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Moving to Berlin... Lots of help needed!

(3 Posts)
MaternalMusings Thu 11-Jun-15 10:27:40

Hello all,

Both my partner and I work at the same agency in London - they gave me a job post-maternity leave and it's worked out really well. The agency have a Berlin office and have asked us to move over there temporarily ASAP so my OH can whip it into shape. We have a DS who will be 3 in August, so we've stipulated we want to come back to the UK by June next year to prepare for schools...

We're currently renting (got caught in the recession when we left uni in 2007). So we don't have too much trouble with leaving the UK - our furniture and treasures will be put into storage.

SO! We're currently tasked with the job of finding somewhere to live and a nursery for our son. I'll be working 3 days a week and OH full time.

I have a few questions, if anyone could help it would be amazing - we've never actually even been to Berlin yet but have heard such wonderful things and we're definitely seeing this relocation as a massive adventure for our family! (Now that I've gotten past the initial shock of uprooting for a short time!).

- We're looking at living as close to the offie as possible. Therefore, looking for places to live in the Prenzlauer Berg area. Does anyone know of any reputable agents/websites for searching for furnished rentals for this area please? Any other advice or suggestions on this would be greatly received too.

- Likewise, can anyone recommend any nurseries/pre-schools in this area? Ideally we'd like our son in an English speaking place, especially considering we'll only be out there for around 10 months. It's the nursery place I'm concerned about most.

- While I'm on here, can anyone recommend a storage company near Brentwood, Essex? Reliable, secure and relatively inexpensive per month?

Many thanks in advance x

Idefix Thu 11-Jun-15 17:38:03

We used this online company when we lived in Munich www.immobilienscout24.de
Nurseries are very good here much cheaper than UK as heavily subsidised by govt. not sure about the English speaking aspect. Lots of friends have DC in German kindie and they don't seem to be put out by the language barrier.
Bear in mind rentals often have no kitchen. Rentals tend to be either cold or warm and this refers to whether heating is included in the rent.
Google toytown forum, a little bit Munich focused but does cover other areas and has lots of very good information. Don't be put off by the members who make mist mumsnetters appear soft and fluffy in comparison. Good luck with your move and enjoy! Berlin is amazing!

Archfarchnad Thu 11-Jun-15 19:55:04

Hi Maternal, I've lived in Berlin for just about all my adult life, including seven years in Prenzelberg (admittedly in the 90s before it got ultra cool). Immbilienscout is a popular source of flats, or there are a lot of rental ads in the listings mag Zitty and the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper. Often there can be a lot of people advertising for each flat though, and getting somewhere for only 10 months might be tricky - most agents will want an unlimited contract. Make sure you get an Altbau (the old ones with the huge ceilings and wooden floors).

There are a number of private bilingual schools in Mitte more than Prenzlauer Berg, but they're near enough. I've heard OK things about the Berlin Cosmopolitan and the Berlin Metropolitan, which both have nurseries/pre-schools and then primary and secondary. There's also Phorms in Mitte, whic I know less about, but we visited the other Berlin branch a few months ago and were quite impressed by the concept. Nursery fees are generally heavily subsidised, so much less than you'd pay in the UK - probably a few hundred euros per month for 8 hours a day. Do be aware that the majority of kids won't be English native speakers, though - most will be international families or Germans who want their kids to learn 'proper' English. Teaching methods are generally 50-50 through immersion. The only English-only nurseries I know are over in the West, well away from Prenzelberg. But your DS would pick up German really quickly at that age, I wouldn't worry about a bilingual one.

I'd back up what Idefix says about Toytown - it can get pretty vicious there. The most ire is reserved for people who innocently post 'I can't speak German and have no skills but I'd like to move to Berlin, what can I do?' - so at least you have jobs sorted first.

One thing about working times: you say you'll be working three days a week. Most nurseries only open from 8am until 4 or 5 pm, very few are open until 6. Most parents get around that by having one parent doing a late start and doing the drop-off, then working later while the other parent finishes early and picks up. But to be honest what a lot of people do is spread the three days' hours over four or five days, so you're doing 6 hours on 4 days etc.

If you've never even been, why don't you hop over next weekend to have a look and get an impression, pick up a Zitty and sit in a cafe for brunch while you look over the ads. Prenzlauer Berg has quite a few child-friendly cafes, some listed here:

www.tip-berlin.de/essen-und-trinken/empfehlenswerte-eltern-kind-cafes-berlin

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