Berlin area dopers--Please help!

My boyfriend is moving to Potsdam (Potsdam, in Brandenburg, Germany–not Potsdam, New York or Potsdam, anywhere else). He goes there on Sept. 1 to take a 2 year job at the Max Planck Institute.

We’ve got a problem that we’d love some help with. We’ve been looking for someone who speaks English to help set my boyfriend up with a place to live. We can find plenty of English-speaking rental agents and websites offering apartments in Berlin, but we can’t seem to find anyone to help us in Potsdam.

If you know of anyone who could show us apartments there, we’d be very, very grateful. We’ve checked out the on-line listings ourselves, but neither of us knows any German. (Well, I know “weinerschnizel” and “fahrfegnugen,” and “glockenspeil,” but that doesn’t count for much when doing anything practical in Germany, unless you’re interested in a musical sausage that’s fun to drive.)

We would both be very, very grateful for any help you could give us!

Well, Potsdam is really just a suburb of Berlin, so to speak…so if you find a real estate agent in Berlin, they only have to take a short subway ride to get there.
Think Manhattan to the Bronx. It is not exactly a huge schlep to get them to take your boyfriend apartment hunting in Potsdam.

My question is why is he moving to Potsdam?
Don’t get me wrong - it is quite pretty and they have some amazing architecture and parks, etc. However, Potsdam is a bit boring for anyone under the age of 68.

He could just as easily get a nice place in Berlin and simply take the subway (S-Bahn) to work every day. Millions of people commute in Berlin everyday, they have an excellent subway and bus system, you can buy a nice monthly card that gives you free access and on the weekends, he would be in Berlin surrounded by 1000 times the cultural and entertainment opportunities than if he were stuck in an apartment in Potsdam.

Just my 2 cents.

Oh, forgot to mention that since the Wall came down, rents have plummeted in Berlin so you should be able to get a great deal on a really nice place. You could opt for a new, modern building or an old, classic Berlin-style apartment with character (guess which one I would suggest).

Just make sure the place is very near an U-Bahn (underground) or S-Bahn (above ground) station (preferably an S-Bahn as that is the train system that goes directly to Potsdam). Berlin weather is not all that pleasant and being a hop skip and a jump to the nearest train station will become very convenient, no matter where you eventually move.

Look in the Berlin-Charlottenburg area…nice shops and theaters, nightclubs and restaurants - plus the S-Bahn runs through it and is only a short (20 minutes or less?) commute to Potsdam, depending what part of Charlottenburg you choose.

You will love living in Berlin, and I won’t be surprised to hear you want to stay after the two years at Max Planck are up.

Thanks for the tips, DMark. The reason my boyfriend wants to live in Potsdam is because it’s the closest he can get to Goelm (I think that’s how it’s spelled, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now), which is where the Institute is. He’s looking forward to being able to leave his place and bicycle down paths in the Sans Souci forest. He’s been living in the hustle and bustle of the Bronx for much longer than he’d like, and I think he’s looking forward to total peace and quiet. He figures that he can head into Berlin for cultural things whenever he wants to, using public transit. Most of his social and working life is going to be centered at the Institute, anyway.

I won’t be living there, myself; I’m staying in the NY area and visiting him as often as I can. He, in turn, is going to come back to NY as often as possible. If we’re lucky, by this time next year, he’ll be back in NY, living with me and enjoying a faculty job.