Visit Insel Hombroich

Founded in 1987 by the art collector Karl-Heinrich-Müller, Insel Hombroich is an exciting and unique destination.

The founder acquired the area with the aim of combining art, nature and architecture. This contemporary park, based on Paul Cézannes’s concept of “art parallel to nature”, was an elemental park landscape in the 17th century. The island’s woods, meadows and stretches make it a unique place located between Neuss and Grevenbroich.

Ready to discover more about this dramatic place? Let’s start the visit!

A bit of history

The valley has been the site of human habitation for thousand of years. Evidence of this can be seen in Stone-Age artefacts, Roman ruins and remains of mediaeval earth mounds.

In 1820, when the Hombroich family acquired a country residence here, a geometrical park was laid out on this terrain. The residence is known as the “Rosa Haus” and it is part of the visit.

It was not until 1984 when Karl-Heinrich-Müller acquired the park and its residence with the intention of presenting his art collection to the public. In 1986, the landscape designer Bernhard Korte gave this park a magical touch with the creation of an area consisting of parkland, river plain and terraced ground.

In 1987 Karl-Heinrich opened this unique place to the public with the intention to support local artists and architects.

The island is characterized by a constant change and transformation. In summer, the landscape is full of flowers, while in fall it has a melancholy air.  

What to find in an “island museum”?

A part from the magnificent landscape, there are 11 pavilions, each of which – art in itself – is home to other works of art.

These pavilions were designed by Erwin Heerich, who adapted the buildings to the landscape in a harmonious manner. The outside walls are faced with broken bricks while the inside surfaces are colored in pure white. Each building is also a resonating chamber for acoustic experiences, in this way musicians are always welcome to try out musical experiments. Finally, the rooms are decorated with large windows and open doors. Due to this architectural harmony, the sun’s position provides a play of light between nature and architecture the whole year.

Other unique building you can find is the “Rosa Haus”, a villa from the 19th century.

The “Rosa Haus” and its axial garden of 1820, are considered to be the origin of the present-day park. When vistining it you can find magnificent oaks and cypress, which date back to the park’s beginnings. Furthermore, various sculptures stand or lie hidden in the grass or between the hydrangeas and rhododendrons.

Finally, you can find a café, built in the style of an orangery with large areas of glass. This is the right place to enjoy some regional cuisine – included in the entrance fee – on its terrace.

Price & Opening hours

The island of Hombroich is a special destination designed as a daylight museum. The idea is to make the sculptures and buildings a unique experience for the visitor, which is why there is no artificial lighting.

You should allow around four hours for a thorough inspection. Therefore, I highly recommend you to visit it during spring or summer time – when the days are longer.

Opening hours:

April – September

Monday – Sunday from 10.00 to 19.00

October – March

Monday – Sunday from 10.00 to 17.00

Price:

During the week – 15€ regular ticket, 35€ family ticket

During the weekends – 20€ regular ticket, 45€ family ticket

Website: https://www.inselhombroich.de/en

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Best Ice Cream Shops in Düsseldorf

 

March has many reasons to get us excited. Spring is around the corner, days are longer, we get our first sunny days back to enjoy the city and ice-cream shops start opening again!

In Düsseldorf, ice cream shops are the most beloved places during spring and summer days. And let’s be honest, not only kids, but also grown-ups queue outside these shops to enjoy a tasty ice cream. Since Düsseldorfers are huge ice-cream fans, you can find a shop in every corner.

To make it easier for you, I made a pre-selection of the best ice-creams shops in the city. Ready to try all of them? 😉

 

Pia Eis

A classic: Pia Eis.

This shop, located in the Altstadt, is managed by a north-italian family. Their ice-creams will transport you to Italy with its unique flavor.

Due to its popularity, it is normal to find long queues outside the shop – mostly during hot summer days and weekends.

In winter the place reminds open offering italian coffee, waffles and hot chocolate. And to be honest, it is always crowded!

Website: Pia Eis

I am love

The first shop opened in Bochum some years ago. According to legend, the couple who started this business was in love – hence the name – and decided to open their first shop as a way to offer a new, exotic ice-cream selection by using bio products.

Nowaday they also have a shop in Essen, Witten and Düsseldorf, more specifically in Düsseltal. During summer time, you can also find them in different parks of the city. They have their own ice-creams carts, which are always there for us during hot summer days.

To make their ice-creams the owners use bio and regional products. If you are a vegan or you follow a dairy-free diet, I am love is the best place for you. A part of traditional sorbets, here you will find interesting, exotic toppings such as macadamia, hazelnus or white chocolate. All of them are incredible tasty!

In winter time only the shops in Bochum and Essen are open. There you can find waffles, crêpes and tasty coffee. They also offer brunchs during the weekends.

Website: I am love 

Nordmanns

This shop is known in Düsseldorf for making 16 different flavors of ice cream in the Italian style.

Although Nordmanns can be found in various parts of the city, the best known is the one located in Flingern Nord. There they have a huge terrace where you can enjoy a good ice-cream under the sun.

In case you are following a diary-free diet or you are a vegan, in Nordmanns you will find options for you. Here you can find traditional strawberry, lemon or kiwi sorbets, among others.

Website: Nordmanns

Gelateria La Romana

This chain arrived in Düsseldorf a few years ago and it became immediately in a success.

If you wanna try an ice-cream which taste like a real italian ice-cream – or at least this is what my italian friends say – cross to the other side of the river and pay a visit to Oberkassel. Here is where you can find this shop.

The owners – two italian brothers – started this chain in 1947 to show the world real italian ice-creams. To make them, they use sugar, cream and bio milk. A part from ice-creams you can also find cakes and pralinés.

No recommended for vegans or people under a diary-free diet.

Website: Gelateria la Romana

TATI

Let’s come back to the other side of the river. This time we go to Pempelfort, more specifically to the area of Toulouser Alle.

Close to the most modern buildings of the city, we can find a small ice-cream shop which offers different toppings almost every day. It is normal to see a huge queue outside the shop during summer days since there are many business and playgrounds in this area.

Tati’s ice-creams are make with regional products and apart from traditional flavours such as strawberry and chocolate, they also offer exotic toppings such as mango lassi.

Website: Tati

Yomaro

If you thought Frozen Yogurt was already something from the past, you do not live in Düssledorf.

No matter which season of the year, Düsseldorfers love eating frozen yogurt. This is the reason why Yomaro, located in the Altstadt, is always crowded.

To be honest, Yomaro’s frozen yogurts are really tasty by their own. However, you can add your favorite toppings and make them more special. In the shop you will find everything: From Kinder chocolate to seasonal fruits.

By the way, the also offer vegan frozen yogurts. Ideal for those following a dairy-free diet.

Website: Yomaro

Your turn

Did you know these ice-cream shops? Which is your favorite? Do you want to recommend any other shop?

As you know we love to learn about new places, so feel free to leave a comment below 👇 or via social networks.

 

If you liked this post then give a thumbs up and share it with your friends and family !

 

 

 

 

 

*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 skills.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Coffee Shops in Düsseldorf

After several hours of negotiations, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the federal states have agreed to once again extend lockdown restrictions in Germany, this time until at least March 7.

Which means that supporting local businesses is still necessary. On previous posts in this series, I showed you some awesome local restaurant, as well as different ways to help those who need it the most these days.

Today I want to talk once again about food. Buying some coffee to go is one of the easiest ways to support local cafeterias – and a good excuse to discover new places.

In order to help you with the search for the perfect coffee (and cake), here are some awesome cafés that are offering coffee to go at the moment – and which are delicious:

 

PYC Cheesecake

Best cheesecakes ever and tasty coffee, all in one place 😊

Where?:

  • Düsseltal: Weseler Str. 65, 40239
  • Oberkassel: Belsenstrassen 18, 40545

Website: PYC Cheesecake

Cafe Nikan

For coffee lovers who want to try coffee from different parts of the world.

Where?: Rethelstraße 98-100, 40237

Website: Cafe Nikan

Birdie & Co

Good coffee, great cakes (try the carrot cake) and more.

Where?:

  • Pempelfort: Marc-Chagall-Straße 108, 40477
  • Pempelfort: Bagelstraße 130, 40479
  • Altstadt: Mittelstraße 6, 40213

Website: Birdie & Co

Roasted Kaffebar

Intense coffee from different parts of the world and some good cakes.

Where?: Moltkestraße 75, 40479

Website: Roasted Kaffebar

KYTO Coffee & Deli

A good place for a breakfast to go. They offer good coffee and croissants.

Where?: Am Wehrhahn 42, 40211

Website: KYTO

Tenten coffe

A nice place with a variety of coffee and sandwiches.

Where?: Oststraße 57, 40210

Website: Tenten Coffee

Tomo Café

A hidden gem in Düsseldorf: Great coffee and cakes.

Where?: Klosterstraße 67, 40211

Website: Tomo Café

Woyton

A nice coffee place. I used to go a lot! Lately they only offer regular or oat milk, which I cannot drink. However, if you like and/or can drink these type of milk products, I highly recommend you to try a capuccino or a latte macchiato. In the Altsadt café, you can also buy salad to go.

Where?:

  • Stadtmitte: Schadowplatz 16, 40212
  • Altstadt:  Hunsrückenstraße 40, 40213

Website: Woyton

Coffee Fellows

Good coffee and cakes (the brownie is really tasty).

Where?:

  • Stadtmitte: Königsallee 92, 40212
  • Stadtmitte: Berliner Allee 4, 40212

Website: Coffee Fellows

Espresso Perfetto

They offer good italian coffee.

Where?:

  • Friedrichstadt: Bilker Allee 228, 40215
  • Grafenberg: Grafenberger Allee 400, 4235

Website: Espresso Perfetto

Aux Merveilleux de Fred

French pastry + tasty coffe: Best combination ever!

Where?: Kasernenstraße 15, 40213

Website: Aux marveilleux de fred

Cøffe

Small coffee shop with coffee beans from all around the world.

Where?: Benrather Str. 6B, 40213

Website: Cøffe

Kaffepiraten

Good coffee and cakes (try the lemon one).

Where?: Neusser Str. 121, 40219

Website: Kaffepiraten

Café Hüftgold

Best cakes ever and tasty coffee to go.

Where?: Ackerstraße 113, 40233

Website: Café Hüftgold

 

Do you know any other café you would like to recommend? Then leave a comment below. We are always happy to discover new places 😊

 

If you liked this post then give a thumbs up and share it with your friends and family !

 

 

 

 

 

*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 skills.

Best places to takeout in Düsseldorf

Every day I am more convinced that supporting local businesses is good for the community. Can you imagine your neighborhood empty of stores and restaurants? I think we are all on board by now that we should increase the amount of money we spend on local business in comparison to the amount we spend on large corporations. But, how can we do that? How can we help local businesses without leaving our houses?

Good question.

At the moment most of these places are not open for daily business. However, many of them offer vouchers or are still open for pickup o delivery.

Today I want to talk about food. Ordering food for pickup or delivery is one of the easiest ways to support local restaurants – and a good way to discover new places. Sure there are other business that need our support right now, but we will talk about them in a later post.

How can I find local restaurants?

Many local restaurants have pickup and delivery menu-options on their websites directly. You can also use the German-wide web called Local Gastro, or the well-known Lieferando.

Local gastro was built during the first semester of 2020 as a way to support local restaurants, and thanks to it I was able to discover new tasty places.

In order to help you with the search, here are some awesome local restaurants that are offering pickup/take away at the moment – and which are delicious 😊:

Delivery

Aloha Poke

Fresh bowls with the best ingredients. If you want a rice or salad bowl with veggies and fruits, this is the place to order.

Address: Friedenstraße 65, 40219 Düsseldorf

Website: Aloha Poke

Cala D’Or

Traditional Spanish food: Tapas, fish, meat… They also offer a wide range of Spanish wine.

Address: Dorotheenstraße 6, 40235 Düsseldorf

Website: Cala D’Or

Em Brass

This restaurant offers fresh food: From the market to the kitchen.

And you can feel it when you taste any of their main dishes.

Address: Moltkestraße 122, 40479 Düsseldorf

Website: Em Brass

Naniwa

The soup & noodles restaurant par excellence in Düsseldorf. Usually there is a huge queue in front of the door.

Address: Oststraße 55, 40211 Düsseldorf

Website: Naniwa

Pizzeria Romantica

It is not me talking, it is my Italian friends: It is real Italian pizza!

Address: Düsselthaler Str. 48, 40211 Düsseldorf

Website: Pizzeria Romantica

Rhodos Taverne

Authentic Greek food, for Greek food lovers.

Address: Bismarckstraße 67, 40210 Düsseldorf

Website: Rhodos Taverne

Pickup

Casita Mexicana

Choose among different kind of tacos, burritos, nachos and bowls. Tasty Mexican food to feel like in Mexico while you are at home.

Address: All around the city. Just check their website.

Website: Casita Mexicana

La Copita

If you like Spanish tapas I suggest you try this restaurant. Good food, good quality and fast service.

Address: Nordstraße 52, 40477 Düsseldorf

Website: La Copita

Sattgrün

A vegan restaurant with delicious food – also for not vegans. Do not forget to try a piece of one of their cakes 🙂

Address: All around the city

Website: Sattgürn

Sumi

High quality Japanese food. Rediscover Japanese food with this restaurant.

Address: Schinkelstraße 28, 40211 Düsseldorf

Website: Sumi

Tamam

High quality traditional Turkish food to take away.

Address: Moltkestraße 115, 40479 Düsseldorf

Website: Tamam

Delivery & Pickup

Askitis

Are you a Greek food lover? Then I advice you to try Askitis. Fresh, natural, delicious food.

Address: Herderstraße 73, 40237 Düsseldorf

Website: Askitis

Bánh mì

Ready to eat unique Vietnamese food? Pho, Bahn Mi sandwiches… Here you will find these delicatessen and more.

Address: Ackerstraße 161, 40233 Düsseldorf

Address: Friedenstraße 65, 40219 Düsseldorf

Website: Bahn Mi

Bistro Erminig

Oh la la! The best place to eat traditional French Galette in Düsseldorf. They also offer French charcuterie and delicious desserts.

Address: Gegenüber, Mutter-Ey-Straße 5, Neustraße 10, 40213 Düsseldorf

Website: Bistro Erminig

Kamikaze Sushi

A huge variety of sushi and pokes.

Address: Grafenberger Allee 51 – 55, 40237 Düsseldorf

Website: Kamikaze Sushi

Kirti’s Dhaba

It is not me talking, it is my Indian friends: Authentic Indian food!

Address: Düsselthaler Str. 1 a, 40211 Düsseldorf

Website: Kirti’s Dhaba

Laura’s Deli

Health, fresh meals. In the menu you can also find fresh juices and smoothies.

Address: Carlspl. 1, 40213 Düsseldorf

Website: Laura’s Deli

Les Halles St. Honoré

A French restaurant with traditional French food. They also have a bakery with baguettes and French sweets.

Address: Nordstraße 31, 40477 Düsseldorf

Website: Les Halles 

Lunitas Düsseldorf

Best Colombian empandas in the city! Also vegetarian options.

Address: Ulmenstraße 18, 40476 Düsseldorf

Website: Lunitas

Massi

A mix of western and Arab cuisine. Delicious, fresh – they buy only fresh products in the market – and surprising.

Address: Moltkestraße 110, 40479 Düsseldorf

Website: Massi

Restaurant Herr Knillmann

High quality German food. Try the cheesecake 😉

Address: Alter Markt 1a, 40625 Düsseldorf

Website: Herr Knillmann

Takumi

If you are a Ramen fan, this is the right place for you.

Address: Immermannstraße 28, 40210 Düsseldorf

Website: Takumi

 

Do you know any other tasty place you would like to recommend? Then leave a comment below. We are always happy to discover new restaurants 😊

 

If you liked this post then give a thumbs up and share it with your friends and family !

 

 

 

 

 

*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 skills.

6 places to swim in Düsseldorf

Let’s face it, it is cold out there! 

Winter is coming and indoor activities are really appreciated by all of us living in Germany. Mostly during gray, rainy days when it is not so pleasant to walk down the street. 

One of the things that shocked me the most about winter activities in this country is that Germans love to spend time in swimming pools.

I – with my Spanish mindset – had always associated swimming pools to both summer and sports. Now that the holiday season is gone, I can only think of visiting a swimming pool to strength my muscles. However, Germans like not only to do some sports, but also to bring the whole family to spend some time in the pool. No matter whether it is 10 o’clock in the morning, or 7 o’clock in the afternoon. Swimming pools are fully book every day of the week.

What about you? Are you more a sport or a leisure person?

Anyway, no matter which kind of person you are. If you live in Düsseldorf and you are looking for the best swimming pool to enjoy your free time, this post is for you.

Ready to learn more about the best pools in the city? Let’s go:

Schwimm’ in Bilk

Here you can find a 25 meter pool with different lanes and springboards. Lanes are divided in “Power lane”, for those who want to swim fast, and “Relax lane”, for those more relaxed.

This pool has the perfect length for swimming without being an athlete 😉

Website

Hallenbad Allwetterbad Flingern

Also a place with a 25 meter pool divided in “Power” and “Relax”.

Here you can find different type of courses: Swimming for beginners, Aqua Fitness, Baby courses…

Another ideal place for not professionals who want to get rid of the daily stress by training their muscles. 

Website

50-meter Schwimmhalle Rheinbad

As its name suggests, this places has an Olympic-size swimming pool for those braves enough to swim as professionals. As you can imagine, many semi-professionals and professionals use this place to train.

Here you can also find a variety of courses such as Aqua Fitness and swimming for beginners. 

In case you’d rather swim in a shorter pool, here there is also a 33 meter pool whose temperature (28°) is perfect for these winter days.

Furthermore, both pools are also divided in “Power lane” and “Relax lane”. 

However, you have to choose in advance in which of them you want to swim. It is not allowed to visit both pools during the same time slot. 

Website

Freizeitbad Düsselstrand

This one is the favorite place for families with children in Düsseldorf. 

Why?

This place has a 25 meter pool divided in “Power lane” and “Relax lane” perfect to strength the muscles.

At the same time, this place counts with three more pools. Two of them are thought for children, since the water depth is limited to 1.35 meters. The third one is a perfect combination for both adults and children, since there is a small wellness area and a pool slide. 

A part from that, there are three jacuzzis, a second huge pool slide and they also offer swimming and Aqua Fitness courses.

Wesbite

Münster Terme

This place is not just a swimming pool but a health center with different facilities. Among them you can find a 25 meter swimming pool, a sauna, a fitness studio, a physiotherapy center and a salt grotto.

This is the right place if you are looking to escape the cold, windy days to enjoy a moment for yourself.

Website

Family Bath Niederheid

This is another family oriented swimming pool.

Here you can find a special area for children, a non-swimmers pool -the water depth is limited to 1.35 meter- and a 25 meters pool also divided in “Power lane” and “Relax lane”.

Website

 

This year, due to COVID-19, the entrance to the pools is limited. If you want to buy a ticket just choose a swimming pool, visit its website and check the availability in the different time slots.

Take into account that online reservations can be made up to three days in advance. A new day is always online at 21:00 pm.

 

 

*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 skills.

Significant changes in Germany

significant changes in germany 2020

From VAT reductions to pension inflations, something is changing in German regulation.

In this post I want to explain more about the new temporary and log-term changes, which are effective from today, the 1st of July 2020, onwards.

Temporary reduction of German VAT

As part of its stimulus package aimed to support the economy after the corona crisis, the German government has decided to introduce a temporary reduction of the German VAT.

Regular VAT is reduced from 19 to 16 percent, and reduced VAT from 7 to 5 percent. The federal government assumes the tax shortfalls amounting to almost 20 billion euros.

The reduced VAT rates come into effect from today, 1st of July 2020, until the 31 December 2020.

Pensions

The more than 21 million pensioners in Germany can now enjoy a significant increase in their pensions.

From today onwards, pensions will increase by 3.45 percent in the west and 4.20 percent in the east of the country. With the current increase, the legally agreed east-west pension adjustment takes effect for the third time. In order to meet this goal, the pension adjustments in the east part of the country had to be higher than in the west part.

Minimum wages for caregivers

From July 1 onwards, caregivers in Germany can expect a slight boost in their minimum wage. The hourly salary will rise to 15 euros and it will go up again in April 2022, to 15.40 euros.

In addition to the statutory vacation entitlement, carers will also be given additional vacation: Five days this year and six days in 2021.

Tenant protection

During the coronavirus crisis, the government instituted a protection against eviction policy to prevent renters in financial difficulties from losing their homes.

As of July 1, this temporary special protection will no longer apply.

The rent remained due for the corona period, however, an interest on arrears may arise. This must be paid by the end of this year.

 

 

 

*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 skills.

Finding a Doctor in Germany

Living in Germany can lead to daily challenges such going to the hairdresser, finding the nearest supermarket or choosing the right doctor. Back home, this decision is easier since you already know the country and how things are done there, mostly when it comes to medical issues.

However, as an expat finding the right doctor can be tough, not only because of the language difference, but also because of the lack of knowledge about the healthcare system and how does it work.

As I already mentioned in my post about the German Health Care System, this country counts with universal coverage for all the citizens. Therefore, every German resident has at least a public health insurance. Nevertheless, those who’d rather pay to have more coverages are enrolled in a private insurance.

For you as an expat, it is important to know that once you do the Anmeldung (registration as a resident in Germany) you will need to decide whether you enjoy the benefits of the public healthcare system , or whether you privately pay for a private health insurance.

No matter which decision you take, finding a doctor and calling the emergency number must be done in the same way.

But, how can I find the right doctor? Where should I call if I get badly sick at night?

In this post I will answer these questions and more. Are you ready?

Finding the right doctor

Choosing the right doctor can be intimidating because of the language difference. However, many doctors talk in English, so you do not need to be worried.

If your friends or colleagues cannot give you a good recommendation (yes, first option is always to ask people you already know, the best references usually come by word of mouth), then the best way to find a good doctor is to use the website Jameda, where you can find all the different doctors in your area depending on your illness.

Do not forget that in most of the cases you will need to visit first the Allgemeinarzt or Hausartz (general practitioner). This doctor will then decide whether he/she can take care of you, or whether you need to visit a specialist.

My personal recommendation is that you find a practitioner close to your house or your work place, in this way when you are really sick, you don’t need to cross the city to visit him.

Finally, take into account that to visit some doctors such as dentists, gynecologists and ophthalmologists you can make an appointment directly with them without talking first to the general practitioner.

Which are the office hours?

Office hours may differ depending on the doctor. However, most of the times, doctors are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm and two days per week from 14:00 pm to 18:00 pm.

If you have an emergency (high temperature, influenza symptoms…) you can visit the doctor without making any appointment. Therefore, check the Akutsprechstunden of your general practitioner.

Akutsprechstunden are short consultations intended for acute health complains which are conducted in the doctor’s office during concrete office hours. Usually, Akutsprechstunden take place either early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

How to make an appointment

When making an appointment either per telephone or online.

If you call the doctor’s office, the first person you will speak to is the doctor’s assistant, who will give you an appointment without asking further questions about why you want to see the doctor. Usually, you can shortly explain the reason of your visit, and she will note it down for the doctor.

When making an online appointment, you can do it directly from the doctor’s website or via Doctolib. This page helps you finding doctors near you and making a direct appointment with them based on their availability.

Emergency number

When you have an urgent medical situation at night or during the weekend and doctor offices are closed, where can you go?

In Germany it exists a very important telephone number for people feeling sick and not able to leave their places: 116117. Use this number in case of an emergency that does not require an ambulance rushing to your house.

When calling this number you will first talk to a telephone assistant which will ask you some questions about your symptoms, your address and your social security number (Krankenkassenkarte). This person will then decide whether you need a doctor or an ambulance. In the first case, the nearest doctor will receive an emergency call and he/she will come to your house in less than 10 minutes. In case of an ambulance, the telephone assistant will contact them for you, so that you do not need to take care about anything during this stressful situation.

However, if your situation is critical and you are able to move, go to the nearest hospital with your Krankenkassenkarte and do not care about the costs. In Germany, health insurances take care of them.

Your turn

Have you ever been to the doctor in Germany? Is there any other information you think I should include in this post?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your experiences!

 

*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 skills.

Leaving Germany: The checklist

Alright… a new experience is knocking on your door and you are ready for it! An exciting future awaits and you have decided to move on and leave Germany, but… do you remember all the administrative things you had to do when you arrived here?

I have some news for you: All those administrative things will come back to you before you leave the country.

Yes… Germans love administrative processes  😊

To be prepare to deal with all these tasks, I have prepared the following list for you. Before checking it, please be aware that many contracts in Germany have clauses where it is said that you have a notice period of -usually- 3 months before the renewal date.

And now…your checklist for leaving Germany:

Apartment Tenancy

In my opinion, this should be one of the first things you should take care of.

Usually, the maximum notice period is 3 calendar months. Unless your contract stipulates different conditions.

The Mietvertragskündigung – or the official tenancy termination notice – should include a short explanation with your reasons to leave the apartment, it also must be signed and it must be sent per post to the landlord.

Phone and internet providers

To cancel your internet or phone contract can be a nightmare in Germany.

Most customers are on fixed-term contracts, which means that they are on 24 months with automatic 12 months renewal contracts. In this case you have to check the notice period written in your contract. For example, I have a notice period of 4 months before the renewal. If the renewal takes places the 1st of October, I have to cancel it before June.

If you are lucky enough to have a pay-as-you-go monthly contract, it will be easy to cancel it. Just send a letter to the provider or try doing it online.

Gym membership

Another nightmare for many expats who are relocating to another country is to cancel their gym membership.

Yes, if you thought that relocation would be a good reason to quit a contract… I’m sorry! Not in Germany!

Some of my friends – ok, almost all of them – had problems with this point. Therefore, my recommendation is to try to persuade the gym staff to accept your cancellation or try to make a deal with them. A friend of mine agreed to pay a certain amount of money so that they cancel the contract…

Another idea could be that someone you know take on your contract terms. A friend of mine did it and it worked! 😊

Insurances 

Moving abroad is not consider as an extraordinary right to terminate an insurance contract. Surprised?

In this case you should follow the regular procedures. Therefore, you have to send a termination letter to you insurance – signed and per post, German style 😉.

Usually, this written document should be sent 3 months before renewal. However, each insurance is different so you should better take a look at your contract to be sure.

Bank account

In my personal opinion, this should be one of the last things you should take care of.

To close your bank account either you send a written letter to the bank or you go to a bank branch with the letter.

The process is automatic and really fast, which means that once you start it, your account will be closed in less than 24 hours. So please, remember to remove all the money from the account before.

Energy

Easy and straightforward. The process is similar to the one you did when you entered the flat or when you moved to another flat within Germany.

On the day you move out, you have to read the meters and give them to your utilities providers. In case your landlord is the responsible of sending this information to the utilities provider, you just need to read the meters and share them with him.

GEZ or TV tax

The advantage of moving abroad is that you stop paying the €17.50 per month, that every resident in Germany is obliged to pay.

This must be formally cancelled on their website: Rundfunkbeitrag.  They will probably ask you for your Abmeldung.

Abmeldung

Do you remember when you came to Germany and you did the Anmeldung? (You can take a look at my experience here)

Well, now it is time to do the opposite: The Abmeldung.

How does it work?

You have to inform your local municipality when you are leaving the flat. Same way you did when you moved to a new flat. In this case, instead of showing the contract of your new apartment, you will need to prove that you are leaving the country. Therefore, you can use your one-way flight ticket and your new address.

Once you have done this, they will kindly ask you to leave the country in a time frame of one or two weeks – depending on the region you live. So I recommend you to do not do the Abmeldung until the last moment (6-5 days before leaving Germany).

Schlüsselübergabeprotokoll

Here comes the hardest part… Your beloved apartment… The place where you had so much fun, good times, good experiences… It is time to say goodbye… There are so many things you have to take into account before leaving an apartment in Germany…  In fact, I could write a post explaining how moving out of your apartment in Germany works. However, I am just going to focus in the last moments and administrative tasks you must do just before living it.

The day you move out, the landlord will come to inspect the property and to be sure that there is no damage. If everything is right and the landlord considers that the apartment is in good condition, you will receive your security deposit. Otherwise, he will keep it and you won’t see this money ever again ☹

After the inspection, it is time for the Schlüsselübergabeprotokoll, when you give the keys back to the landlord and you both sign a paper confirming that everything is fine. This document should contain the following information:

  • That the apartment is in good condition
  • That the lardlord has received all the keys of the apartment
  • The approximate date when you will receive the deposit back

Once this protocol is done, you are free to go to start your new adventure 😊

 

Your turn

Do you have experience moving out from Germany? Is there any other recommendation you think I should include in this post?

In case you want to share your experience feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social network. I am alway thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

*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.

 

 

 

 

 

The origin and history of Carnival in Germany

Once again we reach this time of the year so important for the NRW region, especially for the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne.

Carnival has been celebrated since the Middle Ages in Germany, however, few people talks about the historical roots of this (great) tradition.

Ancient times

This pagan tradition comes from the ancient Greek and Roman times. During those times, people along the Rhine celebrated a festival in honor of Dionysus, God of wine and festivity, and Saturn God of seed and sowing. The festival consisted of a feast with wine and dance, during which people had freedom to criticize and satirize authorities without any repercussion.

Christian times

When this area got Christianized, the above mentioned festival was included in the church calendar. However, things changed a bit and the feast started taking place six weeks before Easter, just before the fasting or Lent period began.

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Eastern in the Christian calendar. This is a quiet, reflective time when Christians remember the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus in his last days. Whereas Easter celebrates his resurrection and it is a festivity time for Christians.

Therefore, Carnival was a time for rowdy behavior, where people could eat and drink in excess as a way to prepare themselves for the fast. And, as surprising as it seems, the Catholic church allowed it.

Therefore, Carnival is nowadays mostly celebrated in the Catholic regions of Germany – along the Rhine.

Prussian times

 It wasn’t until the 19th century, time when the Prussians governed the regions along the Rhine, when carnival was institutionalized.

During Carnival days, people dressed up in the uniform of Prussian soldiers as a satire of them and their rules. The normal order of things was reversed: Party and drunkenness were allowed and soldiers and royals were satirized.

During this festivity a tradition arose. People – craftsmen, farmers, workers… – rose to the position of princes and royals and paraded through the streets delivering food and wine.

Nowadays, we still find this tradition during Carnival time. In the Rhine area it exists different “carnival societies” which have their own regiments, military orders and their own prince. To differentiate one from the others, each of them wear different colors, bands and medals.

Modern times

The carnival season in Germany is known as the “Fifth season of the year” and it officially begins the 11th of November at 11:11 a.m.

Since that moment the “ElferratCouncil of Eleven – together with the different carnival societies start planning the upcoming events.

One of the most popular events, that take place during those days are the “Carnival Sitzung”, private parties – you need to be invited or get a ticket – where people dance, drink and have a great time together with the members of the society which organizes the event.

Relevant events during Carnival

Altweiber

At 11:11 a.m. people stop working and start eating “Berliner” to celebrate the beginning of the most intense Carnival days.

However, Altweiber is women’s day and it is tradition that they gather in the street to have fun and celebrate. This day they are allowed to “attack” men by cutting off their ties.

In the afternoon there are masked balls and parties all around the cities lasting until late night.

Rosenmontag

On Monday the cities along the Rhine celebrate “Rosenmontag”. A parade, organized by the different societies, takes place during that day. Floats depicting caricatures of politicians and famous personalities go through the city with performers tossing out “Kamelle” (sweets) and flowers.

Usually, each float belong to a different carnival society – which work during 7 months to design and build it – and drives dancers, music bands and the “prince guard” all around the city.

Veilchendienstag  

This tradition is mostly celebrated in Cologne area.

It consist in a ceremonial burning of the “Nubbel” – a straw doll – as a symbolical cremation of the misconduct committed during the carnival festivities.

Coming to an end…

Carnival is not a national holiday in Germany, in fact it is mainly celebrated in the region along the Rhine. In cities such as Düsseldorf or Cologne many schools, companies and stores close for the festivities.

If you ever visit NRW region in this period do not forget to greet people as follows:

  • Düsseldorf area: Helau! (instead of “Hallo”)
  • Cologne area: Alaf! (instead of “Hallo”)

Until “Aschermittwoch” and during 5 days, all the cities and towns of this region are full of floats – for children and adults -, music bands, prince guards and costumed people ready to enjoy this festivity. Once the festivities are over – Aschermittwoch or Ash Wednesday – it is time for Lent.

 

Ready to enjoy the festivities? 😉

 

*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.

Upcoming events – Summer in Düsseldorf

Looking for something to do in Düsseldorf this summer? Whether you’re a local, new in town or just cruising through I have loads of great ideas for you.

Ready to find the upcoming summer events in Düsseldorf?

June

European Fencing Championships

Did you know that fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympic games? In fact, competitive fencing is one of the five activities which have been featured in EVERY modern Olympics.

This month of June Düsseldorf will be the house of all fencing athletes competing for their qualification for the Olympics Games 2020.

To experience fencing on the highest level with all possible emotions just come to Düsseldorf 😉

When: From the 17th to the 22nd of June 2019

Where: Messe Düsseldorf

More information: https://www.madeofsteel2019.de/en/

T3 Triathlon

Once again the awaited T3 Triathlon is coming to Düsseldorf. Around 2,000 participants register each year for this important event, where both professional and non-professional athletes swim, run and cycle around the city. As usual, “Mediahafen” is the starting point of this intense competition.

During two days, the meadow in front of the NRW state parliament will be the meeting point. Around 40,000 people come every year to enjoy the triathlon, support all the athletes and spend some time surrounded by friends and family.

When: The 23rd of June 2019

Where: The meadow in front of the NRW state parliament (registration point).

More information: https://www.t3-duesseldorf.de/

Nacht die Metropole Ruhr

50 venues, 24 cities, 300,000 visitors, one night: Die Nacht die Metropole Ruhr.

Since 2001 the Night of the Industrial Culture or “Nacht die Metropole Ruhr” became a unique cultural event where the industrial part of NRW (Ruhrgebiet) opens its doors, so that visitors can discover its impressive industrial heritage. Therefore, around 500 events, from classical music to stand up comedies and fireworks, take part among the different cities of this area.

Dortmund, Duisburg, Dorsten and Essen, among other cities, welcome around 300,000 visitors who easily switch between locations and cities thanks to a free shuttle bus.

If you are interested in discovering more about the industrial heritage of the NRW, do not miss the chance to take part in this event. For only 17€ you have access to all venues and the already mentioned shuttle bus.

When: The 29th of June 2019

Where: Find here all the cities taking part in this annual event – https://bit.ly/2Kija3Q

More information: https://www.extraschicht.de/home/

July

Düsseldorf Frankreichfest

The event of the year is coming to Düsseldorf.

As every year since 1989, the Frankreichfest is a great opportunity to keep cultivating Franco-German relations.

During three days, visitors can experience delicious French wine, local specialties from places such as Alsace and Bretagne and live french music.

In the year of the 30th anniversary LEJ, one of the most successful music band in France today, will be playing in the courtyard of the town hall. At the same time, another anniversary will be celebrated this year during the Frankreichfest: Citroen celebrates its 100th anniversary!. Ready to enjoy one of the biggest gatherings of Citroen cars in Germany?

When: From the 5th to the 7th of July 2019

Where: Rheinpromenade and Düsseldorf town hall

More information: https://www.duesseldorfer-frankreich-fest.de/

23. Open MIC Comedy-Show Punchline

The 23rd open mic comedy show is a nice opportunity to discover new comedians and to experience a crazy show guaranteed to make you laugh.

When: The 9th of July 2019

Where: Biergarten VierLinden, Düsseldorf

More information: https://bit.ly/2wS1t2a

Lichterfest

The festival of lights or “Lichterfest” is the most popular open-air event in Benrath. Here you will find classical music of the highest standard, breathtaking water features and colourful fireworks.

Every year around 11,000 people experience this unique event. Ready for a unique experience?

When: The 13th of July 2019

Where: Palace of Benrath, Düsseldorf

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

Open Source Festival

THE music festival of the summer season in Düsseldorf for the last 15 years.

If you like to discover new artists and new music styles do not miss the chance to experience this unique festival.

When: The 13th of July 2019

Where: Galopprennbahn Düsseldorf

More information: https://www.open-source-festival.de/

Kirmes am Rhein

The Rheinkirmes is the largest temporary amusement park in NRW with around 4,000,000 visitors per year. This event lasts 10 days and it takes place every year between the second and third week of the month of July.

The 19th of July do not forget to enjoy the impressive fireworks performance 😉

When: From the 12th to the 21st of July 2019

Where: Oberkassel, Düsseldorf

More information: http://rheinkirmes.com/

August

Open Air Kino

Are you a cinephile? In this case I suggest you to experience the largest open air movie theater in Germany.

Open Air Kino is the best chance to watch the latest movies during warm summer nights. This yearly event takes place in different spots of Düsseldorf during one month.

Ready to eat pop corns under the stars?

When: From the 25th of July until the 25th of August 2019

Where: Düsseldorf (different spots)

More information: https://alltours-kino.de/

Gourmet Festival

Do you enjoy trying different kinds of food? Are you a foodie? Are you willing to discover new tastes? Then the annual Gourmet Festival is the right place for you!

Here you will find high quality restaurateurs, special producers and wine from all around the world.

When: From the 23rd to the 25th of August 2019

Where: Königsalle, Düsseldorf

More information: https://gourmetfestival-duesseldorf.de/

 

Your turn

Do you know any other interesting summer event in Düsseldorf? Are you planning to attend to any of the above mentioned events?

Since I love to try new things and to discover new places, I would be really happy if you leave a comment below to share any other summer event that you love and you want to recommend to all of 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.