Archive for the ‘Getting settled’ Category

After five years of being annoyed at the lack of call waiting in Germany, I just discovered how to turn it on.

To activate call waiting you press *35. To deactivate it press *36.

Then when you’re on the phone and someone else calls you will hear a horrible screeching noise. That noise means you have another call. (Note that the German manual calls it Anklopfen. I don’t know exactly what that word means, but it sounds like it should mean a gentle knocking tone. It is not. It’s a weird high-pitched screeching noise.)

To switch to the new call, press R2.

To switch back to the old call, press R1. Alternatively, to merge the two calls (and create a conference call), press R3.

Amusingly, the manual calls the conference call a Dreierkonferenz ūüôā

I imagine that if your phone service isn’t provided by Kabel Deutsch, the steps might be different.

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When looking for apartments I compiled a long list of abbreviations and German terminology useful for reading rental ads.¬† With a quick search you can find many other such lists, like this¬†alphabetical list of rental abbreviations¬†from about.com.¬† For a general German dictionary try¬†dict.cc¬†or¬†¬†dict.leo.org (more…)

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I’m sure I’ve just barely scratched the surface, but these are the furniture stores I’ve come across so far.

New Furniture (cheap)

  • Ikea is the first place that everyone mentions when you ask about buying furniture.¬† It’s about 30 minutes out of town, in Saarlouis.¬†There’s a bus that goes there, but it’s not too convenient. IKEA also offers a delivery service and some items can also be ordered online.
  • Address:
    Möbel Fundgrube Am Kieselhumes 1 (nähe Ostbahnhof), 66123: a huge furniture warehouse about 500 meters from Möbel Martin.  They have about 10,000 demo kitchens, and every other possible piece of furniture.  The prices are typically low, but so is the quality.
  • Tedox KG, Ursulinenstra√üe 71: This is a large box store that’s kind of a cross between a dollar store and a cheap home improvement / home furnishings store. They have lots of rugs, floorings, curtains, cleaning supplies, furniture, cheap kitchen items, etc.¬† The quality seems perhaps a bit lower than Fundgrube.
  • Lidl: Lidl and other discount grocery stores often offer a small number of diassembled furniture pieces, like bedstands or small bookshelves.¬† Again, they’re cheap but low quality.

New Furniture (moderate to expensive)

  • M√∂bel Martin‚Äé, Eschberger Weg 2, 66121.¬† This is a pretty large furniture store, although the selection is not extensive and it’s (in general) quite a bit more expensive than Ikea.Keramic and Wohnen, Gerberstr. 3-5, 66111: This is a small store downtown that’s packed full of mostly wood furniture pieces.¬† Most items are very expensive but there are a few more affordable pieces.
  • There’s a very upscale furniture store in Scheidt that has some more ergonomic, comfortable chairs.
  • There’s a very upscale furniture store along the river near the Staat’s Theatre.
  • Canape in Nauwieserviertel has very modern, ugly (to my eyes), very expensive furniture.
  • There’s a new leather furniture store on the Bahnhofstr.
  • There’s a Sofa and More store out a ways past the Bahnhof.¬† I haven’t been there yet.

Used Furniture:

  • online: look in the local Newspaper’s classified ads (see my page on apartment searches for links), scope out the flyers on the University campus (check in the Mensa and at the main Uni bus stop).¬† You can also do an Ebay search where you limit the search to items located within x kilometers from Saarbr√ľcken.¬† What used to be kijiji is now ebay local, so try that as well.¬† Kaiserslautern garage sale website.¬† If you’re willing to go to Kaiserslautern then you can find lots of used items being offered by Americans on this Craigslist-esque website.
  • Flea markets (called Flohmarkt in German) are held at least once in month in Saarbruecken.¬† Check the Saarbruecken webpage for details.
  • charity organizations:¬† I’ve been told that there are charities that sell donated furniture, but I haven’t found these places yet.
  • Dedicated used (but not antique) furniture stores: ¬† I spied a bunch of shops that look like used furniture stores in Burbach (a bit past Cinestar) a while back, but haven’t had a chance to go check them out properly.
  • The University of Saarland bulletin board¬†lists items students are selling.


  • There are a number of tiny antique stores scattered about town.¬† Quite a few are on Mainzer Str.
  • Metz has a big antique fair about once a month.

Moving companies if you need to pick up some furniture from someone:

  • Schneider & Schneider Tel: 0681-883230 (costs: 25,00 Euro per person/hour and 25,00 Euro for the car/hour – that means 75,00 Euro per hour)
  • Firma Iloxx AG Tel: 01805-597781 www.iloxx.de

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Where to look for local ads:

There are a number of newspapers and websites that contain ads for apartments.¬† If you’re looking for a provisions-frei apartment (that does not require payment of a large fee to a rental agent), check the newspapers before the other websites.¬† The newspapers usually contain more apartments that are being offered directly by the owner or current tenant.


  • Saarbr√ľcker Zeitung Immowelt: the local Saarbr√ľcken paper. New rental ads appear twice a week, on Wednesday and Fridays (although online perhaps they are posted every day?)¬† I’m not sure whether all the ads that appear in the newspaper appear online as well.
  • Another local newspaper is the Findling which appears on Tuesdays and Fridays and contains a large classified ad section.
  • The Wochenspiegel is a free local weekly. ¬†It’s delivered on Wednesdays.

Online sites:

In the newspaper the ads are usually sorted by location, with the first word listing the town and/or suburb in which the apartment is listed.¬† If you are looking for an apartment in the center of Saarbruecken, you can ignore all the ads that mention G√ľdingen, Burbach, Scheidt, etc.¬† Stick with ads that start with “Saarbruecken”.¬† Occasionally the ad will mention an address, but this is rare.¬† If you want something near the center look for keywords like “zentrumsnah”, “im zentrum”, “innenstadt” , “zentraler Lage”, “zentral gelegen”, “in der City”, “im Herzen Saarbruecken”, “St. Johann”, “am Staden” or “Nauwieser Viertel”.¬† Some of the online sites allow you to search by zipcode.¬† Below I list a few of the zip codes / neighborhoods that lie closest to the city center:

  • 66111 covers most of the city center, including St. Johanner Markt and Nauweiser Veirtel.¬† This zip code extends slightly west of the Hauptbahnhof, and includes most of St. Johann, up to about Paul-Marien-Str.
  • 66121 lies east of the city center, from Paul-Marien-Str. all the way to Eschberg.¬† The western parts of this zip code are in St. Johann. Within 66121 is Am Staden, a small residential neighborhood that encompasses the region near the river. ¬†Am Staden is the area south of Mainzer Str., between Paul-Marien Str. and Henr-Bocking Str.
  • 66117 covers the region west of the “knee” of the river (i.e. where the Luisenbr√ľcke crosses the river). This zip code covers most of Alt Saarbr√ľcken.
  • 66119 is the region hugging the southern bank of the river, southeast of Dudweilerstr.¬† This region covers mostly St. Arnual, but extends a bit into Alt Saarbr√ľcken.
  • 66123 is the region directly northeast of Nauwieserviertel, and extends all the way to the University district. ¬†It includes Am Homburg.
  • 66113¬†(not shown) is the area directly behind the train station (Rodenhof) and behind the train station and to the west (Rastpfuhl??).

More useful information on searching for an apartment in Germany:

Useful terminology / abbreviations

See my post on abbreviations used in rental ads.

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