Among European countries, I dislike Germany the most.
Everything in this country is too fatty and inflexible. I can even say that every German detail irritates me: from the blue cubic lanterns next to the entrance to the metro, to the card payment system in stores.
The city of Nuremberg turned out to be located near the Czech Republic, so I decided to stop here for a short while. Once I pondered where the West ends and the East begins. At that time, the border between two civilizations ran between Austria and Slovakia. As soon as you leave well-groomed Austria, I wrote, you find yourself in the territory of the wild, shabby “Socbloc”. Yellow houses with pompous entrances end, and panel high-rise buildings begin; straight Austrian autobahns break off and cracked asphalt rivers of Slovakia spread over the ground.
The contrast between the Czech Republic and Germany is not as strong. But it still exists, although it lies in another dimension. It’s not the roads or houses that differentiate these countries, but rather their everyday life.
Germany is a prison of universal prosperity. Throughout Europe, there is no more prosperous and at the same time so unfree state like Germany!
When I wanted to compare the quality of roads in the Czech Republic and Germany and opened Google Maps, here’s what I saw: there was a hole in the center of Europe where the Street View service was unavailable. This hole was Germany. Street photos are available only in major cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin. The service is not available outside the cities.
The gaping hole on the map reminded me of another country located in Asia where there is no light in the evenings.
The thing is, in Germany the use of car video recorders is prohibited. The ban was introduced to protect the privacy of citizens.
I am not an expert in German laws, so I cannot guarantee what exactly is prohibited. Some sources write that only the publication of photos with car license plates and faces is prohibited. Other sources say that the mere presence of a recorder in the car is prohibited. A third group clarifies that recorders are allowed, but only if they are set to record “short videos,” although nowhere does it specify what length of recording is considered short. Anyway, the result is visible on the map: even Google Maps has no right to post pictures of roads.
Germany is known for its censorship. Let’s open the article “List of banned video games” on Wikipedia and count how many video games have ever been banned from sale in different countries:
USA — 0
Russia — 1
UK — 3
China — 9
New Zealand — 9
Saudi Arabia — 18
UAE — 25
Germany — 114
Most often, violent games and those featuring swastikas are banned. Publishers release censored versions, and some court decisions are overturned. However, German censorship is much more insane and extends far beyond violent games. There is evidence that in 2013, 615 out of the 1000 most popular music videos on YouTube were blocked. According to other data, 3% of all videos on YouTube were blocked in Germany in 2016. This lawlessness is led by the organization GEMA, which is similar in its activities to the Arab “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”
The reader may object that there are also many insane laws in Russia and other countries. But the reader probably forgets that laws work in Germany. And this is a big problem. The author experienced German censorship himself when he accidentally downloaded a movie through a German VPN here in Russia. A minute after starting the torrent, I received a notification that my server would be blocked within 24 hours. Fortunately, I explained everything and was pardoned.
But not everyone is shown mercy in Germany.
Nuremberg is known for the Nuremberg Trials, where the Hitler gang was tried. The city was chosen for the trial for pragmatic reasons: the local Palace of Justice and the adjacent spacious prison remained intact. Here it was possible to both hold the trial and detain war criminals at the same time.
There was also a second reason. During the Third Reich, Nuremberg was an ideological center of Nazism. The city was built up with giant structures: palaces, stadiums, coliseums, and halls. All Nazi Party congresses were held in Nuremberg starting from 1933.
Fortunately, the Nazis designated a separate area on the outskirts of Nuremberg for their colossal constructions. Although Nuremberg suffered greatly during the war, the old city was not completely destroyed, so the damaged buildings were able to be restored after the war.
Old Nuremberg is an exemplary German city with half-timbered style architecture.
As far as I can tell, this is not authentic half-timbered architecture, but rather a stylization. The old houses were most likely destroyed during the war. Perhaps a few original buildings remain, but it is difficult to distinguish them.
These houses lack one of the main elements of half-timbered architecture: the jutting-out upper floors with a step-like structure. This design was used to prevent water from running down the entire facade. Half-timbered houses are constructed with a frame of timber beams filled with clay, straw, and other materials. Without the protruding system, the houses would suffer from rain.
Wine warehouse and water tower. The adjacent bridge was completely destroyed during the war and later rebuilt. The wine warehouse, built in 1448, was partially affected by the war. The water tower has stood since 1325.
The main church of Nuremberg. Built in the 13th century, it was almost completely destroyed during the war and later rebuilt.
Streets of the old city.
Streets of the modern city.
So, Germany is doing everything possible to create inconvenience for living in it. As if justifying its history, Germany uses censorship and the social model here reaches significant heights. German trade unions are the strongest among Western countries.
Take, for example, the stores. Trade unions have achieved what they wanted: they pushed for triple pay for salespeople working on weekends. As a result, small shops only operate on weekdays. Only large chains, which are almost non-existent in the city center, can afford to work on weekends. This creates great inconvenience. In the evenings and at night, most stores are also closed for the same reason.
Another requirement forces stores to accept card payments only for amounts over 10 euros. I don’t fully understand the reasons for such a limitation, but I suspect it has to do with high transaction fees. For this reason, many small shops simply do not have a terminal: it’s unlikely that someone will buy bread for a large amount in a bakery.
Thanks to another requirement pushed by the taxi union, it is impossible to use Uber in Germany. According to German laws, all taxi drivers must work in a taxi stand, have a license, and drive exclusively clean, modern cars. As a result, there are only 2-3 Uber cars available in the entire Nuremberg area, and the author had to wait for a very long time for a taxi.
These examples are a brilliant illustration of how even well-intentioned intervention in the economy leads not to an improvement in the quality of services, but to their actual destruction. Trade unions that have gained real power do not protect the rights of workers, but deprive them of jobs.
On Monday, the Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg Trials were held, was closed — it was a day off. On Tuesday, the palace opened, but I was not allowed into the same Room 600 where the tribunal was held:
“The room is closed today. Come back tomorrow.”
“Listen, I came from the Czech Republic just for it. This is my second day in a row here and I can‘t get into the room. Could you open the door a little so that I could at least take one picture?”
“We can‘t do that. The fact is that room 600 is hosting a trial of a group of arrested Nazis today.”
I left Nuremberg with nothing, spending almost 100 euros on transportation to closed museums and back.