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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Catastrophic floods, prison breaks and life after the €9 ticket

In our weekly roundup for Germany we look at what comes after the €9 ticket, the anniversary of last years deadly flood and off-the-beaten-track beer festivals.

Living in Germany: Catastrophic floods, prison breaks and life after the €9 ticket
A tent at the Kiliani Volksfest in Würzburg. Photo: dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Germany remembers flood victims as climate change fears grow

On July 14th, 2021, parts of western Germany were struck by catastrophic floods in which almost 200 people lost their lives. On Thursday last week, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a visit to the Ahr valley, where the worst of the flooding took place, to remember the victims and send a message of solidarity to survivors.

A year on, many of the people whose homes were destroyed in the floods are still living in temporary accommodation and just a fraction of the billions of euros earmarked for regional aid has been paid out. But the tragedy has also raised questions about how prepared Germany is to deal with the worsening consequences of climate change.

In the run-up to the anniversary of the floods, we spoke to an expert who told us that Germany’s climate has warmed up by 1.6C since pre-industrial times. In these hotter temperatures, he said, extreme weather events like flash floods are far more likely to happen. At the same time, meteorologists were warning of an impending drought disaster as the mercury hit 35C in some parts of the country this week. As last July so painfully taught us, the effects of climate change are now impossible to ignore. 

Tweet of the week

Ever wondered how you can combine your love of German bureaucracy with your passion for word games? Well, now you can. Let us know if you manage to work out this German administrative compound noun. There are no prizes, but we’ll be mightily impressed. 

Where is this? 

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

No, this isn’t a predatory shark lurking in the chilly waters of the Ostsee, it’s a rather terrifying resident of the Kiliani summer folk festival in Würzburg, Bavaria, which has been running throughout the first weeks of July.

Though Munich’s Oktoberfest is undoubtedly the most famous of these festivals in Germany, there are plenty of smaller events that pop up around the country in summer. Just like the Kiliani Volksfest in Würzburg, they tend to combine copious amounts of beer with exhilarating fairground rides. What could possibly go wrong? 

Did you know?

It’s hopefully not something that any of us will come into contact with anytime soon, but the legal system in Germany can seem a little strange to foreigners. Unlike in the UK and USA, Germany doesn’t have jury trials. Instead, cases are heard by either a single judge or a panel of professional and lay judges.

If you do end up behind bars, you may be interested to know that there’s no law against trying to bust yourself out again. Apparently, trying to escape from prison is legal in Germany, since the desire for freedom is a basic human instinct. 

What comes after the €9 ticket? 

So far it seems like Germany’s €9 monthly travel ticket has been a huge success – and now politicians and transport companies are debating what should come next.

We’d love to know your view on potential successors to the ticket. Should it be a €365 annual travel card, or an Austrian-style Klimaticket that lets you travel around the whole of Germany? Or should they call the whole thing off? 

If you have a spare five minutes, let us know your thoughts by filling out our latest survey.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel and Imogen @ The Local Germany 

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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Long-distance train boost, confusing kitchens and Hanover highlights

In our weekly roundup about life in Germany we look at plans to invest in the train network, the perplexing lack of kitchens in German flats, the arrival of Herbst and some cool things about Hanover.

Living in Germany: Long-distance train boost, confusing kitchens and Hanover highlights

German long-distance travel set for modernisation programme

There are some really positive things about train travel in Germany, but there is definitely lots of room for improvement. So we were glad to report this week that Deutsche Bahn is planning a €19 billion modernisation programme. The operator says that an extra 450 high speed – or ICE – trains will be added to the country’s network in the coming years. CEO Richard Lutz said the aim is to invest in “the trains of the future”, and even unveiled new double-decker models that will include special office cabins and family areas. The aim is to encourage people to leave their car at home and take the train. Let’s hope that punctuality gets better along with the style of trains. And there is good news when it comes to local public transport: German transport ministers plan to thrash out a plan next month for a €9 ticket successor. Although details are thin on the ground at the moment, it is likely to cost €49 and will be valid on buses, trains and trams throughout local transport networks. 

READ ALSO: How did train travel in Germany get so bad?

Tweet of the week

We relate to English footballer Georgia Stanway, who plays for Bayern Munich, and her confusion about German flats being rented out without a kitchen.

Where is this?

Pumpkins being taken by boat.

Photo: DPA/ Patrick Pleul

You know it’s Herbst (autumn) in Germany when the pumpkins are out in force. This photo shows Harald Wenske steering a Spreewald barge fully loaded with pumpkins across the water. The 72-year-old also grows potatoes, horseradish and beets in addition to pumpkins on his farmland, which is surrounded by waterways. Now is the time when you’ll start to see Kürbis (pumpkin) on the menu everywhere. 

READ ALSO: 10 ways to enjoy autumn like a true German

Did you know?

Situated on the River Leine, Hanover is the capital of Lower Saxony, which has a state election coming up on October 9th. But did you know it is also home to the World of Kitchens museum (or das Küchen-Museum), the first of its kind in Europe? The museum houses a cafe and cooking school, and features dozens of real kitchen exhibits from different cultures and eras starting from the Middle Ages. Visits to the museum are only possible with pre-booked guided tours, but are well worth it for food and history lovers.  Either at the end of your tour or before, make sure to indulge in traditional German cake and coffee at the Museum’s Schloss Cafe. While in Hanover, you should also check out the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, the New Town Hall and Eilenriede Forest. 

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

This article is also sent out as a weekly newsletter to members every Saturday. To sign up and get it straight into your inbox just go to your newsletter preferences.

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