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

From new night train connections to stricter coronavirus measures, here's a roundup of the latest news on Tuesday.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news Tuesday
A snowman wears a face mask in the Taunus mountain range in Germany. Photo: DPA

New night connections

Together with three other national railway companies, Deutsche Bahn is planning the following new night train connections through Europe, the company announced on Tuesday:

  • From December 2021 there will be a connection between Vienna, Munich and Paris and between Zurich, Cologne and Amsterdam.
  • In 2023, connections from Vienna and Berlin to Brussels and Paris will follow.
  • From December 2024 it should also be possible to travel from Zurich to Barcelona.

Stricter measures in Hesse

In parts of Hesse with continually high coronavirus rates, a night-time curfew and a ban on drinking alcohol in public is set to be put place, announced state premiere Volker Bouffier (CDU) on Tuesday in a statement given to state parliament in Wiesbaden.

The curfew would apply to cities or districts with more than 200 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. It will go into effect on Friday, and will last from 9 pm until 5 am each day.

Affected areas would include the city and district Offenbach, the Main-Kinzig district and the district of Groß-Gerau, said Bouffier.

Other states around Germany, including Bavaria and Saxony, are also putting stricter measures and curfews in place in order to tackle rising coronavirus figures.

READ ALSO: German state of Saxony to close schools and shops as Covid-19 situation worsens

Photo of the day

Morning fog in Germany is typical, as this panoramic photo (credit: DPA) across the Lower Saxony landscape on Tuesday morning shows.

Row over public broadcasting fees

The so-called Rundfunkbeitrag is to go up by 86 cents to a monthly payment of €18.36. The public broadcasters, which include TV channels ARD and ZDF, have a €1.5 billion hole in their budget. The budget is funded almost entirely through a compulsory payment that every household makes.

This increase is supposed to come into effect on January 1st, but the state parliament in Saxony-Anhalt has so far refused to back it, something that is leading to serious friction inside Angela Merkel's CDU party.

It is the only state as of Tuesday which won't get behind higher fees.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to pay Germany's TV tax, or (legally) avoid it

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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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