Why some Germans are breezy draft-dodgers
Good to Know: “Es zieht” – There’s magic in the air in Germany, and if that air happens to be coming through your room from the outside, it can magically make you very ill!
The German expression “Es zieht” (literally “it pulls”) expresses, on the surface of things, that there is a draft (Br. Eng. “draught” – related to the word “drag”) in the room. What’s much more important is what the speaker is implying, namely all of the following:
a) “It is drafty.”
b) “I strongly believe that the fact that I am experiencing the sensation of wind indoors will make me sick even though there is no rational basis for my belief.”
c) “Close the window! It doesn’t matter how hot it is!”
Thankfully, this phenomenon is not quite as common in Berlin as in other regions, and is usually restricted to members of an older generation. Also, to be fair, it is not a uniquely German superstition that an indoor breeze can cause a cold, pain in neck, back and joints, infections of the eye lining as well as bladder infections (even though an outdoor breeze is perfectly fine and pleasant). It is common in many places in Eastern and Southeastern Europe to insist on shutting all the windows in steaming hot buses and to wear several protective layers of clothing to prevent some serious (albeit psychosomatic) harm.
Want to learn German but don't want to be in a live class? We filmed an entire beginner course and you can stream the videos! Read more here.
More cool stuff from Expath
The best ways to remember gender in German
How's your German? Take our free online test!
How to get a handle on childcare in Berlin
Join us for small online German classes for English speakers
How to go about finding a flat in Berlin and Germany
All the different ways to say you're exhausted in German
Want to work as a freelancer in Germany but need more info?
Want to live and work in Germany but not sure how to do it?
How to obtain an artist visa for Berlin
How do English speakers find jobs in Germany?
All of Expath's German "words of the day"
How to tell time in German