Germans are everywhere in Groningen, as we’ve already established in the German stereotype article posted a couple weeks ago. And one thing us Germans love to do is to complain. There’s always something here that’s different to what we’re used to in Germany, and we will complain about it very loudly and as often as we can. I feel like complaining about differences is something everybody does, no matter where they are from, but these following things seem to be very specific for Germans. But rest assured, we don’t just complain about how we’re missing our typical German things when we’re in the Netherlands. Every time I go back to Germany I will find an abundance of things to complain about and will actually praise the Netherlands and say they do everything better. So I guess you really just can’t do it right for us, no matter what is going on or where we are.
Now we all know that Germans love beer (some more, some less). And honestly, the beer here is different. And according to many, many Germans, it sucks. I’m personally not much of a beer drinker, and I actually prefer the Dutch beer, but that’s because it doesn’t taste as strong as German beer does. For most people used to German beer, that’s obviously more of a problem and not what they want at all. So, I get why you would complain about it. But then again, there’s also already quite some difference in beer depending on the region in Germany you’re from. I grew up in the south, and my ex-boyfriend lived way further north. One time I went to visit him, I literally brought him a bunch of different beers – from the south – because he liked them better than the Northern ones he could easily buy. I guess you can just never get it right for hardcore German beer lovers.
Our beloved German bread. The number one thing I personally like to complain about. I miss my bread A LOT. The bread sold here is what in Germany is usually considered toast. It’s way too soft and doesn’t really taste like much. And even the more bready bread you can buy in normal supermarkets is still too soft and just not right. What we mean when we say “ugh, I wish they would have proper bread here” heavily depends on our regions of origin. Some people mean black rye bread, some mean grain breads, some mean pumpernickel or many others (apparently there are more than 300 types of breads in Germany). What I usually refer to as “proper bread” is a nice sourdough loaf with a good crust. It’s what I’ve eaten since I was a kid and I dearly miss it. Ever since I was tiny, whenever my parents bought a new loaf, they’d let me just bite into it – without cutting it or anything. I still do that, and now I do it with even more excitement then all those years ago.
Here’s a very happy me a few weeks back when I visited my parents – and yes that rugged edge is because I’ve bitten into it already.
3. Alcohol prices
This is most definitely not exclusive to Germans, there’s way more people/cultures who are even more entitled to complain about alcohol prices in the Netherlands. And honestly, we’re all right to do so. Why the hell is alcohol so expensive here? I mean sure, it’s not crazily expensive, but it’s nowhere near being cheap either. It’s just generally quite a bit cheaper in Germany, and that price difference obviously adds up after a while.
Going hand in hand with this is also that food is more expensive here. Why the hell do you make me pay like 6€ for a döner when in Germany you pay half the price and might even get a way better one? I don’t want to spend so much money on eating something after a night out when I’ve probably already spent it on alcohol anyway. But at least there’s Febos/food walls that aren’t as expensive (this is actually one of the things I miss when I’m back in Germany).
4. Drugstore prices
Why the hell does one bottle of shampoo cost easily 4€? Why is deodorant basically impossible to find under 3€? What are these prices? Sure, you get the off-brand products for a lot cheaper as well, but normal well-known brands are often double the price here compared to Germany. I know that a lot of people don’t care about these things at all (I talked to my male, Dutch housemate about shampoo prices once and he literally had no idea how much anything costs), but I still find the difference in price shocking. It’s come to the point where I’m literally hording all kinds of products, so I don’t have to buy them here – or at least not at their normal prices. Every time I go to Germany I make a list of everything I need – or might possible need sometime in the relatively near future – and return back to Groningen with a bag full of about triple the amount of products I intended to buy. Which really isn’t the best thing to do when you need to change trains a minimum of two times over an at least 7-hour long journey. But at least it’s cheap, right?
5. No Christmas markets
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Germany is worldwide known for its Christmas markets and for a good reason. The more painful it is that there’s nothing like it in the Netherlands. Of course, there’s some markets that are pretty nice, but they just don’t compare. The atmosphere of Christmas markets is something that never fails to get me in the festive mood. And honestly, Christmas markets are the place I usually get most of my presents from, at least all the small ones. Also, drinking Glühwein with friends on a market when it’s already dark and all the lights are on is one of the best things in winter. Luckily, this year I’m already leaving Groningen early enough to still be able to enjoy my city’s Christmas market for a day or maybe two. But since Germany isn’t very far away from here anyway, there’s enough opportunities to go to some Christmas market near the border if you really want to.
Of course, as always, there’s many more things to complain about and these are just a small selection. Let us know what other typical German things you miss in Groningen or what strange things you’ve heard Germans complain about!
Written by Marie Dorner – PR Committee