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Top 50 Absolute Do and Don’ts in Germany!

Do and Donts in Germany

This is an informative guide about the Do and Donts in Germany.

Germany, also called Deutschland, the country with a remarkable history and progressive thought, is a dream destination for many, for higher education, working, or just relocating for a higher quality of life and peace.

The country has consistently contributed and provided to the world great souls like Einstein, Karl Marx, Gutenberg, Bach, Goethe, Benz, Bismarck, Franz Beckenbauer, Angela Merkel. They have given unique flair to their field and laid a landmark in the domains of science and inventions, politics, philosophy, oration, poetry, music and composition, automobile industry & sports.

Thousands of individuals visit Germany every year in search of jobs, higher education, business meetings for tourism to explore the culture of Germany, which according to popular beliefs, is not just centered around Oktoberfest & folk history.

According to such high standards that are displayed in the country, the country expects its guests, or if you have decided to move there for school, university, work, or permanently as a resident, to maintain such high standards too.

Here is a list of 50, Do and Donts in Germany:

Do and Donts in Germany: Donts in Germany!

  1. No First Names:

    When engaged in a conversation with a stranger, do not address them by their first name. Use the honorifics, Herr for the men, and Frau for the ladies, followed by their last names.

  2. The Right Pronoun:

    An important addition to the ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ list. The use of the preferred and correct pronoun has become a norm in the 21st century, for the better. Similar is the case in Germany, usage of informal pronouns, like ‘du,’ which is an informal way of saying ‘you‘ for strangers and older individuals, is considered impolite. Instead, formal pronouns like ‘sie‘ should be used, which is a respectable way of addressing someone and is also used to refer a third person or group, formally.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image source: i.pinimg.com
  3. Be on Zeit:

    No matter how many ‘Do and Donts in Germany,’ this point appears in, it is vital to be mentioned again and again. Most of us, every once in awhile, can be late to work, to college, to a meeting, to a social gathering. But to Germans, punctuality & Zeit (German for time) is the key to everything, and being late may spoil your image in Germany. Even the public transport system is very punctual and does not wait even for a minute for anyone; so make a habit of preparing everything beforehand and arriving on time.

  4. Don’t Mention the N-Word:

    When in Germany, please do not say the N-Word, that is Nazi, or anything related to Nazism, the dark history of Germany, Hitler. The display of Nazi salutes, even for a joke, is considered very offensive and classless and can land an individual behind bars for a minimum of 5 years.

  5. Say “Guten Appetit”

    Well, more than a signal, it is a gesture. You should not proceed to eat from the plate before the host breaks the bread. Germans usually say “Guten appetit,” which means enjoy your meal.

  6. Follow Some Table Etiquette:

    Placing your elbow on the table while eating is considered rude. The same thing goes with not making eye contact while your host breaks the bread or gestures for a toast. Germans put a high value on table manners and etiquette.

  7. Use a Fork and a Knife:

    It may come as a culture shock for many, especially for people from Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, China, but food in Germany is never eaten by the hand, except for bread. A fork or knife is used to eat even food like pizza, burger, and wurst (sausage). Extra brownie points for you, if you achieve that.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image source: Wikipedia.
  8. Don’t Be a Jaywalker:

    Do not cross the road unless and until there is a green signal that gives the ‘go-ahead.’ Germans don’t cross the roads even when there is no car on the road, during a red signal, and will give you a piece of their mind if you break the rules.

  9. Don’t Dump in the Wrong Bin:

    Just another point to highlight, which is part of the staple ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ list, Germany has strict rules for the dumping of the garbage and environment conservation. A series of different colored garbage bins are available, which separate the plastic waste from the metal, the organic waste from the paper waste, labeled by graphics and colors. Any individual found mixing the garbage is considered an offender and fined.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image Source: Pinterest
  10. Don’t Stare… at the Naked:

    Germany and Germans are very liberal people, and nudity for them is not a big deal as is presented in various conservative countries. There are various nude beaches and saunas where people strip nude and sunbathe or sweat their worries out. This phenomenon is called as Freikoerperkultur (FKK) or Free Body Culture.

  11. Shoes off:

    Walking into someone’s house with shoes on is considered rude, and therefore, please take your shoes off and set them properly when at someone’s home in Germany.

  12. Personal Space:

    Germans are pretty conscious and strict about their own space. You should not greet a stranger in Germany with a hug or a kiss unless they are very close to you and do not mind it. Rule of thumb: Stay a couple of steps away.

  13. Don’t Throw the Bottles:

    In Germany, a recycling and reuse system is practiced called Pfand. When a bottle of beverage/water is purchased, a small amount of money, usually around 25 cents are charged over so that individuals will return the bottles to the shops where they bought it from, to get their deposit back and thus the system of recycling continues. It’s an honorable mention to ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ list.

  14. Don’t Beat Around the Bush:

    Germans are straightforward people, in a regular restaurant, they go ahead and occupy an empty seat, in an already occupied table. In Germany, sharing tables is a common practice, and they expect others to follow it too since no one will escort you in a regular restaurant to a reserved table.

  15. Don’t Expect Your Credit Card to Work:

    The practice of carrying and using cash is more common in Germany, and credit card counters may not be usually available at every shop or outlet. Individuals are expected and advised to carry cash, lest your credit card doesn’t work. This is ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ list’s favorite.

  16. Don’t Create Nuisance:

    Public drinking is highly practiced and pretty common in Germany, but public drunkenness is not. It is considered as classless and reckless behavior in Germany.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image source: resetera.com.
  17. Don’t Chew:

    Chewing gum or anything for the fact of the matter while talking, although not uncommon in the USA, can be off-putting for Germans and is advised against.

  18. Don’t Be Noisy:

    Germany follows strict quiet hours on Sundays and at night after 10 pm to 7 am the next morning, which is reserved for inner peace. Loud music, using noisy appliances, and engaging in loud, obnoxious noise is strictly prohibited.

  19. Don’t Get in the Way of the Bicycles:

    Walking on the bicycle lane is considered a fool’s errand, and breaking such rules in Germany is considered lawlessness.

  20. Don’t Break the Autobahn Rules:

    Another popular advice in the ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ topic, the Autobahn in Germany, has cemented its legacy in the German culture and also the Western culture. Therefore, breaking the rules like speeding over 130km/hr is not advised and life-threatening to everyone driving.

  21. Stay on the Right:

    The right lane on the Autobahn is reserved for the slower vehicles, and therefore, overtaking from the right lane may earn you an earful of scolding.

  22. Speed on the Left:

    In case you want to overtake a vehicle, or just speed on the Autobahn for the fun of it, you better be on the left lane. Before changing lanes, do not forget to use your signals/indicator, and look twice in the rearview mirror as cars wheeze past at pretty high speeds on the left in the Autobahn.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image Source: de.wikipedia.org.
  23. Don’t Ask Personal Questions:

    Germans are pretty reserved people, and its best to keep the personal life questions and ethnicity questions in your pocket.
    If you liked this article, click here for another similar one!

  24. Don’t Act Silly:

    Germans will be thrilled and proud if a non-German/foreign ethnicity person actively participates in the cultural and traditional events and festivals of the Germanic people, but they will not appreciate someone dressed in traditional German attire and talking offensively about their culture.

  25. Keep Small Talk at Bay:

    Although occasional “Wie Geht’s” (What’s up?) won’t land you in trouble and may even get some German to warm up to you, be sure that the person is up for small talk because as we said before, Germans are beautiful reserved people.

Do and Donts in Germany: Do’s in Germany

  1. Be Polite:

    Shake hand or greet every individual or stranger you meet at a birthday party, office get together, social event, business meetings. Being polite and wishing someone good morning and a good day is considered a valuable quality in Germany.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image Source: choicesdomatter.org
  2. Take an Interest:

    Take an interest in the German culture and actively become a part of social events and fests, as long as you are not offensive and obnoxious about it, your German peers and neighbors will be pleased to have you and even invite you within.

  3. Dress Right:

    Dressing etiquette is largely looked upon by the German masses. Dress correctly for the events, occasion, location, setting you are present in. You will never see a German in polka dot boxers in a stadium during a Football match, whereas in England or the USA, this is a casual practice.

  4. Formal Dressing:

    When you are part of a corporate company and are supposed to attend a meeting, you are expected to dress correctly. Men can be dressed in a prominent black suit with a tie, and women can be dressed in conservative business outfits or a suit, whichever is preferred.

  5. Show Enthusiasm:

    There is no harm in showing enthusiasm and interest in beer while hanging out with your peers, friends, or even strangers in a bar. Germany is the cultural capital of beer, and showing appreciation of good beers can get your German friends stoked on you, as long as you don’t create a nuisance after.

  6. Learn the Restaurant Vocabulary:

    When sharing a table with a stranger in a restaurant, the waiter may ask for the bill followed by “Zusammen oder Getrennt?”  which means “Together or separate?” regarding the bill amount. So, unless you want to pay for the dear stranger sitting across to you, sipping his coffee, just say, Getrennt!

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image Source: Wikipedia
  7. Play Fußball:

    Football, pronounced as “Fussball” in Germany unites millions of Germans together while they sing the National anthem, and also divides them, during their national leagues. Football is a religion in Germany, and they are extremely passionate about it. Showing some genuine interest in Football can land you in a cult itself, which is good.

  8. Speak German:

    Let’s get it straight, Germans know English, they speak English, but like any native, they would expect someone who has been living in Germany for a decent amount of time to speak Germans. Most students who want to study in Germany or working professionals who wish to work in Germany should know how to speak German. It gives them a good reason to see you as one of their own.

  9. Use Common German Words:

    Some words that you can use can make small differences in your everyday life in Germany. “Tschuss!” which is an informal way of saying goodbye, or “Auf Wiedersehen,” which is a formal and more preferable way. “Entschuldigung” which excuse me, when you are interrupting someone, and it better be a good reason.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image Source: Wikipedia
  10. Guten Appetit:

    If you are hosting people at your food place, you should say “Guten Appetit” or “Mahlzeit” which means mealtime, for breaking the bread and as a well wish for everyone to have a good time.

  11. Eye Contact:

    Eye contact while talking to strangers, peers, friends, or any other individual is considered a good and polite gesture and signals that you are a considerate person. However, this applies to every country.

  12. Tip:

    While paying the bill at a restaurant, you can leave an amount of your liking for tipping the waiters, which is considered generous and is practiced widely in Germany.

  13. Bring Small Gifts:

    When you are invited by a peer or a friend, over to their house, first things first, arrive on time, and bringing a small gift like a chocolate box or non-German wine, or just a decent flower bouquet, is considered as a good gesture and the German way. This tip is an essential part of the list of ‘Do and Donts in Germany.’

  14. Travel:

    A good travel tip is, while you are out in Germany, touring your heart out, and god forbid some injury or something else happens to you, German medical care will burn a hole in your pocket, so having health insurance while traveling, is recommended.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image from travelthewholeworld.org
  15. Be on Time:

    This point has been stressed early, for Germans, time is of the utmost value. But in case, due to situations which aren’t in your control, and you may get late, inform beforehand to the people you are going to meet, about the situation.

  16. Say ‘Prost‘:

    In a list of ‘Do and Donts in Germany,’ this is something you want to do. Germans are people who have their own beliefs and systems. Failing to say ‘Prost‘ before taking the first sip of a drink may bring bad luck. Therefore, respect their beliefs and raise your glass.

  17. Eurorail:

    If you are a student or working in Germany, this point is for you and should be a part of every ‘Do and Donts in Germany’ list. Register yourself for a Eurorail pass which things tourists fail to do. Getting a travel pass will make it easy and cheaper for you to travel long distances.

  18. German Food:

    Apart from the plethora of Beers, Germany is also famous for the wurst (sausages), many types of it exist. Be sure to taste it. If you are a vegetarian, be sure to have, Spätzle (German mac and cheese pasta) and Flammkuchen.

  19. When in Berlin:

    Visit the Berlin Wall. Get to know the history, the emotions associated with it, the story behind the creaks and cracks of the wall.

  20. Oktoberfest:

    If you are in Germany during October, be sure to visit and get involved in Oktoberfest, the largest bier fest in the world!

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image is taken from dude4food.blogspot.fr
  21. Visit Lake Constance:

    It is a large lake bordering the countries of Austria and Switzerland with Germany. There are many water sports available in the lake, which are an attraction with the tourists.

  22. In the Bavarian Castle:

    When in Bavaria, be sure not to miss Neuschwanstein Castle, take pictures, enjoy your heart out.
    To read a similar article, click here!

  23. Souvenir:

    Do not forget to take souvenirs for your family and friends back home.

    Do and Donts in Germany
    Image is taken from flickr.com
  24. Visit Museum:

    Visit famous museums in the vast German cities and learn about the history and folk culture of the German people. Nothing will please them more than a foreigner taking an interest in their culture and civilization.

  25. Attend a Football Game:

    Another must add, in the ‘Do’s and Don’ts in Germany’ list, if you are passionate about Football or sports, Germany is the best place for you to be. Go ahead and attend a game of Football, watch how the supporters sing hymns of their dear clubs, how the culture of football is deeply embedded in the heart of the German, and what makes them different from the other European nations.

So basically, these are some of the Do and Donts in Germany that we can scrape off. Germans are a reserved and silent lot, but they are not cold and heartless, unlike the stereotypes that portray them to be. They are deep thinkers, intelligent and passionate people who have made a considerable difference in the world, like every other nation. 

Do you have any points that we missed here? Mention in the comment section!

yashkoyal

Written by yashkoyal

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