The Language Barrier in Germany
German is the most common language spoken in the country. It is also the most commonly spoken first language in the European Union, with over 100 million native speakers.
Around 67% of Germans speak at least one other language to a proficient level and, therefore, there is a strong blend of different languages and cultures. Most Germans will have some understanding of English as it’s a multilingual country, especially in larger cities.
Whilst German can seem quite difficult to learn initially, it can be easy to pick up basic phrases that will help you communicate clearly with locals.
Weather and Climate in Germany
As Germany has regions that reach from the Baltic Sea to the heart of Western Europe, its climate and weather vary depending on where you are in the country. The most populated cities have a similar climate to the UK as they are located in similar latitudes.
Weather at either end of the country, whether in the oceanic temperate north or the warmer Western Germany, can be more extreme. The north meets the sea and so is more prone to moist air and humidity. The south, however, experiences a more continental climate with less rain.
For those expatriating to Germany from the UK, the weather will be much the same as it is here in England.
British Embassy in Berlin
|Telephone:||+49 (0) 30 204 570|
|Office hours:||The consulate is currently appointment only, but telephone support is available 24/7.|
Emergency Services Contact Information in Germany
Health and Wellbeing in Germany
Germany has the oldest universal healthcare system in world, dating back to the 1880s. Nowadays, around 77% of the existing healthcare system is government funded and only 23% is private.
For expats, it is advised to take out initial private healthcare before you can register with state provided health schemes. This can only be done once you have a social security number, pay tax, or have an employer.
Healthcare in Germany is praised for being broad and includes a good mental health program as well as other programs for women and children’s health, which are covered by state providers.
Vaccination Requirements for Germany
As well as being updated according to UK guidelines, it is recommended most travellers have a new tetanus jab.
Some travellers to Germany are advised to have the following inoculations:
- Rabies jabs
- Tick-borne Encephalitis
Driving in Germany
As well as the popular Autobahns, Germany is a reputable destination for drivers, especially those with performance cars.
Driving on the right-hand side, their driving styles and laws match those of other European countries. Considered enjoyable by many with their well-connected roads that are also maintained, Germany has long been known as a good place for drivers.
Laws such as those on speed limits, which are done in km/h, are also similar to other European counterparts. A British car will also require a GB sticker.
Safety is a key priority for driving in Germany, and you must carry certain items in your car such as:
- Proof of Insurance
- Warning triangle (required in all vehicles with four wheels or more)
- Reflective safety vest
- First aid kit
- Beam deflectors (required if you cannot deflect headlights manually)
Getting your Driving Licence in Germany
After six months of being in Germany as an expat, you will need to exchange your licence for a German one.
Depending on what agreement is in place when you exchange your licence will determine what you will need to do to obtain a German one.
You will most likely need to undergo a written theory test and/or a practical test.
However, due to the Brexit negotiations that are still ongoing, it is best to check with your local driving licence office in Germany for the current legislation.
Legal Requirements for Driving in Germany
As well as the above regulations on carrying safety items in your car, there are other legalities that are starkly different from the UK.
If you’re driving on the Autobahn, you cannot stop. Running out of fuel, therefore, is considered illegal. Every 40-60km there is a rest stop that has a petrol station for filling up, and these are expected to be used regularly.
Any vehicle parked on a public highway at night must be illuminated at the front and rear. In built-up areas, this does not apply if illuminated by street lighting or in an authorised parking place.
Like many other EU countries, speed camera detectors are illegal, and this feature must be disabled on your sat nav.