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LIVING IN GERMANY

More Germans mull move to countryside as ‘home office’ grows in popularity

Over one-fifth of Germans would consider moving house if working from home remained an option after the coronavirus crisis, according to a new study.

More Germans mull move to countryside as 'home office' grows in popularity
The idyllic small town of Stande, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: DPA

The research by from market research publication Handelskontor showed that for 16-24-year-olds, the figure stood as high as 35 percent.

For those in the 25-34 year-old range, the figure was 29 percent, with each age group progressively less willing to budge from where they currently call home.

 

 

 

Prior to the pandemic, only three percent of Germans worked from home on a regular basis – a number that’s expected to grow 166.7 percent once the crisis is over, according to figures from Bitcom.

“In the Corona crisis, flexible working experienced a strong boost and will continue to shape the new normal in the world of work after the pandemic,” said Bitkom President Achim Berg in a statement.

 
Over the past year, the inclination towards working from home in Germany has been aided by tax benefits, more companies allowing and encouraging their employees to work remotely and – as of January – a mandate that employers must allow their workers to take part in “home office” whenever it’s possible.
 

Property prices in rural areas especially spiked amid the pandemic. Real estate prices more populated parts of the countryside grew by 8.9 percent, whereas the increase stood at 6.5 percent in urban areas, according to Handelskontor.

Google data for Germany in November showed that the search term “house in the countryside” reached a five-year high. 

The following graph shows the increase in property prices in four categories: metropolitan areas, large cities with at least 100,000 residents, more populous rural areas and scarcely populated rural areas. 

Demand for holiday homes also grows

The demand is not just growing for a primary residence, but also for holiday homes. The demand for holiday properties amid the coronavirus crisis rose by 54 percent. 

By the end of 2020, a total of 1.26 million Germans owned a vacation home or apartment, up from 1.4 million the year before, according to Handelskontor.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Where (and why) demand for holiday homes in Germany is skyrocketing

“The demand for vacation properties is definitely higher than before the crisis,” says Daniel Ritter, managing partner at the broker von Poll.

“The desire to escape from the city into nature and be able to avoid contacts has increased even more.” 

The increased desire for a holiday home away from home is also reflected in the prices. The prices, for example, for the coveted holiday apartments on the North Sea islands, which already cost upwards of €10,000 per square meter before the pandemic, rose again by around 20 percent in 2020.

All graphs in this article are courtesy of Handelskontor.

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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. Germany 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 being 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, come 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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