Walking home from dinner last night, I realized I had not blogged yet about a very, VERY important element of German life: mittagsruhe.

Loosely translated, it means midday peace & quiet.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

As a mama of two boys who still nap (thank you, God), I’m extremely happy about two hours of quiet time in the afternoon.

The problem comes when said children decide they aren’t napping according to German rules (usually 1pm-3pm) but according to their own (say 2pm-4pm).  Neighbors protest, arguments ensue, and complaints are filed.  Not that I would know anything about that…

Other than children screaming at the top of their lungs, other outlawed activities include laughing, partying, drilling, hammering, marching, lawn mowing, drumming, shooting, bass thumping, snoring, and the like.

Should you happen to know in advance that you might not be quiet during the mittagsruhe (shocker!), it’s to your benefit to ask and/or warn your neighbors.  You still might get an earful, but at least you have the opportunity to offer chocolate cake in an attempt to pacify their protests.

If you happen to find mittagsruhe a bit extreme, I should warn you that Sundays are a full day of peace and quiet: Sonntagsruhe.  Ahh, Germany, what would you be without your quirks?

p.s. – Construction crews and the weather get a free pass and somehow get out of abiding by mittagsruhe rules.


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