wine and cheese

The 5 best differences between Germany and Britain

A guided river cruising holiday discovers the best of these, uncovering a new destination every day, and offers a way for guests to truly immerse themselves in the varying local traditions and customs. Here we uncover the best differences between Germany and Britain with the help of expert bloggers that you can then uncover for yourself during cruising trips of the Rhine.

1. They have more fun

‘The top difference between the UK and Germany would be that Germans really know how to have fun. They care about their country, their economy and their government and thinking so hard about all these things (and quite often protesting about things - much more than in the UK, I think!) that they really like to unwind by going to a sauna, going to dance to some Russian pop music until the early hours, or just going to eat a mountain of pork washed down with a lake of beer!’

- Charlotte Steggz,

Ms Steggz of the Charlotte Steggz blog is an ex-expat of Japan and Germany and therefore her insight comes well-founded. Having blogged about her experiences in Germany, sampling everything from German food to culture, her opinion and writing makes for a great read.

2. They eat better

‘In the four and a half years since I moved to Germany I’ve completely transformed the way in which I eat.  No, it’s not beer and sausage for breakfast, lunch and dinner: thanks to the commitment here to consuming local, seasonal produce, I now eat food when it’s in season, largely grown in the area in which I live – something I’d never have expected when I moved here from London!’

- Christie Dietz,

German sausage may be world-renowned but Dietz of Eating Wiesbaden blogs about many of the great traditional food and cuisine in Germany. As a British expat, her blog is one that many river cruise guests from England can relate to and being married to a native German, her English/German perspective is brilliant, particularly when it comes to German food. For even more German food suggestions see this past article on forgoing the frankfurter.

‘The food: There’s a lot of similarity between British and German food as the ingredients used are common to this part of the world however, a huge difference is the importance of the sausage. In Germany, the sausage is king whether it’s bockwurst – thick boiled sausages eaten with mustard and a type of bun known as a brotchen, bratwurst – grilled sausages eaten with mustard or ketchup, weisswurst – white sausages eaten with sweet mustard and a pretzel, or currywurst – the national dish of Berlin - .grilled pork sausages sliced, covered with ketchup, seasoned with curry powder and spices, eaten with a batch of chips accompanied either by mayonnaise or ketchup!’

- Victoria Ade-Genschow, 

Victoria, of the British Berliner, is equally fond of German food. As a British woman from Manchester living in Berlin with her German husband and her half-British – half German son, her blog offers a true insight into the differences between Germany and Britain. Her blog is a lifestyle expat travel blog about her love of culture, history, literature, theatre, style, the English Language and her travels around the world, and of course, her number one item: being British in Berlin.

3. They love the outdoors

‘Germany seems so long ago! But my main impression of the German lifestyle is that - compared to Britain - there is much more emphasis on the outdoor life. Sundays seemed to be family days out; a bracing hike with all the family, a day boating on and swimming in the many lakes around Berlin followed by a hearty meal at a country or waterside pub.’

- Carole,

Offering sensible and practical advice about moving overseas with your young children, Carole of the Expat Child is a leading speaker on the differences between cultures. From Carole’s comment on the main difference between Germany and Britain, we can gather that Germans really love to embrace their stunning landscape, an aspect that many river cruise guests get to sample for themselves during their trip.

‘The Alfresco lifestyle: One of the important differences between Britain and Germany is outdoor living. There’s a huge variety of beaches, lakes, and forest which is easily accessible and which local people enjoy using on a daily basis. It’s quite common to see people riding their bicycles to work, taking the train to the nearest beach at the weekend, and drinking cups of coffee or glasses of wine in the winter months, covered with a blanket sitting outdoors!’

- Victoria Ade-Genschow,

Similarly, Victoria, of the British Berliner, is a fan of Germany’s attitude to the outdoors. As she currently works as a corporate inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, and is also obtaining an M.A. in Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Chester, in England she really enjoys the time she gets to spend outdoors rather than in the classroom!

4. They’re very traditional

‘I would say that the main difference between living in Bavaria (very different to Germany in general I find!) and the UK would be the emphasis on traditions here, something that I feel we can lack at home.  From celebrating a child’s first day at school where they are presented with a huge cardboard tube filled with treats (a Schuletute) to Sankt Martins where at night children with lanterns walk through the streets singing traditional songs, and then of course to St. Nicholas and his demonic helper Krampus who visit on December 6th - all traditions that have been passed down through countless generations.   And then there’s the traditional dress here which is a huge deal to wear. We’ve all seen the pictures of Oktoberfest and the bier halls filled with girls wearing dirndls, and guys wearing lederhosen - the thing is, they don’t just wear it for the bier fests, it’s often worn to any big occasion including weddings and other community get-togethers.’

- Emma,

Emma, writer of a Bavarian Sojourn, moved to Copenhagen with her family from the UK in 2009. Since then she has embraced the German way of life and found many great differences between the two European countries. German traditions are among the most noticeable differences, despite German Christmas markets migrating across Europe, nowhere does them better than their home country, see this previous article on Europe’s best Christmas markets to find out which to visit during your trip.

5. They take more time to appreciate inner beauty

‘Coming from London, everyone spends hours getting ready to go out. Every lady-friend I have owns hair-straighteners, curling tongs and excessive amounts of makeup. Attaching an extra layer of eye-lashes is done in a blink of an eye and every handbag is built to carry copious amounts of lotions and potions. Just going to the corner shop to get the newspaper requires at least a layer of foundation, mascara, blusher and eyeliner, if not more. I mean, you never know who you will meet, right?

In Berlin however, you do not hear the click-click of high-heels on the pavement. People are not queueing up to get their hands on the latest MAC products. There is no excitement for the launch of a new Louis Vuitton bag. Instead, they carry eco-bags, wear comfortable shoes and practical jackets. There is no leg skin visible in the middle of winter, no cleavage on show when it snows. Hats and gloves are worn as soon as the leaves start falling, alongside boots and thick tights to keep warm.

Every time I pop back to London, I forget this. As I wander through the streets bare-faced, I might as well be naked. Women stare at my lack of effort – my hair is not straight, I have not spent an hour on scuffing and painting my nails and I do not wear a makeup mask on my face.

I have to say, in many respects I feel like an outsider here in Berlin, but in respect to fashion and beauty, I fit right in. Less effort means more time for other things and who really enjoys freezing their butt off in minus temperatures when you could be all wrapped up warm in a big practical coat?’

- Vanessa Abel,

Now perhaps not everyone would agree with Abel’s difference between the two countries, but her emphasis on dress is something that many embrace when travelling to Germany. The weather in Germany can often take a colder turn than what we’re used to in Britain but this often adds to its magic, with many looking forward to piling on the layers and donning a nice thick coat.

Here Abel, tells us a bit more about her blog:

At Leather and Abel, we blog about food, travel and hobbies mostly in our new home of Berlin, Germany. Jason and I moved over from London just over a year ago and we have been enjoying the curry sausages, beers and not-so-friendly customer service ever since.

I'm actually half-German and spent most of my education at the German School in London. I guess this has made it easier for me to adapt to the culture here, but something that still surprises me between our countries is the difference in fashion.

If you want to find out more, including our extensive research on the best cheesecake in Berlin, head on over to our blog.’

These are just a few of the best differences that travellers can enjoy during their travels in Germany, with others including animal sounds, which the German language interprets very differently to Britain with a rooster saying, ‘kikiriki’ instead of ‘cock a doodle doo,’ and the length of meal times being considerably longer.

If you know of any more do share them on the Emerald Cruises Facebook and Twitter pages.

Image Credit: Jim Trodel, Maurice (

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.