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WC, means toilet, and only a toilet, i. Other important words: Ka, Kt or Kaut, Kaution meaning caution, the deposit you have to pay on top of the rent.

This deposit will be returned to you at the end of your rental. Gepl gepflegt means well kept in good condition. Ruh ruhig in a quiet neighbourhood.

NK Nebenkosten is "incidental cost" such as garbage, entrance cleaning, water etc. A little word of caution about these Nebenkosten also referred to as Umlagen by some.

There are two parts to your renting contract: one is the rental fee fix amount per month , the other part concerns these extra-costs.

And these costs can vary during the year according to the price that 17 your landlord has to pay. So, it is quite possible that your rent will vary throughout the year because of these extras.

There is nothing you can do about it. It is completely legal. Also, in some cases, these extra-costs are going to be paid directly from your deposit at the end of your rental or once a year.

Which also means that there might not be much left of that deposit when it is time to move on. Lawyer You might also want to consult a lawyer before signing a rental agreement even if your German is pretty good.

If you deal with a real estate agency, they will do some of the paperwork for you and help you deal with the landlord. The same is true for a relocation company.

Here are a few additional pieces of advices: 1. Making an inventory of what is included in the housing and of any deficiencies is a good idea.

It help to protect yourself and your landlord. Follow the rules given by your landlord concerning: laundry washing, BBQ, bicycles and children's prams, satellite dish and radio and television antennas, pets Germans in general adore animals, but make sure you have written permission to have a pet first.

You should also ask who is responsible for cleaning the entrance way, the stairways, the front door etc. You could be surprised by the answer: It might be you!

And most Germans also clean up the side walk in front of their house, religiously, each week. There are municipal by-laws to respect concerning loud music, recycling and trash, etc.

Germans in general obey the law to the letter, so don't be too shocked if someone "reprimands" you because you put some trash in the recycling bin or vice-versa!

Buying the house of your dream! Buying a House or an Apartment in Germany can be your best option, especially if you are here for quite some time.

And you can always resell it after, if you move back. In this case, the use of a real estate agent is almost necessary unless you speak perfect German and know all there is to know about the law regarding such matter.

There are many real estate agents in each town and city, and finding one should not be difficult. Shop around and ask colleagues if they know of a good one.

Have fun shopping around for the house of your dreams! So, if you are staying for more than three months, you need to apply for a residence visa.

By the way, the true term is residence permit, but as many, if not almost all, people refere to it as visa, I will be using it too.

Different Visas There are two kinds of visa: a limited one with an expiry date, it is delivered for a certain period of time and you must leave at the end of that time, and an unlimited one with which you do not have to leave Germany after a certain time period.

For others, with the limited visa, they can reapply for a new one at the end of the period for which it has been delivered.

Most of these limited residence visa are for one or two years period and then you have to go through the whole process again to get a new one.

The Process I have to admit here that the whole process of getting a residence visa is rather frustrating, inefficient specially for German standards , and even stressful.

And yes, we did had problems with them: we received our resident visa two days AFTER the expery date of the tourist visa. Even though we did apply very early on after arriving.

So, don't wait until the last minute to apply for it. Yes, it is an unpleasant business but it must be done. There's no way around it.

The only posisitive thing I have to say about it all is that the woman officer I have to deal with was trying very hard to be helpful with paperworks.

Medelschein But, before going to the Landratsamt to get your residence permit visa you must register at your local Registration Office Einwohnermeldeamt , usually the town or city hall or Rathaus, where you live.

The document that you will get is called Medelschein registration certificate. It is easy to get you go there and fill up a form with your residence address in Germany, passport number etc.

Also, if you move residence during your stay in Germany, you must register again and notify the old and the new registration offices even if you move just next door.

So, you must bring the originals with you. Also, if your proof of financial support is a contract that is not writen in German, it must be translated in German by an official translator.

Un-married couple A little note of caution for couples who lives together without being married: Germany do NOT recognizes you as a couple, even if you have been together for 20 years.

Of course, the easy solution would be to get marry! Ah, but, getting marry in Germany is not that easy. You must both have your passport, the Medelsheim, your birth certificates even that of your kids!

Quite a few countries don't have such a certificate, the German authorities are aware of that, but they still want you to contact your embassy or consulate to ask them to send you an official document that you must pay for basically saying that such certifiate does not exist in your own country and this writen in German, of course!

Frankly, if you want my advice, get marry in your own country before coming over or go somewhere else for a fast little wedding!

Children and visas Children also are required to have valid residence visas. And another important point is that the children follow their mother, even if both names mom and dad are on the birth certificate.

Which also means that if mommy does not get her visa, the kids have to leave with her when the three months ends!

Although the process varies slitghly with each individual application and from one region or city to the next, most rules are the same. Once there, you will probably see a bunch of closed doors with letters beside them.

There will probably be also tables and chairs to sit. It might seem a bit strange at first; there is nobody to ask what is going on, where you have to go and to whom you should be talking to except maybe other applicants like you who probably don't speak a word of English.

Don't panic, everyone feels the same the first time. I'll explain to you how it works: The letters by the doors, or on the doors, correspond to the first letter of your family name.

Let say your name is Smith, you will therefore go to the door with the letters R-T beside it.

Now, of course, the doors are all close and you can not see or hear what is going on inside, if the officer is already with a "client" or not.

So, you will do what any sensible person would do, i. Don't take the barking personaly, you are probably the hundreth person who does this that day.

And as there are no other way of knowing what's gong on inside, you won't be the last one either! It will gererally take a few days or weeks!

So, you can not go anywhere outside of the EU! Once again, I must stress the fact that most officers accept only the originals.

Members of a Family with different family names You should know that if different members of a same family have different family names, they most go separetely to the different officers partening to the different letters, even if you are marry and have the proof with you.

Speaking English or Not? Another point I must stress here: in our experiences, most of these officials do not speak English or don't want to speak it?

Or take a very quick German course! Also, these officials take their jobs very seriously so, always stay very respectuous and patient.

It takes time and there's nothing you can do about it. Happy Ending When your visa is ready, they will most probably call you and ask you to come pay for it about 75 euros per permit and get it.

Once you finally have it in your hands, go to the nearest Weinstube and celebrate with a dunkel bier!

You've earned it! Now that you know what to do to obtain your residence permit, go to the chapter 6 about Work Permit and chapter 7 on Workplace.

You should know that work permits are issued not for general employment but for a particular job. Once that job is over, or if you change job, you must re-apply for a new permit.

Work Permits also have an "expiry date" as do Residence permits. How to Apply To apply for a work permit, you will need to go, in person, to the same office that handled your residence permit, i.

And you will need to bring with you your Meldebescheinigung or Medelschein the registration certificate you received from your Rathaus , your Auftenhaltserlaubnis residence permit and written proof that you have a job offer, usually a certified letter from the employer saying that they are willing to take you on or an actual contract in German, of course.

If you are coming from an European Union country, then you should have no problem getting this permit as you will be treated with the same status as Germans.

Unemployment is currently high by German standards and of course priority is given to Germans and Europeans. But, if you can show that you possess critical skills, with a high level of education, your chances are much better.

Germany is trying to attract highly qualified immigrants and some skills are more in demand than others. Also, family members of a person with critical skills might be given work permits in order to keep this highly qualified worker in Germany.

Finding Jobs One of the best way to find employment in Germany, especially for executives and specialists, is to use the services of an executive search firm, called Personalberatung in German.

This service is usually free for those looking for job and they can start looking for you even if you are not yet in Germany.

As elsewhere, the newspapers can be useful for looking for jobs or to place an ad yourself, to offer your services. The Saturday editions are usually helpful in that regard.

There are also many websites for jobs in Germany and in Europe, and one of them lists jobs specifically for companies in which English is the main language spoken at work: 24 Jobs In Munich: www.

The labour office, Arbeitsamt www. You can go there even if you do not have a work permit, and it is free.

English versus German speaking Be aware that, even though a knowledge of English might be a plus in finding a job, a functional working ability in German is necessary for most positions as well as being simply a courtesy to your German co-workers.

Also, finding part-time jobs is not easy: companies in Germany have to pay for their employees' social benefits and as these are quite high in Germany, they do not want to employ an employee who can work part-time only.

On top of listing all your education and work experiences, they usually ask for your marital status, your age and sex, and a recent photo.

Including letters of reference is also a good idea. Employers are allowed to ask about your health and criminal record, but can NOT ask a woman whether she is pregnant or not.

You will also have to fill in job applications and of course, there are interviews. If you have an interview, remember that Germans are rather formal when it comes to business meetings, so dress accordingly and don't be too friendly or familiar with the interviewers.

Meaning of the Work Permit A work permit is issued for the same duration as the residence permit and must be renewed before expiration, the same as the residence permit.

Also, as stipulated above, a work permit is issued for a specific job only and you must reapply to get a new one if you change job.

It is not a permit for general employment. Self-employment For those who would like to be self-employed, you must demonstrate that your potential business is viable and that you will bring prosperity to Germany.

Germany will consider your business as 25 having a positive effect on its economy if your bring a capital of at least 1 million euros and create at least 10 jobs.

If you do not have a million euros to spent, you can still apply for a residence permit, but your chances of getting it are obviously not as good.

Good luck! German Workplace If you have fund a job, you might want to know a bit about the German Workplace before going for your first day's work.

To do so, go to the next chapter. German companies take very good care of their employees: it is the law! But, before being a "real" employee, there usually is a 3 to 6 month probation period during which an employee might be fired with 2 weeks to up to 1 month notice.

After this probation period in the German workplace, it becomes more and more difficult for the employer to fire the employee and the notification period also extends up to 7 months for a long time employee 20 years or more.

Vacation Germany's working week is You will also find that German companies are much more generous when the time comes for vacation: minimum of 18 working days per year, as required by the law.

And some firms offer much more than that, up to 30 working days per year, that adds up to about 6 weeks per year of paid vacation.

Maternity and paternity leave is also generous in Germany: 6 weeks of full pay for mothers before the child's birth and then 8 weeks of full pay afterwards.

And then, the parents, mother or father, are allowed up to 3 years leave without pay. There is also a direct subsidy for new parents called Elterngeld, literally meaning "parents money".

Income tax and other taxes If you work for a German company you will have to pay German income taxes but also some premiums for public health care, long term nursing care, unemployment insurance and retirement plans.

Your employer will contribute about half of these premiums, and you will pay the other half. But most of time, quite a bit of it is going back to the employee in the form of subsidies, for the families, to help pay the rent, the public transport etc.

Social services, such as healthcare and public transport, are very good in Germany and income taxes help to pay for these.

As for work accident insurance, it is paid for entirely by the employer and the social indemnity for war veterans, war widows and orphans, soldiers with health problems and victims of violent crime is paid by the government.

For more info on the subject of health insurance, go to chapter 8. Retire Pension When it is time to retire, your pension insurance will make sure that you can continue to live a decent life.

It is possible to receive pensions from different countries at the same time, and if you do end up working in Germany, you can expect to receive a German pension after you have retired even if you are living outside of Germany at that time.

Unemployment Assurance and State Assistance If you lose your job after having worked for at least one year during the previous two years, you might be eligible for unemployment insurance.

To apply so, you must go to the labour office, called Arbeitsamt, fill out a form and agree to accept a job that they might find for you in your field.

You must also check with them regularly. The insurance continues for one year if you are under 55, and up to 18 months if you are older.

After that period, you can receive state assistance of euros per months plus some money for housing and other expenses.

Little note of caution here: It is also possible that you will get less or nothing at all if they consider that you have other means of support, such as a working spouse or working parents.

Indeed, even if you are an adult no longer living with your parents, the German system considers that they should still help you fnancially until your or their death.

For more detailed information on this subject, and regular up-dates, you should have a look at the German government site: www. Disclaimer Some data, such as the amount you can receive as a pensioneer, might and will probably change with time, so, if you see a discrepency, please let us know and send us an e-mail.

As an Auslander foreigner you need your own health insurance to cover all medical costs. But, as you need it anyway to obtain your visa from the Landratsamt, this is not an additional problem.

You already have deal with that, no?! If not, go back to chapter 5, Resident Permit, about how to apply and hopefully obtain your residence visa.

You're going to need it if you stay longer than three months in Germany. Healthcare coverage If you are working for a German company, chances are that they will help you get German Health Care coverage through governmental or private health insurance plans.

Every German, and employees of German companies even the foreigners , are by law covered by health insurance. To learn more about health insurance in Germany, you can visit the web-site of the German Medical College.

It is quite useful and in both German and English throughout. Then you ask the insurance company for your money back.

Our First Hand Experience We experienced German healthcare first hand and were happily surprised by the speed of the services received at the clinic.

My Mann German for a man and husband thought that he had a kidney stone again! So we called the specialist, in this case the urologist, on Monday, got an appointment for the next morning, and the complete exams on Friday morning.

As specialists are listed in the phonebook, you do not have to go see a generalist first. The exams were performed directly at the clinic and the doctor spoke good enough English.

Now, that's service! The only slight difficulty was that the doctor's assistant and secretary did not speak a word of English.

But, on the other hand, because, as I said above, you can call the specialist directly without being recommended by a general practitioner, I did not have to explain why my Mann needed an appointment.

German Doctors and English. Actually, German doctors, especially the younger ones, seem to speak some English although some are more fluent than others , and all are professional and well educated.

If you are uncertain about the ability of your doctor to speak English, you might want to bring a small dictionary with you for medical terminology or someone who speaks both languages.

I, for one, always have my pocket-size dictionary with me. Most German doctors work in private or semiprivate clinics and at hospitals, which of course, reduces to some degree the time that the clinics can be open.

On the other hand, when one clinic is closed another nearby stays open so that you can always find one open in case of emergency.

The local newspapers usually provide the opening dates and times of nearby emergency clinics or hospitals Krankenhaus , dentists Zahnartz and pharmacies "Apotheka".

If the clinic you are trying to reach is closed, they will probably have recorded a message telling you the name and phone number of an emergency doctor.

You can also find the phone numbers of all the nearby doctors listed by their appropriate medical specialities, with phone numbers and addresses, in local phonebooks.

German Doctors Habits Another important point is that German doctors are not in the habit of explaining the what and why and how of your condition.

So, if you want to know about it, ask the doctor directly. It is not that they don't want to explain, it's just that they have not been taught in this way.

They are if you will, a bit old fashion about that. This fee is quite small in the order of 5 to 10 euros and it must be paid onceevery 3 to 4 months.

Once you have paid that fee you do not have to pay it again for this quarter if you go back to see the same doctor or even a different one.

They will give you a receipt for the fee that you must keep with you at all time. If you have an accident and end out in the emergency unit, they will ask to see this receipt.

If you don't have it with you, you will have to pay it again and ask for your money back if you can produce to said receipt later.

The most times you can pay this fee is 3 or 4 times per year. Emergency Numbers Emergency numbers for Doctors and Ambulance Krankenwagen is: You can dial that number free of charge from any public phone.

In case of an emergency on a major road motorway, highway, secondary road , look at the white kilometre stones or posts by the side of the road for arrows pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.

Who to call? Finding and choosing a generalist or a family doctor, called Arzt in German, or a specialists, can be a bit intimidating when you have just arrived and don't know much about your new city, specially if you do not speak much German.

But most of them do speak some English, even if it is not perfect. I would like to make an appointment, please.

Es ist dringend. This is urgent, do you have an earlier appointment? Ich Habe ein Fieber I have fever Mein Kind hat ein Fieber my child has fever Ich habe schmerz I have pain Mein Kind hat schmerz my child has fever Specialists One of the advantage for new commers without much German, is that you can call directly the specialist of your choice without being referred to by a generalist which means that you usually do not have to explain why you are calling, just say that you want an appointment.

You can use the phone book to find the address of generalists and specialists in your area or use the web-site of the German Medical Association.

It is a very useful site and part of it is in English and French. To find a doctor in your area, you simply click on "Arztsuche" doctor search and choose the region in which you live.

Of course, you can also ask colleagues and friends to give you suggestions. You can also change doctors if the one you are dealing with does not satisfy your expectations.

Once again, you can call any of these doctors directly to take an appointment. Business Hours Because generalists and most specialists also work in Hospital and not just their own clinic be it private or semi-private , their open hours might differe somewhat from one place to another and be reduced to some degree.

The local newspapers usually provide the opening dates and times of nearby emergency clinics or hospitals Krankenhaus , dentists Zahnartz and pharmacies Apotheka.

As mentioned higher, you can also find the phone numbers of all the nearby doctors listed by their appropriate medical specialities, with phone numbers and addresses, in local phonebooks.

Little Note Doctors in Germany, generalists and specialists alike, are not taught to explain to their patient the details about their condition and possible treatments.

They more or less take for granted that you will do what they tell you to without giving it a second thought. So, if you have a question, something you are not sure to understand or, you feel like you should be asking why this treatment instead of another, do NOT hesitate to ask.

They have very competent professionals and it is not that they do not want you to know, it's just that, well, it si not in their habit to explain.

That's all. How to find a Dentist There are dentists all over Germany, even in small towns. So, finding one should not be a problem. It is a good idea to ask friends and colleagues, for advice or suggestions to choose one, as you might have done to find your family doctor.

As with many other professionals in Germany, many dentists do speak some English and you should not have much problem finding one who does.

There are no membership fees. So much so, that some Germans now go to other European countries for treatments and foreigners wait until they visit their home country to schedule a visit to the dentist!

So, it might be good to go to your dentist for a complete exam before moving to Germany. All this came about when the government made reforms to the state insurance system, greatly reducing coverage of dental treatments.

The routine treatments such as filling and bucal hygiene are still completely covered by state Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung and private Krankenversicherung health insurance, but major dental works is not.

You can get extra dental coverage, for a fee, if you are part of the state health insurance. You can also shop around for better coverage.

In the end, if your teeth hurt and you must go, then go. You will be in good hands. It just that they are expensive hands! Emergency Phone Numbers The telephone number for dental, or any other kind of, emergency is the same as for the police: Dental emergency services are available throughout Germany and you'll find a list of dentists on emergency call in the daily newspapers.

They do not sell the latest in video technologies or the brand new-up-to-date carpet cleaner.

German pharmacies sell medications and only medications. Apotheken plural of Apotheke sell prescription drugs and over the counter medications, although you will see that even the "over-the-counter" drugs are in sealed display cases.

You have to ask the pharmacist Apotheker in for what you want, you can not pick it up for yourself. Even Aspirin. Which, by the way, you can also find in what is call a Drogerie kind of Drugstore, not to be confused with the Pharmacy.

The German Drugstore is a shop where you can buy products for body care such as shampoo and tooth paste but also house cleaners and diet snacks.

Except for a few rare over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as Aspirin and throat losanges, there are no medications at all in the German Drugstore.

Pharmacist or Chemist The German pharmacist Apotheker in has more latitude when it comes to prescribing medications and it is quite often faster to go directly to the Pharmacy, explain your symptoms to 36 the pharmacist and get the proper medications in no time.

We also notice that almost all of them speak good English. Better even than the medical doctors and the dentists. Costs of Medications Another point is that, because a good part all of it for children of the cost of prescribed generic medications is reimbursed by health insurance government or private , medications are somewhat cheaper than in North America.

You will also find that there are lots and lots of Apotheken everywhere! I remember in Trier, the oldest city in Germany, we had counted five or six Pharmacies in a radius of less than one kilometer around our hotel.

So, not to worry if you need drugs, you should have no problem spotting one. Business Hours As with most stores, the Apotheken are closed in the evening and from Saturday afternoon 1 or 2 pm until Monday morning, as well as during public holidays.

In Case of Emergency If you urgently need medications outside of the business hours, go to the nearest Pharmacy and look for the Notdienst on the door or in the window, it is a notice with the name and address of the nearest Pharmacy that is on duty for the weekend Notdienst , or look at the pharmacy emergency section Apotheken-Notdienst in local newspapers that also gives the addresses of the pharmacies open outside normal hours see also www.

Apotheker in take turns for weekend duty shifts, so there is always a list with dates and names of pharmacies on duty for emergencies.

Apotheker in on emergency duty are open all day and all night, but you may need to ring a bell for attention outside of usual hours.

Extra fees are charged for night and weekend services. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself and your family with this system when you arrive in Germany, so as to not panick if something does happen and you need medication on a Sunday for example.

Just go to the nearest pharmacy and look for the list. They usually show the pharmacies on duty for each weekend of the whole month.

A last Note I have found German pharmacists very knowledgeable and always ready to help. Even when my German was less than appropriate.

The word Hospital in German is Krankenhaus. You will also sometimes see Klinik or Klinikum, especially around University campus.

You might also come across the German word "Lazarett", it designates a military hospital. In Germany, the sign for hospital, Krankenhaus, is that of a red cross with sometimes the word Kilinik associated with it.

The only road signs that you will see with a big capital "H" on it is for "Halte" and it refers to a stop for the public transportation, such as bus and tram stops.

And these signs are not red, so it should not confuse you with the German hospital red-cross sign.

You can also find University clinics in cities with universities. These clinics are open to outpatients. Once there, it is the doctors of the Krankenhaus that will look after the patient and NOT the one that had asked for the transfer.

In other words it is your doctor who asks for your transfer but, unlike in North America, it is someone else who will look after you once you're in a German Krankenhaus.

Although, it is very improbable that a German Krankenhaus will refuse you access especially in case of emergency , the hospitals are not free: you and your insurance have to pay for every treatment received.

On the other hand, if you are covered by the general social security health insurance, the bills are going to be taken care of by this insurance.

But, you might still have to pay a minimum fee per day for a room. But, if you have an independent private insurance, you should check with them to know what kind of coverage you have before going to the Krankenhaus.

You will have to pay the bills and then apply for a refund. Another point is that you will probably end up with many different bills: one for each department or kind of treatment you had, such as radiology, cardiology, nursing staff, etc.

In case of emergency, it is possible that even foreigners will be covered by the state insurance, depending on the international agreements between Germany and the foreigners' country.

High quality care! As I mentioned in the Health Care chapter, the German health care is very efficient and you should expect high quality care from it.

Germans are also more advance in some domains than most other countries in the world and they use up-to-date treatments and procedures.

First of all, most beds do not have curtains around them and it is possible that you won't be issued a gown for examinations this varies from place to place.

For example, my "Mann" was offered one in a private clinic, while the husband of a friend did not have one in a hospital.

And both places are only a few kilometres apart, in the same region. So, you might want to bring pyjamas or sleep wear with you, as well as a towel, as few hospitals issue them, either.

You might also want to bring some toiletries and slippers. But do not bring too much: the lockers are small and space is limited. But the biggest meal is lunch, not the dinner, and the dinner "supper" for some might be quite early pm.

The length of stay in a Krankenhaus is also usually longer than in North America and young children are not exactly welcome during visiting hours, as they can disturb other patients.

So, if you want to have permission to bring yours back during visit-hours, make sure that they do NOT bother anyone else. Speaking of visit hours, they are usually between 2 and 8 pm.

Parents can stay overnight with their sick child. It is not permitted to smoke in a patient's room, but most hospitals have a "smoking-area", usually the lounge.

There are usually 2 to 4 patients per room same sex , and private rooms are available for a fee you might be eligible for one if you have a private health insurance: make sure to ask your insurer about it.

These fees are regulated by the government and are in the order of Other costs while staying at a hospital include: the use of the telephone and internet access which is being offered by more and more hospitals.

On the other hand, the use of TV available in just about all hospitals is usually included. A thank you card will also be welcomed.

Gute Besserung! Get well soon! Note on Krankenhaus I use Krankenhaus as often as I could in this text so that you will get use to it.

Don't bother asking for hospital in Germany because most Germans won't know what you are talking about and it will confuse you while looking for its sign on the road.

So, better get use to it as soon as possible: Krankenhaus! With a red cross for a sign. For those who are coming to Germany to continue with their own education, a section on Universities and colleges follows.

German versus North American or Anglo-Saxon Schools Before registering your kids in a German school you should know that they are a few important differences between what you are probably use to, and the German way.

The main difference between the German Education system and the North American and Anglo-Saxon systems, is at the level of high school.

I'll explain; Although all children start school at the age of 6 and attend the same elementary school called Grundschule, by the age of 10 they are already being separated into 4 different kinds of schools that we will call secondary school.

Therefore, German children spent only the first 4 years together in the German education system. Afterwards, they, with their family, must decide the type of secondary school that they will attend.

It seems incredibly young and even a tad cruel, to make them do such a choice and so, it is usually the parents that decide the direction of the child's education.

There is talk in Germany about abandoning this system, but nothing has been done yet. For the "manually" inclined.

They receive the same basic education as at the other secondary school, but at a slower pace and with "hands-on" experience. This usually leads to Vocational training, either full time or part-time, until the age of This school too leads to full time or part-time vocational training, but also to higher vocational training at a Berufschule.

It is now possible for high achieving students to switch to the Gymnasium after completing grade 10 at this school. This is the school for academically-minded children.

It leads to University, or to a combination of academic courses and vocational credits. There are also different fields of education in the Gymnasium, mainly: math and natural science, classical languages and modern languages.

There is a fourth type of secondary school in some states of Germany: - Gesamtschule grade 5 to 9 or It is a combination of Hauptschule and Realschule, and, depending if the child finishes in grade 9 or in grade 10, he or she will receive either the Hauptschule or the Realschule certificate respectively.

Every child in Germany must complete at least 9 years of education. Those who drop out of Gymnasium must enroll either in the Hauptschule or in the Realschule.

After that, it is either work, more education in the Berufschule, the Fachoberschule or the preparatory classes for University and college.

By the age of 18, all students should have finished their secondary school and the males should be ready for 2 years of Army service which can be performed as community services.

School Hours Another very important point if you are thinking of enrolling your kids in the German system: German children attend school ONLY in the morning and therefore, there is no lunch and usually no after-school services, such as daycare, either.

So, if both parents work, the child has to go to a sitter for the afternoon or stay at home alone.

Other points: there is a lot more homework and very few after-school activities. School Fees The German school system is free at all levels, except at the University level, where a small fee about euros per semester is now required.

See below for more details on Universities. Indeed, for the very young ones, from the age of three up to six, there are Kindergartens; some are public, some are religious and others are private.

Most of them are similar to North American Kindergartens but once again, most are open only during morning hours, from around 7H30 am to 2H00 pm some earlier, some later.

So, unfortunately, you will run into the same problem as above if both parents are working: What to do with the kids after Kindergarten hours?

Waldkindergarten Another type of Kindergarten offered in Germany is the Waldkindergarten or forest Kindergarten. There are about of them throughout Germany and they are becoming more and more popular.

In these Waldkindergarten the children spent their whole morning usually from 9H00 am to 1H00 pm in the forest, outside, discovering their surroundings in a natural setting.

There is of course a trailer or a small house or a hut on site for the extreme weather, but most of the time they are outside, rain or shine.

It has been shown that the kids attending these pre-schools are less aggressive, have more imagination, are better at concentrating and communicating.

They are also more aware of their natural surrounding, more connected to what some may see as to the "real" world. In this age of computer and rising number of juvenile obesity, these pre-schools offer a more physically active alternative to the common ones of indoor seating.

In fact, they are seen as a true alternative by parents who are environmentally conscious and worried about their kids not having enough physical activities in the "normal"indoor pre-school programs.

As in anything, there are a few minor draw backs to these pre-schools. Although the kids in general are in better health less prone to sickness than their indoor counterparts, there is the possibility of bugs and ticks bites and they seem to have less developed writing skills.

I should 43 point out here though, that even in the "normal" German pre-schools, the kids spent at least one morning per week in nature and that they are not completely free of bug bites either.

A good anti-bug spray should do the trick. Private Schools Of course, the language spoken in all of these schools and pre-schools that are part of the German Education system is in German, which could be a fantastic experience for a young child starting at Kindergarten or at Grundschule level.

In fact, German secondary schools are not well adapted to accomodate non-German students in their ranks. So, kids need to have a good understanding of German before enrolling.

There are quite a few English speaking schools, but, as they are private, they are far from free. Such schools as the International Schools offer good programs and the courses are in English or in another language.

Some of them also offer classes during the whole day, which makes it much easier for working parents arriving in a new country.

You can find private schools in every major citiy in Germany and their size and cost vary from one to the other, but you should count on paying tens of thousands of dollars for an international school.

For more info about international school in Germany, you can go to the web site of the European Council on International Schools at www.

Children Registration and your local Rathaus After arriving in Germany, you must register yourself and the family if applicable to the local authorities at the Rathaus to get a Medelschein registration certificate.

If you do not register them in a local German school, they will communicate with you to ask you where they are going to school and maybe even ask a for a proof of registration to that school.

As I explained earlier, all kids must go to school until the age of 18 in Germany. Higher Education German Universities and Fachhochschulen Applied Science Universities have sites on the web with all the facts, from their enrollment forms to the list of their many departments.

Unfortunately, very few of the or so listed, have any info. In fact, apart from a very few, you must have a better than good understanding of German to be accepted in a University or a Fachhochschule.

Here are a few web-sites where you can find info. The Site on Higher Education in Germany www. D were obtainable at German universities, it is now possible to obtain a Bachelor's degree as well.

It is still a system in progress The Fachhochschulen are more or less like Universities but they offer shorter and more hands-on programs, such as Engineering and College of Art and Music.

They usually stop at the level of bachelor but some offer also master's degrees. These offer courses on-line and are very flexible.

Some of these are based in UK but there are some Germany-based as well. As I mentioned earlier, most have all their courses in German only, but a few offer courses or whole programs in English.

The rent, the electricity, the gas companies, none of them accept cheques. And stores neither. Another thing, is that although more and more places, such as restaurants, hotels and stores, do accept credit cards, some still don't.

Particularly in small villages and cities outside of the big tourist routes. And even the ones that do accept them, still prefer cash you can pay everything in stores by cash or debit cards.

So, your best bet to pay for everything rent, electricity, gas, restaurants etc. Opening a Bank Account Getting an account in German banks is rather straightforward and does not take very long.

You will need your passport, your address in Germany and some money to deposit. If you have cash to deposit, the account will be opened immediately but, if you brought a check even a certified one that is basically cash written on a piece of paper it will take some time before you have access to that money: up to 5 weeks for certified check, but longer for personal one, about 10 weeks.

So, you might want to bring some cash with you, or travellers cheques, or you will have to use your bank card from back home with all the fees attached to it.

German banks issue a card that is basically the same as a North American or Australian bank card.

You do not receive a transaction statement when you take money from your account with the ATMs. You must go to the statement printer another machine usually situated beside the ATM , called Kontoauszuge, to check the account statements.

All transactions are listed on these statements. Money transferred into the account has the symbol "H" Haben , deposit.

Money transferred from the account has the symbol "S" Soll , withdraw. Your EC card is also accepted by most merchants, hotels, Deutschebahn, etc.

It is in fact accepted in more places than credit cards. But, you won't get it straight away. The bank sends it to you by mail with your PIN and it can take a couple of weeks to receive them.

Another strange fact from my point of view is that most of the time you will use it as we do in North America where we enter our PIN to pay for something, but at other times, the merchant will ask you to sign a receipt as if it was a credit card.

It can be a bit confusing initially but you get used to it. You must go in the bank and see a real human being for that.

But all in all, they are very useful. Some time you can use them "free of charge" if you use the ATMs of your own bank.

I'll explain. The rules to deposit money is the same for these four types but, the use of the ATMs is free only if you use one of their own machines.

For the others, you must pay a fee of 3 to 6 Euros. You can of course use them all over Europe, for a fee. And as I mentioned earlier, they are more readily accepted than credit cards.

It is just the way it is in Germany! Home Banking You can also do some banking from home if your German is good enough and you can understand your bank web-site in Deutsch very few of them have more than their home page in English.

Otherwise, I would not bother. Just go to see a real person if you need info or a service offer by the bank, and use the statement machine for read-outs.

Other Services By the way, German Banks offer much more than just deposit and withdrawals: you can exchange money, buy stocks and bonds, purchase an insurance, some traveller checks less and less demand for them as they are not as universally accepted anymore , you can even buy gold and other precious metals.

You can get a mortgage, buy real estate and of course, transfer money around the world! Line of Credit German banks are also known to be rather conservative when the time comes to allow you a line of credit.

Some people prefer to deal with other banks for that reason. You can usually get a line of credit equivalent to 2 to 3 times your monthly salary and it is possible to overdraw.

Money Tranfer for Bills Payment As mentioned earlier regarding most service companies such as gas and phone, they do not take cheques for payment: they want transfer of your money to their account directly.

You use these for unusual payment to a merchant, for example. Once you have filled out the form available at the bank , the set amount will be deducted from your account automatically and transferred to the recipient account.

It is actually cheaper that way than writing a check every time if check are accepted. The Lastschrift direct debit that you use to pay reoccurring sums that vary in amount, such as for gas and cell phone.

You have 90 days after the sum was debited to claim it back even if the payment was proper , it would then be seen as an unpaid bill. This is to assure that no body can debit your account of some money without your knowledge.

Business Hours Most German banks are open on weekdays only from 8H30 am to 4H30 pm and usually on Thursday evening to 5h30 or 6h30pm.

But, some close during lunch hour from 12h30 to 1h30 or from 1h00pm to 2h00pm and others close also on Wednesday afternoon, from 12h30 or 1h00pm.

German Legal System The German legal system is a fair one that provides many safeguards in order to ensure just trials.

Even though there are a few differences, it is quite similar to other developped countries' systems such as the USA and Canadian.

On the other hand, physical examination, such a blood sample, can be made even if the suspect do not want to.

Some Differences between USA and German legal System First of all, the accused do not have the choice of pleading guilty or not guilty for the simple reason that such plea do not exist in German trial and that the accused is considered not guilty until proven otherwise.

And so, the accused can not plead guilty in order to get a lesser punishment. Another difference is that there are no trial by jury in Germany; only trial by judges.

There can be up to 3 professional judges and 2 lay judges for complex trials, but usually only one judge for simple issue.

Also, during the pre-tiral, it is the judge who will decide, after examining the evidence, if a trial is warranted or not. While in USA the judge has very little knowledge, if any, of the facts and the evidence of a case before the trial.

Still more difference, victims of an offense, or their survivors, can, under German Code of Criminal PRocedure, participate to the trial as intervenors or private prosecuters.

Such things are not permitted under USA law. Other distinction: it is the judge, not the lawers, who asks question directly to the witnesses.

There is, as such, very little in the way of examniantion and cross-examnination as in the USA trials. Contracts are also quite different between the two countries.

In Germany, because many issues are dealt with in a law, it is not necessary to repeat these clauses in a contract. That is why a good contract in Germany is a short contract!

For example: a rental contract agreement between a lanlord and a tenant will probably have nothing in it about notice periods for leaving, actions to be 50 taken by the landlord in case of non-payment of rent, the renovations that will be required before you leave the premises remember what "unfurnished" means in Germany?

Finally, there is no automatic grace period in Germany after you have bought something. You have to accept whatever you bought as such; You can NOT bring it back to the store hoping they'll exchange it or refund you because you change your mind.

Unless it is written on the receipt or that you can show that you were pressured or ambushed to buy it, there's nothing you can do.

German Police Germany is not a dangerous country: the majority of the crimes is related to pick-pockets who operate in tourist areas such as airports and train stations.

And because guns are strictly regulated in Germany, there are very few murders by gun each year in Germany in , in comparison to in USA the same year.

But if you need police assistance don't hesitate to ask for it. You can contact them with the German Emergency phone number: It is free of charge even with a cell phone and the operators are competent.

They will promptly direct you to the right person or services There are three level of police forces in Germany: Municipal, National and the "Kriminalpolizei" criminal police, investigator.

The Municipal police's uniforms colour is blue and their work consists mainly in given tickets to drivers with illigally parked cars.

The National police's colour is green and such a bright green that you can not miss it! Not only is their uniform white and green even the motorcyclist suits , their cars and their motorcycles too!

They are patroling in all of Germany and you will see them not only on the streets in the cities and the towns but also on the majors highways Autobahn.

Those who work on the Autobahn have a white hat. The last group, the "Kriminalpolizei", don't generally have a uniform. So, you should ask to see a proof of their identification.

And unless you have to deal with them, you'll probably never notice them. So, try to be patient and stay polite.

You would not want to see too close by the criminal justice department of Germany, would you? General German Laws This is a short list of a few German laws and what to expect from the judiciary system.

But before going any further, I would like to explain that I am not a German lawyer and that I am giving here only a few commun laws that are in applications at the time of the writing of this book.

If you get yourself in a delicate situation, my advice to you is to get yourself a lawyer. Your embassy won't be able to help you much, but they might be able to give the name of a few lawyers who speak English and are well verse in the German legal system.

First of all, and specially for American citizens, the law in Germany regarding registration and possessions of firearms of any kind and weapons is very strictly regulated.

They do NOT have a sense of humour about it! So, before even considering bringing or buying a firearm in Germany, you should ask your embassy for more details.

It is considered a serious criminal offense to import, sell or own, drugs including marijuana and hashish. Anything that you buy or sell has a 6 months automatic warranty that covers it under the law, unless explicitely explained.

But that doesn't cover you bringing back something you bought because you don't like it anymore. And normal wear and tear of a used object is not considered a defect.

Before filling for divorce the spouses must have live separatetly for at least a year, three if the divorce is in dispute. Annulment of Mariage is almost not heard of.

When you try to cancel they insist you use a form, but send instructions to access a download link that does not exist.

They are in breach of EU law by failing to allow cancellations by email and as get have not responded to requests under GDPR and UK data protection law.

Do not sign up to this site under any circumstances. It is a clear scam. I unfortunately made the mistake of subscribing to this site.

I have since sent e-mails both to the address stated on their letter of confirmation when I signed up as well as their trusted pilot mail, found in the comments here.

No response or reply after several weeks. I will now report them to the police, bank and consumer agency. What a disgusting scam run by the same people guilty of similar scam sites before.

Then out the blue I am also getting threatened with debt collectors, damaged credit report etc.

I will defo be following the advice of others on here an contacting the appropriate agencies with what they are up to and how to get rid of them.

At a time like this when people are vulnerable and last thing anyone wants is to waste time and money to then get threatened and experience all this stress!

I really hope someone from that company tries to contact me from this! Although I worry about giving them anymore information about me.

It's ZERO guys. I hope you read this before you waste time out of your lives trying to find a way to do it in the app or website..

They've made it so so hard. They'll be in trouble eventually. Speak to your bank and get them to put a block on the company as they will try to take more money.

I don't know how they sleep. Feel so bad for people that can't get out there to meet potential partners. Karma will prevail. Total scam, impossible to delete your profile after registration.

I email them and no one answered my email. My bank has been informed to avid future extra charges on my account. Consider this a cancellation request.

Easy to join, but when they get your credit card details, It's so hard to stop them taking money out of your account. Totally fraudulent site, they've made it pretty much impossible to get in touch with them to cancel your account and try to make it seem as if you've agreed to pay them for premium membership, total bunch of con artists, avoid at all costs!

The page is a scam. To give you an example, one day, 4 different users popped up on my matches. They all had the same person in the pictures!

The fact that they require you to send a fax to cancel is an indication of their complexity of their scheme.

Just don't. Really, it's not real and they require you to sign something before they say they will cancel. They even ask you to FAX it.

I've blocked them with my cardholder. They can try to make money off me but I'll lawyer up so fast they'll not know what the hell hit them.

Hi all, Just to let you know that C date in my opinion is a scam site pure and simple, The 'director' behind the company has a name easily traceable on the net and is also 'allegedly' responsible for several other 'suspected' dating sites around Europe see 'be2' in Denmark for example It seems the best way to deal with this company once you find yourself signed up and scammed is to email them direct from their Trust pilot email which they then have to respond to legally.

Then make sure you block any future payments from your bank, Any future threatening letters received from them or debt collectors from around Europe are unsafe and not viable for legal enforcement as you have followed their procedures to cancel to the letter, keep all of your correspondence which is legally binding, you can then threaten them with the UK SFO and the relevant Euro equivalent if they try to persist.

Basically its the classic con of trying everything to make you pay and once you do they won't turn it off. This site will eventually disappear when enough attention comes their way and then a replacement will take it's place, so be warned No way to contact them.

They are a shambolic scam company. Overview Reviews About. Write a review. Filter by:.

Aber es klingt verlockend, oder? Wir sind zwei reiseerfahrende Eltern, die mit ihren drei Kindern 5, 3 und ein Jahr im nächsten Jahr zwei Monate weg wollen. Bilder anderer Nutzer müssen von diesen freigeschaltet werden. Eine eigene Suchfunktion zum selber Big Go gibt es nicht! Auch die Damen melden sich natürlich bei C-Date an, um sich Fetische Verschiedene erotischen Träume erfüllen zu lassen. Praxistest und Erfahrung: erotische Dates oder alles nur Abzocke? Gute Möglichkeit zum Daten! Die Kosten der Premium-Mitgliedschaft bewegen sich im gehobenen Bereich und wecken deshalb hohe Erwartungen bei den männlichen Nutzern.

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Die Position der Zuschlag und jedes Bad auf die Bilder unten. Wenn Sie diese Frage erhalten, sollte es verweigert werden.

Aber er hat einen Vaterschaftstest gemacht, als sie geboren wurde, und sicher genug! Seelenverwandte nach meiner Trennung, geben mir Vertrauen, Aufregung und einen neuen Partner.

Die Show war ausverkauft und wir hatten noch genug Platz um uns zu bewegen. Die westliche Welt sind nicht immer die Retter, die sie denken.

Blitze aus dem Archiv ist eines meiner Lieblingsalben. Sie sind also nicht nur Milchproduzenten, sondern auch deren Unternehmen.

Er war wirklich aufgeregt und sagte, er arbeite daran mit seinem Berater. Natesville scheint unheimlich inspirierend zu sein.

Senden Sie Ihre Leser zu neuen Bankkunden zu werden? Die durchschnittliche Anzahl der Handy-Kontakte ist Statt sich auf das, was alle anderen tun, sich selbst kennen zu lernen durch den Prozess der Datierung und durch alleine Zeit.

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Also, as stipulated above, a work permit is issued for a specific job only and you must reapply to get a new one if you change job.

It is not a permit for general employment. Self-employment For those who would like to be self-employed, you must demonstrate that your potential business is viable and that you will bring prosperity to Germany.

Germany will consider your business as 25 having a positive effect on its economy if your bring a capital of at least 1 million euros and create at least 10 jobs.

If you do not have a million euros to spent, you can still apply for a residence permit, but your chances of getting it are obviously not as good.

Good luck! German Workplace If you have fund a job, you might want to know a bit about the German Workplace before going for your first day's work.

To do so, go to the next chapter. German companies take very good care of their employees: it is the law! But, before being a "real" employee, there usually is a 3 to 6 month probation period during which an employee might be fired with 2 weeks to up to 1 month notice.

After this probation period in the German workplace, it becomes more and more difficult for the employer to fire the employee and the notification period also extends up to 7 months for a long time employee 20 years or more.

Vacation Germany's working week is You will also find that German companies are much more generous when the time comes for vacation: minimum of 18 working days per year, as required by the law.

And some firms offer much more than that, up to 30 working days per year, that adds up to about 6 weeks per year of paid vacation.

Maternity and paternity leave is also generous in Germany: 6 weeks of full pay for mothers before the child's birth and then 8 weeks of full pay afterwards.

And then, the parents, mother or father, are allowed up to 3 years leave without pay. There is also a direct subsidy for new parents called Elterngeld, literally meaning "parents money".

Income tax and other taxes If you work for a German company you will have to pay German income taxes but also some premiums for public health care, long term nursing care, unemployment insurance and retirement plans.

Your employer will contribute about half of these premiums, and you will pay the other half. But most of time, quite a bit of it is going back to the employee in the form of subsidies, for the families, to help pay the rent, the public transport etc.

Social services, such as healthcare and public transport, are very good in Germany and income taxes help to pay for these. As for work accident insurance, it is paid for entirely by the employer and the social indemnity for war veterans, war widows and orphans, soldiers with health problems and victims of violent crime is paid by the government.

For more info on the subject of health insurance, go to chapter 8. Retire Pension When it is time to retire, your pension insurance will make sure that you can continue to live a decent life.

It is possible to receive pensions from different countries at the same time, and if you do end up working in Germany, you can expect to receive a German pension after you have retired even if you are living outside of Germany at that time.

Unemployment Assurance and State Assistance If you lose your job after having worked for at least one year during the previous two years, you might be eligible for unemployment insurance.

To apply so, you must go to the labour office, called Arbeitsamt, fill out a form and agree to accept a job that they might find for you in your field.

You must also check with them regularly. The insurance continues for one year if you are under 55, and up to 18 months if you are older.

After that period, you can receive state assistance of euros per months plus some money for housing and other expenses.

Little note of caution here: It is also possible that you will get less or nothing at all if they consider that you have other means of support, such as a working spouse or working parents.

Indeed, even if you are an adult no longer living with your parents, the German system considers that they should still help you fnancially until your or their death.

For more detailed information on this subject, and regular up-dates, you should have a look at the German government site: www.

Disclaimer Some data, such as the amount you can receive as a pensioneer, might and will probably change with time, so, if you see a discrepency, please let us know and send us an e-mail.

As an Auslander foreigner you need your own health insurance to cover all medical costs. But, as you need it anyway to obtain your visa from the Landratsamt, this is not an additional problem.

You already have deal with that, no?! If not, go back to chapter 5, Resident Permit, about how to apply and hopefully obtain your residence visa.

You're going to need it if you stay longer than three months in Germany. Healthcare coverage If you are working for a German company, chances are that they will help you get German Health Care coverage through governmental or private health insurance plans.

Every German, and employees of German companies even the foreigners , are by law covered by health insurance.

To learn more about health insurance in Germany, you can visit the web-site of the German Medical College. It is quite useful and in both German and English throughout.

Then you ask the insurance company for your money back. Our First Hand Experience We experienced German healthcare first hand and were happily surprised by the speed of the services received at the clinic.

My Mann German for a man and husband thought that he had a kidney stone again! So we called the specialist, in this case the urologist, on Monday, got an appointment for the next morning, and the complete exams on Friday morning.

As specialists are listed in the phonebook, you do not have to go see a generalist first. The exams were performed directly at the clinic and the doctor spoke good enough English.

Now, that's service! The only slight difficulty was that the doctor's assistant and secretary did not speak a word of English.

But, on the other hand, because, as I said above, you can call the specialist directly without being recommended by a general practitioner, I did not have to explain why my Mann needed an appointment.

German Doctors and English. Actually, German doctors, especially the younger ones, seem to speak some English although some are more fluent than others , and all are professional and well educated.

If you are uncertain about the ability of your doctor to speak English, you might want to bring a small dictionary with you for medical terminology or someone who speaks both languages.

I, for one, always have my pocket-size dictionary with me. Most German doctors work in private or semiprivate clinics and at hospitals, which of course, reduces to some degree the time that the clinics can be open.

On the other hand, when one clinic is closed another nearby stays open so that you can always find one open in case of emergency. The local newspapers usually provide the opening dates and times of nearby emergency clinics or hospitals Krankenhaus , dentists Zahnartz and pharmacies "Apotheka".

If the clinic you are trying to reach is closed, they will probably have recorded a message telling you the name and phone number of an emergency doctor.

You can also find the phone numbers of all the nearby doctors listed by their appropriate medical specialities, with phone numbers and addresses, in local phonebooks.

German Doctors Habits Another important point is that German doctors are not in the habit of explaining the what and why and how of your condition.

So, if you want to know about it, ask the doctor directly. It is not that they don't want to explain, it's just that they have not been taught in this way.

They are if you will, a bit old fashion about that. This fee is quite small in the order of 5 to 10 euros and it must be paid onceevery 3 to 4 months.

Once you have paid that fee you do not have to pay it again for this quarter if you go back to see the same doctor or even a different one.

They will give you a receipt for the fee that you must keep with you at all time. If you have an accident and end out in the emergency unit, they will ask to see this receipt.

If you don't have it with you, you will have to pay it again and ask for your money back if you can produce to said receipt later.

The most times you can pay this fee is 3 or 4 times per year. Emergency Numbers Emergency numbers for Doctors and Ambulance Krankenwagen is: You can dial that number free of charge from any public phone.

In case of an emergency on a major road motorway, highway, secondary road , look at the white kilometre stones or posts by the side of the road for arrows pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.

Who to call? Finding and choosing a generalist or a family doctor, called Arzt in German, or a specialists, can be a bit intimidating when you have just arrived and don't know much about your new city, specially if you do not speak much German.

But most of them do speak some English, even if it is not perfect. I would like to make an appointment, please.

Es ist dringend. This is urgent, do you have an earlier appointment? Ich Habe ein Fieber I have fever Mein Kind hat ein Fieber my child has fever Ich habe schmerz I have pain Mein Kind hat schmerz my child has fever Specialists One of the advantage for new commers without much German, is that you can call directly the specialist of your choice without being referred to by a generalist which means that you usually do not have to explain why you are calling, just say that you want an appointment.

You can use the phone book to find the address of generalists and specialists in your area or use the web-site of the German Medical Association.

It is a very useful site and part of it is in English and French. To find a doctor in your area, you simply click on "Arztsuche" doctor search and choose the region in which you live.

Of course, you can also ask colleagues and friends to give you suggestions. You can also change doctors if the one you are dealing with does not satisfy your expectations.

Once again, you can call any of these doctors directly to take an appointment. Business Hours Because generalists and most specialists also work in Hospital and not just their own clinic be it private or semi-private , their open hours might differe somewhat from one place to another and be reduced to some degree.

The local newspapers usually provide the opening dates and times of nearby emergency clinics or hospitals Krankenhaus , dentists Zahnartz and pharmacies Apotheka.

As mentioned higher, you can also find the phone numbers of all the nearby doctors listed by their appropriate medical specialities, with phone numbers and addresses, in local phonebooks.

Little Note Doctors in Germany, generalists and specialists alike, are not taught to explain to their patient the details about their condition and possible treatments.

They more or less take for granted that you will do what they tell you to without giving it a second thought.

So, if you have a question, something you are not sure to understand or, you feel like you should be asking why this treatment instead of another, do NOT hesitate to ask.

They have very competent professionals and it is not that they do not want you to know, it's just that, well, it si not in their habit to explain.

That's all. How to find a Dentist There are dentists all over Germany, even in small towns. So, finding one should not be a problem.

It is a good idea to ask friends and colleagues, for advice or suggestions to choose one, as you might have done to find your family doctor.

As with many other professionals in Germany, many dentists do speak some English and you should not have much problem finding one who does.

There are no membership fees. So much so, that some Germans now go to other European countries for treatments and foreigners wait until they visit their home country to schedule a visit to the dentist!

So, it might be good to go to your dentist for a complete exam before moving to Germany. All this came about when the government made reforms to the state insurance system, greatly reducing coverage of dental treatments.

The routine treatments such as filling and bucal hygiene are still completely covered by state Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung and private Krankenversicherung health insurance, but major dental works is not.

You can get extra dental coverage, for a fee, if you are part of the state health insurance. You can also shop around for better coverage.

In the end, if your teeth hurt and you must go, then go. You will be in good hands. It just that they are expensive hands!

Emergency Phone Numbers The telephone number for dental, or any other kind of, emergency is the same as for the police: Dental emergency services are available throughout Germany and you'll find a list of dentists on emergency call in the daily newspapers.

They do not sell the latest in video technologies or the brand new-up-to-date carpet cleaner. German pharmacies sell medications and only medications.

Apotheken plural of Apotheke sell prescription drugs and over the counter medications, although you will see that even the "over-the-counter" drugs are in sealed display cases.

You have to ask the pharmacist Apotheker in for what you want, you can not pick it up for yourself. Even Aspirin.

Which, by the way, you can also find in what is call a Drogerie kind of Drugstore, not to be confused with the Pharmacy. The German Drugstore is a shop where you can buy products for body care such as shampoo and tooth paste but also house cleaners and diet snacks.

Except for a few rare over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as Aspirin and throat losanges, there are no medications at all in the German Drugstore.

Pharmacist or Chemist The German pharmacist Apotheker in has more latitude when it comes to prescribing medications and it is quite often faster to go directly to the Pharmacy, explain your symptoms to 36 the pharmacist and get the proper medications in no time.

We also notice that almost all of them speak good English. Better even than the medical doctors and the dentists. Costs of Medications Another point is that, because a good part all of it for children of the cost of prescribed generic medications is reimbursed by health insurance government or private , medications are somewhat cheaper than in North America.

You will also find that there are lots and lots of Apotheken everywhere! I remember in Trier, the oldest city in Germany, we had counted five or six Pharmacies in a radius of less than one kilometer around our hotel.

So, not to worry if you need drugs, you should have no problem spotting one. Business Hours As with most stores, the Apotheken are closed in the evening and from Saturday afternoon 1 or 2 pm until Monday morning, as well as during public holidays.

In Case of Emergency If you urgently need medications outside of the business hours, go to the nearest Pharmacy and look for the Notdienst on the door or in the window, it is a notice with the name and address of the nearest Pharmacy that is on duty for the weekend Notdienst , or look at the pharmacy emergency section Apotheken-Notdienst in local newspapers that also gives the addresses of the pharmacies open outside normal hours see also www.

Apotheker in take turns for weekend duty shifts, so there is always a list with dates and names of pharmacies on duty for emergencies.

Apotheker in on emergency duty are open all day and all night, but you may need to ring a bell for attention outside of usual hours. Extra fees are charged for night and weekend services.

It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself and your family with this system when you arrive in Germany, so as to not panick if something does happen and you need medication on a Sunday for example.

Just go to the nearest pharmacy and look for the list. They usually show the pharmacies on duty for each weekend of the whole month.

A last Note I have found German pharmacists very knowledgeable and always ready to help. Even when my German was less than appropriate.

The word Hospital in German is Krankenhaus. You will also sometimes see Klinik or Klinikum, especially around University campus.

You might also come across the German word "Lazarett", it designates a military hospital. In Germany, the sign for hospital, Krankenhaus, is that of a red cross with sometimes the word Kilinik associated with it.

The only road signs that you will see with a big capital "H" on it is for "Halte" and it refers to a stop for the public transportation, such as bus and tram stops.

And these signs are not red, so it should not confuse you with the German hospital red-cross sign. You can also find University clinics in cities with universities.

These clinics are open to outpatients. Once there, it is the doctors of the Krankenhaus that will look after the patient and NOT the one that had asked for the transfer.

In other words it is your doctor who asks for your transfer but, unlike in North America, it is someone else who will look after you once you're in a German Krankenhaus.

Although, it is very improbable that a German Krankenhaus will refuse you access especially in case of emergency , the hospitals are not free: you and your insurance have to pay for every treatment received.

On the other hand, if you are covered by the general social security health insurance, the bills are going to be taken care of by this insurance.

But, you might still have to pay a minimum fee per day for a room. But, if you have an independent private insurance, you should check with them to know what kind of coverage you have before going to the Krankenhaus.

You will have to pay the bills and then apply for a refund. Another point is that you will probably end up with many different bills: one for each department or kind of treatment you had, such as radiology, cardiology, nursing staff, etc.

In case of emergency, it is possible that even foreigners will be covered by the state insurance, depending on the international agreements between Germany and the foreigners' country.

High quality care! As I mentioned in the Health Care chapter, the German health care is very efficient and you should expect high quality care from it.

Germans are also more advance in some domains than most other countries in the world and they use up-to-date treatments and procedures.

First of all, most beds do not have curtains around them and it is possible that you won't be issued a gown for examinations this varies from place to place.

For example, my "Mann" was offered one in a private clinic, while the husband of a friend did not have one in a hospital. And both places are only a few kilometres apart, in the same region.

So, you might want to bring pyjamas or sleep wear with you, as well as a towel, as few hospitals issue them, either.

You might also want to bring some toiletries and slippers. But do not bring too much: the lockers are small and space is limited.

But the biggest meal is lunch, not the dinner, and the dinner "supper" for some might be quite early pm. The length of stay in a Krankenhaus is also usually longer than in North America and young children are not exactly welcome during visiting hours, as they can disturb other patients.

So, if you want to have permission to bring yours back during visit-hours, make sure that they do NOT bother anyone else.

Speaking of visit hours, they are usually between 2 and 8 pm. Parents can stay overnight with their sick child. It is not permitted to smoke in a patient's room, but most hospitals have a "smoking-area", usually the lounge.

There are usually 2 to 4 patients per room same sex , and private rooms are available for a fee you might be eligible for one if you have a private health insurance: make sure to ask your insurer about it.

These fees are regulated by the government and are in the order of Other costs while staying at a hospital include: the use of the telephone and internet access which is being offered by more and more hospitals.

On the other hand, the use of TV available in just about all hospitals is usually included. A thank you card will also be welcomed.

Gute Besserung! Get well soon! Note on Krankenhaus I use Krankenhaus as often as I could in this text so that you will get use to it. Don't bother asking for hospital in Germany because most Germans won't know what you are talking about and it will confuse you while looking for its sign on the road.

So, better get use to it as soon as possible: Krankenhaus! With a red cross for a sign. For those who are coming to Germany to continue with their own education, a section on Universities and colleges follows.

German versus North American or Anglo-Saxon Schools Before registering your kids in a German school you should know that they are a few important differences between what you are probably use to, and the German way.

The main difference between the German Education system and the North American and Anglo-Saxon systems, is at the level of high school.

I'll explain; Although all children start school at the age of 6 and attend the same elementary school called Grundschule, by the age of 10 they are already being separated into 4 different kinds of schools that we will call secondary school.

Therefore, German children spent only the first 4 years together in the German education system.

Afterwards, they, with their family, must decide the type of secondary school that they will attend. It seems incredibly young and even a tad cruel, to make them do such a choice and so, it is usually the parents that decide the direction of the child's education.

There is talk in Germany about abandoning this system, but nothing has been done yet. For the "manually" inclined.

They receive the same basic education as at the other secondary school, but at a slower pace and with "hands-on" experience.

This usually leads to Vocational training, either full time or part-time, until the age of This school too leads to full time or part-time vocational training, but also to higher vocational training at a Berufschule.

It is now possible for high achieving students to switch to the Gymnasium after completing grade 10 at this school.

This is the school for academically-minded children. It leads to University, or to a combination of academic courses and vocational credits.

There are also different fields of education in the Gymnasium, mainly: math and natural science, classical languages and modern languages.

There is a fourth type of secondary school in some states of Germany: - Gesamtschule grade 5 to 9 or It is a combination of Hauptschule and Realschule, and, depending if the child finishes in grade 9 or in grade 10, he or she will receive either the Hauptschule or the Realschule certificate respectively.

Every child in Germany must complete at least 9 years of education. Those who drop out of Gymnasium must enroll either in the Hauptschule or in the Realschule.

After that, it is either work, more education in the Berufschule, the Fachoberschule or the preparatory classes for University and college.

By the age of 18, all students should have finished their secondary school and the males should be ready for 2 years of Army service which can be performed as community services.

School Hours Another very important point if you are thinking of enrolling your kids in the German system: German children attend school ONLY in the morning and therefore, there is no lunch and usually no after-school services, such as daycare, either.

So, if both parents work, the child has to go to a sitter for the afternoon or stay at home alone. Other points: there is a lot more homework and very few after-school activities.

School Fees The German school system is free at all levels, except at the University level, where a small fee about euros per semester is now required.

See below for more details on Universities. Indeed, for the very young ones, from the age of three up to six, there are Kindergartens; some are public, some are religious and others are private.

Most of them are similar to North American Kindergartens but once again, most are open only during morning hours, from around 7H30 am to 2H00 pm some earlier, some later.

So, unfortunately, you will run into the same problem as above if both parents are working: What to do with the kids after Kindergarten hours?

Waldkindergarten Another type of Kindergarten offered in Germany is the Waldkindergarten or forest Kindergarten.

There are about of them throughout Germany and they are becoming more and more popular. In these Waldkindergarten the children spent their whole morning usually from 9H00 am to 1H00 pm in the forest, outside, discovering their surroundings in a natural setting.

There is of course a trailer or a small house or a hut on site for the extreme weather, but most of the time they are outside, rain or shine.

It has been shown that the kids attending these pre-schools are less aggressive, have more imagination, are better at concentrating and communicating.

They are also more aware of their natural surrounding, more connected to what some may see as to the "real" world.

In this age of computer and rising number of juvenile obesity, these pre-schools offer a more physically active alternative to the common ones of indoor seating.

In fact, they are seen as a true alternative by parents who are environmentally conscious and worried about their kids not having enough physical activities in the "normal"indoor pre-school programs.

As in anything, there are a few minor draw backs to these pre-schools. Although the kids in general are in better health less prone to sickness than their indoor counterparts, there is the possibility of bugs and ticks bites and they seem to have less developed writing skills.

I should 43 point out here though, that even in the "normal" German pre-schools, the kids spent at least one morning per week in nature and that they are not completely free of bug bites either.

A good anti-bug spray should do the trick. Private Schools Of course, the language spoken in all of these schools and pre-schools that are part of the German Education system is in German, which could be a fantastic experience for a young child starting at Kindergarten or at Grundschule level.

In fact, German secondary schools are not well adapted to accomodate non-German students in their ranks.

So, kids need to have a good understanding of German before enrolling. There are quite a few English speaking schools, but, as they are private, they are far from free.

Such schools as the International Schools offer good programs and the courses are in English or in another language. Some of them also offer classes during the whole day, which makes it much easier for working parents arriving in a new country.

You can find private schools in every major citiy in Germany and their size and cost vary from one to the other, but you should count on paying tens of thousands of dollars for an international school.

For more info about international school in Germany, you can go to the web site of the European Council on International Schools at www.

Children Registration and your local Rathaus After arriving in Germany, you must register yourself and the family if applicable to the local authorities at the Rathaus to get a Medelschein registration certificate.

If you do not register them in a local German school, they will communicate with you to ask you where they are going to school and maybe even ask a for a proof of registration to that school.

As I explained earlier, all kids must go to school until the age of 18 in Germany. Higher Education German Universities and Fachhochschulen Applied Science Universities have sites on the web with all the facts, from their enrollment forms to the list of their many departments.

Unfortunately, very few of the or so listed, have any info. In fact, apart from a very few, you must have a better than good understanding of German to be accepted in a University or a Fachhochschule.

Here are a few web-sites where you can find info. The Site on Higher Education in Germany www. D were obtainable at German universities, it is now possible to obtain a Bachelor's degree as well.

It is still a system in progress The Fachhochschulen are more or less like Universities but they offer shorter and more hands-on programs, such as Engineering and College of Art and Music.

They usually stop at the level of bachelor but some offer also master's degrees. These offer courses on-line and are very flexible.

Some of these are based in UK but there are some Germany-based as well. As I mentioned earlier, most have all their courses in German only, but a few offer courses or whole programs in English.

The rent, the electricity, the gas companies, none of them accept cheques. And stores neither. Another thing, is that although more and more places, such as restaurants, hotels and stores, do accept credit cards, some still don't.

Particularly in small villages and cities outside of the big tourist routes. And even the ones that do accept them, still prefer cash you can pay everything in stores by cash or debit cards.

So, your best bet to pay for everything rent, electricity, gas, restaurants etc. Opening a Bank Account Getting an account in German banks is rather straightforward and does not take very long.

You will need your passport, your address in Germany and some money to deposit. If you have cash to deposit, the account will be opened immediately but, if you brought a check even a certified one that is basically cash written on a piece of paper it will take some time before you have access to that money: up to 5 weeks for certified check, but longer for personal one, about 10 weeks.

So, you might want to bring some cash with you, or travellers cheques, or you will have to use your bank card from back home with all the fees attached to it.

German banks issue a card that is basically the same as a North American or Australian bank card. You do not receive a transaction statement when you take money from your account with the ATMs.

You must go to the statement printer another machine usually situated beside the ATM , called Kontoauszuge, to check the account statements.

All transactions are listed on these statements. Money transferred into the account has the symbol "H" Haben , deposit.

Money transferred from the account has the symbol "S" Soll , withdraw. Your EC card is also accepted by most merchants, hotels, Deutschebahn, etc.

It is in fact accepted in more places than credit cards. But, you won't get it straight away. The bank sends it to you by mail with your PIN and it can take a couple of weeks to receive them.

Another strange fact from my point of view is that most of the time you will use it as we do in North America where we enter our PIN to pay for something, but at other times, the merchant will ask you to sign a receipt as if it was a credit card.

It can be a bit confusing initially but you get used to it. You must go in the bank and see a real human being for that.

But all in all, they are very useful. Some time you can use them "free of charge" if you use the ATMs of your own bank.

I'll explain. The rules to deposit money is the same for these four types but, the use of the ATMs is free only if you use one of their own machines.

For the others, you must pay a fee of 3 to 6 Euros. You can of course use them all over Europe, for a fee. And as I mentioned earlier, they are more readily accepted than credit cards.

It is just the way it is in Germany! Home Banking You can also do some banking from home if your German is good enough and you can understand your bank web-site in Deutsch very few of them have more than their home page in English.

Otherwise, I would not bother. Just go to see a real person if you need info or a service offer by the bank, and use the statement machine for read-outs.

Other Services By the way, German Banks offer much more than just deposit and withdrawals: you can exchange money, buy stocks and bonds, purchase an insurance, some traveller checks less and less demand for them as they are not as universally accepted anymore , you can even buy gold and other precious metals.

You can get a mortgage, buy real estate and of course, transfer money around the world! Line of Credit German banks are also known to be rather conservative when the time comes to allow you a line of credit.

Some people prefer to deal with other banks for that reason. You can usually get a line of credit equivalent to 2 to 3 times your monthly salary and it is possible to overdraw.

Money Tranfer for Bills Payment As mentioned earlier regarding most service companies such as gas and phone, they do not take cheques for payment: they want transfer of your money to their account directly.

You use these for unusual payment to a merchant, for example. Once you have filled out the form available at the bank , the set amount will be deducted from your account automatically and transferred to the recipient account.

It is actually cheaper that way than writing a check every time if check are accepted. The Lastschrift direct debit that you use to pay reoccurring sums that vary in amount, such as for gas and cell phone.

You have 90 days after the sum was debited to claim it back even if the payment was proper , it would then be seen as an unpaid bill.

This is to assure that no body can debit your account of some money without your knowledge. Business Hours Most German banks are open on weekdays only from 8H30 am to 4H30 pm and usually on Thursday evening to 5h30 or 6h30pm.

But, some close during lunch hour from 12h30 to 1h30 or from 1h00pm to 2h00pm and others close also on Wednesday afternoon, from 12h30 or 1h00pm.

German Legal System The German legal system is a fair one that provides many safeguards in order to ensure just trials. Even though there are a few differences, it is quite similar to other developped countries' systems such as the USA and Canadian.

On the other hand, physical examination, such a blood sample, can be made even if the suspect do not want to. Some Differences between USA and German legal System First of all, the accused do not have the choice of pleading guilty or not guilty for the simple reason that such plea do not exist in German trial and that the accused is considered not guilty until proven otherwise.

And so, the accused can not plead guilty in order to get a lesser punishment. Another difference is that there are no trial by jury in Germany; only trial by judges.

There can be up to 3 professional judges and 2 lay judges for complex trials, but usually only one judge for simple issue. Also, during the pre-tiral, it is the judge who will decide, after examining the evidence, if a trial is warranted or not.

While in USA the judge has very little knowledge, if any, of the facts and the evidence of a case before the trial. Still more difference, victims of an offense, or their survivors, can, under German Code of Criminal PRocedure, participate to the trial as intervenors or private prosecuters.

Such things are not permitted under USA law. Other distinction: it is the judge, not the lawers, who asks question directly to the witnesses.

There is, as such, very little in the way of examniantion and cross-examnination as in the USA trials. Contracts are also quite different between the two countries.

In Germany, because many issues are dealt with in a law, it is not necessary to repeat these clauses in a contract.

That is why a good contract in Germany is a short contract! For example: a rental contract agreement between a lanlord and a tenant will probably have nothing in it about notice periods for leaving, actions to be 50 taken by the landlord in case of non-payment of rent, the renovations that will be required before you leave the premises remember what "unfurnished" means in Germany?

Finally, there is no automatic grace period in Germany after you have bought something. You have to accept whatever you bought as such; You can NOT bring it back to the store hoping they'll exchange it or refund you because you change your mind.

Unless it is written on the receipt or that you can show that you were pressured or ambushed to buy it, there's nothing you can do.

German Police Germany is not a dangerous country: the majority of the crimes is related to pick-pockets who operate in tourist areas such as airports and train stations.

And because guns are strictly regulated in Germany, there are very few murders by gun each year in Germany in , in comparison to in USA the same year.

But if you need police assistance don't hesitate to ask for it. You can contact them with the German Emergency phone number: It is free of charge even with a cell phone and the operators are competent.

They will promptly direct you to the right person or services There are three level of police forces in Germany: Municipal, National and the "Kriminalpolizei" criminal police, investigator.

The Municipal police's uniforms colour is blue and their work consists mainly in given tickets to drivers with illigally parked cars.

The National police's colour is green and such a bright green that you can not miss it! Not only is their uniform white and green even the motorcyclist suits , their cars and their motorcycles too!

They are patroling in all of Germany and you will see them not only on the streets in the cities and the towns but also on the majors highways Autobahn.

Those who work on the Autobahn have a white hat. The last group, the "Kriminalpolizei", don't generally have a uniform. So, you should ask to see a proof of their identification.

And unless you have to deal with them, you'll probably never notice them. So, try to be patient and stay polite.

You would not want to see too close by the criminal justice department of Germany, would you? General German Laws This is a short list of a few German laws and what to expect from the judiciary system.

But before going any further, I would like to explain that I am not a German lawyer and that I am giving here only a few commun laws that are in applications at the time of the writing of this book.

If you get yourself in a delicate situation, my advice to you is to get yourself a lawyer. Your embassy won't be able to help you much, but they might be able to give the name of a few lawyers who speak English and are well verse in the German legal system.

First of all, and specially for American citizens, the law in Germany regarding registration and possessions of firearms of any kind and weapons is very strictly regulated.

They do NOT have a sense of humour about it! So, before even considering bringing or buying a firearm in Germany, you should ask your embassy for more details.

It is considered a serious criminal offense to import, sell or own, drugs including marijuana and hashish. Anything that you buy or sell has a 6 months automatic warranty that covers it under the law, unless explicitely explained.

But that doesn't cover you bringing back something you bought because you don't like it anymore. And normal wear and tear of a used object is not considered a defect.

Before filling for divorce the spouses must have live separatetly for at least a year, three if the divorce is in dispute. Annulment of Mariage is almost not heard of.

All accused have the right to a lawyer attorney. The lawyer's fees will depend on the complexity of the charges and the length of the trial.

But if acquitted, the accused in a criminal case usually does not have to pay the lawyers fees, the court does it. Probation of 2 to 5 years is usual for first offenses for many crimes and sentences varie a lot depending of the gravity of the crime but it is rarely more than 15 years of jail time.

You can get fines for traffic, environmental, consummer prtotection and unfaire competition laws violations.

And the object used for this violation can be ceased confiscated. In the case of an appeal, notification of it has to be given within a week of the judgment by the court and a brief deposed within 30 days.

Finally, there are special courts for "Finanzgerichte" fiancial matters, mainly taxes and "Sozialgerichte" social matters. As for constitutional law cases, they are heard by the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" constitutional matters court.

You shoudl know that in some cases of major criminal offenses, accused that are not German citizens might see their passport confiscated in order for them not to leave the country and can also be placed in pre-trial confinement.

And why not? The Autobahn system is just great and the landscape is simply marvellous! After all, cars were invented in Germany by Mr Benz and Mr??

But, as parking lots in cities are rather limited and expensive, many people who own a car use it mainly on weekend for longer traveling, using public transport to go to and from work.

Autobahn and Speed Limits Germans love cars and they also love to ride them fast. Very fast! Most of the people we rode with as passengers, were doing around km per hour on the Autobahn.

That's pretty fast comparing to the North American highways speed limit of around to km per hour mph.

You might also have heard that there is NO speed limit on the Autobahn. That's true! But, a speed limit of about kph 80 mph is recommended.

Higher than that and your car insurance might not want to pay if you have an accident, regardless of who is responsible.

Speed limits outside of the Autobahn The speed limits for city streets is of about 50 kph 30 mph in the city itself and of about kph 60 mph everywhere else that is not part of the Autobahn and where it is not otherwise specified.

Short stays of non-EU citizens: - If you are to stay for up to 6 months, then your own driving license from your country of origin is fine.

The extended stays of non-EU citizens: - If you are staying for more than a year, then you will need a German driving license.

Now the complicated part: depending of your country origin, and state of origin if you are an American citizen, you might have to do a writing test, or a driving test, or both, or none at all.

For people coming from Australia there is a good news: the law have change and you no longer need to take both tests!

For all others, please ask your embassy or go to the German Driving license authority web-site at www.

Many of these Schulen schools offer special condensed course for experienced drivers; it costs a lot less a couple of hundred euros instead of a thousand or more and it's fast.

If the school you are dealing with does not offer such a deal: change school! How to get a German Driving License Once you have past the test s , or simply to exchange your driving license for a German one, you have to go in person to the local police office that issues the licenses.

It might seem feel a real ordeal the numerous documents, the courses, the certificates , but once you've got your German driving license it will be good for life!

Renting or Buying a Car Now that you have your driving license, you might want to rent or purchase a car. There are many car rental companies in Germany, so you should have no problem finding one.

You can also rent one before leaving for Germany and the renting-to-sale-after is also quite commun. Little word of advice: gas is very expensive in Europe and most city streets are really narrow, so, you might want to hop for a compact size car!

But if you buy it directly from a particular, you will have to go register it at the Autozulassungsstelle motor vehicle registry office.

To do so, you will need proof of ownership and insurance it is always good to shop around as insurance fees can and do vary from firm to firm.

Also your experience as a driver in your country of origin should be taken into consideration by this insurer when assessing your demand.

If not, change company , and the Kraftfahrzeugbrief if the car was bought in Germany. This last documen, the Kraftfahrzeugbrief, follows the car throughout its whole life and you should have it with you.

Although new cars don't need to be inspected for a license, they must have one after three years of being on the roads and then every cars is inspected every 2 years.

It is the law and you should respect it. Otherwise, you might loose the use of your car. Driving Rules and Traffic Signs Before starting on a nice ride throughout Germany, you might want to familiarize yourself with a few basic driving rules and traffic signs.

One of the first mistakes non-German drivers make is at the intersection: you must learn that the car coming at your right has right of passage, even if you thought you were on a major road!

The only time you have priority is if you see a sign that looks like a yellow diamond with a white border. It means that you are on a priority road.

You are expected to stop to let pedestrians pass at the pedestrian crossing. Germans religiously do so and as they say, in Rome do as the Romans!

Another little difference with North America: a blinking yellow light at an intersection means: Stop completely, look around in all direction then proceed with caution.

All cars must have seat belts and people have to wear them, even in the back seat. There is a "on the spot" fine of 30 euros this amount might change for each person without a seat belt.

Kids under 12 are not permitted to ride in the front seat and must have a car seat approved by the German government. Each car must also carry a reflective orange triangle and a first aid kit easily available, preferably in the trunk, for emergency situations.

This safety triangle has to be placed behind the car some meters if stopped on the Autobahn, and meters on other roads. And leaving the scene of an accident is a crime punishable by a stiff fine or even imprisonment.

So, making use of public transport and of special parking lots for clients of public transport make a lot of sense.

No Cars Allowed Sign One last traffic sign, related to the above, that you should really know about, is the red circle with a white centre.

It means NO vehicles allowed. Why don't they draw a car with a bright red X on it? Don't know. But here you have it: a red circle surrounding a white centre.

The same is true for a red circle with a car inside no motor car allowed , or a bicycle inside no bikes allowed or a horse inside not horses allowed etc.

Anything inside a red circle on a white background means: NOT allowed. There are many other rules and signs to know and the easiest thing to do is probably to buy yourself a small book on Driving in Europe and in German and keep it in the car for further references.

As with its American or Canadian equivalent, they can provide all kind of information, and better still, in English too!

They also sell insurance and offer emergency road assistance. You can contact them at: www. You can find more information about this club at: www.

Just renting one from time to time, there is no need to be member of such associations. Enjoy a safe ride!

To bring or not to bring your pet? Now that the rules to bring pets in European Union have changed and no longer includes a long quarantine, it is easier for people to travel with their prefered animals.

So, even if you were not to stay very long in Germany, it would still be worth it to bring your pet. Pets in Germany Germans in general love pets, particularly dogs!

You will see them everywhere: on trains, in restaurants, in bookstores, everywhere! There are even some lucky ones that travel in the front basket of their owner's bike.

In brief, Germany is a dog paradise on earth! They even have their own public swimming pools! But, even though the rules have changed for the better, making it easier for you to bring them with you, there are still a few regulations to follow.

Rules for Dogs and Cats Vaccination First of all, your dog or cat most have had its vaccines against rabies at least 30 days before departure and NO more than 12 months before entering German territory.

You will of course need proof of all vaccinations, to be presented at the border on your arrival. So, best to have them with you at all time during the trip.

Identification Number Also, it is now a requirement in all European Union countries that cats and dogs have an identification number, either as a tattoo that can be easily seen or as a microchip.

This identification number must correspond to the identification number of your proof of examination or vaccination. Pet's own Passport Another important point: Pets in Germany must now have their own passport issued by a vet.

City License If you live in a rented house or apartment, you must ask first your landlord if it is permissible to have a pet.

You will also need a municipal license for your dog, but probably not for your cat. Ask your own municipal office Rathaus for more details about the by-laws regarding pets in your city.

They are considered to be too dangerous. Their import to Germany is banned. Some states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Brandenburg, also have a second category of dangerous dogs, called Kampfhund combat or battle dogs , such as Rottweilers.

These dogs are not banned all together, but they must go through a test for viciousness. If they pass, then they are treated as any other dogs.

But if they fail the test, they fall under the same rules as the category 1 of dangerous dogs, such as Pit Bulls.

If by any chance, these dogs are not completely banned by your state, they will have to comply to strict rules: they must be neutered, muzzled and kept on leash every time they are outside their owner's property and the owner must pay a hefty licensing fee.

The Right Airline If you decide to bring your pets in Germany, choosing the right airline company might alleviate your worries about their conditions during the flight.

A good way to find the best airline for your pet is to ask the company about their standard regulations regarding the transport of pets.

Some airlines do more to make your pets comfortable than others. Most airlines will put the animals in a pressurized cargo bay, but some will allow clients to bring their pets with them IN the plane if the crate can fit under the seat.

Also, some airline companies keep the animals in a warmer cargo bay than the usual ones for the luggage. In any case, you will need a carrying crate.

This crate should be freestanding, have good ventilation and be big enough for you animal to stand up and turn before lying down.

You can purchase it in advance in a pet shop or the airline might have some. Be sure to ask when you book your tickets. Travel Services If your pet is going to travel alone and that you are worried about it, there are travel services companies for pets in Germany and elsewhere.

They can also inform you about possible quarantine regulations depending of the country in which the pet is flying to.

Flying outside of European Union Countries In most European countries, a proof of vaccination against rabies older than one month but less than 12 , a certificate of good health delivered by your vet.

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