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Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

From partial holiday hotel reopenings to a Colonial-era street receiving another name, here's the latest news from around Germany on Thursday November 26th.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Some hotels, such as this one in Offenbach, Hesse, will accept guests visiting their families over the holidays. Photo: DPA

As of Thursday afternoon, skiers and anyone who makes a day trip to Austria for recreational purposes will be required to go into quarantine for 10 days.

“Tourist day trips or leisure activities abroad, such as skiing, are avoidable sources of risk,” Bavaria’s state government announced after a cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon. 

There are still some possibilities to cross the border for up to 24 hours without having to quarantine, but these do not include tourist and sporting purposes.

READ ALSO: Where and when will it be possible to go skiing in Europe this year?

On Tuesday, Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said he would keep slopes closed over the Christmas holidays, and called for other European countries to do the same. 

Yet it’s still contested whether ski resorts in the Alpine countries of Switzerland and Austria are likely to follow suit.

Hotel in Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia to allow guests

The states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia have announced that they plan to allow people to stay at hotels over the holidays, and other states are expected to likewise loosen their hospitality rules.

“Anyone who visits relatives should have the opportunity to stay overnight somewhere,” said Hesse’s state premiere Volker Bouffier (CDU), pointing out that not every family member can provide an extra room. 

Currently all hotels around Germany are closed, with the exception of business trips. The holiday period is loosely defined by most states as between December 20th and January 3rd.

Photo of the day

Photo: DPA

Christmas in Germany is set to look very different this year than all previous ones. But that hasn’t stopped the capital from sticking to one major holiday tradition: setting up a giant Christmas tree in front of the glowing Brandenburg Gate. 

Changed street name

One Berlin nonprofit successfully ended a 15-year-campaign on Thursday to change the name of Wissmannstraße in Berlin-Neukölln to Lucy-Lameck-Straße. The street will now be named in honour of the Tanzanian politician Lucy Lameck (1934-1993) who helped push for the country’s independence, along with fighting racism.

READ ALSO: Berlin to change street names which honour brutal colonial past

“We are especially glad that the violent colonial history, which Germany and Tanzania share, is not erased here, but rather told under reversed signs,” said Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, the spokesman of Berlin Postkolonial who’s originally from Tanzania. 

“Wissmann was a racist war criminal. Lucy Lameck stands for the undervalued contribution of Tanzania's women to the fight for our independence.”

Hermann von Wissmann (1853-1905) was the former governor of German East Africa (Deutch-Ostafrika), a German colony which existed between 1885-1918 and included mainland Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Younger people socially distance too

Younger generations often take the blame for causing the coronavirus spread, with every police break-up of an overcrowded illegal house party headlining the German media. But that’s not the full story.

According to a recent survey, a large majority of the younger generations in Germany show solidarity in the pandemic. 

Two thirds of the interviewees between 14 and 39 currently find it important to avoid parties in order to protect family and friends, according to a preliminary evaluation for the representative study “Young Germans 2021”, which was presented in Berlin on Thursday. 

Only eight percent of the respondents answer said they can't give up parties for the time being.

A large majority of the 1,602 respondents (73 percent) also have no problem with keeping their distance and wearing masks.

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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. German 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 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, comes 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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