“I have once again considerably reduced my shower time”. The things people do now to save energy. This is the German vice chancellor and economy minister Robert Habeck, who seems to be quite proud of his ability to have a quick shower. In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel a few months’ back, he said that he “had to laugh” when his Dutch colleague told him about a campaign to encourage people to reduce average shower time from ten to five minutes, claiming that he has never in his life showered for five minutes. And, see above, doing his bit to cope with the energy crisis, the fast-showering politician has now become even quicker.

In doing that, he is following his own ministry’s recommendations that published tips on how to save energy, including these short showers. In the Spiegel interview, he also suggested taking it easy on the heating in winter, talking about his own habit of “heating sparingly in winter”. In fact, his busy job seems to come with energy saving advantages as he comes back home late, gets up at 6am, leaves at 7am – “there is no need to heat in winter then”. Hmm, should we take him by his word?

Apart from Mr Habeck inviting us into his shower (kind of), another politician is interfering with German hygiene habits – and Winfried Kretschmann, the minister-president of Baden-Württemberg, is actually advising people to step out of the shower altogether. “You don’t have to shower all the time”, he said in an interview, as “the flannel is also a useful invention”. And, of course, he also had some heating tips, saying that in his home usually only one room is heated.

Both Habeck and Kretschmann are members of the Green Party, so energy-conscious behaviour is expected, irrespective of the current situation – and also expectedly, their remarks did not go down well with everyone. One politician, a member of the SPD (which, together with the FDB and Green Party, forms Germany’s three-party coalition government) said that he finds it “weird” when people with five-figure monthly incomes tell others how to save. In any case, I leave these ideas with you. Like them or not, they are probably more effective than Boris Johnson’s “buy a new kettle” advice. I might give the shorter shower a try, just to see if I could undercut the speedy German economy minister.

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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