Typical German Clichés

This post looks at some of the clichés and stereotypical things associated with Germans. I am sure I will notice more throughout my Erasmus year in Berlin, but this is what I have discovered so far.


It is true! Here in the heart of Berlin, there are bakeries left, right and center offering you a huge selection of freshly baked goods every day. It is a huge part of the German diet, especially at breakfast time, but also for the evening meal too. It seems that most Germans buy their bread at local bakeries instead of mass produced bread in supermarkets. After all, there is a huge selection to choose from and sometimes they are even still warm. Yum.

Sparkling water

In Germany, sparkling water is the default. If you ask for water, you will more than likely be given sparkling water automatically instead of still or tap water. A lot of Germans even have soda streams at home to produce their own sparkling water or juice. Top tip – if you want still water in a café, ask for ‘Wasser ohne Kohlensäure’.


You always hear that Germans say, ‘It is better to be 30 minutes early rather than 5 minutes late’. However, in my experience this hasn’t always been the case. For my Anmeldung when I first arrived in the city, my appointment was booked for 13;14. I thought this was an extremely specific time, therefore I must be there sharp. However, much to my surprise my appointment was 40 minutes late. So, maybe Germany doesn’t run as efficiently as I was led to believe.

Traffic Lights

When crossing the roads here, you barely see people cross unless the green man is displayed. In many other countries, if you can see there is no car approaching, people tend to walk across anyway. However, here in Germany very few people take the risk, and if they do, you can see the disappointment from other pedestrians and drivers. Apparently you can even get a 5€ fine for jay walking.


In Germany, there is a different bin and a recycling system for everything. In fact, it is quite a complex system that takes some getting used to and involves taking some things back to supermarkets to recycle them. Very easy once you get the hang of it!

Online Privacy

Most Germans that I know use fake names on Facebook to protect their identity and data. They also use specific messaging apps which are end to end encrypted and don’t seem to put a lot of themselves on social media. It seems they are often surprised by how much other nationalities post of themselves.

I am sure with more time, I will come across further German clichés in Berlin!

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