BERLIN: ENTHUSIASM FOR TECHNOLOGY BASED ON TRADITION
The world’s first electric tram ran in Berlin. The first fully electronic television flickered in Berlin. And for decades, most of the steam locomotives rolled out of the halls here worldwide: three examples that show how much enthusiasm for technology and engineering are rooted in the capital. And since the turn of the millennium, Berlin has been celebrating its revival as an engineering location.
Enthusiasm for technology has a centuries-long tradition in Berlin: At the end of the 19th century, above all it was the invention of electricity that made the city on the Spree a town that boomed. Berlin grew with the industrialization to become the largest industrial center in Germany, which was due in particular to the increasing demand for industrial machines and the electrical industry. Around 1900, Berlin was considered an “electropolis”, the city of electricity.
The smokestacks of the Borsig works ran here, which mainly produced steam locomotives and were the second largest supplier worldwide. Here, the industrial workers shuffled tiredly into the Siemens factories that Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske founded in Berlin in 1847. Together with the AEG – the General Electricity Society – Siemens laid the foundation stone for Germany’s leading role in electrical engineering worldwide.
Just as the many Berlin start-ups shape the metropolis today, there were many flourishing small and large electrical engineering companies. And the inventors. Werner von Siemens invented the dynamo (1866), Reinhold Burger the thermos flask (1903), Paul Schmidt the flashlight (1906), Konrad Zuse (1938) one of the first computers (the “Z1”) and Willy Abel various kitchen appliances, such as the bread slicer-machine. Even the condom was invented in Berlin. But only marginally.
But then came the two world wars. After the First World War, Berlin was still able to maintain its status as an industrial location, but by the end of the Second World War, the industry was down. Many machines were destroyed by the hail of bombs or dismantled by the Allies. After the war, numerous industrial companies emigrated and the building of the wall intensified the flight, especially to West Germany.
Today Siemens is headquartered in Munich, the AEG is based in Frankfurt am Main and lives on as a brand for household appliances. Borsig-Werke, on the other hand, remained in Berlin with a few hundred employees and has established itself as the market leader for apparatuses for cooling gases. An example of how the industry in Berlin is booming again after the turn of the millennium: it has reinvented itself, is creating new jobs and can keep up on the world market when it comes to industrial sectors such as transport, (electro) mobility, logistics and energy technology.
Berlin is now the capital of start-ups in Germany and can easily keep up with other major cities across Europe. In 2019, 262 start-ups in Berlin benefited from financing, among the most successful were getyourguide, a travel portal for activities and guided tours, and Frontier Car Group, a platform for used cars. 63 of the 100 start-ups with the highest total funding come, according to the start-up barometer 2020 from Ernst & Young, from the city on the Spree.
Will it be another exciting time such as the time as “Electropolis”? The conditions for this are more than good given the high density of creative minds and pioneers with brilliant ideas. Do you also want to be a part of this? Click here for the job portal: Talent Berlin.
MOVING BERLIN: THE GUIDE TO BERLIN’S MOBILITY
You always wanted to come to Berlin? Well here you are! It’s better to know how to get around town and not miss out on all the exciting places the city has to offer. From commuting to pastime, we give you a short introduction to Berlin’s wide range of means of transport.
I. Public transportation – It’s marvelous!
Berlin is regularly voted among the best public transit systems in the world. The main attractions here are the S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains with a spiderweb-like railway network throughout the city center and into the outskirts. It is completed by busses, tram lines and regional trains that take you even further away from the city. So there’s almost nowhere you can’t get easily with the so called “Öffis”. During the weekend most lines even run 24/7 to mobilize the city’s precious nightlife.
Though S-Bahn and regional trains belong to a different company than the rest, both act as a joint venture and you can use your ticket for any line you want. A monthly ticket costs about 70 € and is often provided as a benefit with your job these days.
After a while you will learn that every train line has its own special crowd that changes throughout the day (and night) but don’t worry: you’ll blend right in!
II. Car sharing – The parking problem
We could talk about driving your own car in Berlin, but fact is:
– you don’t need it as often as you think
– it is cost-intensive and
– you will never ever find a parking space (that’ll make you feel safe parking your car there for days)
So better turn to one of the many options to rent a car for the time you really need it. You can choose within the range you can drive the car or whether you want to pay for the miles or the time of use. There are even ways to rent private cars for some hours, giving them a purpose in their immobile life by the roadside.
Of course, you will have to find a parking space for your rental car as well, but only once in a while. And you’ll definitely get rid of explaining to others why you still own a car these days.
III. Berlin by bike – We’re working on it!
Commuting by bike or simply getting around the city on two wheels has become much more popular during the COVID-19 crisis as a lot of people turned away from the crowded (and potentially risky) public transportation. Luckily, the city reacted to the increasing number of cyclists with so-called “pop-up bike lanes” that hopefully are here to stay.
But even without impending health risks Berlin is working on making it more attractive and secure to go by bike in the still car-dominated streetscape.
Similar to car sharing there are a lot of ways to rent a bike and you’ll love the freedom of going anywhere you want on your own terms. Just until the typical rainy and windy Berlin weather drives you back into public transportation.
IV. E-Scooters – Don’t believe the hype!
During your first days in Berlin you’ll often feel like a tourist but there’s nothing making you look more un-Berlinian than riding an e-scooter. The little handy vehicles just popped out of the ground one day and most of them are still where they appeared: in the middle of the sidewalk. That’s why they get kicked over, vandalized or thrown into the river.
Though almost every part of town has rejected them in their own way, the tourist hotspots are still overflowing with the two-wheeled devils.
Long story short: they’re expensive (renting a bike is way cheaper), dangerous (Berlin streets are not made for them) and simply the worst accessory you could get to blend in. But hey, Berlin is famous for rebellious people…
V. Stand Up Paddleboarding – What’s SUP, dawg?
Technically it’s a sport and not really among the means of mobility but word on the street is that some crazy commuters use it to get to their offices by the city river. In either case it has become a thing to do and since Berlin has so many lakes and rivers, you can rent a board literally everywhere there’s enough water to get around.
You should bring some stamina and balance if you want to try it out, but you can always rest on the board if you run out of steam.
When you’re not out there paddling, it is very entertaining to sit on the shore and watch newbies try to keep their board straight until you hear the splash – this way of laughing at the misfortune of others is called “Schadenfreude” in German, by the way.
VI. Ropeway – In Berlin?!
Yes, you read it right, there is a ropeway in Berlin. City planners are hyping the skybound traffic route to become the solution for collapsing inner city transit. In Berlin though, you have to get quite far out of the center to find the only ropeway, crossing what feels to be the only hill you could find for miles.
It was built for the IGA 2017 and remains in service until the end of 2020. It crosses a little hill and a landscape park straight over to the Gärten der Welt, “the gardens of the world”, where different international garden styles form a beautiful park together where you can spend an entire day.
There’s a lot of reasons to visit the park but the ropeway makes it even more worthy of a trip. And since it will only stay longer if enough people use it, you should definitely go and secure a special attraction for the coming years.
THE GUIDE TO RECOGNITION OF QUALIFICATIONS
You are looking for the right place that provides you with the best working opportunities in an environment that helps you grow – in both your professional and private life? Then Germany’s capital is just what you are looking for. Thousands of expats have been settling down in Berlin, and we know why. Especially for engineers and IT specialists Berlin offers a huge amount of high-quality jobs.
An important first step towards your career in Berlin is to have your degree or professional qualification recognized here in Germany. The website anerkennung-in-deutschland.de (= recognition in Germany) of the German Ministry of Education will guide you step by step through this process. It is available in several languages and provides you the answers to all possible questions, helps you to oversee your current situation and supports you in finding all the job opportunities that Berlin is offering to you. Here we would like to introduce you to some of the most important questions and factors around the topic “recognition”.
I. First of all: What is your profession?
Not every profession in Germany falls under regulations. Depending on your field and specialization the recognition process can be bypassed. It would be a pity to find out late in the process that it could have been faster and you won’t be rewarded for all your efforts. Therefore, you might want to check your possibilities right at the start. Here you can find out whether your profession falls under the regulations or not.
Once you found your competent authority, you prepare your application for recognition. Since many competent authorities only speak German, a counselling beforehand can be helpful to make the following steps as smooth as possible. Many documents will be needed in any case, so making sure you’ve prepared them beforehand will help not only yourself, but also the authorities responsible for your case.
III. Process the Application
The responsible authority will first review whether you handed in all of the required documents. If something is missing, you will be informed and asked to provide it before further processing. From here it will take approximately three months until you get a full review on the status of your recognition.
IV. What to do if your qualification cannot be recognized?
Sometimes the hard work won’t pay off right away. If the responsible authorities come to the conclusion that the differences between your qualification and the national standard for this position are too big, don’t worry! There is still a chance for you to work in Germany. Many jobs have additional qualification courses for all kind of fields that you can attend. Most of them are free and will allow you to reapply for the status of recognition.
V. The price it takes.
We want to be honest. Not only the processing itself but also many other things such as the translations, attestations, compensatory measures or adjustment qualifications can contain hidden costs. Sometimes it is even needed to go back to your country of origin in order to get access to certain documents and pick them up in person. However, this should not stop you from your desire to live and work in Germany. Under special circumstances you can receive financial support by various institutions. Get all the information for this procedure here.
VI. Seek advice?
In any way, you should first seek advice either via the hotline that is provided to you on the website or you could visit a counseling center. The addresses and contact details of a counseling center near you are available in the Recognition Finder.
You don’t have to take any of these steps alone. So please don’t hesitate and ask for the support we want to provide you with. We are looking forward to hearing from you: firstname.lastname@example.org