When having packages delivered to a German address, if you’re not home the delivery service may leave a slip in your mailbox indicating a place nearby where you can pick up your package. In some cases it is possible to indicate where you would like the package to be left.
Speed cameras are set up all over Germany, on the Autobahn as well as on city streets. If caught speeding, the person who the car is registered to will receive a letter in the mail with the picture of the driver and details such as how fast the car was going and the fine. You can usually pay the ticket directly using the IBAN number provided. Be sure to include the reference number, so the money transfer will be credited to the appropriate account.
All types of paper, plastics and packaging, cans, foil, leftovers and food waste, glass and more are recycled in Germany. This requires residents to separate waste into bins for paper and cardboard, plastics and cans, and biodegradable. Glass must be taken to glass recycling bins and deposited in the corresponding color bin. Visit www.wiesbaden.army.mil to learn more about recycling.
Be sure to bring cash when dining out in Germany. Many places accept credit cards, but not all. If you are using a credit card, be sure to tell the server how much you’d like to tip before you hand over your card, as the amount needs to be entered before running your card. If leaving a tip in cash, let your server know the new total you’d like to pay, so they’ll only give you the change back you want, or give them the tip directly rather than leaving it on the table.
Also of note at restaurants in Europe, there are no free refills unless specified, even at many fast food restaurants. Ice does not come standard in soft drinks, and when ordering water, you’ll be buying a glass bottle and should indicate whether you would like sparkling or still.
Get to know the area
Wiesbaden Army Community Service invites newcomers to get an in-depth look at their home away from home in Germany during Host Nation Orientation on Tuesdays starting at 9 a.m. at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center on Hainerberg. Stop by ACS in Bldg. 7790 on Hainerberg or call (0611) 143-548-9201 to sign up.
Deposits on bottles
Most plastic and glass bottles and drink cans require a deposit, or Pfand, which is charged to the customer automatically when purchasing a beverage. When they are empty, the bottles or cans go back to the store where they were purchased or to a supermarket that has an electronic kiosk that accepts bottles and dispenses store credit. Cans that will be taken back for the deposit should not be crushed. Most bottles and cans bought on post do not have a Pfand.
Be sure to bring a reusable bag when grocery shopping on the economy. Merchants sell plastic, fabric and paper bags for a small fee. Keep in mind, tax is already included in the listed price on all taxed items in Germany. Keep a one-Euro coin handy. You’ll need it to get a shopping cart, and you’ll get it back when you return the cart. The customer is expected to bag their own groceries and to do so quickly. People in line behind you will appreciate it if you begin bagging your items as soon as the cashier passes them over the scanner.
Going to the movies
See movies in English at local theaters by looking for “OV,” or original version, on American and British movies. Purchase tickets online or at the theater and choose your seats.
Finding a restroom
Public restrooms in Germany are labeled “WC” or “Toiletten,” and you’ll often have to pay about 50 euro cents to use them. Restrooms in restaurants are usually free for paying customers and may be upstairs or downstairs from the main dining area.