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Frankfurt



What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Siedlung housing has a bad reputation. If you're single and want quiet, ask to be away from the field house. If you have kids and want to be near the playgrounds, ask to be near the field house. the rooms are big, the storage is big, and GSO is very responsive to any problems. - Sep 27, 2017
Bigger than most Germans have. The apartments are blocky with no character. Washer and dryer in the kitchen. Commutes are great: either a) three minute car ride, b) ten minute bus ride, or c) 40 minute walk. The worst part of the housing is that there is no A/C, so the few sticky months in the summer are pretty awful. - Jan 28, 2017
Apartment in the consulate's housing compound, known as the "Siedlung." Most consulate personnel live on the Siedlung, which is about 15 minutes from the consulate by car or bus, or about a 30 minute walk. Non-foreign affairs agencies may live off of the compound in leased apartments and commute times vary considerably. The apartments on the Siedlung are spacious and include storage units that vary somewhat in size but are generally at least as large as a single car garage. Decor varies a bit depending on when the building was renovated. Not the fanciest or most stylish, but large and functional. I was a bit apprehensive about living on a compound prior to arrival, having served in other posts where people were all housed within a few neighborhoods and feeling like everyone was on top one another and all up in one another's business. However, the compound here is so large that it doesn't really feel like that here. Plus, it's easier to get people together to do something, like go to dinner, because everyone doesn't scatter to the winds after work. - Aug 14, 2016
Housing is good. Most of us all live in the same neighborhood. The apartments are well-maintained. One doesn't feel cramped or in a fishbowl. Nothing remarkable about the housing but there is little to complain about. I would characterize the typical apartment as cozy - neither large nor small. The Consulate is about 40 minutes away by foot, about 10 - 15 minutes by bus and car. - Feb 1, 2016
Most foreign affairs agency personnel are housed in a common USG owned apartment community. This is former US Army housing built in the 50's. Walk-up apartments have been updated and are decent size. Singles usually occupy two bedroom/one bath units and families with children are allotted between 3-6 bedrooms depending on availability and family size. There is a community "field house" with restaurant, small shop, play grounds, tennis courts, and a preschool. Consulate apartment housing have 110v outlets in the kitchen. Non foreign affairs agencies are housed throughout the community in various apartments, town houses and houses. - Dec 9, 2015
OK this has been my one complaint about this post and it's one that almost led me to curtail - housing is TERRIBLE here. The other reviews address the available housing pretty well, and I feel that while it's old, badly designed, and poorly furnished, it is in a nice location and is maintained well. My complaint mainly has to do with the assignment process. Post policy is that singles and childless couples get only two bedroom units without regard for size or square footage, although the layout of the apartments can vary significantly. As a result, my wife and I were assigned a tiny (approx 600 square foot) "two bedroom" apartment - so cramped, we could not open drawers and literally have to crawl over the Consulate-provided furniture (that they refuse to take back) in order to get in and out of bed each day. Meanwhile, several of my single co-workers had the larger (approx 900 square foot) two-bedroom units, and anyone with children receives even larger 3 or 4-bedroom units. So if you have kids, you'll love it. If you're single, you'll at least find it tolerable. If you're married and don't have kids, expect to be severely disappointed. - Jun 27, 2014
We are all put up in very lovely, large apartments on a huge housing complex. It is accessible to all so it feels like you live in a big city housing park. It is remarkable to me that people complain about the housing here. There is no way that the average FSO salaried person could afford to rent places this big in Europe for even a night, much less live in them for three years! People are respectful of one's privacy and space. It is great to live in big apartment in a European city. We have had more visitors at this post than any other in the 16 years I have been overseas. Commute by bus is about 15 minutes but you can walk or bike as well. Great location and centrally located to everywhere. - Mar 30, 2014
State Department personnel must live on compound consisting of apartments with 2-6 bedrooms. Other agency personnel can choose to live in a local apartment or house. The commute is 15 minutes by local transportation; by car its about 10 minutes when there's no traffic. - Nov 7, 2013
Most everyone lives on the housing compound. It is a 10 min drive to the Consulate or a 40 min walk. - Apr 4, 2012
The Seidlung is where 99% of the diplomatic community lives, and it is not as bad as everyone makes it out. Nice green spaces, a five-minute walk to amazing large park and restaurants and bakeries. Much nicer than Oakwoods in DC. Large, clean, great storage the size of a double car garage, but clean. A ten-minute commute by bus, life is easy. - Mar 4, 2012
Apartments and houses. If you are affiliated with the U.S. Consulate General then chances are (with the exception of a few senior staff members) you will live on the same compound as everyone else. The compound is nothing to write home about, especially if you have livedoverseas before in USG providing housing. If you are single, you will probably only get one bathroom. If you have a family, you will get multiple bathrooms, but from what I have seen, they are almost like afterthoughts and not designed well. There is no air conditioning, and while it doesn't get too hot most of the time, there are days and nights during the summer that you'll wish you had it due to the humidity (especially if you live on the 3rd floor).This compound is old, and quite unattractive from the outside. The insides are OK, but tend to be smaller than what most people are used to. If you live on the economy, I understand that the rents are quite expensive due to the presence of large numbers of bankers and other expats. From what I have been told, an approximately 1000 square foot apartment in a decent neighborhood would cost around 3000 Euro a month. Commute times vary obviously, but from the Consulate housing compound to the Consulate, it's about a 30 minute walk, 5 minute drive, or 12 minute bus ride. People complain that traffic on the autobahns around Frankfurt is bad, but compared with other major cities in the world and the US, it isn't that bad. - Oct 3, 2011
One word sums it up: awful (for anyone working on the Consulate that is). Most, if not all Consulate staff are put on a housing compound about a 30 minute walk from the Consulate called "Little America". The apartments are 3 story, ugly, old military style housing units. Although the insides of the units have all been renovated recently, they did the renovations cheaply, and most of the items (especially in the bathrooms) are already falling apart and breaking. Mold is another problem here as well. GSO tries to fix things, but these units are so old and there are so many of them (400+), that they have a hard time keeping up. Also, the ovens here either take 5-10 minutes to light and/or turn off randomly. Don't expect to bake or use the oven much here. I've had GSO over 5+ times to repair it, but they just shrug their shoulders and say deal with it. Also, the compound has a lot of hard partying, noisy and unfriendly military and quasi-military families here. They let their kids run amok on the compound, while they pound Budweiser beer and bottles of Jack Daniels. If you’re not on the top floor either, you can hear everything above and below you. The walls have little insulation, so be prepared for the fishbowl experience. My ex-pat friend came over to the compound for the first time, and thought it was Germany’s section 8 housing (due to the uglyness and amount of trash). She isn’t far off…Overall, until they get new housing, I would NOT recommend bidding on Frankfurt. Housing is horrible, and they need to fix it at some point soon (which will probably never happen). I will never bid on a place with compound living again, especially one with so many military families living on it. Morale is at a huge low here, and it’s almost 99% to do with the housing and everyone living on top of one another. If you’re an expat, there are some great neighborhoods in Frankfurt and some beautiful places to live. If you’rewith the Consulate, you’re in a rundown neighborhood in run down buildings. Again, I can’t stress this enough, the housing here is awful and is only getting worse. - Jul 15, 2010
Compound living in apartments (Converted military barracks). - Jul 7, 2008
Compound living for State employees, some of the employees live on the economy in decent house (townhouses) generally in the Taunus area. - Feb 23, 2008
There are mostly apartments for government employees. Commute is 5 minutes by car (limited parking), 15 minutes by bus. - Jan 4, 2008