Home Healthcare Healthcare Services Hospitals in Germany
Last update on June 03, 2021

If you need to visit a hospital in Germany, this guide explains the German hospital system, requirements, and costs for visiting a German hospital, plus a list of the main hospitals in Germany.

There are around 2,000 hospitals in Germany, including around 30 German university hospitals. Whether you are an expat living in Germany or just visiting, it’s important to know what you need to visit a German hospital in an emergency situation or if you are referred by a GP to avoid a huge bill.

If you are a foreigner working in Germany, part of your German hospital bill will be covered by the German healthcare system. For temporary visitors, EU citizens can claim subsidized emergency hospital visits in Germany, while non-EU may need to show some form of private health insurance. In either case, unless exempted, it is compulsory for all foreigners to take out some form of German health insurance once becoming an official resident.

This guide explains requirements for visiting hospitals in Germany, including types of German hospitals, German hospital costs, and what to do if you need a German hospital in an emergency, as well as a list of hospitals in Germany.

This guide on German hospitals includes the following topics:

COVID-19 in Germany

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. Many expats find themselves separated from family and loved ones in their home countries. As a foreigner, it is also sometimes difficult to find critical information regarding coronavirus infection rates, local measures and restrictions, and now, thankfully, vaccinations.

  • For general coronavirus information in Germany, including vaccination schedules, visit the government’s Zusammen Gegen Corona website.
  • For official COVID-19 measures, rules, and restrictions, visit the official website of the federal state in which you live.

Types of hospitals in Germany

Under the healthcare system in Germany, each of the 16 German states share responsibility with the central government for hospital provision.

There are three types of hospitals (Krankenhauser) in Germany:

  • Public hospitals in Germany (Offentliche Krankenhauser) are run by local or federal state authorities. These include Germany’s university hospitals (55% of total hospitals).
  • Voluntary charitable hospitals (Frei gemeinnutzige Krankenhauser) are run by churches or German Red Cross organizations (38%).
  • Private hospitals in Germany (privatkrankenhauser) are run by companies (7%).

Quality and standards of German hospitals

The quality and standards in German hospitals are very good by international comparison and medical procedures are performed at state-of-the-art levels. University hospitals in Germany offer pioneering specialist treatment but are less accessible.

Hospitals in Germany are equipped to deal with emergencies, as well as taking patients in for long stays. For in-patients, there are areas for both patients covered by public and private health insurance. Public-funded areas tend to be dorms with four or more beds, while private areas usually consist of two beds.

As many German doctors work in both their private practices and hospitals, you may be treated by your usual GP in the hospital depending on availability and area of specialty. However, if your GP is unable to treat you, they will refer you to a recommended surgeon.

Hospital in Berlin

Hospitals in Germany do not usually provide items such as gowns or towels, so it is recommended to bring your own, as well as a supply of toiletries and personal items. Visiting hours in most hospitals are between 14:00–20:00.

Most German hospitals in the main cities have English-speaking staff, but this is not always the case. However, if you are not fluent in German, you may want to take a phrasebook or learn a handful of useful German medical terms and body parts in German.

Requirements for visiting a German hospital

The healthcare system in Germany is accessible to foreigners living or working in Germany, although you will need to register and sign up for public German health insurance to be covered. If you are in Germany for a short stay, you will need to take out private health insurance. Those on a temporary visit from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

If admitted to a hospital in Germany, either for an emergency or by referral to undergo treatment, you will need to present your health insurance card. Health insurance in Germany is compulsory and if you are not covered (through public, private or EHIC) then you will have to pay the full costs upfront for any treatment in a German hospital.

Except for emergency procedures, you generally need to be referred by a doctor to have your hospital treatment covered. For non-urgent procedures and some specialist procedures, you may be placed on a waiting list.

German hospital costs

In most cases, hospital costs in Germany will be taken care of by insurance companies. If you are covered by public health insurance, your German hospital bills are sent directly to the insurer. In case you have private insurance, you will need to pay upfront for hospital fees, specialist surgeon fees plus any additional fees, and then claim reimbursement from your insurer. If you don’t have any health insurance, this means you will have to pay fees yourself before receiving treatment.

Under state insurance, general hospital co-payment costs are €10 per day for a maximum of 28 days, plus additional fees for any optional extras (e.g., if you want to upgrade to a private single room). It is also a good idea to check with your insurer first to see exactly what they will cover in terms of costs. Children aged under 18 do not have to pay any costs, however.

Insurance for hospital treatment in Germany

The following international companies provide health insurance coverage tailored to the needs of expats in Germany:

German hospitals in an emergency

You can receive emergency treatment in German hospitals even if you don’t have health insurance or present your health insurance card, but you will have to pay all costs. If unable to pay upfront, you will receive a bill for stay and treatment costs. Some smaller private hospitals and clinics don’t have emergency rooms so check in advance if you are not sure.

If you need emergency treatment, you can call 19242 for an emergency doctor, 112 for an ambulance, 110 for police or you can also look in the Arztlicher Notdienst section of your local paper for details of emergency services.

Find a complete German emergency numbers for even more information.

List of hospitals in Germany

You can ask friends for recommendations or check the world hospital ranking list to find the best hospitals in Germany. In fact, the current highest-ranking hospital in Germany is Heidelberg University Hospital, which is ranked number 22 in the world. Berlin’s hospitals as well as other main cities offer the most variety in medical services and hospital locations. You can search for a list of German hospitals and clinics by name, specialty, or region here.

Hospitals in Berlin

Hospitals in Munich

Hospitals in Frankfurt

Hospitals in Hamburg

Hospitals in Cologne

Hospitals in Dortmund

Hospitals in Stuttgart

Hospitals in Dresden

Hospitals in Düsseldorf

Hospitals in Bremen

Hospitals in Hanover

Hospitals in Leipzig

Information on German hospital