The 10 Weirdest Things About Germany (From an American Expat’s Perspective)

#5 — Men pee sitting down (sometimes)

Sarah Stroh


Photo of author by @FelixWiede

I’ve been living in Germany for the past year and a half, and now it’s time to share with you the juicy stuff I’ve learned so far about this country.

The stuff you wouldn’t know just by visiting. The stuff that’s either annoying, interesting, or a little bit of both.

Stuff you wouldn’t think twice about if you’re actually from here. But as a foreigner, you notice, and is actually quite telling of the German people.

The magic of any culture can be found in its small details.

1. Two hole punch

In a lot of ways, the two-hole punch in Germany versus the three-hole punch in the US represents the difference between the two nations. In the U.S. we are all about excess. We want more more more, even when we don’t need anymore.

Whereas Germans are more restrained.

Two hole punch. Photo provided by author

They like to use only what they need. That whole German efficiency stereotype you may have heard about it. Well, it’s true.

They turn off the water when they shower and want to lather up. They recycle, they upcycle, they don’t waste food.

And they use two-hole punches. Because two holes is all you need, and anymore would be a waste (insert dirty joke here).

2. Not saying “Nice to meet you.”

This is one supremely awkward German custom (or non-custom) that I still haven’t gotten used to.

So say you’re walking with a friend and they run into another friend and introduce you to them. In the English-speaking world, when this happens, you say, “Hello, nice to meet you.”

But in Germany, you just say, “Hello,” and you stop talking. And it feels so unfinished.

Germans do have a way of saying nice to meet you, but it’s typically reserved for the end of the conversation, like when you’ve actually gotten to know someone a bit — not when you…



Sarah Stroh

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