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Living in Germany: Munich's different sides, going vegan, and comparing health costs

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Mar, 2023 Updated Mon 6 Mar 2023 09:12 CEST
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Passers-by walk across Marienplatz square in Munich. Photo: picture alliance / Matthias Balk/dpa | Matthias Balk

In this week's roundup, we look at the pros and cons of living in Munich, the cost of health insurance in Germany compared to in the USA, and vegan sausages.


What do foreigners in Germany think about Munich?

When you think of the Bavarian capital Munich, traditional costumes, Alpine scenery and images of people drinking beer at Oktoberfest might come to mind. But there’s lots more to this city. When we asked readers to share what they thought about Munich, they gave us a mixed picture, as Imogen Goodman reported this week. Many people said the good parts were the public transport system, the safe atmosphere and how close it is to the Alps. But others said they found it too expensive and lamented the underwhelming nightlife. 


One aspect that kept popping up was Munich’s ‘small town’ feel. Mauricio Cardoso de Souza, who previously lived in major cities like New York, said: "Munich is a big city with a small-town atmosphere. You can find truly everything here - it is really fun - and there are different attractions every season, which keeps the city moving."

Some readers pointed out the joy of relaxing by the Isar river on a sunny day, strolling through the historic Altstadt or Englischer Garten and enjoying coffee and cake from a local cafe. 

The different sides of the city - and the ways of viewing it - were summed up by reader Meli: "It is too expensive, overcrowded, conservative and boring and its inhabitants are quite unfriendly. On the other hand, it is very safe and green, so it depends also on who is asking and what is their goal.”

Tweet of the week

Those taking a Deutsche Bahn train might be able to get vegan Currywurst on the new on-board restaurant menu. But the hardcore meat lovers in Germany might be offended, as this tweet pokes fun at (with a great meme from The Last of Us). 

The meme says: “Mario, Uwe and Bernd, when they read that the vegan Currywurst is coming permanently to the Bordgastro from March.”


Where is this?

Photo: DPA/Oliver Berg

With the recent dry weather, there has been a good run of sunsets, like this one captured in Cologne on March 2nd. 

Reader feedback:

Last week in our newsletter we talked about the rising cost of health and care insurance in Germany. We were happy to receive some feedback from one reader called Hans about his experience of the much lower cost of healthcare in Germany compared to other countries, particularly the USA. 


Hans said: I was in quite a few countries and worked in the USA too. Germany’s health insurance fees are moderate compared with other countries. Let’s compare the real cost in Euro. 


Bi-weekly withholding from a pay stub about 160 EUR (according to USD and income at that time). That’s about 320 EUR per month. Prescriptions come on top of it - in our case about 80 EUR.

One has an "out-of-own-pocket" fee [then 250 EUR] every month. That has to be used up first before the insurance looks at any expenses for reimbursement. Added to the fee, one pays about 500 EUR for health every month. BTW, hospital costs are only partially covered.


Back in Germany, my wife was 'family insured' (German: familienversichert) under my insurance. Medication was 5 EUR co-payment per prescription, per month. 

One day my wife went to the clinic’s Emergency Room. They took blood, ran a CAT scan plus multiple tests, kept her there, and operated the next day. She stayed in the clinic for a total of 11 days.

Hospital Bill: 110 EUR! 10 EUR per day! That included all the tests, operation, medication, etc.! The rest was covered by our German health insurance.

Bottom line is: one cannot just see the insurance fees, but instead one must see the whole cost involved. 



The Local 2023/03/06 09:12

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