Getting Started Living

20 Bizarre Things about the German Lifestyle

March 3, 2016

In order to humor my other expat friends across the globe, I figured I’d share with you 20 of the weirdest things I’ve learned about German lifestyle while living here in Germany. Of course, depending on where in the world you’ve come from, you might have other neat ones to add to the list too! Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.


1. Toilet Buttons

While many Canadians have lever’s, all German toilets have big buttons. A big button for a job well done!

Bizarre Germany


2. Big Light Switches

Apparently, the little light switches that flick on and off in North America just don’t cut it in size for the Germans. These massive buttons allow for an easy on and off. Have you ever tried to turn on the light in the dark feeling the entire wall before finding the switch? Not in Germany!

Bizarre Germany


3. Room Heaters

My personal favourite – they use small heaters built into every room which use heated water to warm the room. Not only do I think it is better for the environment but it gets you toasty warm without waiting hours for the heat to reach the upstairs of your home. My hero!

Bizarre Germany


4. Jail Blinds

…or so I call them. Many German homes have these blinds instead of your classic fabric blinds. These ‘jail blinds’ offer a guaranteed sleep in the pitch black, which proves extremely helpful for those of you working night shifts too!

Bizarre Germany


5. Wide Open Windows

This is possibly the best window there is! I feel so free when I wake up, open the window wide and hang half my body outside for some crisp, clean, fresh morning air. The levers on these windows don’t only open sideways but from the top too!

Bizarre Germany


5a. See! These windows are amazing!

Bizarre Germany


6. They love their beer!

In Canada don’t get me wrong, beer is a huge part of our culture… but the Germans take it to a whole new level. Perhaps not all of them might be drinking a beer every single night, but it’s definitely ingrained in their culture much more than it is back home.

Bizarre Germany


7. They Have Bubble Water

I am not saying this is a weird thing, what I think is weird is that whenever I ask someone for tap water they look at me like I have a third head. Bubble water might be a popular thing in many different countries, but it’s their go-to here (many of them even drink it during workouts and sports).

Bizarre Germany


8. They Have Style When it Comes to Buying Groceries

Perhaps not every German, but when I go to the market, I see so many of these little wicker baskets or little canvas bags. Way to take the reins on eco-friendly shopping Germany!

Bizarre Germany


9. They Leave Their Milk and Eggs out of the Fridge

I have seen this in a few other countries as well but it is definitely different from the way we do things in Canada. Don’t worry, once the milk is open, it does need to be put into the fridge, but you’ll be able to find these products on any grocery store shelf, unrefrigerated.

Bizarre Germany


10. Red cabbage!

Red Cabbage – definitely not a Canadian thing! Many Germans also enjoy green cabbage, Brussels sprouts and a number of other cabbage-related vegetables (especially during the winter).

Bizarre Germany


11. They Like the way Italians Cook

Many people use these little Coffee Brewers for single cup espresso every morning. You’ll also find a ton of Italian restaurants even in the smallest of German towns. What’s there not to love about Italian cooking?! ????

Bizarre Germany


12. German words can often be funny to the foreign eye

Perhaps they aren’t funny words in German, but when an English speaker reads German words the way they think they’re pronounced, things get weird, funny… but weird. Haha.

Bizarre Germany


13. Each person sleeps with their own blanket – that or my husband hates me.

Who here can admit that they actually love this concept though? Not more blanket thieves!

Bizarre Germany


14. Glühwein

A new Christmas tradition I had never heard of. You can choose red or white wine with sliced orange and Christmas spices … Yummy!

Bizarre Germany


15. Creative Cross Walks

You’ll also find other unique cross-walks around the country in a number of different cities. Bremen has their city musicians in their cross-walk lights, and a number of cities have switched the walking man to a walking woman.

Bizarre Germany


16. Square Pillows

I still haven’t figured out if I like them or not… you don’t need to use 2 pillows because these ones fold up so nicely, but sometimes when they twist up while I am sleeping it is hard to fold the pillow the way I had it in the first place.

Bizarre Germany


17. Not only are their Ingredients all in German, but they’re very different and if you’re trying to bake from a Canadian recipe, chances are there will be a lot of ‘substitutes’.

(Don’t think I’m weird… this isn’t my typical grocery shop, it was the ingredient to make a monster gingerbread house!)

Bizarre Germany


18. They Blow up Fire Works here like they’re Harmless.

Spend NYE in Germany and you’ll swear you’ve stepped foot into the middle of a war zone.

Bizarre Germany


19. They love bonfires!

Okay – perhaps it’s not legal in a central city like Dusseldorf, but Freiburg in the black forest was never a problem. (please note: I will not be held liable if you select an illegal destination for a campfire and face fines – burn at your own discretion)

Bizarre Germany


20. They eat Sandwiches for Breakfast.

Bizarre Germany


These are all things that I found bizarre during my very first week in Germany. Of course, as a Canadian, there will be a number of things that I found odd that you don’t. I’m curious though! What do you think the weirdest/coolest/most bizarre things/traditions in Germany are? 

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  1. Reply

    Herr Marktwert

    August 4, 2016

    What we also have is a whole bundeland so large devoid of people (Brandenburg) that you can LARP a round of Fallout with no problems. Ruins of old Industrial sites and all.

    Well ok, its a bit more green than Fallout….


  2. Reply

    Kristine Leisinger

    March 6, 2017

    Loved this! I think you basically captured many of the things I found perplexing when I first moved here. Funny how quickly you end up adapting and loving the German way. Another Observation I’ve had is the obsession with opening and closing windows during business meetings. I estimate this ritual must occur every 1,5 hours (in conjunction with a Kräuter Tee/ Kaffee Pause) or the Germans turn to stone.

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      March 6, 2017

      Haha, Kristine, your comment was absolutely amazing! I never actually thought about the opening/closing of windows during meetings, but I giggled reading your comment… because you are SO RIGHT.

      It is amazing how quickly we adjust to new ways of living. Sometimes when I fly back to Canada, I realize how strange some things in my home country are as well (now that I’m so well adjusted to life in Germany).

  3. Reply


    March 30, 2018

    Almost all the things you mentioned are so not true lol. What on earth is this article? I swear each number I red, it’s more wrong than the previous one. What on earth? Is this a joke or you wanted to write another title instead of this one?

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      April 2, 2018

      Hi there Baki,

      I’m sorry you feel that way. Please keep in mind that I wrote this post from a North American perspective. My opinions are not wrong, neither are yours. We all experience different things while visiting different parts of the world, and these were mine.

      What would you add to the list?




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