The official language for the WONCA Europe Conference 2020 will be English.
We would like Wonca Europe council to recommend Wo Europe conference Organizing Committees to recommend its speakers (presenters) to use Easy English, which could be A2-B1 level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2001)
Electricity & Sockets
For Germany there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Germany operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Etiquette & Tipping
Tips and VAT are already included in all prices. But if you were satisfied with the service, a little extra tip is recommended.
- Taxis: 10 percent
- Restaurants: 10 – 15 percent of bill
- Porters: € 2 - 3 per luggage item
- Room maids: € 2 - 3 per day
- Hairdressers: 10 percent of price
Smoking is banned in all public buildings, on public transport and its stops and stations. Pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants are subject to the Non-Smoking Act. However, some pubs maintain separate smoker’s rooms or have a permit to allow smoking.
Berlin is the dog capital. However, sharing a city with dogs brings with it a number of issues. Since the summer of 2000, Berlin maintains a Dog Ordinance. If you are a dog owner, please be aware of the following: at public festivals, in parks and woods and on public transport, keep your dog on a lead (no longer than 2 metres). Do not let your dog onto playgrounds or public lawns. There is a special list classifying some dog breeds as dangerous (“fighting dogs”); these breeds are required to wear a muzzle and must always be kept on a lead.
Important phone numbers
- Police 110
- Emergency calls from international mobile phones 112
- Berlin Police citizen line +49 30 4664 46 64
Police station near Alexanderplatz
Direktion 3 - Abschnitt 32
Keibelstr. 35, 10178 Berlin
Phone: +49 30-4664 33 27-00
Police station near Kurfürstendamm
Direktion 2 - Abschnitt 25
Bismarckstr. 111, 10625 Berlin
Phone: +49 30-4664-225700
Whether it’s the bounty of an opulent shopping spree or your heavy travel baggage, there are times when you’re simply not keen on lugging your bags all over town. To help make your life easier, there are numerous baggage locker points and baggage storage facilities scattered all over the city that will keep your personal effects safe and sound until you’ve finished exploring Berlin.
Baggage lockers in Berlin’s railway stations
There are baggage lockers in the railway stations Central Station, Alexanderplatz, Ostbahnhof, Friedrichstraße, Potsdamer Platz, Gesundbrunnen, Zoologischer Garten, Südkreuz and Spandau. Visitors to Berlin will also find baggage storage facilities at the two airports Tegel and Schönefeld (closed at the moment) and at the ZOB central coach station.
Baggage lockers in downtown Berlin
Next to the Alex Oase on Alexanderplatz, there are twenty baggage lockers measuring 42 cm x 80 cm x 28 cm or 54.5 cm x 80 cm x 28 cm. They are under CCTV surveillance, brightly lit and accessible 24-7. They cost €1.50 for 4 hours. You can find more baggage lockers in Dorotheenstraße 30, not far from Friedrichstraße.
Money & Currency
Payments in Berlin, as in all of Germany, are made in Euros. The European currency means that visitors from most EU countries can use the same currency as at home without any problems. For others, there are numerous currency exchanges and banks across the city where money can be exchanged for Euros or withdrawn from cash machines.
- 1 Euro = 100 Cents
- Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Cents; 1, 2 Euros
- Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500
Important: whether you are shopping, in a restaurant or at the club, Berliners prefer to pay with cash. Debit cards and major credit cards (American Express, Visa, Mastercard) may often also be used, but smaller shops and cafés might only accept cash payments. Therefore, visitors should always have some euro bills and coins on hand.
Currency exchange in Berlin
There are bureaux de change and Reisebank outlets at the city's major rail stations and airports where up to 100 currencies can be exchanged at competitive daily rates.
Reisebank (Terminal A)
Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station)
Ostbahnhof (Eastern Station)
Banks & Cash machines
As well as bureaus de change, mostly situated around train stations and airports, there are branches of all major banks across the city. The opening times are convenient with many banks open the whole day, several days a week. Outside banking hours you will find cash machines on nearly every street corner. EC and credit card (American Express, Visa, Diners Club, Eurocard, Mastercard) are usually accepted.
Shopping & business hours
The city’s fashion spectrum ranges from premium shopping on Kurfürstendamm to urban thrift-shop fashion in eastern downtown Berlin.
If you’re keen on shopping sprees that last late into the evening, Berlin will be your shopping paradise. The major city has the loosest business hour regulations anywhere in Germany. The new Shop Opening Law allows any shop in Berlin to remain open for business around the clock from Monday to Saturday. In practice, almost all of the shops on the major shopping miles remain open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and on certain days of the week may even stay open longer. Shops are permitted to open for business on eight Sundays a year, including some of the Sundays during Advent, from 1pm till 8pm.
Apart from a few exceptions (at airports and railway stations), all shops are closed Sundays. A limited range of food can still be bought at petrol stations and kiosks. Berlin’s Spätis are legendary: these late-night shops stay open round the clock to sell drinks for partygoers as well as items of daily use.
If you are visiting Berlin for your holidays from a non-EU country, you can recover the VAT paid on your shopping in Germany. This applies to any goods you have purchased for private use. The only exception are goods and parts for upgrading your vehicle (e.g. spare car parts). Germany’s regular VAT rate is 19% of the net price. The regular VAT rate also applies to all beverages except for milk and mineral water. Items of daily use, for example books, newspapers, food and art, are subject to the reduced VAT rate of 7%.
How tax-free shopping works
When paying in a shop, please ask for the Tax Free form issued by a Tax Free service provider working with the retailer. Keep this and the original invoices safe together. When leaving the country, present the filled-in forms and invoices to customs at the airport so that the customs agents can confirm export. To recover the VAT, it is important that purchased goods are exported from the EU within three months.
There are a number of ways to recover the paid VAT. One option is to have the amount paid out in cash at a Tax Free service provider’s or partner’s counter. Another option is to have the amount credited to your credit card’s account. Note, however, that in both cases the Tax Free service provider will deduct a service fee and in some cases also a cash fee for the cash option. More details on tax-free shopping and an overview of how to recover the VAT in Germany are available on the website of Premier Tax Free or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Barrier-free access shops
The barrier-free design of many shopping centres such as the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, Galeria Kaufhof at Alexanderplatz or the KaDeWe at Wittenbergplatz make shopping simply delightful. Alexa at Alexanderplatz, with its wide aisles and lifts, also invites you to linger on its four storeys. If you’re eager to explore Berlin’s various districts, you can check to find out where there are shops with the “Berlin barrier-free” certificate. Thanks to the EU project “barrier-free shopping” in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the district has a particularly large number of shops on Bergmannstraße and Oranienstraße with wide doorways, level thresholds and interiors free of steps.
The Berlin label Rollitex specialises in supplying goods for people in wheelchairs. Wheelchair users are offered fashionable and comfortable clothing to suit any occasion.
For additional tips on barrier-free shopping, get in touch with our service centre.
Weather & Time zone
Bright sunshine, snowy roads or moderate temperatures – when is the best time to travel to Berlin? This depends, of course, on how much time you are planning to spend in museums or strolling through the city’s streets. Berlin has a continental climate, which means temperatures differ quite widely over the course of the year. Temperatures in summer can exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
Usually, though, temperatures from May through September range pleasantly between 15 and 25 degrees. Precipitation frequency remains pretty much the same throughout the year.
Berlin time zone
Berlin takes central European time, one hour later than Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight saving time, when the clocks are moved forward one hour, applies from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.