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10 Peculiar Things About the German Lifestyle That Will Astonish Any Visitor

It is one thing to come to Germany as a tourist and notice a couple of peculiarities (for example, they don’t wear swimsuits in public baths and locker rooms are unisex there). But it is another thing when you live in the country for a while and learn the peculiarities of the Germans in their everyday life.

At Bright Side, we looked through the blogs of people who’ve moved to Germany. It turns out that they have quite a few eccentricities.

1. The toilets in many German apartments are built into the walls.

Very few German bathrooms have regular toilet bowls. In Germany, it is customary to install toilets with hidden tanks, and the toilets themselves are mounted directly into the wall. This leaves a lot of space under them. First, it saves space, and second, it makes cleaning easier.

There are usually 2 buttons for flushing water — large and small. This is an environmentally-friendly feature that is done to conserve water.

2. They usually have a window in the bathroom.

Most German apartments and houses don’t have air conditioning or even ventilation, although modern buildings usually have ventilation. The Germans ventilate their apartments by opening the windows.

The bathrooms also lack a ventilation system, so there is a window. This prevents mold from forming in the bathroom.

3. The doors in many houses can be locked from the inside only, with a key.

The main doors in German houses are a real quest for beginners. If you go out and slam the door, you won’t be able to get back in without a key because there is usually no handle on the back of the door that you can turn.

When you enter the house, you can lock and open the door from the inside only with a key. There is no latch you can turn.

4. A standard German fridge is much smaller than ours.

Small German fridges with tiny freezers are a really scary sight for tourists.

The Germans love to build refrigerators into their kitchen sets, also known as “built-in sets.” Usually, they are disguised as an ordinary cabinet. When a resident of another country comes to Germany, the first thing they think is that there is no fridge at all.

5. They use 2 mattresses instead of one on a king size bed.

Foreigners moving to Germany are indignant at first about the local mattress system, but then they fall in love with it. The thing is that 2 mattresses are placed on a king-size bed, side-by-side: this allows each couple to individually sleep the way they want. The Germans also use 2 small blankets instead of a big one.

Instead of the usual rectangular pillows, Germans sleep on huge square ones. And these pillows are said to be way too soft: as soon as you put your head on them, it immediately falls through. And this has been a tradition for years.

6. When the Germans move to another apartment, they take their kitchen set with them.

This might sound strange, but most apartments and houses in Germany are rented out without a kitchen. You will only find bare walls in the kitchen. As a consequence, when people move out, they take all of their kitchen appliances and furniture with them to their new homes.

One of the reasons is a fundamentally different attitude toward rent. In Germany, apartments and houses are rented for several years, and sometimes even decades. That is why it’s not profitable for a landlord to purchase a kitchen set and all the necessary appliances, while the tenant, on the contrary, is more willing to invest in home improvement, thinking of it almost as their own property.

7. Almost every window has blinds outside.

German outdoor blinds are usually made of metal. They can be automatic or manual (to open and close them, you will need to pull on a special strap). The blinds are not inside the apartment, as we are used to, but outside. As a rule, they are mounted directly into the outer wall of the house.

8. Mailboxes and house intercoms look pretty different here.

In German houses, the personal data of the tenants can be seen on the mailboxes. While intercoms have plates with the name of the person living in the apartment.

9. The Germans don’t keep eggs and milk in the fridge.

Eggs in Germany are not processed with chemicals before they are delivered to stores — therefore, they retain their natural protective shell. On the one hand, they might still be dirty. On the other hand, due to the lack of chemicals, eggs can be stored at room temperature. Though these eggs will have a shorter shelf life — only 1-2 weeks.

As for milk, almost all of it is UHT (milk is heated to a higher temperature than during pasteurization, which guarantees no bacteria inside). This allows milk to be stored without a fridge and for a longer period of time (about 3 months).

Besides, the size of a typical German fridge doesn’t allow anyone to keep a lot of food inside.

10. Life in German apartments and houses stops on Sundays.

In Germany, almost all shops are closed on Sunday (with rare exceptions), and people try to make less noise. If you turn on loud music or a lawnmower, your neighbors next door, outraged by the noise, can easily sue you.

Generally speaking, people are expected to keep noise to a reasonable level throughout most of the day, but places may also have “quiet hours” in which people are expected to keep quiet overnight. In many places, “quiet time” is between 8 pm and 7 am (20:00-7:00) Monday-Saturday and all day on Sundays and holidays. Some areas, like Hamburg, also have mid-day quiet hours between 1-3 pm.

Have you visited Germany? Do you like their way of life? Tell us in the comments below.

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