Berlin, first thoughts

Posted by December 7, 2012 normal No Comments

So, as blogged earlier, I am now in Berlin! Mainly because of my job (and some other agenda, which would be revealed via this blog when time comes)

After having lived for 3 wonderful years in Tampere, my first thoughts about this place are pretty mixed. In first look, I did not like this place at all.

What I did not like explicitly:

  • This city is too crowded.
  • I have met a couple of grumpy people already (thankfully, none of them were Germans).
  • The public transport line stations, especially those for S-Bahn and U-Bahn are sometimes very dirty.
  • The crime rate is high. I have been advised by lot of friends and colleagues not to rome around in night in empty bus / train / tram etc.. [1]
  • There is a lot of fight in finding an apartment. [2]
  • There is a hell lot of bureaucracy! [3]
  • Health insurance is damn expensive!
  • Who said that renting apartments in Berlin is very cheap?
What I did like about this place:
  • Relatively well connected public transport
  • Good colleagues at work
  • More and more Indian restaurants
  • Lot of “happening” things around
I personally, felt more secure during my first few days in Helsinki / Tampere, than I did here, in Berlin. Here, I always try to be as secure as I can. For example, beware of walking on empty streets in night.. Probably, I would be able to give more inputs and have better thoughts after a couple of months.. whether I really like this city or not. Although, I am still pissed of a few things..
  • It is famous that a german moves with his kitchen. I knew this but never realized that I will not get any houses with a “fitted kitchen”. Mostly, an empty room, which I have to furnish myself. Damn! Thats gonna be an expensive affair.
  • Cold rent + warm rent..
  • Houses are not so maintained (as they are in Finland)
In fact, living in Finland, has raised my expectations a bit too high, probably! And I am happy about that.

  1. A Viatnamese guy was beaten to death one late night, last year by some people at Potsdamer Platz.
  2. Just in order to apply for an apartment, I have signed and provided my relocation agent with lots and lots of documents. Counting the number of those pages, I could have easily written a master’s thesis in Finland.
  3. I received my social security number after 5 weeks of stay in Berlin. In Finland, you get it almost instantly! You need something called a Schuffa credit report to apply for an apartment. Its ridiculous that I am new in Germany, still I have to have a German credit report. And yes, they do not accept Finnish credit report.

Of course, most of my comparisons are w.r.t. Tampere (and sometimes Helsinki).