Inefficient Crèche/Kindergarten Allocation in Munich

It’s hard to find a place in a Crèche (Kinderkrippe) or Kindergarten in Munich. As far as I can tell, this is how it works:

  • Every family puts their child on the waiting list at 50 Crèches. That’s 50 separate waiting lists. Each family needs different hours – such as half-day or full-day.
  • Every Crèche therefore has a huge waiting list, probably 50 times bigger than their capacity.
  • A Crèche fills the next available place by calling people on the waiting list. Many people they call already have a place elsewhere, because they registered at all the other places, because they have no confidence in any one waiting list, because the waiting lists are huge. Families have to take the first place that is offered regardless of suitability because they have no clue about their chances on the other waiting lists.

This is incredibly inefficient and ineffective. I am surprised that nobody has created an online system to match children to Crèche and Kindergarten places. It wouldn’t have to be specific to Munich or even Germany.

12 thoughts on “Inefficient Crèche/Kindergarten Allocation in Munich

  1. Unfortunately, we’re fighting the same system here in Stuttgart. And I don’t think that it hast anything to do with money.

    We visited several privately managed Kinderkrippe, mostly parents organizations who try to do something for their children. They are independent and from what I have seen they value their possibility to actually chose who is going to get the free places. Personal contacts are very important in these cases.

    It may be different with State run Kinderkrippe, I don’t know … yet :)

  2. Now that was one of the few good things we had in East Germany, every child had a guaranteed place in Kindergarten.

  3. Are you serious about 50? I know that you need to get your name on a few lists. But more like 3 or 4 or 5, not 50. That’s ridiculous. Certainly the situation is somewhat better over here in Berlin, in particular in the eastern parts of the city…

  4. Sven, I’m pulling that number out of my arse for emphasis. It’s clearly large, probably near 10, because 1) most people register at at least that many creches 2) demand outstrips supply, c) one kid can only end up at one creche.

  5. Sven: Only in areas where no families want to live, in more popular areas of Berlin the situations is the same as in Munich. There really should just be one list. Well, and Mr. Wowereit should have invested money into building more crèche, instead of making the last year free. The people who got fooled by this act of populism get their crèche places subventioned anyway.

  6. @Mathias Hasselmann: This happened at least for my daughters crèche in Prenzlauer Berg ( They fired their previous principal because they had not enough kids and asked the parents to spread the word and offered (symbolic) bounties. I have seen leaflets with similar offers in Pankow.

  7. @LaHaine: I hate to break it to you, but my mother had to give up her dream of becoming a vet because she couldn’t get a place in a Crèche for me at the place of study.

    This reality adjustment was brought to you by The Daniel Campaign against Romanticizing the Past. Any Past. ™

  8. I’m not surprised. The nice people in the child daycare industry work really hard but often don’t know the first thing about computers or about what computers could do to lighten their jobs. You probably haven’t seen the last piece of toe-curling inefficiency there.

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