Essen voted the rudest city in Germany

Essen voted the rudest city in Germany

A UK research company has revealed which cities in Germany are the rudest and most friendly according to foreign language learners online. North Rhine-Westphalia has proven itself the worst offending federal state.

The most rude and polite cities in Germany

UK-based research company Censuswide has conducted a study asking 1.525 foreign language learners on e-learning platform Preply, all of whom live in Germany, which German city they consider to be the most unfriendly.

According to Preply, the start-up wanted to gather information on where their users could feel most welcome to practise their developing German skills uninhibited and without fearing any judgemental impatience from native speakers. 

Survey participants were presented with a list of 12 behaviours which they used to rank the politeness of the people in their city from one to 10. When it came to specific behaviours, unsurprisingly, many of the rude traits were related to people being disruptively glued to their mobile phones in public spaces.

The list included; being preoccupied with your mobile phone in public, not letting people past, not slowing down near pedestrians, being noisy in public, not paying attention to strangers, watching videos in public, talking on loudspeaker in public, closed body language, not respecting personal space, being rude to employees, not tipping and cutting queues.

Essen voted Germany’s rudest city

So what conclusion did the data come to? German learners should avoid Essen if they are wanting to feel welcome and encouraged in their language journey. The city in North Rhine-Westphalia was voted as the least friendly in the whole land, followed by Dresden, Frankfurt, Cologne and Dortmund.

Surprisingly, the capital’s infamous Berliner Schnauze (Berlin gob) didn’t take the winning prize, but it still managed to get a mention as the sixth most rude city in Germany, followed by Stuttgart and the disputed territory of Bielefeld. Overall, North Rhine-Westphalia was the federal state with the largest number of “rude” cities.

Sifting through the data, Censuswide assessed which cities were particularly guilty of certain rude behaviours. The fine people of Essen, Dresden and Cologne were named the worst for playing games on their mobile phones in public, disrespecting strangers and playing noisy videos in public. Dresden was also named the worst city for the treatment of wait staff, with survey respondents warning people “not to expect too much gratitude in Dresden when you’re a waiter”. 

Bochum, Bremen and Hanover among friendliest cities

From Schnauze to smiles, on the other end of the spectrum Bochum, Bremen and Hanover were deemed the top three most charming German cities. 

Followed by Nuremberg, Bonn, Münster Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Duisburg, these cities were considered the least bad when it came to committing the seemingly antisocial sins listed above.

Perhaps boastfully proclaiming its pride, the city of Bochum announced the survey results on Instagram, writing, “We achieved the best rating in six categories, leaving Hamburg, Nuremberg and Co. behind us.”

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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GaryHohenstein2 23:32 | 26 January 2023

I live near Dresden and in spite of going to numerous restaurants in my 13 years there I have never seen a problem with restaurants. Of course, I have never been a waiter. As far as Bremen, people always seen unfriendly around that area. I guess the media wants to make the story fit their personal preferences!