So, you’re heading to Berlin for a new job or project? Ready to hit your new life in the German capital running? The city’s reputation for a legendary lifestyle precedes it, obviously. But in doing your research you hear about the equally legendary hassles of German bureaucracy…you get organised to fight this beast!
After a tonne of research, you compile your to-do list:
1. Sign up for German health insurance. Several Krankenkassen have English versions of their websites. Phew.
2. Get a phone plan. Nah, screw it, go pre-paid till you get settled. What about Wifi? Cross that bridge when you get to it.
3. Get a German bank account. Google translating bank websites is no fun. Seems like to get an account in Germany you have to actually go into a branch, wait in line and bring proof of your official address (which you don’t have yet). What a hassle. You came here to work and play, not wait in line.
4. Get a flat: Urghh. First off, you’re not going to stay at some sketchy shared flat with a mouldy shower curtain in some peripheral neighbourhood. Been there, done that. The Berlin housing market seems pretty difficult to navigate from afar. Fighting the crowds at viewings, submitting a pile of documents – some of which you don’t even have, like this mysterious SCHUFA (proof that you’re not a delinquent debtor). Urghh. Then there are the small issues of furniture, linens, cutlery. Sounds like numerous patience-testing trips to IKEA and flea markets. Then you discover that some German rental apartments don’t come with rudimentary ceiling lamps. Or kitchens! Chances are you’ll have to order a new one or make one yourself. WTF. That sounds like several more hellish hours at IKEA. Nein danke.
Finally, you come across Tannhaus. Serviced apartments for professionals. Hmm. Okay. Their flats are located in the refurbished ex-Cuban Embassy in Friedrichshain. The place is remarkably tasteful. Lots of wood, soft, forest colours. Hygge as hell. Fully furnished with hand-selected vintage pieces and custom-designed furniture. Each apartment contains a segment of the specially commissioned urban artwork by Peach Beach. Hip exposed concrete! Equipped with cosy towels and bed linen! You won’t even have to buy a corkscrew. Located right at Frankfurter Tor next to the U-Bahn and Tram. Communal laundry in the basement. And indoor bike storage. Everything is included: electricity, heat, high-speed wifi, IP-TV! If there are any problems, you can just submit them online – in English!
So you sign up online… receive a bilingual contract in German and in English. None of that SCHUFA nonsense! You pay a one to two month deposit and boom, you have a home in Berlin.
After a good night’s sleep in your perfect new urban retreat-like home in the middle of the city, you summon up your courage, grab your Tannhaus rental contract and get registered at the Bürgeramt to feel like a true Berliner. But first you explore a little. The neighbourhood has it all: everything from vegan supermarkets and restaurants to the weekly market at Boxhagener Platz. At Shakespeare and Sons just down Warschauer Straße you can dig into a great bagel and some English literature. Live music at Bar Bobu or Astra is just a short stroll away. And Berghain is within walking distance. Your Berlin life is coming together….