Who here lives in Berlin?

over 7 years ago from

I'm considering a move to Berlin and would like to find out what it's like to live there as a freelancer / designer. All of my work is remote so I'm craving things like coworking spaces & a big community that I could slot into.

Is it worth the jump?

P.S. I'm in Manchester (UK) right now.


  • Andrea GrassoAndrea Grasso, over 7 years ago

    I used to live in Berlin (I am from Italy). I moved there in 2009 and stayed until 2013. Meanwhile the city became expensive, finding a flat to rent was like finding water in the desert and the lifestyle wasn't really my cup of tea. Then I moved to Barcelona where the Design and Startup Community is as stronger as in Berlin, the cost of life is almost of it and Barcelona's lifestyle is way more relaxed, which is something I enjoy a lot.

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    • C___ F_____, over 7 years ago

      Thanks dude. I've looked at Barcelona quite a lot but Berlin seems to have a much bigger design community – is that not the case?

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  • Lauren Kelly, over 7 years ago

    Hi Carl, I've been living in Berlin nearly 2 years (originally from Shef) so though I'd chime in.

    If you've got remote work, that's awesome. Getting a freelance job here is a bit harder than in the UK as the wider industry isn't so big (eg print, advertising, product design firms) - if you are in the tech side of life. Ie UX, UI, visual designer, web, coder etc. Then there is a really good tech scene around Kreuzberg and Mitte and they are always looking for good designers. Every person I seem to meet is working in a startup or is linked to something tech.

    Some hidden costs you have to think about it mandatory health insurance. For a freelancer this is slightly higher as you can't get state health insurance, so have to go private. I've got friends who's insurance costs them around 80 euro a month (super basic cover, eg no dental or hospital cover) whilst mine costs around 400 as I have a more comprehensive coverage with dental, womens coverage, hospital cover etc. All is tax deductible.

    The design scene is slightly different to in the UK. The German's don't seem to network as easily/ rigorously as we do in the UK. Not so many business cards get handed around. That said, there are some really good tech/design meet ups and a great buzz around the big co-working hubs. Most of the people I've met / my friends in the design scene are expats, Americans, Portuguese, Brits. All the startups office's I've been in have international teams and speak English as their base language, so you can still sling a few contracts if you don't speak German.

    Some co-working spaces to check out include Betahaus and Tante Renate http://tanterenate.de/ Betahaus is more tech and Tante Renate more creative. When I originally arrived in Berlin I moved into a smaller studio with 11 other creatives and it really propels you into an existing network. I've recommend that over the bigger co-working spaces where its more of a temporary crowd. But that's just me :) Most advertise spare desks on craigslist under 'buro' or on sites like spare desk .net.

    If you have the urge to move to Berlin, DO IT. It is such a unique and fun city - especially in the summer months.

    Best, Lauren

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