If you are planning to visit Germany anytime soon, let me tell you it is not enough to just know a couple of words in local language. It is equally important to know about their culture. It doesn't hurt to take that extra step and make sure you don't break any rules or disregard local ettiquette that might land you in trouble. Here are 10 rules that you must follow in Germany if you don't want to ruffle any feathers.
1. Don't do the Nazi Salute
This rule is supposed to be taken damn seriously, okay? Never show the Nazi salute or sport any kind of Nazi symbol. Doing so is considered a grave offense and you can get arrested, with a 5 year prison sentence if you get caught. Also, DO NOT name Hitler at any given point even if the subject comes up.
2. Avoid jaywalking
Do not cross the streets when there is a red traffic light. Instead you should wait patiently for the light to turn green, for pedestrians to cross. Why you wonder? Well, jaywalking is simply not tolerated in this country. You gotta wait! If you don't, you might just get fined.
3. Never walk on the bicycle lane
Yes, there are separate lanes in Germany for cars, cycles and pedestrians so, you got to STICK TO YOUR LANE. Walking on the cycle lane is strictly prohibited. Also, because you might just get hit by a cyclist. So be safe and remember to always stick to your lane.
4. Avoid talking about the war
Talk about anything else in this world, but not the Second World War and Hitler of course. These are very serious and sensitive topics that you must not discuss. Don't do anything that will make the Germans uncomfortable. Understood?
5. Don't point a finger to your head
This is because pointing a finger to your head is considered as an insult. It basically means you are saying that the person is crazy and, I am sure you don't want to offend someone. So, AVOID.
6. Don't chew gum or place your hand in your pocket while talking
Chewing gum or placing your hands inside your pocket while talking to someone is considered impolite and disrespectful. Period.
7. Don't enter someone's house with your shoes on
If you have been invited to a locals house make sure it is okay to enter with your shoes on. Most Germans voluntarily take their shoes off at the entrance before entering the house. So, ideally you should do the same if you are visiting friends and family.
8. Don't throw your water bottle in the dustbin after use
Here's a fun fact, when you purchase a water bottle in Germany you are charged 25 cents more than the rate mentioned. Yes, there is a logical reason behind this. You get your 25 cents back when you return the empty bottle to the shop. This is done to ensure that you return the bottle for recycling purposes. What an idea!
9. Don't be late
Germans take time very seriously. Whether you are going for a meeting or going to visit a friend, just be on time. This is because, being late is termed disrespectful to the other person.
10. Don't disrespect quiet hours
Sunday is a rest day for all. So, you should refrain from doing anything loud at home that can disturb your neighbours. No vacuuming, no drilling and no loud music please. If you fail to comply with the rules, your neighbours might get angry and lodge an official complaint against you and you might end up in a sticky situation. So, stay away from trouble.
Stick to the rules and have an amazing journey.