40 things I have learnt about living in Germany

30 Sept 2015

A little bit of fun about living in Germany. I thought you might like some random facts about life here, in no particular order.

40 things I have learnt about living in Germany

1. A credit card gets you nowhere.

2. You can buy cigarettes in vending machines on the street.

3. You'd better like sausages and potatoes.

4. Hiking is a favourite Sunday activity.

5. Paying for a 2€ item with a 100€ note? Sure!

6. Arrive at your meetings/appointments one minute early.

7. People offer you slippers when you enter their house.

8. Grass cutting on Sunday? Think again.

9. Sweet dishes can be eaten as main courses.

10. There is no AC.

11. People carry kids on their bikes.

12. The pork section at the butcher's and in the supermarket is huge. The other meats are almost non-existent.

13. Sandals with socks is a good look.

14. Shopping on Sundays? I don't think so.

15. They open the windows even when it is -10°C outside.

16. Selling and buying  second-hand everything is a national past-time. 

17. When it comes to clothing what matters is not style but rather comfort and practicality.

18. You can overtake a police car at 220km/h.

19. Cleanliness is a must.

20. Cake is always a possibility.

21. Christmas markets are not to buy things. They are social places, to have a drink and eat a sausage or two.

22. People carry suitcases on their bikes.

23. Have a hobby? There is a club for it.

24. German playgrounds rock.

25. You will save a lot of money by not being able to pay with a Visa card at Ikea.

26. Get a plastic cake carrier box if you intend to take a cake somewhere.

27. Take your whole kitchen away with you when you move.

28. Follow the rules. Always.

29. Tell anyone off for not following them.

30. Don't bother with small talk.

40 things I have learnt about living in Germany

31. Don't cross the road if the little man is red. DON'T.

32. Riding a bike in high heels and mini-skirt is ok.

33. Always dress appropriately. Except for the above situation.

34. Germans will always answer they don't speak English (even if they do).

35. You can drive as fast as you like on SOME motorways, not all.

36. And oh boy do they drive fast. Get out of the way!

37. Hoovering on Sunday? No, no.

38. People carry Christmas trees on their bikes.

39. You can never overdress your child (for cold weather especially).

40. Pack your shopping fast. Faster!

Disclaimer: this is only my experience (a French woman coming from the U.K. living in Germany for 4 years). It does not mean it is universally true. Don't kill me.

Expat Life Linky



  1. SO true. This list made me laugh.
    Socks and sandals - so true, but ewwwww!
    Cake is always a possibility - yes, and that's a beautiful thing :).

  2. I lived in Spain for 3 years and I always found it interesting that all the lighting fixtures, even if it was just a lightbulb, were removed during moves.

  3. I love this list - what an insight! Made me chuckle.... and confirms my belief that Germans and the Dutch share the same gene pool....

  4. Oh, and this would be a perfect post for the October #ExpatLifeLinky when it is live next week :-)

  5. So funny, I think there is one similarity with France (no a/c) but I wish cake always being a possibility happened here! Actually come to think of it French like pork a lot, but then they also like all other meats a LOT! Sandals with socks....ewwww!

  6. Cool post! I can relate being an American in France. ;-) The slippers one is funny. And what's hoovering? Vacuuming?

  7. Such a funny list. I love things like this as it is fascinating to find out what people think is different/of note in different countries. Having grown up in the Netherlands some of these seem so normal to me and others are downright bizarre. German driving always wigs me out - they do the same here in Malaysia drive straight up your rear bumper and practically push you into the other lane to get past.

  8. I could have written this myself, but I would have used far more words. What a great succinct list! I moved to Hamburg after living in the Netherlands for 14 years (and moved back again afterwards), so I can see the similarities, though we didn't notice as much cycling there, mini-skirted or not. We loved the playgrounds too and fell foul of the 'you can't do *that* on a Sunday' mentality. That really surprised me in such a modern city. Not on a public holiday, either. Plus the people who commented on others crossing the road when the light was red really took me by surprise: "You are setting a bad example for the children", even if the only one around was my 6-month-old baby. Great list!

    1. Glad my experience resonated with you. Of course, one can always use a lot more words. It was just intended as a funny little list.

  9. Ooh, I remember Sundays in Germany ... basically don't do anything - except eat cake :) I was also told never to drink fizzy water with fresh cherries. The things that stick in your mind.

  10. Hahaha, some of these are very relevant in the Netherlands too! By the way, sweets at any time is a-ok with me ;)

  11. The cigarette vending machines were so strange to me at first! And the cake situation - so true. There's a cake shop on just about every street. :)


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