"frisches Luft" and German Window Culture

Yocom Yocom
June 25, 2017

Ever since arriving in Germany I knew that Germans loved opening their window all the time for fresh air or "frisches Luft".

When arriving in my WG (student apartment/flat) I was instructed to open my window every day for at least ten minutes. I didn't really think of it other than following a command from my housing tutor. It was also the end of winter/early spring so it wasn't needed as frequently but now in summer windows in Germany have been much more important for me, and have been almost always open whenever I’m in my room in summer.

The windows have been important because German apartments tend not to have air conditioning. Germans do not enjoy air conditioning and every German person that I have met that has visited the USA in summer talk about their negative experience with the air conditioning. Because of the lack of the air conditioning, it means there needs to be air circulation somehow and the Germans do they through fresh air and opening their windows.

First some basics. German windows are much different than windows in the USA. They are typically standardized and once you learn to use one you can typically use all of them. The standardized windows here in Germany typically have 4 positions. The positions include completely closed, opened in a the “kipp” position, where the window is leaning slightly forward and opened at the top, the second form of Kipp position where it is hardly open at all, but it allows for a small amount of air to come in (used mainly only in winter), and the fully opened mode.

Another two large differences between American and German windows are the size and the fact that it has no screen. Usually in the USA when a window is the size of a German window they typically are unable to be opened. This is not true of German windows. My window in my WG is the size of a door. At first, when walking into my WG on my first day in Germany I was amazed about my window. (the fact I can see some of the Black Forest behind the busy tram stop in another major part of the excitement)

Another major difference was the fact that there was no window screen. In the USA it is common that windows have small screens for safety and also to keep bugs out. Germany does not. So far I have been lucky and no bats or birds have flown in, but a few bugs have.

Well, I’m going to go let in some “frisches Luft” into my WG and open up my window.

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Yocom Yocom

Hey I am Claire, and I am from Des Moines, Iowa. I am studying International Relations, Russian, and German. I am a Midwestern girl who loves to travel, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are ahead this semester.

2017 Spring
Home University:
Seton Hall University
German Language
International Relations
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