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Anonym
14 July 2016
Overall impression

The golden mean. Not a giant metropolis and not a tiny village. A relatively large city with relatively eventful life, but not overly noisy. Very green, many park zones, lakes. Something is happening all the time, there is also somewhere to go, something to see, regular performances from world-over.

Attitude to foreigners

Even, kind and tolerant on the whole. If you speak passable
German and have some common activities (work, school, hobby club, parents of your kids’ schoolmates, kindergartenmates), many people will gladly get to know you well. Rare cases of dislike do not overstep the boundaries of quiet polite detachment.

Impression of local population

Most polite, relatively friendly. Very social. Highly motivated towards communication and cooperation. High civil and social responsibility. Most positive impressions. To really get to know the locals, enter into some hobby club. You will have to invest your time and efforts, but will get meaninagful integration, interesting activities and many friends and acquaintances. About 10% of the population is Russian (if you care). Quite many are gentlemanly (and ladylike) and scholarly people too. Sure, there are some wild, poorly integrated migrants. Migrants from the Middle East, Muslims, etc. are mostly fine, comprised mostly of working and not fanatical Turks.

Climate

One of the main downsides, in my opinion. Short summers, really warm and sunny weather stays only for several months per year. Relatively many rains. Those are my private impressions only. Might be a bit too dry, if compared to London. It rarely snows here. Winter temperatures hover around zero.

Education

Very good and conditionally free. For a long time, it cost 250 euro per term (half-a-year). The cost was later raised to 750 euro per term. There are currently discussions to lower it back to 250, as has been done in part of Germany already. Student ID includes a travel pass for all Hannover, trains all over Lower Saxony, and to Hamburg and Bremen. To compare, a travel pass for Hannover only will set you back 60 euro per month. There are multiple free sporting options and some consumer discounts for students too.

Quality of medicine (quality and cost)

Very good. Everybody has insurance by definition, from students to the unemployed. If you are working, it is detracted from your salary along with taxes. Just one working family member guarantees insurance for his spouse and kids. Dental isn’t fully covered. Any medicine costs 5 euro if bought by prescription. A downside is that there are long queues to some specialist doctors. For example, you might have to wait for 2-3 months to get to visit a dermatologist! However, this isn’t about the severe cases, thus, if something is really wrong, you will get a consultation.

Language (learning of the local language and communication with the local people)

German. Knowledge of English is average. Some speak it well, but most quite poorly. As I’ve written under “the locals” section, by far the easiest way to get to know the people around here is to have some mutual interests (work, school, hobby club, parents of your kids’ mates). I highly recommend hobby clubs from history to sports and service clubs. There are multiple options available. You will earn respect and sincere regard if you show some initiative and take some responsibility.

Transport (road access, quality of roads, level of driving, gasoline cost, public transportation)

Transportation is convenient and far-reaching. You don’t really need a car here. A monthly travel pass for Hannover costs about 60 euro. Should you wish to include the surrounding cities within a radius of up to 100 km, it will cost 100 to 200 euro. The roads are wonderful, level of driving is beyond reproach. Petrol is expensive, about 1.5 euros.

Prices (cost of living, food, entertainment)

A student can scrape by on no less than 450 euro/month. To eat adequately at home, cooking with inexpensive but quality groceries you will have to spend about 3 euro/day. Decent pork, turkey, cheese, sausages cost 6-8 euro/kg. Cheaper, yet still tasty and quality, substitutes cost 3-5 euro/kg. Wonderful and varied beer costs 60 cents to 1 euro per bottle in stores and up to 3.5 euro per mug in bars. Decent filling fast-food costs 3-5 euro. Having a full dinner with alcohol in a restaurant will cost 20-30 euro/person.
Entertainment: regular tours of worldly acclaimed performers, multiple sporting options, hobby clubs, places for walks. Regular public festivals, holidays, festivities, markets, fairs year-round. Large exhibitions, including the famous CeBIT. Heaven for kids, from playgrounds to parks and centers. An incredible zoo.

Job (search complexity, level of salary)

Not a problem for an IT specialist with decent skills. However, I don’t really know how easy it is for people without a European diploma and/or with decent English but poor German.
Aside from Hannover, your options include a wide range of the nearby towns, providing you are ready to spend up to an hour getting to work one-way. Be ready for a lengthy procedure of candidate vetting. Submission of documents, initial consideration, first interview, contemplation, a possible second interview, and the final decision rarely takes less than 2-3 weeks and can easily take up to 1.5 months.

Housing (cost, availability, rent, purchase)

2-4 rooms, 50-80 sq.m in a nice central district cost 450-800 euro with all overheads included. Plus, the electricity and heating costs. These heavily depend on the number of people and the housing itself. On the whole, electricity and heating is expensive. A family of four can spend 120-220 euro/month. A deposit of 2-3 months’ rent is charged on moving in.
Availability depends on the district and needs. Seeking a nice flat in the best central district may take up to half-a-year. Some did find one over several weeks. The less central and elite the district is, the faster you can find accommodation there.

Crime

Relatively low. The outskirts with mostly migrant population present a bit of a problem but can in no way compare to the infamous ghettos of metropolitan cities. Migrants from the Middle East, Muslims, etc. are mostly fine, comprised mostly of working and not fanatical Turks.

Women \ men (for dating)

Fitting any taste. Those, who, cosmopolitan views notwithstanding, still cannot imagine a marriage to a foreigner, will find that some 10% of the population is Russian. Quite many are gentlemanly (and ladylike) and scholarly people too.
The German ladies don’t use much make-up and dress in a practical fashion and not to impress. That’s the origin of the myth that there are no beautiful German ladies. That is highly exaggerated. Many people do sports.

Internet access (availability, price)

20-30 euro for incredible speed with no limits whatsoever.

The region's economy (crisis, inflation)

One of the best in the present situation. The social guarantees are still considerable, the influence of various crises is minimal. The inflation is presently gravitating towards zero, and had never exceeded several percent, as far as I can remember.

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