We are excited to announce: IRC has moved our website to a climate positive host on WordPress. For every WordPress page, a tree is planted and the data processing centres and offices are guaranteed to be run completely generated by hydro-power.
Through WordPress partnership with RAIDBOXES they currently offset 40.48 tons of CO2 every month, in addition to the trees that have been planted – by funding certified carbon and plastic offsetting projects through Get Mads. This corresponds to a CO2 saving of more than 160,000 car kilometres.
The Child-care system in Berlin is fantastic however one of the biggest issues we see in our ‘new Berliners’ arriving with young families is finding Kita placement. We would like to introduce two great new start-ups which are offering an interim solution to bridge this problem and/or provide an alternative.
Work’n’Kid: Co-working with Child-care
Work’n’Kid understands the need to create a work-family balance; they offer a reliable child-care service on-site. They have a team of experienced childminders that take care of your child right next door to the coworking space and you have the chance to continue working at your own speed. In addition to your flexible desk and the existing infrastructure, they can provide you with plenty of networking opportunities with like-minded people from different backgrounds. Work’n’kid targets mainly parents of children from the age of 4 months to 3 years; however, if your children are older they are open to helping you find a solution. The costs can be reimbursed by your local Jugendamt, Work’n’Kid can assist you with the application for this.
Kids Circle: Childcare nearby & Online child-care
Kids Circle Nearby . Each group of children is looked after by accredited Kids-Coaches with extensive child-care experience. Activities span a wide range from playing, handicrafts or painting to dancing, reading, theatre and joint storytelling or music. The child-care is provided at 5 outdoor locations in Berlin and upon request at other locations too. Nearby takes place outdoors in all weather and only move to a child-friendly indoor location in case of heavy rain or thunderstorms.
They offer you:
- loving child-care care close to home (e.g. the park or the playground next door) through a large number of care services & Kids-Coaches
- flexible bookable child-care, 2 or 3-hour child-care care offers, which provide the greatest possible flexibility; can be booked up to 3 hours before the start
Online Childcare Kids Circle offers exciting online child-care services for children from 4 years to 11 years. Up to 4 children meet in a video conference and are looked after by online-proven Kids-Coaches. The coaches encourage the children to participate and are also the contact person for questions. The children can see each other and talk and interact with each other. The video conferences last 60 minutes and follow-up care of 30 or 60 minutes can be conveniently booked online. The video conferences are hosted on the Norwegian provider Whereby for data protection reasons because parents do not have to enter any personal data. In addition, the operation is very user-friendly and easy to understand.
At IRC we are a proud ally of all LGBTQI* and the LGBTQI* community. Our ethic and work environment is one of openness, inclusion and anti-discrimination.
Berlin lives and loves diversity, home to a beautiful and vibrant LGBTI* Community. Berlin-Schöneberg was one of the first districts to be famous for its gay culture, starting in the 1920’s it first became the gay capital of the world. CSD pride parade is a highlight of the year, as thousands gather to watch the celebrations down the Ku’damm – Berlin is proud to be rainbow!
We would like to share some helpful links with you.
LGBTQI* Guide for Berlin:
LGBTQI* Families in Berlin: https://berlin.lsvd.de/projekte/regenbogenfamilien-berlin/
Counselling Services: http://www.lsbti-berlin.de/english/
“Hope will never be silent.” -Harvey Milk
The word on everyone’s lips this summer (2020) is ‘Stay-cation’ and it seems this will be the case for a while longer as we move into late summer and on to Fall. We would like to inspire your travel plans and show you a few ideas of what the States around Berlin have to offer!
Spreewald (Brandenburg) – Around 100km south-east of Berlin, this UNESCO world heritage site is a stunning biosphere reserve which covers almost 500 square km. Lush green forests, 200 small canals, tiny historical towns and extensive wildlife await you. The main town is called Lübbenau, from here you can explore the area on foot or even better on the water by punt or kayak. Sample the local specialities such as ‘Spreewald Gurken’ Pickels or Kartoffeln, Quark & Leinöl – Potatoes with Quark and Linseed oil which is produced locally and considered a speciality of the region. The area is steeped in history, originally settled by the Sorbian people – of whom many locals draw their ancestry today – there is rich history and culture to discover. The Spreewald can be reached by car or train.
Caputh (Brandenburg) – this village was once where Albert Einstein spent his summers sailing on the lake Schwielowsee. Approximately 30-40 mins drive from Berlin, this tranquil little haven is a great place for a day trip. You can take a walk around the Caputher See, visit the Einstein Haus and the 350-year-old barock pleasure palace ‘Schloss Caputh‘ once belonging to Friederich Wilhelm of Brandenburg on the banks of the Havel river. There is also a lovely bathing spot in Caputh called the ‘Seebad Caputh‘ which offers a sandy beach, refreshments for sale and beautiful atmosphere on a warm summers day.
Sächsiche Schweiz (Saxony)– this stunning area boasts dramatic views and fabulous historic sights, it is known as Saxon Switzerland. It is slightly further afield, 3 hours by car but also reachable by train. Southwards down the river Elbe from Dresden, you will find the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, high above the river valley – this area invites you to hike up to the Bastei, discover the Königstein Fortress or relax in the thermal pools in Bad Schandau. The Sächsische Schweiz is a fabulous place for a weekend trip with all the family and while you are here you can head up the river and discover all the beautiful sights Dresden has to offer!
Waren an der Müritz (Mecklenburg Vorpommern) – If you love the tranquillity of water this is the place to visit, Waren is situated on Germanys largest lake the Müritz (117 square km) and surrounded by a further 6 lakes. Founded in the middle ages, it has a rich history and a beautiful town centre. The Müritz National Park includes large parts of the lake and is home to a large range of wildlife. Discover the area by boat, put up a tent for a weekend of camping or hike around the lakes. Waren is approximately 2 hours drive from Berlin and can also be reached by train. About the author Hi there! I’m Juli, German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.
Ulrika H.-Bartoleit has recently joined the IRC team but she isn’t really brand new, she has come back to us after 12 years of sunny life in Mallorca and we are thrilled to have her skills back on board.
Ulrika was born in Venezuela to german parents, this was the beginning of a very multi-cultural life. After spending her first 20 years in her beloved ‘Latino homeland’, she moved to the USA to study interior design. Following her studies, she began her life in Germany at the beginning of the ’80s, first in Hamburg then Berlin. Berlin is where she started her family. Career-wise she gained a lot of experience in working at Trade fairs and congresses. She retrained as a German/Spanish language translator and most importantly became business partners with Ariane Almerood in their relocation endeavour INTOBERLIN – which lasted for 5 very successful years. But her Spanish speaking roots came calling and this resulted in 12 exciting years on the island of Mallorca, working both in the interior design and realtor sectors. 2018 she returned back to Berlin and back to the ‘Almerood Relocation Family’ of IRC Relocation. Ulrika’s motto is ‘In life, one must always stay curious and keep moving!’
Welcome back Ulrika!
Encountering a new school system can be a real challenge for parents and children. We would like to help you understand the basic structure of the German school system and what you and your child will encounter.
Although there is a wide range of international schools in Berlin (and Germany), often families relocating to Germany choose to send their children to the local school. Chances are you are not familiar with how the school system is structured and how your child’s school day will look.
School attendance is mandatory from age 6 and schools are state-run and therefore have no fees. Although there are private schools, most schools are state schools. The individual states within Germany are responsible for the education curriculum in their own state, therefore the curriculum can vary from state to state. After the first 4 years of elementary school ‘Grundschule’, children are streamed into one of three different types of schools according to academic ability and in consultation with teachers and parents. Berlin and Brandenburg are an exception, here Elementary school can go up until 6th grade. The three types of school are Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, these can then be from 5 – 9th grade or up to 12th grade.
If you decide to send your children to the local school, you will be assigned to a school in your catchment area. If you want your child to attend a different school, then an application will have to be made to the city and approved, this will usually be based on if there is sufficient places at the school you wish your child to attend. Regarding language ability ‘When parents register a child for primary school, the school tests the child’s ability to communicate in German. Wherever a need for improvement is identified, the children are required to take a half-year language reinforcement course before they enter school. This way, all children start school equipped for success.’ (source: https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/information-for-new-berliners/schools/)
If you choose a private school or an international school the curriculum could be very different from the German system. Private schools have varying fees and will also be subject to an application process.
The school year starts in August, the date depends on which state you live in. School vacations are staggered state by state over the summer to avoid a big rush. There are various vacation during the school year, Fall-break, Christmas, Winter-break, Spring-break (Easter) and then public holidays. Summer is the longest break at around 6 weeks, Christmas is usually around 2 weeks.
The school day starts around 8am and goes until around 1.30pm (this can vary). The lesson periods are 45min and include breaks for snack/play. The exception to this can be so-called ‘Ganztagsschulen’ which offer a longer day. However, all schools offer ‘Hort’ which is an after-school programme where children are served lunch, home-work help and can play – this needs to be applied for separately.
Hort is a childcare service offered by schools offered to parents for before and after school hours. Childcare is usually offered from 7am – 6pm, for parents who need childcare due to their own working hours. This is available for children from 1-4th grade, for 5-6th grade a special application needs to be made. Hort fees depend on the state, in Berlin grades 1-2 are free and further grades are based on income.
Hot lunches are also free for all children in Berlin from grade 1-6.
Josi is our newest team member, she is supporting the office & consultant team as a Werkstudentin (Student Trainee).
Josi in her own words: I live for art and design and which is what I do all day long. I am also studying for my Bachelor in Media Design here in Berlin and supporting IRC with my all intuition and skills. I am having a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to seeing what tasks await me in this new position!
Kindergeld (Child allowance) is something every new resident of Germany with children needs to know about. It is a payment made to parents for each child living at home up until the age of 18. It is paid monthly and can be seen as a type of tax relief for families. Read on to get information on how to apply!
Kindergeld is a payment made available to all families regardless of the parent’s income. The amount you receive per child is based on how many children you have:
- 204€ for each of the first two children
- 210€ for the third child
- 235€ for the fourth and each additional child
You are eligible to apply for Kindergeld once you have been officially registered as a resident at the town hall (Anmeldung). You must have an Aufenthaltstitel for at least 2 years. Then you will receive a tax ID number for your child/ren which you will need to also submit for the application.
In order to apply for Kindergeld, a completed application is sent to the Familienkasse, the Familienkasse for Berlin/Brandenburg is situated in Berlin. Once the application form has been handed in, the processing time can vary but expect at least up to 4 weeks – however, in some cases, the processing time can be much longer sometimes depending on where people have moved from. Once the application has been approved you will also receive a back-payment for the time you have been in registered in Germany.
For more information please see: How to Germany: Kindergeld
About the author
Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.
As of today, Friday the 15th of May, 2020 – Cafes and Restaurants are allowed to open again to the public after the lock-down imposed due to the novel Corona virus. There will be some strict new rules for the hospitality industry but Berliners are looking forward to getting out to support their local cafes and restaurants again.
Here is an overview of the new rules imposed on the hospitality industry.
Cafes and Restaurants are allowed to open between the hours of 6am and 10pm, as long as they serve food and drinks made on site.
Tables must be at least 1.5 meters apart.
Guests at one table must be from the same household or max. from 2 households – there is no limit to how many people this includes.
There is no requirement to wear a mask, but wait-staff will be required to wear a mask when serving.
You may be required to leave your name and phone number, it is not mandatory but it has been recommended by the Senat that establishments find a way of being able to trace guests if necessary. This data must be deleted after 4 weeks, it serves to help track and trace chains of infection if needed.
IRC has launched a new and improved website, we invite you to come and read some more in-depth information about our work and our wonderful team!