Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

German Culture


There we were, down at the markets, sipping our coffees and generally irritating people with the bulk of our prams. The call was made to begin a market tour, post coffee, to pick up the weekly fresh groceries. As we trawled the stands and wagons, one friend whipping around buying seasonal decor (time to clear out the winter decor and usher in the Easter replacement) and fresh fish, I confessed to feeling like I couldn’t be arsed doing anything; shopping for delicious fresh produce, cooking delicious fresh produce, walking, eating, breathing. I was completely lustlos. Even though – and here’s the kicker – even though it was relatively warm and the sun was threatening to come out (and later did, in full, splendid force) I was still lustlos. If there was a chaise lounge nearby, and a nanny, I would have relieved myself of the baby and retired to the chaise to lie there and gaze out a window at a beautiful garden scene. And perhaps eat some small tea cakes.


I mentioned this general malaise to my friends, and the response was prompt and seemingly obvious, uttered with such certainty, I felt a fool for missing it. You know where this is going, don’t you. Frühjahrsmüdigkeit. Spring fatigue. The feeling of low energy brought on by the warming of the weather. It was around 9 degrees, the wintry bite to the air that characterises December through February notably absent. Some people were walking around with their jackets unzipped over their chests ohne Schals! (I was wearing my winter coat and regretting it. I hate wasting perfectly good light coat days by wearing my burdensome, boring winter coat.) There was that wondrous feeling that we were in the tail end of winter.

Naturally, I barked with laughter because whenever a German diagnoses me with something like Frühjahrsmüdigkeit, I cannot help but assume it’s a joke and the diagnosis made with a wink because I just cannot bring myself to believe that the weather improving results in a feeling of lethargy and disinterest in life. How is that even a thing? My whole life, I have celebrated good weather with a surge of energy and happiness. There has never been a point at which, when the warm sun has shooed away the cool clouds, I have wished for nothing more than to take to my chaise lounge and gaze out a window. Good weather is good, ergo one feels good when it arrives. And Spring! Spring is associated with all things new, feverish, frenzied, energetic.


Not for the Germans. It is a well established fact – like tea cures most maladies – that when the cold weather wanes and the warm weather waxes, one is plunged into fatigue and a general sense of ‘cannot be arsedness’. Apparently it’s hormonal. And this is part of what I love about the Germans – they appear to the world to be most serious, hardliners with a passion for rules, beer, and efficiency. Tough nuts who don’t have time for wimps. But here they are swooning into hormonal spells, hands on foreheads, because the weather has warmed a few degrees. Not only swooning, but doing so under the safety blanket of this swoon having an actual name, which lends an irrefutable legitimacy to the entire situation. Perhaps that is the best summation I can currently provide right now, when it comes to the Germans – legitimately swooning tough nuts.

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In any case, I have no better explanation as to why, as the sun slowly went down on a gorgeous afternoon, I sat on my bed gazing out the window instead of prancing down the main street and calling into a cafe for a glass of crisp white wine. I drew the blinds and chose to blame comingdownfromvisitingfamilyinawarmerclimate (just doing the German thing of creating a compound word for a condition). But I’m not sure how much longer I can remain strongly opposed to the existence of Frühjahrsmüdigkeit. It’s pulling me under.


  1. Carmel Blanchard

    2 March, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Frühjahrsmüdigkeit? now that explains a lot…now that winter is coming to an end i’ve never felt so tired and listless. Good to hear there is a nice long compound noun for it 🙂

  2. Hemborgwife

    3 March, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Ok well this describes me perfectly yesterday! We went to town the sun was shining we had lunch and walked with jackets unzipped and yet when I came home I was for sure Frühjahrsmüdigkeit or as I called it end of winter blahhhs

  3. An K

    7 March, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Verwandtenbesuchsklimaveränderungsnachwirkungen? Oh you poor thing. Have you considered seeing a doctor? 😛
    “legitimately swooning tough nuts”, this speaks to me, thank you! Your observations are usually spot on. Love your blog 🙂

  4. On Aioli and Fish Sticks (inspired by growth of a balcony plant) | BUTTER CHAOS

    11 March, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    […] these cravings for fried everything be another symptom of the notorious Frühjahrsmüdigkeit (described here hilariously) Germans are known to suffer from? I’m still new […]

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    24 March, 2015 at 10:22 am

    […] is completely legitimate. It takes its place alongside other such deathly sounding syndromes as Frühjahrsmüdigkeit and Hörsturz. And it, like absolutely every single illness in Germany, can be caused by […]

  6. ebe porter (@texkourgan)

    30 March, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    This whole thing is so German and bizarre it really stuck in my brain. And what should my husband’s co-worker accuse him of today but having Frühjahrsmüdigkeit. Oh Germs.

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