• Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Ireland!

    Ireland: Cliffs of Moher! Go Now!

    Ireland
    The Emerald Isle is world famous for its landscapes, foods, beers, and culture. Explore Ireland!

  • Albania!

    Albania: Village of Theth! Go Now!

    Albania
    Albania is unique in Europe, starting with its Muslim heritage, but expanding to include food, culture, and even its natural beauty. Explore Albania!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Switzerland!

    Switzerland: The Matterhorn. Go Now!

    Switzerland
    This mountainous country unites ethnic Germans, French, and Italians; making it home to a number of diverse cultures. Go Now!

  • Latvia!

    Latvia: Art Nouveau in Riga. Go Now!

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    Latvia is small, but has a diverse history, foods, and architecture (shown), which includes aspects from both Eastern and Western Europe. Begin Your Journey!

Social Life in Germany

Behavior

The Germans are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted (but not encouraged).

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively.

As a visitor to Germany, just try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Germany Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

Despite German stereotypes the world over, the traditional dress of Germany was quite diverse and based regionally. In fact the country wasn't even unified until the late 1800s; each of these independent states had various dialects, cultures, and dress, although most had similarities. None-the-less, today when most people think of German traditional dress they immediately think of lederhosen and dirndls.

Lederhosen means "leather trousers" in German and these pants were worn by men, particularly in Bavaria. They only reached to about the knees and often include straps that reach over the shoulders. For the women, a dress called a dirndl was the most popular clothing, again in Bavaria. These dresses consist of a blouse, skirt, and apron, plus a set of strings called a bodice to hold all parts together (although today this may be absent in favor of buttons). The dress and apron vary in length, but the sleeves were generally on the shorter end; however, the dirndl varied based on season as they tended to be a bit heavier and darker in color during the winter months.

Today this traditional Bavarian dress has caught on beyond just Bavaria, but is generally only worn for special events, such as Oktoberfest, or in touristy breweries in Munich. Even in Bavaria though, nearly every German today wears modern western-styled clothing day to day.

As a visitor to Germany you are free to wear nearly any western-styled clothing you desire. Just try to dress for the weather and the occasion. In general, the Germans are very diverse so all clothing options will be seen, but in order to avoid offense, if in doubt dress on the more modest side. Lastly, sunbathing naked or women going topless is only allowed on some beaches and parks, some of which can be found in cities; always know if this is allowed prior to doing so.

This page was last updated: November, 2013