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Eight events you won’t want to miss in Germany in November 2019

November, and the dreaded German winter, is quickly approaching. But don't let this be a damper on going out and experiencing Germany's culture. Here's a lineup of events to keep your heart warm as the daylight hours dwindle.

Eight events you won't want to miss in Germany in November 2019
The Hamburg DOM lights up on 2019's spring opening day. Photo: DPA

Diwali: The Festival of Lights, November 2nd, Stuttgart

Diwali, the five-day long festival of lights celebrated in autumn in India, has already passed. However, [email protected], a social club connecting Indian expats in the city, is hosting a single day dance celebration with Bollywood fusion songs followed by an Indian dinner. 

Tickets start at €15, with discounts for students and families. Remaining spots are limited, so follow the link to register.  

Photo: DPA

Haunted Hike in Westerwald, November 2nd, Bad Marienberg

Celebrating Halloween doesn't have to end on October 31st. At 7:30 pm on November 2nd hikers will be guided through the forest in Bad Marienberg to find hidden jack-o'-lanterns. Whoever finds the most wins a candy prize. 

The hike costs €5 per person, but children up to six years old can enter free and kids under 15 pay half price. Online registration isn't necessary; Just show up and have fun!

Children celebrate Halloween in Brandenburg in 2015. Photo: DPA 

The First Reel, November 6th-10th, Berlin

The first and only Filipino film festival in Berlin, The First Reel has been a biennial production since 2015. The festival is organized by founder Lola Abrera, a media anthropologist, and curated by Trinka Lat, a Filipino filmmaker and producer. 

The nonprofit festival is part of a larger collective aiming to embrace Filipino creatives all over the globe. Screenings begin November 6th at Kino Moviemento near Görlitzer Park. 

Winter DOM, November 8th – December 8th, Hamburg

The biggest public fair in northern Germany, almost 10 million visitors pass through every year. The Hamburg DOM boasts rollercoasters, firework shows and fair foods like Currywurst and Schmalzkuchen. 

Entry into the fair is free, with discounts for certain rides and attractions every Wednesday. 

30-Year Berlin Wall Anniversary, November 9th, Berlin

Certainly one of the largest events taking place this month, the 30-year anniversary of the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall will be celebrated nationwide.

Soldiers stand on the West Berlin side of the Wall at Brandenburg Gate two days after its opening on November 11, 1989. Photo: DPA

From memorial concerts to guided tours, click on the link above to get an overview of the events taking place in Berlin. 

Conor Drum: Solo, November 11th, Munich

Looking for some English-language stand-up in Munich? Irish comedian Conor Drum is making his first appearance in Germany, performing at The Shamrock… an Irish pub, naturally.

The show centers around Drum's teenage years, rediscovered after his parents decided to turn his childhood bedroom into an Airbnb. Tickets start at €10. 

Christmas Markets, from late November onward

The Christmas Market on the Fraueninsel on the Chiemsee in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Christmas markets are opening earlier and earlier every year, so your choices and chances to see the stunning variety of Germany's celebrations are getting broader. Click here to read more about the best Christmas markets in Germany. 

Tollwood Winter Festival, November 26th – December 31, Munich

Munich’s eclectic Tollwood festival is an “alternative” Christmas market dishing up international and organic foods.

The festival grounds also serve as the stage for cabaret, theatre and circus acts. This year, Tollwood will feature the Hungarian Recirquel circus company. 

The event focuses on international exchange, tolerance and acceptance. This year’s theme is “Values, people!” and topics like re-evaluating ethics standards will be dissected at their multimedia Welt Salon tent.
 
This will include poetry slams, panel discussions and concerts. As they say on their website: “Saving the world is exhausting, but can also be fun!”

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RETIREMENT

Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?

Unlike in EU countries such as Portugal or Spain, Germany does not have a visa specifically for pensioners. Yet applying to live in the Bundesrepublik post-retirement is not difficult if you follow these steps.

Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?
Two pensioners enjoying a quiet moment in Dresden in August 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

Due to its quality of life, financial security and health care, Germany snagged the number 10 spot in the 2020 Global Retirement Index. So just how easy is it to plant roots in Deutschland after your retirement?

Applying for a residency permit

As with any non-EU or European Economic Area (EEA) national looking to stay in Germany for longer than a 90-day period, retirees will need to apply for a general resident’s permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) under which it will be possible to select retirement as a category. 

READ ALSO: How does Germany’s pension system measure up worldwide?

This is the same permit for those looking to work and study in Germany – but if you would like to do either after receiving a residency permit, you will need to explicitly change the category of the visa.

Applicants from certain third countries (such as the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Canada, and New Zealand) can first come to Germany on a normal tourist visa, and then apply for a residency permit when in the country. 

However, for anyone looking to spend their later years in Germany, it’s still advisable to apply at their home country’s consulate at least three months in advance to avoid any problems while in Germany.

Retirement visas still aren’t as common as employment visas, for example, so there could be a longer processing time. 

What do you need to retire in Germany?

To apply for a retirement visa, you’ll need proof of sufficient savings (through pensions, savings and investments) as well as a valid German health insurance. 

If you have previously worked in Germany for at least five years, you could qualify for Pensioner’s Health Insurance. Otherwise you’ll need to apply for one of the country’s many private health insurance plans. 

Take note, though, that not all are automatically accepted by the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners office), so this is something you’ll need to inquire about before purchasing a plan. 

READ ALSO: The perks of private health insurance for expats in Germany

The decision is still at the discretion of German authorities, and your case could be made stronger for various reasons, such as if you’re joining a family member or are married to a German. Initially retirement visas are usually given out for a year, with the possibility of renewal. 

Once you’ve lived in Germany for at least five full years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit, or a Niederlassungserlaubnis. To receive this, you will have to show at least a basic knowledge of the German language and culture.

READ ALSO: How to secure permanent residency in Germany

Taxation as a pensioner

In the Bundesrepublik, pensions are still listed as taxable income, meaning that you could be paying a hefty amount on the pension from your home country. But this is likely to less in the coming years.

Tax is owed when a pensioner’s total income exceeds the basic tax-free allowance of €9,186 per year, or €764 per month. From 2020 the annual taxable income for pensioners will increase by one percent until 2040 when a full 100 percent of pensions will be taxable.

American retirees in Germany will also still have to file US income taxes, even if they don’t owe any taxes back in the States. 

In the last few years there has been a push around Germany to raise the pension age to 69, up from 65-67, in light of rising lifespans.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Could people in Germany still be working until the age of 68?

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