Most/least friendly areas of Germany

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Hi all,

 

I keep hearing conflicting reports on how friendly/unfriendly the Austrians and Germans are towards Americans and other foreigners. I personally have never known a German or Austrain that I didn't like and respect, but they've all been here in the US or were fellow travellers. I found them to be very direct and a little "in your face", but I actually enjoy that (especially after living in Japan).

 

So, where in Austria and/or Germany have you had your best and worst experiences?

 

Thanks!

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Your answers are going to depend on what you're asking. A lot of the rudeness people encounter (well, notice) comes from the experience of living as an ex-pat. From neighbors, other people on public transport, supermarket, restaurant, and shop people, etc.

 

A tourist won't necessarily have the same response. Hotel workers and restaurant workers in heavily touristed areas are sometimes more friendly than the locals in the same area.

 

If you can even generalize at all, that is. Which I doubt.

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Well, I'm hoping to hear from expats on their experiences living in various parts of either country, as well as how they were treated when travelling around in same.

 

Basically, just trying to get a sense of what parts of each country are the most/least open to foreigners.

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Rheinland-Pfalz is the friendliest region of Germany, without question. Not a day goes by when I don't encounter wonderful people.

 

 

 

And I've been issued a knife at the border to take care of anyone who says otherwise.

 

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Franconia is famously unfriendly to outsiders. But your typical Franconian is at least an equal opportunities misery-guts: they will treat fellow Germans from outside of Franconia with the same disdain as those of other nationalities.

 

I haven't travelled extensively in Germany, but my experiences in Berlin were much more positive.

 

So there you are: ground breaking news from my side that a world capital is more open to other cultures than a provincial outpost ;)

 

Lots more to be had via the Search function, I suspect... look up and right...

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Are you trying to decide where to live, or where to travel?

 

I encountered a lot of friendly people in Munich. Also quite a few jerks. Some of the friendlies were locals, some were not. Same with the jerks. Make of that what you will.

 

grampus' comment that you often find more openness towards foreigners in cities is probably correct.

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Friendly folk in Heidelberg too. Bonus if you have a sweet curly-haired daughter! Who doesn't love free pretzels?

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Are you trying to decide where to live, or where to travel?

 

We're looking to open a restaurant in a couple of years. Probably going to be in Austria, since one of my partners has been teaching there once or twice a year for about ten years. He also has contacts in Germany, so we're looking at locations there, too.

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As Bohemka says, get yourself down to the sunny Rhineland Pfalz. You couldn't meet a nicer set of people.

 

They're plenty odd (these are still Germans we're talking about), but totally trustworthy and kind.

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You're the one wanting to open an American barbecue somewhere -- so obviously I'd say Munich, where I live and where I would love to have a BBQ place, is the friendliest place to be. And yeah I've traveled in and lived all over Germany and Austria and there isn't any place friendlier.

 

I'm surprised you haven't gotten any further in your decision on where to go. Wouldn't it depend more on restaurant market saturation and less rain than other places and close to mountains or something, which are all easily quantifiable, than on "friendliness" - notoriously unquantifiable?

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I've traveled in the Herz, Eifel, Schwarzwald, and live in Rheinland Pfalz and have only met friendly, helpful people everywhere I've been.

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Germans are friendly as long as you are paying tax and not coming here to benefit the tax payers money .

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Paderborn is the most miserable unfriendly town in Germany.

 

Thüringen generally I find to have the nicest, along with Berlin..

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Never come across rampant miserablism here. I've been to most of the main cities now and can't really "rank" them. Hamburg was full of nice peeps, seemed very laid back. Badan-Baden also seems to have a high number of super-nice cafe etc staff.

 

I've worked in three of the main Austrian cities in the past, extremely nice people there as well. But really, you can't base your commercial plans on what we all tell you!

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So do friendly people spend more money? The guy wants to open a restaurant and hopefully rake in the big bucks.

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Right. If it's a "friendly" place then presumably that applies to competing cafes etc as well as customers and so they are going to be full of super-friendly staff (like in BB and other tourist centres like Berlin) so competition will be really tough.

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I think that there are a lot of towns in eastern Germany where an american restaurant would be welcomed. many of these places have few restaurants and you would not face much competition. A touristed area such as Wittenberg would be a good coice. I would also look at Dresden and Leipzig. Or how about Görlitz? Tourism plus right across the border from Poland.

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I split my time between west and east Germany, as well as traveling extensively throughout.

 

I can say, without any reservation, Sachsen is horrible towards foreigners, with double that for being non-white. Triple (and even dangerous) if you're in an interracial relationship. This is also evidenced by the murder in the courtroom, recently. Since I live in Dresden, I see the fremdfeindlichkeit on a near daily basis, from either shops trying to rip me off, not knowing that I actually speak German pretty well, to stares, to places like Bautzen and Goerlitz, where they're extremely racist. Most of my previous language school classmates have experienced issues as well. Some went back home. Dresden is a very hot place for racism.

 

The oddity here is that Goerlitz is split between Germany and Poland. The German side is pretty nasty, while the Polish side is really poor, but they are super nice. Apparently, they don't care that much on the PL side.

 

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern varies. Go to touristy areas, and they won't bug you because, like Dresden, they make exceptions for foreign money. Factor it with strong representation by the NPD in the parliament, and you'll get the idea.

 

Places like Rostock are nice, but not too far outside the tourist areas and resorts. They are also really far from even highways.

 

Austria is an especially interesting case, as the FPO has power there:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1160972/The-far-right-march-rise-fascism-Austria.html

 

I've been to places like Innsbruck, which is practically all American tourists. It's truly an international tourist city and quite nice. Never encountered trouble there. In the smaller villages, they are still somewhat right-wing, or fremdfeindlich, but I would say they are not as bad as Sachsen people. Innsbruck, or nearby, is truly a place where something like the op's idea could work. It's also a short drive from the border of Germany, and near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and relatively speaking, somewhat near to Munich.

 

Wien is nice as well, but surprisingly, right-wingers are there, and there is a bit of "protective" behavior. I don't know if it has to do with the FPO being concentrated there. It's also really close to Slovenia's Ljubljana.

 

North Germany, particularly coastal places like Groemitz, are very friendly and open. It was quite apparent when I was up there.

 

Another interesting part of Germany is Freiburg, in the southwest. It's Germany's only official two-language city, speaking both French and German. It's also a very progressive city, close to CH and FR, and places like the Black Forest. Speaking of progressive, then one has Hamburg. There are select places along Lake Constance/Bodensee which are quite nice. Additionally, if you get to Friedrichshafen, then you have the big exhibition hall. Lots of foreigners go their for shows, and you have lots of people looking for international cuisine. Not to mention executives from around the world meeting at ZF's offices.

 

Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Hannover are quite nice. I could also recommend Bielefeld in NRW. I have some friends there. They have lots of American and British there, likely military personnel and their families, along with visitors, as well as a concert hall that brings in acts from around the world. One good thing there is they had street wars with the Nazis in the 80's, and consequently, it's relatively free from them, as well as being protective against influxes.

 

Dortmund is quite nice, although some will debate the cleanliness and other issues. However, there are several major international companies out there, bringing in foreigners from around the world.

 

My suggestion is to also not fall in love with a place on first looks. Rent a small room for a week or two and see how life goes. Like some here, one can see great things the moment gets somewhere new, but then the flaws and cracks begin to show when you are actually there, and outside of the tourist areas, for more than a few days.

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The friendliest places I've encountered in Germany so far is the Rheinland-Pfalz, Baden-Württemberg and Hessen area. (Bad Kreuznach, Mainz, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt/Main) Usually, it's an area that has or had a U.S. military presence. (diversity??) The worst so far have been in Bavaria (Nürnberg, Bad Reichenhall, Berchtesgaden) and in Austria, the state/province of Carinthia (Klagenfurt).

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