Germany Made Simple
Simple Germany is the #1 resource in English for understanding life in Germany. You will find tips & information in English about living in Germany as an expat and learn what services best to use to beat bureaucracy.
We cover everything related to moving and living in Germany, including cultural and bureaucratic topics, as well as, the best and most modern bank accounts, credit cards, and insurances. Germans loooove insurances. 😝
We know how frustrating and painful it might be to move to a new country where you don’t fully speak the language and try to find all the essential services you need to have a smooth move. Trust us; we have been in your shoes.
We are an expat and local duo who have done tons of research and have tried different German services throughout the years.
Whether you are new to Germany or have been living here for some time, we want to help you out. We want to save you the hassle of going through the same painful experiences we have been through.
After reading our guides, you will have saved hours of research, understand how certain things in Germany work, and make informed decisions on what services to get based on your individual needs.
How we create content
Jen is originally from Guatemala and the techy one here. Yvonne is from Germany and the content magician behind the scenes.
A Bit More About Jen
Hey there, I’m Jen, and I moved to Dusseldorf back in 2012. The only words I could butcher were ‘Guten Tag’ (good day). Arriving in a new country can be scary, especially if you don’t speak the language.
During my first few months, I struggled to find a bank I was happy with, understand how German contracts and services work, and the cultural differences in my day-to-day life.
For example, when I opened my bank account, I had to go to a branch office during my lunch break personally. The process took around 45 minutes. Ina, the bank teller, printed all the paperwork, took photocopies of all my documents, and made me sign like ten different papers.
After my bank account was opened, she asked me: ‘Do you want to purchase Haftpflichtversicherung?’.
My face was so confused! For the next 20 minutes, she explained to me what this insurance was, why it was necessary, and how it would be a terrible idea to walk out of that bank without it.
She did not do such a good job because I flat out refused to get it. I walked out of that bank feeling proud not to have purchased what I considered was just an ‘add-on’ the bank was trying to sell to me.
Fast forward a few years. After dating Yvonne, my future wife-to-be, for a few months, we started talking about insurance. I started teasing her and joking about how incredible it is that Germans have insurance for everything. During our jokes, she found out that I did not have a Haftpflichtversicherung. Yvonne’s face was just as shocked as the one from the woman from the bank years before when I said I did not want it.
Haftpflichtversicherung, which turns out to be personal liability insurance, is a must-have in Germany. Yvonne started to explain to me in very simple terms: if you don’t have this insurance and you accidentally hurt someone, they can sue you, and you can pretty much lose everything you have.
A few days later, I was signing my insurance paperwork. It only took me close to three years to understand how important this is.
I don’t want you to make the same mistakes or feel so overwhelmed by your arrival in Germany. Lucky for you, a lot of things have changed in the past years.
More and more German services have noticed that they need to help first-time arrivals in Germany, simplify the process and provide all of their information and support in English.
On this site, we aim to share with you information about life in Germany and introduce you to the services I wish I would have had. We hope you can settle in smoothly, understand the culture a bit better, and know about the different services you should get and who to get them from.
Fun fact: My German has improved over the past years. My favorite word now is Reißverschlussverfahren. Try to say that ten times fast! 😆
A Bit More About Yvonne
As life has it, you have to be away from something to appreciate it. So in 2013, I decided to return to Germany and give German adult life a chance. So far, I had never worked in Germany, and when it came to services like banking and insurance in Germany, my parents took care of everything.
I am lucky to speak the language, so I had one significant advantage navigating through the ‘Service Wüste Deutschland ’. It literally translates to the German service desert and refers to the perceived lousy customer service.
I ended up having some consultations with advisers, and guess what, I went with mainly the same providers my parents did. So much for independent research! It was easier than trying to understand the German bureaucracy. Even for Germans it can be overwhelming.
I have many expat friends, and just as Jen experienced, they have also struggled with German customer service, the overall culture and finding the right services for them or even knowing what is necessary or just nice to have. I know it is not easy.
Learning Jen’s struggles and helping her out made me question my own choices. So a couple of years ago, I decided to educate myself and discovered how much money I could save just by switching providers for most of the services I had. I also wanted to understand more about the benefits and the hurdles of the German social security system.
On this site, I share my acquired knowledge as a German to help make your stay in my beautiful country as smooth as possible. After all, I am proud to be German, and life here is pretty sweet.
Fun fact: I tend to translate German sayings literally and use them in my English conversations, only to get confused looks. For example, I might drop a line like: ‘not the yellow of the egg!’ (‘Nicht das Gelbe vom Ei’). This phrase encompasses the idea that the yellow of the egg (the yolk) is the best part of the egg. So, if something is ‘not the yellow of the egg’ it means it is not the best idea or thing! Oh, the beauty of the German language. 😇
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If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.