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Flatshare: the balance between individuality and community

A flatshare connects individual and communal life. Today, living in a flatshare is much affected by students and working people.

Four flatmates on the sofa
Whether mixed flatshare, workers-only flatshare or another type of flatshare: the interest in living in a flatshare increases.


A flatshare offers the ideal balance between individual life and the wish for community. Independent people live together in a flat and share common rooms like kitchen, bathroom or living-room.

Advantages and tips

Over the past few years, the interest in living in a flatshare has increased. The life in a flatshare offers advantages like saving costs and living in a kind of modern network. However, the inhabitants of a flatshare need to be ready to make compromises and be considerate of the other inhabitants. Attributes like flexibility, tolerance, acceptance, open-mindedness and spontaneity help to feel comfortable in a shared flat. Assuredly, a flatshare is the most communicative form of living. The inhabitants never need to be alone. When you feel like you need to draw back, you can just close the door of your room. 

In order for life in a flatshare to work, the flatmates have to match in character. Someone who loves joint activities won’t feel at home in a non-communal flatshare permanently. Most inhabitants of flatshares don’t know each other before moving in. That is why it is important that the potential flatmates get to know each other at the viewing and discuss how both parties think about the cohabitation. Is it allowed to smoke in the flat? Will there be a party every weekend? And how do the flatmates deal with cleanliness? Getting to know each other briefly before moving in won’t guarantee a harmonious life together, but it will decrease the risk of bad surprises.

Usually, a flatshare is not a permanent form of living, but mostly present at the age between 20 and 30. Classic constellations like family or couple detach the life in a flatshare. However, nowadays the motivation for living in a flatshare differs a lot from the original motivation in the 60s or 70s.

Two friends on a hike in the nature
Flatmates often become friends and spend their free time together.

Flatshares through the ages

In the 60s, flatshares were considered a political expression against the model of the small middle-class family. Many young people wanted to stand out from the so-called establishment among others by living in a flatshare since this kind of living was proscribed and perceived as indecent by the rest of society. In Berlin eight men and women founded the first German flatshare in the course of the student’s movement in 1967. This flatshare was called “Kommune 1” and is regarded as the precursor of the modern flatshare. The communes tried to draw attention to their political countermovement by starting provocative actions.

Today, sharing a flat with friends or strangers is not a political statement anymore but an established form of living. In TV-series like Friends, How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory flatshares that show the advantages and problems of everyday life in a flatshare are portrayed. Whether it is a cuddle-flatshare or nerd-flatshare – nothing can tear the sitcom-flatmates apart.

As shown in the TV-Series, flatshares are popular among working people as well. Earlier, especially students and apprentices used to live in flatshares. Some professionals continue their student existence by staying in a flatshare, others can’t stay in the same place for a long time due to work and therefore can’t experience community within the family or a stable circle of friends. In order to have someone to come home to and make friends they move in a flatshare.

But not exclusively young people prefer to live in a flatshare. Flatshares are a trend among older people as well. Seniors-only flatshares, varied-age flatshares and 50+ flatshares as well as room-for-help enjoy popularity. Since the number of old people will increase steadily over the next years and the majority doesn’t want to live alone when there is no partner or family anymore, a flatshare can replace the familiar community to a certain extent. In general, society becomes more diversified and colorful. So flatshares that are inhabited by single parents, vegans/vegetarians or homosexuals aren’t rare anymore.

Explore the diversity of flatshare-types to find out which form of living suits you best.

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