By Louise Byrnes
Berlin: The lowdown to living in one of the greatest citiesBy Louise Byrnes
Berlin is known as a truly international city, and Delivery Hero is no exception with 100+ different nationalities working within the city’s HQ- With that in mind we have collated a need-to-know list of insider knowledge for those who are relocating. From finding the right neighbourhood, to finding the best flea markets – these are the key insights collated from those who are clued up on all things Berlin.
Finding your neighbourhood
When moving, your first priority will be to find accommodation. But the question is, where? Berlin is made up of 12 main districts and it can take some exploration to decide which is the right one for you. Each neighbourhood has its own unique culture and story, with each area feeling like it’s own individual city, so it’s recommended that you invest time exploring a few options before you decide on a location.
The first thing to take into account is whether you are going to live within Berlin’s infamous ‘ring’, which is distinguished by the Ringbahn railway route that circles the city. Outside of the ring you will find a slower, more suburban pace of life, with a quieter atmosphere where rent prices are typically cheaper in comparison to Berlin’s bustling inner city spots.
Across the districts you will find an ambience to suit everyone, from Prenzlauer Berg’s wholesome family vibe in the north, to Neukölln’s bustling Turkish markets in the south, each area has something unique to offer depending on your lifestyle and situation.
Delivery Hero HQ is located in Mitte, which is considered the heart of the city. A stone’s throw from the beautiful river Spree makes this a perfect spot for a lunchtime walk, and the area is home to all of the main sightseeing spots; from The Brandenburg Gate, The Fernsehturm, The Berliner Dom, plus hundreds of museums and historical sites. A central location means you have the benefit of quick access to anywhere in the city, but of course the location comes with a higher price tag!
Neighbouring Friedrichshain is known for its anarchist history where squat houses were once inhabited by artists, but in recent years it has become gentrified with more families moving to the area. You can still see remnants of it’s rebellious past with it remaining as the street art epicentre of the city, in addition to a vibrant club scene.
For those who fancy something a little more upmarket there is Charlottenburg, located in the west of the city and home to an abundance of high-end designer stores and luxury restaurants. There isn’t much in the way of nightlife in this area, but if you like to be surrounded by beautiful buildings and plenty of historical architecture, then this might be the place for you!
Looking for a bargain
It’s true, the Germans love a Flea Market, and rightly so as this option provides a great alternative to conventional shopping. In Berlin these are seen as treasure troves, where you have the opportunity to unearth valuable items at low prices. One of the most renowned is located in Berlin’s Mauerpark, and every Sunday come rain or shine, thousands of visitors flock to the market to explore the colourful stalls filled with clothes, books and furniture. What makes Mauerpark unique is the musicians and performers who can be found in the adjacent areas- there is even an amphitheater specifically for karaoke performances!
Another firm favourite is Arkonaplatz Flea Market, which has cemented itself as a Berlin stalwart after running for well over a century. Despite its central location, the market has a more relaxed atmosphere due to it’s green location, and is considered to have more ‘professional’ vendors, showcasing rare antiques and contemporary artwork. Definitely a choice for the more serious bargain hunters looking to buy something more significant!
With 50+ flea markets frequenting the city every Sunday, you can find one in almost every neighbourhood. But there is one piece of advice that can be applied when visiting them all – don’t be afraid to haggle! It is considered normal to negotiate the price of items and if you do it well, you could leave with an even better bargain.
Closed on Sundays
It seems as though flea markets might be the only option for Sunday shopping. Sundays are a sacred day of rest for Germans and so much so, there is a law in place that restricts stores of all kinds from opening their doors. Beyond religious reasons, most believe that Sundays are a precious time for families and rest, and that work should be kept to a minimum. This means that typically there is a last minute clamour to stock up on groceries before Sunday- so make sure you prepare in advance!
The Ladenschlussgesetz or ‘Shop Closing Law’ has been in place since 1956 and there is no hint that it will change anytime soon. Even senior executives at large supermarkets have agreed it is good practice to allow their employees to keep their Sundays free, commenting that family life should not be disrupted! It can be surprising for foreigners who have just arrived in the city to find that shops are closed, but it is one of the many quirks that make Germany unique.
Find a Späti
Translating to ‘late purchase’, Spätkauf’s or Späti’s as they are referred to, are Germany’s answer to the local convenience store. However, they offer an alternative to late night culture by serving alcohol at low prices and taking full advantage of relaxed drinking laws. Originally introduced to accommodate workers returning from night shifts, these shops have stood the test of time and are a vital part of German living, becoming a legitimate part of the neighbourhood culture.
A feature that sets them apart from others, is the seating area that welcomes customers to stay and drink their purchases outside. Späti drinking culture is endorsed within Berlin and see’s locals enjoying the set-up on any given night, whether that be for a quick beer or a full evening spent chatting and drinking outside, with the comforting knowledge that their apartment is only a few doors away!
Careers at Delivery Hero
We have a truly international workforce that believes in collaborating with diverse and cross-cultural teams from around the world. We put our employees at the heart of everything we do and even provide visa and relocation support where possible. Check out our careers page and join the fun.