Multicoolty: 30 things to know about the Germans

Multicoolty: 30 things to know about the Germans

Comments2 comments

Moving to Germany? Check out Multicoolty's list of things you should know about German culture before you move to Germany.

Multicoolty proudly presents you with a practical summary (with some practical jokes in it) of what our interview partners from the past six months have told us about Germany and the Germans. Yes, you will find some stereotypes in here, you might even get annoyed by them, or laugh out loud instead.

Things to know before moving to Germany

  1. Germans will know that you are foreigner. They just do.
  2. Germans are very traditional, very hierarchical.
  3. Germans are rule-oriented in every aspect – make sure you wait at traffic lights – and prepare yourself for a lack of flexibility in rules and regulations. In Germany rules are meant to be followed.
  4. German punctuality means arriving at least 10 minutes before the appointment.
  5. The German language is a lot of trouble. And don’t worry about messing up the tenses or articles. You will be understood, but corrected.
  6. Stereotypes about Germans might be true, but they have to be tested every time. Not all Germans are 'German' to the core. Maybe just a few.
  7. Things are usually in order and work, but, surprise surprise, you will discover that Germans are not always efficient and they do make mistakes here, too.
  8. There is much more trust between people and a greater sense of society. People will return your lost keys or wallet.
  9. Learn to love pork – in all its incarnations. Learn to love Wurst and Sauerkraut. There’s no chance you can escape them.
  10. Germans are cautious about new things.
  11. Germans usually do one thing at a time.
  12. German literature is something to be proud of, and deserves close affiliation.
  13. For many Germans the weekend begins at 2pm on Friday. You don’t believe that? Good luck calling an office on Friday afternoon.
  14. Germans are eco-friendly. Learn how to recycle. Before you know it you will be happily recycling everything from glass bottles to paper towels.
  15. Learn not to interrupt or jump into a conversation. Germans wait to speak until the other person has finished.
  16. Get used to the idea of going grocery shopping in more than one shop. German supermarkets don’t have everything in them; the local butchers or bakery might though, or certain supermarkets will carry different brands.
  17. There is lots of paperwork waiting for you in Germany – more than you can imagine.
  18. Dogs are nicely treated and allowed in most of the hotels and restaurants.
  19. Germans are hard working but they know how to celebrate life, although celebrating is as regulated as everything else in Germany – there is time to be happy and friendly and time to party, like at Karneval.
  20. Most Germans speak English, and when a German tells you they speak only a little bit of English, don’t believe them – their English is probably perfect.
  21. Rentals often include a rental fee, as annoying as that is.
  22. On Sundays shop are closed but the museums are open.
  23. Germans are a mailing and calling country. If you need to contact a person, don’t email, just pick up that phone and call.
  24. Sauna = naked! That’s a rule!
  25. Germans are not spontaneous. Make appointments with them to do pretty much everything, including going for a coffee break. That might be an exaggeration for some people, but for others, maybe not.
  26. Especially for Americans out there: there is no personal space, people stand very close to each other.
  27. Germans might overstep their boundaries in regards to commenting – it has to do with that sense of community we talked about earlier.
  28. They love their cars, they are holy for them. An average German washes his car up to 10 times a year.
  29. German men tend to be very shy and don’t take a first step – women may feel unnoticed – while German women tend to wear jeans and are a bit more aggressive than elsewhere in the world, at least according to some of our male interview partners.
  30. Germans separate their private and work life – don’t consider calling your colleague after working hours.


Read the full list of 50 things to know before moving to Germany.

Reprinted with permission from Multicooty.

Multicoolty: One country, hundreds of nations, thousands of stories is a journalistic project that combines a photo blog with short stories and longer articles about fascinating people with migrant backgrounds. It aims to provide a fresh look at Germany as a multicultural society and attempts to break stereotypes about both Germany and migrants.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

2 Comments To This Article

  • Carolina posted:

    on 30th March 2016, 13:34:02 - Reply

    "It starts with English being pronounced wrong in school by the teachers, so the people themselves can't be blamed." The same problem in Spain :). Thank you for the honest comment.
  • Andreas posted:

    on 17th November 2015, 20:19:32 - Reply

    Sorry but Number 20 is just wrong. Most Germans only speak rudimentary English, if at all!
    In some professions you will find more people capable of speaking fluent English, but then its still quite bad.

    It starts with English being pronounced wrong in school by the teachers, so the people themselves can't be blamed.

    I am German, and i know how much trouble Foreigners have when they only speak English.
    Yes you will get around, but don't expect most people to be able to have a proper conversation in English.