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      01-03-2007, 04:10 PM   #1
Maximus Decimus
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Moving to Germany

I've been lurking on this forum for some time, with a post or two here and there. I don't have an E90 yet so I rarely chime in. I have an '05 330ci ZHP which I love, but I find the discussions here to be quite informative and if nothing else, always entertaining.

I will likely be relocating to Germany (Bonn or Koln) in the next couple months on a 3 year contract with my company. Although I've been to Germany 3x prior, I still really have no idea exactly what I would be getting myself into. Does any one here have any similar experience?

What should I do about my car? It's leased with 1 year remaining. If I let the current car go and buy a new/used car, what can I expect in terms of fees and taxes if I don't have it registered in the States for the 6 months prior to shipping it over?

What are some of the little things about life in Germany that a foreigner would not immediately think about, but should be aware of. I've heard about the bare kitchens, and no closets. What else?

Either way, I'm very excited at an opportunity to fully immerse myself in another culture. And if nothing else, hopefully I can have some useful insights and sweet experiences of my own about Germany and hopefully BMW to share with others back home. And here's to spending even more time on the Autobahn!!! The last time I was on one of the autobahn's there, I had a Passat wagon as a rental...

Thanks in advance. Cheers.
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      01-03-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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We live in germany (military) small kitchens and you are correct about NO CLOSETS. not sure about your car deal. i know if you buy a car here in the economy it is 19% tax on top of the price. plus, the German TUV (car inspection) is very strict. i am sure you would have to pay a pretty Euro for a car to last you.....and as for the Pasat wagon....i get passed going 120(me going 120) by wagons all the time on the autobahn!!!!! (06 330)
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      01-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #3
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Most of all: Try to learn some German and try to behave like the germans, they really appreciate it. You say you're planning to stay for about 3 years in Germany and the least thing you want is angry neighbours do you?? And it isn't nescessary: a little give and take. They're really nice people, but it takes a while....

Bonn or Köln? Think Köln is the better place to stay, nicer city IMO.

You're driving now a 330ci, to compare: a new E92-330i starts in Germany at around €41150,- incl. 19% MwSt (VAT), that's about $54170,- with the current conversionrates.

Enjoy the stay in Germany
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      01-03-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccatznip
We live in germany (military) small kitchens and you are correct about NO CLOSETS. not sure about your car deal. i know if you buy a car here in the economy it is 19% tax on top of the price. plus, the German TUV (car inspection) is very strict. i am sure you would have to pay a pretty Euro for a car to last you.....and as for the Pasat wagon....i get passed going 120(me going 120) by wagons all the time on the autobahn!!!!! (06 330)
19% yes, but it is included in the advertised price.....so a pair of jeans are 34 euro then thats the price not like the US where you goto pay and they add it in after the fact...........plus U.S. Mil is V.A.T. exempt........so take 19
% off of that advertised price......
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      01-03-2007, 08:42 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I've actually requested with my company to have German lessons. They've agreed to that. I heard it's pretty tough to get a drivers license there, is it really that hard? With a FL license, I only have to take the written portion correct?

I wish I were VAT exempt, wow 19%!! I was eyeing the E92 335i here, but I was second guessing it a little for over there. From what I remember there, parking is tight and I am always really nervous about people denting my car. It's a personal pet peeve. For that reason I was thinking about getting a smaller car.

What can someone expect to pay for an apartment there? How big are they generally? I would be looking for an modern or contemporary style place. Are those easy to find in the areas of Bonn or Köln?

The reason I'm considering Bonn by the way is because that's where the office is physically located. A short commute would be great.

Thanks again. Cheers.
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      01-03-2007, 09:22 PM   #6
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Well let's see:

-you pay for electricity sky-high rates;
-you pay for water consumption (a meter in every house/appartment);
-there is a lot more sensitivity to environmental issues-energy conservation, pollution etc. than in NA;
-gas is taxed into the stratosphere and is very expensive compared to the US-for this reason alone yoou might want to consider a diesel-BMW make some fine diesels - 335d is a screamer;
-Bonn is dead at night (for the most part) and every week-end. Köln is nicer architecturally as well as location wise and nightlife;
-get your company to chip in the car-prices for luxury cars in Europe generally and Germany in particular are very expensive, most who drive them are doing so under comp packages with the company they work for or are well-to-do in business etc.;
-vacations are taken at the same time and are taken seriously

These are some obvious differences off the top of my head-sorry about any political incorrectness-trying to be to-the-point.
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      01-03-2007, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus Decimus
Thanks everyone. I've actually requested with my company to have German lessons. They've agreed to that. I heard it's pretty tough to get a drivers license there, is it really that hard? With a FL license, I only have to take the written portion correct?

I wish I were VAT exempt, wow 19%!! I was eyeing the E92 335i here, but I was second guessing it a little for over there. From what I remember there, parking is tight and I am always really nervous about people denting my car. It's a personal pet peeve. For that reason I was thinking about getting a smaller car.

What can someone expect to pay for an apartment there? How big are they generally? I would be looking for an modern or contemporary style place. Are those easy to find in the areas of Bonn or Köln?

The reason I'm considering Bonn by the way is because that's where the office is physically located. A short commute would be great.

Thanks again. Cheers.

Some more specific responses:

-driving license in Germany is very tough to get (at least it was in my days) the theoretical portion of the exam lasts a couple of hours (in Canada I took it in 20 minutes). The practical (driving) is tough as well. If you don't speak German I am unsure how you would be able to take the lessons and the exam

-generally speaking appartments are more expensive per square foot than in NA and the average size is smaller. As well, most building do not have laundromat so you either go to public ones or have to buy small appartment washer/dryer (or just washer). BTW Euro washers are notoriously sloooow in washing, but bcs of that conserve more energy (or rather consume less of it). Unfortunately I have no experience with either Bonn or Köln real estate markets specifically;

-parking is tight, the streets are tight and is you will use your car to commute to work everyday expect bumper dings at a minimum. Do not expect to have designated parking where you will rent, you are likely to park in the street.....
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      01-04-2007, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerista
Some more specific responses:

-driving license in Germany is very tough to get (at least it was in my days) the theoretical portion of the exam lasts a couple of hours (in Canada I took it in 20 minutes). The practical (driving) is tough as well. If you don't speak German I am unsure how you would be able to take the lessons and the exam
Fortunately I've heard through the company it is possible to take the exam in english. Whew!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerista
-generally speaking appartments are more expensive per square foot than in NA and the average size is smaller. As well, most building do not have laundromat so you either go to public ones or have to buy small appartment washer/dryer (or just washer). BTW Euro washers are notoriously sloooow in washing, but bcs of that conserve more energy (or rather consume less of it). Unfortunately I have no experience with either Bonn or Köln real estate markets specifically;
So far the company has offered me a 650 Euro housing allowance. What can I expect to be able to get with that? I'm a single guy, not looking for a huge place. I was hoping to get a place with a washer and dryer in it though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slammedbimmer
after reviewing all the comments above, they are all right on the money. im a US Mil guy thats been here for 7 yrs. My first question is are you single??? id recommend giving up your leased bimmer and get you an American spec E46 or E90 from a Gi thats selling over here. although a pain in the ass with TUV inspections and paperwork, its possible to do it. before you buy any mods, be sure it comes with a TUV certification.
That sounds like a good idea. Not sure how to go about doing that. Perhaps you could share some more insights on that. I was thinking about downgrading cars though, one the cost of gas there, and two would be great to save some up some money to scoop and E92 M3 when I get back. The M3 has been my dream car since I was 18, 30 now, and I've been chasing that dream for a long time... with everytime I start making enough cash to get one, the price jumps up to a point where I could if I REALLY REALLY wanted to, but always decide to pass just cuase I'm always a lil money conservative. And oh yeah, I'm used to the bathroom change thing. Fortunately I've been there a couple times and all have been within the last couple years. Actually I was in Germany for World Cup earlier in the year, well last year now. I'm a big football (soccer) fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slammedbimmer
the food is good, the italian is my fav. nude, coed saunas. public changing rooms and all the good stuff youve ever heard on tv. they have a completely different mentality than other nationalities. (ill leave that one up to you to find out, or i could PM you). Sundays everything is closed but church and the gas stationes, ESSO ARAL and so on.
the essen motor show is in essen which is 45 mins from koln. GO THERE!
its cold most the time here. everything in the city is within walking distance (not like in America). they will tax your ass on any and everything! the germans even pay taxes for owning radios and TV in their homes! i think its called GEZ anmeldung, i think. streets are narrow and parking is tighter than a virgin. the girls are pretty and their bodies are smoking hot in 9 out 10 cases! i could go on and on but i think this is enough. good luck!
Definitely looking forward to experiencing the German mentality. I live in South Florida now, and as much as I love it, which God knows I LOVE IT A LOT, there's nothing like trying new things. Feel free to PM me about anything. Any info is useful info to me at this point.
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      01-04-2007, 05:07 PM   #9
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I'm going this summer for vacation can't wait. Living there sounds pretty shitty
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      01-04-2007, 09:48 PM   #10
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I'm going this summer for vacation can't wait. Living there sounds pretty shitty

Not really, its actually pretty good, but it IS different. If I had to go live in Europe Germany (the south-western part) would be my top choice to live in day in day out.
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      01-07-2007, 12:40 AM   #11
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Germany's great. I recently returned from there after living there for 2 years.

You can look forward to courteous motorists on the road. That includes signaling when changing lanes, slow cars driving on the right lanes, people letting you into traffic, adherence right of way rules, etc. Fuel is most costly than here Stateside too. If you can manage, get some fuel coupons on base. That way, you pay American prices for German gas.

I don't know if anyone else mentioned, but besides the bare kitchens and no closets, you might not have lights installed in the ceilings. My apartment was quite dark until I finally put some in.
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      01-07-2007, 02:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Germany's great. I recently returned from there after living there for 2 years.

You can look forward to courteous motorists on the road. That includes signaling when changing lanes, slow cars driving on the right lanes, people letting you into traffic, adherence right of way rules, etc. Fuel is most costly than here Stateside too. If you can manage, get some fuel coupons on base. That way, you pay American prices for German gas.

I don't know if anyone else mentioned, but besides the bare kitchens and no closets, you might not have lights installed in the ceilings. My apartment was quite dark until I finally put some in.
I'm assuming there's no Lowes or Home Depot. Where do you go to get lights and things like that?
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      01-07-2007, 02:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus Decimus
I'm assuming there's no Lowes or Home Depot. Where do you go to get lights and things like that?
Dont worry, the are enough DIY shops like Hornbach. 10000 m2. which can provide anything. be welcome to Europe
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      01-07-2007, 03:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus Decimus
I'm assuming there's no Lowes or Home Depot. Where do you go to get lights and things like that?

No problem at all. There are enough DIY shops like Hornbach (100000 sq.ft.).

be welcome in Europe.

See the advantages: only 5 hr drive to visit the BMW factory in Munich. 3 hr drive to Amsterdam NL, Brussels B, 5 hr/ to Paris, 7 hr. to the ski slopes in Austria/Swiss/France
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      01-08-2007, 08:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
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No problem at all. There are enough DIY shops like Hornbach (100000 sq.ft.).

be welcome in Europe.

See the advantages: only 5 hr drive to visit the BMW factory in Munich. 3 hr drive to Amsterdam NL, Brussels B, 5 hr/ to Paris, 7 hr. to the ski slopes in Austria/Swiss/France
That's a big part of what I like about the idea of living in Germany. It's so central. So many weekend options. I still haven't made up my mind on what I'll do about my car. I was hoping I could find people here that had similar experiences and could share. I'm really beating myself up over what to do with my car.
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