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12 Ultimate Cons of Living in Berlin You Should Know

12 Ultimate Cons of Living in Berlin You Should Know titlecard

People either love or hate Berlin. It’s a city of contrasts. Nonetheless, Berlin attracts thousands of people worldwide who move there each year. In fact, about 50,000 new incomers arrive yearly in the German capital.

Top reasons not to move to Berlin include:

  • Dirt
  • Dark and cold winters
  • Smoking
  • Multicultural
  • Rudeness of the Berliners
  • Housing issues
  • High unemployment and low salaries
  • Beggars
  • German language
  • Bike theft is real
  • Hipsters
  • Boring countryside

Berlin is arguably best suited for young individuals due to the city’s atmosphere. There are many places to stay in Berlin that are for many people, but not for others because this place stands for self-expression, freedom, and wild parties.

But, you might also decide to move to Berlin and take advantage of what it offers, including the affordable cost of living. In this article, we talk about why Berlin might not be the right place for you.

Also read: Pros and cons of living in Munich.

1. Dirt

Let’s face it: Berlin isn’t the cleanest place in Germany. Certain neighborhoods are particularly dirty. Compared to other European capitals, Berlin is considered a very alternative and tough city, which is far away from being clean. You will find there anything from trash to dog poo on the roads.

You need to have an open mind to accept this funky thing about Berlin.

2. Dark and cold winters

Cars covered in snow on the sideway

Winter is the least favorable time for expats and locals living in Berlin. You will hear many complaints about this fact.

Indeed, winters are long, grey, and cold in Berlin. The days are very short; you will barely see the sun. It gets very cold due to the city’s location and the humidity. So minus five Celsius can feel like minus twenty.

Besides terrible winters, summers in Berlin are hot, and most likely, you won’t find air conditioning in your apartment because Germans don’t use it.

3. Smoking

Berlin residents smoke a lot. Moreover, they smoke indoors, in clubs, bars, and metro stations. If you are intolerant to the smell of smoke, this is not a place for you.

4. Too multicultural

Being an international and multicultural country is a pro, but Berlin might seem a bit overrun with immigrants. You will see many Turks and Russians, but also people from the Balkans and worldwide.

If you want to enjoy German culture, it’s mostly gone and mixed with other cultures. Hence, you better pick another city.

5. Rudeness of the Berliners

If Germans are known to appear a bit rude in their approach, Berliners beat all expectations. There is even the name of the Berliner’s character, Berliner Schnauze or Berlin’s muzzle.

This indicates the rude way you get treated in some restaurants, cafes, and shops. You better get used to it or move somewhere else.

6. Housing issues

Although Berlin is the largest city in Germany with the largest rental market, people still struggle to find a place to live. The competition is high due to the city’s influx of immigrants and expats. Besides, rental prices have risen in recent years, so Berlin isn’t considered as affordable anymore.

You also should choose a neighborhood carefully because some areas are known for drug issues and other criminal acts. Read this article on bad neighborhoods in Berlin.

For example, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte, and Charlottenburg are trendy, more expensive districts.

See our guide on how to rent an apartment in Germany.

7. High unemployment and low salaries

Building near a river in Berlin

Berlin has one of the highest unemployment rates in Germany, which is 8.9% as of 2021. In contrast, the rate across the county is 3.81%. Berlin’s economy is much weaker than in other parts of the country.

Unlike other countries like France, the UK, or the Netherlands, where the capital is driving the economy, in Germany, it’s rather Western and Southern regions.

Yes, the cost of living in Berlin is relatively low, but so are the wages. The average salary in Berlin is lower than in the south of Germany or, for that matter, any other major German city. In 2022, the average wage in Berlin is 45,858 EUR.

Whereas the average income of employees in other major cities is:

  • 56,194 EUR in Stuttgart
  • 56,115 EUR in Munich
  • 56,015 EUR in Frankfurt

Berlin falls on the spot 22 when it comes to average salary across German cities.

Here are some of Berlin’s employers who pay laughable average salaries:

  • McDonald’s: 30,391 EUR
  • Denns BioMarkt: 29,794 EUR
  • Berliner Bäder-Betriebe: 29,726 EUR
  • PIN AG: 29,259 EUR
  • Fielmann: 29,131 EUR
  • Flink: 28,876 EUR
  • Beverages Hoffmann: 28,189 EUR
  • Rewe: 26,761 EUR
  • Poco furniture stores: 25,206 EUR
  • Regiocom: 22,695 EUR

Read more about salaries in Berlin.

For instance, as a software professional, your salary would be around 50,000 EUR to 65,000 EUR, depending on the years of experience. Don’t forget that you will pay about 35-42% of this amount in taxes.

With constantly rising living expenses in Berlin, you won’t enjoy life that much.

But why are salaries low, unemployment rates high, and the economy weak in Berlin, the largest German city? This is due to history; the power of Berlin fell after the Second World War and hasn’t recovered yet.

Read more about salaries in Germany.

8. Beggars

Berlin’s beggars are legends. There are many of them, and they will approach you sometimes multiple times a day. Besides, Berlin’s bus and train stations are magnets for people from the lowest social class. It’s the favorite meeting point for the homeless, drug addicts, and alcoholics.

9. German language

Although Berlin is a pretty international city, you want to learn German to fully integrate yourself unless you want to spend your entire life surrounded by foreigners.

Moreover, learning German can become even more necessary if you want to get a job in Berlin unrelated to IT or orientated toward foreign markets.

The German language is a challenging one; not everyone can conquer it.

10. Bike theft is real

Bike theft is very common in Europe, but especially in Berlin.

According to the news outlets, only in the first half of 2022, 12,483 bicycles were stolen in Berlin. So, don’t expect to find your bike when you come back.

That’s also the reason why the majority of Berliners drive old, hipster-like bicycles. They just don’t want to spend too much money because it will be stolen anyway.

If you decide to buy an expensive bike, invest some money into bicycle insurance and a solid lock.

11. Hipsters

Woman posing in front of a mural of two men kissing

Berlin and hipsters are always synonymous. You will see them in all neighborhoods, but some places have an overwhelming number of young, homeless-like, don’t bother about anything individuals wearing strange clothes. Unfortunately, the majority of them moved to Berlin from all over Europe.

So, if you are a more conservative, classy person, you better look into moving to cities like Munich or Frankfurt.

12. Boring countryside

If you like the outdoors, hiking, and nature overall, Berlin’s countryside won’t impress you. Nature there doesn’t have anything remarkable. It’s very flat,

However, you will spot some woods, parks, and lakes. They just don’t have something you won’t find anywhere else in Germany and in Europe for this matter.

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