A few Sundays ago, I saw a cry for help on the Leipzig Expats Facebook page. It was from someone keen on settling in Leipzig, but without enough knowledge of German to trace all necessary info online. I decided to lend a hand. After having chatted with this adventurous woman for about an hour, I realised the bucket load of links and info I gave her might be useful to more people who want to come live in Leipzig.
So here it is. Before you start – make sure you have the right visa. It’s hard to just come to Leipzig and find something without securing a job or study placement beforehand if you’re not an EU citizen (or married to one).
Then decide where to begin your search, keeping in mind that somehow everything is connected.
If you are looking for a place to rent, you need a bank account. And for a bank account, you need an income (so a job) and an address. And for a job, you need a place to stay and a bank account…
Finding a place to stay is kind of vital. Starting off here (instead of finding a job) could work, if you have some money to bridge the first few months. But where to stay?
Allow me to explain what a WG is. In Germany, most people start off in a WG = WohnGemeinschaft, or flatshare. There are special websites for finding WGs with empty rooms, and WG Gesucht is the most popular one. More info about attractive areas to live in at the bottom of this article.
The most popular apartment hunting sites are Immobilienscout24, Immonet and Immowelt.
As a side note: It can be a challenge to find something fully furnished (möbiliert) in Leipzig. And if you prefer renting an apartment (Mietwohnung) all by yourself, you will find that it often has NO kitchen built in. Yep, that’s “the German way” for you.
So how about finding a temporary place to stay first? Especially during holidays, a lot of university students and job migrants sublet their room or apartment. Start by joining the Public Facebook group LEIPZIG people who have rooms and people who need rooms and do a shout out on the Expats page too.
Found a place to live? Moved to Leipzig? Now it’s time to register.
You can do this at any of the Bürgeramt (city offices) in town, and it must be done within two weeks. Here is all the info you need. And here’s a list of the city offices (right column).
Don’t forget to bring your ID, and it helps if you fill out this form from the comfort of your new home.
Also note that you may need written consent from the homeowner or main tenant.
There you go, you are now a true Leipziger! How about a job? It goes without saying that this is much easier when you speak German fluently. But what if you don’t? You learn German as quickly as you can. Where? Most people opt for Volkshochschule (VHS). This weblink is mostly aimed at refugees, but it is also the only page in English I could find. Google for Spracheninstitut or Sprachschule and you will find many more options. Like this site.
Is it impossible to work in the meantime? No, but you will most likely have to settle for the less glamorous jobs. How about waiter or waitress, babysitter, cleaning person, pizza delivery person or handling packages at DHL?
The official German employment agency has a page in English with useful links and info.
We also have our own LeipGlo jobs list (because it wouldn’t be a real “tips” post without some self-promotion). Are you an industrial engineer, chemist or similar? Then check out companies like Linde Gas, Total or Dow Chemical in Leuna, 40 min west of Leipzig.
Shit, almost forgot about that all important bank account! The Leipzig University website has a lot of info that is not just useful for students. (TIP: also click on some of the other subjects right below the image!)
Another unexpected source of info about living in Leipzig is the website of LIS (Leipzig International School, which also hires expats, by the way).
And now for attractive and affordable areas to live…
The city centre is lovely, but most housing is very expensive. Also, noise pollution can be a factor, mainly from trams, traffic and night owls.
Plagwitz and Lindenau are areas in the west of town where a lot of “greenies” tend to live: people who are interested in a better world, vegetarian and vegan food, biological products and urban gardening, amongst other things. Plagwitz used to be very edgy with punks, artists and squatters, but now also families have moved in and even yuppies are taking over some renovated streets. But it is still quite funky.
Gohlis, especially Gohlis Nord, is a very affordable quarter. Quite multicultural as well.
But the most multiculti street in town is Eisenbahnstraβe, in Zentrum-Ost. It is both famous and infamous. Some say it is unsafe, but I prefer “colourful and loud”.
Grafisches Viertel (the feature photo) is also Zentrum-Ost, but less edgy. It is where I have lived for four years, and I love it!
Most students live in Südvorstadt, in the South-East. So that is also where you find a lot of WGs.
Most international families prefer to live in Schleuβig, in the South-West. Also because this is where Leipzig International School is located, and the beautiful and child friendly Clara Zetkin Park.
Reudnitz and Connewitz are apparently “the next big thing” and still offer affordable housing and colourful restaurants and shops in a more “unfinished” kind of environment. People moving out of gentrified Plagwitz tend to move here.
Very affordable, but less attractive (based on first impressions) and further away from the city centre: Grünau, Miltitz, Eutizsch, Paunsdorf and Groβ- or Kleinzschocher.
Share your moving-in experience with us in the comments section! (Feature photo: Marjon Borsboom)