220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are
German is the official language. English is also widely
spoken and understood.
German laws stipulates that all prices, menus and bills include
both tax and a service charge, so tipping is not necessary in
restaurants. Cleaning staff, hairdressers, taxi drivers etc.
appreciate small tips.
A visit to Germany should be trouble free, but take normal
precautions to avoid mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing,
especially at airports and railway stations in the large
Visitors should carry passports with them at all times. Smoking
in public places such as bars and restaurants is illegal.
In Germany, business is conducted in a very formal manner. A
conservative, formal sense of dress is to be adhered to.
Punctuality is vital at all meetings and it is considered rude to
be late. Germans love titles; men are referred to as 'Herr' and
women as 'Frau', followed by their last names until otherwise
specified. Meetings are often purely business and may not occur
over lunches, which are generally more social. Shaking hands at the
beginning and end of the meeting is common. The exchange of
business cards is common but there is no accompanying ritual.
Decisions are often made behind closed doors. Business hours are
generally 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over
The international access code for Germany is +49. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
United Kingdom). The city code for Berlin is (0)30. Note that
telephone numbers in Germany can range from four to nine digits.
There are surcharges on international calls made from hotels; it is
often cheaper to use public telephone boxes in post offices, which
use phone cards. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks
and have roaming agreements with most international operators.
Internet cafes are available in the main towns.
Passengers arriving from non-EU countries can enter Germany
without paying duty on either 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50
cigars, 250g smoking tobacco, or a proportional mix of these
products; 1 litre of spirits with 22% alcohol volume, 2 litres of
spirits or aperitifs made of wine or similar beverages with alcohol
content lower than 22%, sparkling, still or liqueur wines, or a
proportional mix of these; perfume up to 50g or 250ml eau de
toilette; 500g coffee; and other goods to the value of EUR175 for
personal consumption. Prohibited items include any poultry or pet
birds from poultry and derived products coming from Cambodia,
China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Pakistan, Thailand