A day in Venlo

rightThis week the Monday Podcast took a trip to Venlo – a town situated just over the Dutch border.

It is easily reached from Germany via the A40 and A61 motorways and many people go over the border to shop, as some things are considerably cheaper on the Dutch side, coffee being the prime example of this.

The town played a pivotal role in the Second World War, as it was an incident that took place there between British, Dutch and German intelligence that gave Germany a reason to invade the Netherlands, citing the incident as proof that the country was no longer neutral.

For those wishing to sample the Dutch culture, but not able to speak the language, Venlo offers a good opportunity as most of the people serving in shops and cafés also speak German and the menus in restaurants are often in both languages.

To find out more, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast

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Größere Kartenansicht


Kaffeesteuer is a tax on coffee in Germany.  The tax is included in the price of coffee that is bought in German shops.

The tax originally started in Prussia, but was confirmed in its current form before the formation of the Federal Republic in 1948 in is even mentioned in the German basic law (Grundgesetz).

This causes problems for people who buy their coffee outside of Germany, for example in Dutch supermarkets or by mail order.  Theoretically they should declare the coffee and pay the tax, and failure to do so can cause the tax office to investigate the non-payment.

Whilst the mail-order situation may be clear, buying the coffee for one’s own personal use and bringing it back to Germany causes a conflict between various German tax and custom laws, not to mention EU laws.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast

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