North vs. South: Where to Choose a Job in Germany Using Your Gastrointestinal Instincts

“You can take that job and shove it in your food hole.” — Photo Credit: Niels Heidenreich ( — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

After my wife finished her time as a Referendariat teacher-in-training — AKA: 18 months of stress-induced psychosis — she was faced with the grueling task of applying for jobs in various German cities. We were already living here in Hannover, but weren’t sure if we wanted to try someplace new, like Hamburg or Bremen. One thing we knew for sure, however, was that we did not want to move any further south.

I find the social dynamics between northern and southern Germans completely hilarious; they make fun of each others’ accents, food, weather, soccer teams — even their attitudes toward life in general. Northerners think of southerners as overly conservative, self-entitled brats with too much money and one great big boner for Jesus Christ. Southerners look at northerners as depressing, humorless robots with lumps of coal where their hearts should be. I love it. (Especially because the rest of the world is pretty sure all Germans are humorless robots.)

So as my German wife was applying for jobs back in 2013, she explained her search criteria to me thus: She would only be applying to cities in the north because we are not “Southies.” She went further to clarify why she would be choosing between certain job offers, saying…

“Right now, I want to pick out the raisins where I have a good stomach feeling.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Warns Me About the Mythological Beast in Our Bathtub



28 thoughts

  1. Oh, man. This makes me laugh since I’ve had the same problem when looking at grad schools over yonder. Fiance is telling me places to avoid if I don’t to be reminded of my deeply southern background. Kinda limiting and I can’t adhere to it, since any school that says yes gets to keep me for two years. And a few south German schools said I’d probably have a good shot of getting in.

    But when I would start to investigate, all my favorite places seem to be in the North, too. Oddly, near North Rhine. (Not surprising since my guy lives in the region, but still. Odd when you look at a map and realize that all your programs seem to live there.)


  2. Funny, I’ll be an American married to a German southerner living in the south, we can poke fun at each other!!! Mirror image? :) :) :)


  3. Having spent my German-speaking time in Austria, I must confess I feel much closer to the Southies than I do the Northies. I can understand almost all of Fredl Fesl’s songs, as Bayerisch is very close to Tirolerisch, and I’m partial to southern food as well. I think it all comes down to what you’re used to.


  4. Coming from the South, where we call everyone north of Frankfurt a ‘fish head’, I felt rather adventurous when I decided to go to Aachen to study. I was so disappointed, though, when I realised that despite the fact that I had moved to the other side of Germany it was nowhere near the beach …


  5. Same in the Netherlands, the North/South divide is very strong. Catholic fun-loving Southerners and dour Proddy Northerners! My Dad was from the North and it always feels like home to me when I’m there :)


  6. My boyfriend is from the south (Bodensee), and even though I have only lived in Northern Germany thus far, he likes to tell us that we are both actually Southern Germans that are just forced to work and study in Northern Germany due to the circumstances. He will not admit that he may actually end up living up here for much of his adult life…

    As for me, I do think Southern Germany is a little better (nicer weather and prettier landscape), but it is nice to live in an area where everyone speaks Hochdeutsch.


  7. I believe this division between the South/ North is even stronger in Italy. Being an original “Kaffesachse” (I’m from Saxony but I never drink coffee … :/) I would rather say that – at least for the majority of Saxons- there’s mainly the division between the East/ West (= North + South^^) of Germany.


  8. I love the north (probably because it reminds me of Wisconsin) but landed in Cologne, which I guess is technically south and which everyone keeps reminding me is Germany’s friendliest city, but which I’d say is nothing at all like the US south. For me, in Germany, it’s more of a countryfolk-cityfolk divide that they like to blame on the latitude.


  9. To be honest, I would rather listen to my stomach than my gut, but then that’s just me ;-)

    Thankfully I now live on an island that is too small to have a north/south divide. I’m sure people find other reasons to poke fun at/resent each others.


  10. Have you written about Kehrwoche yet? It just about did my Northern German husband in when coming to the South as a 20-year old for the first time and being confronted with THAT institution. And the dialect. It was like arriving in a foreign country AND having to clean away other people’s sh#t.


  11. So funny! I always find it hilarious when Germans say that there is a North South divide and as you say, as a British person, we don’t see any difference at all. In fact, drop Austria and Switzerland into the hat. All pretty much with similar German “characteristics” LOL!


  12. I’m hearing y’all – married a Magnificent Bavarian & have been living in the Von Trappian Alps for 2yrs now.. I’m an Australian from the tropical north, which is also perceived as the more ‘conservative (read: redneck?) locale’. Our mutual ability to dismiss more cosmopolitan, progressive cities is a part of our marital glue! (When we met he informed me “I’m Bavarian”. Oh, you mean your from Germany? “Well, um, kind of, it’s sort of like..No. Bavaria.” Baha!)


  13. Well… the difference between the north & the south is that when the north makes fun of the south, we’re stating facts! :) I lived in Mainz for a year and it was odd (though the people there actually insisted that they were not southern enough as to be southern Germans) & I ended up moving all the way up north to Scania, Sweden… Sweden’s deep south, of which northern Sweden likes to make fun, too.


  14. Better North or South ? That is getting on my nerves. Real German Life is in NRW. More people, more cultural mix, beautiful Cities, you can reach within 45 Minutes by car. Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Hagen, Münster, Duisburg, Essen! iserlohn, Köln. 18 Million people in one big Mega-City – Area. It is the real Capital of Germany. So go west!;)


  15. I love your comment about Germans being humorless robots, since I’ve basically had to explain this misconception to my German boyfriend. He’s obviously disproved this to our friends and my family. I definitely proved he had an excellent sense of humor when I made him watch the 2005 musical version of “The Producers,” to my mother’s utter horror. Picture a 6’3″ lanky German singing (very off-key at that) “Springtime for Hitler” and “Guten Tag Hop Clop,” with a little added goose-stepping to boot. Yes, I’m a terrible person, and I’m probably headed to hell in a hand basket for that one haha!


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