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Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

by JayGatsby951 Online Now Sep 30, 2006 at 1:09 PM

I'm thrilled to say that I'm finally going to be moving to Das Vaterland! Since I'll be working in Solingen, I have the option of living in Koln, which I continuously hear rave reviews of.

I've already booked a couple of weekend trips to start exploring the city, in advance of moving in late December, and I have a few questions:

1. I'd like to live in an area of the city which is relatively central and lively, full of young professionals and not an isolated area on the fringes. It would be great to be quite close to where there is good nightlife for the over 25 crowd if possible. With this in mind, which neighborhoods should I start evaluating?

2. Are there quite a few furnished apartments available in these areas? I will be using a real estate agent. I've started learning German but my skills are rudimentary at this point in that regard.

Vielen dank!

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  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by RhineRoll Online Now Oct 2, 2006 at 1:54 AM

    Sounds like you are a candiate for the "Belgian Quarter" (Belgisches Viertel). In general, stick to the areas around the university. Stay away from any part on the Eastern Rhine bank. (Even though there are some nice parts there as well, but these require careful scrutiny)

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  • JayGatsby951's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by JayGatsby951 Online Now Oct 3, 2006 at 12:36 AM

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your advice. Would it be relatively easy to commute to Solingen from the Belgian quarter, or do you think traffic would be too much of a nightmare?

    Vielen Dank,

    Nicolas

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  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by RhineRoll Online Now Oct 3, 2006 at 5:45 AM

    hard to tell exactly. Out of Cologne, your direction will be against the flow, but since the entire area is so urbanized with lots of people commuting between Cologne and Leverkusen and Wuppertal and all the medium-sized urban centres inbetween, you must be prepared for heavy traffic all the way. Thus, it could easily take you an hour by car. Going by train might be an excellent alternative, little problems in Cologne where you could also influence the feasibility of train commuting by choosing your place so that it is close to a subway station (www.vrsinfo.de) quickly getting you to Cologne Central station.

    Towards Solingen, the main station for regional trains is Solingen-Ohligs and much of the effectiveness of this way of commuting will depend on how well your workplace is connected to this station. Solingen Main Station ("Hauptbahnhof") will nearly always require changing trains once. Thus, the minimum time from Cologne Hbf to Solingen Hbf is about 45 minutes.

    Do check this locally before you make a choice for a place to live. There might be a better compromise by moving to a town Northeast of Cologne that has good connections to both. I also recommend Düsseldorf as an excellent alternative to Cologne. These cities are strong rival cities -- Cologne being the down-to earth one and Düsseldorf being rather posh in character. But as a matter of fact each one of them has excellent culture and if you combine them you get a real metropolis. (Nobody here would combine Cologne and Düsseldorf but geographically it does make sense as their city centres are only 35 km = 20 miles apart from each other). Cologne= 1 million inhabitants Düsseldorf= 600,000 inhabitants. The local Düsseldorf beer is called "Alt" and tastes much better than the Cologne stuff called "Kölsch".

    Do also check the valleys between the Rhine valley and the Wupper valley (with Wuppertal also being a large city). There are wonderful towns and small rural sections dotted inbetween -- a country paradise never far away from the big city!

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  • JayGatsby951's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by JayGatsby951 Online Now Oct 10, 2006 at 12:35 AM

    Hi there, thanks a lot for your helpful advice. I've decided I will use public transportation and find a place quite close to the Hbf., which will be a new luxury for me (always had to drive to work before)

    Take care

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  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by RhineRoll Online Now Oct 10, 2006 at 12:37 AM

    Look into the neighbourhoods south and southwest of the inner city circle. These are pretty nice.

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    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by RhineRoll Online Now Oct 12, 2006 at 4:31 AM

    one more thing about public transport in Cologne: Currently the city is building a brand new subway line. In the long run this will increase the usability of the network, but right now it means that using the subway is a mess as the soil beneath downtown Cologne is full of things inhibiting construction progress -- especially archaelogical remains from Roman times. At the moment, the area around the Hauptbahnhof and Breslauer Platz can only be called chaotic. There are newspaper articles about locals erring around in search for the substitution bus service, because the city's local public transport company (http://www.kvb-koeln.de) has failed to signpost the replacement services. They have vowed to improve things, but remember that people say about Cologne it is a city with rather Italian than German spirit... be prepared for persistent chaos (at least judged with usual German standards)

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  • JayGatsby951's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by JayGatsby951 Online Now Oct 15, 2006 at 9:04 AM

    QUOTE:
    Sorry to post another question in your forum, but I am just wondering what kind of work you have and how you obtained it? I have been looking to return to Germany for 2 years and havent had any luck because of the high unemployment, even though I have experience and speak German and Russian. Just wondering if there was some 'trick' you used or advice? Cheers!

    Hi Joe,

    It was a really hard struggle, since I had to find an English-speaking job. The last time I had looked for a new job, in the U.S., it took me less than 8 days. It took me 8 MONTHS to find the right job in Germany. Here's some advice I gave a friend recently on this topic:

    Regarding your job search, my first advice to you is: Fight like hell. "Fight, fight, fight," as Robert Smith once howled. It really is a tough battle- you'll have to apply yourself consistently, making an effort pretty much every week- that's what I did. I tried to make sure I sent out at least one application every week. My strategy was as follows:

    1. Explore any networking possibilities (university alumni, Britboard, friends working at companies you could apply at, etc.)
    2. Check out websites of particularly large/promising companies which have offices where you want to live
    3. Most importantly: Establish one or two good job search queries ("automated job search agents") on the monster.com international website, and set them up to automatically send you an update every week. With these queries you filter on your profession and specific cities you want to target, and then to find English-speaking jobs you simply add the word "English" in the key words area of the search. This is how I got my job.
    4. Keep a simple record of which companies you've applied to, and for which position. Why do this? For one thing, once you start the battle in earnest, you will be sending out so many applications that you'll be surprised at how easy it is to forget if you've already applied to a certain company earlier- and you can't risk looking foolish by applying for the same position 2 (or even 3!) times. Plus you'll save yourself from applying again to companies who struck you as useless the first time around
    5. Consider registering with Europe's inconceivably useless and retarded recruiters. These f*cking clowns couldn't find their way out of a paper bag, let alone find a job for anyone- but you never know, occasionally even they can help. I did get one interview through Michael Page Int'l, for example, and recently a few recruiters have finally started calling every now and then- but it's nothing like it is in North America, where you call them up and they hand you a job before you can even finish explaining exactly what you want.
    6. Prepare yourself for a long battle; don't get discouraged. Scream out loud every now and then after the first few months.


    Good luck

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  • JayGatsby951's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Need advice on where to live in Cologne please : )

    by JayGatsby951 Online Now Oct 15, 2006 at 9:06 AM

    QUOTE:
    one more thing about public transport in Cologne: Currently the city is building a brand new subway line. In the long run this will increase the usability of the network, but right now it means that using the subway is a mess as the soil beneath downtown Cologne is full of things inhibiting construction progress -- especially archaelogical remains from Roman times. At the moment, the area around the Hauptbahnhof and Breslauer Platz can only be called chaotic. There are newspaper articles about locals erring around in search for the substitution bus service, because the city's local public transport company (http://www.kvb-koeln.de) has failed to signpost the replacement services. They have vowed to improve things, but remember that people say about Cologne it is a city with rather Italian than German spirit... be prepared for persistent chaos (at least judged with usual German standards)

    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind! By the way, so far from what I've seen I like Agnesviertel and Lindenthal the most. Nice areas around Friesenplatz too...

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