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German word of the day: Stoßlüften

This word (and concept) is especially found in public places and schools all around Germany.

German word of the day: Stoßlüften

Let’s start with the translation. Literally, Stoß means “shock, impact or thrust” and lüften means “ventilating.” Stoßlüften therefore translates to “shock ventilation.”

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The concept behind that is rather simple: For about five minutes, you turn off the radiator, open all the windows and let the cold air stream in. Then you close the windows again and turn all the heating back on again. That allows a flush of cold air to stream into the room and make it fresh again. 

The outside temperature doesn’t matter – if it gets too cold you can always put on a coat after all. 

Here’s an example: If you have ever been to a German school, chances are that you might have noticed a note stuck to one of the classroom walls. That note probably stated some rules for a better room climate.

And following up after the point “Turn off the radiator when you leave the room,” it probably said something like “Mehrmals täglich stoßlüften.” (Shock-ventilate the room multiple times a day.)

Many teachers follow that rule, which usually leads to a wave of discontent from the students' side. The teacher will then tell them to stop complaining and to dress warmer.

Stoßlüften isn’t just good for the people in the room – it also prevents tor room to get mouldy. Especially in schools, when many (often sweaty) teenagers sit in one room for a long time, the levels of air humidity become quite large. Some good ol' Stoßlüften helps the air to circulate again. 

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At a young age, children in Germany get used to the concept of stoßlüften. Photo: DPA

Examples:

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Zieht euch eure Jacken an, wir machen eine Stoßlüftung!

Put on your coats, we’re doing a shock ventilation!

Ich hasse Stoßlüften.

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I hate shock ventilation.

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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

Member comments

  1. God, I hate this practice too! My (otherwise) wonderful German wife is always suddenly throwing open the windows in just the same way. But as for the mould theory, which she also expounds whenever I complain, then how come British rooms that never have this shock tactic inflicted upon them do not seem to grow mould on the walls. I somehow think there’s more to creating a gorgonzola cave with walls dripping with fungus than keeping the windows constantly shut!

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For members

GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Anyone struggling with learning German (or any big skill) could use this popular piece of reassurance.

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Why do I need to know this?

If you’re getting down on yourself for not doing something you are still learning just right – be it playing the piano or speaking German – you can gently comfort yourself with this phrase. Or you can confidently cite it to reassure your perfectionist friend or family member that they are indeed making great strides towards their goal.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as “There is still no master which has fallen from the sky,” the expression gets the idea across that no one is born – or comes pummeling down from the heavens – as an expert at something.

Rather they become a Meister (or at least halfway decent) through continuous hard work and discipline. 

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that will add swagger to your language skills

The saying is similar to the also widely used “Übung macht den Meister” (Practice makes the master) or the English version: Practice makes perfect. 

Not surprisingly, Germans – who pride themselves on industriously reaching their goals – have several other equivalent sayings. They include “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” (There’s no prize without hard work) and “Von nichts kommt nichts” (Nothing comes out of nothing).

Where does it come from?

The popular phrase can be traced back to the Latin “Nemo magister natus”, or no one is born a master. Another version is “Nemo nascitur artifex” or no one is born an artist. This explains why so many languages have similar expressions.

What are some examples of how it’s used?

Sei nicht so streng mit dir selbst. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is born perfect. 

Mein Trainer sagte, es sei noch kein perfekter Schwimmer vom Himmel gefallen.

My coach said that no one is born a perfect swimmer.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

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