The 5 best cafés in Düsseldorf

Cakes, among other sweet treats, are a hugely important part of German culture. Germans would rather get together for cake and coffee on a weekend afternoon, than at home for cocktails and ham, like in France, or for dinner, like in other countries. Across the country you can find many coffee places which bake their own delicious, homemade cakes every day.

But an afternoon coffee and cake break isn´t just for the weekend. Germans love to enjoy a nice piece of cake accompanied with a cup of coffee also during the week.

Also, when it comes to birthday celebrations tradition dictates that the birthday person has to bake or buy a cake to share with other people. Each year on my birthday I buy some homemade cakes – sorry, I do not know how to cook- for my friends and for my colleagues. In fact, every time it is someone´s birthday at the office, the main table is full of cake and cookies.

Of course, our modern times mean that people living in germany have less time for recreational breaks – people should work- but with such strong traditions like socializing around a piece of cake, also known as Kaffee und Kuchen or Kaffeezeit, german bakers need to have a sizable repertoire of cakes.

Since german baking is something traditional, you might think that traditional cafés are the only places where you can enjoy a Kaffe und Kuchen. Not at all! German bakery is all around!

Now, let me share with you the 5 best cafés in Düsseldorf to taste delicious cakes and good coffee.

Sulis Cafe

If you follow the blog since some time ago, Sulis Cafe shouldn´t sound new to you. This cozy cafeteria was mentioned in my old post about the best places to have brunch in Düsseldorf , however, this place is more than a mere place to brunch. Sulis´ cakes are known due to their high quality ingredients and their delicious taste

Sulis – the owner of the cafeteria – prepares a vast repertoire of cakes based on traditional recipes every day, so that their customers can feel like at home when they visit his café.

One thing I like a lot about this place is that in winter it is a cozy café where you can enjoy one of the offered tea specialities while eating a cake and in summer you can enjoy the sun sitting outdoor, in the spacious terrace.

Take a look at the website to find out more: Sulis Cafe (if you have a diary allergy or intolerance don´t worry Sulis is well prepared 😉 you can find soy milk here).

Nikan Café

Do you like croissants? What about fresh milled coffee? And pralinés and cakes?

Yes, Nikan Café offers a wide variety of patisserie and bakery, from german cakes to unique french pralinés, all of them accompanied with fresh milled coffee brought from exotic places such as Ecuador, Colombia or Kenya. In fact, if you are a coffee lover I highly recommend you to buy here your next package of coffee.

Does it sound interesting? Check Nikan´s website to learn more: Nikan Café (oat and soy milk are available in this café).

Cafe Hüftgold

This little coffee place has a very comfy atmosphere, making it easy to conduct any kind of conversations for hours on end. Its homemade cakes are pieces of heaven brought to earth. The staff is always nice and coffee and teas are made with love.

This cafeteria is the perfect place to enjoy a unique Kaffee und Kuchen moment in winter and in summer also – they have a spacious terrace decorated with wooden tables.

You can find more information in the website: Cafe Hüftgold  (I´m sure that they have soy milk, and they might also have oat milk).

Espresso Perfetto

Located in  Friedrichstadt, this rosa, cute place serves one of the best coffees in town. In fact, they are also known for offering barista trainings for those interested in learning how to prepare nice coffee.

Among its bakery you can find delicious cakes such as the hazelnut or the apple-almond one. Furthermore, if you enter this cozy coffee place during lunch time, you can always try one of their tasty ciabattas.

Find more information about this place in its website: Espresso Perfetto Düsseldorf.

Cafe Knülle

And last but not least, a small bar/café that I discovered some weeks ago: Cafe Knülle.

Gilbert Knülle opened this establishment in 1988 and since then the charm of this place remains intact. Legendary is not only its breakfast offer – try the delicious croissants – but also its coffee specialities, made with an ancient espresso machine, its varieties of tea and its homemade cakes.

Of course you can always combine a cake with a glass of French or Italian wine, or even with a cold alt beer 😉

Cafe Knülle does not have a website, therefore, if you are curious enough to visit it you can find it in Oberbilker Allee 24. (This place is also ready to serve you a good coffee with soy milk 🙂 ).

A present for vegans…

Carrot Cake

If you are a vegan living or visiting Düsseldorf, this place should be in your bucket list. This lovely, cozy cafeteria is the ideal place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while eating one of its incredible homemade vegan cakes, such as the chocolate one, the nougat cake or the berry one. Some of them are even gluten-free!

The place is closed on Monday and Tuesday, however, they offer delicious vegan brunches during weekends.

Check the website for more information: Carrot Cake

 

Your turn

What about you? Did you already know these coffee places? Do you have any favourite café in Düsseldorf?

The above mentioned coffee places where chosen based on my personal opinion. Since I love to try new things and to discover new places, I would be really happy if you leave a comment below sharing any other café that you love and you want to recommend us! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

Paternity Leave: Rights and Job Protection in Germany

 

A couple of days ago I had an interesting conversation with both an American and a German guy about parental rights for employees in Germany. I think it was an interesting talk, because it was really enriching to better understand each country´s point of view about the necessities  and labour rights of parents-to-be.

To write this post, I thought that it would be interesting if I answer all the questions that the american (let´s call him Sam) asked to our german friend, so that we can better understand how parental leave works in Germany, which are your rights during this paid time off work and, last but not least, which are the most important german terms you should learn if you are expecting a baby in Germany.

 

How does the paternity leave work?

  • As an employee, you are entitled to parental leave until your child turns three.
  • Both parents can take time off work to enjoy their newborn (or newborns). Therefore, the parent intending to do this must apply seven weeks in advance. Do not worry because during this period your job will remain open to you and your contract cannot be terminated by your employer.
  • Parental leave can be taken by the mother and the father individually or jointly. Grandparents and other relatives can also take parental leave under certain circumstances, for example if the future parent is a minor.

What paternity pay and/or benefits can I claim?

  • Mothers are entitled to full pay during the first 14 weeks. This is known as mother protection time. However, both parents can claim some parental benefirs if they are on leave during the first 12 months after the birth.
  • This benefit is called “Elterngeld” and it is fully explained together with other important legal german words at the end of the post.
  • Important reminder: Those receiving parental benefit (Elterngeld) are still allowed to work part time up to 30 hours per week.

Can I extend my leave?

  • Usually, changes to parental leave or unplanned extensions must be agreed with the parent´s employer.
  • The extend leave is known as “Elterngeld Plus”. In this case, parents may get 28 months of financial support if  both parents work part time up to 30 hours per week at the same time. If so, the applicable percentage is the 65% of the difference between the average nett income before the birth plus earning post-birth.
  • The idea behind the “Elterngeld Plus” is to  “give mothers and fathers more time for family and greater flexibility”, said the former federal family minister Manuela Schwesig.
  • Important information: Parents can choose between Elterngeld or Elterngeld Plus, or they can combine both models. Let´s see this with some examples:

 

Can I travel while I am in paternity leave?

  • From a legal point of view, there is no problem to travel aborad while enjoying paternity leave. However, if you plan a long stay abroad you should be sure that the Krankenkasse (health insurance) takes over the cost in case of illness. In general, german health insurances covers up to six weeks when travelling outside the country. Afterwards, you have to insure yourself and your family privately.
  • Important information: This rule always applies – regardless of whether you travel during parental leave or just like that – but many people tend to forget it 😉

I struggle with the germans word, could you please explain me the most relevant ones?

Mutterschutz

This is the most important word: Maternity leave.

The “Mutterschutz” is considered a period of time to prepare yourself to welcome your baby, as well as a time to rest after the delivery.

Some important information you should take into account:

1. In total, the mutterschutz last 14 weeks. As a mother-to-be you can enjoy the 6 weeks before the delivery to prepare yourself for that moment. After the child´s birth you still have 8 weeks to rest and to enjoy your newborn (extended to 12 weeks in case of  multiple births).

2. The health insurance (Krankenkasse) covers a maximum of 13€ per day with a limit of 390€ per month, the rest is covered by your employer. Let´s see how it works with an example:

Frau Müller (traditional german name 😉 ) earned 2.800€ gross per month during the three months previous to the birth, which means that she earned 1.950€ net salary per month. If we calculate how much did she earn per day during the past 3 months, we can see that her net salary per day was 65€ (1.950*3 = 5.850€/90 = 65€). In this case, the Krankenkasse covers 13€ and the employer 52€.

3. In the case that Frau Müller had a private health insurance, she will receive 210€ in a single payment.

4. During maternity leave you will keep receiving your salary (Mutterschaftgeld)

5. Your job remains open to you and your contract cannot be terminated by your employer during the Mutterschutz because you are protected by Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz).

 

Elterngeld

Elterngeld is a tax-financed payment for couples who became parents. This subsidy will be paid during the first 14 months after the child´s birth and it must be divided between both parents.

The amount of the elterngeld is based on the after taxes income of the parent which ask for it. A person who earns less than 1.000€ per month will get between 100% and 67% of his net income, however, a person with a net income higher than 1.240€ per month will receive 65% of it (with a limit of 1.800€ per month).

Who can get this subsidy?

  • People who recently became parents
  • Parents of adoptive children
  • If the parents of the newborn didn´t work in the months previous to the child´s birth, they will receive a subsidy of only 300€ per month
  • Multiple births – In this case the parental allowance increases by 300€ for each additional child
  • If the beneficiary earned more than 250.000€ in the calendar year preceding the child´s birth, there is no entitlement to Elterngeld

Elternzeit

Elternzeit is a paternal leave provided by the employer, which can be taken any moment during the first three years of the newborn´s life.

This parental leave can be a full suspension of working hours or a reduction of the working day.

Both parents have the right to go on parental leave. Let me show you some examples to better explain how it works (these are real cases of friends of mine):

– Example A: Some friends of mine decided to divide their Elternzeit between both of them, therefore, each of them took 6 months of paternal leave (first the mother, and the last 6 months the father). Both parents enjoyed a full-time paternal leave so that they could enjoy the first year of life of their son.

– Example B: Other friends of mine decided to divide their Elternzeit in a different way. In this case, the mother took a 12 months parental leave after Mutterschutz and the father enjoyed 2 months of parental leave, one month in August (to enjoy some summer time with his daugther) and the second month once his wife´s parental leave ended, so he could spend some time with his daugther before she started the kita (kindergarden for babies).

During Elternzeit both parents are protected by law, any termination of employment is invalid during this period. That means that neither the employer nor the employee can terminate the employment contract.

When should I apply for Elternzeiz?

7 weeks in advance.

This is easier for mothers-to-be, since they have 8 weeks medical leave after the child´s birth. However, fathers have to ask for parental leave 7 weeks before the birth takes place, if they want to go on family leave right after the child´s birth.

Your turn

What about you? Did you have children in Germany? Have you ever ask for parental leave in Germany? Was the process complicated?

I still remember the american´s face when our German friend explained him how does the Elternzeit (Parental Leave) works. Alhtough, to be honest, also in Spain we don´t have such a great work-life balance. In fact, this is a quite sensitive topic in my home country…

How does work-life balance work in your home country? Do you also benefit of parental allowences, elternzeit and such things? Feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment below 🙂 or via social networks.

 

 

El paro en Alemania

Vivir en el extranjero es siempre una aventura, sobre todo en lo que a cuestiones administrativas se refiere.

Si hace poco hablaba de como conseguir trabajo en Alemania y de como funcionan los minijobs (haz click aquí para volver a leer el post), hoy voy a centrarme en un tema menos agradable: El desempleo en Alemania.

Aunque el tema del paro es una de las cosas que más pueden preocupar a una persona, ya que la administración alemana no se parece a la española, en este post voy a intentar explicar como funciona y que hacer en caso de quedarse en paro.

¿Quién puede inscribirse en la oficina de empleo?

Todas aquellas personas que, estando en edad de trabajar, se encuentren en búsqueda activa de empleo. Para ello deberán registrarse como buscadores de empleo (Jobsuchender) en la agencia de empleo Alemana (Arbeitsagentur). Esto se puede hacer tanto de manera presencial como online (haz clik aquí).

¿Cuándo puedo inscribirse?

Si la persona tiene un contrato indefinido pero este finaliza, sin que se vaya a llevar a renovar, tendrá que avisar en el Arbeitsagentur como tarde 3 meses antes del primer día de desempleo.

En caso de no tener trabajo (por ejemplo, una persona recién llegada a Alemania) la inscripción puede llevarse a cabo una vez la persona este registrada como residente en el país (Wohnanmeldung)

¿Qué ocurre una vez que este inscrito en el Arbeitsagentur?

Una vez que estés inscrito en el Arbeitsagentur recibirás dos cartas.

La primera será para convocarte a una reunión con tu persona de contacto. Esta persona será la encargada de guiarte y asesorarte en tu búsqueda de empleo.

La siguiente carta será una convocatoria a una reunión general donde te explicarán, entre otras cosas, como funciona la página web de la Arbeitsagentur, cuales son tus derechos como desempleado y que obligaciones debes cumplir.

¿Puedo viajar estando en paro?

¡Por supuesto! Eso sí, siempre debes comunicárselo a tu persona de contacto y, en caso de que cobres la prestación de desempleo, a la Arbeitsagentur.

¿Que función lleva a cabo mi persona de contacto?

La persona de contacto es una guía dentro del proceso de búsqueda de empleo. Esta persona se encarga de asesorarte y ayudarte a buscar un nuevo trabajo que se adapte a tu curriculum profesional.

La verdad es que estas personas de contacto suelen ser muy eficaces, ya que además de organizar reuniones periódicas contigo, para saber como va la búsqueda, se encargan de preseleccionar ofertas que se adapten a tu perfil.

¿Quién tiene derecho a la prestación de desempleo?

Tienen derecho a la prestación de desempleo las personas que hayan trabajado 12 meses en los últimos dos años.

Sin embargo, es importante diferenciar dos escenarios distintos:

  • Despido: Aquellas personas que han sido despedidas o cuyo contrato no haya sido renovado podrán comenzar a cobrar el paro dentro del mes siguiente a su inscripción como solicitantes de la prestación de desempleo.
  • Renuncia: Aquellas personas que decidan terminar su contrato unilateralmente no podrán acceder a la prestación por desempleo hasta pasados tres meses desde la solicitud de la misma.

¿Cuántos meses de paro puedo cobrar?

Esto depende de tu edad:

  • Menores de 50 años: Reciben como mucho 12 meses de paro
  • Personas entre 50 y 58 años: Pueden cobrar hasta 18 meses
  • Mayores de 58 años: Cobrarán hasta 24 meses de paro

¿Cuánto cobraré al mes?

Depende de si tienes hijos ó no. Para personas sin hijos la cantidad es el 60%, mientras que aquellos que los tienen cobrarán un 67%.

¿Cómo se calcula la cantidad que voy a cobrar?

La manera más fácil es coger todas las nóminas de los últimos 12 meses, sumar el salario bruto y dividir esta cantidad entre 365 para obtener una cantidad base. A esta cantidad le calculas el 60% o el 67%, dependiendo de tu situación, y luego le quitas los correspondientes impuestos (suele ser al rededor de un 15%) y la seguridad social (un 21%).

Una vez echo todo ese calculo multiplica la cantidad restante por 30 para obtener tu “sueldo” neto mensual.

Si tienes dudas echa un ojo a la calculadora online de la Arbeitsagentur (haz click aquí)

¿Hay una cantidad máxima que puedo cobrar?

Sí, la cantidad máxima que se puede cobrar son 6.350€ al mes.

¿Cómo puedo inscribirme para demandar la prestación por desempleo?

Una vez en paro te puedes apuntar como demandante de la prestación de desempleo. Esto se puede hacer el primer día del paro de manera online o telefónica.

Para llevar a cabo esta solicitud deberás solicitar a tu empleador que rellene el Arbeitsbescheinigung. Este documento es muy importante, ya que en él constará información sobre tu sueldo, los días trabajados y el tipo de contrato del que disponías.

Una vez tengas este documento deberás enviarlo a la Arbeitsagentur bien de manera online ó bien a través de la oficina de correos (Deutsche Post).

¿Dónde puedo solicitar el Arbeitsbescheinigung?

Este documento se puede solicitar directamente en el Arbeitsagentur. Recuerda que debes ser tú el que lo solicite, ya que la oficina de empleo no te lo da automáticamente una vez que te registras en el paro.

¿Cuales son mis obligaciones como demandante de empleo?

La primera obligación que se tiene como demandante de empleo es acudir a todas las reuniones que organice la Arbetisagentur, tanto de carácter privado (reuniones con tu persona de contacto) como público (charlas, meetings, encuentros…).

Después será obligatorio que informes a tu persona de contacto a cerca de tu proceso de búsqueda de empleo. En este caso lo que la Arbeitsagentur quiere saber es si realmente estás dedicando tu tiempo a buscar un nuevo trabajo. Para ello deberás apuntar las ofertas de trabajo donde te has inscrito (tanto a través de la página web de la Arbeitsagentur como a través de otros medios) y comunicarle a tu contacto si has llegado a hacer una entrevista y como ha ido la misma.

Por último, deberás inscribirte en todas las ofertas de empleo que te envíe tu persona de contacto, tanto si te gustan como si no, y comunicarle el resultado y la respuesta que hazas recibido de la empresa.

Si quieres ganar puntos extra con la Arbeitsagentur te recomiendo que te apuntes a alguno de sus cursos gratuitos (este punto es muy interesante para las personas que cobran prestación por desempleo). La agencia de empleo alemana ofrece una gran variedad de cursos, desde clases de idiomas hasta seminarios de coaching para mejorar tus habilidades profesionales.

¿Debo inscribirme en todas las ofertas que me ofrece la Arbeitsagentur?

Como he escrito en el punto anterior en principio sí es obligatorio inscribirse en todas las ofertas que se reciben de la Arbeitsagentur aunque estas estén lejos de tu domicilio actual.

Por ello te recomiendo que comuniques a tu persona de contacto todos los puntos que sean importantes para ti a la hora de buscar un empleo (por ejemplo: cercanía al hogar, jornada intensiva, idioma inglés…)

¿Puedo seguir cobrando el paro de Alemania si vuelvo a España?

¡Claro! Para ello sólo necesitarás solicitar el formulario PD U2, rellenarlo y entregarlo en un plazo de 7 días en la agencia de empleo de la localidad española donde residas.

Una vez hecho esto tendrás derecho a tres meses de paro alemán, lo que implica que si te quedas en España no cobrarás el paro Alemán a partir del cuarto mes. Sin embargo, si decides volver a Alemania, tendrás derecho a cobrar la totalidad del desempleo.

 

Espero que esto haya aclarado tus dudas a cerca del funcionamiento del paro y del sistema del desempleo en Alemania. Si aún tienes más preguntas no dudes en dejar un comentario o en ponerte en contacto conmigo a través del e-mail o de las redes sociales 🙂

 

6 Things to do in summer in Düsseldorf

Good weather has finally come to stay!  (At least it seems so).

Since one week we are enjoying high temperatures as well as a splendid shiny sun that stands up in the sky and which makes all of us feel happier and excited than usual.

As you might know, Düsseldorf is a living city plenty of interesting events and exhibitions, therefore you can imagine how cool can be to enjoy all those events in good weather together with your friends and family.

This year, furthermore, Düsseldorf hosts one of the biggest sporting event of the world and the whole city is ready to celebrate this special occasion.

Before keep talking about this international huge event, I would like to talk you about other annual summer activities and events which usually take place in the lovely city of Düsseldorf.

So, if you are thinking of having a break or if you are already planning your next trip I highly recommend you to keep reading this post and find out all the possibilities that Düsseldorf can offer you in the upcoming months. Are you ready?

2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships

Each month of June takes place the awaited T3 Triathlon in Düsseldorf . Around 2000 participants register each year at this important event where professional, and not so professional, athletes swim, run and pedal all around the city.

However, this year not only the annual T3 Triathlon will be taking place in the city, but also the Triathlon European Championships. More than 2000 are called to participate in this international event which will take place at Mediahafen.

When

24th of June: Triathlon European Championships

25th of June: Annual T3 Triathlon Championship

Where

In Düsseldorf, in particular at the Mediahafen, where the start and finish lines are located.

What are you going to find

Different kind of stands, good music, interesting people and tasty food.

More information

http://www.triathlon-duesseldorf2017.de/

Mittelaltermarkt

The same day as the Triathlon, but some kilometers away from Düsseldorf, the annual medieval market will take place. This occasion will allow you to find beautiful craft products and also to learn about the daily life in the Middle Ages.

When

From 24th to 25th of June

Where

Burg Castle, a beautiful monument located in Solingen.

What are you going to find

If you are curious about the Middle Ages lifestyle, here you can discover and learn more about those times and, at the same time, you can buy some craft products and try tasty food.

More information 

http://www.schlossburg.de/termine-news/terminkalender/

 

Düsseldorf is a an amazing city full of activities all year around.

Light festival and picnic at Benrath Schloss

The Schloss Benrath light festival is known to be home to one of the most astonishing classical music concert in Germany.

Each year around 10.000 people meet at the gardens of Benrath Castle to enjoy the music, to taste different groceries and to enjoy its impressive fireworks spectacle.

When

Friday the 30th of June from 18.00h

Where

At Schloss Benrath (click here to discover more information about this beautiful castle)

What are you going to find

If you love classical music this summer concert is a must.

More information

http://schloss-benrath-lichterfest.de/

Kirmes am Rhein

How can I introduce you the Kirmes?

Let´s say the truth. The Kirmes is without a doubt the event of the year par excellence in Düsseldorf.

Yes, among all the events that take place in the city during the 360 days of the year, the Rheinkirmes is the most popular one for the citizens of this german city. I am still not sure about the reason why this festival is so important but every time I talk with my german friends they explain me that the Kirmes is a huge party to celebrate life, friendship and, at the same time, to have fun.

No wonder, many companies organize a “Kirmes Tag” (a day at the Kirmes) for their employees as well as for their clients.

When

From the 14th to the 23th of July

Where

In Oberkassel, the Rhein side in front of the Altstadt

What are you going to find

Hundreds of rides, raffle stands, huge brewery stands and tons of fun.

More information

http://www.rheinkirmes.com/

Full Moon Pic-nic am Rheinstrand

An outdoor picnic in Germany?

Everything is possible in Düsseldorf! In fact, this picnic is one of the most famous outdoor events in the region. You just need a sweater (we are in Germany… 😉 ), some food and be ready to have fun.

When

Friday the 7th of August from 20.00h

Where

Düsseldorf Rheinstrand, nearby the Altstadt

What are you going to find

A nice atmosphere and people from all around the world.

More information

https://www.facebook.com/events/275499582912710/

 

And last, but not least, the event of the year in Düssledorf:

Grand Départ der Tour de France

 

As you probably already know the Gran Départ of the most famous bike race in the world takes place in a different city every year.

If two years ago the neighboring city of Utrech had the honor to hold the first stage of the Tour de France, this year this sporting event will start in the cozy city of Düsseldorf.

When

From 29th of June to 2nd of July

Where

In Düsseldorf (the whole city will be a huge party!)

What are you going to find

I am sure you will enjoy from a huge and international party, in fact, there are a lot of events and small parties already organized for the previous days to the Grand Départ.

More information

https://www.duesseldorf.de/letour

 

 

Art in Düsseldorf: Tomas Saraceno In Orbit

Hey guys! How are you? Long time no see. It is more than one month since I posted something new.

Last month was a busy time for me but I am back and ready to tell you more about our expat adventures here in Düsseldorf.

A couple of weekends ago I had a really special visit. Some old friends came here to celebrate the bachelorette of one of them. I was so excited!! We wanted to prepare a perfect weekend for her and, at the same time, I wanted them to discover this incredible part of Germany.

Therefore I organized a beer taste evening at the Beer Craft Festival in Düsseldorf, a tour around Cologne (the sun shined the whole day :)) and another beer taste afternoon, but this time in Düsseldorf.

However, I was not satisfied enough. I wanted to offer my friends the possibility to enjoy something different, something unique. But what could I do?

Suddenly I realized about something; there is still one thing you can do in Düsseldorf that you can´t do at any other place (and it is not beer related 😉 ).

To carry out my plan I convinced my friends to spend some time in a museum. Although that weather was perfect, I mean, we had more than 20 degrees and a splendid sun shinning above us, they accepted to make some indoor activity.

The exhibition

The museum chosen to experience something unique was the impressive, well known K21 Museum.

One of the main exhibitions of this awesome museum is called In Orbit, an enormous installation suspended at a high of more than 25 meters, created by the argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

The physically accessible work is constructed of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. Five air filled spheres are located within the net structure.

Visitors are welcomed to enter the installation, during 10 minutes, and explore it by climbing it from the inside. Those brave enough to venture into this unique piece of art will experience a mix of feelings up there.

If you suffer from vertigo I would sadly not recommend you to enjoy this “floating in the sky” adventure, unless you feel brave enough to walk 25 meters above the floor.

Inside the installation

As previously mentioned, the installation is a construction of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. To access this art work you will be provided with a special suit to prevent personal things falling down to the museum visitors down below. Furthermore, the museum staff will also provide you with a special pair of shoes so that you can walk safety inside the net.

The entrance to the structure is located at the third level in order that the visitor can decide the path he wants to follow during his visit.

Usually I like to start at the third level to come down calmly until the first one. Personally, I think this is the best way to avoid the initial shock of being 25 meters high protected only by some steel cables.

I must admit that, although I have already visited this exhibition more than 3 times, I am still impressed by the height once I reach the first level of the net.

Price, opening hours & more

The museum opening hours are the following:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am until 18.00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & holiday from 11.00 am until 18.00 pm

The admission price is 12,00€ (9,00€ for children)

Here you can find more information about the museum.

I hope you are brave enough to enjoy this unique experience! 🙂

 

Best places in Germany

Unlike many people think, Germany is not a grey, serious and rainy country but an interesting place to discover something new every day.

After a couple of years living here I have had the opportunity to visit not only the well-known German metropolis such as Berlin or Hamburg, but also small ancient cities and the countryside. If you are willing to come to visit Germany in an unconventional way (by visiting some “non-so-touristic” places) keep reading this post because this week it is starting the “Best Places in Germany” post series. Are you ready to discover this remarkable country?

Best places in Germany (of the week):

Monschau

The first time I heard about Monschau was in December 2014, when I friend of mine advised me to visit its Christmas market. Since I could not do that (it is worthier to visit it during the week, instead of during the weekends) I decided to give this old town a chance during the summer time.

Located nearby the Belgium border, Monschau preserves an ancient style, which provides this small city with a special charm. The city center is divided in two by the Rur river, consequently, the two parts of the city are connected by ancient bridges.

What to visit in Monschau

  • Christmas market

Although I could not visit it (not yet 😉 ) I can imagine the importance and the magnitude of this market, since one of the most visited places in the city of Monschau it is its Christmas store (open all year)

  • Castle Monschau

Most part of the castle is in ruins nowadays. Reused as a hostel after the IWW it is the perfect location to host summer concerts.

  • Market square

The heart of the city. Here the visitor can find restaurants, ancient buildings with flowerbox adornments and remarkable spots to be amazed with the mountains surrounding the city.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, as well as one of the most important student cities.

Ancient castles, narrow alleys, hilly streets  and beautiful parks and gardens are part of the landscape. Its university is the oldest in Germany and famous for its medical faculty. In Heidelberg, everything is within easy reach either on foot or by bike.

What to visit in Heidelberg

  • Heidelberg Castle

The castle, one of the most important renaissance structures, was started to be constructed in 1210 A.D. and, although, it has been destroyed several times due to different wars it preserves its ancient splendour.

It is worth to visit the main attraction of Heidelberg and it can be seen from each corner of the city.

  • The Altstadt

Down in the Altstadt (the old town) there are plenty of narrow streets and squares full of restaurants, stores and cafes. The main square, Markplatz, is a cute place where to enjoy a good cup of coffee or a Rothhaus Pils, one of the most famous beers of Heidelberg.

  • River Neckar

Having a walk along the River Neckar is always a good idea to avoid the crowds and to re-discover Heidelberg. The view from this side of the river is really cute and, if the weather is good, this area of the city is the best place for a picnic.

  • Alte Brucke

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) can be discover after passing through a remarkable medieval gate. The bridge dates from the 18th century and it is the most visited bridge of the city.

Düsseldorf

And last but not least, the beautiful city of Düsseldorf.

The capital of the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) Region reflects the development that this area of Germany suffered some years ago.

The old industrial city of Düsseldorf led to a modern, cosmopolitan city, centre of fashion, glamour and international businesses. Known as the german city of fashion, Düsseldorf has the honor to have been ranked as the 6th world´s best city to live in beyond other important cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin.

What to visit in Düsseldorf?

  • Mediahafen

To understand the transformation suffered by this remarkable city it is important to have a walk around its “Mediahafen”. The old port was rebuilt into a modern area full of international business, restaurants and hotels. Frank Gehry, in charge of this transformation, built the most emblematic buildings of this area.

  • Altstadt

The old town is the core of the city. Full of narrow, car-free streets is the best place to discover the ancient Düsseldorf.

  • Königsalle

Ready to have a walk surrounded by the best fashion firms of the world? Just visit the Königsalle.

Special tips:

  1. From the Rheinturm the visitor can enjoy a strinkingly view of the city
  2. Benrath Schloss (the palace of Benrath), located 15 minutes away from the oldtown by subway, has beautiful gardens and tasty home made cakes
  3. Bilk is the best area to enjoy a good meal under the sun
  4. Stadttmite is the place-to-be for sushi and japanese-culture lovers (more than 10.000 Japanese live in Düsseldorf, the largest community in Europe)
  5. An “altbier” tour should be compulsory ;). Do not forget to try the traditional Düsseldorf Beer!

Have you ever been to Germany? Which are your favourite places? Share your thoughts!! 🙂 

The Expat Tag

A couple of days ago I discover the blog “Going American“, written by Sandra, a girl from Zurich who has just moved to Boston.

Among her interesting posts I found out one called “The Expat Tag“, where she threw together a few questions, inspired by an expat tag she saw somewhere around, as a way to keep in touch with other bloggers. I found it a great idea, therefore I thought I might also give it a go.

So, Sandra, following you can find my answers:

1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I was born in Spain and after living in different countries I ended up in Germany

2. What made you leave your home country?

Actually, I left my country due to curiosity. I wanted to see the world, to discover other countries and to meet new people. Some adventure is good from time to time 😉

What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?

Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say.

Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.

3. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?

Thanks to all the people I have met since I arrived here I got a fast and easy integration. I attended to german parties, I lived and met german people, I worked with germans… All this non-international atmosphere helped me to learn and to get used to its culture and traditions.

However, it took me a while to get used to german food. People here use tons of sauce when cooking, and, at the beginning, I found it really hard  since I am used to the mediterranean diet.

4. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.

expat tag
Discover an amazing country

 

Expat Friends´ Trips
Expat Friends´ Trips

 

New flavors
New flavors

5. Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?

I love their cakes. I think germans really know how to prepare good cakes and to serve them good a huge cup of warm tea or coffee.

Regarding the german drinks, I must confess that I really like the Altbier (the traditional Düsseldorf beer). My favourite one is brewed in the Schumacher Brauerei.

What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?

I think this is a tough question. Actually I am not sure about the asnwer. I think I have always tried to be myself regardless of where I live, however, I know I have exeperience an inner change since I live here but, sadly, I can´t give a particular example…

6. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?

I know I shouldn´t say this but… Waiting for the traffic light signal to turn green. I have already get used to it, but my first months here were a chaos. I wanted to cross the street and keep walking all the time.

Nowadays the opposite happens to me. Everytime I come back to Spain I am the only person who waits for the signal to turn green… Upsss…

7. What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?

I enjoy discovering it.

Germany is a country full of contrasts. Each region has different food, cakes, beers and even a different way to talk German! I found it really enriching as an expat.


8. Do you think you will ever move home for good?

I don´t know… I do not like to think about it. If one day I feel I have to move again I will do it. If I never get that feeling I will stay here.

The best plan is to have no plan 😉

#expattag

Vivir en Alemania: Düsseldorf – Stadtmitte

 

Esta semana vamos a quedarnos muy cerca de Pempelfort y el Altstadt, ya que vamos a hablar de Stadtmitte, un barrio situado a tan sólo 10 minutos a pie del Altstadt y junto a la estación central de Düsseldorf.

Esta zona de la ciudad es ideal para gente joven en busca de un piso compartido (WG en Alemán), céntrico y a dos pasos de la zona de fiesta.

Por otro lado, esta es una buena zona para parejas sin hijos que tengan a desplazarse diariamente en tren, así como para amantes de la cultura japonesa.

Por qué vivir en Düsseldorf Stadtmitte

Si te apetece vivir cerca del bullicio de la ciudad, en un area bien conectada, llena de tiendas, brauereis y restaurantes, esta es tu zona.

Una de las ventajas de vivir en esta parte de la ciudad es que te permite ir andando a casi todos los sitios. Además, es un área donde se mezclan restaurantes, comercio local y supermercados, con avenidas llenas de tiendas de moda y modernos centros comerciales.

Qué más me puede ofrecer Stadtmitte

Una de las zonas más interesantes de Stadtmitte es la parte japonesa.

Como ya te comenté en el primer post de este posts series (Haz click aquí si te lo perdiste 😉 ) en Düsseldorf residen al rededor de 11.000 japoneses, por lo que es normal que se haya formado una zona japonesa, conocida como Little Tokyo, en la ciudad.

En la calle Immermanstraße los amantes de la cultura y la cocina japonesa pueden encontrar restaurantes, tiendas tradicionales y supermercados donde únicamente se venden productos japoneses.

Aunque, no todo es Japón.

Stadmitte es una zona tan amplia que abarca tanto la archiconocida Königsalle como la no menos conocida Schadowstraße.

Si te gustan las tiendas de lujo, la tecnología de última generación y disfrutar de unas vistas preciosas mientras cenas en un buen restaurante seguro que te apetecerá buscar un piso cerca de la Königsalle. En cambio, si te gusta más comprar en Primark o C&A y, además, te apetece estar rodeado del bullicio típico de la ciudad (tranvías, cafeterías, iglesias, centros comerciales…) el piso de tus sueños seguro que se encuentra cerca de la Schadowstraße.

Precio de los pisos

La zona de Stadtmitte no ha sufrido una elevación en los precios de alquiler en el último año como Pempelfort o el Altstadt, sin embargo, al ser una zona tan céntrica y bien conectada se pueden encontrar alquileres un poco excesivos para los metros cuadrados de los apartamentos.

Sin embargo, el precio medio por metro cuadrado estaba a 12,55€ en Febrero de este año, más barato si lo comparamos con las áreas antes mencionadas.

A tener en cuenta

  • Cercanía al Altstadt y la estación central
  • Gran variedad de restaurantes
  • Una de las mejores, y más antiguas,  Brauerei de Düsseldorf se encuentra en la famosa Oststraße. : La Schumacher Brauerei. Tres veces al año este cervecera produce una cerveza especial convirtiendo ese día en una gran fiesta para los habitantes de Düsseldorf, y sobre todo para los residentes en Stadtmitte. Haz click AQUÍ para leer un post que escribí hace tiempo sobre esta celebración. Aviso: ¡Esta cerveza está muy buena!
  • Es un pequeño barrio en el centro de la ciudad
  • Parking gratuito en la calle por las noches, los sábados y domingos
  • Los nuevos apartamentos que se están construyendo en la Schadowstraße

A evitar

Aunque el barrio es muy tranquilo y seguro no te asustes si paseando por algunas partes la Charlotenstraße tienes la sensación de estar en el barrio rojo de Amsterdam, ya que antiguamente esa calle era conocida por ser la zona de clubs de alterne de la ciudad.

Cómo buscar piso

Como cada semana te dejo las webs más populares a la hora de buscar piso y esta semana, además, voy a añadir la web más conocida a la hora de buscar piso compartido (WG en Alemán):

  1. Immobilien Scout 24 www.immobilienscout24.de
  2. Immowelt www.immowelt.de
  3. Salz und Brot www.salzundbrot.com
  4. WG-Gesucht www.wg-gesucht.de

Recuerda que la demanda de pisos es muy elevada, por lo que te recomiendo que contactes con el mayor número de arrendadores posibles.  ¡Mucho ánimo! 🙂

Job seeking in Germany

Look for a job in Germany

There are many different reasons why people decide to leave their home nations to start anew somewhere else in the world, however, regardless of the reason that motivated you to take such a huge decision, starting a new life means facing new challenges such as language learning, the integration into a new culture or finding a job.

Certain situations such as finding new friends or learning a foreign language depend on your social and learning skills and, of course, on your own interest.

Other situations, such as the financial one, depend not only on our inner ability to deal with economics but also on external factors that we can´t always have under control. One of those external factors is the job market, which is connected to the market´s demand and which varies depending on the sector.

Almost 600.000 job vacancies in Germany are to be filled as soon as possible

But, how is the German job market? Is it true that there are million of job opportunities in Germany? To answer those questions let´s have a look to the german labor market situation:

Some facts

  • According to Eures, Germany has the fourth largest national economy in the world
  • Over 90% of the companies are small and medium sized enterprises (which means that two-thirds of all the job opportunities in the country come from them)
  • In 2015 Germany came first in terms on foreign trade, just before USA and China

In which sector you can find a job?

Less than 600.000 vacancies were registered in Germany during 2016 and more than 90% of those are to be filled as soon as possible. At the beginning of 2016 the biggest amount of job offers were advertised in:

  1. Health
  2. Social work & Education
  3. Manufacturing industry
  4. Wholesale & Retail Trade
  5. Maintenance of vehicles

However the advertised job opportunities vary depending on the region. For example, 25 of the 50 largest german companies have their headquarters in NRW. Enterprises such as Deutsche Telekom, Aldi, Bayern or Metro Group are responsible of transformation of this region, which is one of the most important business area of the country. However, the development of the Baden-Württemberg region depends on the performance of small and medium.sized companies, since two thirds of the employees work for a SME. The key sectors here are automotive engineering and metal industry (Daimler AG is located in this region).

Although all the previous differences, there is still something that all these regions have in common: the job application process.

As you can imagine, since Germans are in love with guidelines, the job application process have some specific “rules” you should follow.

Let´s see how you can apply for a job in Germany:

Cover Letter

The cover letter is a key document because it is your presentation letter, which means, it is you opportunity to set yourself apart from the other applicants.

In your covering letter, you have to explain the company why you are interested in working with them and why your skills and competences match the job description specification.

Curriculum Vitae

As a rule in Germany the most recent professional experiences are usually placed at the beginning, following a photo and your personal information.

The most important categories into which your CV should be divided are:

  • Photo and personal details

It is recommended to take a professional photo.

  • Professional experience

Including the name of the companies where you have previously worked and a short description of your tasks.

  • Education

In Germany it is really important to mention which level of education do you have (master, bachelor, elementary school, PhD…). List to which schools and universities did you attend and, also, do not forget to mention if you have done any continuing education course.

  • Language skills

If you speak many different language you should explain how well do you speak them. Let´s see how you can do that:

          “Muttersprache” – Native Level (C2)

          “Verhandlungssicher” – Business Level (C1)

          “Fließend” – Fluent (B1/B2)

          “Grundkenntnisse” – Basic Knowledge (A1/A2)

Technical Skills

Under the title EDV list all your technical skills such as computer skills (Office, Gmail, Outlook) or more specific skills which that are important for your work.

Certificates

As I previously mentioned, in Germany it is really important to explain which level of education do you have, but it is even more important to prove it.

Therefore you have to attach all your important educational records to prove your education level, as well as all the language certificates that can prove which language level you reached (B1, A2..)

Another important certificate, if not the most, when applying for a job in Germany is the Zeugnis, which is a reference letter written by a previous employer. The Zeugnis is a description of the tasks you accomplished and your performance during the time you worked the company.

Once you have collected all the required documents I highly recommend you to keep two copies. One scanned copy, so you can have it in your computer to make some online applications, and a printed version that you can bring to your next interview.

apply for a job in germany

And you, are you willing to work in Germany? Have you ever apply to a job possition in Germany? Did you miss any information? Share your thoughts!

V.I.E – Pourquoi pas?

VIE

 

Le rêve de plusieurs personnes est de voyager et de découvrir des nouvelles cultures. C’est la principale motivation des expats, qui sont des personnes curieuses, qui ont envie d’en savoir plus, d´apprendre, de découvrir de nouveaux horizons.

Les expats sont motivés par avoir des expériences à l’internationale, de s´intégrer dans d’autres cultures et de se développer leur carrière.

Mais comme peux-tu profiter d´une expérience internationale?

Je te recommande le V.I.E. (Volontariat International en Entreprise), qui permet aux jeunes européen d´avoir une mission professionnelle à l´étranger d´une durée de 6 à 24 mois, renouvelable dans la limite de deux ans.

Les destinations sont nombreuses mais il faut rester raisonnable…

Le plus intéressant avec ce programme est l’opportunité de travailler dans un pays étranger et d’acquérir de l´expérience professionnelle dans une culture étrangère. Cette opportunité va te donner la possibilité d´apprendre dans un environnement international avec des professionnels français et étrangers.

Quelles conditions sont nécessaires pour postuler à un V.I.E.?

Les conditions officielles sont:

  • être ressortissant d’un pays de l’espace économique européen
  • avoir entre 18 et 28 ans
  • être étudiant ou diplômé en recherche d’emploi.

Ma recommandation personnelle:

  • parler la langage officielle du pays de destination (un niveau B1 peut être suffisant pour commencer).

Est ce qu´il y a une indemnité mensuelle pour le volontaire?

Bien sûr! Elle dépend du pays, l´indemnité mensuelle peut varier entre 1.300€ et 3.900€. L’indemnité dépend uniquement du pays de destinations et du coût de la vie sur place.

A cette indemnité s’ajoutent :

  • Les dépenses opérationnelles, liées à la nature de la mission confiée au V.I.E.
  • Les frais de protection sociale
  • Les dépenses de voyage à l’international et le transport de bagages aller-retour.

Comment s´inscrire?

Le site Web réservé aux V.I.E.

https://www.civiweb.com/FR/offres.aspx

 

Un V.I.E., c´est plus qu´une expérience professionnelle…