So you want to move to Germany? Country basics
American in Germany Georg Behrendt details his experiences of living in Germany in this fifth part of his series on moving to Germany. He shares some basic facts about Germany including travel, technology and entertainment.
Germany, like many other EU countries is very much a sea-minded country where container shipping, passenger ships and of course the personal boats are part of its way life. You can travel thru Germany in several directions by water via canals, locks, lakes and rivers. Check out the river cruises you will be pleasantly surprised what the boats look like and what you get on board. Transportation is very good by bus, train, car or plane. You do not really need a car and defiantly not in the large cities.
Americans fresh out of the States, adjust your mind to the following:
• Rivers run to the north--or west to east
• Mountains are in the south
• Colder weather is in the south
• The mid-west (like in the States) is in the north.
The weather tends to be cloudy, chilly and depressing during the winter. Summer, spring and fall are more like what we are used to in the States. In the northern part of Germany, we are at the end of the Gulf Stream and that is why we have mild winters in the north. Down south in the mountains, I would compare to Colorado.
Augustus Bridge at Dresden, Germany
This has to be mentioned because it has effect on the normalcy of Europe. But I find the only good thing about the union of Europe is the uniformity of the money. But when the brains, if you want to call them that, dictate the curve of a cucumber, yes you read it correctly, it is the government at its worst. This bend of the cucumber is only the tip of the iceberg, they get even more anal-retentive. All governments within the Union share data, personal, criminal, certifications, rules and regulations, etc. So if you burp in Italy, Finland will know all about it.
Travel in the EU is really good and convenient. Since I have been coming to Germany and now living here, I have visited many countries. Go to http://members.fotki.com/BaronGeorg/about/  ; if you would like to know where. Trust me it is different from taking a tour of the good old U.S. (in a positive way). It will enlighten those that think that the U.S. is the only country in this world.
The basic traditional German music is what we in the States call oom-pah-pah music. This is a part of German history and culture. However, original ‘new’ music, is practically no-existent. If you’re old enough to remember the 1960’s music, then you have the total picture. It is Déjà-vu when you get here. Ninety percent of the music you hear on the radio is old! At first it is nice to hear, but then you realize that this is all they have and that is sad.
On the TV there are old re-runs of dubbed American shows or poorly produced German shadows of American shows. The worst offenders are the documentaries which are shown on German television. The documentaries themselves are excellent, but they are killed by hearing the English in the background of the German commentary. It is exactly like hearing someone talk with you in German and another person talk to you in English. It is hard to grasp either one; therefore the documentary looses value. I spoke with a noted German moderator (announcer), and he stated that the double voice lends to the creditability to the documentary. Huh? You mean that it was not creditable to begin with. This is the perfect case of ‘why try the change for the consumer’. I find the attitude in Germany is to hell with the end user or consumer. We produce something so you have to except it. They really shoot themselves in the foot with this attitude.
Movies are 99.9 percent American thank the gods that they at least take the second voice out of the movie and do not leave it in as they do for the documentaries. Now Germans do produce some good movies, but for some reason they are not marketed well enough to make the international market.
Original German stage plays, soap operas, and general entertainment are really amateur in production and remind me of American TV in the 50s and 60s.
Germany produces some of the best in the world. I find that the problem with this is that they export it and do not use it at home. Again, they would rather be labour intensive than use the technology. The basic thinking of the older generation is that it has always been this way why should we advance or change it. The cable system is very poor, and some towns do not even have internet. The providers of internet are controlled by Deutsche Telekom (the phone company), and Deutsche Telekom is defiantly not a customer service state company. They do things in their own time and under their conditions and couldn’t care less about the end user. If you think, you will talk them into giving service after hours or on the weekend, give it up, this is hardly possible in the large cities and impossible in smaller towns. Unlike the US, Europe has its head on its shoulders and encourages wind, geo, and light energy sources.
Over the next few weeks Georg Behrendt will offer his perspective on a variety of topics including transport, the German language, post office system, technology, medical care and dress and style. Stay tuned... Georg Behrendt is happy for readers to contact him via BaronGeorg@gmx.net or leave your comment under this article. Georg is happy to respond to any questions either way.
Photo credit: RC Designer
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