Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who said you can't drink the water?

After I got back from Frankfurt with a sore-throat, a friend almost keeled over when he asked whether I drank the water from the tap.  He was so convinced the tap water in Frankfurt isn't fit for human consumption.  I said Germany's so well engineered, I can't imagine they have unsafe tap water. 
I found out only the Germans won't drink their own tap water.  The same goes for us here, but we have very obvious reasons...
Here's a webpage that confirms my assumptions:
Local Customs: Who said you can't drink the water?

"Back in the 60's Jacky Gleason made that famous film, "Just watch the daugther, and don't drink the water!" It would seem ever since then, the rumours have never ceased that tap water in Germany will make you ill.

It's laughable, really, because no other type of consumer article is as carefully controlled in Germany as tap water - it's even safer than bottled water, because tap water is continuously monitored by municple authorities.

So why don't Germans drink it? Because they were brought up not to like it! They were taught that soda water, which has more minerals and salts in it than tap water is "healthier" than tap water, and many cannot get the idea out of their head, that without carbonation, water tastes "icky".

And why can't you get tap water in restaurants? You can, but you have to demand it. Tap water in Germany is relatively expensive, and restaurant owners want to sell you food and drink. They don't really like the idea that you would drink something for free. So when you order in a restaurant, and you want tap water, order a drink from the menu FIRST, then just ask them nicely, if they will bring you a glass of tap water. If they look at you funny, just tell them you doctor told you, that it has to be tap water, then nobody will refuse you."


  1. I got a friend who went and work in Germany and had never mentioned about this. Perhaps, it is too insignificant to say so. Custom and culture are difficult to change too. Imagine using a wooden clog to rub on the forhead after the child fell. No extraction of the tiger tooth inspite of the root about to pierce out because by so doing the child will die. When will we learn to have an open mind and use our knowledge to reason rather than to summit to heresay. This must be the most significant reason why we voted BN to rule us for 50 years with a cane. Ha, ha, ha. Wake-up, lah.

  2. how heavy is their water? ions contents? the water might be damn clean i admit but if it has high ions contents, it doesnt taste nice. For example Singapore's Newwater is very the point people says taste quite "payau"

  3. don't know. I just drink it chilled and it's just like what I got at home (carbon-filtered, otherwise it's like drinking from a swimming pool).

  4. I am living nearby Frankfurt and being here for more than 2 years and survive with drinking from the tap water...I can say that the tap water here is save for human consumption. A Malaysian friend who is living here more than 10 year, only drinking water...mostly tap water, never mentioned about having any problem from the tap water. That Germans usually not drinking tap water is having simply the reason that they prefer sparkling water which they can get it only from bottles.But it doesn't mean that drinking from tap water is unhealthy.

  5. I just thought I had to trust my own taste buds. They told me the water's ok... so I just drank it. Thanks Faiz, for confirming my belief.

  6. You know, I went to Germany but i don't remember if i drank tap water or not! As a rule of thumb i always drink bottled water when i'm travelling but in developed countries i as the hotel if i can drink from the tap and if they say i do. I have never had tummy trouble while travelling (knock on wood!)

  7. I'm always amused whenever I think about what my ex-boss Bill said when we were travelling together on a plane and I wanted a drink of water.
    He said, "Why do you want to drink water? That's for washing the glasses!"

  8. my boss' sister and family migrate to Australia years ago, and now the whole family don't drink water but take lemonade or carbonated drink..