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CULTURE

How to make the most of German culture while social distancing

If you are craving some German art, music, language learning or sport, we've compiled a list of activities you can do from the comfort of your own home during this period of social distancing.

How to make the most of German culture while social distancing
There's lots you can watch or do from the comfort of your sofa. File photo: DPA

Germany has introduced strict 'no contact' measures aimed at stalling the spread of coronavirus.

Since that means we are all now spending more time indoors as we socially distance ourselves, it's more important than ever to take care of our minds as well as our bodies,

So what better time to soak up some Deutsche Kultur (German culture)? Luckily, there are numerous opportunities for experiencing this from your own room.

Here's a few things to try:

READ ALSO: You are not alone – living abroad in the time of corona.

Watching German Film and Television Classics 

When you exhaust all that TV streaming websites have to offer, the German film industry has a pretty expansive list of award winning movies to explore.

For example, ‘Das Boot’ (The Boat) is a 1981 WW2 film that follows a German U-Boat and its crew still holds the most Oscar nominations ever for a German film – receiving 6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Director.

For a more light hearted watch, ‘Good bye, Lenin!’ – released in 2003 – has a surprising comical standpoint considering it tells the story of a family in East Berlin between 1989 and 1990.

For more inspiration, you can check out our list of ‘10 epic German movies that you have to watch’.

 

There is also an array of German TV shows that you could really get into, seeing as day-to-day some of us might find ourselves with some extra time on our hands.

Alongside some cult classic films, you can find some of our favourite television programmes in our ‘Ten Top films and TV shows to discover Germany from your couch.

Watching Live Streams

Tip Berlin has put together a comprehensive list of all the live streams occurring across Berlin during this period. The live streams range from opera, to clubbing, to comedy and theatre – there really is something for everyone. You can find this list here

One particularly popular live stream movement gaining a lot of attention is  #Unitedwestream. It's a movement and hashtag adopted by many of Berlin’s clubs, who are continuing to live stream events with DJs playing to empty dance floors amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Berlin clubs have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, as social distancing paralyses all operations. However, live streaming platforms provide an opportunity for the clubbing culture to continue for now in this uncharted digital space.

Exhibitions, festivals, films and publications are also being live streamed. Berlin Art Link substituted their weekly round-up of events for a piece detailing all the events which are available online, which can be found here. They will be continuously updating the piece throughout this period.

The basketball team ALBA Berlin, are providing live stream lessons which aim to bring exercise and movement to children and young people daily. “ALBA’s Sports Lesson” can be completed within the four walls of your own home, with a varied program such as fitness, coordination and yoga, in addition to various challenges to try. 

After the live stream, all the videos are then available on their YouTube channel.

Check out Library Websites

It is worth checking both your local and regional library portals to see what elements of their sites are free of use; many have even extended such usage to content that was previously behind a paywall.

You can borrow courses, books, films and music from many libraries using the online loan services across Germany.

For example, the ZLB Berlin is tweeting with the hashtag #closedbutopen, as they are promoting the vast number of e-resources that they have available. 

Düsseldorf City Libraries also have an online library with many e-books and online offers.

Additionally, Hamburg's electronic library service eBücherhallen currently offers close to 9,000 pieces of literature in nine different languages as eBooks and audiobooks. You can check out their website to explore these resources here.

Reading German Classics

Just because the libraries are physically closed, it does not mean you cannot indulge in reading some German classics such as Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum), Die Verwandlung (Metamorphosis) and Im Westen Nich Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front) are all world renowned classics and can easily be ordered online.

For a longer list of books, we published an article a few months ago featuring our 10 must read German books.

Learning German

Finally, many expats move to Germany full of the motivation that they will ‘learn the lingo’ but for many this dream quickly fades usually due to a myriad of different life factors that come with moving to a new country; learning German tends to take a back seat. 

READ ALSO: How I stopped worrying and learned German in 6 months

If that sounds like a familiar tale then perhaps now is your chance to dedicate that extra hour you are saving from not commuting, to learning the native tongue.

Language learning website Chatterbug is offering free German lessons every weekday at 5pm in a bid to give language learners a chance to connect with other people and brush up on their skills.

To register and take part, students should enter their name, location and email address at Chatterbug Live.

Recently, language app and online site Babbel have been promoting a limited time offer for students of one month subscription for free. The app has been hailed as one of the best language learning platforms due to their multi-angled approach.

Online language learning site Lingoda recently launched their #StayHomeKeepLearning initiative, which is designed to provide digital resources to offline institutions on both a nationwide and global scale.

Lingoda is offering these institutions free access to all of its online learning resources and full assistance in setting up online classes, in addition to a range of masterclasses and guides in English and German on running online classes successfully. Its regular live classes are also open for a small fee to all language learners, level A1-C2.

If your German is already at a relatively high conversational level, then there are also opportunities to speak with native speakers, through sites such as Preply and various Facebook groups.

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COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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