Rights of School Age Children in Germany

Over the years, I have been questioned about several issues related to minors’ rights in Germany by ex-pat parents and students alike.

Here is a short summary:

  • Germany has a compulsory school attendance law, which requires all children between the ages of six to fifteen to attend school.
  • Germany is a member of the Global Conventions Act, that protect the rights of children. This entitles them to a childhood free of emotional, mental, and physical abuse. *
  • Children under 15 may no be employed. Exceptions are made for minor jobs such as newspaper delivery routes, babysitting, taking care of pets, or other tasks which are not dangerous.
  • At the age of 14, when in presence of parents or guardians, minors are allowed to consumer beer and wine.
  • At the age of 16, minors are allowed to buy and consume beer and wine.
  • At the age of 18, they are of legal age. Therefore, they can buy and consumer beer, wine, and distilled liquor.

*More about this at Children’s Rights: Germany

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. My blog Pension Sprachschule assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the service.

Safe Drinking Water in Oberursel

Stadtwerke Oberursel supply high quality drinking water from the tap

Over the years, many expats have come to live in Oberursel. Some come from countries where only bottles water is considered safe drinking water and are really surprised to learn that in Oberursel, we can drink the water straight from the tap.

Forty-five years ago, on exactly the 1st of January 1968, the Stadtwerke Oberursel Taunus GmbH (Municipal Utilities, est. 1967) took over the water supply in Oberursel. Since then, the Stadtwerke Oberursel represents a safe and reliable provision of the number one resource – drinking water of high quality.

About 80% of Oberursel’s drinking water comes from the Haidtränktal, and its level is rated “soft” in accordance with the current Detergent and Cleansing Agents Acts. 15% of  Oberursel’s drinking water originates from the waterworks Riedwiese, and around 5% of Oberursel’s drinking water needs are covered by the Water Procurement Association of the Taunus area. The latter two water supplies are rated “hard”. As drinking water is the most important and best-controlled resource, it regularly undergoes quality control and is analyzed in accredited laboratories. Each year, 200 water samples are taken from the Oberursel water production plants, containers, and pipe network.

To ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply, Oberursel provides a 295-kilometer long pipeline network. The Stadtwerke staff monitors, renews, extends and maintains these pipes. This way, optimal safety is ensured. In 2012, 38 new water connections were created, and a total of 86 water connections were renewed. A total of 501 meters of water supply lines were re-laid or renewed.

Wasserwerke Oberursel

Wasserwerke Oberursel

Drinking water from the tap in Germany is better than store-bought mineral water. The Stiftung Warentest, an agency which measures and evaluates safety and quality of consumer products and service, regularly arrives at this conclusion. Bottled still water often has fewer minerals, but more germs than tap water. Additionally, drinking water is very affordable: For €1.20, you can draw one liter of fresh tap drinking water each day for an entire year. For the same money, you can only buy six bottles of mineral water from a discount store (source: O-TON magazine Stadtwerke Oberursel, issue 1/2013).

Advantages:

* Much lower cost

* Better Safety and Health

* Home delivery into your kitchen

* No storage space needed

* No bottles to return

 

Vocabulary:

das Leitungswasser (tap water)

das Mineralwasser (mineral water)

stilles Wasser (still mineral water) + spritziges Wasser (sparkling water)

Ordering water at the restaurant:

A: “Ich hätte gerne eine Flasche Wasser.” (I’d like to have a bottle of water)

B: “Stilles oder spritziges?” (Still water or sparkling water?)

A: “Stilles, bitte.” (…)

Father’s Day in Germany

My German niece has just reminded that German Father’s Day is only two days away (9 May  2013).  I had only thought of our upcoming trip to London, where we will spend part of the German Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May) at a Sri Lankan wedding.

Father’s Day in Germany is always celebrated on the religious holiday of Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day), which is also the 40th day after Easter. Some relate to this holiday also as Männertag or Herrentag.

In 1936, Christi Himmelfahrt became a national holiday.

Here in Germany, this holiday is always on a Thursday, with schools closed on Fridays and families get to enjoy a four-day weekend.

There are quite a few get-togethers with only males roaming the countryside with lots of beer on board. Hence, Männertag oder Herrentag.

Father's Day in Germany

Father’s Day in Germany

Because of the increased alcohol consumption, this national holiday ranks #1 (yes, number one!) in alcohol-related accidents and fights. This information is from the German Statistical Office, also known as Statistisches Bundesamt (StBA).

The White Mountains of Germany

One of my expat friends passed by one these white mountains in Germany. With her mobile phone, she took a photo to inquire about this phenomenal sight of a mountain.

At first, I had no idea either, as I had never seen this before. But I learned, in Germany, there are a few of these.

This is Kaliberg, also referred to as Monte Kali or Kalimanscharo in other locations. It is an artificial mountain, created by dumping its innards of potassium salt.

Kaliberg

This form of mining poses environmental hazards as nearby rivers are getting too salty. Additionally, each rainfall delivers more salt into the soil. Some worry about the quality of the drinking water as this is slowly getting contaminated as well.

The mining of this Kaliberg in the photo has been going on for 30 years and another 35 years of mining are expected.

Locations of these white mountains are:

* Kaliberg near Vacha (Widdershausen) – click here for a better image: Anywhere you want to go
* Bokeloh and Sehnde (both in the Hannover region),
* Kaliberg mine Neuhof-Ellers near the ICE- tracks in Neuhof (near Fulda, Hesse),
* near Zielitz in Saxony-Anhalt
* closed mine Kalimandscharo in Sollstedt.

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