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Television is understandably in German in Düsseldorf. As opposed to Scandinavian countries, if a foreign series, soap, or movie is shown, then it is dubbed. Programmes shown in the original, with or without subtitles, are extremely seldom.

Along with its southern neighbours such as France and Spain, the business of translating and dubbing into German is huge. Some say this is a disadvantage to the young, pointing to the language capabilities of Nordic nationalities.

Mobile streaming of TV programmes is highly limited due to licensing issues, which leaves just a few channels such as CNN and BBC World available on cable or satellite. Depending upon the home, one or the other should already be installed. News streams on YouTube are also challenging. Netflix, for instance, limits some content on offer according to country.

Some expats like to trick the system and install freeview systems imported from abroad either with a satellite dish or VPN. Others enjoy the opportunity to get a feel for the phonetics of German and help to learn the language.

Licence Fee

German television is a mix of state owned and private TV channels. The philosophy is, to guarantee quality programmes and political neutrality of sorts, everyone contributes to the costs. This is done via a licence fee, which is € 18,36 per month at the time of editing. Payable quarterly, every six months or annually to the service organisation.

The law states that a licence fee has be paid for every home in Germany. As soon as an expat registers or moves, the TV licensing organisation is informed. A demand for money follows fairly soon after. However, since only one person is required to pay, adults who are sharing need to apply for an exemption. Being proactive is important to avoid unnecessary and fruitless legal consequences.

By Vincent Green / Edited, Mar 14 2024

ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice

Freimersdorfer Weg 6
50829 Köln

+49 221 506 10

Crowd of people chatting and drinking


Individual larger events, activities or unique aspects of expat life in Düsseldorf are found here. Museums night, Düsseldorf Festival, Ferris Wheel, Christmas Tree Cutting or Midnight Communion, Book Fair, Jazz Rally and Shakespeare Festival are exemplary.

Sandy beach, water and 2 women


To the surprise of newly arrived expats, some sections of the Rhine in Düsseldorf offer numerous beaches on both banks. The fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. Especially on warm and sunny summer days, people flock to enjoy the river. 

Socialising in Düsseldorf

Staying in touch and getting together with others living in a similar situation can be important. Expat groups in social media are highly valuable sources for connecting. Socialising in Düsseldorf can include events, international clubs or heading for a popular spot to meet international residents.