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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Are businesses open on Sundays in Germany?

It's to be expected from Europe's economic powerhouse: commerce in Germany is king. Except on Sundays, when the nation's stores are closed.

Sunday for German retailers and consumers a sacred day of rest. Over the years, many non-Germans have found this to their surprise and disappointment.

The reason for this is the Shop Closing Law. It is a federal law that has been in effect since 1956 and prohibits retail stores of all types from opening their doors on Sundays and holidays, along with several other restrictions.

Although individual states have had more leeway to make their own regulations since 2006, shopping on Sundays is still largely prohibited throughout the country. However, there are a few designated open Sundays each year and very limited exceptions for certain stores.

The power of the church

Occasionally, there are calls for the law to be relaxed. But numerous sources recently announced that nothing will change in the near future due to the resistance of the Catholic and Protestant churches, the influence of trade unions and works councils, and finally the resistance of city parliaments.

Religious reasons aside, Sunday is a time for family for many, and cultural opposition to Sunday opening is particularly strong.

GermanMind Director Sarah describes Sunday in Germany as follows: "Sunday in Germany is a family day. I remember long Sunday walks, eating ice cream and playing together with my family. My parents always had Sundays off; it was natural for the whole family to spend Sundays at home or outdoors."

What's it like in your home country? Are stores open on Sundays or do the doors stay closed? Have you been to Germany and been shocked to find that you can't buy clothes or groceries?

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