Get THE NEWEST HACKS

7 Reasons You Should Move To Berlin Today

11/07/2011

in Travel, Uncategorized

Welcome New Reader!

You should subscribe to my blog via email below, where I talk about the real awesome stuff:

  • How to become famous in new cities
  • How to get a sandwich named after you
  • How to earn $15,000 in free flight tickets in 18 months

and much more. This info isn’t available on the main blog.

 

And now, on to the article…


Takeoff. Landing. As we touched down on a chilly March morning, it hit me: I was going to be living in Berlin for six months.

It had been a long time since I’d stayed in one city for so long, but I’d engineered it so I could spend my final quarter of Stanford abroad…and receive financial aid at the same time. I’d heard nothing but great things about Berlin, and when Stanford offered me a paid summer internship, meaning I’d be living scot free in the city, I couldn’t say no.

Within weeks of arriving, I understood why Berlin had received so much praise—the only other city I’ve ever seen as revered is Buenos Aires. Let me tell you now exactly why you should log on to kayak.com and buy a ticket to Berlin, Germany.

1) Incredibly cheap cost of living for a European capital

I was blown away when I saw the prices in Berlin. Living expenses are as cheap, or cheaper, than most cities in South America! (Buenos Aires included). I could afford dinners an the nightlife—Berlin is by FAR the cheapest capital city in Western Europe. Here are some examples of my costs (everything is converted into dollars at 1 € = $1.50)

  • My rent (huge room with a host family): $225/mo
  • Entrance to excellent bars and clubs: $0-4 on average, top clubs $15
  • Average expenses at a grocery story/week (compared to my USA expenses of $60): $40
  • Cost of a used bicycle on Craigslist – $40
  • Beer from a bar: $4
  • Beer from a kiosk (you can drink legally on the street or on the subway): $0.90

[Side note: one time I only had 1EUR on me, and I entered a gas station to buy water. Water cost € 1.25. Beer cost € 0.60. Needless to say, my decision was made for me]

As you can see, prices are incredibly reasonable…especially for a city as awesome as Berlin.

2) Berlin has an amazing startup culture

If you’re into buisness building and the startup scene, you’ll find no better place than Berlin. Some awesome startups, including SoundCloud and Betterplace.org, are centered in Berlin.

Berlin is also home to the fabled Betahaus, an open startup coworking space, where you can rent a spot to work for dollars a day (or work in the cafe for free). I co-founded the weekly 4 Hour Workweek meetup, which continues to meet at Betahaus every week. You can also access their workshop that offers unlimited access to tools and wood to build anything. I used this space to construct our famous Mobile Disco.

3) Incredible music scene and nightlife

The nightlife in Berlin starts late and never ends: Berghain, for example, starts around 1am on Friday night and doesn’t end till the middle of the day on Sunday.

I generally went out 4-5 nights a week, and there was always something to do–Monday included. Europe’s most famous clubs are located in Berlin – Berghain, Watergate, Cookies, Bar 25, and Club Der Visionaire. If you’re looking for a hardcorse, thumping, music part scene, check out Berghain or Watergate. For a chiller, more relaxed scene, go to Luzia’s bar or (my personal favorite) Club Der Visionaire.

If you like electronic music, Berlin will be your Mecca. Minimal house and techno reigns supreme, but you can find whatever you’re looking for. I loved it so much that I began DJing and producing. You can check out my music at http://soundcloud.com/maneesh.

You’ll find people of all types out every night, eager to meet new people. Germans, tourists, expats–you name it, you’ll find them in hordes. And everyone speaks English, if languge learning isn’t your thing (and it should be!)

4) Beautiful nature, lakes, canals, and parks

Berlin is famous for being ‘Europe’s greenest city,’ and residents will let you know instantly that there are more canals in Berlin than any other city in the world, including Amsterdam or Venice. Make a friend with a boat or take a canal cruise—either way you’ll love to see how connected the city is via water.

You can swim in most of the major lakes in spring and early summer. The city is incredibly flat, so it is easy to get around by bike. There are beautiful parks every few hundred meters. What’s not to love?

5) The awesome history, abandoned buildings, and street art (and relaxed police)

There are amazing abandoned buildings all over Berlin. Berlin’s population was twice as large during World War II (explaining the cheap housing prices) so many of the buildings have been left abandoned and open to exploration. Check out the Abandoned Building Twilight Tour where you get to explore the abandoned buildings by night.

I remember playing hide and go seek in an abandoned beer factory, and I threw my most memorable DJ gig on an abandoned boat offshore in a canal. The cops shut us down at 5am, shouing “Please stop the music after this song! We like this song!”

And check out some photos of the amazing street art below.

Berlin Wall Graffiti Graffiti on a remnant of the Berlin Wall Awesome street art in Berlin The park next to my club where I ended up every night

6) Berlin’s central location makes it easy to travel around Europe

Berlin is placed squarely in the center of Europe, so it’s super easy to get around. I used a car sharing web site, http://www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de, to get to Amsterdam for just 30EUR. You’re only a few hours away by train from Prague, Budapest, and Munich, and dozens of other cities. And budget airlines fly out of the city’s two airports–I flew roundtrip to Oslo for just €12!

7) The amazing, delicious döner kebabs

Berlin is home to the world’s biggest collection of Turkish residents outside of Istanbul. One of Turkish cuisine’s most prevalent dishes–the Döner Kebab—was actually invented in Berlin. You’ll find Kebab shops open 24 hours, serving delicious spinning meat and veggies in a special type of bread. Usually, they cost less than $4. Perfect after a night out.

A Döner from Mustafa's Gemüse Kebab, the most famous kebab in Berlin A Döner from Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, the most famous kebab in Berlin

Writing this article has already made me research tickets for going back. You can fly there for just $578 R/T from NYC if you leave this week :)

I hope you love Berlin as much as I did! Just beware the winter: it gets pretty cold.

{ 111 comments… }

Jonathan September 20, 2014 at 11:19 am

I live there now, searching for an apartment. I wish it was still that cheap!

Reply

Erin August 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

I LOVED Berlin and already want to go back! I’m hoping to find an internship there next summer, or to perhaps pursue a master’s there. If I could even live there for a few years that’d be great.

Reply

Dave May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

and the FB link for comments: https://www.facebook.com/wheninberlin

Reply

Dave May 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm

check out it out for yourself: http://wheninberlin.com/

Reply

Conor March 25, 2014 at 1:44 am

Aw Maneesh,

Brings back great memories of my favourite city. I have been there twice and loved how free it makes you feel. If you want to stay out for 2 days you can, it’s your decision. I never managed to get into Berghain though which is on my to do list.

My friend has been living there for 2 years and is buddies with nd_Baumacher and Ben Klock so will be going in with him on my next visit.
I live in Thailand now so it is hard to find a good club night.

Reply

Conor March 25, 2014 at 1:45 am

Forgot to say,

have you been to the “dark room” in the Bergain!?

Reply

Maneesh Sethi April 1, 2014 at 10:16 am

I have! it was weird.

Reply

Kevin February 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

How did you find your homestay?

Reply

Double Price February 12, 2014 at 11:08 am

Since you wrote your article rent and living costs in Berlin have more than doubled.
Mostly because rich kids move to the city and are willing to pay any price. After they read this article…

Reply

A Yates May 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

totally agree……..

Reply

Ben November 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

“There are amazing abandoned buildings all over Berlin. Berlin’s population was twice as large during World War II (explaining the cheap housing prices) …”

Get your facts straight. Berlin’s population was 4.5 million by the early 40s, today it’s 3.5. The reason housing is so cheap is mainly due to the fact that after the war and with the construction of the Wall, many businesses fled the city to West Germany, and left Berlin pretty much without any industry. The income level is simply much lower compared to the West, unemployment higher and way more people live of social welfare. Poor but sexy, as Wowi put it.

Reply

Jo October 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Please tell me how you find a room in Berlin since there are tons of people in line every day for any single available room, making you the >50th on the waiting list from the moment you decide you like the room. This happen every day in Berlin.

Reply

Maneesh Sethi November 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

go to couchsurfing meetings, go to meetup.com groups, and meet real people and make friends so you can skip the line

Reply

GlobaliseMe August 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Great article!
If you’re a student and want to move to Berlin, check out our website and find out numerous informations and tips about living/studying there.

http://globaliseme.com/What_is_it_like_to_live_in_Germany.html

Reply

klaus August 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

7 Reasons You Should Leave Berlin Today

1) Amazing Döner

Döner are sold in Berlin starting from 1,50€ (sometimes even 1€) up to 3,50€. Ever asked yourself, what kind of meat this might be? How it is possible selling a Sandwich at this price? Don´t get me wrong. I´m not a vegetarian.

2) People

People in Berlin are extremely grumpy and rude. On the Sidewalk the chance is pretty high to be hit at least once a day by a bike, because some super hipsters behave like New York Messenger on their new Fixie-Bike. They wish they were Messengers, but they are not. But at least they try to look and be as cool. Or some are just to busy while riding the bike, smoking, posting something on facebook with the mobil phone and all at the same time? Or the person was just to cool maybe just to slow down a bit or even to break? Of course no apologize. Wherefore? Hey, this is Berlin. This is normal right?

3) Bars & Club & Style & Quality

Never seen Bartender as unfriendly as in Berlin. It doesn´t really matter if the Bars or Clubs are known or not, big or small, nice or shitty. Bartender and Waiter/Waitress just don´t really care to be nice. Why should they? They get tipped anyways! Especially the female ones. And You know why? Because: People moved to Berlin got used to that and they think it is NORMAL !!! Bartender keep being unfriendly, people keep saying this is normal in Berlin. So, no complains. Tourists spending a night at a Club or Bar usually try to respect other countries and act like the locals. Ask the Bartender what they are doing as their profession. They are all Artists, Musician, Actors. Usually all three all together. None of them has a clue what “service” means. Most of them don´t even know that a Bartender or a Barista is a profession, which you can learn over several years and need talent for doing that. (Any italians out there?!!! were lucky to get an good espresso? Excuse me, how many coffee Bars exist in Berlin? And please, don´t tell me know: Hey, we are here in Germany and not in Italy. Can´t hear it anymore.

4) Music Scene

The DJ´s are as arrogant and boring like the Bartenders. Playing the same boring 130 bpm house mp3 music with their Laptops, Native Instruments Traktor and a Controller. If you are lucky, you see some old-school DJs playing Vinyl. It happens to me only once clubbing, where the DJ was playing Live, with an APC 40 and Ableton Live and he really enjoyed it. He was smiling and having fun. And so did we.

5) Variety of Bars & Clubs
Want to open a new Club or Bar in Berlin which is super awesome? No Problem, here is what you need:

One or two old filthy couches, some old broken tables and chairs from the flea market and an old fridge. Put a bored Artist-Student behind the Bar beside a bored DJ next to him/her. Done. It will look exactly like the same other hundreds of Bars/Clubs just around the corner. Welcome Hipsters!

6) Service

If you go to grab some food and/ or a drink and something is not o.k. Let´s say the soup is cold, or something went wrong with your cocktail, the waiter/waitress will look at you like an alien if you dare no ask for a new one.

7) Startup Culture and Design

Sure. If you love to go shopping and buy super fancy hand-made-in-Berlin mobile case for your iPhone5 every weekend, fall in love with some super hand-made-in-Berlin design lamps and other thinks the world doesn´t need any MORE. There are tons of flea market offering such super nice Products which helps you to feel better after buying them, such as Mauerpark. Every Sunday all the same stuff. Again and Again.

Reply

JB October 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I DJ with Traktor. It’s not as easy at it looks redneck and who cares anyway if the music is good. I actually prefer laptop DJ’s than the soooo cool CONSERVATIVE vinyl fetishist. I DJ with Traktor my own productions which are way too complicated for most vinyl Luddites to make. Oh and by the way..how’s your music software start-up coming or does the tooth fairy make those?

Reply

JB October 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Sorry for the name calling. I just love Traktor.

Reply

Søren November 6, 2013 at 10:33 am

Klaus, it saddens me to think that your comment might put somebody off moving to Berlin. Your points are not even worth refuting one by one, so instead I’ll do it in one go: To everyone who reads Klaus’ comment: Just imagine that it is coming from an old grumpy guy sitting in the park feeding pigeons. Doesn’t it make a lot more sense now? Suffice to say, he is wrong about everything ;-)

Reply

Barbara January 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Thank God, cuz I’m moving to Berlin in a couple of months and I was getting scared….lol but it seems he’s the only one on the web that i saw doing this kind of comment….much appreciated anyways! ;) see u all in Berlin! \o/

Reply

jon November 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

wow what a pissed of hipster douchbag

Reply

manu December 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

nice one Klaus..must put water on irrational exburance this blog is trying to sell

Reply

Yugsey January 17, 2014 at 6:40 am

Klaus, you seem jaded. Grab a tissue and perhaps pull up an eclectic mismatched armchair and listen. Maybe if you spent more time getting to know Berlin rather than bitching about it and trying to pick out all the negative things you might actually enjoy your time.

Good luck in your quest to find your “perfect” city, I can assure you no such thing exists.

Oh and PS. I’m Italian and I have found great coffee and service. It’s just a matter of taking the time to look; which is part of the FUN (something you don’t sound like you have much of) of getting to know a new city.

Reply

Pete March 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm

your soooo right in every single letter !!!
People who don’t agree are the stupid once who are blind and never bin anywhere else in this world and don’t know service, friendliness, they don’t know sorry, thanks or you welcome, they also have no any other manners nor any better knowledge about nothing other then being rood like you said etc etc etc.
Short your all right all the way. I was living in Florida for nearly 20 years and bin all over America and had to come back to Germany since then I am the unhappiest human on the planet. Yearly moving about 180.000 Germans to other countries. I wonder why !!!

Reply

rob August 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

read your programming book and I still have it and I found this website. You should look into Heidelberg Germany really cheap place I lived there till the American post closed down this August sadly. I love Germany I plan on going back to work for the American military k-town. What you said is really true its like going to Disneyworld Germans girls are really nice as well ^^

Reply

Tacvbo July 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I have read your article, thought “What bullcrap?”, checked the date of the article, thought “Well, okay, it was written 2 years ago” … anyway, I’m German living in Berlin since ever and I’ve also lived in the United States with a family together in an apartment. Regarding the housing in the U.S. and Ger. US: average apartment, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, livingroom, parking lot and garage, pool, jacuzzi, recreational facilites, and resident lounges, outskirt of Las Vegas, NV = 1000$/month.
Germany: average apartmant, two bedrooms, outskirt of the city (inner area is more expensive), maybe a parking lot (if your lucky), no air conditioner in summer, light walls so that everybody can hear you, an additional room in the basement for bikes, no additional comfort, no nothing = 700$ (around 500€)
Food: yes, it is a little cheaper here but cheap food has also a bad quality.
Public transport is totally overloaded (blackout of trains, closed lines etc.), streets are even worse and your usually faster in the city on bike or train than in a car (lack of infrastructure). To keep things short: Living in Berlin becomes more and more expensive for German citizens these days and if you have to earn your money here and pay for the overrated shit (100.000$/80.000€ for an old-building “condo” with one bedroom), you could consider living in Berlin as a tourist – yes, as a permanent resident – no! Furthermore, vehicles, medicine and electronic goods are more expensive then in the U.S., for instance, Arizona Iced Tea (US: A gallon 99 cents, GER 500ml [17oz] around 2.50€ = $4)
Personally, I think of immigrating elsewhere and leave this crappy city behind.

Reply

Marco July 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi!! I´m going to live in Berlin for the next 2 years, any advice about a place to live if it is near to the TU Berlin it would be better???

Reply

Billie September 25, 2013 at 4:53 am

Pretty excited. Im from Aus going to live there in 2014. Where you from?

Reply

George June 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

Someone I knew said to me,”The only bad thing about Berlin is the Germans–they’re cold and overtly rude. Everything else is great.”

You really ought have mentioned this in your article.

Reply

Ahsoka September 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

You have obviously never been to Warsaw.

Reply

Maneesh Sethi September 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Kloniszczak September 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

Ahsoka, seems like you’ve obviously met the wrong people in Warsaw – all of my friends located here are perfectly nice guys ;)

Reply

Donatello November 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Ahsoka, Warsaw is an awesome town unless you are an unattractive female. Polish women are gorgeous and if you are not up to the competition it will suck.

Reply

donatello November 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

The only bad thing about Germany is the women (for men.) One friend commented that the only time you can tell the men from the women is when they turn sideways.
Q: What do you call a beautiful woman in Germany?
A: A foreigner.

Reply

Joe November 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

That’s not really all that different from Munich, I got the same attitude there. To be fair though, I’ve gotten that attitude in American cities as well. I think people who live in cities tend to think of those cities as a brand, like a football team, and like to think theirs is the best. It creates a level of self-satisfaction and arrogance that is really only noticeable to visitors. So, to that end, I guess you can say that the worst part of *any* city is the people.

Reply

hi_its_me June 2, 2013 at 1:46 am

Hi,

everything you say sounds awesome but dont you feel Germans are really grumpy and rude especially in Berlin?

Reply

Maneesh Sethi June 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

sometimes, but you’ll find nice ones if you try :)

Reply

Jimzip July 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Hey Hi_its_me, I have to say, I’ve been in berlin almost a year now and haven’t really run into or met anyone unpleasant (that wasn’t just having a bad day). Luck? Or inaccurate stereotype? Not sure, but I think that idea is a bit overblown. :)

Jimzip :D

Reply

Your Name... August 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

Like Americans aren’t sometimes assholes, you’re just being racist.

Reply

Joe November 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I shouldn’t have to explain this but American and German are not races. The word you’re looking for is bigot (bigotted).

Reply

walt May 26, 2013 at 3:15 am

I just posted. I forgot to say that when I was in Berlin the last time it was a whole lot cheaper and I was in the U S Air Force. I left there in 1972!!!

Reply

walt May 26, 2013 at 3:13 am

I would like to live in Berlin again. would like to try it for 3 months then consider full time . where can i rent for only 3 months. I would consider a hotel for that time. Any suggestions ? Some I have seen on internet are real expensive. I am able to pay up to $1000/month. Is that kind of hotel available for monthly basis. thanks
walt in Illinois

Reply

marilyn July 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Try AirBnb.com. lots of places in Berlin and you can rent rooms or whole flats for varied prices and lengths of time.

Reply

shivam May 21, 2013 at 2:58 am

hey Maneesh , this is Shivam from India,
I am coming to Berlin in july for a period of six months for an internship, i have a total of 400-500 euros for a month, so i am in search for a really cheap room. Can you help me out with this!!! I’ll be more than glad. Thankyou

Reply

Pete March 1, 2014 at 7:22 pm

There are webpages where people let you live for free and eat for free etc. (not really but for a little help in household chores or so, it can happen and there are foreign exchanges etc. Just look for it. You might be real lucky.

Reply

gh67 April 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm

“i had no problem with germans…they LOVED me. It’s just a matter of being interesting”

It’s hard to believe that people in Berlin liked you with that kind of arrogant, infantile attitude.

Reply

Maneesh Sethi June 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

you’d be surprised how many people like me because i’m arrogant :)

Reply

Ani March 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Spent a week in Berlin. Dude, you nailed it. Awesome city.

Reply

Hannah March 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hi

I am traveling to Berlin on the 20th of March and looking for the best of the culture of Berlin, not just the theatre and established nightlife. But also the underground stuff, that locals know. Could you help me out

Cheers
Hannah

Reply

Ash Clark March 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

Ten years ago when I first came to Europe from Australia I couldn’t believe how expensive it was when the Euro was almost double the value of the Australian Dollar, now I find myself living here in Berlin for much the same reasons as listed in this post (here are mine that might help some too http://berlinorbust.com/why-im-moving-to-berlin-germany/ )

Very helpful post, will definitely share it with my other mates looking at coming here on the work holiday visa agreement Australia has with Germany!

Reply

Billie September 25, 2013 at 4:55 am

Im going there next year on an Au Pair Visa hopefully. Also and aussie

Reply

Linda January 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Hi Billie,
Would like to know more about being an Au Pair in Berlin?
What is a good nanny agency?
Thanks for your help :O)

Reply

Linda January 30, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Hi Billie,
Was wondering if you know info on nanny agency’s in Berlin?
So how are you getting on being a Au Pair in Berlin?
Many thanks

Reply

Thomas February 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

Hey, I created a list of texts about moving to Berlin here: https://www.dotdotdot.me/pawlow64/Moving-to-Berlin
I hope it’s useful …

Reply

sam February 15, 2013 at 3:10 am

Hey!

Great article! Thanks!
:)

Reply

Alicia January 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Currently taking on a challenge to learn German in a semester, my goal is to move to Germany (berlin hopefully) in september. Great article, I’ve been to bonn, couldn’t see myself living their, but berlin seems just right.

Reply

Ian Ha December 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

Sent this article to my bro who lives in Berlin and he had this to say:

One thing that the article seems to gloss over is the difficulty of
getting a residency permit (a “problem” in Europe, in general), and
the fact that there is an annoying amount of bureaucracy and paperwork
in Germany (though like in any big city, if one works under the table,
or lives “illegally” without a permit, one can bypass most of that;
but then forget about opening a bank account, getting health
insurance, renting certain places, etc.). Of course, if one only comes
for a short while on a tourist visa, then this is a moot point.

Perhaps I should mention another point in the article that paints a
false picture: Yes, everyone speaks English and you don’t have to
learn the language to get by or have fun (seriously: I have meet
people who have lived here for years without learning German to no
apparent ill effect), but if one doesn’t learn the language, then one
gets trapped in the tourist scene and a certain limited crowd of
people, and even certain parts of the city. And while that can be kind
of cool and refreshing at the beginning, it can also get tiring pretty
fast. (The club/bar suggestions of the author of the article suggest
to me that he doesn’t get this point.) That became apparent to me
after I was here for a few weeks.

Reply

Michypea April 3, 2014 at 2:50 am

If you know you’re going to be moving to a country where they speak a different language to you, why not make an effort to take some classes and learn the new language. It will make your experience there a whole lot different a more enjoyable, and you’ll have learnt a new skill.

Reply

LyrikEngel December 9, 2012 at 1:41 am

I would love to live in Germany, especially Berlin…

Reply

maneesh December 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

why don’t you?

Reply

Patrick December 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for the article Maneesh. I’ve always wanted to check out Berlin as I’m really into Techno music and alternative culture. Reading the article is making me think about planning a trip again.

Reply

Bastian November 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Maneesh, I can bet that being 6 months in Berlin didn’t turn you in to a DJ! If you can tell me a set apart from a song, and if you can tell me progressive house apart from house and minimal apart from tech and then again tech apart from minimal tech, I will believe you turning in to a DJ. Whatever you manage to define I need a sample too. And what was that about the cops stopping your live set on an abandoned boat? What? Man, you got some imagination and then again some gall to lie outright on your blog. That abandoned boat bit was a party you stumbled into and then you ended up fantasizing yourself as the DJ. Right?

Reply

Ellen November 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Thanks a lot for this article, Maneesh! It’s great!
I’ve got a bit of a situation going on at the moment: I’m on the verge of dropping out of college. I knew it was gonna happen from the day I started it. I don’t feel like Business is what I should be studying, but due to certain pressure, I just kinda went with it. To quote Oscar Wilde on this one:”Everything popular is wrong”.
I want to live an exciting life, choose what I do myself, and from what I’ve been reading, I’m pretty sure I want to do it in Berlin. I went there for 5 days this summer and with each bit of text I read about it, I just get a little more excited to go back.
I am 18 right now and so incredibly excited to get out into the world and experience things. I figured this is the time to do it, and not when I’m old and retired! I would definitely attend German classes, and perhaps even enroll in the art academy from next year on.
Do you think this would be a manageable idea if I plan it well enough? What do you think is a neighbourhood where an 18-year-old could flourish?

Reply

Nick October 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm

We were just in Germany and traveled from Frankfurt to Dresden. I had Berlin on my radar but it was never considered. Thanks to your article I now have the ammunition I need to sell this as our next destination. We travel to Germany regularly as my wife’s parents reside their.
Thanks for the information!

Reply

Promise Smith August 19, 2012 at 3:58 am

Berlin is one of my favorite cities. You nailed everything great about it!

Also do you recall the cabs have a German term meaning “shorttrip”? You can go just about anywhere less than a mile for 3 Euro if you say this term. Amazing!

Reply

maneesh August 19, 2012 at 4:14 am

Definitely!

Reply

Samuel August 4, 2012 at 9:53 am

Great article about Berlin.
Berlin is nice, but there are much nicer cities in Germany than Berlin.
For example Hamburg or Munich. However they are a lot more expensive.

Reply

Brett July 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I’m ready to take my young family and move to Berlin from California. I speak German, but my wife and 5 and 6 year old don’t. I was wondering about educational opportunities and health care possibilities. I suppose private schools are the only route? We are selling our place here to buy in Berlin. Probably Prenzlauer Berg. I’m really looking forward to it though my wife has some trepidation. She is a photographer and creative type so I’m hoping the creative juices kick in and she can find her niche. I don’t thin I will have a problem however…

Reply

Kathleen November 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

There are heaps of bilingual kindergartens and even some bilingual state schools popping up all over Berlin, as well a plenty of international schools (but yeah, most of them are pricey).

Health care is complicated and depends on a whole bunch of things, for example, if you are employed or self-employed, and what your annual income is. I would definitely get some professional health insurance advice – luckily it’s free.

Reply

Isa July 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

Wow good info, I am hoping to move in the autumn or at least do two 8 week stints of study there as a mature student… can’t wait to be there…

Reply

Holger June 6, 2012 at 6:13 am

Maneesh,

you have summed up why it´s worth living in Berlin, and I´m doing that for almost 3 decades now. This city is awesome. Whenever you come over again, let me know!

Reply

Anouar May 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm

In little more than two weeks, I’ll be moving there for five months (yay).

Reply

ilias August 5, 2012 at 3:40 am

hey anouar… im thinking too to move in berlin … let me know how was berlin for u the time u stayed there….!!! because i dont know if im going to make the real decision ….!! im half greek half albanian and the economy here its not good ….!!! peace…

Reply

Anouar August 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

Hey Ilias!

I’ve been living here for three months now and I absolutely love it!
I’m having fun, like almost all the time and meeting incredible people (new friends I’m gonna hate to say goodbye to…).

For me it’s my first relocation and even though not THAT far from home (I come from Belgium), it has changed everything.
It’s a great place to wander around, discover the craziest things (and people) and just have cheer fun.

Just do it man! Wages aren’t that high but certainly higher than in your country. If you’re someone that resourceful, the startup scene here is a great to find freelancing work.
Housing is getting more and more expensive so make the decision and come now. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Reply

Anouar August 28, 2012 at 4:52 am

Try to ignore the typo’s :)

Reply

Kevin April 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

Hi Maneesh,

interesting to read your experience of Berlin. I lived there for several years back in the 90s. I agree Berlin is very cheap, but it’s been getting more expensive. Back then you could rent a whole apartment for the equivalent of 100 Euros/month in the eastern districts.

Big problem with Berlin is the economy. Few jobs, welfare and anti-business culture. Most of the web start-ups are newcomers to Berlin and you often encounter hostility from the locals for wanting to run your own business. That might sound strange to an American – or a Londoner like me – but a lot of things are strange about Berlin.

I enjoyed my time there, and I still go back there now and again. But I don’t think I could live in Berlin anymore with the prevailing attitudes there.

Reply

Melanie March 28, 2012 at 7:28 am

Berlin is an awesome city, very busy and vibrant. And I agree with you: It’s very cheap as well. I’ve lived or visited other European capitals and you would pay double the price for a beer or a flat than you would in Berlin.
And for jobs: Especially if you are a media expert (programmer, web designer, online marketing etc.) your chances will be quite good to find a job, even with little knowledge of the German language as there are a lot of media companies in Berlin and there is an urgent demand for experts. But even if you are not in this business: There are many international companies and start-ups that are constantly looking for employees.

Reply

john chamberlain March 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Is there enough room in Berlin for writers and artists?

how easy are jobs to find once you arrive?

Reply

maneesh March 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

Jobs are tough, depending on what you want to do. But there is plenty of room, and rent is cheap.

Reply

ilias August 5, 2012 at 3:45 am

what do u mean tough?? what about the first jobs? working at a super market or in a bar ,maybe in a restaurant or something like that… is it difficoult to make a start about those in berlin ??!!

Reply

Ilhann March 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Hit me up next time you are there, I have to show you Imren…the kebap is even better than Mustafa’s ;)

Reply

maneesh March 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I don’t believe it, but I will definitely have to check it out :)

Reply

Ilhan March 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

Just saying man, you will…I repeat…you will eat your fingers !

Reply

Anouar August 28, 2012 at 4:59 am

Since I consider myself to be an expert now:

Dach-Döner (Simon-Dachstrasse, Fhain)
Falafel Daye (Danzigerstrasse, Prenzl)

I’ll try out Mustafa’s, it’s on Oranienburgerstrasse isn’t it?
Where is this Imren?

Reply

Kari November 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I love Berlin, and come there as often as possibly. Your article is nice to read and quite interesting. But those persons who make Abandoned Building Twilight Tours are mistaken when they take people to Eldorado bar and say that it is the oldest openly gay bar in Berlin. I made that mistake myself first, and it was great to thing that I was sitting in the bar where even young Marlene Dietrich use to come and maybe sing there. But sadly I found out that that Eldorado bar does not exist anymore. This Eldorado bar is much newer.

Reply

Dmitri November 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Completely agree which is why I’m moving there from LA in a few months.

Reply

lookinforaflight November 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Where’d you get the quote on the flight? I’m trying to find the cheapest way out to Berlin on Dec 25-Jan 1 but with everything included the cheapest I can find is about $815 round trip =(

Reply

maneesh November 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

it was from kayak’s recently searched flights…flying during Xmas is going to be bad…sorry bro :(

Reply

zob November 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

The prices are not accurate. I lived there til a few month ago.
It’s cheap yes but its higher, except for water which is around 1.25 indeed.

Author also sometimes seems to think $1 = 1E when it arranges him, other times has a mostly correct conversion.

Rent for a your-own-flat-1room-1kitchen-1bathroom in a half decent place is around 400-500E which is cheap. As comparison the same in Paris is about 1000E.

Kebabs are from 1E (those are horrible, horrible) and 6E (those are generally good). Note how 6E != $4. That’s $8. Double.

Bikes at $40 are broken and crappy. You get a decent one for 50E which is.. $67. Quite a bit more.

So again, yes Berlin is very, very cheap, but exaggerating the prices to make it sound more cool is kinda dumb.

Reply

maneesh November 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm

uhh…you sure buddy? I am using prices that I spent while in Berlin for six months this year.

My rent was certainly low, which I mentioned—but I was living in shared space. If you live in your own apartment, of course prices are higher.

Mustafa’s kebabs are EUR2.90. A normal kebab is 2.50 in kreuzberg, the ones at my house were 2 EUR flat.

Where in the city are you living? Because you might just need to get out of Mitte….

Reply

Kristina November 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Nice article, completely agree, except rent is usually a bit higher than 250 EUR, 350-450 seems more realistic. I just moved from Berlin to San Francisco, which is also great, but I certainly miss all of the above!

Reply

Dennis November 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Hah, I lived in Germany and really liked it but there is no way I would move there to live unless my name was Hans and I was speaking perfect German or had couple of millions bucks not to need work. Germans don’t accept auslanders kindly. They never have and never will… I got discriminated against and at the end had to leave for the land of free, USA.

Reply

maneesh November 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm

i had no problem with germans…they LOVED me. It’s just a matter of being interesting…and learn a bit of german, bro, I was speaking only German after 3 months of classes…

Reply

Joe April 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

“The LOVED me”…..”it’s just a matter of being interesting”. God, you sound like such a dick.

Reply

maneesh April 15, 2012 at 5:28 am

you sound boring

Reply

nadia April 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

Hahaha!

Kathleen November 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

Sorry to hear about your bad experience, Dennis. I take foreigners to their appointments at the immigration office in Berlin all the time (I’m a German-English interpreter) and I’m happy to say, things have changed a lot over the past few years. The queues aren’t nearly as bad, and actually, I’d even go as far as to say that the case workers have been… uhh… friendly, and I’m an Australian! It does help to speak German, though, or to take someone who does.

Reply

WOLF November 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm

so so … in case you encountered some Germans that say what they think and thought you were a nutcase … then that is straightforward, not discriminating, since they say that to Germans too, if they think they are nutcases. And concerning your USA bubble wrap image … keep dreaming. Been there long enough to know that your USA picture is fairy tale BS and has nothing to do with reality. Man oh man ….

Reply

andrew November 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm

@Matthias Jakel
Is there a specific site/message board/etc to find a good place to find a room-share with techies?

Reply

maneesh November 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Try Hackernews, or http://www.wg-gesucht.de/ but not sure if you can search by ruby on rails haha

Reply

Kristina November 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Visit the tech user group meetups, there are plenty! Or just try their mailing lists. Here’s an up-to-date list: http://co-up.de/2011/10/14/usergroup-list.html

Reply

Matthias Jakel November 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

As Kristina said, join the local tech/developer community and check out all the great tech events in Berlin and I think you will also find cool people to share a flat with ;)

Reply

Matthias Jakel November 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I just want to correct that Berlin is really cheap (you can live with around 500€/month) but you have to pay a little bit more than 200$ for a room. If you’re a lucky person you get something around 300$ and normally you pay up to 450$. I just want to add this ;)

Reply

Dominic November 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I’m convinced. see you next summer Berlin!

Reply

Tom November 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Cheap beer, good nightlife, huge kebabs. Great if you’re a braindead college student I guess.

Reply

zqudlyba November 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I’ve been to Berlin, and all the above mentioned reason are dead accurate,
but there’s one thing Berline doesn’t have:

Berlin girls are not as hot as Latin American girls.

My proof? Who has won the most Miss Universe/Miss World/etc. competition? I rest my case.

Reply

Sam November 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Great article, although not going there to live I am heading there for a week soon. Can’t wait.

Reply

Adam November 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

All great reasons – and probably why I’m still here. Also, sorry to have never met you at the 4hww meeting when I went over the summer. I think you were out of town or something but would’ve been nice to meet.

Reply

nicolas luna hisano November 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

excelente nota!!!!!!!!!! increible si bien buenos aires es caro (para los nativos de argentina) pense que Berlin era mas caro…..
Me encantaria viajar alli!!!
Estaria bueno ver fotos de la habitacion….
saludos

Reply

mel November 8, 2011 at 5:04 am

u and your döner… hahaha – great!! good article. it was nice 2 meet u!! come back 2 my town…

Reply

Li November 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I am so glad that you’re finally going to write about all your travels..I thought I’d seen the best highlights after your mobile disco video but apparently I was wrong. And lol at the cops

Reply

Manny November 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Great article Maneesh, I have added this destination to my bucket list. Someday I’ll be able to say that I lived and had a great time exploring Berlin. Can’t wait for the day to come…

Reply

Leave a Comment

Leave

  • A COMMENT
  • { 3 trackbacks }

    Previous post:

    Next post: