Living in Germany with your Family from A to Z

Child Benefit („Kindergeld“)

As parents, you may receive a monthly allowance („Kindergeld“) for your kids. Citizens of the 27 Member States of the EU, the EEA States, and Switzerland may receive child allowance irrespective of whether they have a settlement permit or a residence permit. The same applies to nationals of Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia, and Turkey on the basis of the respective bilateral agreements if they are liable to pay contributions for unemployment benefits under the terms of their employment in Germany.

Foreigners from other countries may be entitled to receive child allowance provided their residence status („Aufenthaltstitel“) in Germany is expected to be permanent („voraussichtlich dauerhaft“). A residence permit and work permit are necessary but not automatically sufficient prerequisites for receiving child allowance (see familienportal). In any case, you are advised to contact the local Family Office (see below) to find out whether you are entitled to child allowance.

Applications for child allowance must be made at the local Family Office („Kindergeldkasse Berlin“) with a copy of your passport from which the status of your residence permit can be identified. There are several Family Offices in Berlin or Potsdam; please contact the one responsible for your borough.
Familienkasse Berlin-Brandenburg Mitte (for Berlin Centre), Charlottenstr. 87 - 90, 10969 Berlin
Familienkasse Berlin-Brandenburg Nord (for Berlin North), Storkower Str. 120, 10407 Berlin
Familienkasse Berlin Brandenburg Süd (for Berlin South), Sonnenallee 282, 12057 Berlin
Familienkasse Potsdam, Schlaatzweg 1, 14473 Potsdam

If you have further questions, please contact
Kerstin Henning (+49 30 84133126, Mail Henning),
Natalia Klein (+49 30 84133414, Mail Klein)
Christina Sander (+49 30 84133120, Mail Sander)
Lejla Smajlović (+49 30 84133154, Mail Smajlović)

Nursery and Pre-School

In Berlin and Potsdam children have the right to part-time care (5 to 7 hours daily) from their first birthday in a so-called „Kita“. Public Kitas in Berlin are free of charge. Parents have to pay € 23 per month for food.

Please note that you should apply for a Kita placement well before the time day care is needed (~6 months and more if your child is younger than 1 year old). All necessary information you can find here:
search for Berlin Kitas by postcode
the application procedure, opening times, fees, alternatives to Kitas can be found on this public daycare website (unfurtunatela only in German language) or the day-care information of the Berlin Business Location Center in English language.

Staff members of the FHI have special conditions of day care for their children in the Kita Lützelsteiner Weg e.V., Lützelsteiner Weg 25, 14195 Berlin, phone 030/832 56 44. This Kita is quite close to the FHI and covers both, nursery and pre-school. The facility is supported by the Max Planck Society and preferably accepts the children of MPG employees. Parents should apply by January 31. Subsequently, free places will be allotted, and accepted children will start attending the Kita from August 1. For questions or details regarding this Kita, please contact Kerstin Henning by Email.

The family support by „PMEassistance“ provides consultation on and procurement of child care or assistance for family members, if you stay with the FHI for at least six months. Consultation is free of charge; all other assistance must be paid for. Brochures are available in your local department’s secretariat or in the personnel department. More information can be obtained by phone +49 800 801007080 or email to Before using this service you must verify that you are a collaborator of the Max Planck Society either through an authorization document, available from the personnel department.


Finding a primary school for your children aged 6-12 is not a problem. Generally, the place where you live determines which school your children will go to. If you live in:
Berlin, schools and day care centers in your neighbourhood can be found on the schools in Berlin website (unfortunately only in german language)
Potsdam or elsewhere in Brandenburg you find information on schools in your neighborhood in Schulporträts (unfortunately only in german language)

International schools such as the Kant school offer teaching in English, but tuition fees are charged.
Another option in addition to the German school system are bilingual schools like the German-American John F. Kennedy School JFK-School.

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