These are only a few ways the German way of life differs from the American one. If you’re interested in discovering more quirks and specifics, here are six resources that can give you more insight.
This documentary from the BBC involves a British family moving to Germany to find out what exactly makes the German way of life and how Germans are so productive. They rent an apartment in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg and create a routine that’s typically German, with the husband getting a job in a pencil factory and the wife staying at home to take care of the kids.
For anyone from an English-speaking country, it’s a great documentary to see what sort of things are different and what’s at the heart of the German way of life.
2. “The German Way: Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs in the German-Speaking World” by Hyde Flippo
In this book, Hyde Flippo discusses the German way of life in a very factual, organized manner. The book is even laid out in alphabetical order, starting with “Abbreviations and acronyms” and ending with “Women in society.”
Because it was originally published in 1997 and was reprinted with revisions in 1999, it doesn’t necessarily have the most up-to-date references. Rather than referencing popular American shows like “Game of Thrones” or “The Big Bang Theory,” there are mentions of “Golden Girls” and “The Cosby Show.”
Nevertheless, the German way of life is the essence of this book and though there have been some subtle changes in the last 20 years, it still gets to the core of what it means to live in Germany.
If the book above appeals to you but you want to read something more current, then check out the related blog, The German Way & More.
Originally started as a supplement to the book “The German Way,” the blog offers more up-to-date insights into the German way of life today. Everything you wanted to know about the German lifestyle is detailed, from education to holidays. It also includes a blog written by expats in Germany who talk about how they’re getting along as foreigners, including the daily challenges they encounter and how things differ from their home countries.
4. “German Men Sit Down to Pee and Other Insights into German Culture” by Niklas Frank and James Cave
Published in 2016, this book is more recent and talks about the German way of life in a humorous way. Each chapter covers a rule that the authors think people will encounter at some point or another, but the sections are short and easily digestible.
For example, the rule about men sitting down to pee is partially true—it’s not uncommon to see signs that ask bathroom users to “Bitte im Sitzen pinkeln” (Please pee sitting) for cleanliness. The authors go through such rules in a way that’s entertaining for anyone curious about the German way of life.
5. “Living and Working in Germany: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Germany)” by Pamela Wilson
Whereas the resources mentioned above could be read by anyone, “Living and Working in Germany” is geared towards people looking to move to Germany. Students going abroad could also make use of this, but it discusses topics targeted towards professionals.
Useful topics include finding a job and dealing with bureaucracy related to employment contracts, visas and housing. There are also lighter chapters on shopping and sports.
In typical German fashion, the Facts about Germany website gives you exactly what it promises—facts about Germany. Various topics are covered, from urban quality of life to what share of Germans rent or own their own property.
The website also boasts a section for young people, which discusses studying in Germany, starting your career and general opportunities that the country has to offer.
The German way of life is particular and has its commonalities and differences with the American way of life.
Between these highlights and resources, you’ll get a better idea of what it’s really like to live in the land of Currywurst and beer.