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LIVING IN GERMANY

Everything that changes in Germany in June 2019

From higher wages to e-scooters, a lot is changing as May becomes June on Saturday.

Everything that changes in Germany in June 2019
A clock exhibit in Düsseldorf during fall 2017. Photo: DPA

Stricter ban on knives

Starting on June 1st, Germany is tightening its rules on knife laws. In particular, fixed knives with a blade length of more than six centimetres will no longer be allowed in heavily frequented locations. Up until June, Germany only had a ban on knives over twelve centimeters long.

The country is, however, planning exceptions for craftsmen who need a knife for their jobs – a bill of which is currently being drafted in the Bundestag.

Higher wages across sectors

All trainees in Germany are also slated to receive an increase in their training allowance, up from 60 to 90. By June 1st, 2020, this will once again rise by 90.

Starting on June 1st, scaffolders throughout Germany, of which there are around 31,000, will see their pay increase from 11.35 to 11.88 per hour.

Furthermore, all 15,000 steel workers in the state of Saarland will be receiving a raise of 3.7 percent of their current salaries. Starting from 2020, all employees will furthermore receive an additional 1,000 per year, which can be converted into an additional five days off from work.

A scaffolder working on Cologne's cathedral. Photo: DPA

Diesel ban in Berlin

First it hit several states around Germany, and now the capital: Berlin is banning diesel cars with exhaust emissions standard 1 to 5 from 15 road highly trafficked road standards, with the ban set to full go into effect by the end of the month of June.

SEE ALSO: Here's how you could be affected by diesel bans in German cities

Stronger schools in Saxony?

The eastern state of Saxony has introduced a new law for kindergartens (known as kitas), which is intended to improve the quality of education for children and save parents some hard-earned cash. It stipulates that starting in June, kita teachers will be able to spend two hours a week on preparation away from the classroom.

In addition, parents will be required to contribute less for after-school care, while municipalities will receive higher subsidies for day-care purposes at the same time. The new law will cost the Free State a little: Saxony plans to provide 75 million each year until 2021 for the improvements.

A teacher reading to students at a kita in Dresden. Photo: DPA

E-scooters coming to Germany

E-scooters will be legally allowed to hit German streets starting on June 15th. Transport minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) hopes that the motorized scooters will make German streets more environmentally friendly.

Some people are worried they will pose a danger to pedestrians, but a speed limit has been set at 20 kilometres per hour to (try to) avoid this.

SEE ALSO: E-scooters get the green light on German roads

Security personnel to be recorded in a guards' register (Bewachregister)

Starting on June 1st, security staff working in sensitive locations such as asylum seekers' hostels, airports or major events will be registered in a central guards' register.

This register, which is maintained by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), will also be used for the mandatory inspection of security guards at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungschutz). This is to ensure that only reliable personnel work in these areas.

North Rhine-Westphalia rent cap expiring

Starting on May 31st, the so-called Cap Boundry Regulation (Kappungsgrenzenverordnung) expires in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The rule, stemming from a coalition agreement between the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democrats (FDP), states than landlords can only raise the rent by a maximum of 20 percent within three years.

However, individual counties decided that the rent in certain areas can only go up by 15 percent during this time – Düsseldorf, Cologne, Münster, Detmold und Arnsberg all abided by this. Now the state is looking to renew the regulation.

SEE ALSO: The places in Germany where rent is rising rapidly

Amazon fees going up (and down in some departments)

Starting on June 5th, almost all articles sold on Amazon.de will be subject to a sales fee of at least 30 cents. However, a few categories will be exempt from this surcharge – namely books, music, videos, DVDs, software, video games, video game consoles, food, beer, wine and spirits.

Amazon logistics centre in Pforzheim. Photo: DPA

SEE ALSO: Amazon announces over 2,000 jobs in Germany in 2018

Eurowings doing away with free snacks

To the disdain of hungry passengers abroad, Eurowings economy class flights, the Lufthansa daughter airline, will be getting rid of the free snacks and drinks for all flights booked from June 4th onwards. The change will apply for all short and medium length flights.

The rules for hand luggage are also changing: not only will passengers in the economy class (the so-called Basic Tariff, or fare) have to part with their free coffee, but also with their hand-luggage on heavily booked flights. They’ll be able to check it in without a fee before getting on board.

Starting at Munich’s airport on June 1st, there will also be two boarding groups: economy-class passengers queue after passengers from the other, higher paid grounds have gotten on board. The change will gradually be rolled out at other airports.

Photo: DPA

Handball rules changing

Handball fans, take notes (we know there must be some among you): the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has decided to alter rules: From June 1st, any goal scored with a hand or arm will be considered a foul, whether or not it was intentional.

A player can also be punished if he gets into possession of the ball with his hand or arm and thereby gains a clear advantage – for example scoring a goal afterwards.

By some calculations, handball is more widely played than even football in Germany. An easy explanation is that every Dorf, or small village, has a gym or at least Verein (association), but not everywhere has a football stadium.

SEE ALSO: How living in Germany turned me into an athlete

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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