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  Munich - Fact Sheet

Passport/Visa Requirements—A passport is required for citizens of Australia, Canada and the U.S. Citizens of the U.K. need a passport or National I.D. card. Reconfirm travel document requirements with carrier before departure.

Language—The official language is German, but it’s usually not a problem to obtain information in English, particularly in matters dealing with travel or business.

Currency—The currency is the deutsche mark, symbolized by the letters DM. One mark equals 100 pfennig. Coins are in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 marks and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 pfennig. Bills of various sizes and colors are in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 DM.

At press time, one Australian dollar converted to 1.22 DM, one British pound to 2.95 DM, one Canadian dollar to 1.23 DM and one U.S. dollar to 1.74 DM.

Health Advisories—No special vaccinations are required. Tap water is safe for drinking, and standards for food freshness and quality are very high.

Voltage Requirements—Electricity in Germany is 220 volts. A two-pronged adapter and a transformer to convert the voltage to 110 are needed for most small appliances. (Many hair dryers have a setting for 220, but they will still need an adapter.)

Business Hours—Store hours are strictly regulated by the government. A law enacted in 1996 allows stores to be open Monday-Friday 6 am-8 pm and Saturday 6 am-4 pm. Not all shopkeepers have decided to maintain these longer hours, and in central Munich many stores do not open until 9:30 or 10 am. Generally speaking, smaller specialty or novelty shops keep shorter hours, and some, such as banks, close at midday for lunch. All stores are closed Sundays and holidays, with the exception of tourist-related shops and convenience stores in gas stations and at the Hauptbahnhof and the Ostbahnhof. Be advised, though, that the “convenience” of shopping outside the normal hours is reflected in higher prices.

Business Attire/ Practices—While things have relaxed a bit over the past decade, it’s wise for business travelers—both men and women—to err on the side of conservative dress. Social rules are carefully followed in Germany, and punctuality, with regard to business meetings, is critical. Address your contact or host by last name, preceded by the title Herr (Mr.) or Frau (Ms.), until you’re invited to use a first name. It’s customary to shake hands on being introduced and on arriving and leaving a gathering (men should stand up to do this). When drinking or dining in the company of others, you should say Prost (cheers) before taking the first sip of a drink and Guten Appetit before beginning a meal.

Tipping—A service charge is included in restaurant prices. Depending on the size of your bill (and depending on the quality of service), it’s customary to round up the bill by a few marks. If the bill is 70 DM, for example, you might add 2-4 DM. For large parties, it’s not unusual to tip up to 10% for good service. Pay the bill and the tip directly to the waiter. The same rounding-up system applies to taxi drivers. Tip porters 1 DM per bag. Attendants in rest rooms sometimes charge 50 pfennig (more during Oktoberfest); otherwise leave at least 30 pfennig in their tip dish.

Population—1,322,000.

Area of City—120 sq mi/310 sq km.

State—Munich is the capital of the state of Bavaria, one of Germany’s 16 states.

EU Membership Status—Germany is a member of the European Union.

Weather—Temperate climate, but changeable. Wet and cold with some snow in winter. Moderate rainfall throughout the year, heaviest May-August. Average temperatures: Jan 23-35 Fahrenheit/-5 to 1 Celsius; Feb 23-38 F/-5 to 3 C; Mar 30-48 F/-1 to 9 C; Apr 38-56 F/3-14 C; May 45-64 F/7-18 C; Jun 51-70 F/11-21 C; Jul 55-74 F/13-23 C; Aug 54-73 F/12-23 C; Sep 48-67 F/9-20 C; Oct 40-56 F/4-13 C; Nov 33-44 F/1-7 C; Dec 26-36 F/-4 to 2 C.

Holidays1997: 24 Dec, Christmas Eve (stores close at noon); 25, 26 Dec, Christmas holidays.

1998: 1 Jan, New Year’s Day; 6 Jan, Epiphany; 24 Feb, Fasching Dienstag (Shrove Tuesday); 10 Apr, Good Friday; 12, 13 Apr, Easter Sunday and Monday; 1 May, Labor Day; 21 May, Ascension Day; 31 May and 1 Jun, Whitsunday and Whitmonday; 11 Jun, Corpus Christi; 15 Aug, Assumption of Mary; 3 Oct, Day of German Unity; 1 Nov, All Saints’ Day; 24 Dec, Christmas Eve (stores close at noon); 25, 26 Dec, Christmas holidays.

These are legal holidays in Bavaria. Nearly all are Catholic holidays, following the church calendar. Shops, banks, post offices and businesses are closed on these days.

Sales or Use Tax—In Germany, a 15% value-added tax (Mehrwertsteuer—MwSt) is already reflected in the prices of most goods and services. Tourists living outside the European Union are eligible for a refund for most of the tax paid on gifts or souvenirs. Make sure you get a Tax-Free form from the store at the time of your purchase. This form should be filled out with your receipt attached. At your final departure from the European Union you must show the completed forms and the items you purchased to customs authorities who will stamp the documents. (Do not put the corresponding items in your checked luggage.) You can then claim your refund immediately through the private company Europe Tax Free Shopping, which has offices at all airports, major road borders and ferry stations. If you forget to collect your refund immediately, you can also mail your forms, with proper customs stamps, to Europe Tax-Free Shopping Processing Center, Trubelgasse 19, 1030 Vienna, Austria. At Munich International Airport there are two Tax-Free refund counters: near the arrival gates of Terminals C and D.

Crime—No extraordinary precautions are necessary. Public transportation is generally safe and widely used. However, remain alert in subway stations and trains late at night. Women especially should avoid sitting alone in train cars and venturing alone into public rest rooms in subway stations. Be extra careful at Oktoberfest: It has become an annual convention for Europe’s pickpockets and purse snatchers.

Emergency Numbers—Dial 110 for the police, 112 for the fire department or an ambulance, 551-771 for emergency medical service, 594-475 for emergency pharmacy service, 723-3093 for emergency dental service and 01802-222-222 for emergency road service.

Telephone Codes—Germany’s country code is 49, and Munich’s city code is 89. Most phone numbers listed in this report are local numbers and do not require a city code. When making a long-distance call within Germany, dial 0 before the city code and then the local number.

Most pay phones (pink or yellow phone boxes) require special pre-paid phone cards (12 DM or 50 DM) which can be purchased at newsstands and post offices. For local directory information, dial 11833; for international directory assistance, dial 11834.

Time/Weather—Dial 1191 for the exact time (toll-free). For general weather, dial 0190-116-410; for weather in Bavaria, dial 0190-116-468 (both are subject to a fee). All of these services are in German.

Time Zone—Germany is on Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Saving Time goes into effect on the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October.