If you’ve ever lived in Germany, you’ll be aware that most people rent their homes. In fact, the Bundesrepublik has the lowest level of property ownership in the EU, with just over half of the population owning their own home.
In the capital Berlin the proportion of tenants is even higher – around 85 percent of people rent rather than buy their homes.
So those ambitious millennials – and others – who choose to forgo daily brunch and three flat whites at expensive hipster cafes, and instead pour their money into buying a property, are in the minority (especially in cities like Berlin).
And yes, there’s a German word for them: if you hear someone being called der Eigenstumsfritze then this is what they’re talking about. This word refers to someone who is too into splashing their cash on property.
The Eigenstumsfritze isn’t used for your average family saving up to buy a home over many years in the suburbs. It’s specifically used in the context for annoying young people who are doing too well for themselves – like the 28-year-old overachieving software developer types who move to places like Friedrichshain in Berlin with a million euros spare to live out their dream of trying to become a DJ. Or the influencers who own a Munich apartment decked out in all the latest trendy furniture.
For Germans who enjoy regular coffee and brunch (which includes smashed avocado toast – much to the annoyance of Australian millionaires), giving up these things to buy a home when you can buy a slap-up meal at a cafe instead is simply ridiculous.
In fact, as a well-heeled millennial walks past on the way to a flat-viewing, you’ll likely hear grey-haired Berliners muttering to themselves in the few local pubs left in Friedrichshain: “Ach, der ist wohl noch ein Eigentumsfritze. Wohnungen sind so teuer. Es wäre viel Sinnvoller, 30,000-mal Brunch zu kaufen!” (“Ugh, that’s probably another property obsessive. Flats are so expensive, it would make a lot more more sense to buy 30,000 brunches.”)
Eigenstumsfritze is made up of the German word das Eigentum, which means property, and Fritze, which in fact comes from the surname Fritz.
It’s a typical German thing to use the name-as-suffix as an insult. You’ll also find a few more variations with Fritz, which appears to be used because it is such a generic German name.
A Werbefritze, for instance, is an annoying some bigshot in the advertising business (think Don Draper). An ‘Ökofritze’ is someone who’s just a bit too into their organic food (think well-off Green voting families in German cities).
The cultural lesson here is to remember just how important Frühstück is to Germans – and no amount of “capital investment opportunities” will make them think otherwise.
Man denke nur an all die Cappuccinos, den er mit 3,5 Millionen Euro kaufen könnte! Was für ein Eigentumsfritze!
Think of all the coffee he could buy with €3.5 million! What an Eigentumfritze!
Did you work it out? This is of course an Aprilscherz– the German version of an April fool.
While Germans do tend to favour renting homes rather than buying, we’re not aware that this word actually exists. However, we’d like to point out that it is true that Germans do use names as insults and Fritz is a common one.
You can find more real German words of the day HERE.