Customs, Cultures & Laws
Published February 12, 2013
Updated March 28, 2017
As a guest in another country, you are expected to be on your best behavior. Service members are unofficial "ambassadors in uniform." Understanding the German laws, customs and courtesies is the first step towards getting along with your German neighbors and NATO partners. You are here to fulfill an important mission, but you can also enjoy yourself and the cultural experiences of Germany and Europe.
Germany has a lot of laws and rules that are sometimes difficult for us to understand, but knowing the reason why makes all the difference. Germany is about the size of New Mexico or Montana, but with a population of about 80 million people (1/3 the population of the US). They must have laws in order to live so close together peacefully.
To help bridge the gap and learn more about your host nation partners, stop by the German-American Community Office (GACO). Based on a joint initiative by the Kaiserslautern Lord Mayor and the KMC Commander, the office is an international drop-in point for German and American citizens alike. Its competent bilingual staff assists in handling administrative and cultural matters, as well as provides information on host nation policies to include, among others, pet and recycling regulations.
Newly arrived military members are provided the full spectrum of information to help them settle quickly in the local area. Fortunately, there are many clubs and private initiatives in the city and throughout the area whose commitments complement this joint effort. For more information, check out the GACO Web site.
Airman & Family Readiness Center
Stop by the A&FRC to find out about several programs geared toward learning more about the local culture. Everything from language classes, to shopping downtown ... they're ready to answer all your questions about living in Germany. Be sure to ask for Cultural Liaison Officer.
Click below for more information on the following topics:
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
German Traditions & Festivals
Understanding German Customs