Germany is known for its colorful festivals, most especially Oktoberfest in Munich, which is closely related to beer and drinking. Germany is also linked to the famous Vikings and their earlier civilizations and is home to one of the greatest war masters of all time, Adolf Hitler. Germany played a very important role in shaping world history; however, it is now one of the countries recognized most for its nightlife.
Nightlife always involves drinking, and as the subject of this article, we’re going to dive deeper when it comes to drinking in Germany and its legalities. There are a lot of things to learn when it comes to the legal drinking age in Germany, so you better hold that beer tight and let’s get into it.
What is the legal drinking age in Germany?
Germany’s legal drinking age follows certain levels of stages. One might even think of it as a preparation for the peak of the legal age of drinking, which is 18 years of age. Teens in Germany are allowed to drink beer or other drinks as long as the alcohol levels fall within the allowable range at the age of 16. However, they are not allowed to buy and consume hard drinks alone until they reach the age of 18.
This is considered the age of adulthood in Germany; hence, they are now responsible for their choices and are therefore allowed to enter pubs and nightclubs without limitations.
What is the legal drinking age in Germany for tourists and foreigners?
Germany’s legal drinking age is not solely applicable to residents alone. This also applies to foreigners and tourists alike. Depending on the region and your location in Germany, you may still need to observe certain laws that are applicable locally. Establishments such as pubs are required to implement closing hours which are dedicated to cleaning and closing, and are no longer allowed to serve alcohol to customers.
Those under the age of 14 are allowed to go to drinking establishments, granted they have a legal guardian with them but are not allowed any alcohol. Teens at the age of 16, on the other hand, are allowed to go on their own but must leave the premises by midnight.
Do you need an ID to drink in Germany?
Germany, being a European country, may have some rules that set them apart from the rest of the world. Europeans are known to be liberated partygoers, so presenting any proof of age and identity only applies mostly to minors or those who are lower than 18 years of age. It is legal and allowed to sell alcohol to someone who is obviously of legal age without any proof of identification.
If any establishment sells alcohol to a minor illegally, they can be fined up to 3000 euros. Lower Saxony was the very first state to implement this in 2008 after their trap operations. Some regions in Germany are following the same model, but the implementation of the rules about the drinking age, in general, may still vary by location.
The legal drinking age in Germany with parents
Another important factor in determining the legal age of a county is the presence of the child’s guardian or parents. The rules governing the legal drinking age with a guardian still fall under Jugendschutzgesetz or their so-called Protection of Young Persons Act. This act however excludes minors who are already married, so that’s one thing to keep in mind.
Following the act, children under 14 years old are still prohibited from buying or consuming alcohol, even in the presence of a guardian. Those who are between the ages of 14 and 15, however, are allowed to consume alcohol as long as their guardian allows it. This applies to both home consumption as well as drinking establishments like bars and pubs. There’s no provision. However, that makes a 16-year-old consume harder kinds of alcohol even in the presence of a guardian. However, it’s less likely for them to have an adult accompanying them as they are already allowed to enter pubs and clubs alone.
The 2007 Incident
An incident in 2007 involving a 16-year-old schoolboy who fell into a coma after consuming 45 shots of tequila at a bar in Berlin sparked debates among lawmakers in Germany. As mentioned, the legal drinking age in Germany depends on the alcohol levels a person would like to consume. Lower levels are permissible for someone below the adult age of 18. The boy did not make it and died after a month.
This imposed fear and panic among the residents and made them think that Germany had an alcohol problem. By raising the legal drinking age, they wish to eliminate such incidents from happening again. The resolution for the said debate, however, commissioned bar owners to impose stricter rules when it comes to serving alcohol to young adults. There is no prohibition here in terms of the law, but since owners of drinking establishments are now held accountable for any incident, they must implement their own set of rules to prevent the same from happening.
Legal Drinking Age in Germany by Region
There are no exceptions when it comes to the legal drinking age in the whole of Germany, which means that each level of legal drinking age applies to each region of the country. The only difference is the amount one can consume per the newly found evidence concerning the 2007 incident and the closing hours, which each establishment must implement.
Hence, if you’re someone who just landed in Germany, there’s not that much to worry about as long as you are legally allowed to drink.
Drinking is a very tempting thing to do when in Germany. They are known for their nightlife and crated beers, so this should be one of the items on your checklist that are a must when visiting this country. Binge Drinking, which can be very common in Germany, is something to watch out for. At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for the choices you make. So, if you’d like to drink and be merry, you better do it responsibly.
We all travel to tell the tale. Who’s going to tell it if you end up losing your sobriety in the process?
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.