Life in the Südniedersachsen region

All important steps have been taken, now it is time to get to know the characteristics of life in Germany and the region better. Here you will find valuable Information.


Prior to arrival | Getting started | Life in the Südniedersachsen region

Public Holidays

Public holidays in Germany are determined by the individual federal states. Only the German Unity Day on 3 October has been designated a national holiday by the federal government. All other days are determined by the states, with eight additional public holidays which are observed in all 16 states: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, as well as First and Second Christmas Day. In addition to these days, Reformation Day is also celebrated as a holiday in Lower Saxony. Here is a list of the local holidays.

Public Hollidays in Lower Saxony 2019 :

Waste Sorting

In Germany, household waste is sorted. Separate collection containers are available for each type of waste. The waste bins are provided by your local waste disposal company for a fee. If you are renting, your landlord will provide waste bins. If you are the property owner, you should contact your local service provider.

  • “Yellow bag” or “Gelber Sack“: Light packaging made of plastic, aluminium, tin or composite materials. The yellow sacks are collected at regular intervals by your disposal company. The pick-up dates for your street can be found on the calendar of the waste management company responsible for your area.
  • Waste glass: Empty bottles and jars are sorted by colour into white, green and brown glass and disposed of in waste glass containers which are placed at central collection points, e.g. near supermarkets. The following does not belong in the glass containers: ceramics, porcelain, stoneware, light bulbs, drinking glasses and flat glass such as windows or mirrors.
  • Waste paper: Paper, cartons and cardboard. There is a blue bin for the waste paper on your property, which is emptied at regular intervals.
  • Compostable waste: organic waste, which includes lawn clippings, yard waste and food waste, is disposed of in a green bin. It is emptied at regular intervals.
  • Remaining waste: Remaining waste must be disposed of in a black bin.
  • Deposit bottles: Returnable bottles are marked with a logo to distinguish them from disposable bottles. When purchasing a returnable bottle, you will pay a deposit. When you return the bottle, your deposit will be refunded. Most supermarkets have deposit machines where you can return the bottles.

Handshake or a hug? Addressing formally or informally?

In Germany shaking hands is common for people with whom you are well acquainted, or for colleagues. Within the family and among friends you can hug or kiss cheeks. Common greetings are “Guten Morgen” (morning), “Guten Tag” (daytime) and “Guten Abend” (evening). In Northern Germany many people say “Moin” at any time of the day.

The German language knows the informal speech “Du” and the formal speech “Sie”. “Du” is used for people who you know well or who have offered you to address them informally. Otherwise, the formal address “Sie” is used, for example with strangers, persons in a position of authority or business partners. Among young people and coworkers, the informal form is generally used. Children are always addressed as “Du”. But even if you are unsure at the beginning and confuse formal and informal forms, don’t worry, no one will make a fuss.

Tipping & Going Out

Tipping is common in many countries – yet the subtle cultural differences, especially among newcomers, can easily lead to uncertainty. If you request the bill in a German restaurant, the entire amount will normally be paid directly to the service staff (and not left on the table). If you are unsure how much you want to tip, estimate the costs before you ask for the bill “Die Rechnung bitte”(The bill please). In restaurants and bars a tip of 5-10% is suggested. When paying, tell them exactly how much you wish to pay, including the amount of the tip. If you do not expect change back, and want them to keep the change as a tip, just say “Stimmt so”. Especially in bars you are will often be asked if you want to pay “getrennt oder zusammen” (together or separately). Even among friends, paying separately is common and should not be taken as an expression of distance. You can also assume a tip of 5-10% for taxi rides. Please note that many taxis only accept cash.

What About Gifts and Shoes?

Gifts from guests are welcome – whether for a dinner invitation or a house party. Usually, you should ask the host if you can contribute something to the evening. Nevertheless, if the host denies, it is advisable not to come empty-handed but to bring a bottle of wine. It is also customary to take off one’s shoes before entering the house. In case of any doubt, ask directly whether you are allowed to leave your shoes on or if they would prefer that you remove them. Some hosts even have a pair of slippers ready. Before eating together, it is customary to wish each other “Guten Appetit”.


Compared to many other European countries, cash still plays an important role in Germany. While cashless payment transactions have established themselves in most places, it is common practice to pay with cash at small bars, bakeries, in buses and taxis. In many places where cashless payment is possible, payments with credit cards such as Mastercard or VISA are limited. Always carry some cash with you in case of emergencies.

Full Battery?

Like most countries in continental Europe, Germany uses grounded plug type F sockets. These are usually also compatible with plug types E and C (not grounded) and are operated at a voltage of 230V. Adapters can be purchased locally at electronics stores and at airports.

National Sports Football?

In Germany, football is the sport with the most widespread level of organisation. More than six million Germans are members of one of the 27,000 football clubs, either as players or regular fans. While men’s football continues to receive the most media and social attention, women’s football is also increasingly gaining popularity. However, other German sports associations also have considerable levels of organisation. Among others, the German Gymnastics Federation, the German Tennis Federation and the German Alpine Club have more than one million members.

Of course, the availability of various sports and its popularity in the region goes hand in hand with the success of the sports clubs, local facilities and geographical conditions. Thanks to the well-organised university sport club, Göttingen offers a wide range of different sports and clubs. The convenient location of the Northeim Lake District facilitates water sports activities such as the sailing club Northeim Sailing Club . Active hikers will not only find good views in the towns on the Harz, but also numerous fellow trekkers. Our staff will be happy to help you find a suitable environment to participate in your favorite sport.

Picture credits: Christian Reinhard

Public Smoking

Since August 2007, the protection of non-smokers in Lower Saxony has been regulated by law. Smoking is prohibited in many public places, such as schools, daycare centres, youth and sports facilities, universities, restaurants, railway stations and public institutions. In order to be able to indulge in your vice nevertheless special designated smoking areas were established, where smoking is permitted. This applies to the whole of Germany.


Welcome Centre
Göttingen Campus and
the Südniedersachsen Region

Front Office
Von-Siebold-Str. 4
37073 Göttingen
Tel.: +49 551 39-21321

Funded by the Südniedersachsenprogramm

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Information for companies

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