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

From increased Kindergeld to a threat to the German pharmaceutical industry, here's a roundup of the latest news on Friday.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Never before has DHL delivered so many packages in Germany. Photo: DPA

Hotels and the holidays

More states have decided to allow guests to stay at hotels for family visits over the festive season – currently just stays for business purposes are allowed. The complete list now includes: Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Lower Saxony.

The relaxation of rules, however, is only set to apply over the Christmas holidays – or around December 20th to January 3rd.

But maybe the extra hotel space won’t be needed: according to a new survey, 73 percent of people in Germany plan to limit their contact to family, including family visits, over the holidays.

More Kindergeld in 2021

Parents in Germany can look forward to receiving a higher monthly allowance for their children. Starting next year ‘Kindergeld’ will be raised by €15, Germany’s Bundesrat decided on Friday. 

READ ALSO: Kindergeld: What you need to know about Germany's child support payments

Starting in January, money for the first and second child will be €219 instead of €204. For the third child, that amount rises from €210 to €225, and up from the fourth child the amount rises from €235 to €250.

Photo of the day

Photo: DPA

We can see how ‘Spiegelsee’ (Mirror Lake) in Sehlendorf, Schleswig-Holstein got its name. Two women walked along the lake on Friday, getting some outdoor exercise as temperatures around Germany remained at a mild 7C. 

Packages booming

Just five weeks before the end of the year, Deutsche Post DHL delivered more parcels than in the whole of the previous year. The Bonn-based company announced that 1.6 billion parcels have been transported in Germany so far in 2020. 

This means that the company's own record has already been surpassed – in 2019 the postal service had transported 1.59 billion parcels in this country, more than ever before. Because of the booming online trade, the company has been breaking its own record year after year for a long time, but now this is happening exceptionally early.

By the end of the year, the Group expects to have transported around 1.8 billion parcels, an increase of around 15 percent. Never before has growth been so high.

Threat of German anti-vaxxers

On Thursday, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) warned of a possible threat to the German pharmaceutical industry, especially as Germany gears up for 60 vaccination centres. 

READ ALSO: Former Berlin Tegel gets new life as Covid-19 vaccination centre

Due to the “high dynamics and emotion inherent in the complex coronavirus topic”, an “abstract danger” for vaccine manufacturers, but also for vaccination centres as well as transport and storage facilities must be assumed, according to an internal paper viewed by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as public broadcasters NDR and WDR.

In particular, the BKA warns that critics of coronavirus measures could try to infiltrate the vaccination centres in order to get particularly high media attention for their protest. 

There’s a concrete reason for this concern: a demonstration in front of BionTech’s headquarters, the research company in Mainz that has developed a promising coronavirus vaccine according to current research, was announced for this Saturday.

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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.

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.