germany.png

Congratulations on your new assignment! Our garrison is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. We put together this informal guide to help our newcomers prepare for their big move.

THE COUNTRY

ABOUT

Germany is a country in Europe bordered by Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. The country has the largest economy in Europe and is the second most populous nation. Germany is home to many U.S. military installations which are located throughout the country.

QUICK FACTS

  • Population: 80,457,737 (estimate as of July 2018)
  • Official Language: German
  • Currency: Euro
  • Surface Area: 348,672 square kilometers

Source: Central Intelligence Agency

OUR GARRISON

In U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, there is an Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS) site in Dülmen, a town in the North Rhine-Westphalia state bordering The Netherlands and Belgium. The town has a population of over 46,000 people. The largest nearby cities are Münster, Essen, Dortmund and Düsseldorf.

The site is currently located approximately 103 miles from Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, 114 miles from Schinnen, The Netherlands (the closest USAG Benelux location), and 230 miles from Ramstein, Germany. Because of its unique location, in-processing support for Dülmen personnel is conducted at the different offices within The Netherlands and Germany.

ARRIVING HERE

SPONSORSHIP

You should have a sponsor who will help you with in-processing to Dülmen. Please do not hesitate to ask them questions as your sponsor can share their experiences and provide useful tips for making your transition as smooth as possible.

AIRPORTS

If you flying to Germany, your sponsor should pick you up from the airport. If you are traveling from the U.S.or another continent, you will probably arrive at Düsseldorf International Airport or Frankfurt International Airport. Another nearby airport is Münster Osnabruck International Airport.

GETTING AROUND

PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES (POV)

You are probably wondering if you should ship your vehicle (if the entitlement is in your PCS orders) or purchase a vehicle in Germany. It is your choice depending your personal budget and circumstances. However, please do not feel that you cannot drive your American vehicle in Europe.

Please keep in mind that, if you ship your vehicle, it may take at least six to eight weeks, if not longer, to arrive to the country. Please plan ahead and ship your vehicle from the nearest Vehicle Processing Center to your current duty location as soon as possible. Your vehicle will arrive in Bremerhaven, Germany and then sent to the Schinnen VPC.

For more information, go to PCSMyPOV.

To get around town, you can rent a car as public transportation may be limited in your area. Please beaware that rental car costs are not an entitlement in PCS orders. It is the person's responsibility to pay for those costs. There are rental car facilities nearby, it is recommended to make a reservation in advance. Your sponsor can help you with booking a reservation.

AUTO INSURANCE

Some U.S. automobile insurance carriers provide international coverage. Please check with your current carrier first. Your rate may be higher in Europe, and some people consider using a local insurance carrier instead.

DRIVER'S LICENSES

The legal driving age in Germany is 17 and over. U.S. personnel in Germany are required to maintain a valid U.S.driver’s license and must renew it even if they are living overseas. In addition,they must obtain a driver’s permit after arrival to the country.

For more information, go to the Driver's Licenses page.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Dülmen has a well-connected network of buses for traveling within the city. The city also has a train station which connects to other major cities in Germany.

LODGING

There is no on-post lodging in Dülmen. Prior to your arrival, your sponsor should make your lodging arrangements. Some people stay at the Steverbett Hotel in Lüdinghausen,Germany. Another options is finding lodging through AirBnB.

PETS

TRAVEL PREPARATION

Europe is very pet-friendly. If you decide to bring your pets to Germany, please refer to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on pet travel regulations. Before your move, make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. If you are currently living near or at a U.S. military installation with veterinary services, you can ask the veterinarian for assistance in preparing travel documentation.

AIR TRAVEL

If you are flying to Germany, research the airline's pet travel policies. Pets will either travel in-cabin or in cargo. Some airlines have restrictions on putting pets in the cargo hold during certain months of the year due to extremely high or low temperatures.Airlines also have breed restrictions. When in doubt, talk directly to the airline's customer service for clarification.

You can also use an international pet shipping service for your move.

LODGING

If you are staying at hotel off-post, please check their pet policies for arrivals. Guests may be charged extra fees for pets.

HOMES

Like in the U.S., home rental listings will state if pets are allowed. U.S. military housing typically allows pets.

EXPENSES

Although pets are family members, they are not on official PCS orders. This means that you are responsible for the costs for your pets.

SCHOOLS

For families seeking to enroll their children in non-DOD school, please contact the Non-DOD Schools Program in Germany at DSN 314-545-1537/1538 or +49(0)611-143-545-1537 or +49(0)611-143-545-1538.

For more information about the Non-DOD Schools Program, click HERE.

HOUSING

HOUSEHOLD GOODS

As you are preparing for your move, you are wondering what items to bring, pack in storage or sell. Please keep in mind that European homes are different than U.S. homes. You may find that the bedrooms are smaller, and appliances are smaller. Most homes are heated by radiators and don't have air conditioning units or ceiling fans. Most homes also don't have carpeted floors.

Even though it is tempting to start your home search before you move, we recommend people wait until after they arrive to do house hunting. All U.S. personnel must go to the Housing Office in Schinnen, The Netherlands, for their in-processing brief. Your sponsor will set up your appointment time with Housing before your arrival. For more information about Housing, click here. To find listings in the local area, check out Immobilien Scout 24.

PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED ITEMS

Citizen's Band (CB) Radios/Police Scanners: Importation of these type radios by DOD personnel into Germany, whether in POVs or in household goods is strictly prohibited. Removal costs will be at your own expense.

Firearms: It is highly recommended that you do not ship firearms to Germany. Stringent firearms regulations and licensing laws prevent the freedom of access and movement of firearms. If you insist that you bring firearms, contact your sponsor first. Although discouraged, it can be done with some help and strict rules that need to be followed.

APPLIANCES

Homes have 220-volt electric outlets as opposed to 110-volt outlets in the U.S. If you lived at an OCONUS duty station before, your landlord may have provided you electric converters and transformers. German landlords aren't required to provide those items so it is the tenant's responsibility to get them. Electric converters and transformers use a lot of energy which may result in high electric bills. We recommend that people store their 110-volt appliances and purchase 220-voltappliances. You can buy 220-volt appliances at the PX or local stores. You can buy gently-used appliances from local thrift stores as well as from other community members. There are Facebook groups dedicated for community members to sell items.

CLOTHING

Most German homes don’t have closets so people store their clothes and other belongings in a free-standing wardrobe. If you have housing entitlements in your PCS orders, Central Furniture Management Office (CFMO) provides wardrobes for each family member in your orders plus one extra for the household. If you wish to purchase your own wardrobe, there are many department and furniture stores that sell them.

For military personnel: Although you will be able to purchase some items through AAFES Military Clothing Sales Store located in Schinnen, their selection is may be limited so purchase what you need prior to arrival. The Base Exchange Store in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, has a larger selection of clothing for purchase.

HEALTHCARE

U.S. personnel, including Department of Defense civilian employees, can use services provided by the U.S.Medical Clinic at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base. Please know that these facilities offer limited services. Doctors may refer patients to other military medical centers such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base and U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Doctors also may refer patients to medical services in the local area.

If you have U.S. health insurance, please review your plan details before seeking medical services. If you have questions, please talk to your insurance carrier so there is no confusion on coverage for international services.

OTHER TIPS

BANKS/FINANCES

Andrews Federal Credit Union is a U.S. financial institution with a branch in Schinnen, The Netherlands. These branches have 24-hour ATM, convenience services, European Bill Pay services, loans and other financial services. You can get U.S. dollars and Euros there. There is also a Community Bank, operated by Bank of America, at Schinnen and an ATM at JFC Brunssum. Mentioning of these financial institutions does not imply federal endorsement.

Please remember that the local currency is Euro. If you plan to use your U.S. debit and credit cards, you maybe charged international conversion fees. Talk to your current bank and credit card company regarding possible fees before moving.

Since your first few weeks in Germany will be quite busy, it is a good idea to get Euro before you move. Some local vendors may not accept credit cards as a payment option.

PHONES

U.S. phones will work in Germany. If you plan to keep the same phone, please check with your service provider to make sure there are no outstanding payments due on the bill. Also,please make sure your phone is unlocked by your service provider before moving.

After arriving to the country,you will need to remove the SIM card and replace it with a SIM card from a German service provider.

It is always difficult choosing the right mobile provider when you move to another country. However, the mobile network in the country is excellent and you will have plenty options. We recommend talking to your sponsor for the best coverage in the area.