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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 13, 2009

"Convenience" comes to Germany

Filed under Life in Europe

Things have changed quite a bit since I came to Germany to work 36 years ago.

In 1973 the concept of a "convenience" store Rewe in Mondorf in Germany was about as foreign as the word itself. I was living in Düsseldorf, a city of about 600,000 at that time and the state capital of Germany’s most populous state, Nordrhein-Westfalen. If you wanted to go shopping on your lunch hour, you were limited in your choices. For decades it was the general practice in Germany that stores closed from 1 to 3 p.m. on work days. They were open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then again from 3 p.m. to 6 or 6:30 p.m. Even in a large city like Düsseldorf there were a number of stores and shops that closed during this early afternoon period. The large department stores downtown did not. On the weekend stores were closed on Sunday, and on Saturday they were generally open only in the morning. In recent years more and more stores have eliminated the afternoon closing hours, and hours in general have been extended. Now the store where I often shop for groceries – a larger store that is part of a chain – has extended its hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Compared to the past, that is very convenient for Germany. Stores generally remain closed on Sunday, however.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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