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Living in Germany

Life in Germany can offer expatriates many advantages. Not only can you expect things to be clean and well-ordered, there is also an abundance of cultural and leisure activities throughout the year. In this guide, InterNations introduces you to expat life in Germany.
Socialising in beer gardens is an important part of life in Germany.

At a Glance:

  • Once you have arrived, you will need to register your address with the local Registry Office.
  • The German education system is good, but there are also many international schools in the country.
  • Depending on where you are looking to move, the house hunt could take some time and will be harder if you don’t speak German.
  • You should be aware that many apartments in Germany will not come with any furnishings; this includes the kitchen.


Although it is one of the greatest stereotypes about Germany, one cannot deny that life in this country will probably be a very orderly experience. You’ll benefit from clean streets, tidy parks, and strict bureaucracy (the latter may not always be a benefit, though!).

Being an expat in Germany may thus require some adjustment, especially if you come from a country that’s more laidback or even cheerfully chaotic. However, Germany can also be a rather uncomplicated country, depending on how you look at matters. If you like things to be on time, in an orderly fashion, and done in the way you requested, life in Germany will be a delightful experience for you.

From Bach to Goethe: German Culture

Living in Germany does not mean that fun is thrown to the wayside. To the contrary, Germans are a surprisingly fun-loving bunch. Depending on the region your expat adventure takes you to, there are a multitude of festivals and holidays to disprove the stereotype of the dull, prosaic, uptight German — one example is the world-famous Oktoberfest, a must visit when you live in Germany.

Germany is also the birthplace of famous composers like Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner as well as literary geniuses such as Brecht, Goethe, and the Mann family. If literature and the arts are not your cup of tea, take a look at Discover Germany and see what else the country has to offer.

Our articles on culture, shopping and recreation in Germany also provide you with deeper insights into the arts and culture scene, German customs and etiquette, public holidays, sports, and leisure. 

Uniquely German

Everyday life in Germany can be a very different experience to a vacation in the Bundesrepublik. After all, the proverbial devil’s in the details. Expats may face restrictions concerning neighborhood regulations that they have never considered significant before.

For example, in small-town Germany, you might find that there is to be no vacuuming on Sundays. No loud music may be allowed between noon and three in the afternoon, and Saturdays are reserved for garden work. This may include plucking weeds from the cracks in the sidewalk in front of your house.

But do not let this scare you. Life in Germany is often cleaner and more efficient than in many countries, although, as usual, this may depend on your city and neighborhood. Germany’s small towns may usually be stricter in keeping up with sanitary rules and countless regulations than large cities.

The House Hunt

When you begin your life in Germany, we recommend you to seek the help of a real estate agent if you are not yet fluent in the German language. Rental agreements may sometimes be difficult to understand, and you may end up paying hidden costs. However, keep in mind that real estate agents are also relatively expensive, usually requesting about two months’ rent in payment for their services.

If you want to plan your relocation on your own, you will find that most local newspapers — such as the Berliner Zeitung, the FAZ, or the Süddeutsche Zeitung — offer a section on housing in the region, as do websites such as or (both websites in German only).

What to Expect from Your New Home

You should be aware that housing in Germany does not necessarily include light fixtures, kitchen, or bath furnishings. It is not customary for a German apartment to be rented out with a kitchen sink, cabinets, stove, etc.

You can find a used kitchen for a small fee in the classifieds of the local newspaper or buy the furnishings from the previous owner. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are seldom included. Some apartment buildings have laundry rooms in the basement to use for a small fee.

Some apartment buildings, especially in more rural areas, also have a house-cleaning schedule. Each unit in the building has a different chore each week: mopping the stairwell, sweeping the walkway, moving the trash bins out onto the street, etc. This will usually be stated in your rental agreement, but be sure to ask your landlord.

For more information on renting an apartment, buying property, utilities, household goods and much more, please see our housing and accommodation in Germany.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Daiki Saito

"When my company decided to send me to Essen, I took a quick look at the local community and said: Please do!"

Cristina Fernandez

"On InterNations I did not only meet interesting people but I also found a flat near Bochum and settled in quickly. A great platform."

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