Heading to Germany? It’s always advisable to brush up on the language and culture of a foreign place you’re about to visit, but you should also make sure you know some basic rules, laws and etiquette. Knowing what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do. There are a few quirky conventions and surprising laws in Germany to the uninitiated. Granted, the locals will generally give foreigners a little leeway when it comes to some of these quirks, but we’re here to help. Watch our quick video to learn ten things you should avoid doing in Germany.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
If you’re planning a trip Germany, use this quick guide of things you should avoid doing if you don’t want to ruffle feathers.
1. No Pillow Fights!
According to German law, a pillow can be regarded as a passive weapon. Injure someone with a pillow and you could be charged with assault. Unless of course, it’s on International Pillow Fight Day.
2. No Drilling on Sundays
Germans take the day of rest seriously, and no loud activities are allowed on this peaceful day. Vacuum at your own risk.
3. Avoid Talking about the War
Most Germans believe the war to be a huge embarrassment to their nation, and would rather not discuss it. Never do the Nazi salute as it’s an imprisonable offense in Germany.
4. Don’t Close Your Door to a Chimney Sweep
It’s actually illegal to refuse entry to a chimney sweep, and all Germans pay for this service whether they have a chimney or not. The law stems from the Middle Ages, but was reinforced back when Hitler used them as a network of spies.
5. Don’t Sing the Original First Verse of the National Anthem
During the Nazi era only the first verse was sung. In an effort to distance themselves from Nazi connotations, the official anthem is now the third verse. Pete Doherty once made this highly inappropriate mistake and was booed.
6. Don’t Run Out of Gas
Doing so on the superhighway can lead to fines. The law is primarily against unnecessary stops, but has been applied to fools who drive without adequate fuel.
7. Never Walk in Bicycle Lanes
Most German cities have plenty of bike lanes. However walking on them is not only extremely annoying to pedal pushers, it can be downright dangerous.
8. Don’t Be Late
Being late to appointments is severely frowned upon. The more relaxed attitude typically found in southern European countries simply doesn’t cut it here. Aim to be punctual if not a little early.
9. Don’t Keep Your Shoes on in Homes
Taking your shoes off when enter somebody’s home is widely expected in Germany. Hosts will often provide you with some indoor house shoes.
10. Never Drink Without a Toast
Germany is famous for its beer scene, however it is considered bad form to take the first sip without giving a toast. Usually a toast is as simple as saying “Prost!” Make sure to keep eye contact as not doing so is believed to bring bad luck.
Now you know what NOT to do, enjoy your time in Germany! Prost!