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IN PICTURES: Germany embraces cold snap amid warnings over icy waterways

People across Germany have been making the most of the winter weather - but emergency services have warned against walking on frozen waterways. Now the big thaw is set to come.

IN PICTURES: Germany embraces cold snap amid warnings over icy waterways
Ice skaters are on the ice on Lake Schliersee in Bavaria on Sunday. Photo: DPA

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At the weekend lots of people got out in the blazing sunshine and bitterly cold temperatures.

In lots of areas, rivers, canals  and ponds were completely frozen over. Families, skaters and dog walkers took to the waterways – however, police have warned against people doing this as the ice can crack and cause people to fall through.

In Berlin police said the strong sun combined with water currents can cause solid ice to become brittle and unstable.

Several people collapsed through the ice at the city's Schlachtensee on Saturday, according to the fire and rescue service. They were not injured.

There were also several accidents on the river Rhine in Düsseldorf, with rescue services having to be called out.

Temperatures are set to increase above freezing on Monday and Tuesday in Germany so authorities are continuing to warn people not to walk on waterways in case they crack.

This selection of tweets, and pictures by DPA photographers across Germany, gives a snapshot of how the country looks in extreme cold winter weather.

READ ALSO: Snow and bitterly cold temperatures hit Germany

Skaters hold hands while on the Landwehrkanal in Berlin on Sunday. People also walked on the frozen river Spree in the capital. Police regularly told people to get off the ice, particularly in some parts where it was not very strong.

Numerous people on frozen water in front of Moritzburg Castle in Saxony.

A police tells a couple to get off the ice at the Alsterpark in Hamburg.

Bracing the cold snowy weather in Dresden.

Several people on frozen water at Benrath Castle in Düsseldorf.

Adults and kids out and about on Steinhude lake in the Lower Saxony sunshine.

Police used a helicopter to tell people to get off the ice at Müggelsee in Berlin as this tweet shows.

An ice hockey game in front of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig.

Families out and about on the frozen Rhine river in Düsseldorf.

Little Elise wearing a bear hat while sledging at the Deister hill in Lower Saxony.

A police offer skating while checking the surfaces at Steinhude lake in Lower Saxony.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Care insurance, baby bureaucracy and road rules

In our weekend roundup for Germany we look at a court ruling on care insurance contributions, started German bureaucracy young and the road rules foreigners might not know, but Germans definitely do.

Living in Germany: Care insurance, baby bureaucracy and road rules

Landmark ruling on Germany’s long-term care insurance 

If you work in Germany, you only have to glance at your payslip to see just how much of it disappears (hopefully for good reasons) before it hits your bank account. And a court ruling we reported on this week brought up the topic of contributions to society once more. The constitutional court said on Wednesday that parents with more than one child should pay a reduced rate of care insurance – Pflegeversicherung – than those with fewer children, or childless people. 

The case was brought to court by hundreds of families who argued that the amount of contributions they pay – like health, pension and long-term care insurance – should be linked to the number of children they have. The argument is that by having children, families are providing people to pay back into the pot later in life. Plus children are more likely to have a role in care for their parents, whereas the state might have to step in earlier for those without children. But critics argue that there’s no guarantee that these things will happen. For instance, children may grow up and move away from Germany, and so then wouldn’t pay into the system. 

Wherever you stand on this argument, it’s a hot topic in our ageing society – since the start of this year, childless people in Germany have had to pay 3.4 percent of their income towards social care, while parents pay 3.05 percent of their income. What do you think about it? Let us know by emailing [email protected]. Thank you so much for your emails last week on what you think about the culture of FKK in Germany! 

Tweet of the week

Those of you familiar with German bureaucracy won’t be surprised by this tweet! They start them young. 

READ ALSO: From Elternzeit to midwives – an American’s view on having a baby in Germany 

Where is this? 

Photo: DPA/Thomas Banneyer

We applaud these sporty folk who led a special event on Ascension Day on Thursday. Members of the German Underwater Club Cologne (DUC Köln) e.V. are pictured here getting ready for their annual Rhine swim from the Poller Rheinwiesen and under four bridges to the Rheinpark at the Zoobrücke in Cologne. Bravo! 

Did you know?

Some people who come to Germany may not be aware of some of the rules of the road. One of our readers, Phil, got in touch to say one of the most common examples is the rules at zebra crossings. “In Germany, it is the law to stop, but in other countries, it is not always a legal requirement,” Phil told us. “What I find amusing but scary is the older generation takes it as their right and will step out onto the crossing even if you are approaching at some speed. They know the law and you must stop. Not everyone knows the law, and telling St Peter at the gates you were right and they were wrong is a bit late.”

Phil also shared an amusing anecdote highlighting the German love of rules. “When we built our house, we used a drone to capture the progress,” he told us. “One day whilst flying, a neighbour appeared at the door who was fully compliant with drone rules and explained to my wife the specific regulations before politely asking us to stop before he called the police.”

Thanks for reading,

Rachel and Imogen @ The Local Germany 

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