Posted on 8. Nov. 2017

    10 Things About Germany That Germans REALLY Want Americans To Know

    Sorry about the water thing.

    1. Lederhosen.

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    What you think it is: Some kind of German uniform.

    What it really is: A regional (!), traditional costume for special occasions.

    All Germans wear Dirndl and Lederhosen and live in beautiful small towns in the Alps, right? Nope. Dirndl and Lederhosen are traditional attires in only one region of Germany: Bavaria. And no, not all Bavarians wear them. And if they do: not everyday. These clothes are for special occasions like festivals and fairs, feasts and big celebrations. In fact, every German region has its own traditional costumes. Have you ever seen the ones from the Black Forest? They're amazing!

    2. Punctuality.

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    What you think it is: Something in our genes.

    What it really is: A feature that needs to be learned and optimized because YES, WE ARE AMBITIOUS AND EFFICIENT! Problem?

    Yes, Germans love punctuality. Fact. BUT that doesn't mean that everyone and especially EVERYTHING here is always on time. Not at all. For example: Contrary to the prejudice, German trains tend to be late a lot of times. Actually, we cannot say "Verspätung" ("delay") without thinking of the "Deutsche Bahn".

    3. Meat. Meat. Meat.

    Hohl / Getty Images

    What you think it is: Something we need to survive, like oxygen, and commas.

    What it really is: An optional part of our national cuisine.

    German food is all about meat, you'd say? Well, you're partly right. Where ever in Germany you go, you find sausages and meaty foods as some kind of regional dish. BUT: This doesn't mean that vegetarians and vegans are going to starve here. First of all, Germany has wonderful and really yummy vegetarian national dishes (you can find some here). Second, German food isn't the only thing Germans eat. In fact, we love food from all over the world.

    4. No Speed Limit.


    What you think it is: A word we don't know in German.

    What it really is: Something that doesn't apply to you if you are driving a fast car on an Autobahn that happens to be one of the 40% without speed limits.

    German Autobahns are famous for having no speed limits. In GENERAL this is true, but let me tell you something: 50% of them have posted speed limits and about 10% are equipped with motorway control systems that can show variable speed limits. Also, rural roads, except for motorways or other designated fast roads, have a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph), which is routinely reduced to 70 km/h (43 mph) or 80 km/h (50 mph). Lorries, some buses, and cars towing trailers have lower speed limits as well.

    5. Sundays.

    What you think it is: Just one day of the week.

    What it really is: The most important day of the week to rest and eat bread rolls and enjoy the sacred silence so SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    In case you didn't know: Sunday is not a regular day in Germany. On Sunday we have "Sonntagsruhe" ("sunday rest") which originates from the Christian "Sabbath desecration". Maybe you didn't expect Germany to be so massively Christian, but long story short: On Sundays all shops and supermarkets in Germany are closed, because Germans are not supposed to work on Sundays. Yes, this is protected by law. There are exceptions, of course. If you really need to buy something, you can get it at a gas station. Sometimes little kiosks are open on Sundays too. Mostly this happens in Berlin, where they are called "Spätkaufs" or "Spätis". Bakeries have to be open on Sunday mornings too, because we Germans LOVE to have freshly baked bread rolls on our Sunday breakfast. This is as sacred as the Sunday itself.

    Also Sonntagsruhe means that all Germans want to do their grocery shopping before Sunday, of course. On every Saturday German supermarkets are packed with people who are buying groceries as if the world is going to end. It's even worse if a national holiday is approaching. This madness is called "Wochenendeinkauf" (weekend shopping).

    Oh, and the "Sonntagsruhe" also means that to must not make any noise on Sundays, or else people are allowed to complain about you and you might have to pay a fine.

    6. German beer.

    Damedeeso / Getty Images

    What you think it is: The most delicious beer in the world.

    What it really is: Something we take very, very seriously.

    You might think that Germans drink beer all day everyday, right? Well, we do, sort of. The majority really loves beer. And yes, we drink a lot of it. But not in a binge-drinking way. We enjoy it, because to us, beer is more than just an alcoholic drink. It's a cultural asset and something traditional to be very proud of. Also, there isn't THE German beer. Almost every region in Germany has its own beer, its own brewing tradition and history. There is even the "Reinheitsgebot", a "Beer Purity Law" which controls the beer quality.

    7. Restaurants.

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    What you think it is: A place where you can get beer, Wurst and Schnitzel.

    What it really is: A place where we expect the waiters to be really good at maths.

    In Germany it's very common to split the bill. As you know, Germans are very accurate, and most of the times we wish our share of the bill to be calculated to a cent.

    Also, the waiter doesn't bring you the check automatically after asking if you want a dessert. Nobody bothers you until you ask for the bill yourself, – even if you finished your meal long ago. In Germany it's totally ok to stay at your table and have a nice little chat while finishing your drink and relaxing after your meal. Only if there is a rush and other people are waiting because they made a reservation, you are politely asked to pay and leave.

    8. Water.

    Robertsre / Getty Images

    What you think it is: A refreshing drink you get for free whenever you're thirsty.

    What it really is: Fizzy stuff you have to pay a fortune for.

    There is no free tap water when you're dining out. It's just not common here to drink tap water at restaurants. If you're thirsty, you have to order something to drink, wether it's bottled water or any other drink – and to pay for it.

    Speaking of water: Germans LOVE sparkling water. The majority of Germans prefers sparkling water over still water, because it's seen as more refreshing. But don't worry: You can get still water in restaurants, too.

    9. Cash.

    Hbrh / Getty Images

    What you think it is: One of many ways to pay for something.

    What it really is: THE ONLY way to pay for something!

    Germans love to pay cash. Period. We think it is the most secure way of paying. Most Germans only use their credit cards when they buy something online. Also, a lot of Germans don't even trust digital payment methods. But it changes. Slowly.

    10. David Hasselhoff.

    STR New / Reuters

    What you think he is: A national hero to all Germans.

    What he really is: An okay singer and actor. Baywatch and Knight Rider were cool though.

    Seriously, where did this come from? I don't really know why the whole world thinks Germans are madly in love with David Hasselhoff. Yes, he was popular in Germany around the time the Berlin Wall fell, because at that time his hit "I've Been Looking For Freedom" came out. But that's it. And NO, he did NOT bring down the Berlin Wall!

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