Rathaus – German Word of the Week

Another peculiarity that makes visiting Germany potentially a very dangerous endeavour: every German town and city boasts a pompous rat house. A what? Yup, a rat house. At least this is what it sounds to the foreign visitor. Only the city’s most respected representatives work in the rat house and the general public only comes to pick up a new passport, to pay an unjustifiable amount of money for a certified document, to get married, etc. Contrary to general assumption, however, Germany is not governed by rodents. “Rathaus” is simply an unfortunate sounding word to the English ear. The German word “Rat” is different from “Ratte” (rat) and means “council”. The “Rathaus” is simply the city’s town hall.

How lucky are the French mayors to be put up in a hotel (de ville) as opposed to a rat’s house!

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