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Business tools

Doing business in Germany as a whole and specifically Düsseldorf is fairly straightforward. It can also be can be a surprisingly bumpy journey of discovery.

A decision frequently needs to be made to be a regulated freelancer, Freiberufler or self-employed, Selbständiger, incurring registration of a business and paying relevant business taxes. Or to create a so-called small limited company, kleine GmbH or UG, or a fully fledged limited company, GmbH or Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung.

Many processes such as registering a business, Gewerbe, can be performed online. Those working with just one or a few clients can run the risk of performing bogus or fictitious self-employment, Scheinselbständigkeit.

The formation and acceptance of startups have increased exponentially over the last couple of decades. The German business environment can still be sceptical if proof of a longer track record is not forthcoming. General business acumen is relatively conservative and more stand-offish than in say, the US, Britain or the Netherlands.

An early agreement on the method of completing contracts is as wise as clarification of payment terms. Proof of fiscal residency is seldom required nor official proof of company registration. Value added tax compliancy is highly important, especially for EU cross border activities.

Many aspects of the journey are highly rewarding. Getting to know each other takes time, progress often flows through intermittent phases. Interaction is friendly, polite, courteous, committal, often generous and mostly straightforward on the path to an ultimate and clearly defined goal. Clients demand quality.

Information, advice and support can be available from the economic development offices of the city of Düsseldorf and the state government of NRW.

By Vincent Green / Jan 18 2022

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We stand in a foreign culture finding ourselves pointing, gesticulating and hoping to be understood. Germans mostly speak at least some English. However, some expats relocating to Düsseldorf may wish to carry a few basic but helpful words with them for use in awkward moments.

Stack of aluminium chairs


The service environment in Germany is extremely different to that in, say, the US or the UK. Customer experience is defined both by a mix of personal attitudes and the ability to interact with others. Also a result of social tradition and a few decades of history.

Welcome to Düsseldorf

Big city business and small town charm unite to create a vibrant and safe choice of relocation for expats. Modern and old architecture sit comfortably alongside wide river banks and charming urban districts. Enjoy the city!