Energy and water
Large electrical appliances over 3 KW require 380 volts, 3 phase. To use appliances from elsewhere, you will need to get transformers. They can be found at large appliance stores and electrical shops. Using plug adapters, you can use non-European lamps with German bulbs in the wall sockets. Note also that the standard bulbs in Germany use a screw rather than a bayonet fitting. If you are coming from the UK and have lamps using bayonet bulbs, bring spare bulbs. Dual voltage appliances can be plugged directly into the socket provided that you have the proper plug or adapter.
Water is soft in Bonn: less washing powder is needed.
You may order a private telephone line (Privatanschluss) at the T-com shops (Bonn city centre, Remigiusstraße or Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Koblenzer Straße 48, or at the Deutsche Telekom headquarters, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee, central phone number: (freecall) 0800-330 1000 or simply visit: ).
You may take over a telephone line from a previous customer by an "Auftrag für Übernahme eines Telefonanschlusses" (a fee will be charged).
You may also choose another provider. Some may offer more attractive Internet and call-by-call rates, especially if you are calling outside of Germany. Having your telephone and Internet connection installed may take a bit of time. Please note that someone will have to be at home for the phone installation.
Dial phone numbers correctly
- Local calls: dial the number without the area code (Vorwahl)
- Long-distance calls: When dialling a number within Germany, dial the area code (which begins with "0") + the number
- International calls: dial the country code (beginning with "00") + area code (omitting the "0") + the number
Useful phone numbers for assistance:
- German directory assistance in English: 11 8 37
- Directory Assistance: 11 8 33
- National directory assistance: 11 8 80
- International directory assistance: 11 8 34
In Germany you can be reached anywhere with a mobile phone. For newcomers in Germany from abroad too, it makes sense to use a mobile telephone with a German contract, whether for visits of a fixed duration or for more permanent relocation.
There are three large mobile network operators in Germany:
It is useful to know that there are numerous resellers on the German market who offer their tariffs under other names and contractual terms; by utilising these operators, however, the user can make phone calls on one of the above-mentioned major networks.
In contrast to many other countries, in Germany every prepaid card has to be activated online. This means that even if one purchases a prepaid card in a store, before the SIM can be used, it first has to be registered via the portal of the operator.
Television and radio
The public networks are financed largely by the audience, so anyone who owns a radio or television is obliged to pay a monthly fee to the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. Subscribers should register with the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice, Freimersdorfer Weg 6, 50829 Köln. The forms needed are available at banks and savings institutions or at the Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt). If you move away from Germany, don't forget to cancel your registration.
Those who enjoy diplomatic privileges based on the Vienna Agreement on diplomatic relations (18 April 1961) or corresponding legal provisions are exempt from these fees. If you are uncertain about your status, please enquire at the
Protocol Division/Bonn Office of the Federal Foreign Office (Außenstelle Protokoll Bonn)
Adenauerallee 99-103 (entry via Tempelstraße)
Phone: 01888-17 46 95
The three major stations are ARD, ZDF, and WDR (regional).
Cable TV: An increasing number of channels - such as CNN, MTV, BBC World, NBC SuperChannel, RTBF (Belgium, in French), ARTE (French/German), 3 sat, euroNEWS, TV5, VOX can be received through "Telekom", "Unitymedia" or "Vodafone".
Pay TV, such as Sky (the most common pay TV channel), is also available.
Satellite: About 100 international programmes can be received directly by satellite.
Please note that it will require the landlord's consent if you wish to install a satellite dish and receiver. All costs of installation must be borne by the tenant.
Also, you need a digital or HDTV Receiver as analogue broadcasting via Astra satellite and Cable TV is no longer available in Germany.