SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Tax relief, dried-up rivers and ‘alkoholfrei’ beer

In our weekly roundup for Germany, we look at energy relief plans, Currywurst-flavour crisps and embracing non-alcoholic beers.

A German alcohol-free beer.
A German alcohol-free beer. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Patrick Pleul

Do Germany’s relief plans go far enough?

The cost of living crisis is going to get worse as energy prices spiral even higher. So what is the German government going to do about it? This week we found out a bit more about their plans. Firstly, Finance Minister Christian Lindner revealed that he is planning a tax relief package which he says will help out 48 million taxpayers across the country. Lindner’s plans include measures to ensure that people who get an inflation-linked pay rise don’t see their wage increase eaten up by higher tax, which is known as “cold progression”. He also plans for an increase in child benefit and the tax-free allowance. But some politicians and trade unions said the measures disproportionately benefit higher earners: according to experts, people earning about €60,000 a year will gain €471 a year under the new plans, while those on €20,000 a year will get just €115. They have called for other measures such as targeted payouts. Also this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to help low and middle-income households who have been squeezed in the crisis. We don’t have all the details for this yet, but the question is – will it all be enough to cushion the burden of the hard times ahead?

Tweet of the week

Would you try these Currywurst flavoured crisps? We’re intrigued – and at least it’s a change from the classic much-loved-by-the-Germans Paprika flavour. 

Where is this?

The Rhine river
Photo: DPA/ Christoph Reichwein

The prolonged hot weather in Germany this summer has caused water levels on Germany’s Rhine River to fall drastically. It’s leading to fears that German industry and consumers will be hit hard since it makes shipping much more difficult. As of Friday, the water levels had sunk to 42 centimetres at the Kaub station near Koblenz – five centimetres lower than the previous day. Climate experts say we have to prepare for more drought scenarios in future as climate change worsens. 

Did you know?

There’s no disputing that Germany is a beer-loving country – you only have to walk on a busy street for a few minutes before you spot someone enjoying a bottle of the good stuff. But did you know that alcohol-free beer (known as alkoholfrei) is growing in popularity? Whether it’s lager or wheat, many types of beer are now available without the alcohol content. To give you an idea of how much the trend has taken off in Germany – since 2011, the production of Pils, Weizen and Kölsch without alcohol has increased by 74 percent, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. Back in 2011, around 236 million litres of non-alcoholic beer was brewed, according to the Statistical Office. In 2021 that number grew to 411 million litres, with a value of €358 million.

READ ALSO: Five German drinks to try this summer

There are also more ‘mixed beers’ than a few years ago. These include drinks such as Radler, (beer and lemonade). Their low alcohol content makes them a safer option for many people, and also a pretty perfect choice of drink on a hot summer’s day. Official figures show there was a 23.6 percent increase in these drinks in the past 10 years. In the same period, the production of alcoholic beer fell by 13.8 percent. The message we deduce is that beer will never go out of fashion in Germany, even if there are a few different varieties to try. Prost! 

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Keeping track of working hours, rude AfD sweets and Miniatur Wunderland

In our weekly roundup about life in Germany we look at the effect a recent court ruling could have on working life, weird political sweets, the leaning tower of Gau-Weinheim and Hamburg's cool model wonderland.

Living in Germany: Keeping track of working hours, rude AfD sweets and Miniatur Wunderland

Court ruling set to change the way we work in Germany 

One of our most-read stories this week was on the Federal Labour’s Court decision that employers in Germany should be recording the working hours of all their employees. Although it actually dates back to a ruling by the European Court of Justice (2019), no further action had been taken in Germany until now. So what does this mean? Well it appears that bosses, who don’t do this already, will soon have to set up a system to record their employees’ work schedules. The aim is to protect employees from working too much and carrying out unpaid overtime. But it does also raise issues about trust – which the current system is based on – and what happens when an employee works from home. There’s no clear start date for when this will have to start, and Germany is a long way off from being able to implement tracking of employees’ hours across the board. But it signals a cultural shift, and it’s something we can expect to be more integrated into working life in future. Imogen Goodman explored the decision in an explainer published on Friday. You can read more here.

Tweet of the week

There’s been some red faces among Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). The party in Lower Saxony had gummy bears made for their state election campaign in the shape of the red arrow from their logo. But people have spotted a very strong resemblance to something else….

Where is this?

Photo: DPA/ Boris Roessler

Forget the leaning tower of Pisa – today we’re highlighting some other magnificently crooked architecture. This is the leaning tower of Gau-Weinheim. Due to its inclination of 5.4277 degrees, the former fortified tower of the small municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate is considered the “most leaning tower in the world” according to the Record Institute for Germany (RID). 

Did you know?

With its rich history, location by the water and abundance of Fischbrötchen, the northern German city of Hamburg is well worth checking out. But did you know that it’s also home to the world’s largest miniature railway? Twin brothers Fredereki and Gerrit Braun set about creating the masterpiece back in 2000. One year later, Miniatur Wunderland opened its doors. The Wunderland has over 1,040 trains and a layout size of more than 1.490 square metres. You can take a trip around the world in the surroundings – and there’s even a miniature airport which simulates take offs and landings with model aeroplanes. The brothers are always expanding and consistently break their own Guinness World Records. It’s great for kids too. 

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.

SHOW COMMENTS