For members


15 Bavarian words you need to survive down south

Things are a wee bit different down in Bavaria, so you might want to brush up on your basic Bairisch before paying a visit.

15 Bavarian words you need to survive down south
"I like you" in Bavarian. Photo: DPA.

1. Bairisch or Boarisch – the Bavarian language

A Munich newspaper printed in Bairisch. Photo: DPA.

It’s probably important to know if you’re going to speak Bavarian that it’s actually locally called Bairisch or Boarisch.

It’s also important to note up front that since the Bavarian tongue reaches into Austria, and there are also dialects in Italy, Switzerland and Hungary, there are of course a variety of terms and spellings for things.

We’ll try to stick to what’s found in Germany.

2. Grüß Gott – greetings or good day

Photo: DPA.

Bavarians have their own way of greeting people, none of that “Hallo” or “Guten Tag” stuff. 

The salutation Grüß Gott literally means “greet God”, and therefore maybe sounds somewhat Medieval. All part of the Bavarian charm.

And if you want to be a little more informal you can say 'servus' – which also serves as a farewell.

3. Buam und Madln – men and women

You might see this on restroom doors, and if there are no pictures to help out it could get confusing. Buam is for lads and Madln or Dirdln is for women.

4. Fesch – pretty or attractive

This is the Bavarian equivalent of the high German hübsch. So you might hear something like: “Ja mei, was für ein fesches Madl!”

Translation: “O my, isn’t she a pretty woman!”

5. Der Schmarrn – nonsense, rubbish

Someone might accuse you of talking Schmarrn if you tell a tall tale.

And if you speak too much nonsense, they may even dub you a Schmarrnbeppi.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Schmarrn

6. Gell – isn’t it?

You might find this word often added at the end of a question, kind of like Germans elsewhere would use the interjections of “oder” or “ne”. It's kind of funny, gell?

7. I mog di – I like you

Photo: DPA

Strike up a conversation with a fesch young man or woman and you might find yourself looking for the right words to describe all those fluttery feels.

I mog di – simple. I like you.

8. Pfiat di – bye-bye!

While their neighbours further north might say Tschüß upon goodbye, Bavarians prefer Pfiat di, which is short for 'behüt dich Gott, which means 'may God protect you.'

9. A Maß – a litre of beer

Waiters and waitresses at Oktoberfest are trained to carry up to 34 kilos of beer at a time. Photo: DPA

Because there is no other size appropriate for beer-drinking here.

10. Ogschdocha – drunk

You might be shouting out “I bin ogschdocha” after having one Maß too many at the beer garden, but try to keep it together to properly pronounce your newly learned Bavarian!

11. Freilich – of course

If you live in north Germany you'll already know that the word natürlich can be anything from a stern rebuke to a gesture of hearty consent. Well that word in in Bavaria is freilich. For example: Can I have another Maß? Na freilich!

12. Semme or Semml – bread roll

Photo: DPA

Berliners prefer Schrippe and generally across the country people will understand Brötchen, but in Bavaria the word for a bread roll is Semme or Semml.

13. Fleischpflanzerl  – meatball

The fine Fleischpflanzerl being served at a golf tournament in Tutzing, Upper Bavaria. Photo: DPA

The love for meatballs is found across Germany, though you may be more familiar with the term Frikadelle

14. Der Brezl – pretzel

Photo: DPA

You should definitely know the word for this very typical Bavarian food staple, perhaps if you want to chow down on some Weißwuascht (Weisswürst or white sausage) with it.

15. Prost – cheers

Photo: DPA

Okay this one we hope you already know if you've spent any time anywhere else in Germany, but it's one that's definitely important to remember in this beer-proud region, birthplace of the German Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot.

So cheers to your newfound expertise in Bairisch! Prost!

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For members


Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?

Unlike in EU countries such as Portugal or Spain, Germany does not have a visa specifically for pensioners. Yet applying to live in the Bundesrepublik post-retirement is not difficult if you follow these steps.

Reader question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?
Two pensioners enjoying a quiet moment in Dresden in August 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

Due to its quality of life, financial security and health care, Germany snagged the number 10 spot in the 2020 Global Retirement Index. So just how easy is it to plant roots in Deutschland after your retirement?

Applying for a residency permit

As with any non-EU or European Economic Area (EEA) national looking to stay in Germany for longer than a 90-day period, retirees will need to apply for a general resident’s permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) under which it will be possible to select retirement as a category. 

READ ALSO: How does Germany’s pension system measure up worldwide?

This is the same permit for those looking to work and study in Germany – but if you would like to do either after receiving a residency permit, you will need to explicitly change the category of the visa.

Applicants from certain third countries (such as the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Canada, and New Zealand) can first come to Germany on a normal tourist visa, and then apply for a residency permit when in the country. 

However, for anyone looking to spend their later years in Germany, it’s still advisable to apply at their home country’s consulate at least three months in advance to avoid any problems while in Germany.

Retirement visas still aren’t as common as employment visas, for example, so there could be a longer processing time. 

What do you need to retire in Germany?

To apply for a retirement visa, you’ll need proof of sufficient savings (through pensions, savings and investments) as well as a valid German health insurance. 

If you have previously worked in Germany for at least five years, you could qualify for Pensioner’s Health Insurance. Otherwise you’ll need to apply for one of the country’s many private health insurance plans. 

Take note, though, that not all are automatically accepted by the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners office), so this is something you’ll need to inquire about before purchasing a plan. 

READ ALSO: The perks of private health insurance for expats in Germany

The decision is still at the discretion of German authorities, and your case could be made stronger for various reasons, such as if you’re joining a family member or are married to a German. Initially retirement visas are usually given out for a year, with the possibility of renewal. 

Once you’ve lived in Germany for at least five full years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit, or a Niederlassungserlaubnis. To receive this, you will have to show at least a basic knowledge of the German language and culture.

READ ALSO: How to secure permanent residency in Germany

Taxation as a pensioner

In the Bundesrepublik, pensions are still listed as taxable income, meaning that you could be paying a hefty amount on the pension from your home country. But this is likely to less in the coming years.

Tax is owed when a pensioner’s total income exceeds the basic tax-free allowance of €9,186 per year, or €764 per month. From 2020 the annual taxable income for pensioners will increase by one percent until 2040 when a full 100 percent of pensions will be taxable.

American retirees in Germany will also still have to file US income taxes, even if they don’t owe any taxes back in the States. 

In the last few years there has been a push around Germany to raise the pension age to 69, up from 65-67, in light of rising lifespans.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Could people in Germany still be working until the age of 68?