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Berlin versus Dusseldorf (URGENT help needed)

Travel Forums Europe Berlin versus Dusseldorf (URGENT help needed)

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1. Posted by Gerrit_BE (Full Member 83 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

As my visa in my previous home country expired I searched for a new challenge and decided to settle in Germany for half a year or a year. I have been here a week now (in a hotel) and have now received two job offers. I have to choose one of these two jobs and have to make the choice pretty quickly because I need to decided before the end of the weekend

One job is in Berlin, the other is in Dusseldorf. As I am in a hotel I can still choose whatever I want and look for an apartment in the city of choice. The job in Berlin is more attractive, however the job in Dusseldorf pays 200 euro more.

I know Berlin quite well, and I must say I love the city for its vibe. It has not too much sights, but it has an incredible cultural offer, and a sparkling social scene. Also, the city seems very cheap.

I am not sure what to imagine of Dusseldorf as I have never been there. I guess it will be a lot more quiet than Berlin, but is it really quiet or is there a lot to do in Dusseldorf as well? Is it a pretty city with some nice sights or is it more like an industrial city like Gelsenkirchen or Dortmund?
Also, is Dusseldorf more expensive to live (which would mean the higher salary is not making a difference) or are prices more or less the same as in Berlin?

I hope to get some useful advice, I must decide before Sunday evening and then start the job I chose next week :)

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Duesseldorf is similar to Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen, but less industrial. It is competing with Cologne for the title of most important and or hippest city in the Ruhrgebiet (with Cologne winning, ha!) and has in recent years attracted fashion shows and a bit of high society.

That said, my vote goes for Berlin. Berlin is just way cool, its is where all the action is.

Rents and costs for going out are still lower in Berlin than in Duesseldorf, thus the 200 EUR more in Duesseldorf will likely be eaten up.

You also need to calculate where you get more netto, sometimes a payrise might mean having less in your wallet if you have reached a new tax bracket. In Germany all salaries are negotiated "brutto". A calculator converting your brutto salary to netto:

If you can afford it, my tip would be to snap up some cheap real estate now in inner city Berlin - prices are about to go the London way.

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hello Gerrit_BE :)

I would choose Berlin for the same reasons that u and t_maia like it.
I was only in Dusseldorf once for a day so dont know it very well, but it looked uninteresting.
Plain streets and not many beautiful buildings. It is not a place that I would consider visiting again without a good reason.


[ Edit: Edited on Nov 24, 2007, at 1:24 PM by Mel. ]

4. Posted by Gerrit_BE (Full Member 83 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

so not much going on/to see in Dusseldorf then? I must say my first choice was Berlin but I started to doubt because of the salary, started reading a bit about Dusseldorf and got slightly interested as well. However, Berlin is my original choice + the job is more interesting. But then the salary in Dusseldorf, a difference of 200 euro netto ...

By the way, I checked and the weird thing is that the furnitured flats and the unfurnitured 2-room apartments I found were cheaper in Dusseldorf than in Berlin. But you are sure that Berlin is usually cheaper? What about cost of food, transport, etc?

Also, the thing I don't understand well is the difference between Kaltmiete and Warmmiete. Normally you either pay one of both, but most advertisements for housing mention both of them (with sometimes a very large difference between kaltmiete and warmmiete)

5. Posted by S_Deisler (Respected Member 266 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

i'll be brutally honest, with much respect for dusseldorf, but I didn't like it one bit.
on the other hand i found cologne pretty interesting

6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Gerrit_BE

Also, the thing I don't understand well is the difference between Kaltmiete and Warmmiete. Normally you either pay one of both, but most advertisements for housing mention both of them (with sometimes a very large difference between kaltmiete and warmmiete)

With Warmmiete a portion of the heating costs are included in the rent.
If u go over that amount then u have get a bill for the extra once per year with the bill for other costs.
People living in appartment blocks share the cost for garbage disposal, public area cleaning etc and the bill of costs u receive every year will be the the portion u owe.
Energy costs are incredibly expensive in Germany so the thing to do it try to find a fairly modern appartment. They are generally better insulated then older ones so u dont need so much heat. The one we have here in Munich is just over the laundry room so is generally quite warm in Winter even without heaters on. The one we had in Munich was built in the 50s and was so cold from Novermber to the end of March every year that we had to have heaters on all the time during those months. When I say heating is very expensive I mean it will cost a few hundred euros every month to have 2 heaters on for a few hours per day and a couple of hot water showers per day.

Kaltmiete means that none of the heating costs are included in the rent.

When the bill of cost comes, if u have only used a moderate amount of heat then expect it to be around a months rent that u owe. However this varies in different places.

It is better to rent from a private owner than use an agent. Agents charge big fees. We had to pay 2 months worth of rent as the agents fee here in Munich.

Also the deposts for appartments are high. We had to pay 3 months rent as our deposit.

Another option for u to consider would be a shared house. This would involve sharing a house or appartment with others. It is much more economical than renting an appartment.

Public transport costs: I cant remember exactly what they were but they were not expensive. There should be an internet site which will give information about that.

Food prices in supermarkets seem to be similiar all over Germany.
U could check out a few supermarkets because some are very economical while others can be moderately expensive. The more economical ones generally have less variety but the quality is good.


[ Edit: Edited on Nov 25, 2007, at 9:06 AM by Mel. ]

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Mel explained Kaltmiete and Warmmiete quite well.

In essence it means:
Cold rent = Just the flat.
Warm rent = All costs except electricity included.

But note that Mel lives in Munich where the housing market is quite a bit different from the rest of Germany, especially Berlin or Duesseldorf.

Berlin has large quarters (Marzahn) built by the East German government, which typically have only 3- and 4 bedroom flats. 2-bedroom unfurnished flats and furnished flats are a bit of a rarety in Eastern Germany (including East Berlin). The many flat-hunting students and young professionals do not make this easier. Everybody wants a cheap place to live in the inner city.

If you want a place in one of the big appartment blocks built by the East German government you need to contact the administrative society responsible for the building in question. Agents are only useful in Berlin if you want to rent in an area that is very much in demand. They have not half the significance they have in Southern Germany (Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart).

Expect to pay from 360 EUR/month on (Warmmiete) for a 2 bedroom unfurnished flat in Berlin (about 40 square meters). Typical cost of warm rent on top of the cold rent is 2,30 EUR per square meter. If it less than 1.90 EUR, be suspicious. Some landlords initially charge a low overhead so that they can hide the high cold rent.

Also typically the rents in East Germany (Berlin) are quoted in ads as Warmmiete and in West Germany (Duesseldorf) as Kaltmiete. (This would explain the lower prices in Duesseldorf.)

BTW, the social welfare department in Duesseldorf considers a price of 7.35 EUR per square meter as acceptable, but are willing to pay 9.30 EUR per sqm in some instances. This price is without heating but includes all extra cost. So I think that for an unfurnished 2-bedroom flat with 40 sq meters you'll pay from 500 EUR on (Warmmiete) in Duesseldorf.

So yes, your 200 Eggs more will be eaten up by the higher rent in Duesseldorf.

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 25, 2007, at 10:28 AM by t_maia ]

8. Posted by sunilsm_in (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I would like to share a similar experience here. I hope it helps.
3 years ago I was in a similar situation as yours. I had a job offer in Berlin and in Munich. Of course the offer in Munich was very good but the job in Berlin was for a much bigger company with a less pay.
Today i can confidently say that I save more money being in Berlin than i would have saved in Munich. I say this because the same job that i rejected in Munich was offered to a friend of mine who had no other choice to choose from.

I find life in Berlin is much better than any other part of Germany. I have already lived in Düsseldorf for 1 year. Then 1 year in Saarbruecken. Also i have met quite a lot of other people in Berlin who lived in other parts of Germany before and most of them share the same opinion as me.

First of all the rents of an apartment in Berlin is much cheaper compared to Düsseldorf. Berlin as a city has so much to offer that cannot be compared to any other city in Germany. The public transport in Berlin is too good compared to Düsseldorf.

some of my friends whom I met in Berlin have now found jobs in Düsseldorf. Even today they miss their life in Berlin.

I don't know in which industry you are working, but from the job point of view, Berlin is not the place for IT related jobs. if you loose your current job in IT then there are not so many choices to make in Berlin. Other than this concern i have no issues with my life in Berlin. I keep hearing from people that due to cost advantage Berlin is really getting better for jobs. They say that in 5-10 years time it will be a place to watch for growth.

Hope this information helps you make a good decision for yourself.
I wish you all the very best.

9. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I actually quite like Dusseldorf. The centre is surprisingly old and pleasant (and not entirely of the concrete shopping arcade style of which there are many in Germany), it is a fairly wealthy city, and quite an innovative one. There is a good underground scene, although it is underground to the extent that it can be hard to get into. It's close to Köln which is a cool city, Bonn which is very pleasant and the Ruhr which at the very least has options, even if if it is largely industrial. It's also got a decent airport, road/rail connections to all of Germany (Berlin has both as well), and easy access to Belgium and the Netherlands.

Berlin is just Berlin. It's a great city, and changing all the time. With a choice like that, even if D was offering a thousand or more Euro's extra, i'd choose Berlin. The only reason i would say D is if the job was more attractive, or there was ALLOT of extra money in it. As there isn't, it more or less has be Berlin. D is not a bad place to be, but Berlin is better.

Btw whilst Berlin always has been much cheaper, in recent years it has been coming relatively more expensive, and these days i'm not sure if it really is much cheaper to live than D, though it's certainly not more expensive.