9 Tips prior to visit Germany

Dear travelers to Germany: please don’t come visit until you’ve understood these 9 things

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1. Shops close on Sundays.

Sunday is a day of rest. Shops and stores are closed, so make sure you do your shopping in advance. You might find a few stores open in train stations and larger cities, but it’s better not to rely on that.

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2. Recycling

Plastic, paper, organic waste, and glass have their own designated containers. The waste removal service might even refuse to take your bin if you don’t recycle correctly. Bottles and cans have a deposit on them so that you can turn them in at your local supermarket, get paid out in cash or use the money to pay for your groceries.

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3. Du and Sie

We have a formal and informal version of the word “you.” Unless you are speaking to children or your friends, it’s always safer to address people with the formal Sie and their last name, until they offer you the informal Du. This means you are now on a first-name basis and considered a close acquaintance or a friend. No one will be mad at you if you do end up using the wrong word, but it is definitely more polite to be formal first.

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4. We’re not trying to be rude…

…we are just not used to small talk. If you approach a German on the train and ask them how they are, you will probably get a confused look. before they either turn away or give a reluctant answer. This isn’t because they are being rude. They are just not used to being asked personal questions by people they don’t know.

At the same time, Germans are very straightforward when asked for their take on something — even if you’ve met them a few minutes ago. This might come off as rude, but it is certainly not meant that way. So, don’t worry, we are not trying to hurt your feelings or pick a fight about everything, it’s just the way we were brought up.

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5. You can bike everywhere.

Along with using public transport, Germans really like riding their bike. Almost all roads and sidewalks have a bike lane, and you better not walk on them. Some places are actually more easily accessible by bike than they are by car. But careful. Traffic rules apply to bikers as well as car drivers, so you can expect some heavy fines if you violate them.

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6. Try to not bring up Nazi-Germany or WWII too often.

Although our history is being addressed quite openly, we don’t always like to talk about it; much less make fun of it. Most things associated with the Nazi regime are actually prohibited by law and you should be careful about publicly displaying certain symbols or saying certain greetings, even if you’re only trying to joke around. You can definitely talk to your friends about German history and they might tell you some amazing stories about their grandparents, but, in general, Nazism and the War are not good dinner conservation topics

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7. You’re going to get an angry look if you ask for free tap water in a café/bar.

You’ll still get your glass of water, but asking for free water instead of paying for a drink is highly frowned upon. Most people will feel uncomfortable enough to order a real drink.

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8. Always have cash on you.

Not all stores or restaurants accept credit cards, which is why you should have some cash in your wallet at all times. Coins also come in handy as most places now also charge for access to public toilets.

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9. Not every German is the same.

As in every country, there are exceptions to every rule. You will meet Germans who love small talk; Germans who are always late; Germans who don’t ever bike; and Germans who don’t recycle. Rather than an ironclad set of rules, this guideline is only to help you understand the German culture and lifestyle better. So please do come visit and ask questions, even if you don’t understand all of our rules and habits.

15 curious facts about Germany

15 Curious Facts about Germany

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Every country and culture is based on different habits and behavior. Here are some fun facts about Germany and Germans that you definitely need to know.

1. Germany is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.

Yes, the country has a staggering population size of 82,790,000 people, and counting! And, even though Germany is a rather large country, that still means there’s 231 people per sq km!

2. One third of Germany is still covered in forest and woodland.

Despite the population density, a good proportion of Germany is actually still covered in foliage. And, it sure is spectacular. Our little tip? If you’re a fan of the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales, you might just want to pay a visit to the Black Forest… the setting of many of their stories.

3. Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice

Dating back to the 13th century, the city spans a whopping 891.8 km², plenty of room for those 1700 bridges within the city. Berlin is over 9 times the size of Paris, butit only has 1/5 of Paris’ density (4K inhabitants per sq km as opposed to 21K inhabitants per sq km in Paris). That’s why Berlin feels so airy and spacious! So much so that sometimes you feel like you have a whole park for yourself.

4. During JFK’s famous declaration of “Ich bin ein Berliner” he actually likened himself to a jam doughnut.

What he should have said is “Ich bin Berliner” meaning “I am a citizen of Berlin”. A Berliner is actually a type of jelly donut made in Berlin., so “Ich bin ein Berliner” can actually be translated to “I am a jelly doughnut.”

5. Germany’s Capital City has shifted 7 times!

From Aachen (during the Carolingian Empire) to Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar (unofficially, during unrest in Berlin), Bonn (and East Berlin), and, since 1990, Berlin again!

6. Germany is sometimes known as the land of poets and thinkers.

German writers and poets have won 13 Nobel Prizes in Literature and Germany is home to world-renowned writers such as Friedrich Schiller, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Günter Grass, Hermann Hesse and Herta Müller.

7. Germany is Europe’s second largest beer consumer.

Just behind the Czech Republic, the German’s are known to consume a fair amount of the ‘liquid gold’. But, given the Bavarians even consider beer to be a basic food, and drink on average of 150 liters per person, per year, we think they’re giving the Czechs a run for their money.

8. The longest word published in the German language is Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

Loosely translating to Danube steamboat shipping electricity main engine facility building sub clerk association. The word Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, a law delegating beef label monitoring, was removed from the German language in 2014.

9. The German Football team is the second most successful football team in the world!

The beautiful game, a British sport and a hard fought rivalry in the football world. But, we have to hand it to Germany on this one, falling just behind Brazil, winning four world cups and three European championships, they certainly can play us at our own game.

10. The first book to ever be printed was the Bible by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s in Germany.

The first mass produced printed book was the Latin Bible and was originally published in February 23, 1455 in Mainz.

11. According to German law, a person’s gender must be obvious by first name.

So the civil registration office, or Standesamt, can refuse names that don’t comply. Re-applying can be a costly process, so that’s why many parents go for traditional names like Michael and Maria.

12. In 2014, Germany officially abolished college tuition fees, even for international students.

13. In Germany, there’s no punishment for a prisoner who tries to escape from jail because it is a basic human instinct to be free.

14. During WWI, the King of England, the Tsar of Russia, and the Emperor of Germany were all first cousins.

15. Some 5,500 WWII bombs are discovered in Germany every year and defused, an average of 15 per day.

30 German Phrases to Maintain the Conversation

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People are often a little afraid of getting into awkward situations where they have no clue how to express what they want to say. So, by learning how to express things such as your language level or how to ask for clarification and help with understanding or explaining, you can keep the conversation flowing and you open yourself up to a whole new dimension of language learning.

Armed with these phrases, every native speaker you encounter is a potential tutor.

 

ENGLISH

I only speak a little German.

GERMAN

Ich spreche nur ein wenig Deutsch.

I am learning German, but I am only a beginner. Ich lerne Deutsch, aber ich bin noch ein Anfänger.
I have been learning German for 2 days / 2 weeks / 2 months / 1 year / 2 years. Ich lerne seit 2 Tagen / 2 Wochen / 2 Monaten / 1 Jahr / 2 Jahren Deutsch.
Will you correct me please? Könnten Sie mich bitte korrigieren?
What does ___ mean? Was bedeutet ___?
What does that mean? Was bedeutet das?
Can you explain in German/English to me? Können Sie das auf Deutsch/Englisch für mich erklären?
What does that mean in this context? Was bedeutet das in diesem Zusammenhang?
What is the German word for ___? Was ist das deutsche Wort für ___?
Is this/that correct? Ist das korrekt?
Am I wrong? Liege ich falsch?
Am I correct? Liege ich richtig?
Do you understand? Verstehen Sie?
I do not understand Ich verstehe nicht
I want to improve my level in German Ich möchte mein Sprachniveau in Deutsch verbessern
I need to practice German Ich brauche Übung in Deutsch
Do you mind if we speak in German? Stört es Sie, wenn wir Deutsch sprechen?
Can you please speak in German? it helps me to learn. Können Sie bitte Deutsch sprechen? das hilft mir beim Lernen.
How do you say ‘___’ in German? Wie sagt man ‚___’ auf Deutsch?
I struggle with spelling / reading / writing / listening / pronunciation. Ich habe Schwierigkeiten mit der korrekten Rechtschreibung / mit der korrekten Aussprache / damit, zu lesen / zu schreiben / das Gehörte zu verstehen.
Can you please repeat? I did not understand. Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? Ich habe es nicht verstanden.
I don’t speak German fluently. Ich spreche Deutsch nicht fließend.
I am confused. Ich bin verwirrt.
I don’t know how to say it in German. Ich weiß nicht, wie man das auf Deutsch sagt.
Sorry (or ‘pardon’), what did you say? Entschuldigung, was haben Sie gesagt?
I’ve never heard of that. Davon habe ich noch nie gehört.
That makes sense. Das ergibt Sinn.
That does not make sense. Das ergibt keinen Sinn.
What’s happening? / What’s going on? Was passiert hier? / Was ist los?
What do you mean by ‘___’ ? Was meinen Sie mit ‚___’?

 

7 German habits we should adopt

7 German habits we should all adopt

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THINKING about moving to Germany? If so, prepare yourself to embrace some of the coolest – and sometimes weird German habits.


🍾  1. Leave empty bottles on the streets.

In German, empty bottles = money. The Germans call it Pfand. Locals often leave their bottles outside, beside the trash can to be collected. This is a really kind way to give back to those in need in the community, as they can exchange the unwanted bottles for 25 cents for plastic or 8 cents for glass containers.

pastedGraphic.png🚽  2. Sit when you pee – even if you’re a man.

I’m still amazed why other countries don’t incorporate this into their culture. It is easier, cleaner, there is no mess. In bars, in the cinema and especially in German homes, those who pee standing up are not very welcome. The splashes, the lack of aim… just don’t.

🍻  3. Drinking warm beer.

German people drink warm beer. Why? Because a cold beer can mask poor quality and bad taste, but German beer is some of the best in the world. To experience the flavors at their best, some Germans drink it at room temperature, which is basically ‘warm’ for the rest of the world.

pastedGraphic.png🚐  4. RV, RV and more RV.

Germans are known for their love of travel. They especially love a road trip. RVs are a popular sight throughout Germany, and there are many well equipped camping sites dedicated to RVers. If you want to get to know Germany, German-style, consider renting one and driving your way around the country, you won’t be disappointed.

💶  5. Cash only.

It is very hard to find a restaurant or a bar and sometimes even stores that accept credit cards. Germany is one of the European countries with a lower debt per capita. And once you come here, you understand why. They only spend what they have. Cash only, baby. Believe me, once you adapt, you will love it.

pastedGraphic.png💰  6. Rent for life.

Germans also have lower debts compared to some of the neighbouring countries because the renting market is quite stable. Rent cannot increase over a small fixed percentage every 2 years and you can’t be put on the streets from one day to the other. Because of this stability many families rent their homes instead of owning.

☀️❄️  7. Pretending it is warm. / pretending it is cold.

It is a phenomenon that happens every changing of the season. Germans seem to care more about what the calendar says rather than what the weather forecast says.

Germans have 2 rules:

#1 – if it is winter, it is cold.

German people will wear a scarf, wool socks and all the winter jackets possible during winter. They complain that the winter is miserable and that they can’t wait for the summer because the summer is amazing and they can wear shorts and hang out in the sun. Furthermore, although it is 20 something degrees outside, all the buses and trains have the heating on, the bars and restaurants too.

#2 – if it is summer, it is warm.

If it’s summer everybody wears shorts, flip-flops, tank tops. Nobody cares if the wind is cold — and if they’re not directly in the sun, people apparently don’t feel cold. 

See you next week