Hoch Deutsch (High German) is the official language throughout Germany, but there are regional differences–sometimes drastic ones. High German is spoken and understood throughout the country. Different pronunciations of certain sounds–such as the "ch" and hard "g"–will be noticed, but this should not pose much of a problem for nonnative German speakers.
German retains very strict rules regarding formal and informal cases as well as gender-specific words that may cause confusion for nonspeakers. In practice, many Germans speak some English (the lingua franca of the European Union), and any effort by visitors to speak words and phrases, however terribly they may botch them, will be appreciated.
Voltage/Current: 220V-240V AC; 50Hz
Plugs have two round prongs. Heavy-duty plugs have a third round prong. Adapter packages, which change the shape of the plug but not the voltage, are readily available in your home country and at electrical shops in Germany.
Travelers from the European Union, Australia and New Zealand and other places where 220V is the norm need only use adapters. Travelers from the United States and Canada will need a step-down transformer to bring the voltage down from 220V to 110V. Travelers from Japan will need a step-down transformer, best bought at home in Japan, to go from 220V to 100V.
The country code for Germany is 49.
Within Germany, there are numerous area codes. A few important ones are listed below:
To call Germany from abroad, dial the international access number plus the German country code plus local area code plus the number. For example, to call from the United States to Frankfurt, you would dial 011-49-69-123-4567. German telephone numbers can range from four to nine digits. It’s perfectly normal to have a number such as 5856 or even 5856-12345.
Germany is one hour ahead of GMT/UTC. When it is noon in Frankfurt, it’s 11am in London, 6am in New York and 3am in Vancouver. Germany observes daylight-saving time.