If you want to talk about Germany and the German culture, at least try to dig deeper and go beyond sausages, beer, and war. Everyone knows about that already and for sure, the Germans had enough of those beer-related questions. So what else should you know about Germans?
1. Be quiet on Sundays
Germans value their families, and Sundays in particular, are dedicated to spending time with loved ones. The streets are often empty, the shops are closed (or have reduced hours), and it might even be tough to do grocery shopping and work. A Sunday is a Ruhetag, or quiet day, in Germany and people would just rather rest or go on a family trip.
2. Close the windows or else…
If you’re in public transportation, in someone’s car, in the house, or in the office, and the temperature is beginning to sweat you out, you’ll think of opening a window to let some air in. But if you did this in Germany, expect to hear “Es zieht!” (There’s a draft!) and watch the people stare at you while someone immediately shuts that open window. Is there something wrong with the windows? No, it’s the air for sure. Germans believe that if you’ve felt a breeze from an open window, you can probably get flu, colds, pneumonia or even clogged arteries.
3. Don’t say “Happy birthday” yet
If you want to greet a German friend with “Happy birthday!” even though it’s days before the actual date, forget about doing it. Doing this is considered a bad luck. Moreover, sending gifts or greeting cards before the birthday is a big no-no.
4. Don’t look for the kitchen
When buying or renting a place in Germany, don’t expect that the kitchen is included. There’s a room for the kitchen with electric outlets and plumbing hook-ups, but the actual kitchen won’t be there. The last people who have lived in the place have probably taken all the appliances, the countertops, the sink, and everything else in that room. There’s nothing else you can do but to buy a customizable kitchen that will fit in the room.
5. Bag your own groceries
German supermarkets don’t have baggers so it’s a race every time the cashier scans items while the shopper puts everything in the bag quickly to avoid being a nuisance to the next shopper in line.
6. Sparkling water please
Germans love their seltzer or sparkling water and they even mix it with anything else like apple juice, beer, and wine. If you go to a restaurant, don’t wait for the waiter to serve you a complimentary glass of water. You should either ask for a bottle of water and make sure to say if you like it carbonated or not. Moreover, it’s considered rude to serve guests tap water in Germany.
7. Say Please for Yes, Say Thanks for No
If you’re offered something like food, never forget to say “Bitte.”(“Please”) which is equivalent to “Yes, please.”, or “Danke.”(“Thanks”) if you want to say “No, thanks”. Make sure you won’t mix the two up or you could end up disappointed (and hungry).
8. Lunch is hot, dinner is cold
Germans prefer having a hot home-cooked meal for lunch, and a quick cold meal for dinner which they call “Abendbrot” or “evening bread”, usually consists of German bread, ham, and cheese. It can sometimes go the other way around as long as they make sure that they only eat one hot meal in a day.
9. Don’t mind if English movie titles are translated – to a simpler English
In Germany, “Die Hard” becomes “Die Slowly”, “Bring it on” is “Girls United”, “Maid in Manhattan” is “Manhattan Love Story”, “3000 Miles to Graceland” is “Crime is King”, and “Taken” is “96 Hours”. The list goes on. Whether it’s done to make things simpler and avoid confusion, we’re still not sure about the real guidelines in translating these movie titles.
10. You can go naked – in some spots
In Germany, FKK stands for Freikörperkultur or “free body culture” and if you find FKK spots in some of its beaches, expect to see some people enjoying the water and sun all naked. Don’t get too excited to go here because anybody – or any body – can be expected to see: the young, the old, the overweight, the skinny, the scarred, and anything unimagined. Why should you bother anyway? We’re all different and that’s the naked reality, right?
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