German phrase of the day: Andere Länder, andere Sitten

Tom Ashton-Davies
Tom Ashton-Davies - [email protected]
German phrase of the day: Andere Länder, andere Sitten
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

You should keep this phrase closely in mind when travelling abroad.


What does it mean?

‘Andere Länder, andere Sitten’ literally translates to ‘other countries, other customs/traditions’. If looking for a similar phrase in English, you might want to use ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. 

Why do I need to know it?

The phrase refers to different customs and traditions that you may encounter in another country. Having this phrase in mind will prepare you for such trips and will show tolerance and respect to the locals. Following this phrase will also help to reduce cultural misunderstandings and ease your assimilation into a new place.  Some claim that this isn’t just a saying, rather a wonderful reality! 

For instance, in the United States, you may be greeted with some strange glares if you’re drinking alcohol in the streets, something that is completely normal in Germany.

Similar situations can arise in Italy if you try to order your usual afternoon cappuccino - these are generally served at breakfast and it would be rare to see these after midday.

One of the most common customs that you should research when travelling abroad is the ‘tip’ (Trinkgeld) culture. In several countries like China and Korea, tipping is banned, but in the USA it is expected that you should tip around 15-20%. 



Die Essgewohnheiten in Kanada sind wirklich ganz anders als bei uns. 

Tja, andere Länder, andere Sitten.

The eating habits in Canada are really quite different from ours.

Well, other countries, other customs. 

Es ist wichtig, die örtlichen Bräuche zu respektieren, denn ‘Andere Länder, andere Sitten’ sind etwas ganz Natürliches.

It is important to respect the local customs, because ‘different countries, different customs’ is something very natural. 

Ich war zu Silvester in Ungarn und viele Leute haben nicht mit ihren Biergläsern angestoßen. 

I was in Hungary for New Years Eve and lots of people didn’t clink their beer glasses. 

Nun ja… andere Länder, andere Sitten, nehme ich an.

Well… different countries, different customs I suppose.


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