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Beautiful dog's head

Germans, on the whole, love and respect their own and other’s pets and are especially friendly towards dogs. Keeping a pet on a leash is a must apart from inside official, special pens in some open spaces. Surprisingly for some, dogs are also permitted on public transport and inside restaurants unless otherwise stated.

Within the European Union, pets may move freely if they have been micro chipped, had the necessary vaccine against rabies and their owners possess a valid EU pet passport.

Dog ownership is highly regulated and taxed through a compulsory licence fee, which has to be paid for all dogs regardless of their race or size. Cats remain a matter of citizen’s privacy. The municipal tax office will send a dog tag, which, when attached to the dog collar demonstrates to the authorities during spot checks that the dog is registered. Fees vary according to the number of dogs in a household and rise notably if a dangerous breed is registered.

Dogs need to be registered within two weeks of arrival. Registration is possible in writing, on the phone and in person at the municipal tax office, Steueramt. Forms are available to be completed and downloaded or complete the online registration and submit directly with an NRW service account. Personal details and information about the dog, origins, dates, ownership, address, bank account and so on will be required. The address below in Essen is exemplary. Search Steueramt with your location in your browser for other options.

By Vincent Green, Jun 11 2021

Stadt Essen Rathaus

Porscheplatz 1
45127 Essen

+49 201 8821430

Beach scene with sunbathers


It may come as a surprise of newly arrived expats that beaches can be found in the Ruhr Metropolis. Fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. People flock to enjoy spaces beside the rivers and lakes, especially on warm and sunny summer days. Photo © Ralph Lueger.

Cinema, movie theatre frontage


Original language movies are popular among expats living across the Ruhr Metropolis. Films are screened regularly in English original with subtitles, known as OmU and without, portrayed as OV. A wide variety of cinemas or movie theatres can be found, both large and small.

Public Transport

The public transport system in Ruhr is extensive, safe and normally efficient. A dense network of trams, Strassenbahn, above and below ground as well as buses serve the cities and suburbs. Links via the local and S-Bahn train systems interconnect many neighbouring communities.

Subway station