International Relations Office

Good to Know: Tips and Hints

Business and Opening Hours

In Germany, shops and stores are usually open from 9:30 to 20:00 Mondays to Saturdays, while shopping malls may close at 21:00 or 22:00. Supermarkets open at 7:00 or 8:00 and close between 20:00 and 24:00. Small shops may close earlier, around 18:00 or 19:00, and on Saturday afternoons. Please note that on Sundays shops and supermarkets are closed. Petrol stations, corner shops/convenience stores (Kioske) and bakeries open on Sundays and on public holidays, although bakeries generally close before noon.

Smoking Ban

According to Germany's non-smokers protection law (Nichtraucherschutzgesetz), smoking is banned in all public places, including shops, public transport stations (where it may be allowed in designated smoking areas), airports and sports and leisure facilities. As the federal states each have their own smoking laws, smoking may be permitted in cafés, bars and restaurants. In Lower Saxony, however, smoking is usually only permitted in clearly designated separate rooms. 

Electricity

The national electric power transmission network (grid) in Germany uses the standard electrical voltage of 230 volt AC, 50 Hz. European standard plugs, or Europlugs, usually fit all sockets. However, depending on your home country, a plug adapter or transformer (voltage converter) may be needed to connect your electronic devices to German sockets.

Waste Separation

Germans attach great importance to environmental protection. We separate and recycle waste using a waste separation system that includes different coloured bins: blue for paper, yellow for plastic, black for general waste and green for organic waste. Waste separation is a serious issue in Germany, so please be careful about what you put in which bin. Plastic and packaging materials are also collected in yellow recycling bags (Gelber Sack). You can get these recycling bags for free at some supermarkets or city authorities. Sometimes, however, it is required to use coupons (vouchers) for the exchange of bags. You can order these coupons either by phone via 0800 - 4842900 (free of charge) or online. You can then exchange the coupons for the bags at a supermarket, for example. Supermarkets often provide small boxes for the disposal of  packaging materials and non-rechargeable batteries. Public containers for the disposal of waste glass and old clothes can be found at various locations in Oldenburg, as well as recycling depots for harmful substances, garden waste or electronic waste. The City of Oldenburg provides information on waste separation at „What to do with the waste?“ (also in Turkish, Russian and Arabic). The Waste Collection Calendar shows the weekly and monthly waste collection time in your street.

The Deposit System

A deposit of up to 25 Cents per bottle/can is charaged for most carbonated beverages at supermarkets and convenience stores. When you return the bottles or cans at reverse vending machines, labelled Pfandrückgabe or Leergutannahme, you get your deposit back in the form of a coupon which you can either use to pay for your groceries at the respective supermarket or simply exchange for cash at the till. 

Weather

Oldenburg has a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters.

Tipping

Tipping in Germany is slightly different to some other countries, where tipping may be higher or not common at all. Germans usually tip 10 percent, which may be rounded up to an even number. We generally give tips at restaurants, cafés, bars and hairdressers and for taxi rides or (food) deliveries. It is also very common to pay cash rather than by credit card, even at restaurants, and also to pay separately. Waiters will ask you "Zusammen oder getrennt?", which means "together or separately?", and if the answer is "separately" ("getrennt"), they will figure out the sum for each customer separately. Again, this is very common, so there is no need to feel uncomfortable about causing any inconvenience. Please note that waiters and waitresses often stay at your table while you pay.

Cinema

Though dubbing is standard on German television, cinemas often show films in their original language. They are labelled either "OV" (Originalversion - original version) or "OmU" (Original mit Untertiteln - original version with [German] subtitles).

 

 

Links

Waste separation

Information on waste separation provided by the City of Oldenburg (in German, but with illustrations): „What to do with the waste?“ – also provided in Turkish, Russian, and Arabic.

Waste Collection Calendar for the City of Oldenburg - enter the name of the street you live on (do not remove the check marks) and click on "Weiter". The Waste Collection Calendar will be displayed and can be downloaded. Waste separation is a serious issue in Germany, so please be careful what to put in which bin.

Find out how to order coupons and where to get yellow recycling bags in exchange for them (in German).

Weather

Weather forecast for Oldenburg at uk.weather.com