Speaking In Groß-Gerau

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Every country has its own absurdities. Germany, being inhabited by Germans, has many of them.

One of the more absurd things about us is how we number our building floors. See, we don’t count the ground floor. So the “first floor” to us is the first floor on top of the ground floor, i.e. the second floor.

Let’s say a building has two floors. Any rational person would look at that building and say: there are two floors – floor one and floor two. If you wave down from a window on the upper floor you are in the second floor. Right?

Well, to a German person that building has a ground floor and a first floor. And if you are on the top floor, then you are on the first floor.

It’s utterly absurd.

This was the room numbering in the hotel where I was staying:

why German floor numbering sucks


I don’t know why we Germans are like that. There’s this “joke” that you will sometimes hear at German parties, I think it says a lot about us.

Well, it’s actually not a real joke, rather just an attempt at situational humor. So, let’s say it’s past midnight, we’re at a party, and you’re about to leave. You and I are supposed to meet up on the following day, so you say “see you tomorrow!” as you walk out the door.

And here’s where our German humor comes in: “No!” I will say, wearing a sly smile, “not tomorrow, my friend! I will see you TODAY!”

Because it’s already past midnight.




Anyway, I went to Groß-Gerau for my presentation today, and I hope my punchlines weren’t that bad:

speaking in Groß-Gerau

It sounded alright from what I could tell.

  • Christian

    Well yes it is a bit silly especially when you travel around and see how other countries are doing it. But then it’s not really first floor, it’s more like first upper floor.


  • Jan-Uwe Reichert

    And in France it is actually the same : RDC, 1er, 2eme…. (RDC = Rez de Chaussée)


  • Yep

    Most – if not all- of Europe is like this.


  • 周苏晓

    I see about which floor argument, interesting, people must feel troubled by something, take a very deep thinking of it, discussing with lots of ?, does it really matter how people name their floors, do we have to argue why German call flower Blumen, English flower. Flowers don’t need a name of herself, we people give a name to it! We now call flower butterfly if the first man on the earth give this name to it! Aha…On the other side, if we don’t wondering why the surroundings should be like this not like that, our life is fucking boring to death!


  • Cathy

    In Spain the same, the floor thing. And yes, my German friend sends me birthday greetings soon after 24:00 of the day before 😉


  • Kevin

    I agree completely with your logic. The ground floor is the “First floor” in North America. Here in Sweden, it is as you describe in Germany.


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