Picture a kitchen in your head. Wrong. You were imagining cabinets, countertops, a fridge, stove, sink and possibly a dishwasher, weren’t you? I think you’ll find that you’re overstepping quite a bit. What are you, some kind of royalty? What you should expect is something a little more minimalistic. Say white barren walls, tiles on the floor, tiles on one wall… maybe, bare pipes, a couple of power outlets and wires dangling from the ceiling. Welcome to the heart of your home. Dreamy, isn’t it?
What the actual what with the who with the why?!
The only logical explanation for why Germans find it necessary to remove their entire kitchen when moving apartments, must be due to a weird obsession with privacy and the pervasive fear that if a stranger knows too much about them, it’ll end badly. So if you let a stranger know how you like your fridge (bar-sized, with an inconsistent thermostat, bitte), you may as well hand over the keys to your apartment and install cameras in your shower. Laminate countertop preferences are nothing short of a gateway to identity theft.
Whatever the truth may be, what you do need to know is that when Germans move they take EVERYTHING: cabinets, countertops, the range hood, oven, kitchen sink… Every. Single. Thing. A forensic team could do a sweep and not find a trace of DNA or evidence of previous habitation once they’re out.
You have some questions. That’s understandable. Let’s address some of them:
Aren’t all kitchens different in size, layout and design? Yes.
So, isn’t it kind of weird to try to jam a kitchen into an unsuitable new space? Yes.
Wouldn’t it be easier to leave kitchens in the apartments for which they were initially designed? Yes.
…but Bavarians still insist on moving with their kitchens? Yes.
…and a kitchen in a rental will most likely be an empty room? Yes.
Are there any other options? Yes…
All hail the Einbauküche!
Luckily for you, a handful of Bavarians have embraced the modern notion of an Einbauküche. Don’t get too excited though… There’ll be limitations. For one, no light fittings. Light fittings are just a way of saying: “Welcome to my underwear drawer. Please take your pick.” Buy your own damn cables and lightbulbs, pervert! What you can expect are cupboards and a sink, possibly a small fridge and maybe some kind of appliance. Like a dishwasher. If you’re very lucky. If you’re extremely lucky. Probably not, though.
There is one other thing you should know: it ain’t free. Yeah, sorry, it seems that whoever said that the best things in life are free had never lived in Munich. The cost of an Einbauküche is worked out according to its original purchase price. This depreciates by about ten per cent per year. So, for example, a three-year-old kitchen that initially cost 4,000€, will be between 2,600€ and 2,900€. This is only a guide and, scientifically speaking, the expense and logistics of having a kitchen removed, relocated and reinstalled is the rough equivalent of childbirth, so tenants may be open to negotiate (as long as there isn’t another candidate willing to pay full price).
No Einbauküche. Help.
No Einbauküche? Get yourself organized ASAP unless you’re curious to find out what life was like before kitchens were invented. The average delivery time from when you order a new kitchen to when you actually receive it, is about seven trillion years. Dinosaurs didn’t have kitchens. That’s not a coincidence. Ready to fit out your empty room now? You have two options:
There is a range of places that offer kitchens. The priciest of them create custom designs, while the cheapest have modular units that you can knock together. The two most popular kitchen stores are IKEA and Segmüller, although there are plenty of others at various price points. Most even offer financing in case you can’t stump up the cash on the spot. If you have a time machine, use it. If not, expect to wait at least six weeks to see sign of your kitchen once you’ve bought it.
If you’re handy with the tools and have a lot of luck, pluck and determination… but reasonably low standards, you can find a used kitchen online. Bavarians who have found themselves in the possession of an ill-fitting kitchen that they don’t want will often list it on a page like Ebay Kleinanzeigen. You’ll have to figure out how to pick the thing up and jam it into your kitchen room yourself, though. Perks: it’ll be cheap and you might get it this century.
- Bavarians be weird
- Most apartment kitchens are empty rooms
- Some apartments have an Einbauküche (EBK)
- You’ll most likely have to buy the EBK from the previous tenant
- An EBK depreciates roughly ten per cent per year
- New kitchens can be planned, bought and installed through a range of stores
- It takes a LONG time to receive a kitchen once you’ve bought it: plan for a minimum of six weeks
- Some stores offer financing on furniture and kitchen purchases
- You can buy a used kitchen on sites such as Ebay Kleinanzeigen, but pick up and installation is on you
Welcome to Munich!
Agnes Stockburger is a writer, editor and published author. In her glory days she wrote for the likes of Australian Broker, SheKnows and Yahoo!7. These days you’re more likely to find her sticking Duplo blocks in the fridge and the milk in the mailbox because OMG her kids will NOT sleep. She has lived in Munich for six years, has two dirndls and gave birth in German. Twice. This obviously qualifies her to write about the local culture with impunity.