Germany Don’ts

  • Do not be late. Germans attach great importance to punctuality. You will win their favor if you keep your appointment on time!
  • Do not wait to be seated at a German restaurant. It is common to share tables with a stranger.
  • Do not ever, under any circumstances, show the ‚Nazi salute‚, shout ‚Heil Hitler‚, or show swastikas or other symbols of the Third Reich, which is a criminal offense.
  • Do not get drunk. Public drunkenness is frowned upon.
  • Do not put your elbows on the table when eating. Put only your hands on the table.
  • Do not jaywalk. Nobody else does, and you might get fined.
  • Do not eat with your fingers.
  • Do not ever ask for tap water at a restaurant, which will be equated with stinginess.


Germany Do’s

  • Do be on time. Germans are extremely punctual, so be on time for your appointment.
  • Do shake hands with everyone including children, say ‚Guten Tag‚ (good day), ‚not how are you!‚ and keep eye contact when greet somebody. Shaking hands is the established form of greeting in Germany.
  • Do use title and last name to address people. Say Herr (Mr) or Frau (Mrs.) and use the formal pronoun ‚du‚ when talking to elderly people.
  • Do be formal. Dress formally for business functions. No shorts and extremely casual wear. Ladies do not wear flashy jewellery and accessories.
  • Do learn a few common German before you travel to Germany. Germans
  • Do have proper medical insurance when visiting Germany. Medical care is expensive, get health insurance especially when you stay longer.
  • Do remove your shoes before enter a German house, and present the hostess with a bunch of flowers, but do not give carnations (symbolize mourning) or lilies or chrysanthemums (used at funerals). Yellow or tea roses are always well received.
  • Do say ‚Guten Appetit‚ (good appetite) before eating, and say ‚Prost‚ (cheers) before you sip your beer. Keep your hands but not your elbows on the table.
  • Do feel free to have serious discussions on politics and philosophy. They do not like idle chit-chat.
  • Do have cash with you. Cash is king in Germany, and many restaurants don‚t take credit cards.
  • Do tip. It is customary to leave a tip of 5-10% at a restaurant or pub if the service was good, and leave a larger tip around Christmastime.
  • Do be aware that some women may bathe topless or even full nudity at the beach.‚  The nude beaches are labelled with ‚FKK‚ for ‚Freikörperkultur‚ which means free body culture.