Postcard: Footie celebration rules | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.06.2010
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Postcard: Footie celebration rules

World Cup fever is rising in Germany. However, as Kyle James reports in this postcard from Berlin, the rules for celebrating your team's victory can be rather strict.

A girl with three vuvuzelas

At 120 decibels vuvuzelas are well over the noise control limit

Since that 4-0 victory over Australia, Germans have been smiling a lot more. Here in the capital, there's been an explosion of the national colors and the festive spirit.

The other night, some people in my apartment building ran an extension cord from a third-floor window down to a TV they'd set up in the back garden. They ate bratwurst while Italy played, but they mostly talked about their boys, and how they might just have a shot at the trophy.

The party went late, the beer flowed and the voices got louder. I didn't really care, but it turns out, they might have been breaking the law. You see, in a residential neighborhood, shouting has to stay under 35 decibels. Who knew?

Well, the nation's best-selling newspaper, a tabloid called Bild, has published a guide in Q&A form telling people what's permissible when it comes to World Cup watching, and what's absolutely "verboten." Seems when it comes to partying, Germans need it spelled out.

Can I put flags on my car or hang them from my window? Sure, the paper said, as long as they don't block the driver's view or block the sunlight reaching my neighbor's apartment.

What about hanging out the car window or standing in the vehicle's sun roof? Nein! That breaks German vehicle safety laws.

Risking your job over soccer?

What about watching at work? The paper says talk to your boss, maybe you can make up the time. But if you're watching it on the sly on your computer, labor law says that's personal use, and it could result in an official warning or even firing.

I'm already starting to feel my own World Cup excitement wane.

The public viewing areas are popular here, but setting one up in your own backyard is a no-no, the paper advises. You can have friends over, but don't make it open to just anyone, or you might get a visit from the police, and fined.

Now, I knew this topic had to come up in this security-obsessed country. Am I insured in those public viewing areas? That depends if the organizers have taken out the proper policy. I'll bet you they have.

Deutsche Welle correspondent Kyle James

Kyle James labors through the "verboten" jungle

It might seem a little over the top, but it's not all that surprising. Germans do like their order and even some of their country's most cherished parties, like Carnival, have strict start and stop dates. Fun may be fun, but that ingrained sense of order can trump things.

And those vuvuzelas, those trumpets that drone on through every minute of every game. In Germany, they are not welcome. At 120 decibels, they're way over the noise control limit and have been banned in many places. You know what, sometimes I can really appreciate a little German order.

Author: Kyle James

Editor: Neil King

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