10 things you'll find in (almost) every German household


Breakfast egg shenanigans

A proper German breakfast includes a perfectly soft-boiled egg. And to hold those eggs, most German households have a variety of egg cups, some even coming with their own spoon and miniature salt shaker. There's even a specially designed egg-cracking device, known as an "Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher," or "eggshell breaking point causer," something that could only be invented in Germany.


Bottles to recycle

Germans take recycling seriously, especially when it comes to "Pfandflaschen," or deposit bottles. These glass and plastic bottles are collected at home and then lugged in heavy bags back to the supermarket where they can be returned for cash. They're not worth much - usually only 8 or 25 cents - but everyone does it anyways. After all, they take up a lot of space at home.


Kitchen towels for everything

Admittedly, Germany isn't the only country with kitchen towels. But you'll find an amazing collection of them in most households. A typical German kitchen is filled with towels - hanging over a chair or drying on the radiator. Although newer models can feature unusual designs, checked patterns have ruled for decades. And they are more economical and ecological than paper towels.


An array of cleaning products

If you spill something inside a German household, you're in luck. Many Germans are equipped with a cabinet full of cleaning supplies for literally every surface in their homes. There are cleaning products for glass, tile, ceramic, wood, faux wood, metal and even a cleaner specifically designed for electric stove tops. Happy scrubbing!


Toilet brush

Although this object, the "Klobürste," is also typically available in most countries, somehow it seems far more prominent in Germany. Germans often have to "educate" foreigners on the fact that it's not just reserved for weekly cleaning chores. Because of the particular shape of many German toilet bowls, those brown stains won't just "flush away" on their own, so everyone has to do their part.


Wall full of books

Germans aren't very big on showing off, except when it comes to their books. Inside nearly every German home you'll find a shelf - often reaching from floor to ceiling - filled with books, whether classics written by German philosophers or coffee table books on the latest architectural trends. A visitor will never know how many of them their owner has actually read - but at least they can be seen.


Army of binders

Even with so many books, Germans still find extra shelf space for their most prized possessions: documents. Germans love their documents - certificates, tax returns (10 years' worth, no joke), contracts, bank statements, insurance papers. They all need to be properly sorted, filed and stored. So you'll often find an army of specially designed binders lining the walls of German homes.


Proper shutters

Germans' penchant for privacy is well known and you can see it best by looking at (but not through) their front windows. Many households have metal window coverings called "Rollladen" (no, the three L's are not a typo) that roll down to completely cover the window and block out the outside world. They do a great job of shielding your home from the pesky early morning sun - and that nosy neighbor.


House shoes

In many countries, people take off their shoes when they enter a house. Still, many foreigners are impressed by how systematically Germans slip into more comfortable footwear as soon as they arrive home or get out of bed. And in most cases, they're so much more than just slippers - they're proper "Hausschuhe," or house shoes.


Individual blankets on a double bed

German beds prioritize practicality over romance, especially when it comes to blankets: Couples sleep with two blankets on a double bed. Why share one when each person sleeping in the bed can have their own? Of course, you won't find this setup in a single person's home - but bachelors shouldn't laugh, as they might get there one day.

From specialized breakfast equipment to an army of binders, here are 10 things you're likely to find in most German households.

If you take a tour of a German home, you might just find some items that prove stereotypes like order and a love for everything practical aren't just myths. 

Click through the gallery above for 10 household objects that many Germans just can't do without. 

If you're visiing Germany, read the gallery below first. In it, you'll find a list of things you should avoid here - if you don't want to commit a faux pas. 

For more about German culture, language and lifestyle, visit dw.com/meetthegermans


Don't say 'Prost' without making eye contact

Given the amount of beer and wine many Germans drink, you'd think toasting would be a simple task. Well, think again. There are some important rules while saying "Cheers!" or "Prost!" When clinking glasses, you must maintain eye contact and toast each person in your group. If you don't, you won't just be considered rude - according to superstition you'll risk seven years of bad sex.


Obey the red traffic man

It's a common cliché that Germans like to follow "ze rules." And while that might not always be true, it definitely is when it comes to the little red "Ampelmann" - that streetlight figure telling you when to cross the street. Jaywalking is frowned upon, especially in front of children, who might copy your recklessness. Disobeying the red traffic light could make some angry Germans yell "Halt!"


Don't light your cigarette with a candle

It may seem like an easy solution. You want to light your cigarette, you don't have a lighter, but there's a candle on the table. However, this reckless move will anger any German in the room and possibly endanger a sailor! Why? It's believed that in the olden days, sailors sold matches during the winter to earn a living. So by not using a match, you'll ruin them - or worse.


Never be loud on a Sunday

You might think that Sunday is the perfect day of the week to check some things off your to-do list: mow the lawn, vacuum or get some laundry done. But beware - in Germany, Sunday is "Ruhetag," or "quiet day." Most shops are closed and neighbors will complain if your noise disturbs their day of rest.


Don't mess up your trash

Recycling is serious business in Germany. And proper recycling means sorting your waste correctly. So don't even think about putting plastic in the paper bin. Your neighbors will scorn you and you might even come home to an angry note from your landlord. So remember: The yellow bin is for plastic, the green (or blue) for paper, the brown for organic waste and the gray one is for everything else.


Get naked!

FKK, the "free body culture," is often associated with Germany. Indeed, many Germans love to strip off their clothes on an FKK beach and stroll around the way Adam and Eve did. It doesn't matter how old you are, what you look like or who you're with - at designated FKK spots and in the sauna (mixed or not), you better get naked or you'll be considered prudish.


Roses are red, white flowers are taboo

There is some complicated flower etiquette in Germany and it can be embarrassing if you don't comply with it. Red flowers - and especially red roses - should only be given to people you are romantically interested in. White flowers are considered to be graveyard accessories and are usually reserved for when someone dies. To avoid insulting someone, you'd better ask the florist for help.


Don't be late

Germans are known for being punctual and arriving late is considered very rude and unreliable. Even five minutes can cause outrage, so if you're running late, always call and apologize ahead of time. If you're invited to a party at 6 p.m., don't think that it's polite to give the host more time and arrive at 7. Six o'clock means six o'clock sharp.


Know when to say happy birthday

In Germany, you always celebrate your birthday on the actual day you were born and not a minute earlier. You celebrate "into" a person’s birthday at midnight (known as "reinfeier") - even mid-week. Saying "happy birthday" to a German before the actual date can lead to angry stares and insults. For most Germans, a premature birthday wish means bad luck.


Don't ask for tap water

Germany has really great tap water, but asking for it in a restaurant will not go over well. Your waiter will get mad and refuse to bring you "water for free." And if you're at someone's house and you ask for tap water, your host will make sure to let you know they also have "real water," meaning sparkling water. After all, sparkling water is considered the real deal in Germany.


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