Signs that You’ve Been Living in Germany For A Long Time – Years back, when on vacation at home in Canada, I started to think that after living in Germany for close to 10 years that I’d really gotten used to how things are in Deutschland. Even to the point, where certain things I once took for granted in Canada now seem downright weird.

This really got me thinking about how accustomed I’ve become with my situation of living abroad and inspired me to put together this fun and silly list of Signs that You’ve Been Living in Germany For A Long Time.

Signs You’ve Been Living In Germany For A Long Time

From recycling, to public nudity, drinking beer in public, and being on time (even early) for meetings at work, let’s look at some of the way us newbies become more integrated into our German lives the longer we stay.

1) You can whiz through the super market checkout like a professional. You have your bag open, wallet ready, pack your purchases away quickly, and pay, all in the blink of an eye. No one’s ever waiting on you. 

2) You scold people for breaking rules in public without a second thought. You see someone with their feet up on the seat in the S-Bahn? Someone’s not sitting on a towel in the sauna? You tell them straight up the proper way to do things. 

3) You wait to cross the street until the light is green, even when there are no cars in sight or there are no children around.

4) It no longer seems bizarre to see eggs and milk in the shelves at the super market.

5) Your tolerance for consuming vast amounts of beer has gone way up and one litre steins don’t seem enormous at all.

6) You nail that look of disdain perfectly whenever you hear people speaking loudly on public transit or see them riding their bike on the sidewalk in the wrong direction. 

7) You don’t think twice about going naked at the German sauna

8) When you visit your local coffee shop or bakery, you smile, nod, and say “Guten Morgen” instead of throwing out a superficial “Hi. How are you, honey?” without expecting a real answer.

9) You’ve become somewhat of a sausage connoisseur. Bratwurst, Currywurst, Bockwurst – well, damn. They’re all yummy.

10) You appreciate that produce is seasonal and not available year round.

11) Without even thinking much about it, you discovered a newfound passion for soccer and become Germany’s biggest fan during World Cup and Euro Cup.

12) You’ve taken part in so many left-wing protests that you can no longer count the number of times you’ve walked and chanted with countless others at Brandenburger Tor. 

13) After spending some time in Berlin to experience the infamous nightlife and epic party scene, you’re never the same again. No other bars and clubs anywhere else in the world will ever match that experience.

14) You shower at lightning speed, usually in less than five minutes, and you even turn the water off while you’re lathering up with body wash or are applying shampoo or conditioner.

15) Spargel season is your favourite time of year.

16) You open the window for at least 15 minutes a day, no matter how cold or warm.

17) You drink beer on public transit without a second thought. 

18) On your birthday, you not only bring your own birthday cake to work, you also bake it from scratch. 

19) You can recycle with the best of them and know how to use all the different coloured bins. 

20) Shops being open on Sundays just feels wrong. Or those rare Sundays when stores are open feel like a real treat. 

More signs you’ve been living in Germany for a long time?

21) You have more types of insurance than you can count and you’re not even sure what all of them cover. 

22) You own at least one pair of Birkenstocks.

23) You start to speak a weird form of “Denglish” and have the hardest time using prepositions correctly.

24) You’re always on time or even early to meetings.

25) Even though other parts of the civilized world have long been paperless, you accept that physical papers are a thing in Germany and you have an organized filing system so you’re always prepared for anything that’s going to require documentation. Applying for a visa, registering your new address, no problem.

26) You have at least one item of clothing from Jack Wolfskin or North Face.

27) You’re so terrified of that “end of year bill” that you save money all year long, just in case you owe something.

28) You no longer judge those who wear socks and sandals because sometimes, you do it too. 

29) You appreciate the purity of a good German beer.

30) You use hiking sticks whenever you set out on a long hike through the forest or the Alps. 

31) Sparkling water is a beautiful thing and there’s always a bottle of it on the table at lunch or dinner. In fact, Schorle anything is divine – Apfelschorle, Weißweinschorle, it’s all good to you. 

32) You appreciate local bakeries and the warm fresh Brötchen they serve fresh each morning.

33) You don’t mind the nosey, know it all neighbours who are always complaining or scolding you for various “crimes” like not flattening your boxes in the recycling bin or for forgetting to bring your doormat inside on Fridays when they clean the stairwells.

34) You’d never dare to make noise on Sundays, like ever.

35) Taking a swim (even naked) in one of the country’s many lakes is a glorious thing.

36) Although driving down the Autobahn in Germany at 200 kilometres per hour is one of the best things you’ve ever done in your life, you’ve come to prefer taking a train over driving a car. (Read more about driving in Germany and these best Germany road trips.)

37) The thrill of travelling around Germany never wanes, whether you’re embarking on one of these exciting day trips from Berlin, touring these must see sites in Germany, or visiting these places in the Harz Mountains

38) Weekend getaways to other European countries is equally as exciting and become casual, even normal activities.

39) You spend your summer evenings in beer gardens or open air cinemas. 

40) You no longer find it odd not having a dryer for your clothes and would prefer to hang everything to dry on a rack in your living room. 

Even more signs you’ve been living in Germany for a long time?

41) You start to speak German so naturally, that you continue to say things like Tschüss and Guten Morgen even when you’re out of the country.

42) You always carry cash as you know many places won’t accept your debit or credit cards. 

43) You’ve come to appreciate the honesty and frankness of Germans, even when the feedback is hard to hear. After all, it’s real and isn’t veiled in false praise.

44) There’s at least one Dirndl or a pair of Lederhosen in your closet. 

45) You don’t mind accepting packages for other people in your building.

46) You watch Tatort every Sunday and actually find it entertaining.

47) Only having two – three weeks of vacation seems offensive now and you no longer have difficulty figuring out how to use up your six weeks of holiday.

48) If you’re sick and feel like you’re coming down with a bad cold or flu, you don’t go into the office and don’t worry that you’ll lose your job for doing so.

49) While the taxes seemed high when you first moved here, you marvel at the incredible things it offers – like affordable daycare, free university tuition, and solid health benefits. 

50) You’ve mastered the metric system and know the size of your flat in square meters and your weight in kilos.

51) You think Christmas markets are magical and can’t go without Glühwein over the holiday season.

52) You’re jealous of Bavarians who get more public holidays than the rest of the country

53) You save all your bottles and take them to the supermarket so you can get the Pfand back.

54) Leisurely weekend breakfasts are sacred and you never miss them. 

55) You carry an extra bag (or two) on you so you’t have to buy a plastic or paper bag at the supermarket.

56) You watch Dinner for One every New Year’s Eve.

57) You love fireworks on New Year’s Eve and even buy some to set off yourself.

58) You love all the festivals from Oktoberfest, to Carnival, and May Day and look forward to celebrating them each year. 

59) You’re serious about spending a lot of time at the spa, especially places like Vabali Spa

60) Whenever you leave, you’re always happy to return home to Germany. 

61) After living in Germany for a while, you come to the harsh realization that German order and timeliness is a total and complete fabrication. You see how much time and money it required to build the new Berlin airport or the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and you’re embarrassed as the rest of them.

62) When your neighbours don’t abide by the rules, you start to report them to Hausmeister too, or in the very least, leave them condescending notes.

63) You treasure long walks outdoors alone in the forest and have come to embrace the nation’s sense of Waldeinsamkeit.

64) Castles are really no big deal any longer as there’s so many of them, but you still geek out on seeing as many of them as possible.

65) When you enter the waiting room at a doctor’s office or your local Kneipe, you nod and greet everyone, perhaps even knocking on a table.

66) You think having an obscene amount of debt is irresponsible and for the life of you, you just can’t understand the North American mentality to spend more money than you have.

67) Kaffee und Kuchen is now a sacred tradition for you.

68) You drool at the vast amounts of fresh bread available at the local bakery and your head spins at the endless amounts of variation.

69) You make reservations for beach chairs and you’re not embarrassed by this in the very least.

70) When your German friends call you on the phone or greet you in real life, you say “Hey! Na?” before they do.

Well, there you have it, 70 signs you’ve been living in Germany for a long time. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below. 

About Our Author

  • A Canadian who’s been living in Berlin for 10 years. Cheryl’s moved here not once, but twice. During her time in Berlin, she’s had five different visas and worked as both a freelancer and permanent employee for a number of Berlin companies. She even managed to find a new job during the pandemic. That said, Cheryl knows what it takes to move to Berlin and find work.