You NEED to know this BEFORE coming to Germany

You NEED to know this BEFORE coming to Germany

Andere Länder, andere Sitten! (Foreign countries, foreign customs!) And Germany is no exception. In this video, I will walk you through all the strange things you could encounter during a normal day in Deutschland (Germany)!

Mein Name ist Spring German Lehrerin Brunhild. Hier kommen 10 Dinge, die du über Deutschland wissen solltest! (Here are ten things, that you should know about Germany!)

1. Bargeld (Cash)

Let’s start in the morning, You’re heading to the Bäckerei (bakery) to buy some Brezeln (pretzels) but you realize there is no Kartengerät (card machine)!

Guten Morgen! Zwei Brezeln und zwei Brötchen, bitte.
(Good morning! Two pretzels and two buns, please. )

Das macht dann zwei Euro, bitte.
(That makes €2, please.)

Wo stecke ich die Karte rein?
(Where do I put my card?)

Wir nehmen keine Karte. Nur Bargeld.
(We don’t take card. Only cash.)

Kein Kartengerät? Sind wir hier im Mittelalter?
(No card machine? Are we in the Middle Ages?)

In Deutschland regiert das Bargeld! (In Germany, cash is king!): While in Scandinavia the Bargeld (cash) is almost gone, in Germany you still can’t pay by card in many places! So make sure you can access some fluid dough and make the cash flow.


Sind wir hier im Mittelalter? (Are we in the Middle Ages?) is a funny chunk which you can ask whenever something seems old-fashioned, outdated or inefficient to you. It conveys your shock in a charming and funny way.

For more playful and typical German chunks, check out our free essential German chunking kit in the link down below!

Don’t we all love the people blocking the Rolltreppe… No. We hate them, actually. Imagine the following scenario: You didn’t have breakfast because your card was no good to the pretzel lady, and now you’re late for work, and there’s people blocking the Rolltreppe (rolling stairs).

I am close to wrestle the Vollidiot (moron) in front of me down the stairs every single time. Sometimes I wish I had a Megaphon (megaphone), with which I could shout into the escalator blockers ear: Links gehen, rechts stehen! (Walking on the left, standing on the right!)

Germany is all about efficiency! There is absolutely no reason not to turn a Rolltreppe (rolling staircase) into a little Autobahn (autobahn) for humans. Where the ones who are in a hurry can run for their life and the ones who wanna chill their life can do so, but on the right side where it is their right to do so! That way, everyone gets what they want! I’m sure you can guess which one I would be in the scenario, I am always the one running for my life on the left, and that brings me to my next point.

3. Pünktlichkeit (punctuality)

Germans are, in general, punctual people. I’m not, but I also don’t like Bier und Wurst (Beer and Sausage), so I don’t count. Guess who I would be in the following dialogue:

Wo bleibst du? Wir sollten uns schon vor zwei Minuten treffen!
(Where are you? We were supposed to meet 2 minutes ago already!)

Hi! Du, ich bin ein bisschen verspätet. Der Bus ist mir vor der Nase weggefahren. Und der Nächste kommt erst in zehn Minuten!
(Hi! I am a bit late. The bus left right in front of my nose. And the next one comes in 10 minutes!)

Wieso bist du eigentlich immer spät dran?
(Why are you always late?)


Kann es sein, dass du meine Zeit nicht respektierst?
(Could it be that you don’t respect my time?)

Nein, überhaupt nicht! Ich hab mich extra beeilt!
(No, not at all! I really hurried!)

Weißt du was? Fahr wieder heim. Ich werde dieses Mal nicht auf dich warten.
(You know what? Go back home. I am not going to wait for you this time.)


Well, I’m certainly not the one refusing to see her friend because of two minutes. Or ten. But it’s a possible scenario! So don’t count on anyone’s leniency. If you still happen to be late, just

  • rufe an (call),
  • entschuldige dich (apologize) und
  • bete (pray)

Just kidding, nobody will chop your head off! They will however chop your head off, if you do the following:

4. Bei Rot stehen, bei Grün gehen (Stay when it’s red, walk when it’s green)

When it’s about traffic lights, forget everything I said about efficiency. No jaywalking! Unless there is nobody around to see. Otherwise you might get scolded…

SANDRA crossing the street on red. ALEXANDRA shouting
Stop! Bei Rot stehen, bei Grün gehen!
(Stop! Red means standing, green means walking!)

Es sind doch keine Autos in Sicht!
(There are no cars in sight!)

Halten Sie sich einfach an die Verkehrsregeln! Ist das so schwer?
(Just stick to the traffic rules! Is that so hard?)

Puh! Rough day! Let’s go home and have some dinner to forget about all of this. Except that dinner might not be what you’re expecting…

5. Abendbrot (dinner)

Abendbrot means dinner, but it literally means evening bread… and guess why that is! That’s because it actually is bread that you’re eating in the evening! Okay, obviously you can eat whatever the heck you want, and people do so, but the classical German dinner is served cold. Mostly consists of

  • Brot (bread) mit
  • Butter (butter),
  • Käse (Cheese) und
  • Wurst (sausage)

Before you turn up your nose, Germany has amazing, delicious, fresh fragrant crunchy medieval farmers bread, which is delish, and if you have any respect of the German prehistoric culture, you will embrace it. But if you’re struggling that much, you can always flush it down with some nice beer. Just keep the following point in mind:

6. Mit Blickkontakt anstoßen (Toasting without eye contact)

Make sure you look people you’re cheering with straight in the Augen (eyes). Otherwise it’s seven years bad luck in your lovelife or something like that.



Wo schaust du hin? Du musst mir in die Augen schauen! Nochmal! Prost.
(Where are you looking? You have to look me in the eyes! Again! Cheers.)


After all that Bier und Brot (beer and bread), you could ask: “***Entschuldigung, wo finde ich die Toilette?***” (Excuse me, where do I find the bathroom?), where the next surprise is already waiting for you!

7. Die Toiletten (The toilets)

Germans love beautiful constructions, even the ones we make… without even using tools…. you get it. That’s why we have a little shelf in our toilets.

That serves two purposes: 1. We don’t need to feel the splash of the water reaching us down there, which is gross, and 2. We can marvel at our creation before flushing it down. Which is amazing. So If you’re open to widening your horizon and want to learn more about yourself, have a closer look next time you’re visiting a properly engineered German toilet.

8. Ruhestörung (Disturbance of the peace)

So now we had Abendbrot (dinner) and it’s already 10pm and pretty late, which means that the Nachtruhe (night peace) begins. Quiet hours last from 10pm to 8 am. Oh what? Is it Sunday tomorrow? Then the quiet hours actually last… the entire day! Because Sonntag (Sunday) is ein Ruhetag (a day of rest)in Germany, which means that most stores remain geschlossen (closed), and any noise is considered Lärmbelästigung (noise pollution) or Ruhestörung (disturbance of the peace).

So unless you’re a child, whose noises are a “socially acceptable” Ausnahme (exception), you should respect the Sonntag (Sunday). If staying quiet is hard for you, you can always go somewhere else – in die Sauna (the sauna) for example. You can get there by car, which brings me to my next point.

9. Die Autobahn (The autobahn)

If there is one place where you don’t have to worry about noise any time of the day or the year, it’s die deutsche Autobahn (The German Autobahn). Not only can you turn it up as loud as you want, you can also drive as fast as you want. This is the reason for why Germany builds amongst the fastest and most reliable middle class cars. You don’t wanna have a car failure at 160 km/ hour, or 220 km/h, or any speed really.

10. In der Sauna ist man nackt (You’re naked in the sauna)

Now we arrived at today’s final destination, in der Sauna (in the sauna.) In case you’ve always wondered if the rumors about Germans lovin to run around naked a lot are true, the answer is yes. We love it very much. Apparently. So don’t say yes to that Saunabesuch (sauna visit) unless you’re ready to take off those clothes!

Kommst du mit in die Sauna?
(Are you coming to the sauna with us?)

Ach, ich weiß nicht. Ich mach mich nicht gern nackt vor anderen Leuten.
(Well, I don’t know. I don’t like getting naked in front of other people.)

Wieso denn nicht? Jeder ist nackt. Das ist doch normal hier in Deutschland.
(Why not? Everybody is naked. After all, that is normal here in Germany.)

So, were any of these points shocking to you, or did you already know all of this?

By the way, speaking of normal hier in Deutschland! (normal here in Germany!) There is some typical German behavior which visitors might find strange, but you will know exactly how to interpret them, once you watched this video by spring german teacher Denisa: //

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