German Lesson: der Brunnen

Some expats new to the area asked about the meaning of the word Brunnen and Brunnenfest in general. The German word Brunnen stands for fountain, well, and natural spring. The town of Oberursel has more than 60 fountains.

For the Oberursel Brunnenfest, each year a new Brunnenkönigin (fountain queen) gets chosen. This years’s Brunnenkönigin, Nadine I. represented Brunnenfest 2016, and one part of her official duties is to inaugurate the next fountain for the year.

This year’s fountain was the Urselbachbrunnen, located at the ‘Haus am Urselbach’. (Urselbach stands for Ursel Creek)

Brunnen in Oberursel

One of the 66 fountains in Oberursel

There are 26 fountains belonging to the town of Oberursel, and about another 40 fountains are in private hands.

How to Greet in Northern Germany

This lesson on the northern German dialect was posted by a street food vendor at Maasholm Yachthafen (Maasholm Port).



 Very easy lesson to learn. Thanks to sanitario.

German Lesson: die Klönschnackbank

In the fishing village of Maasholm at the Baltic Sea, we found this interesting sample of  northern German culture and language.

The verb klönen stands for to chat and the verb schnacken also means to chat/to shoot the breeze/to chew the fat (AE). The noun Bank in this case stands for bench. Please note the Bier box in the middle. This is a place for chatting, being social, and having some beer with it.

I’d suppose this northern Trinkspruch (toast) has been in use for many years:

“Nich’ lang schnacken, Kopp in Nacken”

[norddeutsch or rather Lower Saxony German]

Don’t talk so much, tilt your head back (to drink).


Too bad it sits on private grounds. 🙂

German Lesson: Schnapszahl

The German term Schnapszahl (schnapps number) is a number made up of identical digits. We often see this as a good-luck charm, such as in license-plates, dates, the bill at the cash-register, rolling the dice in parlor games, etc.

What is a Schnapszahl? At the supermarket, if your bill is 5,55, you might wonder if it is your lucky day and then run off to play the lottery.

But the real meaning behind the schnapps and number probably stems from alcohol, in this case obviously the schnapps. We might see double numbers, when our alcohol intake has been too much. Hence, Schnapszahl. Too much schnaps, double or even triple the number.
In games, such as darts and dice, if a player gets a Schnapszahl, he/she might have to buy a round of schnapps.

We’ve got half a Schnapszahl at the moment with 2211 Likes. We’re getting there.

Post by Learn German.

German Lesson: Kontor

Quite a few summers ago, I picked up this little Kontor sign at a flea market and attached it to the office door.

The meaning of it gets questioned by old and young, by Germans and foreigners alike. Kontor is the old German word for office.

From Wikipedia: A kontor was a foreign trading post of the Hanseatic League. In addition to the major kontore in London, Ipswich, Bruges, Bergen, and Novgorod, some ports had a representative merchant and a warehouse. …

* Niederlassung eines Handelsunternehmens im Ausland

* Büro

* Geschäftsraum, Handelshaus


The word Kontor is derived from the Latin verb computare (to calculate).

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