In which major German cities don’t you get bumped into on every street corner? Where in Germany do you only get snotty answers to polite questions or no answers at all? In which municipality is there still something like basic civil decency?
The British market research consultancy Censuswide investigated these and other questions in order to determine which German cities are the most polite and the least polite. The study was commissioned by Preply, an international e-learning platform for foreign languages.
The start-up wanted to provide its users with information on where in Germany they should have fewer inhibitions about using their foreign language skills. The result: Bochum seems to offer a particularly good environment, because it came off as the most polite city in the ranking.
Apparently this has hardly anything to do with the multicultural background of the former mining town. Because only a few train minutes away from polite Bochum is the most impolite German community – the colliery city of Essen, which is also characterized by migrants.
Cologne and Dortmund follow in 4th and 5th place among the most rude cities, making a total of three NRW municipalities in the top five of the negative ranking.
The location of the city does not determine behavior
However, the pollsters do not believe that there is a connection between the geographical location of the cities and the behavior of their residents. As proof, they refer to two major cities in Saxony, which, like Bochum and Essen, are diametrically opposed when it comes to politeness.
The people of Dresden are considered very rude (second place in the negative ranking) and the people of Leipzig tend to be polite (7th place in the positive list); There are at least ten places between the two Saxony municipalities in the overall ranking of 19 cities.
The results of the study are based on a survey of 1525 participants. They were presented with a list of twelve negative behaviors of German city dwellers by the London pollsters: “Busy with the mobile phone in public”, “Do not let people through in public”; “Do not slow down near pedestrians”; “noise in public”; “Pay no heed to strangers”; “Watch videos in public”; “Public phone calls with loudspeakers”; “Closed body language”; “Disrespecting personal space”; “rudeness towards the service staff”; “Don’t tip”; “Jumping in queues”.
Assuming that things are much rougher in big cities than in small towns with more social control, only those subjects were admitted to the study who have relevant experience, i.e. who have lived in one of the 19 largest cities for at least twelve months – and only the “politeness values” of these communities were determined.
To do this, the study participants had to rate how polite the people in their city are using the specified behaviors – and tick a scale from one to ten (one = most polite, ten = most impolite).
Bochum and Essen are at the top
Based on the average value of 5.84 for all metropolises examined, ten municipalities have a lower score and are therefore considered more polite; In concrete terms, these are next to Bochum, which came first, Bremen, Hanover, Nuremberg, Bonn, Münster, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Duisburg (10th place).
Nine cities achieved a result above 5.84, which means that they came off worse in the test persons’ perception – they are even more impolite. In addition to Essen (1st place), Dresden, Frankfurt and Cologne, Dortmund, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Bielefeld (9th place) also ended up in the negative ranking.
The British pollsters filtered even more from the mass of data, such as which rude behaviors dominate in Germany. And these are accordingly: Playing with the mobile phone in public, disregarding strangers, making noise in public and watching videos. These vices are particularly widespread in Essen, Cologne and Dresden.
The study also provides answers to the question of where the most generous and stingy Germans live; the language learning platform Preply summed it up for its users: “Bremen is by far the most generous city in Germany. So if you work in the hospitality industry, you should think about looking for a job there. But don’t expect too much gratitude when you’re a waiter in Dresden.” The reason: Tips are the lowest in the Saxon state capital.
And Preply gives its language students another tip: “Germans don’t usually avoid queues, but wait patiently for their turn.” The longer the queue, the easier it is to make contacts – and the German language skills to expand.