Customs in Germany
German is the official language of Germany, spoken by over 95% of the population.
The currency used in Germany is the Euro (EUR) - €
Germans are very organized and take pride in their homes and neighborhoods. Streets, sidewalks and shared hallways are kept clean and free of debris at all times. Yards and landscaping are kept trim and neat to avoid looking untidy and offending the neighbors.
Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization
A traditional greeting is formal with a quick, firm handshake. Shake hands with everyone present, including children, when arriving and leaving.
If you are invited to a German's house for dinner, arrive on time. Punctuality is a must. Bring a gift such as flowers, chocolates or imported wine. If you bring flowers, avoid carnations, red roses, lilies and chrysanthemums.
You will be shown to your seat; until then, remain standing. Do not being eating until the hostess indicates by taking her first bite or saying, "Guten Appetit". Use utensils for everything (if you are eating potatoes or dumplings, use your fork as opposed to a knife - this will compliment the cook by saying that the food is tender). Do not bite from your bread, tear pieces from it.
The day after you are invited to a German's house for dinner, call your hostess and thank her for dinner or send a handwritten thank you note.
When it comes to gratuity, tipping is acceptable and appreciated in Germany.
and bars: Although a service fee is included in the bill, it is
appreciated if you leave an extra 5% or so, or round up the bill. Give
your tip to the server directly; do not leave it on the table.
Customs and Etiquette in Business
Men should wear dark colored suits with ties. Women should wear conservative dresses or business suits. Accessories should be kept to a bare minimum.
Any material you present to your German colleagues (business cards, charts, visuals, etc.) should be in both English and German. This shows respect and great attention to detail.
Appointments are necessary and should be made at least 2 weeks in advance. Punctuality is a must, and if you are delayed it is imperative that you call to let your colleagues know. Meetings in Germany are extremely formal and adhere to strict timelines.
Do not sit down until after you are shown your seat and instructed to take it. Do not expect a decision to be made during the initial meeting, as it is typically used as a ‘getting to know you' period.