Any other UK expats who have moved from France to Germany?(9 Posts)
I'm moving over with my lovely DP (who is German) in a few weeks.
I'm glad one of us is going back "home".
With my UK-French background, what should I expect in Germany in terms of culture shock?
I lived in Germany for 9 years and it may be a cliche - but just so many bloody rules!
when you can and can't mow the lawn, wash your car, empty your bath water (we lived in a flat for 4 years) etc. However, it does mean that people in general are pretty considerate. Also found having to change the plates on my car and re-register when I moved 24 km down the road to be a pointless exercise. I moved from Germany in 2004 so this may not still be the case!
Supermarkets - generally uninspiring and shopping hours are limited - this would drive me nuts now as I am used to everything being open to 10pm.
Loads of bank holidays - especially if you are in a catholic Land - we were in Bavaria.
IME the Germans tend to be pretty direct - how much rent do you pay, how much did your car cost? Is that your real hair colour -etc.
We had a fantastic time when we lived there - loved the beer gardens, made great friends, the concern for the environment, superb healthcare, and Kindergarten was great. All the classes had mixed ages (3-6) and it was great to see the children learn from each other and support each other.
No experience of living in France but happy to report that some of the above has definitely improved...the supermarkets where we live (town outside a major city) are open til 10pm now and shops in cities are open til 8pm Monday-Friday...still no Sunday opening though apart from random Sunday's when it's too busy to want to go anyway!
There are lots of rules but like Shanghai said I think it makes people more considerate too.
Depending on where you are going to be living the culture shock could be quite big (small town down south or in the east for example) or really not that bad (somewhere like Frankfurt which is v multicultural and lots of expats).
I moved from Paris to Berlin (now back in Paris again). I would say that as Brits we have far more in common with the Germans than the French. I agree with the previous poster about various petty rules about when you can and can't mow your lawn (not on a Sunday or bank holiday!) and don't even think about crossing the road unless you have the green man, but in general far less bureaucracy and red tape than in France. Loved the Germans - I can't imagine anyone, anywhere could have neighbours as nice as the ones we had in Berlin. I think the culture shock for me was that I had assumed we naturally have more in common with our nearest neighbours the French and I couldn't have been more wrong. The other big surprise for me was just how many people spoke English - and to a very high standard, always preceded by the words "I speak a little bit of English..." Very hard to practice any German - exactly the opposite experience to living in France.
Just remembered another one - If you are a gym user be wary of using the spa and sauna. My experience in Berlin was they were always mixed sex and you always had to be naked - no towels allowed. But don't forget your flip-flops, there is only one thing more frowned on than not being naked in the sauna and that is being barefoot! I was too British to ever get used to this
Thanks for your replies. We're moving from Paris to a fairly large city in northern Germany near where my DP grew up.
I do find that in Paris I stick out like a sore thumb as an expat before I've even said anything. Whereas in Germany I automatically pass for a German (until I open my mouth, that is!).
You don't have to change plates on your car anymore when you move.
The saunas where I live all have a ladies' day, strictly no swimsuits but towels are compulsory - lots of "no sweat on the wood" signs.
Supermarkets generally do have better opening hours now - everything shut at midday on a Saturday when I first moved here, except for "langer Samstag" - the first Saturday of the month when shops stayed open til 4pm.
Do you have children? I find children here have more freedom to roam with parents /society who worry less about health and safety and rely more on common sense.
Agree with others about obeying the green man!
Thanks Jinsky. No DCs (and luckily DP's company car has German plates).
I have heard that kids are given a bit more freedom there.
I have experienced naked sauna there - including a naked fellow sauna user offering me and DP a tub of used soapy water. Along the lines of "Hey, I've just soaped my genitals with this stuff - want some?"
"Errr, no thanks..."
Having lived in Paris for so long, I find it very strange whenever cars actually stop for a pedestrian crossing
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