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 >  Home   >   Practical Information for Visitors to Germany

on this page: | health and security | medical emergencies | car accident emergencies | lost and stolen property | list of emergency numbers | embassies |

German Business Etiquette in English

german business etiquette business knigge

Practical Information for Visitors to Germany: tips for emergencies

1. Health and Security

Germany is known for being one of the safest countries in the Europe Union, and while you could possibly find yourself on some of Earth's safest spots in Germany's smaller towns and villages, travelling in larger cities can be dangerous. The most serious threat for visitors or tourists are pickpockets, who are known for frequenting crowded places like airports, train stations, busy train wagons or buses, and tourist attractions. For this reason, it is best to leave valuable items and documents in a hotel safe.

It is also advisable to take out medical insurance coverage when travelling abroad. For minor illnesses that do not require a doctor, you can usually find assistance at one of many German pharmacies (Apotheke).


2. Medical Emergencies

Pharmacies (Apotheken)

German pharmacies are abundant, even in smaller towns, and are easy to find. Just look for a red stylized "A"Pharamcy in Germany or the word "Apotheke" ( Pharmacies are usually open from 8 am - 6 pm and are generally closed evenings, Saturday afternoons, Sundays and holidays. Each of them has a list on the door, though, of pharmacies in the area that remain open to handle emergencies. Most pharmacists can offer advice on minor illnesses and recommend over-the-counter remedies. Be aware, however, that all medicines (even aspirin) are behind the counter, and must be asked for, even if you do not need a prescription to purchase them.

It is also a good idea to bring any prescription drugs from your home country with you for the duration of your stay abroad. While you probably will be able to find equivalent drugs in Germany, you will need a doctor's prescription. Prescription drugs cannot be sent legally through the postal service if you are planning on having them sent from home.


Finding a doctor in Germany can be an intimidating process because of the language difference, but it should not be. You can refer to the yellow pages (Gelbe Seiten - )or the local phone book ( ) in which doctors ("Ärzte" or "Arzt") are listed by their specialization. For a general physician look under "Allgemeinmedizin", or, simply ask a colleague or friend; the best references are often by word of mouth.
Other good sources are university clinics, which can usually be found in major cities or university towns. These clinics are staffed by highly skilled doctors who often speak English.

Making an Appointment

When making a doctor's appointment by telephone or in person, the person you will speak to is the "Arzthelferin" or doctors assistant. She may not speak English, but do not worry, you will not be asked many questions, you simply need to set up a day and a time for an appointment.
Some helpful phrases for an appointment are:

  • Ich moechte einen Termin machen.
    I would like to make an appointment.
  • Es ist dringend. Haben Sie keinen früheren Termin?
    It is urgent. Don't you have an earlier appointment?
  • Wo befindet sich Ihre Praxis?
    Where is your practice located?

Urgent Situations

If you have an urgent medical situation during evenings, weekends, or holidays you can always find an available doctor who will provide after hours medical assistance.

You can find an "on call" emergency physician by:

  • Calling a general physician listed in the telephone book. If he or she is not available, they will most likely have a recorded message with the telephone number of an emergency doctor.
  • In large hotels medical care is usually provided on the premises. If not, ask the receptionist to contact a doctor for you.
  • Calling the Notdienst (110 in all of Germany) or "Ärztlicher Notdienst"( or for the name of a doctor in your area
  • Going directly to the hospital or emergency room
  • Having the patient taken to the nearest hospital or out-patient clinic. Throughout Germany, the number 112 will be answered by an operator who is an experienced member of a rescue team. This is also the number you can call in case of a fire or when an ambulance is needed.
  • Checking a local newspaper. Look through a local newspaper for the heading Notdienst Kalendar (Emergency Calendar) to find an emergency doctor and pharmacy in your area.

3. Car Accidents and other Emergencies


The German police can be identified by their predominantly green and beige uniforms, and green and white signs and automobiles. Motorized police units, known as the "Verkehrspolizei", look after safety on the streets, roads and motorways, and can be identified by their white hats, while uniformed policemen patrolling city streets have a hat that is the same color as their uniform. Those policemen who are responsible for criminal offences, known as the Kriminalpolizei, are usually dressed in plain clothes, and show their identification only when necessary. Many of the German police personnel speak English and are approachable and easy to find in busy areas like airports and train stations. The number 110 can be used to contact the police throughout Germany.

Car Accidents

If you or someone else has an accident or a serious breakdown on the German motorway, you can use one of the special orange telephones that are set at regular intervals along the shoulder of the road. These telephones contact an operator who will inform the appropriate emergency services. The emergency number 112 can be accessed by every telephone, including mobile phones, free of charge.

German Automobile Clubs

If you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time, membership in the ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club) has some advantages. This organization offers information in English, sells insurance, and provides emergency roadside assistance. Most cities have an ADAC office. The ADAC has a partnership with similar clubs in other countries, eg. in the USA.

4. Lost and Stolen Property

Thefts and burglaries must be reported immediately to the closest police station ( If an insurance claim can be made, a certificate must be obtained to show that the stolen property has been reported.

If you have lost a valuable item, try contacting the city's "Fundbüro" (Lost and Found).
The German Railway has its own lost property office known as the "Fundbüro der Deutschen Bahn AG".

5. List of Emergency Numbers

  • Fire Department and Ambulance:
  • Police:
  • Airborne Rescue (Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht):
    (0711) 70 10 70
  • Emergency Poison Hotline:
    (0761) 192 40
  • Lost Property (Fundbüro der Deutschen Bahn AG - German Railroad Lost and Found) :
    (01805) 99 05 99
  • Central Lost and Found of Berlin (Zentrales Fundbüro Berlin)
    (030) 69 95
  • Lost Credit Cards
    • American Express
      (069) 97 97 10 00
    • Diner's Club
      (05921) 86 12 34
    • EC and Bank Cards
      (069) 74 09 87
    • Euro-MasterCard
      (069) 79 33 19 10
    • VISA
      (0800) 81 49 100
  • German Automobile Clubs offering roadside assistance
    • ADAC (Allegemeine Deutsche Atomobile Club)
      (089) 76760
    • AvD (Automobilclub von Deutschland)
      (069) 66060
  • Request for telephone numbers:
    • Directory enquiries, national numbers (fee required)
    • Directory enquiries, international numbers (fee required)

6. Embassies

Embassies and consulates can provide a number of useful services for their citizens while they are traveling or living abroad.

If your passport is lost or stolen, officials in a consulate can issue you a replacement. They will also renew passports, help you obtain legal advice, hire a translator if necessary, and assist you in contacting your family. If you think that your passport has been stolen, report it to the local police and get a police declaration.

Should you lose all of your money and other financial resources, consular officers can help you contact a bank, employer, or family member and arrange for them to send you funds. In extreme circumstances, they may be able to arrange for financial loans to finance the purchase of a ticket home.

List of Embassies

Overview Consular Services

7. Health insurance

Germany has a universal multi-payer health care system with two main types of health insurance:

  • "Statutory Health Insurance" (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and
  • "Private Health Insurance" (Private Krankenversicherung).

Health insurance is compulsory for the whole population in Germany. More information is available and

8. Places to see in Germany publied a guide on the 100 best things to do in Germany with many detailed tips and advices.
Note: In our opinion the order 1 to 100 is not assess  as a ranking. E.g. if somebody who's main focus is on sites to experience the most traditional Germany will for sure have another ranking ;-). Our home town Bamberg will then be not on pos. 70 and the Europa Park not on pos. 3 ...

further information : Practical travel information for Germany and

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