German working culture

The BBC came up with an interesting piece about German working culture.

German working culture expressions

Germany’s economy is very strong, yet German workers take more days off than those of any other country in Europe.  So it seems all to be about a good work-life balance.

Joseph Pearson’s analysis of popular words used in German workplaces like “Mahlzeit” or “Feierabendbier”  gives a good insight in how a healthy balance between work and play can be very effective to the outcome of a national economy.

What are your experiences with working in Germany?

Has your company a tradition in common lunch breaks or even Feierabendbiere with colleagues? What other typical working place expressions do you know? Would you say that German workers match the stereotype of hardworking robots?

Picture by Glenn Euloth , CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Elections in Germany

Germany is going to vote for a new parliament

In case you wondered what the upcoming elections in Germany are about, here are six charts that help you to understand what the Germans are voting on.

German voters will choose the makeup of their main legislative body, the Bundestag, which will in turn choose the next chancellor.

The Grand Coalition

After the  2013 election the two biggest parties, the CDU and the SPD built the governing grand coalition. The same is expected for this year’s election. Expected with fear, one should add, since a grand coalition stands for lack of courageous decision making and progress.

Who votes for what?

Historical divisions between the former east and the west still play a role in the way people vote. Also income profiles give strong hints about voting behaviour.

Germany also has a party which, similar to the voters for Trump, lean to conspiracy theories. They fight against the imagined fake news mainstream. The so called AfD (Alternative für Deutschland/ Alternative for Germany) will probably, for the first time, be part of the German Bundestag.

Which party would you vote for if you could take part in the German elections? Which subject are the most important to be taken care of?

For the advanced German speakers, you can use the Wahl-O-Mat to find out which party you should vote for.

Picture by Rolf van Melis CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The man who swims to work

In Munich a man swims to work to beat traffic. Benjamin David was so tired of being stuck in Munich’s daily traffic jam that he decided to swim the 1,4 miles to work through the river Isar. After checking on water level, temperature and current, he packs clothes and laptop into a waterproof bag and swims to his job as event manager for Kulturstrand (=cultural beach) a project at the edge of the Isar.

Would you swim to work?

Benjamin swims to work every day in summer and if temperature allows, even during the winter months. Then he wears a wet suit to protect himself from the cold.

Life is a long and beautiful river

What do you think? Should more people start to find alternatives to being frustrated with daily traffic? Would you dare to jump into such life changing decisions? The river is a great metaphor for life itself. Maybe the story about Benjamin David is a great occasion to think about your own goals, your ideals, your dreams. What do you expect from life? How fullfilling is what you do? How much trouble are you willing to take for a nice job with a good income? Or for a nice jobless life with a very low income.

No one can answer these questions but you yourself. Take some time to think about the meaning of life once in a while. Maybe you will have some crazy ideas. Don’t let them pass. Most won’t come back later.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

crazy ideas make life good
Picture by Daisuke Murase CC BY-SA 2.0

Weil wir dich lieben

Do Germans have  humor?

Germans have the reputation to not have a humor. But are they really these strict and crotchety humans, that never laugh, never fool around for no other reason than having a good time?

If you move around Berlin with public transportation, like the S-Bahn, the TRAM or the U-Bahn, the answer could only be: “Yes, they are these dry misanthropes, who hate only themselves more than others.

Picture by Max Noisa

The more astonishing it is that of all places the BVG, the Berlin transport company which operates the U-Bahn, time and again surprises everybody with funny and cheeky ads.

Maybe they actually do!

Under the headline “Weil wir dich lieben” (“Because we love you”) they produced a lot of great videos. Their latest one shows the Berlin Rundfunkchor singing answers to questions the BVG is asked frequently:


So, what’s your opinion on the humor of Germans?

Learn German through podcasts

Part 1: Marc-Uwe Kling


Picture by Argekultur

If you want to learn German, best way to do so is by being curious about those who speak it. So you should listen as much as possible to songs, TV-shows, radio and people on the street, in cafés or while shopping.

Another great access to german culture and language is the very vivid Lesebühnen (reading stage)-scene in Germany and in Berlin. There a numerous different groups such as Die Surfpoeten, Couchpoetos, LSD, Brauseboys or the Reformbühne Heim & Welt (to name just a few).

Marc-Uwe Kling is one of the stars of this scene. He’s most famous for his Kangaroo Chronicles. He’s part of Berlin’s Lesebühne Lesedüne, Poetry Slam Champion and winner of numerous awards for his stage shows.

On his Soundcloud account you will find lots of songs and audios of his readings. I highly recommend to listen to his stuff, it’s smart, witty and very German. Even if it is more for the advanced learner, even as a beginner you could give it a try. You might only understand bits and pieces, but they are worth it.

New series part 1: Peter Fox_Schwarz zu blau

Part 1 of my new series: Learn German and about the german culture through music

A good way to learn German and about german culture is through music. I will regularly post songs of my favorite german bands. I feel honored to start this series with the incredibly gifted Pierre Baigorry aka Peter Fox. Let me take you on a nightshift through my beloved Berlin.


Schwarz zu blau (The nightsky turns from black to blue while Peter Fox cruises through the city at dawn). Enjoy!


Love at first sound

Love at first sound – Why we should learn German

A wonderful article by John le Carré, famous author of many espionage novels. He gives credits to his teachers for his love for the german language. And remember, that love began during World War II, when it was surly not common to learn the language of the enemy. But le Carré’s teacher decided not to join the chorus of anti-german propaganda.