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German phrase of the day: Andere Länder, andere Sitten

Tom Ashton-Davies
Tom Ashton-Davies - [email protected]
German phrase of the day: Andere Länder, andere Sitten
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You should keep this phrase in mind when travelling outside of Germany.

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What does it mean?

Andere Länder, andere Sitten literally translates to "other countries, other customs/traditions". If looking for a similar phrase in English, you might want to use "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". 

Why do I need to know it?

Having this phrase in mind when travelling abroad will help you show tolerance and respect for the different customs and traditions that you may encounter. Following this phrase will also help to reduce cultural misunderstandings and ease your assimilation into a new place. 

For instance, in the United States, you may be greeted with some strange glares if you’re drinking alcohol in the streets - something that is completely normal in Germany.

Similar situations can arise in Italy if you try to order your usual afternoon cappuccino - these are generally served at breakfast and it's rare to see Italians drinking these after midday. One of the most common customs that you should research when travelling abroad is the ‘tipping’ (Trinkgeld) culture. In several countries like China and Korea, tipping is banned, but in the USA it is expected that you should tip around 15 to 20 percent. 

Use it like this:

Die Essgewohnheiten in Kanada sind wirklich ganz anders als bei uns. Tja, andere Länder, andere Sitten.

The eating habits in Canada are really quite different from ours. Well, other countries, other customs. 

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Es ist wichtig, die örtlichen Bräuche zu respektieren, denn ‘Andere Länder, andere Sitten’ ist etwas ganz Natürliches.

It is important to respect the local customs, because ‘different countries, different customs’ is something very natural. 

Ich war zu Silvester in Ungarn und viele Leute haben nicht mit ihren Biergläsern angestoßen. Nun ja… andere Länder, andere Sitten, nehme ich an.

I was in Hungary for New Year's Eve and lots of people didn’t clink their beer glasses. Well… different countries, different customs I suppose. 

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