Beware of these 5 things in Germany!

17, March 2023

Germany is a cultural society and like every cultural society, it has certain rules that might be overlooked in other climes but carry a heavy penalty here. Below are some basic tips to get you started as you adjust to the German community

1. Never be late for appointments.

This is one golden rule every new person in Germany should never forget. The German society prides itself as being very efficient and it’s said that the German are the only one who seek for problems to solve when there is none. This efficiency stems from a good time management and this is visible in every aspect of the society. From visa appointments to train departures and even hair stylist appointments, kindly take them seriously; as they might cost you, either as a fee for no show or a farther date for the next appointment. If you would be a few minutes late or unable to make it to the appointment, it is always advisable to call to inform or send an email beforehand.

2. Don’t leave your bags unattended

I remember a certain year when some friends were going for a summer camp trip and they missed the train. The next train was scheduled an hour later, so they decided to take a stroll around the train station and do other things. After some time, a person from the group called to inform the others that some policemen were asking questions and their attention was needed. It was quite strange and being new students in Germany at the time, they were a bit scared. When they all gathered back at the train platform, the policeman asked for some identification and after confirming their identity, were asked not to leave our bags unattended to in future. It so happened that a concerned citizen had called the police to report some unidentified bags at the station. They were informed that if they hadn’t arrived at the time they did, a bomb-alert would have been issued and the station would be temporarily closed. All the expenses and damages incurred due to the closure would have been billed to them. So, whenever you’re travelling through Germany, always be close to your bags in order not to be a victim of ignorance.

  1. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets
  2. containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software
  3. like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum

2. Don’t Jaywalk

You might have heard this several times and think it’s an over-exaggeration. However, jaywalking is greatly frowned upon in Germany. You could be reported to the police, picked up by the security cameras or even seen by one of the many police vehicles doing their rounds through the city. Worst still, you could be hit by a vehicle. Although, German drivers are known for their carefulness due to the rigorous training they went through to get a driving license, there could be a chance of error and the fault would be on the erring pedestrian. Furthermore, it could earn you a negative point in your driving record (Punkte in Flensburg). This could cost you a fine and take up to 2.5 years to clear from your file. Be patient, the red light would only last a few seconds

4.Don’t be a Schwarzfahrer

Schwarzfahren is a compound word which means ‘black-riding’, but translates as ‘fare dodging’

Germany is known for its well-developed public transport system and majority of the population use it for their daily commute. With that amount of people getting in and out of the trains or buses, one Is left wandering how the ticketing systems works? Most cities have daily and weekly cards which can be bought from automated machines just before entering the train stations. For the monthly cards you might have to go to the customer service centers. Cities like Hamburg and Berlin have transport app where you can check travel schedules and buy tickets.

It is the culture that everyone buys their ticket, however there are security personnel which randomly check for compliance. They can easily be identified with their uniform but some others also where civil dresses but are with their identity card. If a person is caught using the service without a ticket, he would be required to pay as much as 60 euros. You could also be booked into a directory and this could negatively affect your record.

I heard the story of a new Int’l student who was caught on a short trip using the tram in his city. He was angry and decided to go back home, still without a ticket. He was controlled on his return trip and got booked. In less than 30 minutes, he got booked 120 euros. That’s the payment of about 12 hours of a work at the minimum wage. Please don’t be that guy!