Moving to Germany: What you need to know
Germany is a very popular place for people from all over the world to live, work and study abroad.
With 82.3 million inhabitants Germany has the largest population of any EU member state with around 7.3 million people coming from other countries.
It is the birthplace of such greats as Einstein, Beethoven and the Grimm brothers, the country is proud of its cultural history, a vibrant nightlife and stunning landscapes.
The Alps in the South offer a great place to go skiing or do any kind of winter-sports-activity you like. The upper east and west of Germany borders to the sea and is a great place for water-activities or wellness-areas.
Whether you’re just starting to think about it or you’ve already booked your flights, there’s a few
important things you need to know. This blog will help you get started.
Germany with its capital Berlin is based in the center of Europe and consists of 16 federal states. It covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres and is sourrounded by 9 neighbouring countries (Austria, Italy, Poland, France, Netherland, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and Czech Republic).
Between the North Sea and Baltic coasts in the north and the peaks of the Alps in the south lie extremely diverse landscapes, with everything from wide expanses of river and lakeland scenery, hilly uplands and densely wooded regions to agricultural plains and industrial conurbations. The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany at 2,963 metres. Germany’s longest river is the Rhine, which flows through the country for a total of 865 kilometres.
Germany’s climate other than on the Alps in the South doesn’t vary a lot in different regions. It is a largely temperate seasonal climate with warm summers and mild winters. Germany is located between the oceanic Western European and the continental Eastern European climate. The temperature is on average around 25-30 degrees in summer and gets a little below 0 degrees during the winter.
So you have to prepare for all circumstances in each season. But most of the year basic clothing like a light jacked, long trousers and sweatshirt is just fine.
You may think of Germany as a strict, very organised country that doesn’t like unpunctuality. I have to tell you from my own experience, that some of these things are true in way if you compare Germany to other countries in Europe. Germany has a lot of restrictions and a large focus on details, for example when it comes to the way of building houses or infrastructure. Punctuality is considered a German virtue and is an important thing you should keep in mind when you apply for a job or every other importend meeting.
But Germany is also a very diverse country, with a lot of cultures from all over the world.
It was devided in West and East Germany for over 40 years, where the eastern part was largely influenced by the Soviet Union and western part by the United Kingdom, France and the United States. This seperation can still be noticed after over 20 years of reunion in the way and standard of living in the different regions.
Even if Germany is not proud of its recent past 60 year’s ago, we are a very cultural country and very patriotic when it comes to football. Nearly every boy and even a lot of girls have played football at some time of their life and it is the thing to do, watch and talk about with friends.
The German language was one the lingua franca of central, eastern and northern Europe and remains the language with the most native speakers in Europe.
It is the predominant language in Germany, but depending on the area you are in, there is a large variety in slangs. Especially in Bayern and the whole eastern part of Germany. The language differences are sometimes very big and make it very hard to communicate with each other.
If you come to Germany to learn the “proper” German that is understood by every native German speaker, I would recommend you to learn from the northern and western part of Germany.
There is also a variety of immigrant languages like Turkish, Kurdish, Polish, the Balkan languages and Russian which are present all around Germany.
The Food & Drink
The food is influenced by a lot of cultures from all around the world. You can find for example Italian, Indian, Chinese or Spanish restaurants almost anywhere in Germany.
Very popular among a lot of young people are turkish restaurants and especially the kebab. It is a very cheap and delicious meal if you are on the go and need something quick to eat. Of course McDonalds, Burger King and Subway are present all around Germany as well.
But what Germany is very proud of and popular for is its traditional native food and beer. In Munich during the Octoberfest you can experience the whole tradional foods and drinks in addition to the traditional clothing which is only worn during that event. But don’t take it too serious, it is all just exaggerated and part of a big party. You also want to be aware that it might get a little excessive and over the top, when people are having a good time.
Germany is also known for its orderliness and strict rules, which is a very good thing when it comes to food. Here are a lot of restrictions for the food industrie, which raises the prices a little but ensures overall a good quality in foods, such as vegetables and especially meats.
If you need more information about Germany, its Federal States, regions, cities, events etc, visit the homepage of the German National Tourist Board: www.germany-tourism.de