Moving to the Nurburgring
Updated: Mar 16
We moved to the Eifel full time from London in 2020 and we’re often asked about the move and the different things we had to consider. There are of course, advantages and disadvantages of making such a leap so here are some things we’ve learnt from our first couple of years in our new surroundings.
As with any move abroad, there comes a time when you need to just commit and go for it. Don’t over research every single pro and con because you’ll talk yourself out of it. COVID was the perfect catalyst for us, I lost my job at the start of the pandemic and suddenly with nothing to stay in London for a move to a new country and a new role that supported flexible working seemed very appealing and doable before Brexit kicked in.
We bought a house in a small village called Winnerath, about twenty minutes from the track, but where you live depends on what you want. You can live in Adenau which, in season, will always be busy and noisy but you’ll have the shops on your doorstep and be ten minutes from the ring. On the other hand, you can live in one of the smaller surrounding villages and have a small trip to the shops but it will be completely silent and very peaceful. We chose the latter and mentally it’s been a huge benefit. I can run around the endless countryside in the morning and not see a soul but David can still jump in the car after finishing work at 5pm and get some laps in.
Location: The above might make it seem like you’re in the middle of nowhere. This is sort of true, but also not. You are less than 2 hours from 5 International airports: Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt Hahn and Luxembourg! If you’re worried about getting homesick, you can be door to door from Germany to the UK or any major European city in under 4 hours. It goes without saying you’re also in the middle of Europe and have some amazing destinations at your fingertips too, all less than a 2 hours flight away and offered by the more cost effective airlines too.
Financials: If you’re moving from a large city or anywhere in the UK, life in the EIfel is going to seem quite cheap comparatively from general utilities to eating out you’ll notice a clear difference. More broadly, property is cheaper too, especially if you’re looking for a project to renovate which seems to be most people’s side hobby around here. If you’re a plasterer, plumber, electrician, builder or similar there is also a good living to be had. (See jobs).
Opening Hours: 18 months in and I still can’t get my head around Sundays here. The only places open will be petrol stations and restaurants. No supermarkets or other general retail. A lot of services close at lunchtime on a Saturday so you need to get your act together on Saturday mornings. Don’t forget to buy milk and two days worth of food.
Getting used to the German way: Initially, I remember worrying a lot when we first moved that we had forgotten to set up payments for everything we needed and that we’d have an angry German bailiff knocking at our door. However, as with all things, slowly but surely a letter will arrive and it will become clear what you need to do. Germans like to follow a process.
When you first arrive and have all the usual admin to negotiate, the Eifel region might seem a bit like stepping back in time and this is true to some extent of all of Germany. The processes and paperwork are all functional but slow. Don’t expect a reply to your email within 48 hours, that’s if there is an email address. When people ask for one piece of advice on moving to Germany I say “Buy a printer!” They love a physical copy here.
Jobs/work: Non-seasonal jobs that don’t require fluent German are harder to come by, so come with a plan if you don’t speak German well, unless of course you already have a good network. Both of us work fully remotely and this has been one of the biggest advantages of the move. We have no commuting costs and combined with the relatively cheap living expenses (except petrol) it works out quite favourably and life in general is much less stressful. There are seasonal jobs around the area related to The Ring but are in high demand as there are always people here trying to kick start their dream move. There are also a lot of large businesses that some do work at as seasonal jobs at as well as part time work such as a local large Amazon distribution centre.
Language: You’ve probably thought about learning German but realised it’s quite hard and hoped you can get by with English, right? To an extent this is true. In season, people in pubs and restaurants and general tourist areas will happily chat to you in English but if you’re going to integrate and want to do a bit more than order a burger you’re going to need to learn some German. If you learnt German at school that’s great but a word of warning, there’s a strong dialect and use of slang here and you probably won’t understand very much initially with your “hoch Deutsch”, but stick with it.
Places where German is handy: Registering a vehicle at the town hall, registering s a resident (compulsory), doctors/medical matters, domestic repairs and renovations and phoning any kind of call centre (and you’ll probably need to do this as not everywhere is reachable by email). In general, don’t expect locals to speak English, they really appreciate you making the effort.
Conveniences: Something else that might seem unimportant but has been a lifesaver over COVID has been Amazon Prime. It’s still possible to get next day delivery here despite how remote you might be. In the depths of COVID and still now, this is hugely convenient in an area that definitely hasn’t got Uber or Deliveroo. There is great mobile phone service in the area and internet connectivity is surprisingly good as well, including both hard wired and 5G wireless availability. In our small village we have copper connectivity but still get good speeds of around 90mbs
Community: I’m guessing you’re looking at moving here because of the track? Be sure to integrate yourself in the community too. This was really hard in the pandemic. Facebook groups are big for both the Eifel region and the track and they remain a key way of connecting with local enthusiasts in COVID times and beyond. Add to this time actually spent at the track and spontaneous conversations and you’ll soon develop your own network. If you’re a WAG, then you might initially find it slightly harder but there are other Nurburg wives and girlfriends out there too. A quick intro post on any of the Facebook groups is never a waste of time and a good way to make some quick connections, even if it does seem daunting.
Don’t expect everyone to be a track aficionado either. This may be the case in Adenau but if you live in a smaller village there will be people who have never even been to the track. Both lifestyles are completely possible of course and everyone gets along nicely. It’s also polite to have an awareness of regional festivals and holidays.
Some great resources for your move and learning about the area and what going on are:
https://www.iamexpat.de/ - Founded and run by expats, IamExpat Media is the leading English-language media platform for internationals in Germany, providing up-to-date information, news, job listings, housing services, events and lifestyle tips.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/144883869055345 - The local Adenau Facebook group, good to quickly see what is going on locally.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2464846513624561 - Nürburgring Life, obviously the best place on the internet!
https://www.immobilienscout24.de/ - German property search site
If you’re thinking of moving, I hope the above offers some helpful insights. In general, life in the Eifel is a lot simpler than life in the UK and this has enormous benefits, both practically and mentally. The Summers are amazing and there is always something going on either at the track or in the surrounding area. The Winters are different and can be quieter so bear that in mind. It’s a different way of life to a big city so if you’re attached to the kind of conveniences that come with that you’ll want to consider all the options before taking the leap. There are numerous expansive AirBnb’s available to rent in the area surrounding the ring, I’d really recommend trying some of these out to see if the Eifel is for you.
The Nürburgring Wife Join the discussion on the forum