Sunday, May 01, 2005

Drinking in Germany

Okay, there are many things I love about Germany (otherwise I wouldn't have been able to live here so long). But I would say one of the biggest perks, from a student's point of view, to life in Germany, is that the public consumption of alcohol is perfectly legal. Which is fabulous: imagine being able to drink a beer on public transport? Or while barbecuing in the park? Or while walking on the sidewalk from one bar to another? Or my personal favorite: pulling a wagon full of beer behind you, as in during Carnival.

And it doesn't result in more drunks than usual. People are more relaxed about drinking. The official drinking age here is 16 for beer and wine, and then 18 for harder liquor. And it seems like the children are more responsible here, and there are less incidences of drunk driving.

An American friend told me a funny story about the different relationship that Germans have with alcohol than Americans: he was at Oktoberfest in Munich, and he was waiting in line to get beer at the bar. In front of him in line were two 14 year-olds. And when they got to the front of the line, they asked for beer. And the bartender said: "No, beer for you, you are too young. You guys can have cola beer." Cola beer is half cola, half beer. And he proceeds to fill these kids mugs up with half beer, half cola.

I can remember back in the day when the drinking age was 18 in America. And I really can't understand why it is 21 now. Has it had any effect? Has it changed people's consumption? Or is it just a slap in the face: "you are old enough to vote, old enough to join the military and old enough for a whole lot of other things, but not old enough to consume alcohol." I know this is not a huge and pressing issue right now, but I still question the necessity of such a law.


Blogger unknownchum said...

An interesting issue, I agree. Honestly, I'm glad the drinking age here in the US is 21 because I see what college kids are up to as it is...but I don't think it makes sense that the responsible kids pay for the irresponsibility of those who will disregard the law anyway.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

And here I was pulling my garbage can into the back yard....when I should have been out with the neighbors drinking beer. ;-)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Germangirl19 said...

Being German myself, I would agree that our country is rather relaxed on the drinking habits, though our youth these days are rather responsible with how they handle their alcohol intake. Most of us are rather settle on our habits here.

1:17 AM  

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