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  5. Wondering how Germany is like…


Wondering how Germany is like...

I'm really into learning German. I love the language. But I have no clue how Germany is.

How's the food?

What's the law system like?

What's the weather like there?

Do most people speak German, or do some speak other languages, like French, Italian, et cetera?

What's the everyday life like?

(Thank you so much for your replies in advance!)

May 10, 2018



I lived here in 05/06 and just moved back. Some of my observations related to your question on everyday life

Germans are super organised and disciplined. This means when you walk around you see well built houses, beautifully laid stone walkways and roads, and structured gardens. There are rules for everything which can be a pain at first but it does mean things run smoothly when you do need something. These things affect life more than you think. It's like the structure permeates every aspect of life. Always structure. Not very spontaneous, but open to change (although the change is slowed by the structure).

Pragmatic - I think this is part of the same thought process that leads to the above. Great example: Germans can have debates about politics from opposite opinions and remain calm and factual. This is not my experience in the US and UK!

Environmentally conscious, but... It only goes so far. They still generally like to drive new cars fast and I find it harder to recycle here then in the UK. Also fracking is even in built up areas. I'm not making a judgment but it didn't fit with my image of the stereotype green Germans.

Socially conscious and all about creating jobs and maintaining jobs - it's great for employees but hard for innovation. Very few homeless compared to USA and UK although I saw even fewer in Sweden which amazed me.

Food - great bratwurst, Kochwurst, all wursts!! And they all have names. I guess you could easily have a different bread, cheese and wurst for every week of the year. At least!

Great quality of food, better produce, meat and fewer additives than the US generally. This does mean worse junk food ;-) I have never seen Cheetos here, they are suspicious of food coloring so cookies aren't frosted, in fact don't bother buying cookies they're awful.. go to a bakery and that's where you will get your sugar fix in style. I recommend EVERYTHING. Nussecken, Marzipanbrot, Butterkuchen... Ok so maybe not worse junk food you just have to know where to find it!

they're about 5 years behind on gluten free products and understanding. You can find it... But clearly still the land of Schwartzbrot

They generally eat cold cuts of cheese and meats etc on bread (not white bread! We're talking 5x the density) for breakfast and dinner. Lunch is the hot meal. It's really cute when a German guy barely eats anything at lunch at work and then explains that his wife is cooking "warm" tonight so he has to save space. It's like they're not allowed to have two hot meals a day.

Compared to America, they might seem unfriendly but they just take a while to warm up (North German). they have polite mode and friend mode. They think being overly friendly when you're not actually friends is fake and makes them suspicious (are you trying to get something from them?). But most of them have traveled and understand they come across like this so I find people warm up to me faster once they know I'm foreign.

I hope you can travel here one day and discover other things for yourself!


Good summary and I especially agree with your comment on additives. I would never buy a can of soup in the U.S. because of the salt content. Here you can buy a tasty can of soup and salt will not overwhelm you. Their sweets could be a little sweeter, to my taste. A Black Forest cake in the U.S. beats their own. :-)


Thanks! I'll have to try the US version!


you can get a real black forest cake only in the black forest!

any black forest cake wich is not original from the black forest does not deserve to have this name!


Nah. Respectfully disagree. Princess Cake from Sweden keeps its name. Liverwurst keeps its name. The basic recipe is the same with the American version of BFC. It is just sweeter in the American version.


as mentioned already foods in america are produced differently than in germany... that also showes in the taste... so if the ingridents taste differently the hole cake will be different... how do you expect the result to be the same if you don't have the "original" ingridients? (like an oiriginal "Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser") plus:having the basic recipe is one thing but the people in each area have some secrets about the preparation of their specialties wich they won't tell anyone (outsiders) and wich are not written in the "basic recipe". whats why i say that a black forest cake outside the black forest can only be a cheap copy of the original.

ps: the sweetness of the cake differs even in the black forest cause it is up the the persons taste who prepared it. though i think sweeter is not necessarily better. you can also use suger to cover the taste of the additives.


thanks for being so intricate with the food part... yum!


Sure! Food is a great way to explore!


well in the school and media we have a big wave now because of the mass of sugar the industry made in the last years here in Germany and our medical scientists and doctors want us to consume fewer sugar because we gain adipositas and diabetis mellitus in the population the last years


Their recycling actually blows. The plastic you pay 10 or 25 cents per bottle to bring back for "recycling" is actually "one use plastic," and cannot be recycled. Well, at least they bundle it all in one place and will hopefully dispose of it properly. They also have one trashcan with three different holes in the lid so you can sort the recycleables. Investigators opened the trashcan lids and found that there are not three different bags, but one bag, and it is all mixed up no matter what hole you sort things in.
They tend to overheat, which is great if you are always cold, but not great if you don't like it. Wear layers to strip down.


Yeah I have found the recycling options so disappointing where I am.

Mixing can work well for metal, glass, plastic, and paper (where it's offered...), as there are cool machines to sort it. We had curbside recycling for all of that plus a compost bin in the UK. but yeah you have to trust it really happens. Hopefully!


well I think our recycling system has to be better controlled to build no fake. In Germany we often see in the late TV shows documentations about world problems and recycling problems are often a theme depending on other nations. I think it would be a lie to say here is everything great and okay. We have to work on it

[deactivated user]

    There are a ton of resources about Germany on the net, this one is only one of them: https://wikitravel.org/en/Germany

    It's covers pretty much everything you'll want to know.


    thanks for the website!


    great job this site but some historical mistakes are inside and it can not show the complete picture about our history. For example the volunteers against the Hitler regime are not explained, the "Swingkids", underground groups and a lot more. Maybe is is to much for the page



    The cuisine of Germany has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. Germany's legal system is a civilian system whose highest source of law is the 1949 Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (which serves as the nation's constitution), which sets up the modern judiciary, but the law adjudicated in court comes from the German Codes; thus, German law is primarily codal in nature. Germany's climate is moderate and has generally no longer periods of cold or hot weather. Northwestern and coastal Germany have a maritime influenced climate which is characterized by warm summers and mild cloudy winters. The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95 percent of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language. Everyday life: https://www.portal.uni-koeln.de/9032.html


    That was insightful, seeing as I have relations from there. Thank you!


    thanks so much for being so detailed!


    Welcome MiauFiamma I hope my comment for you will give you an impression of my native country. I am from Berlin, Germany and I live here for more than 30 years.

    food In Germany we often eat our food three times a day or more. There is the breakfast at first, than in the middle of the day till the afternoon the lunch and between 18 o´clock and 20 oclock in the evening we mostly have our dinner. In Berlin it is changing in dependence to what your jobs and habits are. A lot of people have one job here, students often more. If you meet with people in the evening for business talks or with friends dinner can be happen till circa 22 oclock. Often times we eat very different in the details and here is a bright offer of all nations food in Berlin. There is fast food also available as economic food, sports food, vegetarian, mediteran, fish or other á lá carte-food. Examples for buyable food: A frozen pizza in the supermarkets is in price mostly between 1,89 - 2,99 EUR, 800g fish or chicken is between 2,99 and 3,99 EUR, rolls are between 0,10 - 0,68 EUR and 2 Kg potatoes are between 1,49-3,45 EUR. We have four seasons in a year with between ca. five degrees under zero in the deep winter the last years and ca. 37 degrees (°C/ Celsius) in the deepest summer. So we eat more fresh and vegetable food often in spring and summer, soups and stews in the autumn and winterperiod but we have also some specials we like. For christmas a lot of people eat sausages with potatoesalad if they want to share more time with others than to spend time cooking, others like to eat carp, deer, goose or turkey and for the happy new year raclette, fondue and other meals are customary. In spring we also have a vegetable that is called "Spargel" it is a plant where we eat the root. It is nearly white and like a stick between 15 and 20 centimeters long and you boil it with water (the meal is often a combination with salted Potatoes and a special sauce called Sauce Hollondaise). Spargel is full of Vitamin C and in spring it is very expansive sometimes. It is fresh when you give a little pressure to the stick and it give a crack sound and you can see the juice dripping out very small at the end were the spargel was cutted. In Berlin we have some fast food specials. They are famous by the younger people: "Döner" (a warmed quarter of flatbread with salad and a warm mix of lamb and cow or chickenmeat, salt, pepper and sauce) and "Currywurst mit/ ohne Darm" (a scalded sausage with or without a hull from porcs intestinal, the sausage gets roast and cutted in smaller round pieces overwhelmed with ketchup and finished with curry- and paprika powder). In Germany we get more and more people with illnesses like diabetes mellitus and adipositas the last years. The combination of food and movement in the daily life is often times not optimized. law system we have a "democracy" system with a parliament. We parted three pieces the power of the government and other instruments of control: the "Legislative" (makes the laws), the "Judikative" (says what the law says) and the "Exekutive" (executive power). The Legislative are the politicans at first, the Judikative are the judges and the courts (we have a lot of different courts with different thematic aspects (e.g. family law is talken in the Sozialgericht (social courst) and hierarchies (depending of issue and value of the difference there are chances to ask in a second or third higher court for revisions in judges and more)). For the executive powers we have special troops (we do not see them often like in other countries), policemen and the fire is not involved like in other nations. Our fire does not have a lot of paramilitary training or equipment for this. Special troops against terrorism are ruled by the "Ministerium des Innern".

    We have 5 higher clue instances for our government: The Bundestag, Bundesrat, Bundesverfassungsgericht, Bundeskanzler (in the moment Frau Merkel, party: CDU) and the Bundespräsident. The Bundeskanzler is the head of the nation and says who should become his/ her ministers. The ministers rule the ministries with their tasks. You can get more informations here for example: http://www.bundestag.de/en/ We have only few times exceptions with parties in the Bundestag that come in without to closs the line of five percentages. If a party gets three direct cancidates the rule changes. Our biggest parties are the CDU (Christlich-demokratische Union in Bavaria they work together with the CSU, they are more conservative politicans), the SPD (Sozialpolitische Partei Deutschlands, they are more to the left-wing), the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei, which are concentrated to economy and business-people), Bündnis90/Die Grünen (they are very interested in sustainable development in ecology), Die Linke (radikal left-wing), Die Piratenpartei (they are mostly the youngest and like to reform a lot of different things), the AfD (they are not very long in the Bundestag again and called the "Alternative für Deutschland" and they are radikal right-wing) and others like the Frauenpartei, the Initiative bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen (which want everybody to be paid without a reason with a basic money each month), Die grauen Panther (which want to have more focus to the needs of older people) A political career in Germany begins mostly with the choice of a party and become a member there or to ask for a direct choice in the elections. A lot of our politicans studied political science, are Lawers or teachers but not all. We choose in the big elections each forth year with two voices if we are at least 18, have the german citizenship, having legal capacity and are not inhafted and convicted in a prison.

    weather we have not often tornados or hurricans like the USA for example or erruptions and daily dangerous vulcanism. Our weather is changing with the seasons. In January and February we have the last years the coldest periods and in June and July the hottest month. In the moment we had a full week of sunshine and today the first rain again starting this evening. We have in the moment 15°C degrees, few wind and rain. Our nights are few colder than our days in spring and summer. In April and May the weather changes usually more often. We get our weather from the mountains the "Alpen" and from the Rossby wave and it is not as hard in Berlin as at the coast or on a Hallig. Our vulcanistic area is the Eiffelgebiet (with a lot of ants in the last years) and there are some chambers under the Harzgebirge. The last winters were not hard eough to kill a lot of insects so we can not say if the fruits are well this year of if we will have a lot of insects in our cherries and apples.

    languages In Berlin we have a lot of languages and the most German between 40 and 10 can awnser you in English, French, Spanish or in Russian. The older people are not all very fit with English but they devide in to groups: Those who became part of the French, American or British sector after the second world war learned and tried to speak English but they often had no help with idiomatic things or the pronunciation. The circa 70 till 80 year old ones learned lists of vocabulary in schools with partly bad educated teachers and had few grammar. They could ask you for "two iced balls" and mean if they may have icecream. (A round and volumed thing is in Germany called "Kugel" or "Ball" depending on what it is directly.) They have problems to speak a "th" and they mix up German pronunciation with written English words. A lot of them are very proud if they remember words to awnser someone in English and feel younger the moment. Our languages got a lot English words the last thirty years we took from music, business, science and more. People use some English words sometimes to sound very modern. People which grew up in the DDR can understand Russian and some of them can speak it too. French is often used as a second language between the first foreign language but as another way Latinum and Spanish are accepted for the Abitur too. After the second world war a lot of people from Turkey came to Germany to work here and be guestworkers. A lot of them feeled familiar with the place in time and build up families here or brought them here to stay. That is why also a lot of people here can understand Turkish and Arabian language here too, especially here in Berlin. These days kids start with English often in the Kindergarten when they are between three and five years old to grow up with two languages. With the refugees we get more and more languages now.

    daily life

    A different question because you can say the spectrum is huge. We have a good system for people which want to travel, an expansive but well organised caresystem and a lot of hospitals and schools, three steps for school (Grundschule (Basic school), Oberschule (High School) and Oberstufe (Gymnasium or schools with lessons the whole day and a gymnasial part)) and different schoolmodels. It is obligative by law to send the children to school and they start with 5 or 6 years depending on test how far they are with their head. We have also institutions for the younger and older kids where they become educated and maintained. They are public, private or leaded by churchs. Berlin has more than 4.000.000 inhabitants and we have a lot of concerns here, infrastructure, no waterproblems these days, a lot of traffic, shopping malls, in the moment 1 1/2 airports, a lot of construction zones, a lot of tourism, ambassities, and people do not die young if they do not have illnesses e.g. like cancer. We do not have a lot of violence with armoured persons if you take a comparison with other nations. In Berlin you have some corners that are with more trouble and some which are quiet nice and enjoyable but the town grows and becomes more and more dirty wirth rubbish on the streets and some people do not clean up after one's dog. The more a part is outer the center the calmer it is here. Other big towns here are for example Frankfurt (Oder), München, Hamburg, Bonn and Stuttgart. In this towns one can say business is big and the days should have more than 24 Hours. Bonn was the first time after the war our capital and for example the media and tv-channels are still at home there.

    For more please ask directly and i would like to awnser to you the best way I can do.


    WOW! thanks so much for being so thorough!


    my inner basic I fear


    I love all the different wild meat that one can put on their table at Christmas. In my area though, the traditional Christmas Eve meal is like our summer picnic food--wurst and potato salad.

    I find that everything political is a rule of thumb. Greens may once have focused on the environment but now they are focused, like most parties, on the many people who want to make Germany their new home.



    Wow, that a long text!
    Congrats, you beat me in writing the longest text in the last 1,5 years on DL...and usually mine are not quite short :-)

    Q: Have you made an OFFLINE backup of your text, so if the DL forum (e.g defective HDD, failed backup, etc.) or this thread crashes (error 404) because of their engine blacklisting words, you could recover it?


    thank you Thomas.Heiss I would write something like this again if it seems useful. I had some problems to structure it because my paragraphs were not accepted


    germany does have quite a lot imigrants (and tourists) from allover the world so you might find natives speakers from many languages here. (official sources claim that 22,5% of germanys population nowadays have foreign roots ) except for those the people are native german speakers. the official language is german. there are a lot of dialects around so in every part of germany you will hear people speaking a little differently.

    statistics say that more than 60% of the germans are not good enough at english to have a proper conversation. (can't imagine that to be true though. must be because of the older generations who did not have english classes in school yet) many schools offer french and spanish classes besides english. (you have to take 2 languages to graduate "highschool" [to make your Abitur]. most students go for english and french, some for english and spanish. [english is required but the student can choose between french and spanish for the 2. language]).not sure if some schools in eastern germany even offer russian.

    there is no french or italian or whatever speaking part of germany (if this is what you were going at). if you meet french or italian etc. people here they are immigrants or the children from immigrants or tourists. in the area near the french border we have french people who still live in France but work in Germany (or german people living in Germany but working in France). you can see the same thing in other border areas as well. there are also many people from poland (and some other countries) who are only here to work in Germany for one season and such.

    the weather is crazy. there really is no other word for it: one time it is too hot, another time it is too cold. it can change from sunny to rainy (or even snowy) and back in between a couple of hours. in spring you can have temperature differences of around 15°C (sometimes even 20°C)from one day to the next (like 8°C today and 23°C or more tomorow)

    there i live in germany we can have around 37°C in summer and (on extrem cold days) in winter -15°C in winter.

    here is a video wich shows some of the most beautiful views in germany:



    Quote 7hAu0bvY: ...you have to take 2 languages to graduate "highschool" [to make your Abitur]. most students go for english and french, some for english and spanish. [....students can choose between french and spanish for the 2. language])

    Wow, it looks like times are changing....
    My friend, who was in "Gymnasium" (high school) to make his Abitur, had to sign up for Latin (Latein).

    Realschule (Mittlere Reife) even had at those previous times no second language besides English!!

    Maybe it differs between smaller vs bigger cities and schools....

    I would expect that French and/or Spanish could firstly be added when studying (FH Fachhochschule / Uni Universität) or at the FOS Fachoberschule which comes after Realschule; I am not sure about that).

    There are people who study medicine after Abitur, so they have to know Latin and not French or Spanish.


    oh i forgot there is this option as well.. ok correction: you can do spanish, french, or latin (there is a school in Rottweil wich even offers hebrew and greek but that is more than the standard)as 2. language. in my school they divided the classes by our choises for the second language. so as a student from the spanish class i hardly had any of the latin students around :-)

    not everyone wants to study medicine or theology etc. there you would need latin for. forcing people who have no use for it to learn latin wouldn't make sense, right?

    most people only decide their futur path during their last year of highschool, so why bother taking latin if you don't even know if you will need it?

    there are also people who want to be language teachers for french or spanish.(or want to do anything else there way will need it.) they should know a good share of that language before entering university.

    plus: you can make up for the latin part in university as well. you need to have the great latinum thing by the end of your university time (or if not by the end then what ever time your university set for that.) important is to have it for the "Staatsexamen".

    i went for spanish in highschool. later i decided to study theology (that was 3 months before graduation). i did all the language courses (latin, greek, hebrew) in university. it was hard but it worked. the most comforting thing was: we only had 2 or 3 students in our year who had done the latin course in highschool already. :-).

    usually you add the 2. language in 7. grade i think. and one can add a 3. language, if wantet in the "Oberstufe"(grade 11-12 or 13 depending on the state).

    for Realschule one can take french nowadays as a 2. language but you do not have to.

    ps.: schoolsystems in germany differ from state to state. i am from Baden-Württemberg (south-west germany bordering France and Switzerland.). so everything i wrote about school aplies to Baden-Württemberg.


    Medical Latin is not that what they teach in the Abitur. (My first work was old peoples nurse so I had some medical Latin for my exam. My classmates learned other parts of Latin. While we studied together in another course I saw what they learned instead listening to our teacher :-) ) In the 5th class my English courses began. When I was in the High school I had English and French starting in the 9th class year. In the Abitur I was able to choose even if they counseled me wrong and I believed them.

    By the way: Every language is useful in medicine business because it helps to understand the patients


    What's the weather like there?

    If you plan to do a visit, do it end of April / Mai to mid of September during spring / summer season.

    June and definitely July until mid of August can be the hot summer days where temperature may easily reach 30-35 degree celcius.

    A few years ago this was the case two times in a row even for the 04/30 where I was in bath where it got over ~28/30°C...not so much the last years (and this year) ;)

    Hot / sunny temperature months are shifting....teilweise ziemlich durcheinander!

    October to February/March starts the cold(er) winter EU season.
    It can be rainy, colder (October is mixed).

    January and February are usually pretty (too) cold, and snow may fall (can also happen in December).
    Not much sun for many days (either completely off, or only for ~1-3 hours).
    Sun most of the time starts again end of February....February to (mid of) March is the best skiiing season in Austria (too warm: der Schnee wird butterweich / sulzig sein)!
    If it gets warmer, you need to visit a Gletscher in Austria (Stubai, Sölden, etc.) for skiing / snowboarding.

    Do most people speak German, or do some speak other languages, like French, Italian, et cetera?

    Not everybody speaks English, but many people speak English from a basic to intermediate level.
    Especially the younger generation, where schools, college, university teach it starting as a younger child.

    Yes, a few people are from Italy (native or bilingual speaker).

    A lot of people are from Poland (Polish native speakers) or are Turkish.

    If you visit some countries like Schwandorf (Steinberger See) you may meet a few people from Czech, where they visit our great Wakeboarding spots like www.wildwakeski.de.

    If you speak French, you may also meet French people here and there (you know, the right challenges often come up when you are not completely "blind")...but honestly, I never had personally the pleasure...

    Therefore my Digital Publishing (DP) French Sprachkurs CD is laying around since 2008...never stepped into it even a (German) friend from my older company spoke French on phone to a good level (17 years ago), thanks to his higher education.

    And once I did last summer for 1-3 days - after learning Portuguese for ~1 year, my 1st Romance language - the DP French beginner course was IMHO way too difficult for me ;)


    Skiing in Austria, e.g Gerlos:

    I forgot to add, that you can meet MANY Dutch speakers from the Netherlands there :)


    wow! thanks so much!


    They pretty much all speak German, probably around 10 to 20% speak English to a fair extent. Most all Europeans have knowledge of more than 1 language. I have never been there but my brother has been to Europe a couple of times.


    If you take some of the DW.com courses such as Nico's Weg you can learn both German and German culture, and more grammar and useful phrases than in Duolingo.


    Here are a few random discoveries I have made in NRW (A state bordering Holland).

    Food is full of surprises. Go out for Chinese food and it is German Chinese, heavy on Sauerkraut flavor. Peanut butter is always like the cheap stuff back home, full of oil and sugar. I am happy to get to Albert Heijn just over the border to buy p.b. featuring just ground nuts and salt. They feature foreign food weeks at discount supermarkets where you will find some funny things they assume your country eats. For example, cranberry pancake syrup: pre-made, packaged pancakes (they do this with their own potato pancakes as well) and hamburger buns that are just bread with a line on the outside, but which are not cut through. Wurst and hotdogs come in jars and are eaten cold. In town, kids snack on bread rolls as snacks. There is lots and lots of pork. Even their chicken sausages have pork in them, which makes me wonder why Muslim councils have not campaigned about this.

    System of law. Don't speed. pay your t.v. license. have legal insurance and insurance for when you move out of your house (general damage insurance) because there are many court cases here--just over different issues. As in other countries, perpetrators seems to be advantaged over victims in many ways.

    Weather. Assume change. If it is sunny, go out immediately if you can. It is a great country for cloud watching, but not from the ground, which is either continually damp or filled with lots of biting insects.

    There are many, many languages being spoken all around. The last two years I have been to the Christmas market and heard Arabic at some points on all sides. I had the feeling that I had gone to Bethlehem for Christmas. Basically, know German or English for jobs here.

    Everyday life. Full of local rituals that will surprise you, like knocking on the table at the end of meetings or in appreciation at the end of a lecture. Assume that cars have the right of way. They do not slow for pedestrians and they would rather continue than stop for pedestrians at street intersections without crosswalks. Strangers try to avoid contact with other strangers. It is very crowded here. Most Germans are in their gardens on Sundays when more foreigners than Germans will walk downtown or walk in parks. It is easier to hear of an event in the paper afterwards than to know about it ahead of time in many areas of life.

    If I were a government minister, I would want to educate people about cars weighing 2 tons vs. the fragility of human bodies. I would also want to educate people on how they treat their pets. I see too many dogs walked just far enough for them to do their business and then are taken back in. Also, too many dogs that are bribed to walk short distances with food treats, so that they end up eating a lot of snacks. Dogs are not socialized to get on with other dogs and so they have to continue to separate dogs as the worst often will happen. (And people are not happy if you pet their dog. It is THEIR dog.)


    thank you for so many detailed responses to different subjects!


    We learn many languages but we speak just german. Everyday life is...normal?! I can't explain, I only know how a german lives. The weather is pretty weird, rainy even in the summer but its hot too. The food is good, I think. Maybe you can make holidays in germany. There are host families who can show you everyday life. And there is a Channel on Youtube, called: Wanted Adventures, she explain germany pretty good.

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    I lived in Germany for 11 years total and enjoyed every minute. If you really want to find out what it is like, go! Next best thing is to talk to other English speakers that are currently living there. The toytown forum (mostly expats) is a great place to discuss this and find out more information about how it is to live there.


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