Germany may have a reputation as the land of efficiency, but it comes at the price of mounds of paperwork. Everything from opening a bank account to buying a mobile phone requires pages of documents – all signed in triplicate. This rainforest-unfriendly policy can be infuriating to foreigners. Make sure to pack an extra pen.
2. Forcible community spirit:
Germans are very community-minded and shirking social duties can get you into trouble. In many apartment buildings each flat gets a “sweeping week” when it is their turn to clean common areas and even the pavement outside. Anyone missing their turn can expect some dirty looks. In some cases the management can even fine you for recycling wrongly. If you keep to yourself and don’t like living by a lot of extra rules, choose your home carefully.
3. Language barrier:
Mark Twain wrote in “The Awful German Language” that a gifted person should be able to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years. German’s long compound words, complex sentence structures and tricky grammar can be a big challenge for English-speakers, despite the languages’ common ancestry. While a new language can be an adventure, those shy of juggling datives and genitives or memorizing the genders of vegetables might want to steer clear.
Germany’s strong public services, employee protection, health service and welfare state come at a cost. Taxes here are some of the highest in the world, with those earning a little over €52,000 paying 42 percent income tax, on top of social security payments and a 19 percent rate of VAT. Professionals should be ready to say goodbye to around half their paycheck. You may find your mandatory social security contributions costing more than your rent.
5. Terrifying myths:
If you have children (or are afraid of nine-foot shaggy-haired goat demons) be wary, especially at winter time. According to legend at advent, the Krampus (a yeti-like creature with big goat horns) steals naughty children and carries them off in a sack to his mountain lair. Traditionally young men dress up as the Krampus from early and costumes can be fairly convincing.
6. Cash only:
Anybody used to wielding a wallet full of plastic should take note: many shops in Germany only accept payment in cash (Bargeld) and offering a debit card will often just get you a dismissive shake of the head or directions to a cashpoint. While ATMs are plentiful, almost all charge a hefty fee – in fact practically the only place to withdraw cash free is your own bank – so expats have to get used to carrying a lot of euros.
7. Awful TV:
Everybody knows Germany is a land of cultural excellence, home of Goethe, Brecht and Beethoven. But anyone moving here will find television just doesn’t measure up. While the USA and UK make global hits like Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, German schedules are dominated by formulaic cop dramas and rubbish soaps – so telly addicts stack up on box sets.
If this photo is your idea of food heaven, hurry down to the airport and get the next flight over here. If, however, you enjoy vegetarian meals, dislike fatty sausages and don’t understand the point of sauerkraut, be prepared to have to look a bit further for restaurants – especially out of cities.
Despite its failure this year, the German winter is notoriously long, grey and cold. Temperatures will hit minus 20 C and stay there. In the words of Berlin rapper Peter Fox, “im Winter tut’s weh”. But on the upside, the continental weather system also leads to hot summers.
10. Rude or direct?
Are Germans rude or just direct? This question has troubled many a visitor and expat and filled online chat forums. If you are from a country where people mind their p’s and q’s, you may find Germans’ directness rude. Foreigners also frequently complain about unfriendly bar and restaurant service.
Courtesy: The Local