Schalttag – Schaltjahr – Schaltsekunde?

The 29th of Februar is a Leap Day or Schalttag – a day is which added to the calendar every four years to make up for the difference between the length of a normal year and the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Thus the year 2008 is a Leap Year or Schaltjahr. There are also Leap Seconds – Schaltsekunden – which compensate for the small difference that only modern atomic … [Read more...]

Das Einwohnermeldeamt

The Einwohnermeldeamt is the office that you have to report to when you come to Germany in order to register your address and apply for your residence permit. It is usually located in the town hall, or Rathaus, but may also be in a Bürgeramt. You should take your passport with you. When you apply for your permit(s) you will need to take other paperwork with you, such as a … [Read more...]


Fronleichnam is the name given to Corpus Christi – a date in the Catholic Church calendar that is celebrated 60 days after Easter. It is only a public holiday in some parts of Germany. The day generally starts with a Church service – often held in the open air. This is then followed by a procession through the town, often stopping at decorated altars en route. Often … [Read more...]

Stern, Spiegel & Focus

Stern, Spiegel and Focus are three German magazines. They appear weekly and feature topics from German society. Some have more political topics, others concentrate more on the economy. Politically, they occupy three slightly different positions. Stern and Spiegel have been published for nearly 60 years, whereas Focus first started in the 1990s.   … [Read more...]


Pfingsten is the weekend known in English as Whitsun or Pentecost. The Sunday and Monday are bank holidays in the whole of Germany. It falls 50 days after Easter. Pfingsten celebrates the moment when the Holy Ghost descended to Jesus’ disciples, allowing them to be understood by everyone that they talked to. To the listeners they appeared to be speaking in their native … [Read more...]

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