Bavarian town to become bastion of manners

2012-09-27 12:20
It seems like a vision of a better world: bus drivers have a friendly greeting for their passengers, salespeople serve customers with a smile, husbands surprise their wives with flowers, children offer their seats to the elderly on public transportation and behave well at school and at the dinner table.

This idea could soon become everyday reality in a town in Bavaria. The German Knigge Association, a society that promotes good manners and which is named after Baron Knigge who wrote a treatise on etiquette and behaviour in 1788, is starting a pilot project in the small town of Grafenau.

"For four days the residents of Grafenau will be introduced to etiquette," says the head of the Association, Hans-Michael Klein. The local mayor is supporting the arrival of etiquette experts from all over Germany in Grafenau from October 18th to the 21st. They aim to turn the town into an epicentre of great manners.

"Good demeanour and politeness are the solution to many everyday problems," says Klein. He believes that living together could be many times more pleasant if people met each other with respect and friendliness. Klein says adults should keep in mind that they are role models for children.

Over four days people of all ages will receive extra tuition in etiquette. Trainers will introduce "respect" in schools and kindergartens and the primary school's drama group will stage a play about Baron Knigge. Adults will be able to enjoy wine tasting and a seminar about proper behaviour. Local hairdressers will help their customers find the right hairstyle and the dancing school will offer a course in Viennese waltz. A fashion show will teach the Do's and Don'ts of dressing.

"Grafenau was not chosen because we need to catch up on manners," says Grafenau's mayor, Max Niedermeyer. But as the town lives from tourism there is always space for improvement. "Children in particular should have the same standard of behaviour towards parents, teachers, co-pupils and elderly people," stresses Niedermeier. He doesn't consider himself perfectly versed in etiquette either and hopes the weekend will have a lasting effect on locals.

Etiquette-expert Klein is hoping to spread his message even further. "Several cities have inquired already about our etiquette coaching." He doesn't want to reveal which ones but the etiquette instructors are not planning to visit big cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt or Cologne for now.

"We Lower Bavarians work hard, are reliable and helpful, but we constantly want to improve ourselves," says Ludwig Lankl. The district's chief administrator believes society often lacks friendliness and respect. He thinks the weekend will help reintroduce a more "Christian" way of behaviour in the region.

Lankl does not make an exception for himself. "I have to make a mental note as well to surprise my wife with a bouquet of flowers."


Read more on:    travel international

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.