Destinations Magazine

Those Efficient Germans? An Expat Looks at German Efficiency

By Monkeys And Mountains Adventure @Laurel_Robbins
german efficiency apartments

Those buildings might look cute, but they might not be all that efficient.

Germans are known for their efficiency.  German trains leave and arrive on time, escalators that appear to be broken start moving as you get closer to them, saving energy when not in use and and you will rarely be left waiting when meeting a German friend as Germans are known for being punctual.  But after a recent move to Munich, I’m left questioning German efficiency:

german efficiency light fixtures

German Efficiency?:  No lights in German apartments, just the wiring.  This means every time you move you have to take down and de-wire your existing lamps, move them and then re-wire them in your new place and buy whatever new lamps you need, since each place has different lighting.  I think this is a complete waste of time as I look at everything else we still haven’t done in our new apartment yet because we’ve been so busy wiring and installing light fixtures.  J.P. (my German husband) sees it differently, he actually sees providing your own lights as efficient since then you can put up what you like.   True, but I think I would still prefer a plain generic light fixture that I didn’t have to install right when I first move in and am busy unpacking.  Saving time is efficient in my book.

German Efficiency?:  No kitchens either.  In many apartments the kitchen consists of a room with wiring.  You are expected to buy the complete kitchen including appliances and kitchen cupboards.  When you move, you either have the option of taking it with you or trying to sell it to the next person living there, who may, or may not want your kitchen.   Fortunately we found an apartment that did have a kitchen, and one that we didn’t have to buy, but I don’t understand this, everyone needs a kitchen.  J.P. pulls out the “this way you can choose what you like” argument, but I’m not buying it.  I’d rather have an ugly kitchen than no kitchen and buying an entire kitchen that easily costs several thousand euros when you’re just renting doesn’t seem very efficient to me.

german efficiency_closet
German Efficiency?:  Ditto for Closets.  Most German apartments don’t have closets -no closets for your clothes, a linen closet or even a broom closet.  You must buy your own and bring them you every time you move.  If you’ve ever tried to move a wardrobe,  you know they’re not light, plus they take up a lot of living space that you don’t notice is missing with a built-in closet.  J.P.’s efficiency argument for closets is that it’s cheaper for the builder and buyer.  That may be true, but still not very efficient for everyone else who has to live there and I still can’t find a place to put my mop!

German Efficiency ?:  German Addresses.  The German post is efficient, if I order something online it’s not uncommon that I’ll have it the next day.  But what I do find inefficient is that apartment numbers don’t exist here.  An entire apartment building will have a number, but that’s it, the individual units don’t have a number.  The mailman must use only the names on the box to put the mail in the correct slot.  If the name is not there, the mail will be returned to the sender.  If you have a parcel or have to sign something, you must explain to the mailman where your apartment is (i.e. third floor on the right, second door) so that he knows which apartment to bring it to.   It works, but it would be so much simpler if each unit just had it’s own number.  Even J.P. is stumped to come up with a reason why this system is efficient, but rather than admitting it’s inefficient (gasp, the horror!) he simply says it’s “a different system than North America has”.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy living in Germany, but I find it comical that sometimes those efficient Germans don’t seem to be all that efficient – even if my German husband won’t admit it.

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