German window technology recently got a fist-bump in The Guardian. I don’t actually read the Guardian, but proud German friends were posting the picture all over Facebook, like, look, they NEED our TECHNOLOGY!!! Meanwhile I’m thinking that this “sophisticated hinge technology” can bite my ass, and can I please have my nice American-style sash windows back???
What do I know about window technology, you may ask? I’ll have you know that I used to be a „booth babe“ for a fancy sash window place at home & garden conventions back in the 90s, so I KNOW!!!
First of all German windows can’t hold a nice, normal window air conditioning unit. You can only use these weak-ass “portable air conditioners” or get yourself a fancy swamp cooler for 150€. And I know, I know, the Germans are all like, “Air conditioning is bad for you!!!” As if we didn’t have enough 30 degree days this past summer to justify having air conditioning? My fat, sweaty ass needs an air conditioner. A REAL air conditioner that can battle the blazing heat of 1,000 suns that come streaming in my 10th floor windows every afternoon. A swamp cooler is just not cutting it, Hans.
Ok, back to windows. My second problem with this amazing scientifically proven sophisticated hinge technology is that you can open it, like, 6 cm at the top, or else you can open it like a door, and then it’s swingin’ in the wind… You’ve got it all the way open, with no control, flapping this way and that and scaring the crap out of you when it slams, as you pray for your Querlüften. There’s no way to keep it open any particular amount, unless you stick in like a book or a pillow or some other thing that you don’t mind accidentally falling out the window.
Then, there’s no screens. Ok, you can open your door-like window, and put up your own screen by leaning out the 10th floor like a maniac, putting sticky tape on out on the sill, and cutting out a sheet of crappy plastic netting and hoping it hangs on all summer. (It doesn’t) Oh, and doing it again every spring, because that crap is NOT made to last more than a season. Without a screen, not only do you get bugs, but there’s nothing to discourage even the lightest of rain from coming right in. Unless you do the top-tilt and get your whole 6cm of air going.
Americans come to visit and they’re shocked.. how do you keep the bugs out??? I don’t know, Susie, I guess we just don’t. We invite them in. And then years later, when we move out and have to remove our own damn light fixtures, we find them, and realize why the lights seemed to get dimmer and dimmer over time. It’s super gross, and I don’t recommend it. I can thank the lack of screens on windows for turning my flat into friggin’ Animal Kingdom… not only do we get our fair share of bugs and creepy crawlies, but there have been multiple bats, and even a squirrel. A SQUIRREL, SUSIE!!!
On top of that, there’s the regulation IN THE LEASE at my old flat that I had to open the windows 4 TIMES A DAY. Like, isn’t that a 450 euro job? And if I’m on vacation or something, I have to ask my neighbors to do it. That’s IN THE LEASE. 4 TIMES A DAY. First of all, my neighbors all pointedly ignore this Ausländer among them, and second of all, no. Just no. I don’t know what Germans build their buildings out of that makes them so hermetically sealed that no air flows, but if you don’t open your window 4 TIMES A DAY, you’ll get mold. I know this because I thought it was ridiculous to wrestle with my windows 4 TIMES A DAY, so I didn’t do the Stoßlüften, and I basically had to throw out all my shoes. Because they were moldy. All. My. SHOES. Is this just a Berlin thing? Because Berlin was built on a swamp?
If you don’t open your windows all winter in the US, you’re a perfectly normal friggin’ person. My family is in Florida, where the windows NEVER open because then you get an indoor sauna. But here in Germany, we MUST open these windows every day, no matter the weather… and don’t even get me started about the DREADED ZUG. But you go ahead, Germany. You be proud of your sophisticated hinge technology.