How many of you have heard of the German American Community Office (GACO) in Kaiserslautern? I had not heard of it before but I think it’s in the Kreisverwaltung Kaiserslautern building from the address. Kreisverwaltung translates to district administration in English.
First, what is the Kreisverwaltung?
This is the building to get a German license plate, German driver’s license and get your visa to stay in Germany beyond the 90 day tourist visa. That’s all I have ever used it for. It’s good size building with many offices I haven’t visited. I found out about the GACO office today.
What is the German American Community Office (GACO)?
It’s an office to help Americans interact with the German community. You can visit their website at http://www.gaco-kl.de/. You’ll notice the page has German and English translations for everything.
GACO has bilingual staff and “linguistic support” but they don’t say what that means exactly. I would hope they help with things like translating a German utility bill.
NOTE: If you ever get one that says MAHNUNG on it, that means WARNING so find out what the problem is and fix it. Don’t ignore it.
GACO has broken their services down into three main areas:
– Useful Information
When you click on one of the three areas at the top, you might not realize the entire list isn’t displayed. You only see the first 25 items. Looking underneath the back button, I see there are 39 services, 103 events and 98 Useful Info items.
What services does GACO offer?
All kinds of help with registering for things like the dog tax, issuing an international driver’s license, marriage licenses, parking permit, resident permits and even waste containers.
One that seemed interesting was the tourist information. This has information on hotels, restaurants, tours, biking, hiking and more. Unfortunately there’s no web site for this. You have to see them in person. The next time I’m in Kaiserslautern I’ll try to stop in and see exactly what they have.
The next main menu item is events
The events are listed in chronological order. I don’t know why they have events in the past, but the first one I see is from seven weeks ago. This listing is quite good and includes concerts, markets, festivals and more. It’s worth an occasional look to put interesting things on your calendar in advance.
The last main menu it is useful information
This is interesting advice on nearly 100 topics. The topics are very diverse including
– Scholarship Program
– Ballet classes
– Country and Western
– Passport photos
– Dog handling
– Driver’s License conversion
– German classes
– Glass recycling information
– Harley Davidson Club
Clicking on a few of the entries showed they don’t keep their website up to date frequently. A few of the pages had no information or all in German. Overall it’s a good resource though
GACO is here to help you smooth integrate with the German community. They have lots of great information to help you enjoy your stay in Germany. The next time you’re in Kaiserslautern, stop in and see what they can do to help you!