Karlsruhe schloss

Expat’: What surprised me in Germany 🇩🇪

We are inaugurating the travel section, or more precisely the Expat’ one. I wanted to write a small list of what surprised me in Germany (I am living in Baden-Wüttenberg hance, some points can be different in other areas, mostly about housing).

Everyone has to be naked in the sauna

It’s not a personal choice (I asked). Apparently in some sauna you can go with your swimsuit but I did not find any so far. I must admit I was not feeling so comfortable the first time I did a sauna here. I even waited for a time slot with few people to nobody. In general the cliché is true, people are more confortable with nudity here than in France. There also FKK beaches (Frei Korper Kultur) where nudist and non-nudist are mixed.

Sauerkraut for Christmas diner

Here I’m cheating a little bit as this seems to be mostly in Bavaria. je triche. I love sauerkraut but that would not be my Christmas dish. Side note, I discovered schuppnudeln (some kind of potato noodles) and it goes very well with sauerkraut (for me better than steam or boiled potato)

Not everybody speaks the same language

Dialects are more common than in France and it can be that people from different regin can’t understand each other. But to be completely honest, in most case it’s only words, expression and accent. A bit like french and Canadian-french

Some shops are closing earlier on Saturday

Most shop don’t but it is still pretty common. In my neighborhood, some shops close at 16:00, 15:00 or even 13:00 on Saturdays but are opened until 18:00 or later the rest of the week… ¯_(ツ)_/¯ From what I was told it was even worse in the past, most shops were closing at 14:00 on Saturdays.

Pets can be forbidden in rented flat/home

For that one it’s really hard to get it when you are a foreigner and some area are foggy. Here is what I could understand after 3 years and asking several people. Not all pets are considered as pet, for example in that case my cat is considered as a furniture because it’s a small pet (like rabbits, rats, fishes, …). Dogs though, are considered as pet and can be refused by the landlord/lady. But even with than a landlord/lady could refuse my cat, for that he/she would need to give a specific reason to refuse that specific cat. That being said, the market is so complicated for tenants, that saying you have a cat upfront will probably cost you the flat but depending when and how you say it it can make the relationship with the landlord/lady quite bad…

90m² 2 rooms, and lots of poorly layouted flats

Let’s continue with housing topic. I can’t telle for other cities but in Karlsruhe, many flats are arranged in a poor way which makes looking for a flat very frustrating. Here a small selection of what have seen several times. It’s not rare to see flat up to 90m² with only 2 rooms. I am not even sure if I have seen 70-80m² flats with 3 rooms. Huge bedrooms, mine is “normal” and is a 18m² room. I have also seen quite often flats where the bedroom is as big or bigger than the living room. Last but not least, the shower in the kitchen (seen 3 time and even once with the toilets outside the flat), for those the ad generally says “for a couple or very good friends”. Thanks for the tip 🤣. This situation can be explained but a very profitable rent market (lots of demands). It is even hard to find a flat to buy because many people buy flat just to rent them. They do not live in it first, they do not care if there is wasted space, if it is noce to live in the flat.

48 votes for 1 election

The election for local representatives (where UE citizen living in Germany can vote) is done with everyone distribute 48 votes. Every party has a list with 48 people. Voters can choose to simply vote for a list, then one of their vote goes to each member of the list. The other alternative is too distribute your votes to specific members of one or several list(s). Voters can give up to 3 votes to one person. The age and profession of each list member is mentioned allowing voters to choose people with different backgrounds. I really liked that way to vote which gives you more control as a voter on who is chosen from the list the politic parties. It take more time than the way I have seen in France where you vote for one list and that’s it but we get the ballots by mail to have time to take care of that with out stress at home.

I am stopping here as it’s pretty much already. I am not going to say I hope you want to come to Germany based on those facts, but I at least hope you learnt a thing or two.

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