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Hamburg vs Berlin

Old Mar 19th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Hamburg vs Berlin

Can someone help me pick a place to live?

Every German I talk to seems to say how horrible Berlin is to live in: ethnic ghettos, sprawling city, ugly women/too many single men & not enough single women, dirty streets, aggressive, unfriendly people, and high umemployment are the reasons given.

Every non-German I talk to seems to say how wonderful Berlin is to live in: amazing nightlife, huge # of entertainment options, low cost of living, interesting artists/performers/writers/students from all over Germany, and vibrant energy.

Germans say all of East Berlin sucks, that neo-nazis roam the downtown areas, Turkish/Eastern European criminals prey on tourists, and Charlottenburg or Mitte is the place to live for a single person.

Non-Germans say Berlin is the most tolerant liberal city in Germany, I will have no problems, and Prenzlauer Berg in East Berlin is the best place to live in for singles.

What's the truth, and how would Hamburg compare to Berlin?

Thanks.

What exactly is the truth?
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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Well, to be upfront I am German and am living in Hamburg.

I have lived elsewhere and the choice you are facing is a tough call. Basically to me Berlin would basically be the only alternative to living in Germany.

I would consider Berlin very vibrant these days. A lot of things happening and a lot of things constantly changing, which is attractive to me.
There really is good nightlife, cost of housing is low. I don't think you'd face a neo-nazi problem. Probably in those Stalinist and undevelopped suburbs like Marzahn, your neighbours would not be too likeable, but usually this should not be an issue.
Unemployment is a factor throughout Germany, but for some amazing reason, Berlin appears to not get a grip on its finance.
For areas that are nice to live in, I would indeed look into Charlottenburg, close to Ku'damm Blvd. or into Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg (the latter being East Berlin, so not every part of it sucks!). The surroundings of Berlin are quite beautiful (Potsdam etc.) and well worth an excursion during summers.

Hamburg, on the other hand, is a very maritime city. It is actually pretty wealthy, a lot of that income being generated through trade. Thus, it is for German standards pretty liberal (except where money is concerned). Hamburg appears to be increasingly popular for Germans to live in, although we inhabitants are widely considered a bit aloof if not arrogant. I am too prejudiced to judge this, but I guess people here are a bit reserved and slightly afraid of intruding other people's privacy. If you manage to make friends, though, these freindships are likely to be very sincere and reliable. True Hamburgians like to think of themselves to be rather anglophile in their lifestyles.
Hamburg features very different neighbourhoods and respective lifestyles, though, and also has good nightlife and especially gorgeous restaurants of about any ethicity.
In summers, the North Sea and its islands and the quiet Baltic Sea make for great excursions. I just love it here and basically could not imagine to live anywhere else in Germany for a longer period.
Should you have any more specific questions, I shall be happy to answer them!
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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Oh, what I forgot to mention is the gorgeous Alster "Lakes" that form the center of town. A simply unbeatable recreational area during spring, summer and fall featuring all sorts of boating, jogging paths and cafes.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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HSV, thank you for your thoughts.

I have heard that the singles scene in Berlin (for a man) is not very good. In other words, there are quite a lot of single men and not enough single women, perhaps because many women have moved elsewhere (Hamburg?) for work while the unemployed men remain behind.

I have also heard that Berliner women tend to be more slavic in looks (darker haired and fiery temperment) while Hamburgers more nordic (lighter haired, reserved temperment).

Personally, I prefer the nordic.

I guess I consider Berlin only because that is where my job is. If I went to Hamburg, I would have to commute to my job once a week (which would be expensive even with a Bahn50 card). But I prefer a nicer lifestyle and don't like living somewhere unpleasant.

Do you have friends who have moved to Berlin and love it there? Or is it a "difficult" city to love as they say?

I am not sure why so many non-Germans love it there and are moving there.

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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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conan,

my girl-friend has moved half a year ago to Berlin so I keep travelling there.
The train connection is excellent, ICE trains take 90 min. between Hamburg Central Station and Berlin Zoo Station. Fare with a Bahncard 50 is € 27.- for a one-way trip.

Personally, I don't think Berlin is that unpleasant to live in, although I do prefer Hamburg.
Looks of people, female or male, vary I should think and the image you are conveying or that was conveyed to you might be a bit too much of a stereotype.

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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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HSV,

What does your girlfriend think of the place (honest opinion)?

Also, does the Bahn50 card valid only for a month? I know it's quite expensive at 100 euros.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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Imsuggestbyoutry to find some of those "non-Germans who love it there" and ask them.

You have an obvious concern with your ability "to score" and I can assure you a really honest SELF-assessment may give you the most insight.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 01:55 AM
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"Oh, what I forgot to mention is the gorgeous Alster "Lakes" that form the center of town. A simply unbeatable recreational area during spring, summer and fall featuring all sorts of boating, jogging paths and cafes."

Whilst I was only a tourist in Hamburg...In December (with a little snow on the ground) I walked around both the inner and outer lakes, it was a long walk, but very pleasant indeed, and I observed all the locals doing exactly the same thing. Hamburg seems very civilised and peaceful, and the shopping isn't bad either!
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 04:19 AM
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What happened to Leeds and Manchester? Weren't you looking there? And didn't you think the girls there were good looking?
Congratulations on having a job that lets you choose a location based on how easy it is to score.
Trolling is apparently more lucrative than I realized!
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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The Bahncard 50 retails at € 200.- per annum and entitles you to a 50 per cent discount as its name suggests.

The feelings towards both cities I expressed here are shared by my girlfriend.

Given your evident concern to make new acquaintances, my guess is that this might be easier in Berlin. Many people new in town.
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Conan
Hi Im going through the same problem you did 5 years ago and i wanted to know at the end which one did you choose ?? and what was the result ?
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 12:50 PM
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I am a non-German who loves Berlin, but likes Hamburg too.

I think you should lay out your criteria a little more explicitly. Reasons why I like Berlin might not translate to why you might like to live there.

Berlin is a sprawling vibrant metropolis with many neighborhoods . Berlin is much bigger than Hamburg, both geographically and in terms of population (although Hamburg is part of a larger metropolitan area). My impression of Berlin is that there is plenty to cater to the needs and lifestyles of many, many folks.

There are areas of former East Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg for instance, that are very desirable and cosmopolitan residential areas.

Frankly, based on your summary, I would try to talk to some ex-pats in Germany who share your particular interests and lifestyle. While there may be a bias by some Germans against Berlin, I wouldn't base a major life decision on it. If you ask someone from Massachusetts what they think of living in New York, imagine the kind of things they would say.
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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I just noticed that this thread was recently bumped after 5 years.
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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I was reading with interest until I saw that M_Kingdom had replied.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Thank you Woyzec for your answer.
Im going to Germany to finish my last year of university and the University in Hamburg offers me more interesting classes but i have heard that city is very expensive and Berlin is cheaper.
I love big cities so that is another factor why i prefer Berlin but i have seen pictures of Hamburg and it looks so beautiful, so many parks, so much green.
Do you know if it is hard to get jobs or internships in Berlin or Hamburg ?
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:33 PM
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Unless you are looking for a job in some sort of government relaetd lobbying organisation, it is quite likely that it is easier to find an internship or job in Hamburg. Berlin's biggest issue is its lack of industry due to its decade-long isolation. This explains why costs of living are still cheaper in Berlin, too.
However, the difference is not so big - and Hamburg is Germany's second largest city and is (for German standards) still quite cosmopolitan (also in the mindset of its residents, many of which are involved in international trade through the large -and untypically scenic- port).
If I were you I would not hesitate to go to Hamburg - it's university is in a highly attractive part of the city and there is a very cool and diverse nightlife scene in neighbourhoods like Schanzenviertel, St. Pauli, Eimsbuettel, St. Georg and to some extent Eppendorf and Winterhude.
Berlin is only a 90 min. train ride away, so it's easy to do excursions.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 11:13 PM
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To round off my thoughts a bit:

Berlin offers a lovely environment for students (and most everyone else who is able to score a decent job there), too. There are definitely more tourists there and it has a relaxed happening vibe. I quite like it and it would be my second choice were I to live somewhere in Germany (I haven't been for a while).
University wise, I'd prefer most of Humboldt University's locations over those of FU Berlin's univeristy sites, if that's of relevance.

Overall, I don't think either of the cities would be a bad choice. If I were you I'd make my choice based upon the better classes and, if that's of importance, a the job opportunities.
Industry-wise, Hamburg is strong on trade, shipping, media. Berlin is hardly strong anywhere apart from media and public sector jobs.
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Old Jul 9th, 2010, 01:46 AM
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http://www.expat-blog.com/en/directory/europe/germany/

and other similar may be useful
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Old Jul 12th, 2010, 05:53 AM
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thank you !
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