IT Contracting in Germany - Living and Working

Contracting in Germany:
Living & Working

Profile written by Matt Walters of Capital Consulting
(updated January 2016).

Languages

While the principal official language of Germany is German, English is very widely spoken.

For the English-speaking contractor, the employment opportunities in Germany are many and varied, and the language barrier is easily surmountable in most international companies.

For purposes of local administration, it can be helpful to have a grasp of German, and a foreigner making an effort is always welcome!

Accommodation

There is a strong rental culture in Germany, making it relatively easy to find a property for the duration of your contract. Although in the larger cities at the time of the major festivals/shows this can prove more difficult (e.g. in Munich at the time of the Oktoberfest or in Frankfurt for CeBIT) Prices for accommodation will of course vary depending on size and location, but a guideline figure of EUR 800-1500 may be quoted for a small, furnished apartment in central Berlin.

Travel

One of Germany’s key advantages in the view of many contractors is its central-European location and copious travel links with the UK.

i. Air

The key airports of Berlin-Tegel, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich provide speedy links to all main UK airports by Lufthansa, BA and easyJet amongst many others. Frankfurt in particular is reputed as an international travel hub, providing easy access to various intercontinental destinations.

ii. Rail

The rail journey from Düsseldorf or Frankfurt to London (St. Pancras), takes about 6 hours, and from Berlin or Munich about 10 hours, with regular departures. There are regular trains from the above cities to all major European destinations, including sleeper cars for longer journeys.

iii. Road

The drive from Berlin to London is about 685 miles taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais (35 minutes). The journey takes around 11-12 hours by car.

Depending on where you are based in Germany, you may want to visit neighbouring Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Austria or the Czech Republic. Alternatively, there is a wide variety of activities and sights within Germany.

iv. Ferry

Ferries depart regularly from Rostock to go to Sweden and Norway.

Europe’s largest country, unsurprisingly, has a range of different attractions for the international contractor. The IT industry is extremely active, offering many contract opportunities, while other sectors are also very present.

From a leisure perspective, Germany has something for everyone, from skiing, mountain biking and hiking to centuries of historical monuments to visit and festivals to attend

Public holidays in Germany include New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day (May 1), Ascension, Whit Monday, Germany Unity Day (October 3), Christmas Day (December 25) and St. Nicholas’ Day (December 26). Various regions also have other days off.

Official Languages: German (official), Danish, Low German, Sorbian and Frisian are officially recognised as minority/regional languages, English is widely spoken.
Capital: Berlin
Timezone: GMT +1 (+2 in summer)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Emergency Numbers: 112 (all), 110 (Police), 112 (Fire or Ambulance)
Key Airports: Berlin-Tegel (TXL), Düsseldorf (DUS), Frankfurt (FRA) Munich (MUC)
Population: 80,854,408 (July ‘15 estimate)
Elecricity: 220V / 240V – 50Hz
Tax Year: 1st January – 31st December
National holiday: 3rd October (Wiedervereinigung/Reunification)
International dialing prefix: +49
Internet domain suffix: .de
Cost of living: Frankfurt is ranked 98th in the Mercer worldwide cost of living survey. London is ranked 12th. (2015)