GERMANY

Lager than life.

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Germany’s booze laws are incredibly loose, in fact drinking alcohol in public is legal however, smoking is still banned in public places.

JST CITY GUIDES:

Germany is on the Central European Time Zone (CET). It’s GMT +1 hour, meaning that it’s 5 hours ahead of New York and 1 hour ahead of London (Not calculating for Day Lights Savings).

If you are a citizen of a country that is a member state of the EU, you do not need a visa to travel to Germany. All you need is documentation that identifies you, either a valid passport or an ID card.

For non-EU travelers, you will need:

  • A passport or travel document. Must have been issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three more months beyond the date you plan to leave Germany.
  • Valid visa. If require.
  • Proof of adequate funds for the entire stay in Germany. Travelers must be in possession of at least 45€ per each day they plan on spending in German territory.
  • A round-trip ticket to Germany and back.

You will present these documents to German border police upon arrival.

In 1985, the government of Germany signed the Schengen Agreement, meaning that it became part of the European border free area.

You must apply for a Schengen Visa if you are:

  • Citizens of a third-world country that has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.
  • A citizen of a third-world country that has reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you were rejected from entering Belgium or any other Schengen country visa-free.

For more detailed info, check out Schengen Visa Info.

There are over 36 international airports in Germany, this is a list of the most popular airports:

  • Frankfurt Airport (FRA). This is the largest airport in Germany and its size allows for substantial list of flights to/from all over the world.
  • Munich Airport (MUC). This airport is much smaller and less hectic, the downside of this is that sometimes this airport does not have non-stop flights to your home city.
  • Düsseldorf Airport (DUS). This city is known for its fashion and trade fairs, this airport makes it a convenient place to be dropped off as you begin your trip in Germany.
  • Flughafen Berlin-Brandenburg International (BER). Berlin’s long-awaited airport has finally opened in 2020, it’s the perfect airport if you want to travel straight the country’s capital.

The easiest way to get around Germany is via the U-Bahn underground trains or S-Bahn regional.

  • Public Transport: The larger cities like Munich and Berlin combine trams, buses, U-Bahn (underground subway), trains and S-Bahn (suburban train) into a single network. Fares are determined by zone, but a one-way ticket costs about 2.90 EUR ($3.30 USD).
  • Hiking: Germany is huge when it comes to eco-tourism and they consider themselves the avant-garde of green travel. You will notice many German citizens walking the streets and enjoying nature as their means of transportation.

Germany is generally a very safe place to travel. There are a few pickpockets, so it is important to guard your stuff especially in the cities at night. Every place you travel you could encounter a local who will try to take advantage of a foreigner but if you trust your gut you should be fine. Europe is one of the safest continents for female travelers, it is likely you will be no more in danger in Germany then you would be at home.

But just in case, the emergency number in Germany is 112.

Germany is a year-round destination with mild winters and warm summers. Rain falls throughout the year with a maximum rainfall during the summer months. If you are heading to Germany in the winter make sure to bundle up and expect some beautiful snowfall.

The official language in Germany is German, with over 95% of the population consider German their first language however on occasion if you are lucky you may hear Sorbian which is spoken by 0.09% of the population in the east of Germany.

 

Yes: Ja (yah)

No: Nein (nine)

Hello/Good day: Guten Tag (GOOT-en tahk)

Excuse me: Entschuldigen Sie (ent-SHOOL-degen see)

Thank you: Danke (DAHN-kuh)

I’m sorry: Es Tut mir leid (ehs toot meer lite)

I don’t understand: Ich verstehen nicht (Ish VARE-stahe nisht)

How much does that cost?: Wieviel kostet das? (Vee-veal cost-it Das?)

Where is the restroom?: Wo ist die Toilette (vo ist dee toy-LET-uh)

Do: be polite, say please and thank you, try to be on time as much as possible, use a fork and knife when eating, shake hands when greeting people, be clean and dress well.

Do not: compare people to Nazis, stare at naked people; nudism in Germany is known as Freikoerperkultur (FKK) in essence they are a lot freer with their bodies then other countries so just try to be respectful of it.

Remind yourself that you are in another culture and be open to understanding.

Tipping is expected in Germany but at a much lower rate than the U.S, the general custom is a nominal tip (Trinkgeld, is the German word for tip, it translates to money for a drink).

  • Restaurant: 5% to 10% is appreciated while 15% is considered generous.
  • Taxis: anywhere between 50 cents and 2 EUR depending on the amount of the fare.
  • Hotels: tipping the porter 1-2 EUR per bag is average. Tip the maid/housekeeper around 4 EUR for every night you are staying.
  • Spas: you do not need to tip but if you want to 5% is appreciated.
  • Tour Guides: 10% is the general rule especially if the tour is free.

In Germany, the power plugs and sockets are type C and F (two-prong). Both types also work with plug E. You cannot use your electronics in Germany without a voltage converter, because the standard voltage is 230 V — higher than the US standard of 120 V.

Your converter should look like this:

Tap water is very safe to drink in Germany, it is their most controlled beverage product!

When you are a restaurant in Germany however and you ask for water, they will bring you a bottled water, it is considered bad etiquette to request tap water.

Pocket WI-FI is considered one of the best Wi-Fi hotspots for travelers in Germany, especially if you want to avoid data roaming. This portable Wi-Fi solution makes it cheap and easy to access Wi-fi anywhere in Germany. You can even connect up to 10 devices to the same pocket Wi-Fi Egg.

A SIM card costs €9.95 ($11.81) and will give you 2.5GB of data

Taxis tend to be expensive in Germany and are not usually recommended, the base rate starts at 3.70 EUR ($4.20 USD) an additional 1.90 EUR ($2.15 USD) must be paid as well per kilometer. Taxi and Uber are not very popular when it comes to transport. If you do want to order a taxi, the MyTaxi app is a great place to find a taxi near you.

Germany has always been praised for its forward-thinking attitude toward sexual orientation. Germany recently passed laws permitting same-sex couples to adopt children and just became the first European country to approve a third gender.

There has recently been a rise in LGBTQ+ violence and homophobia in mainstream politics in Germany due to the far-right organization Alternative for Germany (AfD) that have called for homosexuals to be imprisoned and to repeal gay marriage, keep this in mind when traveling there.

Germany is incredibly eco-friendly having launched multiple initiates on biodiversity, renewable energy, climate change and resource efficiency. Germany hopes to raise their share of renewables from 17% today to at least 80% in 2050 and plans to completely terminate all nuclear power plant use by 2022.

  • Hiking and Trails: with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites Germany is the perfect place for a tourist who wants to experience nature.
  • Wellness: Germany is home to many unique wellness features like the Emser Therme thermal complex, a river that doubles as a sauna for both tourists and locals to relax in. Germany also includes many spa resorts like Bad Wörishofen and Bad Oeynhausen.
  • Recycling: Germans recycle about 66% of their trash meaning you should too especially when you are in Germany. In fact, you can even get paid for recycling! In Germany when you are done drinking from a plastic bottle you can bring the empty bottle to a supermarket and get a few cents back for depositing it in the bottle recycling machine.

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A TIMELINE OF GERMANY'S HISTORY

Emperor Charlemagne was crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by Pope Leo III. Emperor Charlemagne is considered the father of the German Monarchy.

Emperor Charlemagne

800 CE

The inventor Johannes Gutenberg introduces printing to Europe by using moveable-type to print the Gutenberg Bible. This milestone is regarded as the beginning of the Printing Revolution, ushering the modern era by being the basis for the modern knowledge-based economy.

1619

The German theologian monk Martin Luthor began to question the practices of the Catholic church. Luthor made a list that would become known as his “95 Thesis,” which was 95 points where he thought the church was wrong and nailed the list to the door of the Catholic church, marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luthor

1517

The Thirty Years’ War begins. This religious conflict would be predominantly fought in Germany. It remains one of the longest and savage wars in human history. It would result in more than 8 million casualties from military battles and famine.

1618

Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized; he would go on to become one of the most admired composers in Western Classical music. His compositions would rank among the most performed classical repertoire.