8 Things to Know about Berlin Before Moving

Before you move to Berlin read this! 

Berlin is a vibrant city full of artists, politicians, students, and young entrepreneurs set to found their startup. The exceltic mix can also be seen in the many internationals that live here, myself included. The following are some things to keep in mind before you plan your big move to Germany’s capital.


  1. Berlin is not representative of Germany! I know it sounds funny, seeing that Berlin is the capital, but really for better or for worse Berlin is quite different from the rest of Germany. It has a mix of former eastern and western influence, as it was divided into four zones after WWII.
  1. Don’t go to Berlin to learn German! Being a global city has many benefits, but it is undeniably hard to learn German in Berlin. Locals are use to speaking English, and people are quick to switch if they notice you are struggling to say something in German. Plus a lot of jobs don’t require any German skills.
  1. Poor but sexy! Salaries in Berlin aren’t the highest, but the cost of living is also extremely reasonable. You shouldn’t move to Berlin if you are looking to get rich quick. Other German cities that offer higher paying salaries on average include Hamburg, München, and Dortmund. However, the cost of living in Berlin is super affordable relative to the money you make.  
  1. Techies and startups welcome! A new startup is found every 20 seconds in Berlin. Programmers and engineers from all over the world come to Berlin, and are helping make it the startup capital of Europe. Joining a successful startup at an early phase can be a great career move. When you ask people working in Berlin what they do for a living expect to hear something along the lines of, “It’s an app that…”
  1. The city that sleeps! Shops in Berlin are not open 24/7 and are rarely open on Sundays. Be prepared to plan ahead when it comes to buying groceries. Spätis, or kiosks thats are open late, are something typical for Berlin where you can buy drinks and snacks in the night, which are not found in the rest of Germany.
  1. Berlin is green but not clean. Walking around the streets of Berlin, you often to find trash, broken bottles, and half eaten döner kebabs. Unlike the rest of Germany, the city isn’t known for its impeccable hygiene. On the other hand, the city is full of parks on almost every street corner. When the weather is nice you can always escape to an oasis in the middle of the city.
  1. Something for everyone! Whether you are a hardcore vegan, hipster mom, or seapunk enthusiast you are sure to find whatever floats your boat here. This diversity can also be seen in the local parliament, which has representatives for everything from animal rights parties to gay rights parties.
  1. People are open, not friendly. Unlike the rest of Germany, people in Berlin are generally speaking far less reserved. That means making new friends should be a good bit easier. Don’t be scared to approach someone you don’t know and see what happens! However, just because people are more approachable doesn’t mean they are friendlier. Berliners are known for their loud-mouth, sassy attitude (aka the infamous Berliner Schnauze).


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