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Very German Things To Do- Written By A German

Updated: Jan 22

Everyone who who has ever lived abroad knows that the experience sheds a new light on one's homeland. Having lived in the United Kingdom for 15 years and working as a German tutor who is constantly in touch with clients from all around the world, I think I have a thing or two to say about us Germans. So in this blog post, I will discuss stereotypes about us that are actually true.

So what are very German things to say and do (in absolutely no particular order)?

1. To make plans for pretty much everything and well in advance is certainly very German. I am guilty of that myself, I must admit, especially when it comes to planning holidays.

2. To love rules and organisation. If you ever visited Germany or even lived there for some time, you'll know that there are laws and rules for almost everything. God forbid that the state would leave any decision to its citizens' "common sense". German bureaucracy is a beast that cannot be tamed!

3. Not to cross the street when the light traffic light is red, even if there is a no traffic. And not just during the day! Rules are rules for the Germans 👮‍♂️.

4. To complain, moan, and worry about everything that is not as perfect as expected. German perfectionism is real. “Don’t worry be happy” 🇯🇲 certainly wasn’t written by a German!

5. To constantly open your window to get “frische Luft” (fresh air) because German houses are so bloody well insulated. My mother even claims she cannot even do any "work" in the house if the windows aren't open.

6. To be the world champions in recycling because we love the rules that come with it. Environmental concerns don't faze us that much!

7. To readily assume you’re fluent in English, even though it’s more Denglish- so English with Germanic grammar and vocabulary. My favourite example would be to place a restaurant order with "can I become a beefsteak?" The German word bekommen means to get, to receive 😉

8. To feel “cool” using English words like“meeting” and “call” and to use "nice" for the best thing ever. Cringeworthy- and not just for English native speakers and German tutors!

9. To reserve sun beds and umbrellas ⛱ by the pool 🏊‍♂️. We may have started it but now everyone appears to be doing it!

10. Struggling to comprehend irony. There is such a thing as German sense of humour, but it’s not exactly subtle or dark.

11. To be terrible at small talk. Germans want to cut to the case and don't get the point of "how are you?" chit chat.

12. To be so brutally honest and direct that we rarely ever say “to be honest” (um ehrlich zu sein) because it (almost) goes without saying 😅. Just don't mention the war...

13. To throw far too many already (schon) and still (noch) into questions and not to realise how bossy this sounds. As a German living in the UK- I speak from experience.

14. To answer with "doch!" to shut down discussions.

15. And to say "genau" fifty millions times a day since precision is everything. On the upside, we also use that precision to manufacture the cars that are loved the world over.

16. To wear neutral colours like beige in as well as outside the office 24/7. Germans are not exactly world famous for their sense of fashion.

17. Proudly wearing the combination of socks with sandals as if it were the most natural thing to do.

18. To have gnomes in the garden not as a joke (because irony isn't a thing in Germany, remember?) but because they are pretty. Or aren't they? Weird!

19. To be obsessed with beer. Does any other country have a "Reinheitsgebot" (purity law)?

20. To eat Sauerkraut a lot. Some nations call us the krauts for a reason!

21. To love eating sausages and pigs so much that there are countless German idioms with them. "Es geht um die Wurst" (literally, it's about the sausage), die Sau rauslassen (let the pig out), and even "Schwein haben" (to have pig).

22. To be stingy as hell, particularly in the South-West. Not only did we invent the concept of splitting restaurant bills, most of us also calculate it down to cents!!

23. To be obsessed with German bread, especially when living abroad. Guilty as charged!

So, yeah, that's us. Or did I forget something import? If so, leave a comment below. You might also be interested to learn 11 fun facts about the German language. So check out our post.

On our German language blog "Auf Deutsch, bitte!", you will find posts on many topics in German grammar that will help you to progress more quickly in German- from adjective endings in German, the four German cases, pronouns, prepositions to German syntax.

Find out more about our German lessons, small German classes, and new online German courses here.


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