living in germany as an expat
Expat Life in Germany,  Lifestyle

45 Signs That You Have Been Living in Germany For Too Long

Last updated on December 8th, 2022 at 04:35 pm

Most expats don’t realise how much life as an expat in Germany alters them until they return home and struggle with reverse culture shock. Here is a silly but relatable list of 45 signs that you have been living in Germany for too long. 


Let’s face it: When you have been living in a foreign country for a few years, it will start rubbing off on you – whether you like it or not.

I came to Germany for the first time in 2010. In 2012, I moved back to the country of my birth. As soon as I landed, I started to experience a massive reverse culture shock. Within a week of arriving in India, I hatched a plan to go back to Germany. 

Ladies and Gents, in that one week I realised that I had been Germanised in those two years. There are so many things – subtle habits that I have picked along the and didn’t even notice. 

As of 2020, I have been living in Germany for a total of eight years. Last fall, I visited India for a couple of weeks. I realised during this trip that now I am even more Germanised that ever before. 


Waltzing in Oktoberfest zelt while wearing Tracht? CHECK


This holiday really got me thinking hard about the signs that you’ve been living in Germany for a long time. At this time this list is just about 45. I will keep adding to it as I think of new ones.

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Let the assimilation begin…

    1. You genuinely appreciate the German Ordnung – and miss it deeply when you are in a foreign country or back home
    2. You can get a full night sleep on German square pillow without waking up like a bent-neck lady/lad each morning
    3. You have come to appreciate the high tax system in Germany
    4. You expertly separate your müll into 7 different mülltonne
    5. Ruhezeiten have become sacred hours for youlife in germany
    6. You have 107 types of insurances and don’t know what exactly they’re for
    7. You carry a bunch of cash everywhere you go 
    8. You catch yourself saying tja and naja every at least 11 times every day
    9. German straightforwardness does not shock you anymore
    10. In fact, now you find over- friendliness of other cultures too superficial for your taste
    11. You do not hesitate before stripping down to nought at the sauna

      Want to read some more about expat life in Germany?
      These books may help



    12. You arrive exactly 15 minutes before any appointment and expect the same of others
    13. Speaking of time, you are now fluent in military time system
    14. You now carry reusable shopping bags and frown upon those who buy plastic bags at the shopping till
    15. Great weather now means – anytime when it is not raining…
    16. You wait at the red signal – even when there are no cars in sight  

      Suggested Reading for German Food Lovers




    17. You have learnt to make potatoes in 20 different ways
    18. You look forward to seasonal German foods like –Weiß Spargel, Flammkuchen mit Federweißer or Kürbissuppe.
    19. Suerkraut or mettwürst has grown over you – you actually love them!
    20. Abendbrot is now an acceptable dinner for you
    21. You now religiously believe that German beer is the best in the worldgerman beer tours
    22. You say your last name whenever the phone rings instead of ‘Hello’
    23. You say ‘Hallo/ Guten Tag’ whenever you enter the doctor’s waiting room and ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ when you leave
    24. It is now normal for you to accept your neighbour’s packages and feel fine when they accept yours when you aren’t home
    25. You automatically take your shoes off whenever you enter someone’s house 
    26. You gasp audibly when a guest does not take their shoes off when they enter your home (and you never invite them. Ever again!)life in germany as an expat
    27. You open your windows every day for Stoßlüften, even on the coldest of winter days.
    28. Apfelschorle, Weinschorle or any-schorle is now your standard drink to order at a cafe!
    29. You always remember to take an umbrella or a regenjacke whenever you head out
    30. You forbid yourself from wishing someone “Happy Birthday” before their birthday
    31. You appreciate the idea of a Pfand and religiously collect your pfandable bottles

      Suggested Reading for Long Term Expats in Germany




    32. You say Genau in a conversation every few minutes – even when the conversation is not in German!
    33. You are not afraid of drinking in public areas and don’t hesitate to take ‘one for the way’
    34. You watch Dinner For One and drink feuerzangenbowle every New Year’s Eve
    35. You look forward to Christmas markets in November alreadyLife in Germany as an expat
    36. You look forward to your Feierabend every evening – even when you work from home
    37. You effortlessly greet your German colleagues with a Mahlzeit!
    38. Making a table reservation is a norm for you when planning to dine out
    39. You love visiting your local therme as often as possible – especially during winter
    40. You have different beer glasses for specific types of beers
      where to buy tracht in nurnberg
    41. You own Tracht! And NEVER miss a chance to flaunt it
    42. You get seriously annoyed when someone talks loudly in the ruhebereich in the train
    43. You know better than to go grocery shopping just before the long weekend
    44. You have at least one item from Jack Wolfskin in your wardrobe.
    45. You are much more aware of sustainability and have picked several sustainable lifestyle habitsand you are proud of itsustainablity in germany And here is the last one! 😉

    46. Whenever you leave Germany to visit home, you terribly, utterly miss your real home in Germany. 🙁 🙁


Your turn now! How has living in Germany changed you? Do you have a special habit that you picked up while living in Germany? Tell us in the comments below.


Like this post? Read this Dummy’s Guide to Dating a German


living in germany long term


Want to learn more about Living in Germany? Start Here!

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Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.


  • Moya St Lege

    I am British and in my 80s. I lived in Germany for 32 years. Granted, I was there en-1950s so alongside the wartime generation, a grim bunch indeed. In public I found Germans rude and unhelful. In private, courteous but humourless.I found their remarks about the English intolerable but being English smiled politely. When I was introduced as ‘unsere Englaenderin’, one German man said (in German of course) “Impossible. You must be French. All English women wear glasses and have big feet”.
    Germans don’t suspect, they KNOW they are right about everything all the time. When I started my employment at the British liaison office in Germany, the Chief pointed this out on my first day but added “We have to work around that”.

    There was widespread dislike of Americans, and still is though nowadays no German would ever say it to their face.

    A German once asked me what we would have done if we’d lost the War. I replied: “The British don’t lose wars. It’s why we’re still a free country”.

    Over the centuries other countries have tried to tried to invade and failed,: Spain, France, Holland and Germany twice. I have seen a yellowing copy of the German invasion plan, “Unternehmen Seelöwe” (Operation Sealion ), which was to switch into place after the fortnight they thought it would take to clear the skies of the RAF! They didn’t (and still don’t) know the British.

    All those years ago, many Germans bitterly resented losing WWII. To this day they never say “We lost the War” they say “You won the War”.

  • Klemens

    Hi Yamini,

    I am german and i love to live here. Germany is the centre of Europe. We have neighbours in all directions – starting from north clockwise:
    Denmark, Poland, Czechia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Nederlands. It takes less than a day to be in an other country (culture).

    Many entries of your list are true and I smile about because i find myself there. 🙂

    I was six weeks in New Zealand for vacation. After 2 weeks I missed “my” german bread. I found only that “sponge” toast. Most countries have that type of toast – i want real bread.
    I am not closed to other cultures. I ate haggis in Scotland and I liked it.

    Maybe the Germans have their peculiarities. Anyway, I prefer to be honest and direct. Why should I lie to another person?

    in this sense,
    have a nice day,

    • Moya St Leger

      Klemens, you say you prefer to be honest and direct and ask why you should lie. The German language is unsophisticated. Courtesy is not built into it as it is in English and French. It’s perfectly fine to be ‘honest and direct’ in Germany. Germans are used to it. In the English-speaking world such honesty and directness is experienced as hurtful and rude. When I lived in Germany, adults would laugh at the rude remarks made by their own childrent, calling it ‘ulkig’ (comical). Unlike well educated English children, German children are not brought up to be careful not to hurt other peoples’. My three children were born and brought up in Germany but I raised them as English children, to be courteous . German mothers remarked on how polite they were.

  • Jenny

    Ha! What a fun post! I too am an expat in Germany. I am Australian, and actually wrote a block post about reverse culture shock a while back! There are many things on this list I am now used to. The weather in Germany is not one of them 😉

  • Steph

    wow. the list is so true.

    and it 100% reminds me of the fact that I no longer belong here. My point of view and attitude on so many of these things has changed and I personally would hate to go back to the German way as it is just not me.

    But it’s nice to see that others feel that way about Germany. It shows that it is normal to feel at home elsewhere and to miss a country when one is not there. It’s how I feel about Australia.

    • Yamini

      Hey Steph, thanks for stopping by! Totally agree – it’s possible to find a new home in a new country even if you come from a different culture. 🙂 On that note, love your blog! Enjoy your time in Germany! <3

  • menty

    hahaha, that’s very interesting post, I love it (even I’m not a Germany-based expat!)
    I live in Italy actually, and for sure, there are a lot of things are on the opposite site of your list here, but I’m also a Chinese and lived long time in Hong Kong, interestingly, there is few points perfectly matching with some German habits you are telling here!!!!

    • Yamini

      Hey Menty,

      Thank you for your comment. SO happy to hear that this post resonated with you even though you are in a different country. 🙂 Goes on to show expat everywhere make very similar experiences.

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