train arriving at berlin hauptbahnhof

When it comes to moving to Germany, or even if you are just new to the country, some things may surprise you. Germans tend to be known as cold and humourless people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Similarly, some things in Germany are just unique to the country and the people’s mannerisms, and so it’s key to talk about them! In this article, I’ll be introducing you to five things all expats need to know before coming to Germany.

1. Don’t throw away your plastic bottles!

Starting out with something I know many have done by mistake before they realized the lost money, don’t throw away your plastic bottles! In Germany, the Pfandsystem is arguably one of the best and easiest ways to get some of your money back– after your tax returns, but that’s a different conversation! Plastic bottles each have a certain ‘Pfand’, which is similar to a small deposit you make every time you buy a bottle. These can range between 15 cents, 25 cents, and so on. Your beer cans also have Pfand and so do beer bottles. So, don’t throw them away, but collect them and bring them back to your nearest supermarket when your bag is full. You might end up with five or seven Euros in the end, just enough for a Kebab and a coke!

2. Germans take time to open up, but once you are in, you are in

Some expats struggle when they arrive in Germany as they have a hard time finding friends or establishing strong connections with others. Germans take a while to open up to new people, and so you may feel as though they first give you the cold shoulder before you can call them your friend. Stay positive and be proactive in your communications– meeting someone more than once is necessary, even if it is awkward at first. Once you’re in with the Germans, you’re IN!

3.  The BahnCard25 card: It’s worth it!

You may have seen some advertisements for the BahnCard25, BahnCard50, or even BahnCard100. These cards are hidden goldmines, especially for expats who are new to the country and who wish to visit various cities without spending tons of money. The number represents the percentage you get off all prices for national and regional trains. So, a trip to Prague from Berlin will be 25% off with the BahnCard25. What else? You can do a 3-month BahnCard25 trial for less than 20 euros!

4. Everything is closed on Sunday!

A final point to note is that everything is closed on Sunday. In Germany, Sunday is somewhat like the sacred day of rest. That means no grocery stores are open, no shops, and so on. Restaurants may be open as well as other Gastronomie, alongside corner shops, but otherwise, everything is closed. Don’t be surprised and plan your groceries in advance! You don’t want to have to end up in the main station buying your groceries from the only supermarket that is open (which is only open because of travelers!).

On that note, I hope this article brought you some nice insights to get you going in the ‘German scene’. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to get to know in more depth!