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Television in the Ruhr Metropolis is understandably in German. 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 in Germany 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 too. For instance limits exist on 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, every resident contributes to the costs. Thus is done via a licence fee, which is € 17,50 per month at the time of writing. 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 a property need to apply for an exemption. Being proactive is important to avoid unnecessary and fruitless legal consequences.

By Vincent Green / Jun 28 2021

ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice

Freimersdorfer Weg 6
50829 Köln

+49 221 506 10

Cyclist on narrow modern bridge


Cycling in the Ruhr Metropolis can be enjoyable and most rewarding. Bike paths criss cross the whole of the region and weave their way across most urban areas. Hop on a bicycle to discover quieter city districts or nearby villages. Try riding along the banks of local rivers, in wilder natural spaces or the open meadows of outlying regions.

People on horizon


Larger events that affect street life or draw larger crowds in the Ruhr Metropolis are presented in the Events Overview. These include funfairs, marathons, street fairs, music festivals and Christmas markets. Activities such as the Ruhrtriennale, Park Lights, Extra Shift and Ruhr Reggae Summer are exemplary. Photo © Ravi Sejk.

City guides for expats

Amazing Capitals Ruhr is full of insights for local international residents. It is dedicated to helping expats make choices, settle and participate. Enjoy the Ruhr region!