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Living in Germany: Pretzels, wine season and back to 'home office'?

The Local Germany
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Living in Germany: Pretzels, wine season and back to 'home office'?
Agricultural Minister Cem Özdemir shows a pretzel. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

In our weekly roundup for Germany we look at plans to introduce working from home again over autumn/winter, wine growing regions and the cultural significance and history of the pretzel.


To work from home or not work from home?

The Covid-19 pandemic may have become a bit less urgent in recent months (thankfully). But Germany is still preparing for the colder months with a set of new Covid measures, including mandatory masks on long-distance transport and planes, and the possibility for states to impose further restrictions. Last week it also emerged that Labour Minister Hubertus Heil wants to reintroduce the ‘working from home’ rule from October. He said employers should allow staff to do ‘home office’ when possible to protect people from Covid. This summer, many people have been returning to their workplace full time after the disruption caused by the pandemic. But others haven’t been quite so excited to go back into the office. Another dimension to consider is that energy bills rising may actually make working from home a lot more expensive than usual. It will be interesting to see how workers and bosses react to this planned rule returning, and what it means amid the energy crisis. As always, if you have any thoughts then let us know.  


Tweet of the week

Right now it’s a tasty snack or on-the-go breakfast. But soon the pretzel could have UNESCO heritage status. Agricultural Minister Cem Özdemir said he was getting behind an application by the baker's guild of Baden-Wurttemberg for pretzel-baking to be recognised. His tweet says: “Here I am campaigning for the traditional Swabian pretzel to become a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, so that it can survive the current times of crisis - produced sustainably & regionally.”

Where is this?

Wine growers in Germany

Photo: DPA/ Boris Roessler

While Germany is well known for its beer culture, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is renowned for wine. Its extensive winegrowing region makes it the leading producer of wine in the country. In total, the state has over 250,000 acres of vineyards. In this photo, a harvest worker picks red grapes at a vineyard above Heimersheim in the Ahr Valley after the harvest kicked off this week. The area is known for the pinot noir that grows on its steep slopes. 

READ ALSO: Meet the man introducing internationals to German wine

Did you know?

We’re sticking to the delightful topic of German bread this week, namely pretzels. Now we realise that the history of pretzels warrants a whole article on its own (we’ll add that to our to-do list). But did you know that the humble knotted snack (die Brezel in German) dates back centuries? There are lots of theories on how the bread originally came about and whether it was originally baked in Germany, or in fact Italy or France. But it’s fair to say that it’s completely embedded in German culture and cuisine. 


And whatever the background, the pretzel has early roots in Southern Germany. It is said that German pretzel bakers used the knotted shape in the emblem for their guild as early as the 12th century. Nowadays there are several types of pretzel, such as with salt or butter. In Bavaria it’s often eaten for breakfast alongside Weißwürst (white sausage) and sweet mustard. Swabian pretzels have a slightly different texture and typically have thinner ‘arms’ and a fatter ‘belly’ area. Don’t mind us, we’re just rushing off to the baker to grab one of these delights. 

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

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