Travelling with minors in Europe

If you travel with children in Europe you need to know that in case you are the only parent or adult taking a train or plane with your minor child or the minor child of a friend or family member, you should let the other parent or the parents fill out an authorisation form for […]

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Einen guten Rutsch!

When your German friends wish you a “Guten Rutsch!”, “Einen Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!” or say “rutsch guet übere” (Swissgerman), they don’t want you to “slide” or “slip” (rutschen=to slide; (aus)rutschen= to slip). They simply wish you a smooth start into the New Year. Can’t they just say “Gutes Neues Jahr”? Yes, they can […]

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Dutch and German: what do they have in common?

Learning a new language is always very exciting. Especially when the new language we’re learning is similar to one we already know. These similarities can be at different levels (phonetical, lexical, syntactical etc.). The Dutch language belongs to the West-German branch of the Indoeuropean languages and is actually close to German (and Swissgerman). [The simplified […]

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Saint Nicholas’ legend vs Santa Claus…

      Sinterklaas or Nikolaus, San Nicola etc. in European countries is based on the legendary figure of St Nicholas. Born in 271 AD to a rich Greek family in Asia Minor in in the city of Patara (Lycia et Pamphylia), he was very religious from an early age. His parents died by an […]

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Take off your shoes… or not?

  In many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Skandinavian countries, Turkey, Japan, Korea etc. it is common use to take off the shoes when entering someone’s home.  In these countries it is considered a major faux pas to walk through a house with shoes on. This applies also to some places like daycares and schools in […]

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