November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berliner Mauer, the wall that divided Germany’s capital city for around 28 years. Berlin will host a whole series of events throughout 2019, in particular throughout November, to take a look back at the events that unfolded. If you plan to be around in the fall of 2019, it’s going to be a pretty special time to be in Berlin. … Read More
Category Archive: Life in Germany
A minimum wage (Mindestlohn) has already existed in many European countries for quite a while. Despite this, its introduction in Germany only happened very recently. In 2015, negotiations between the CDU, CSU and SPD saw a minimum wage of €8.50 introduced to Germany in accordance with the Act Regulating a General Minimum Wage. Over the following years, it increased gradually. Right now, it is 9.19 EUR per hour. As of 1 January 2020, it will increase to €9.35 per hour. Some industries have been given a transition period before becoming compliant.
In April 2012, I became a bride. My honeymoon trip to my native Australia was going to be particularly special – not just because I got to spend two weeks of wedded bliss with my dashing new groom, but also because we were going to be two of the first customers to set foot in Berlin Brandenburg airport. We were scheduled to depart from Tegel and return to BER 20 days later. Well, kids, I’ve now been married for seven years, I have two children, though I am yet to set foot in Berlin Brandenburg airport. Here’s what happened.
By guest author Katie Kruse
Citizenship application sent off? Then it’s time to hit the books!
Brexit is still looming; come Hallowe’en, the ghosts and ghouls won’t be the only thing making you quiver with fright. Lucky for you Brits, 31st October is still a way off, which means you can still get your citizenship application in before Britain departs from the EU for good.
by guest author Katie Kruse
On a sunny morning in May, a day so wholly unexceptional that I expected nothing more than the customary rising and setting of the sun with the filler that is life in between, a letter dropped into my mailbox. It was no bigger or smaller than your average letter, the little window was neither shiny, nor dull, nor did it instill any particular hope that this letter should be different to any other letter I have received since living in Germany. I did not know at this point just how special this letter was.
This post is written by guest blogger and interpreter Suzanne Fischer.
Fellow Brits, this post is written with you in mind. Have you lived in Germany for 6+ years? Do you speak terrific German? You have the chance to gain German citizenship earlier than the usual 8-year period of unbroken residency. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to retain your status as a European with dual nationality. No promises, of course – it’s all dependent on providing a stack of extra documentation.
Are you a Brit thinking of applying for German Citizenship before Brexit? Time to get your skates on! Katie from Red Tape Translation gives us a detailed account of what it’s like to be a Brit going for “Einbürgerung”.… Read More
You registered in Germany. You stayed a while. You’re still here. Now you want to exchange the driver’s licence from your home country for a German one. But… oh my… more than six months have gone by since you moved to Berlin (or Frankfurt, or Munich, or wherever). It says you are supposed to exchange it for a German one within 6 months of taking up residence in Germany. So will they refuse to exchange it?
Happy summer, everyone! Here’s an update of what’s going on around here.
I’m expecting to welcome a baby girl into the world in late August or early September. This means I’m out of action from the beginning of July 2018 until … some time in the autumn, and then part-time after that. Luckily for you, the wheels will all keep on turning even while I am away and all services will still be available.
Our newest service is proving popular with small and medium-sized business owners who want support communicating with authorities for their employees, people who have to deal with the unemployment agency and people who receive letters they don’t understand and don’t quite have the mind space to figure out on their own. Additionally, we’ve helped people try to track down paperwork for long-lost relatives, organised specialist medical care in situations where clear communication is crucial and wrapped up affairs for expats leaving Germany (contract terminations, deregistration, etc).
The Best Ice-Cream in Berlin
Cons: If you can’t stand long lines, Prenzlauer Berg parents and 1.60 EUR scoops, don’t go.
Pros: if you want truly sensational flavours, just give in and go. Be that Prenzlberg mum. I know I am. Now in Pankow and Prenzlauer Berg.
The Berlin Summer Card for Swimming Pools
This is an absolute bargain if you think you’ll be visiting the outdoor pools. 70 EUR (60 EUR earlybird price) for 20 pool visits. It’s a laminated card, it’s transferrable, and the best bit is that you get to jump the queue. In my opinion, even if you and your family don’t quite make it to the pool 20 times over the summer, it’s still worth it to jump the queue. This card is only for the outdoor pools – you can find a list of them and more information here.
Wishing you all a sensationally hot summer in Berlin! This is the season when all the tourists fall in love with the city and desperately want to stay. Are you one of them? We’re happy to help you find a way to stick around in Berlin.
Life admin – it’s something everyone has to deal with. Correspondence, finance, tax, registration forms, paying bills, etc. It’s so necessary and so painful. And in a foreign language? Excruciating. Getting the answers you want feels like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s hard to talk to customer service without getting shut down for not speaking German. The credibility of replies on English-language social media forums is questionable at best. Lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of requests for help with expat life admin tasks, things like “can I pay you to sort out this billing issue?”, “I got a scary letter from the Finanzamt, can you help me understand it?” or “Can you find me a medical specialist who speaks English?” I can, I can and I can! Introducing Life Admin from Red Tape Translation.
What’s the difference between a regular interpreter and a court-sworn interpreter? Why do some offices insist on using “official” interpreters? And why do they cost so much more? I finally feel adequately informed to answer this question, because I’m in the middle of my vocational training to become a court-sworn interpreter. And it is no pony ride, let me assure you.
Dear friends and followers,
Thanks for a terrific 2017. Hmm, perhaps not the best year in terms of cashflow (let’s just call it a “spending year”, shall we?), but an unbelievably significant one in terms of growth and learning curves.
With the help of the talented Laura Yeffeth, I launched a brand new website in June and it has been nothing but fabulous. In November, I celebrated my fifth year of business. Take a peek at all the things that have happened over the last five years. Whoa.