We would like to share some information with you about compulsory vaccinations in Germany, there have been recent law changes which affect all kindergarten and school children as well as adults working in childcare or the medical sector and also for refugees/asylum seekers living in group accommodation.

From March 2020, parents will have to prove that their children have been vaccinated before they can be admitted to a kita or school.  The vaccination obligation also applies to childminders and staff in day-care centers, schools, medical facilities, and communal facilities such as refugee shelters.  Children will only be admitted to kindergarten or school if they have had the jabs and violations can result in fines of up to €2,500. The proof can can come from a vaccination certificate, a ‘Kinderuntersuchungsheft’, a special booklet parents fill out documenting their child’s vaccines, or by a medical certificate that shows that the child has already had measles.
(source: https://www.thelocal.de/20190717/germany-makes-measles-vaccination-compulsory-for-children)

Measles is one of the most contagious and infectious diseases. Across Europe, 12,352 measles cases were reported in 2018. In 2019, 501 cases were registered in Germany by mid-October. Throughout 2018, the nationwide number of reported diseases was 544 cases. Measles often comes with complications and leave lasting health issues. In the worst case, this includes fatal brain inflammation. A measles infection is, contrary to popular belief, not a “harmless child’s disease”. Vaccines offer the best protection against measles. They ensure lifelong immunity. (source https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/impfpflicht.html )

The Kinderuntersuchungshelf is also available in English.

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.

The BVG (Berlin Transport) has introduced a new ticket for school children. School children now ride all forms of public transport in AB Zones for free. This also includes all children from 6 years, who do not attend school yet – you will need proof: admission notice from the school, the school assignment or the notice of default. This ticket also includes free transport of a bicycle, a dog or a child under 6 years.

The ‘Schülerticket’ needs to be applied for, this can only be done online. You will need to get a Schülerausweis from your school office, this is proof that the child attends the school.

Order chipcard online – to order the chip card (fahrCard) simply upload the photo and current student ID I *, enter data and order directly online.

Note processing time – Until your fahrCard arrives in the post, you can use your student ID I * to ride the public transport from 1 August until 30 Nov, 2019.

(Source: https://www.bvg.de/de )



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.



Winter clothing for children (and adults) is taken very seriously in Germany, mainly because it can be very cold and people like to enjoy the outdoors in all weather. If you are coming from climates which have mild or no winters then this will be new to you. It’s time to get your family winter ready!

Berlin can get cold in winter with temperatures dropping well below freezing and if you are lucky there can even be snow on the ground for weeks at a time. However, all buildings are well heated and therefore especially for kindergarten and school children, the so-called ‘onion look’ otherwise known as layering is the best bet.

One piece snow suits (Schneeanzug) are a good investment for smaller children, they can dress normally underneath and pull this on when going outside and it is a good item for children to be able to put on themselves. For older children, from around 6 years old a pair of snow pants and a jacket are often more appropriate.

Tights (Strumpfhosen)- are for both boys and girls, they come in all kinds of colours and thickness. They are worn under trousers or dresses and for smaller children in KiTa children will wear them around in place of trousers when playing inside.

Bodys (Bodysuits/Onsie) – Until children are out of nappies, they wear bodysuits under their clothing. Germans like to keep the kidneys warm and these ensure the childrens backs are not exposed to the cold. This is basically a t-shirt (short of longs sleeved) which is connected by snaps at the crotch. Littlies who sleep at KiTa will most likely sleep in this item and tights for their afternoon nap.

Warm winter boots (Stiefel) – essential item for children playing outside in cold weather as gumboots, although great for keeping feet dry, they can’t keep them warm. It is worthwhile to invest in shoes which are both weatherproof and warm.

Hats, scarves, gloves (Mützen, Shal, Handschuhe) – all these items are a must-have, having a couple of each is highly recommended as they are also the items which seem to easily go missing at KiTa and school.

Slippers (Hausschuhe) – all KiTas and many schools will have children wear slippers when indoors, especially in winter to keep the spaces the children are in clean.

Rain pants (Matschhosen) – another must-have for those wet days when it is not cold enough for snow gear. KiTas and schools will require children to have a pair there at all times.

Thermals (Thermo-Unterwäsche) – for those really very chilly days, thermal underclothes are very good to have – mainly if children are playing sports outside or for playing in the snow and skiing.

All of these items can be purchased new or secondhand. There are many great secondhand stores around Berlin and it is very worthwhile especially for small children 0 – 6 years to not have to buy everything new as it is usually only worn for one winter.



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.



Berlin was founded in the 15th Century by Albrecht der Bär on the banks of the river Spree, it went on to become the capital of Prussia and a central player in the formation of the German Empire. Berlin was divided by a wall for 1961 to 1989 after WWII and upon reunification, the city started to flourish again.

In the 21st Century, it is the capital of Germany and one of the most interesting and beloved cities in Europe. Home to almost 4 million people, of which it is estimated 30% are ‘new Berliners’ from 190 different countries around the world. Berlin is a melting pot of people, culture, music and it is set in beautiful leafy streets and surrounded by forests and lakes.

Where you choose to live will depend on various factors, work, family, lifestyle and we hope to give you an overview of what the districts have to offer. Often ‘new Berliners’ have only heard of one or two districts but Berlin really has a lot to offer and as the city continues to grow it is often good to look outside just the usual choices.

This is an overview of some of the main districts in Berlin:

Mitte – this district is the centre of Berlin and home to some of the most iconic attractions like the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag. Home to many shops, restaurants and opportunities for nightlife. This area features mainly apartment living. Mitte is an area which is very popular with young professionals, the apartment prices are high and there is plenty of competition for rental properties but the lifestyle payoff is good.

Prenzlauer Berg – this area is located directly next to Mitte and is equally as popular for living, working and lifestyle. Prenzlauer Berg has been beautifully flourished since the fall of the wall, with many pre-war buildings restored to their former glory. It boasts great restaurants, cafes and boutique shops. It is hugely popular and this is reflected in the apartment prices and hardly any availability and huge competition for both potential renters and buyers. Apartment living is the mainstay here, occasionally if you are lucky, you can find apartments with a roof terrace or a small outdoor space

Kreuzberg – Kreuzberg an inner-city district, neighbouring Schöneberg and Mitte. It is home to young families students, artists and a very multi-cultural population. There are many restaurants around Kottbusser Tor. It is famous for the Bergmannkiez area, which is known for quirky shops and cafes. After the fall of the wall, it was a place in which counter-culture flourished but now it is trendy and a very popular place to live.

Oberbaumbrücke linking Friedrichshain & Kreuzberg

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – this is the former centre of West-Berlin and is often referred to as City-West. It is home to the famous Kurfürsten Damm, KaDeWe, Bahnhof Zoo and the stunning baroque Charlottenburg Palace with its stunning gardens and park. Traditionally this is a very elegant neighbourhood and it boasts beautiful buildings and tree-lined streets. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes and extensive shopping too. This area is also good for family living, there is a selection of international Kindergartens and good schools.

Zehlendorf (Nikolassee, Schlachtensee, Wannsee) – this district is on the south-west edge of of the city. It has lakes, forests, cultural landmarks and is thought to be the most affluent of districts in Berlin. Zehlendorf is made up of neighbourhoods of mainly singular and terraced housing and occasional apartment blocks. Zehlendorf is well connected to the city centre by the AVUS autobahn, this is a huge advantage if you want to have a quieter lifestyle in a house with a garden but are working in the city. Wannsee is a popular destination on a beautiful day, for swimming, a cruise on a boat over the lake, walks in nature and cafes – it is also home to many important landmarks and boasts a high quality of living.

Steglitz – Steglitz combines proximity to the city centre with nice residential areas. The main attraction is the Botanical Garden, which houses 20,000 plants from all over the world. Schlossstrae is the districts main shopping street and a bustling local centre with all the high street shops, restaurants and cinemas. A beautiful quiet and green residential area called Friedenau also falls within Steglitz, while another sub-district called Lichterfelde to the south is characterised by 19th-century townhouses.

Charlottenburg Palace in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

Templehof-Schöneberg – this district is nestled between Mitte & Friedrichshain in the north, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the West and Zehlendorf in the South. Schöneberg is a bustling inner-city district with a very multi-cultural population. It has lovely little neighbourhood centres such as the Akazienkiez, trendy cafes and is home to the famous Rathaus where John F. Kennedy proclaimed ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’. It is known for its lively gay scene, which has historically been based around the Nollendorf Platz. Schöneberg is an area which has remained one of the more affordable inner-city districts. It is well connected to Mitte by the S1 train and the U7 with City-West and also Neuköln.

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.



One of the most important topics for a family with young children moving to Berlin is finding a kindergarten which suits their children and where they feel their children will be well looked after.

So here we have just a small overview of the most important points regarding Kindergartens in Berlin.

Kindergarten in Berlin is called ‘KiTa’ this stands for Kindertagestätte which means Children’s Daycare. Children usually attend Kita from age 2 until they are school age, this can be up to 5.5 – 6.5 years old depending what their birthdate is or even if the parents would prefer they start school a little later giving them more time to mature. There are also Kitas which include a ‘Krippe’ this is for children under 2 years, but not all Kitas provide this option.

Kita care is essentially free of charge in Berlin, you are allotted an amount of Kita care depending on the child’s age and your work situation. If it is a private Kita, then there can be extra fees. All Kitas charge 23€ a month for food & depending on what the Kita offers, there can also be extra charges for sports, arts, music. The funding comes through the application for a ‘Kitagutschein’ and this is then approved by your local authorities. The Kitagutschein needs to be applied for at least 8-10 weeks prior to Kita starting.

(Source *AllaboutBerlin.com)

Finding a Kita place in Berlin can be difficult and it is advisable to start looking early and to be patient with the process. The reason for the lack of spaces is due to a large growth in the population of Berlin in recent years. Kitas usually have waiting lists and the places become available around May/June for the start of the new school year end of July/August. Of course, places do become available during the year too, with a bit of luck. It is always sensible to apply to a few different Kitas in order to boost the chances of getting a place.