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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Der Brückentag

Nothing beats making the most of public holidays - and a Brückentag or two can help you do just that.

German word of the day: Der Brückentag
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Translating literally as ‘bridge day’ or ‘bridging day’, this word does exactly what it says on the tin: when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, eagle-eyed Germans will smugly book a day off of work on the Monday or Friday, effectively ‘bridging’ the holiday and the weekend.

This tactic gives you a luxurious four days of relaxation, and only costs one annual leave day from your holiday allocation. 

These Brückentage have become deeply ingrained in the German cultural consciousness – they even have a dedicated website, which documents all of the possible regional combinations of public holidays and weekends and, in typical German fashion, gives you an efficiency rating of each combination to show how best to use your holiday time.

Remember to note when the Brückentage fall. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Patrick Pleul

This level of fixation on efficient holiday extensions has developed because of Germany’s irritating rule of not giving employees an extra day off whenever a public holiday falls on a weekend, which this year is the case for a fair few public holidays (such as, ironically, International Workers’ Day on May 1st).

READ ALSO: How you can make the most of Germany’s 2022 public holidays 

The German Left Party (die Linke) have made several bids over the past few years to change this rule, arguing that many other countries (the UK and US included) do offer compensatory extra days off when a public holiday falls on a weekend.

If you’re working in Berlin and were lucky enough to book your Brückentag in time, you might be enjoying Monday off before the regional Women’s Day public holiday on March 8th.

If not, look forward to the bridge days around Easter time in April or May 27th, the Thursday after the nationwide holiday of Ascension Day.

Examples:

Wie willst du deinen Brückentag nächste Woche verbringen?

How do you want to spend your bridge day next week?

Nimmst du sich die Brückentage um Ostern frei?

Are you taking the bridge days off at Easter?

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Rücksicht

Here's how to take this thoughtful word into consideration.

German word of the day: Rücksicht

Why do I need to know Rücksicht?

Because it’s a commonly used word and knowing what it means – and practising it – will make you a better person.

What does Rücksicht mean?

Rücksicht is a feminine noun which means “consideration” or “regard”. It’s made up of the shortened form of the word zurück meaning “back” and Sicht – which means view. So literally, it means, back view, or looking back.

This literal meaning tells you something about how the word is used in German – if you look back to see what’s happened to your friend, you are taking them into consideration.

If you want to really make sure you don’t forget what Rücksicht means – you can watch the following video of Germany’s 1983 Eurovision song contest entry. The catchy ballad – called “Rücksicht” – came in place 5 of the competition that year. 

How to use Rücksicht

When using Rücksicht, bear in mind that it is usually paired with specific verbs and prepositions.

The most commonly used set phrase is Rücksicht auf etwas/jemand nehmen, which is used to mean “to be considerate of” or “to take care of” someone or something. For example:

Radfahrer müssen auf Fußgänger Rücksicht nehmen.

Cyclists must be considerate of pedestrians.

Er nimmt Rücksicht auf die Bedürfnisse seiner schwangeren Frau.

He takes care of his pregnant wife’s needs.

Rücksicht is usually followed by the preposition auf, but it can be preceded by a number of prepositions to compose different phrases. 

Mit Rücksicht auf for example, means “in view of” and ohne Rücksicht auf means “without consideration for”, while aus Rücksicht auf means “out of consideration for.” 

Here are some examples:

Führungen dürfen aus Rücksicht auf die Teilnehmer nicht aufgenommen werden.
Out of consideration of the participants, tours may not be recorded.
 
Er will tun, was er möchte, ohne Rücksicht auf die Anderen.
He wants to do what he wants, without considering other people.
 
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