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Today in Germany: A round-up of what’s happening on Monday

From property prices and coronavirus hotspots to stress for Kita staff, here's a round-up of news in Germany on Monday.

Today in Germany: A round-up of what's happening on Monday
A man walking in Nuremberg on Monday. Photo: DPA

The only way is up for property prices in Germany

Despite the health crisis, prices for residential property in Germany rose more sharply in the past quarter than at any other time in nearly four years.

From July to September, houses and flats were 7.8 percent higher on average than a year earlier, according to the Federal Statistical Office. “Thus, despite the corona crisis, prices rose on average as strongly as last seen in the fourth quarter of 2016,” the office said.

At that time, prices had risen by up to 8.4 percent.

Demand for residential space is particularly strong in extended urban areas. As prices there are generally higher than in rural areas, prospective buyers are also turning to rural regions.

Experts say there is no end in sight to the upward trend.

According to the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (IW), there are not enough homes being built in many places , which is why housing is correspondingly scarce and expensive. In addition, many institutional investors are shifting their money and are looking at real estate to maintain value, which also drives prices up.

Coronavirus rules help fight other illnesses

Social distancing, hand-washing and obligatory face masks were measures brought in to Germany months ago to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: DPA

However, a new study has found these measures have also cut cases of cold weather illnesses by up to 50 percent.

Instances of flu, bronchitis and pneumonia have all significantly decreased in north-eastern Germany, which includes Berlin, according to a study by health insurer AOK Nordost.   

Meanwhile, the number of people taking sick days off work from September until mid-November due to flu was halved compared to previous years.

The authors said this was likely due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.  

The study, which was released on Sunday, took into account more than 63,000 sick leave requests throughout autumn in the north-eastern German states of Berlin, Brandenberg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The three states are home to just over 7.5 million people.

This is Germany's current coronavirus hotspot

The number of new infections are continuing to rise in the city of Passau, Bavaria. 

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the city has clocked up an average of 579.5 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days – the highest number in Germany. The district of Passau also has high figures.

Hildburghausen in Thuringia has the second worst number of cases, according to the RKI, with an incidence of 579.1.

The Lower Bavarian districts of Regen (377.2), the district of Passau (360.2) and the city of Nuremberg (307.3) are also among the ten cities and districts with the highest 7-day incidence values.

A strict lockdown has been in force in the city of Passau since Saturday. Residents there can only leave their homes for essential reasons.  It is also forbidden to drink alcohol in public places.

The exit restrictions in Passau will initially apply for one week. The restrictions could be relaxed again at the earliest when the number of infections drops to an incidence of 300, mayor Jürgen Dupper (SPD) told BR.

Photo of the day

We love this photo by Thomas Frey for DPA of two red pandas on a branch at the zoo in Neuwied, Rhineland-Palatinate. Almost all zoos across the country have been closed due to the pandemic measures.

Kindergarten teachers under huge stress

Compared to other countries, daycare centre (Kita) staff in Germany are exposed to higher levels of stress. That's according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

The survey covered nursery staff in a total of nine countries, including Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Israel, Chile, South Korea and Japan.

More than 3,000 staff members in Germany took part in the study, which aims to raise the quality of education and in child care centres. The data was collected in 2018 – before the coronavirus pandemic.

The study states that Germany is one of the best countries in terms of the training of its nursery staff thanks to its “solid focus on pre-vocational education”.

Nevertheless, Kita staff do not feel sufficiently prepared for all the challenges of their daily work. This is particularly noticeable when working with children from different social backgrounds or when using digital media to promote learning. Only about 10 percent of staff in daycare centres consider themselves sufficiently prepared for this.

They also said there was a shortage of staff and this raised stress levels.

Compared to other countries, the percentage of Kita staff in Germany who have been considering giving up their jobs due to health problems is very high. About a quarter of Kita workers said that they were toying with the idea of leaving. This could indicate a possible burn-out risk, the study found.

Member comments

  1. Yeah cold & flu cases have dropped off this year because EVERYTHING is labeled as Covid. Wake Up. This Is a Scam.

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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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