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  5. Do's and Don'ts in Germany


Do's and Don'ts in Germany

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  1. Talk to Germans in German. Some lousy phrases in German are better than your most eloquent English. Especially in rural areas.

  2. Be punctual. That means be there a minimum of 5 minutes before any meeting.

  3. Be formal. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Use the formal “Sie” and maybe “Herr XY” or “Frau XY” if you know the name of the person. Forget “Fraulein”. The last guy I heard call a young woman “Fraulein” was the Nazi from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

  4. You can use “du” if you’re in a club picking up girls, buy drugs from some shady characters, or buy something from a hipster store.

  5. Wear subdued colors. Keep it simple and classy.

  6. Do shake hands.

  7. Do bring cash and small change with you. Especially if you need to use a public restrooom.

  8. Say “Hallo!” a lot. It’s the most neutral greeting these days.

  9. Say “prost” and “guten Appetit” when eating and drinking in company.

  10. Do remove your shoes when entering a house. Bringing flowers to the hostess is a plus.

  11. Do split the check with your friends when eating out.

  12. Have deep conversations about life, the future and philosophy in general with your friends. We appreciate your views and intellect. We don’t like idle talk.

  13. Do show that you’re open-minded.

  14. See a hot girl/guy? Do have eye-contact first. If that goes over well, only then approach the person to use one of your lousy pickup lines.

  15. Be spontaneous. Being adventurous and spontaneous will get you laid.


  1. Do not ask the guy at the information desk (“Auskunft”) or a sales person if you don’t exactly know what you want to know. Vague questions will earn you rude answers.

  2. Don’t waste other people’s time. Know any procedure beforehand. If you want to ride a bus or get tickets to a museum, know exactly the proper procedure to do what you’re aiming to do beforehand. Failing to do so, and wasting other people’s time will make sure that you’ll become a pariah very soon.

  3. Do not waste other people’s time (have I said that already?).

  4. If you’re late, don’t blame it on public transport. Don’t be late.

  5. Do not ask about Hitler, the Nazis or WW2 unless you’re very close to the person you’re going to ask about this stuff. Maybe you sleep with her/him first and then you may bring up Hitler - but only in private, please.

  6. Along the same lines: do not make the Nazi salute, mime Hitler’s mustache or do any other form of Nazi jokes. In fact, doing the Nazi salute can get you behind bars.

  7. Do not wear something that has a German flag on it, unless you’re watching our national soccer team in the stadium.

  8. Do not buy your friends’ kids toy guns or any other form of militaristic toys.

  9. Don’t freak if a stranger sits next to you in a pub or restaurant.

  10. Don’t burp. Don’t eat with your fingers.

  11. Don’t be too loud in public.

  12. Don’t freak out if they make you wait in line for hours in front of clubs. The best clubs don’t believe in the concept of there being a VIP.

  13. Don’t jaywalk. Don’t sit in seats for the handicapped. Don’t stand in front of exits. In fact, don’t ignore regulations and rules of any kind. There’s a reason we have signages all over the place.

Written by Mike Muluk, Berliner since the '70's (Shared with permission)

July 29, 2017



No offense taken, but: Are we Germans really these kinds of a..holes you are trying to show uphere? Little wonder they say that Germans have no sense of humour. It is correct, we love a peace and quiet way, consumer service can be found only as dictionary entries and it is wise to carry some change if you want to see the public restrooms. For the first contact with a native, especially with someone superior to you (in rank, not as in "Herrenrasse"), you should stick with the formal "Sie". Being polite should not be dependent on nationality but on manners. Offering a seat to the elderly, pregnant or others who need the seat more than you should come natural, not only when ordered.

Any reference to Nazis is not advised. The reason is that at a certain point it becomes boring. Being referred to as Nazi for some 70 years, the joke became shale a long time ago. We had every joke that can be made about Nazis at least ten times over. It is like reducing the US history to the Ku-Klux-Klan or the Brittish to the colonial wars of the last centuries. If you see the state our military is in, you would never again think of Germany as a threat. Militarism has been thoroughly removed from the German soul by our liberators from the US and our neighbouring countries.

By the way, Susan, even in Germany there are people who are decent and friendly - usually we call them "Ausländer" ;-)

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Hannibal-Barkas -Ich weiß, dass Sie einen großartigen Sinn für Humor haben. Wollen wir uns duzen? ;-)

  • 1667

Seems you just agreed with everything in the article :)


I love how this list of 28 strict rules includes 'be spontaneous'. Plenty of wiggle room there. :)


Germans should be proud of their country because of so much they have achieved throughout the late 20th along with the 21st century. Patriotism is different than nationalism.


Unfortunately, when it comes to German patriotism, everyone is afraid of our past. On the other hand, our history is too strong a weapon to silence any critical German voice - with a historical burden like that you should not point your finger at others, it seems (as if Germans could not see if a story goes the wrong direction. Our predecessors had a hands-on experience of being seduced by pied pipers)

I am happy to be a German, for German history includes more than just twelve years. Its rich heritage is really something to be proud of. What we achieved in the last 70 years was possible only because we tried to make Germany a better place - with more than a little help from our friends. One should learn from history, for what WE do today will be tomorrow's history. So it is up to us - to me, too - to make it a happy one.


There is the ring of truth in some of these, but it still does read like satire.

Small change for public toilets is essential.

I jaywalked frequently whilst in Germany, but only because I didn’t understand how the pedestrian crossings work. I avoided arrest...

A little German goes a long way...for example in the middle of nowhere someone stopped and asked the way to some location... I pointed to myself and said ‘Ich bin Englisch’ and the other person said ‘Alles Klar’...and moved on.

As previously said...talking incessantly about the war is frowned upon. But by all means show ‘some’ interest in the place you are visiting. The person I visited in Germany shared what had happened to her city and it was quite moving...


It is true that Germans are cash people. "Nur Bares ist Wahres" - only cash is good money. I was amazed that in the US they paid even the cheapest items using credit cards. In Germany we use cash more frequently and there is often a (edited) minimum amount, below which you cannot use your card (sometimes about 10 Euros)


"Do not buy your friends’ kids toy guns or any other form of militaristic toys"

Sometimes I've read news articles here in Canada, where the police say it's dangerous for children to play with toy guns because some of them look like real guns.


In Germany it is usually because parents think toy guns could spoil thir kids and transform them to violent monsters. On the other hand, they let their kids watch TV ...


I frickin' love germans! Because all their rule-sticking just means one thing: respect for other humans. Let us all respect each other, and THEN discuss further how bad/boring germans are (considered (by some (not me))).

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