10 quirks to know before visiting Germany

Have your sights set on Germany? Great! This European country is a beautiful destination for rolling mountains, lush green forests, and some pretty great locals. However, there may be a few cultural points to know before you encounter them. Check out this list of 10 quirks to know before visiting Germany:

Germans have a word for everything

This is mostly due to the fact that German words are often just compounded words. Meaning that you may understand all the words individually, but that put together they may sound a bit confusing. Ask for clarification if you need it, or use the words you know to figure out the rest!

Comfort with nudity

This isn’t saying public spaces are ‘clothing optional’ but rather that at places like the beach, nudity should not be surprising. Often times a pool or beach will list whether nudity is acceptable, but in the more remote locations it is more common. And not as taboo as in other countries around the world.

Using trees to return lost items

Kind of like the giving tree, but better named the give back tree! Germans are known for being a fairly friendly culture, and if they see something dropped along the path, they’ll put it in a nearby tree for the owner to find again. This is to ensure the item won’t get trampled on or stolen in the footpath, and while it may not be a commonality it is not an oddity.

Using different methods of telling time

This greatly varies person to person, but some travelers have found that while Germans may use military time (on phones, in public places) they’ll often speak in 12-hour time. So for example, their phone may say 13:00, but when you ask the time they will respond with 1 o’clock.

Respecting off days

Germans are also known for taking their time off seriously. Some businesses have a firm ‘will not work on Sunday’ code, and others take the whole weekend off. If you want to be safe and stocked, be sure to go during the week for any necessities.

Speak formally to the police

In Germany, it is known to be incredibly important to speak respectfully to the police. This means avoiding the use of the informal ‘du’.

Drinking is acceptable

While there are few places in the world where drinking is not permissible, there are others where it is simply seen as taboo to order a drink with every meal. Especially for minors. But Germany embraces the culture of casual drinking, and even has a lowered drinking age when compared to some other countries in the world. Here, certain alcohols can be bought by 16 year olds, with full legality at 18.

They speak several languages

This depends heavily on the person and place you are interacting with, but most Germans are known for having a sophisticated language arsenal. German is of course the national language, and most know English, some know French, and a litany of other languages.

Customer Service

While Germans are not rude (they are actually known for being incredibly nice and friendly), customer service is not the same as it is in say, America. They are not paid to give you service with a smile, but rather to complete the task given to them however that may be. They are not being rude, rather just getting work done.

Germans are generally rule followers

And they are not afraid to scold you if you are breaking the law. Even unknowingly. Germans are known for operating on a fair level of order, and they do not like when someone breaks that order. Don’t be offended if you are corrected, as this is simply a cultural point to be aware of.