Living in Germany: Energy levy, lazy pig-dogs and a big bend in Saarland

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German households to see gas bill hike in October

Though we’ve all heard the terrifying news about soaring gas prices, most people in Germany haven’t had to bear the full brunt of the rising costs yet. In October, that’s set to change. To help bail out energy firms who have had to buy gas at a hefty premium this year, the government is introducing a new levy that will be added to people’s gas bills. We don’t yet know how much this will be, though it could be as much as five cents per kilowatt hour of energy. That would mean a family of four could pay as much as €1,000 extra per year, and a single-person household could face extra costs of around €300.

Though there are still some issues to iron out with the levy, it seems pretty unavoidable that people will see their bills rise this winter. This week, we looked into whether it could be worth buying an electric heater for the home to save on gas bills, and also delved into the rules around replacing old heating systems. Have you taken any steps to reduce your energy consumption or make your home more efficient this year? Let us know at [email protected]. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tweet of the week

Just when you think you’ve got to grips with the language, German throws you a curveball like this. (Incidentally, ‘inner pig-dog’ was our Word of the Day a short while ago – be sure to check it out if you’d like to learn more about this wonderful phrase.)

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

The blistering weather clearly didn’t stop tourists flocking to see the Saarschleife – or the ‘Great Bend’ – on their summer holidays last week. This magnificent curve in the river Saar can be reached by a treetop walk, culminating in a lookout point where you can take in these breathtaking views. It’s one of Saarland’s most famous tourist attractions and well worth a visit if you find yourself in Germany’s smallest state – though possibly not in 35C heat!

Did you know?

Is it just us, or does everyone’s birthday seem to fall in either July or August? Either that, or people are much more likely to throw a party during the glorious summer months. (Statisticians – let us know.) In any case, if you do get invited to celebrate a birthday with a German friend of yours, you may need to observe some special birthday etiquette to avoid offending anyone.

Most importantly, if you see your friend ahead of their special day, the words “happy birthday” should be banished from your lips as celebrating early is a massive faux pas. And if it happens to be your birthday, don’t expect your German friends to cough up for a round of drinks or a birthday cake. In fact, as the birthday boy or girl, it’s your responsibility to bring treats to the office and you’ll even be expected to buy the drinks at the pub afterwards.

With traditions like these, we won’t blame you if you happen to get a bout of amnesia next time your birthday rolls around…

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

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