Bicycle Coffe Co. from San Francisco brewing fresh coffee on Torstraße. Photo: Berlinow

Fresh Brew on Torstraße

#berlin

Click here for more images

How to: Find a Desk in Berlin

 

All You Need to Know About Co-Working

Info

Follow this list on
Studio 70 in Neukölln. Photo: Berlinow

Tired of working from home or that café chair every day? Time to find a real office. But hey, not a boring office with cubicles. Berlin has a booming scene of new, inspiring co-working spaces. Rent a desk for a month, a week, or just for the day. As a bonus, you’ll get co-workers, and might make new friends and find potential business partners.

Betahaus

Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20, 10969 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

One of the largest and most well known co-working spaces in Berlin. Betahaus organizes different events, among them Betapitch and Beta Breakfast, and a number of Berlin startups call it home. Several floors of co-working and a large café and lounge that is open to the public. Prices Basic membership 10 euros; Day ticket 12 euros, Week ticket (5 days) 49 euros, 12 days flex 79 euros, One month flex desk 149 euros, One month fix desk 229 euros. There are also packages and optional extras. Open Monday – Friday 8 am – 7 pm (24/7 access possible).

Office Club Berlin Prenzlauer Berg

Pappelallee 78-79, 10437 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

Lounge style co-working in the middle of Prenzlauer Berg. It’s also possible to rent a private office for your startup at Office Club Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. Several regular and popular startup events, among them Tech Berlin and Webmontag. Prices 1 day/month from 12.90 euros (add additional days for 19 euros/day), 1 month full time from 199 euros, 1 month night desk (6pm-9am) from 59 euros. Open Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm (24/7 access possible).

Nest

Görlitzer Straße 52, 10997 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

Upstairs from this popular Kreuzberg café, there is room for about 23 co-workers. Nice old rooms with high ceilings and large windows. One of Nest’s advantages are their opening times, you can work here every day from 10 am until late in the evening. Flexible desks only. Prices Day ticket 12 euros, Monthly ticket 180 euros. Open Monday – Sunday 10 am – 22 pm.

Co.up

Adalbertstraße 7-8, 10999 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

Co.Up certainly lives up to it’s name, there is quite a walk up to this loft style co-working space. But when you’re up, large desks and comfortable chairs are awaiting you as well a lot of daylight. There’s also a lounge area where you can hang out with a Club Mate or sip on a coffee from their espresso machine. Free use of large computer displays and a meeting room. Lots of public events for developers. Prices Day pass 12 euros, Half time monthly (2-3 days/week) 95 euros, Full time monthly 180 euros. Open Monday – Friday 10 am – 7 pm (24/7 access possible).

St Oberholz Ko-Working

Rosenthaler Straße 72A, 10119 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

St Oberholz’s co-working space is located in an old turn of the century apartment two floors up from the busy Torstraße. The owners have done a good job preserving the old charm, while taking in elements of contemporary design. The downstairs café is home to regular startup events, such as the Likemind breakfast. Prices Monthly membership 240 euros net. Open Always (24/7 access for all members).

Webworker Berlin

Ohlauer Straße 43, 10999 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

Need a place to work, and maybe support for your new startup idea? Then Webworker Berlin might be the place for you. Located in Kreuzberg, on the border to Neukölln, this co-working space offers monthly founders seminars as well as other events. Prices 1 month flexible desk 99 euros, Fix desk costs 49 euros extra Open Monday – Sunday 9 am – 9 pm (24/7 access possible).

Ahoy Berlin

Windscheid Straße 18, 10627 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

On a Kiez-like street in Charlottenburg you’ll find a 400 square meter co-working loft that offers up to 40 work stations. Besides from your very own desk, you’ll also get access to table tennis, a billiard table and, when you’re just stuck with that line of code, a punching bag to clear your mind. Prices Day ticket 11 euros, 5 day ticket 47 euros, 10 day ticket 75 euros, 1 month fix desk 140 euros (net prices) Open Monday – Sunday 9:30 am – 7:30 pm (24/7 access possible).

Studio 70

Kottbusser Damm 70, 10967 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

Studio 70 is located on the ground floor of an old factory building in Neukölln. Open workroom, café/bar area and a meeting room. Prices Day ticket 10 euros, One month 149 euros Open Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 18:00 pm (somewhat flexible).

Wostel

Hobrechtstraße 66, 12047 BerlinFacebookFoursquare

CLOSED Cozy and relaxed co-working in Reuterkiez. Wostel doesn’t feel like an ordinary office, rather like a living room where you can get inspired and actually get some work done. Personal locker included. Prices Day ticket 10 euros, 10 day ticket 80 euros, Monthly ticket 175 euros. Open Monday – Friday 9 am – 6 pm (24/7 access possible).


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-04-22.

More Co-Working Spaces

We have not covered all co-working spaces in Berlin in this guide. There are numerous of other spaces, and new ones are popping up every other week. Here are some more places worth checking out.

Supermarkt Studios Brunnenstraße 64, 13355 Berlin (Wedding)
BCN Berlin
Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44A, 10999 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Club Office Berlin Bundesallee 171-175, 10715 Berlin (Wilmersdorf)
Buerow Dunckerstraße 59 B, 10439 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Creative Media Lab Alexanderstraße 7, 10178 Berlin (Mitte)
Tante Renate Waldemarstraße 37A, 10999 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
House of Clouds Wiclefstraße 16-17, 10551 Berlin (Moabit)
Berlingreenrooms Ganghoferstraße 2, 12043 Berlin (Neukölln)
CubicMeter Rodenbergstraße 29, 10439 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Launch/Co Warschauer Straße 70A, 10243 Berlin (Friedrichshain)
Pulsraum Kottbusser Damm 25-26, 10967 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
United Urbanites Pappelallee 24, 10437 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Raumstation Berlin Stendaler Straße 4, 10559 Berlin (Moabit)
Agora Mittelweg 50, 12053 Berlin (Neukölln)

Still haven’t found a place that suit your needs? Check out Deskwanted, ShareddesksHallenprojekt and Loosecubes for even more co-working spaces.

 
A Milchkaffee from Double Eye in Berlin. Photo: Berlinow

Can you manage a soup bowl full of milk and coffee? Then go ahead and order a Milchkaffee.

Milchkaffee is the German edition of the french café au lait. Most commonly it’s prepared from espresso and steamed milk, but can also be made by simply mixing dark coffee and heated milk.

Traditionally, the beverage is served in a soup bowl but can also be presented in a large cup. If you decide to order this mega sized coffee, make sure you have some time on your hands. Up to three shots of espresso and 0,3 liters of milk should not be gulped down in a ten minute coffee break…


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-04-23.

 
Classroom (file). Photo: Tulane Public Relations/flickr[source]CC BY 2.0

You might think that English is the official language of Germany as long as you only hang out around Rosenthaler Platz in Mitte. But just go slightly north, to Pankow, or a few miles south, to Neukölln, and you’ll find yourself in acute need of some basic German vocabulary.

How should you go about this predicament then? Well, there are a couple of ways, and all of them aren’t that unpleasant.

The fun way

Like all of your expat peers in Berlin, you’ll need to know at least what Wurst and Bier means. And there are some German lads out there that are keen to get some English going for themselves. Why not join forces and head to a Language Exchange? There are several weekly meetups in Berlin where you can practice German in a very informal way. You can find them on Meetup.com, Facebook Groups and other community sites, such as Toytown Germany. Usually these meetups are completely free, but the organizer might appreciate a donation of one or two euros.

The free way

If your schedule doesn’t allow excursions to a language meetup, then apps are your friend. Duolingo offers courses in German for English, Turkish, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese speakers. Competitor Memrise also has several German language courses. Deutsche Welle holds an interactive German course for English and Russian natives.
These courses should at least give you a quick start and prepare you for some common situations, and it won’t cost you a dime.

The hard way

If you’re up for it, and don’t mind paying a few hundred euros, there are several language schools that are happy to teach you German. Some of the more popular schools are VHS Mitte, BSI Berlin, GLS Berlin, Goethe Institut, Hartnackschule, Die Neue Schule, Sprachenatelier, Die Deutschule, and Friedländer-Schule.

This post has also been published with permission on Deutsch.nu.


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-02-12.

 
Berliner Bank (file). Photo: Thomas Quine/flickr[source]CC BY 2.0

If you’re going to live in Berlin, one of the first things you’ll need is a German bank account. We’ll explain how you get it.

This content is also available inSwedish

After a few days in Germany you realize that quite a few shops refuses to accept your Visa or American Express card. Sure, you can carry around a big pile of cash, but there is an alternative. As soon as you open a German bank account you’ll get a Girocard. This is the card that German shops like.

You’ll also need a German bank account to receive salary, and to pay your bills. A common practice in Germany is Lastschriftzahlung. This means, for example, that your phone company withdraws money for your monthly bill directly from your bank account.

Online banks

Which bank you should choose is up to you. Some of them charges a monthly fee to hold your account while others offers their services for free. Most of the online banks have free accounts. Comdirect is a popular bank where you’ll get both a Girocard and a Visa card for free. They also have an iPhone app where you can check your balance and transfer money. A newcomer is Number26, a completely mobile and digital bank.

Most banks require that you have registered with the authorities before you can open an account with them, but there are exceptions. One of them is DKB, Deutsche Kreditbank. They offer a service similar to Comdirect, with the important difference that you can sign up without a permanent address in Germany, you just use your address in your home country. You can even sign up prior to moving to Berlin, and have your cards and passwords sent to you by mail.

Traditional banks

If walking in to a bank in person is your thing, then you’ll have to choose a traditional bank. You will of course get an online bank as well … and you probably have to pay fee every month. There are a lot of banks to pick from, and some of the more popular include Berliner Sparkasse, Postbank, and Berliner Volksbank. When you choose it’s important to check that there is an office close to where you live or work, and where you can withdraw cash from ATMs (read more below).

Don’t forget…

When you’ve got your account and girocard you might think you’re good to go. But think twice before you withdraw money from an ATM. If the particular ATM is not affiliated with your bank, you might get charged a fee of up to 8 euros for a single withdrawal. That can be some expensive 20 euros… Check with your bank where you can get your cash safely.

A few German banks have their own iPhone apps, but if your bank’s not among them you can probably use the free app OutBank. There is a lite and a pro version, but if you just have one or two accounts you’re fine with the lite version.

This post has also been published with permission on Finanz.nu.


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-02-16.

 
Apartment building in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Photo: Berlinow

So, you’ve finally decided to stay in Berlin. Even though it might not be for good, you’re considering a more permanent living situation.

Rental apartments are the norm in Berlin. While some expats buy their apartments most of them, as the Germans, rent. Some even buy an apartment merely as an investment and then let it to someone else, whilst themselves renting another apartment to live in.

If you’re in Berlin all alone you might consider finding a WG (Wohnungsgemeinschaft), a collective of two or more people sharing an apartment. You might make new friends, or worse, enemies… It’s always easier to live with likeminded people. Shop around on the marketplace WG Gesucht, and while having a look at the vacant room, try to meet all of your flatmates to-be before signing a contract. Although most WGs work out very well, we’ve heard some horror stories.

Your own place

Have we scared you into getting your very own apartment? Well, even though Berlin has quite a few empty apartments and relatively low rents, it’s not always that painless to get that desired lease. As an expat, you’re often seen as a less reliable tenant than a German fellow. Therefore you should be very well prepared before arranging a Besichtigungstermin with a broker or landlord. Dressing up in a business suit, or at least some clean clothes, and having your papers in order might increase your chances in getting that crib considerably.

Getting it right

What documents to bring you might ask. The most important is a copy of your passport and, if you’re already registered with the authorities, your Meldebescheinigung. If you’re employed in Berlin you should bring copies of your last three salary slips (Gehaltsnachweis). If you’re currently not working or are self employed a recent bank statement showing some financial stability could do as well. You should also order a Schufa-Auskunft, a German credit report showing that you’re not having unpaid debts. Last but not least, most landlords want something with a very long name – Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung. This a document where your last landlord grant that you don’t have any outstanding rent debts. You can get this from your landlord, even if you’re currently subletting. If your last apartment was abroad you should have a corresponding document translated to German (some landlords will accept an English version).

Where should you look for that apartment then? The answer is almost always Immobilienscout24, this is the largest marketplace for renting or buying an apartment, house, office etcetera. Other websites are Immoworld, WG Gesucht, and Immowelt. Checking Facebook, the message board at the supermarket, and asking friends are of course also alternatives.

Caveats

There are some things you should be aware of when looking for an apartment. Taking over a lease from another tenant (becoming a so called Nachmieter) can be a good way to get that coveted apartment. The tenant might ask for an Abstand. This means you have to buy their newly installed kitchen, washing machine, or just a piece of furniture they like to leave behind. If you don’t wanna pay, they will of course choose another Nachmieter. Sometimes you get a really good deal on their washing machine, but you might also end up paying 500 euros for an old sofa you just wanna throw out.

There are scammers lurking around on Immobilienscout and other websites. You often spot them by a too good to be true offer. If you contact them, they will tell you that they are currently abroad and can send you the key to their apartment, so you can have a look yourself. Of course, they want you to transfer a key deposit via Paypal or Western Union… The key? It’ll never show up.

This post has also been published with permission on Wohnung.nu.


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-03-07.