Thou shalt not dance


At regular intervals, the German media, internet or quiz shows like to inform about „the craziest U.S. laws“. Like you are not allowed to drive in a bikini in Iowa, or that cutting a cactus gives you 25 years in prison in Arizona. Aren’t the Americans funny with their ridiculous laws, the German laughs. But as we are approaching Easter, I would like to say: review the German law and think again.

Good Friday is a so called ”silent holiday“ in Germany. In 12 out of 16 of German states, this means dancing is forbidden. It seems to be that in North-Rhine-Westphalia, where I currently reside and which is especially Catholic, the laws are even stricter. The dance ban  already starts on Maundy Thursday at 6 p.m. and last still Saturday 6 a.m.. On Good Friday, is is prohibited to do circus performances and to swap stamps at stamp collection gatherings. All stores must close and it is not allowed to hold sport events, putting the German soccer league on hold. Movies may only be shown if the ministry of culture has deemed them appropriate. The state law also asserts that radio stations should in their choices be considerate of the serious nature of the day. And: you are not allowed to move house. I think that rather inconvenient, considering how all your friends would be free on this holiday to help you relocate.

So what do law-abiding Germans do during Easter? They hang out with their friends and family at home (or maybe they go to an art gallery or zoo because those are actually allowed to open). For those gatherings, they might stop by the bakery in the morning and get freshly baked rolls or braided yeast buns that are a popular Easter food. But you can only do that until Sunday – after that, there is a bake ban.



Hustysk Helen svarar: Can I pee on the street?

Some weeks ago, I got a rather original text message. A call of help to the Personal German.

 “I really need to go to the toilet, but I am not near home or any restaurant. Is it okay to pee on the street in Germany?”


Well, emergencies can happen, right? Germans have an own word for this because the German language has a word for everything. Wildpinkeln, wild peeing, is how Germans describe urinating on the street and to be upfront with it: no, it is not okay.

Actually, it is illegal as an act of “indecent behavior”, a scandalisation that is fined with an average of 35 euros.

Depending on the city, you might even pay much more. Luckily, the orderly Germans have put together “Fine Atlas for Wild Peeing” (fine as in monetary fine not as in fine Dining). This map gives you a clear overview of where wild peeing is most expensive. I highly recommend peeing on a Berlin street if you now must do it at all. It is only 20 euros there which does explain a lot. In Hanover and Stuttgart, two cities that do indeed look very clean (but unlike Stockholm in a boring way), wild peeing might cost you 5000 euro. You can finance a lot of dry cleaning your peed pants for that.