance if we throw a surprise birthday party for them, this is something most Germans will freak about. However, there is a reasonable explanation to this belief. In German, there are two ways to send well-wishes for someone’s birthday: Zum Geburtstag viel Glück and Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, meaning “good luck on your birthday” and “all the best for your birthday”, respectively. Therefore, they think that this good luck should only come on their day of birth; receiving it before will only have the opposite effect and bring them bad luck!

Forbidden gifts

When looking for a gift for your loved ones, make sure you never make the mistake of buying the two cursed gifts in Germany: knives and shoes.

If your friend recently moved to a new apartment, you could come up with the idea of getting him or her a present for their home. Keep this in mind: never a knife! According to old German beliefs, knives are likely to cut the ties of a relationship or cause serious injuries when gifted. On the other hand, you should know that the best housewarming presents in Germany are bread (Brot) and salt (Salz), since the belief is that bread provides your household with enough food and salt represents wealth and prosperity.
Last but not least, cross shoes off your gifts list unless you want your partner to run away in them – it would be your own fault!

Creepy ladders

Walking under a ladder supposedly brings bad luck worldwide, including Germany, but have you ever wondered why? This superstition goes back to ancient Egypt times. When a ladder leans against a wall, it forms a triangle shape, which Egyptians considered to be sacred. In their culture, triangles symbolised the trinity of gods and passing through them would mean dishonouring the deities.

Better broken than apart

Breaking a plate as a child would make your parents upset for the rest of the week. However, there is a special occasion in Germany in which you can make someone very happy with it. Yes, as weird as it may sound, breaking a plate or any kind of old ceramic pottery the evening before a wedding is another one of those old German superstitions and a tradition known as Polterabend. It is believed to bring good luck (especially if the bride and groom-to-be work together to pick up the broken dishes) since the thunderous sound of ceramic breaking is thought to ward off the evil. So, if you want your marriage to last, get ready to invest some money on new crockery!

Regardless of whether you believe in these German superstitions or not, we hope that this article helped you understand some local beliefs better and bring you the best of lucks. After all, we all prefer not to risk it for the biscuit!

Working in Germany

Working in Germany – How to Find a Job in Germany

As an expat coming to Germany, we know that it can be very challenging to find a job in the country. In addition, the whole process behind working in Germany (applying for different positions, getting rejected several times, etc.) can become quite stressful. That is why we would like to offer you all the tools that you need to find a job in Germany and help you succeed in your search. Don’t lose faith – it’s not as hard as it seems.

What are the requirements to work in Germany as an expat?

The requirements to work in Germany as a foreigner will vary depending on your nationality, usually whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen.

If you come from an EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you do not need a visa nor a work permit to be employed in Germany: all that you need is a valid ID or passport to register in the country upon your arrival.

On the other hand, residents from the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, Canada, South Korea or New Zealand will have to apply for a residence permit in order to enter Germany, but they do not require a work permit to be eligible to work in the country.

However, if you are a citizen from any other country, you will have to apply for a work visa before entering Germany. In this case, you should already have a job offer or contract to be granted the visa.

Can I find a job in Germany without speaking German?

Yes, it is possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany. According to the German Federal Employment Agency, foreign workers made up 12% of Germany’s workforce in 2018. Although having a basic knowledge of German would be ideal and accelerate the recruiting process, working in Germany is possible for expats since there are many job opportunities in different sectors across the country.

How can I find a job in Germany as an expat?

In the era of digitalization that we are living in, the best way to find a job in Germany is to make use of online platforms. Some of the most common job sites in Germany are Stepstone, Indeed and LinkedIn. If you do not speak German, here’s a list of the top English-speaking job websites that will help you in your search:

As a tip of advice, you should make sure that you have a solid LinkedIn profile. More and more companies advertise their job offers on LinkedIn, where you may apply for them directly. In order to make the job hunt easier, you can filter out the offers by using the word “English” in your search.

Besides these platforms, the Federal Government of Germany published an up-to-date list with figures of the current available job occupations across the country depending on the sector that you might also find useful. Although most of the job titles are written in German, some of the job descriptions are in English and several positions only require English fluency, so it is worth checking it out.

Which jobs are in demand in Germany?

According to recent statistics, the most highly demanded jobs in Germany are related to the engineering, software development and digital communications fields. In addition, there is a high demand for IT specialists, physicians, nurses, scientists, analysts and sales managers, among others. However, if your qualifications do not match any of these positions, do not worry, there are plenty of job opportunities in Germany. In fact, Germany has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Europe (3.1%), so there are big chances that you will find a good job.

Highly Demanded Jobs in Germany
Infographic showing job categories in high demand in Germany

What is the minimum wage in Germany?

Although German salaries are among the highest in the world already, the minimum wage in Germany was raised twice in 2022. On January 1st, it was raised to 9,82 euros per hour (making it a total of 1,571 € for a full-time position of 40 hours per week). From July 1st, this amount will go up again to 10,45 euros per hour (1,672 €).

What’s more, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is planning to increase it again to 12 euros per hour in October.

If you wish to know more about what your average salary in Germany would look like given your qualifications, check out the salary tool offered by StepStone here.

What is a normal working day in Germany?

Just in like most countries, working in Germany offers the possibility to work in full-time or part-time positions. In general, the typical working week for full-time positions is between 36 and 40 hours. On average, people work seven or eight hours per day, five days per week. If you decide to have more than one job, the German Labor and Employment law stipulates that working hours cannot exceed 48 in one week.

Concerning holidays and vacation time, workers are entitled at least 24 days of annual leave per year. However, most companies offer their employees a period of 30 days of paid vacation leave.

Do I need to be insured to work in Germany?

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for everyone who wishes to work in Germany, without any exceptions. If you’re thinking about working as an expat, we understand that this process can seem complicated, but there are many resources where you can find assistance. If you need any more information regarding health insurance or the type of insurance that you need, do not hesitate to contact our partners from MW Expat, they will advise you on what is the best option for you depending on your personal situation and find the best solution.

We hope that you found this guide about working in Germany useful for your job search. We wish you all the good luck in the world!

Driving in Germany

Driving in Germany

Germany is known for its highways. On many routes, there is no speed limit. The highway network stretches all over Germany and you can quickly get from one city to the next (if there are no traffic jams). Whether you have your own car, rent a car, or use car-sharing, having a valid driver’s license as an expat in Germany is definitely a big advantage.

Driving in Germany with a foreign license

If you come from an EU or EEA country (European economic area) country, your driver’s license is valid until the expiry of its term of validity.

If you come from a third country, your foreign driver’s license is valid for 6 months. The start of the period is the registration of a residence in Germany. A translation must be included if the license is not in English.

To continue driving in Germany after 6 months, the foreign driver’s license must be exchanged for a German one. The process depends on the country in which the license was issued. In some cases, there is no need for a theoretical or practical exam. For example, when the minimum EU standards for driving tests are given.

If you are from a country where an exam is required, you need to pass the driving theory and practical test. The good thing is, you don’t have to take theory and driving lessons. You can decide on your own if and when you want to absolve the test.

Steps to get a German driver’s license

1. Choose the driver’s license class

In Germany, we have different driver’s license classes depending on what kind of license you want to achieve. Here is a rough overview of the different classes:

  • A / A1 / A2 / AM / Mofa / B197: Motorcycle driver’s license
  • B / B96 / BE / B197: passenger car driver’s license
  • C / C1 / C1E / CE: Truck driver’s license

2. Prerequisite for the driving test in Germany

When registering for a driver’s license you have to fulfill some requirements.

  • ID or passport
  • Biometrical passport photo
  • Eye examination
  • First-aid course

3. Choose the right driving school in Germany

In Germany, there exists a variety of driving schools. It might be difficult to choose one if you don’t have any references. Project Expat can help you to find the right driving school for you. Check out our driving school service partners here.

Once you have chosen a driving school, you will receive a training plan and training materials. You may need to attend a certain number of theory lessons before you can take the exam.

The practical training consists of several driving lessons with a driving instructor. Night and highway driving are also included. Depending on your driving behavior and experience, you may have more or fewer driving hours.

4. Getting your driver’s license

The practical driving test takes place with your driving instructor and an examiner. If you pass the test, the examiner will issue you with a temporary driver’s license. Then you can get your permanent license at the traffic authority.

Tips for driving in Germany

Manual cars

When renting a car, most of the time you still get manual models. So, remember when booking to choose an automatic one if you feel more comfortable with it.

Autobahn

Germany is famous for its Autobahnen or motorways. There is generally no speed limit on highways. However, restrictions often apply when the roads pass cities. Therefore, always keep your eyes open and observe the speed limits. Furthermore, always drive in the right lane. You can pass other cars by using the left lane.

No drinking and driving

For novice drivers in the probationary period and drivers under 21, the limit of 0.0 per mille (0 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood) applies.

The general blood-alcohol limit for driving is 0.5 per mille (= 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or 0,05%). Drivers who endanger traffic must expect to be punished from a blood-alcohol level of 0.3 per mille.

Watch out for pedestrians

In German cities, the speed limit is reduced to 50km/h. Often only 30 km/h is allowed to take pedestrians into account. If there is a pedestrian zone you are often not allowed to drive at all or only at walking speed. Here pedestrians have the right of way.

Driving a car in Germany has many advantages. On the one hand, you can explore the country very well by car and can reach even smaller villages and remote sights.
If you live in Germany for a longer period of time, a German driver’s license is indispensable. With a car, you can make your everyday life easier in many ways.

At Project Expat, we are happy to assist you in finding suitable English-speaking driving schools.

Do you want to buy a car and need a car insurance? Check out our service.

We from Project Expat are happy to support you with our network of excellent English-speaking partners until you feel more comfortable in the German language.

Explore our service categories here.

Living in Stuttgart or Schdugard

Living in Stuttgart or Schdugard – City Guide

Facts about Stuttgart

Schdugard, as the locals say, is the capital of Baden-Württemberg. It is characterized by its 7 hills that give the city a special topography. The hills give you a wonderful panorama and an enchanting view of the city center. If you decide on living in Stuttgart, you will have to get used to the unusual dialect and expect that it will take a while to feel like you have arrived. But you will be rewarded with a city that has been richly endowed by nature. With about 630,000 inhabitants, it is clearly ahead of Mannheim and Karlsruhe, the next largest cities in the state.

Stuttgart’s name comes from the fact that the Wasserburg, the former old castle. It used to be a moated castle built by the Duke of Swabia to protect his stud farm. The stud farm used to be called Stutengarten, and that is where the name of Stuttgart comes from.

Stuttgart also offers an incredible selection of events. Among the outstanding annual events are certainly the Stuttgart Spring Festival and Cannstatt Folk Festival, each of which attracts around 4 million visitors from Germany and abroad. The Stuttgart Wine Village, the Stuttgart Christmas Market or the Summer Festival of Cultures are also popular and well-attended events. Stuttgart is additionally the city with the largest wine-growing area in Germany, outstripping Mainz. If you’re looking for work in the automotive sector, this is the place to be. Both Mercedes Benz and Porsche have their headquarters here.

Highlights of the City

The city of Stuttgart is famous for its television tower (the first in the world!), its strong economy and of course, the Swabian cuisine. The palace in the city center at the Schlossplatz is supposed to symbolize a second Versailles. Quite a few people living in Stuttgart think that the client, Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg, achieved that.

If you want to enjoy an extraordinary view over the square, you have to go to the adjacent art museum. On the top floor you will be treated to a unique panoramic view. Of course, the museum also offers exceptional exhibitions that are definitely worth a visit. Other places to visit in Stuttgart are definitely the Markthalle, which really has something for everyone.

In other German cities, there is actually always one particular trendy neighborhood where there are hip stores, bars and restaurants. Not in Stuttgart! Not even locals could say which neighborhood is the hippest. In this city, the scene is spread all over the city. So for immigrants, it’s a real challenge to stay in the city for a long time, if not for years, and to get to know all the special places, pubs and bars.

More Places to See

One meeting place, however, is definitely Marienplatz, which is visited by Stuttgart residents especially in the summer. Another is the so-called Zacke, one of four rack railroads in Germany, but the only one that is not only used for tourist purposes. In addition, the people living in Stuttgart are always drawn to Mailänder Platz. Here, just like at Marienplatz, there are numerous cafes and restaurants that invite you to linger. There is also one of the architectural highlights of the city, the BIP. This library is home to over half a million books on nine floors and its facade is a real eye-catcher.

The Züblin parking garage in Lazarettstraße is another special feature in Stuttgart. Not only can you park there, but there are also art exhibitions in the parking garage as well as cultural events and concerts. They are integrated into this building and make it something extraordinary. Everyone who lives in Stuttgart should park there once and be caught by the fascination.

St. John’s Church at Feuersee (some call it the “Notre Dame of Stuttgart”) is another architectural highlight in the West of the city. Built in the neo-Gothic style, it is the first church in Stuttgart to be built after the Reformation. Its tower, destroyed during World War II, is now considered a memorial against the war.

Public Transportation

Public transport in Stuttgart is very well developed. There are 17 regional train lines, seven S-Bahn lines, as well as 19 subways, the Zacke and 359 bus lines. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Stuttgart’s transportation network is outdated in many places, which is why traffic jams often form. Also, the main station called Stuttgart 21 is lagging behind its completion. The completion planned for 2019 was postponed to 2025 for various reasons. But the city is developing concepts to remedy these problems.

The Manfred Rommel Airport of the city of Stuttgart has a small shortcoming compared to the other major cities in Germany. While there are flight connections to all aviation hubs in Germany and Europe, there are no transatlantic flights departing from Stuttgart. However, if you know about this, this minor problem can also be solved and you have to plan a stopover. This fact should not stop anyone from moving to Stuttgart.

Living in Stuttgart – the Most Popular Districts

The so-called women’s head quarter is ideal for people who are looking for peace and quiet, but still want to be in the city center in a few minutes.

Bad Cannstatt is the district of Stuttgart with the highest population density. The historic core of Bad Cannstatt is now almost completely developed into a pedestrian zone. The half-timbered houses, small alleys and culturally significant buildings make up the special charm of the district.

Feuerbach, on the other hand, is a very family-friendly district that offers many schools, shopping opportunities, and jobs with some global corporations.

Those who prefer metropolitan life must, of course, move to Stuttgart Mitte. Art, culture, bars and restaurants characterize this district, which is why it is especially popular with young people.

Unfortunately, living in Stuttgart has its price. The price per square meter of net rent is around €10.38, which is well above the national average of around €7.11. Too few designated building sites are to blame, but those responsible in the city are already tackling this problem.

Food you must eat when in Stuttgart

Food or dishes that you definitely have to try when you come to Stuttgart are pretzels, which are said to have been invented here. Another specialty are Herrgottsbescheiserle, which are Maultaschen filled with meat. According to legend, they were invented by a monk during Lent, when you are not allowed to eat meat. Besides that, cheese spaetzle is a typical Swabian dish that you should try. Of course you also have to eat a Swabian Zwiebelrostbraten, which is a rump steak with either fried or browned onions, spaetzle with a dark sauce, very tasty! At the Ackerbürger or the restaurant zur Kiste, for example, you will find these typical dishes. Otherwise, you can of course find restaurants in Stuttgart that offer international dishes. But as always, the best way to find your own favorite restaurant is to try it out yourself. Good luck with it!

In summary, Stuttgart may not be the first city you think of when you immigrate to Germany. However, you should definitely take a good look at the city and its possibilities, because it offers many opportunities and a flair in which it is very good to live.

 

Daylight Savings Time Germany

Daylight Savings Time in Germany

Twice a year, our internal body clocks are challenged when we mark the start and the end of daylight savings time in Germany. Even this change of just one hour affects daily life significantly, as many people have trouble remembering when it happens, let alone in what direction the clocks are supposed to be changed. As an expat, this can become even more confusing, as different countries change their clocks on different dates and not all countries take part in this practice. We have collected all necessary information below.

When does Germany change the clocks?

First things first: when do we need to change the clocks here in Germany?

The switch to daylight savings time, or Sommerzeit (summer time) as it is called in German, always happens on the last weekend of March. In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the clocks are changed forward from 2 am to 3 am. This means the night is one hour shorter!

You’ll notice that the sun rises later in the morning, but as a reward, night sets in later in the evening. 

Start of Daylight Savings Time in 2022: Sunday, March 27th 2022

Later in the year, this switch is then reversed. On the last weekend of October, the Winterzeit or Normalzeit begins when in the night from Saturday to Sunday, the clocks are turned back from 3 am to 2 am. Hence, you get to sleep for one hour longer. The sun rises earlier in the day, however the days also feel shorter because it gets dark sooner.

End of Daylight Savings Time in 2022: Sunday, October 30th 2022

What time zone is Germany with & without daylight savings time?

Okay, so far so good, you now know when to mark your calendars. But with different systems in different countries, this still makes setting up zoom sessions with your family back home a nightmare.  We get it – so let’s break down the respective time zones for Germany so you know what to look up:

Daylight Savings Time – Sommerzeit

  • April to October
  • CEST (Central European Summer Time)
  • UTC+2

Normal Time – Winterzeit

  • November to March
  • CET (Central European Time)
  • UTC+1

Does the clock change forwards or backwards?

Once you remember when the time changes take place, the second thing that sometimes trips people up is which way to change the clocks. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Always change the clock in the direction of summer. In spring, summer is still ahead, in the fall, it’s already behind us.
  • In Summer, the thermometer shows warm degrees (+), while in winter it shows negative temperatures (-). (This, of course, only makes sense to nations that use the metric system. Sorry, USA.)
  • Lastly, the classic mnemonic device: spring forward, fall back!

Will Germany abolish daylight savings time?

But wait a minute – wasn’t there some talk about stopping the use of daylight savings time in Germany? Yes, that’s correct. The German parliament had voted to abolish daylight savings time back in 2019, however this change was never implemented. 

The reason behind this is that the European Union hasn’t come to a common decision. A mix of different time zones among neighbouring states is to be avoided and some European states are against abolishing the time switches in general. Even a compromise has been introduced: how about just switching by half an hour? However, this suggestion has not garnered too much support so far. 

What happens if Germany stops daylight savings time?

If the switch to daylight savings time in Germany is ever halted, what would this actually look like? It of course depends on which time zone the country would stick with. In any case, there would be both upsides and downsides: 

  • If we keep daylight savings time, it would stay light out for longer – on the other hand, the sun would rise only at 9:30 am on the shortest day of the year.
  • If we were to keep normal time, the mornings wouldn’t feel as grim as the sun would rise sooner. The nice, long summer evenings wouldn’t be as long, though: the sun would set at 8:30 pm on the longest day of the year.

While the decision about which of the two scenarios makes more sense has the public divided, there is a general consensus that getting rid of the back and forth is the way to go: over 70% of the German population are PRO abolishing daylight savings time in Germany. The negative effects felt after changing the clocks simply keep outweighing the positives for most people. Many report feeling sluggish, not sleeping well or not being able to concentrate on the days following the change – or even having depressive mood swings. 

How long has daylight savings time been observed in Germany?

The first time that Germany implemented daylight savings time was from 1916 to 1918 during World War I. After the war, this measure for conserving energy didn’t seem necessary anymore and was immediately stopped after this two-year run. It was then reintroduced in 1940 – again, in the context of war. With the end of World War II, time zones became messy as the occupying powers didn’t follow common rules. Only in 1950, this chaos was resolved when the use of daylight savings time was ended.

It would take another 30 years until the topic was brought up again. Germany reimplemented daylight savings time in 1980, once again with the goal to conserve energy by making use of daylight more efficiently. With the sun setting later in the day during summer, turning on the light is not necessary as much. 

The initial idea does not actually work out, however. Studies showed that, while people use less energy for light, they do start heating their homes earlier, which makes up for the conserved energy.

 

With all the mentioned points of disagreement and current events keeping the political world occupied, it’s unclear when – or if – a decision will be made about ending the use of daylight savings time in Germany. So for the time being, changing the clocks will be part of our routines twice a year.

Life Coaching

Life Coaching: Finding the Right Coaching & Coach

Often we are in situations in which we do not feel well and would like to change something. But we don’t know how and what we can really change. Is it the job, the boss, the life situation, the friend or other external circumstances? This is the point where a Life Coach could step in. In this article our partner Brigitte Goletz, Personal and Business Coach, will give you useful information about what coaching is and how to find the right coach for you.

Finding the Right Coach

Finding a good coach is not that easy: there are many coaches on the market and the quality of the coach is not immediately recognizable because there is no uniform education. Apart from the professional education of the coach, it must also fit personally.

A good relationship with the coach is one of the most important things in coaching, so every client should take the time to make a phone call to see if the coach fits him or her personally. Professional quality characteristics can be training at a recognized institute, references to already (successfully) conducted coachings, membership in an association as well as certification.

Usually, coaches offer free initial phone sessions. Sessions are often 60-90 minutes long, depending on the arrangement. In a coaching session, a coach guides the client in formulating goals for the concern and in achieving the goal, using tools that are helpful in achieving the goal. Often 5-6 appointments are enough for this.

When Can Coaching Be Useful?

Occasions for personal coaching can be:

  • You are stuck in your structures and can’t move forward.
  • You feel that your life is difficult and you wish for more lightness.
  • You want to give your life a different direction, but you don’t know the way.
  • Your midlife does not have to mean a midlife crisis: Where do you want to go and what do you still want to achieve?
  • How do I deal with life interruptions? For example, with a separation, illness or losses?

Occasions for business coaching can be:

  • Self-awareness: Where are your strengths? How can you best contribute to your job?
  • Compatibility: How do you achieve a balance between professional demands and private wishes and goals?
  • You feel like a victim of mobbing
  • You are dissatisfied in your job and need support in changing jobs
  • You would like to find a job that suits you better
  • New position: You would like to strengthen your leadership skills

Choose Yourself

We are all strongly influenced by our childhood caregivers and our culture. This influence has left us with fixed patterns of behavior and used to give us orientation and the necessary affection from our parents.

Today, they can sometimes be a hindrance and lead to undesirable thinking, feeling and behavior. And then we do not feel comfortable in some situations.

Life coaching is a way to personal freedom and development. In a coaching session you can gain new perspectives, recognize and understand patterns and attitudes, formulate goals and start on the path to achieving them. What is still standing in your way? Start now!

Do You Have Any Further Questions?

„My first contact with coaching was when I was a coaching client myself. My wish was to free myself from old restrictive patterns. The experience of feeling freer and stronger afterwards fascinated me so much that I became intensively involved with the subject of coaching and then did the training to become a personal and business coach.“, Brigitte Goletz.

Get in Touch

On Project Expat: https://project-expat.com/vendors/ms-brigitte-goletz/
Web: https://personalcoaching.koeln/
Phone: 0221-98656707
Mail: info@personalcoaching.koeln

Hamburg City Guide

Hamburg, meine Perle – City Guide

Hamburg, my pearl – that’s how the locals or newcomers call their home. Hamburg is also one of the three city-states in Germany. This means the city has the same rights and the same responsibilities as the rest of the states in Germany. After moving to Hamburg and going through a difficult initial period, expats living in Hamburg will be rewarded for their perseverance for sure! The architecture, the sights, the restaurants, the harbour, the small city beaches, and last but not least, the people, make the second-largest city in Germany something very special!

City and Sightseeing

The cityscape of Hamburg is characterized by the two rivers and the port. Add to these the impressive architecture that makes Hamburg unique. The Elbe and Alster rivers have a positive influence on life in the city. Both the rivers invite you to linger as well as to indulge in water sports.

But this city has much more to offer: In addition to the numerous cultural offerings and the opera that hosts the most diverse selection of musicals, Hamburg also impresses with its modern architecture. The Elbphilharmonie is not only the new concert hall of Hamburg, but also a new landmark of the city, just like the Michel. The nave including the five organs, the vaulted cellar, and the mesmerising view from the church tower, are especially remarkable. In its nearly 400-year history, this church had to be completely rebuilt twice.

The Speicherstadt and the Harbour

The Speicherstadt also characterizes the cityscape. By far, one of the most celebrated photo motifs in the Speicherstadt is the moated castle at the end of the Holländischer Brook, which is now used as a tea office with gastronomy. It forms the centre of the third construction phase of the Speicherstadt and was built between 1905 and 1907. At that time, it was the solitary place in the Speicherstadt that was allowed to be inhabited.

An absolute must for tourists and expats living in Hamburg is a harbour tour. The Port of Hamburg, or the “Gateway to the World” as the locals call it, has something to offer for everyone and is truly impressive. There, you will also find museums and historic ships that remind you of the respective eras of the city’s history. If you want, you can end the day in the Strandperle, a famous restaurant.

Nightlife and the Kiez

Two highlights besides those already mentioned, however, are of course the world-famous Reeperbahn and the Hamburg fish market. Once considered wicked, the Reeperbahn is now an entertainment mile for everyone. Numerous bars characterize the streetscape. In contrast to the linguistic usage in Berlin, for Hamburgers, there is only one Kiez: the entertainment district in the St. Pauli district around the most sinful mile in the world. Roughly speaking, Hamburg’s Kiez consists of the Reeperbahn, the Grosse Freiheit, Hamburger Berg, and Hans-Albers-Platz – at least in terms of going out in the evening. During the day, the Kiez seems rather quiet and inviting to one or the other. But as dusk falls, the Reeperbahn and the adjacent streets and squares come to life. Locals and tourists alike then visit the city’s most famous nightlife district.

In the Grosse Freiheit, a side street to the Reeperbahn, music history was made in the 1960s, as the Beatles had their first performances there. First, they performed in the club Indra, which is still open today after some renovations, followed by the still existing Kaiserkeller at Große Freiheit 36, and in the famous Star Club, which is only remembered by a memorial plaque.

St. Pauli also offers a lot of culture and art besides the Reeperbahn. You should take your time to discover the individual galleries and small museums, which will surely be a rewarding experience.

The Fish Market and the Canals

The Hamburg fish market is also a Hamburg institution. Every Sunday morning, this fish market attracts thousands of visitors from Hamburg and all over the world to the Elbe. If you want to be there, you have to get up early – but it’s worth it. With its long tradition, maritime charm, and quick-witted market criers, the Hamburg fish market in Altona makes weekly shopping an experience for the young and old. However, besides all these sights, which actually cannot be overlooked, it is worth taking a second look at the city.

If you want it a little quieter, retreat to the small canals and enjoy the peace and quiet in the big city. The canals run through the entire city and shape the cityscape just like the architecture. All these aspects make Hamburg an interesting city, which is an attraction for immigrants and expats due to its internationality.

Transportation

Likewise, the connection through the airport, the port, and the location should be noted. The Helmut Schmidt airport is the fifth-largest in Germany. Hamburg’s main train station is one of the most important railroad hubs in Germany. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks are also excellently developed, which simplifies daily life enormously. Four subways and six suburban trains crisscross the entire city, which helps you to get from point A to B quickly. This way, expats living in Hamburg are well connected both locally and globally !

Food and Restaurants

In addition to all these cultural and practical aspects that make Hamburg attractive, physical well-being will also be catered for. The restaurant scene is determined by regionality as well as internationality. There is, so to speak, the right choice and variety for everyone. The Schoppenhauer, right next to the Speicherstadt, stands for modern Hamburg cuisine. There you can order both Labskaus, a typical dish for Hamburg, and a refined 3-5 course menus. The Go is run by the famous German TV chef Steffen Henssler, and is known for his sushi creations. These are just two examples of the city’s diverse cuisine. Of course, there are still various restaurants that should be mentioned here, but it is easier to find them out on the spot.

For expats living in Hamburg, therefore, it is a city that is both attractive and exciting. Many Germans move to this cosmopolitan metropolis due to the above-mentioned aspects. All these make it an attractive place for expats moving to Germany and working here. Good luck and have fun exploring this extraordinary city!