Living in Mainz

Emergency Numbers and Medical Treatment

As a newcomer to Germany, it is important to know the emergency numbers and/or save them in your phone's contact list. There are three primary emergency services in Germany:

  • Rettungsdienst (Emergency Medical Service)
  • Polizei (Police)
  • Feuerwehr (Fire Department)

112 – In the case of life-threatening situations, fires, and serious medical issues, call 112 which will directly connect you with the appropriate local emergency service. The call is free of charge.

110 – If you wish to contact the police, call 110. This call is also free of charge.

116117 – Since diseases do not strike according to office hours, it could happen that you suddenly need medical care during the weekend. However, you do not need to go straight to the emergency room. The medical on-call service is available for patients during the night, weekends, and holidays. Please find the correct on-call service on the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Rheinland-Pfalz website (available only in German), or call 116117. This number is nationwide and thus, works all over Germany.

If you are ill and want to make a doctor’s appointment, contact the nearest Hausarzt (family doctor). Some might not have a time slot available right away, so you may have to call several doctor’s offices. If you are insured with a statutory insurance, bring your electronic health card. If you are privately insured, whether or not you have an insurance card depends on your health insurance provider.

In addition, the International Office has compiled an extensive list of emergency contacts.

Additionally, you can read through this brochure “First Aid – An Illustrated Health Dictionary” for useful vocabulary in case of emergencies and doctor’s appointments.

Driver's license

Although Germany is home to a large and well-functioning public transport system (especially within the city of Mainz) and you can rely on trains, trams, and buses to get from city to city, you may still be interested in using your own driver’s license in Germany or want to acquire one while here. This is how to proceed:



Depending on where  your driver’s license was issued, you will either benefit from a reciprocity agreement with Germany and will have to submit certain documents, or you will need to take a theoretical and/or practical exam in order to have your license recognized. If your driver’s licence was issued in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway, it will be recognized without an exam. There are also additional countries that are (at least partly) exempt from these exams, and you will find these listed on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice (available only in German). Driver’s licenses issued in any other countries will not be recognized without an exam.

If you are exempt from the exam, you will have to contact and visit the Führerscheinstelle (driver's license office) in Mainz within six months of your arrival, and provide them with the application form for recognition, your passport, a passport photo, your licence, a notarized translation of the document, and the recognition fee. Please visit the website of the Department for Traffic Control for more information (available only in German). The address of the Führerscheinstelle is:

Führerscheinstelle Mainz
Elly-Beinhorn-Straße 16
55129 Mainz

If you are not exempt from the exam, you will need to contact a driving school. There are also several schools in Mainz which offer it in English. The Welcome Center will gladly support you in finding a driving school.

If you do not have a driver’s license and plan on obtaining one, you will need to sign up at a driving school. You will first receive theoretical lessons, followed by the practical portion. During this time, you will be prepared for the theoretical test, which is again followed by the practical test. Once you pass both of these, you will receive your driver’s license. Again, the Welcome Center will gladly support you in finding a driving school.

Rundfunkbeitrag / GEZ (Licence Fee)

In Germany, the public broadcasting channels are financed by a Rundfunkbeitrag (licence fee) called GEZ, ensuring they are kept independent from commercial or political interests. Therefore, each household must pay a monthly fee of about 18 € (the exact amount may vary from year to year). It is irrelevant whether you consume their contents or not, since you theoretically always have access to them via internet. If you do not actively register, the broadcasting service will contact you by mail some time after your arrival in Germany to arrange your registration.

You can find more information about the licence fee on this website.

Internet and Mobile Phone Providers

If you buy or rent an apartment in Mainz, you will need to find providers for internet, telephone, and mobile phone on your own. There are a large number of providers to choose from, and your choice will ultimately depend on your personal needs and habits. Several websites are available, where you can compare different providers in order to figure out which one suits you best, and the Welcome Center will gladly support you in this. Further (general) information:


Most providers offer combined flat rates for telephone and internet. Normally, you will have to contract a provider online and make an appointment, which will be set for some weeks later, to activate your internet router.

Generally speaking, there are plans based on a contract or plans based on prepaid options.

The contract-based plans normally include a monthly rate and guarantee you several data options in return, such as flat rates for phone calls or a certain amount of internet data. Please note that certain contracts can only be terminated annually or bi-annually, others monthly, and they are usually automatically renewed for the respective term.

The plans based on prepaid options give you the flexibility to buy certain amounts for phone calls or internet data and use them without basic charges and monthly obligations.

There are plenty of shops in the city center which offer their services and consulting, but you can of course contact a provider online alternatively.

Public Transportation in and around Mainz

Since getting around Mainz by car is stressful and finding a parking spot can take more time than expected, try to use public transportation whenever you can. The most frequented bus stops in the vicinity of the JGU campus are "Universität" and "Friedrich-von-Pfeiffer-Weg". Below you will find a list of phone apps which will help you get around Mainz and its surroundings, using public transportation. Some are only available in German.

  • DB Navigator for public transportation in Germany, including busses and trams in Mainz
  • RMV app for public transportation in the Rhine-Main area
  • Mainzigartig by Mainzer Mobilität for exact arrival and departure times at bus/tram stops in Mainz and Wiesbaden
  • Google Maps for trains to Frankfurt etc. – this unfortunately does yet not show busses and trams within Mainz and its surroundings
  • meinRad for renting bikes; prices are reduced if you own a FirmenCard
  • Komoot App for finding the fastest bike routes to your destination

Culture and Recreational Activities

Apart from the daily work on campus, the university, as well as the city of Mainz, offer a diverse range of recreational activities. Rhineland-Palatinate’s capital has a rich cultural offer, a variety of possible excursions out in nature, as well as excellent public transport connections.

Here is a small selection of events and recreational options (some are only available in German):

The City of Mainz website gives you a good overview of what can be done in and around the city. Furthermore, you can consult the following websites to learn about the recreational activities in Mainz and the Rhine-Main area. Please note that the following list is not exhaustive:

Waste Disposal and Deposit-Scheme

Germany has some rules concerning the disposal of refuse and each city has some special instructions how to dispose. For providing yourself a quick overview how to separate your garbage you can download this table.

Further, it exists a Deposit-Scheme in Germany. There are some bottles and cans which will be recycled into new bottles or which get refilled. You can hand them back at the most supermarkets. A part of bottles you can't hand back. Those are marked as non-recyclable by the note "kein Pfand".