German phrase of the day: Etwas Sonne tanken

Sophie Shanahan
Sophie Shanahan - [email protected]
German phrase of the day: Etwas Sonne tanken
Two women soaking up the sun in Langenhagen, Lower Saxony on Sunday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Moritz Frankenberg

This useful phrase is one we’ll hopefully be hearing a lot more of in the coming days.


Large parts of Germany have been blessed with clear skies and hot sun over the last few days. With temperatures as high as 30 degrees expected around the country on Monday, many people will have been making the most of the late-spring weather by spending some time outside. 

In German, you would call this etwas Sonne tanken, or the act of soaking up the sun. 

Rather than bathing in the sun just to get a bit of a suntan, the German phrase suggests a more medicinal need for feeling the sun on your skin. In Germany you are not simply enjoying the sun. Rather, those rays are your source of energy, filling your tank throughout the summer.


There is also the suggestion within this simple phrase that it is necessary to tank up on as much Vitamin D as possible to sustain you through the winter months. 

Just like a car refuelling to get through a long journey, the Germans clearly think it is necessary to make the best use of near-perfect Kaiserwetter when they can. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Das Kaiserwetter

While you might imagine laying out on a sandy beach somewhere tropical in order to fill your tank to the brim, in Germany it is much more likely you will be soaking up the sun on a balcony or in a park, especially if you live in a big city. 

The phrase can also be applied to plants and fruit, as well as humans. For example, you could say that fruit growing in warm climates has more of a chance die Sonne zu tanken (to soak up the sun) than in a more temperate environment. 

READ ALSO: Police move in against parties and crowds as Germans take to parks in sunny weather


Am weißen Sandstrand können Sie herrlich Sonne tanken.

On the white sandy beach you can spend the day bathing in the glorious sun.

Ausgereiftes Obst, das lange Sonne tanken konnte, ist dadurch besonders süß und geschmacksintensiv.

Ripe fruit that has been able to soak up a lot of sun is especially sweet and flavourful.


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