Annual Meeting > General Information

General Information

About Berlin

Berlin is the capital city of Germany with much of its area composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, and lakes.  It is a city full of culture, politics, media, and science and also a home to world-renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras, and museums.  Berlin is also well known for its festivals, unique architecture, nightlife, and contemporary arts.

 

 

Meeting Location

The Meeting will take place at the Estrel Berlin Hotel & Convention Center. The hotel’s convenient location and ideal transportation connections make it easy to reach by both car and when using public transportation.  The Estrel Berlin is only 13 kilometers from Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport (SXF). The S-Bahn commuter train station can be reached on foot in only three minutes, and a bust top and taxi pickup are located directly in front of the hotel.

 

Group rates have been secured at the Estrel Berlin for SVP 2014 meeting attendees at discounted rates. Reservation and contact information will be provided in the first circular and posted on this site in March 2014.

 

Schönefeld Airport (SXF)

The airport is located in the northwest of Berlin, approximately 8 kilometers from the city center.  If you are traveling by taxi you can reach the Estrel Berlin in roughly 15 minutes at a cost of approximately 25 euros.  If you wish to use public transit, with a duration of approximately 40 minutes, take the 171 but line until you reach the “Sonnenallee” stop. 


Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)

Take the X9 bus line from the airport to the "Jungfernheide" bus stop. Transfer then to the S42 S-Bahn commuter train line (Ringbahn) until you reach the "Sonnenallee" stop.
Public transport journey duration: roughly 40 minutes
Taxi journey duration: roughly 30 minutes
Taxi price: roughly 35 euros


Visitor’s Information

To learn more about Berlin and its “hot spots,” please visit http://www.visitberlin.de/en.  While at the meeting, you may also visit the Concierge Desk at the Estrel Berlin for information on tours, restaurants, and other attractions.

 

General Information

Banking and Foreign Exchange

The official currency of Germany is the Euro (EUR).  You can find currency exchange desks at any airport you arrive into, most train stations (Bahnhof) in larger towns and cities and all banks or you can use your ATM card at most ATMs in Germany.  ATMs are known in German as Bankomat.  ATMs are multilingual so your Visa or debit card should be used without problems.  Some banks have a reciprocal agreement with other banks (for example Deutsche Bank with Barclays and Bank of America) which saves on bank charges when using the ATM.  Check with your bank before you travel.  Big cities will have branches of major banks (e.g. Citibank) that may help you get money without so many fees.  Try to use main bank branches at ATMs at railway stations or convenience stores may charge extra.

 

When exchaning money, all banks and exchanges will post two numbers - one is what they will buy your Dollars, Pounds, Franks, Pesos, etc. at; the other is what they will sell you Dollars, Pounds, Franks, Pesos, etc. for.  Since you are trading a different currency into Euros, you will need to look at the rate posted under € - Sell, which is always higher than the rate posted under € - Buy.


Coins and Bills

The Euro is circulated in denominations up to 500 Euro in coins of .10, .20, .50, 1, 2, and 5, and bank notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Larger notes over 100 Euro may not be readily accepted in some smaller restaurants or shops. ATMs will readily pay out in the larger denominations in many places. Changing money or traveler's checks can be done in most major banks and also in airports, railway stations etc. Look out for the exchange rate though as it varies. Note also that the motifs on coins vary from country to country within the European Union but are valid anywhere the Euro is accepted.

Most Germans pay by EC/Maestro or VISA debit card. Credit and debit cards are quite universal but not as widespread as in some countries such as the U.S. It is always a good idea to check before you buy or sit down to a meal to ensure that any type of credit card is accepted or that your particular brand is readily accepted. Most stores and restaurants will display the logos of the brands they accept on their door(s), but it is still wise to ask before ordering. Most petrol stations accept nearly every type of credit card offered.

 

International Currency Converters:

www.GoCurrency.com  

www.Oanda.com

 

Climate

Berlin has a temperate oceanic climate with relatively cold winters with average temperatures of 37 degree Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius).  However, Berlin’s built-up area creates a microclimate, with heat stored by the city’s buildings.  Temperatures can be 7 degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius higher in the city than in the surrounding areas.  Berlin experiences moderate rainfall throughout the year and the majority of snowfall occur from December through March. The average temperature in November is 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit (4.7 degrees Celsius).

 

Dialing Codes

The International access code for Germany is +49. The area code in Berlin is 30. The German telephone system is highly advanced so just be sure to dial all the necessary codes. Remember to include the lead 0 in area codes when calling within the country. Toll-free numbers in Germany begin with 0800 and are followed by a 7-digit number. To make an international call, dial 01, followed by the country code, area code, and local number.

 

Eating Out

Berlin’s culinary delights are popular well beyond the city borders.  Dining options range from the hearty, traditional Berlin cuisine to food from other regions of the world.  Berlin is also known for its vast offering of vegetarian and vegan food.  A unique experience for people are the dark restaurants, Nocti vagus and unsichtBar, where you can dine in total darkness and rely on your sense to discover the pleasure of food.

 

The atrium of the Estrel Berlin offers a variety of restaurants as well, serving cuisine from Germany and beyond.

 

Electricity

Voltage in Germany is 220 - 240 voltage. A plug or other electrical product approved for use in Germany, has a “DVE” marking (“ÖVE” in Austria, “+S” in Switzerland) on the item or on the accompanying literature.

 

Language

The official language of the meeting is English.  Translation service will not be provided.

 

Name Badge

The SVP badge must be worn at all times for admission to the scientific sessions, exhibits, and social events.

 

Request for Letters of Invitation
For security purposes, letters of invitation can only be sent to individuals registered for the Meeting. Please contact the Meeting Management Office to request a letter of invitation at leftwich@faseb.org.

Smoking Policy

In Berlin smoking is prohibited from all public buildings, including bars, restaurants, and night clubs.  However, establishments may offer a separate smoking room. 

 

Tax

Value added tax (VAT) is a type of sales tax.  In Germany the normal VAT rate of 19% is added to the net price.  On certain products and services, such as books, staple foods (except soft drinks and spirits), newspapers, flowers, and public transportation tickets, the reduced VAT rate of 7% is applied. 

 

Travelers who live outside the European Union can obtain a refund on value added tax for goods bought in Germany.  Save your receipts from your purchases.  Get to the airport ahead of time when you are leaving.  Before you check in your luggage, you can go to the tax free shopping reclaim office and get your receipts stamped and obtain a cash refund.

 

Tipping

Service and VAT are included in the menu price in restaurants, bars, etc. all over Germany.  Still, it is typical to “round up” the amount to some more-or-less round figure.  A rule of thumb is to add 5-10%, generally ending with a full Euro amount.  It is not typical to be given a check at a restaurant, then leave your money on the table.  You have to tell the amount including top you want to pay before you pay (via cash or credit card).

Visa

Non-EU citizens need a valid passport to enter Germany. Information sheets listing the regulations for persons from the respective countries, who want to stay less than 90 days, are available at the respective German embassies.
 

Non-EU citizens who want to stay longer than 90 days need a visa from a German Consulate. These are usually only issued for business travellers and students with a foreign scholarship. The citizens of the following countries do not need a tourist visa to enter Germany:
 

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Guatemala, Honduras, Hongkong, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Republic of Slowakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Cyprus.
 

We recommend that tourists, who want to combine their stay in Berlin with a trip to other European countries, apply for the necessary visas to enter the countries of their choice prior to their departure.


Transportation

Transportation in Berlin

 Public Transportation

Belin’s public transit system will take you almost anywhere you want to go.  Taxis are typically the easiest to catch and bike rentals make it possible for you to tour the city at your own pace. 

 

The extended system of U and S-Bahns, buses and trams will take you easily, safely and cheaply to any sight or attraction. The S-Bahn commuter train station can be reached on foot from the Estrel Berlin in only three minutes.  Please visit http://www.visitberlin.de/en/plan/on-site/out-and-about-in-berlin for information on fares, schedules, contact information, and routes.

 

In Postdam 150 rental bikes are available at 24 stations.  You can even rent and return them over the phone or using a Smartphone app. Visit the Next Bike website to learn more.


Transportation to Berlin

Arrival by Airplane

Flying to Berlin is not only the fastest, but most cost effective method of traveling.  Both Tegel and Schönefeld Airports can be quickly and easily reached from the city and are integrated into the airlines’ nation and international route network.  The three largest airlines at Berlin’s airport are airberlin, easyJet, and the Deutsche Lufthansa.  There are two airports in Berlin which are both accessible with the public transportation system or via taxi very easily.  They are Tegel Aiport (TXL) and Schönefeld Airport (SXF).  Below are directions from these airports to the Estrel Berlin:


Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)

Take the X9 bus line from the airport to the "Jungfernheide" bus stop. Transfer then to the S42 S-Bahn commuter train line (Ringbahn) until you reach the "Sonnenallee" stop.
Public transport journey duration: roughly 40 minutes
Taxi journey duration: roughly 30 minutes
Taxi price: roughly 35 euros


Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF)

Take the 171 bus line until you reach the "Sonnenallee" stop.
Public transport journey duration: roughly 40 minutes
Taxi journey duration: roughly 15 minutes
Taxi price: roughly 25 euros


By Car

It is easy and comfortable to get to Berlin by car.  The city has an efficient connection to the motorway and there are several big streets connecting to the city center.  An environmental badge is required for your car because the center of Berlin is an environmental zone.

 

Directions via car to the Estrel Berlin:

From the West / South
When approaching Berlin from the A2 or A9 autobahns, switch on to the A10 / Berliner Ring, then onto the A115 and afterwards onto the A100 in the direction Wilmersdorf / Kurfürstendamm / Flughafen Schönefeld. Leave the motorway using Exit 26 "Grenzallee" and turn right at the traffic light onto the street called Grenzallee. Continue on Grenzallee for two more traffic lights, turning left at the second one onto the street called Sonnenallee and proceed for another half a kilometre where you will find the Estrel Berlin located on the right side of the street.


From the North

Take the A24 Dreieck Havelland interchange onto A10 / Berliner Ring toward Berlin, then change onto the A111 autobahn in the direction Flughafen Tegel / Berlin-Zentrum / Berlin-Reinickendorf. Shortly afterwards take the A100 autobahn and then leave it at Exit 26, "Grenzallee". Turn right at the traffic light onto the street called Grenzallee. Continue on Grenzallee for two more traffic lights, turning left at the second one onto the street called Sonnenallee and proceed for another half a kilometre where you will find the Estrel Berlin located on the right side of the street.


From the East 

When approaching Berlin from the A13 or A12 / A10 autobahns, take the "Schönefelder Kreuz" interchange onto the A113 toward Berlin-Zentrum. Then take Exit 26, "Grenzallee", turning right at the traffic light onto the street called Grenzallee. Continue on Grenzallee for two more traffic lights, turning left at the second one onto "Sonnenallee" and proceed for another half a kilometre where you will find the Estrel Berlin located on the right side of the street.


From Berlin Schönefeld Airport SXF

When leaving the airport go right onto Am Seegraben / B96a, then left onto the A113 autobahn in the direction Berlin-Zentrum. Take Exit 26, "Grenzallee", turning right at the traffic light onto the street called Grenzallee. Continue on Grenzallee for two more traffic lights, turning left at the second one onto the street called Sonnenallee and proceed for another half a kilometre where you will find the Estrel Berlin located on the right side of the street.

From Berlin Tegel Airport TXL
Take the "Saatwinkler Damm" slip road onto the A111 autobahn toward Dresden / Magdeburg / Leipzig / Zentrum, which becomes the A100. Take Exit 26, "Grenzallee", turning right at the traffic light onto the street called Grenzallee. Continue on Grenzallee for two more traffic lights, turning left at the second one onto the street called Sonnenallee and proceed for another half a kilometre where you will find the Estrel Berlin located on the right side of the street.
 

Parking
The hotel has its own underground parking garage offering 450 parking spaces (2013: 15 euros per day / 2014: 18 euros per day).


For more information, click here.

 

By Train

Berlin can be reached from all directions using the InterCityExpress, InterCity, EuroCity, and InterRegio Trains.  The central station, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, is located in the heart of Berlin.  All train stations are also well connected to the public transport system.

 

You may book your ticket to Berlin by clicking here.

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