Legal Drinking Age in Germany and in Munich

Legal Drinking Age in Germany: Is Alcohol an Issue?

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Germany?

The Legal Drinking Age in Germany is 16 years old for the consumption of fermented beverages such as beer and wine but harder liquor varieties such as spirits have a Legal Drinking Age in Germany that requires an individual to be at least 18 years old.

You are also permitted to consume alcohol in the presence of a parent or guardian from 14 years of age in Germany, however, purchasing liquor of more than 1.2% distilled alcohol is only permitted once you reach the age of 18 years old.

If you are under the age of 18 years old, you will need to provide a passport, ID card or driving license in order to prove that you are of legal age. In addition to this, you will also need to show proof of age when purchasing any alcohol no matter how low the alcohol level is.

The question of what is the appropriate age for youngsters to be permitted legally to consume alcohol in Europe, and specifically in Germany, has been hotly debated for many years through many different Governments.

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Munich?

The legal drinking age in Munich is the same as throughout Bavaria and the entire country of Germany where there are three different drinking age related laws in place.

Many people mistakenly believe that the Legal Drinking Age in Munich is lower than elsewhere in the country. This is because Munich is so well known for its Oktoberfest where younger people are often (supposedly) seen consuming beer in large quantities.

Young Oktoberfest revelers are regularly spotted holding what appears to be large steins of beer (Maß Bier) at the annual festival held on the Theresienwiese each September/October.

Often however, what they are consuming can be a Shandy (Radler) of half beer and half lemonade or even Apple Juice Spritzer (Apfelschorle) which is half apple juice and half sparkling water. Both of these very popular drinks drinks look very similar to beer when served in a large glass drinking vessel.

Age Related Alcohol Laws in Germany

Federal drinking age laws and general laws about alcohol consumption in Germany are set and regulated by the Federal Government and passed by the Bundestag – the German Parliament, before they are signed into actual law by the President.

The Protection of Young Persons Act in Germany

Whilst underage drinking in Germany is not specifically regulated, there is protection for young people available under the Protection of Young Persons Act (Jugendschutzgesetz) which actually covers alcohol, media, gambling, and tobacco among other adult-orientated pursuits.

The Jugendschutzgesetz therefore covers all three of the drinking age laws in Germany.

The Drinking Culture in Germany

The rest of the world might consider the Legal Drinking Age in Germany to be somewhat lax, but this does not mean you should permit children or minors under your protection, who are of appropriate alcohol consumption age according to German Laws, to simply go ahead and consume alcohol.

A recent study conducted by the German Central Office for Addiction Issues (Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen, DHS) actually deduced that Germany is one of the most addicted societies in the world when it comes to alcohol and tobacco.

With Epidemic like levels of alcohol-related deaths in Germany and health costs soaring to almost €40 billion every year, one certainly has to understand that alcohol definitely has a heavy burden on German society.

Despite this, as a tourist to Germany, it’s very rare and unusual to notice Germans being drunk in public (unless you’re at a Football Match of Course), however, this certainly doesn’t mean that there is NO underlying issue with alcohol consumption in the country.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Dependency in Germany

Despite having one of the highest consumption levels for alcohol in the world, according to the World Population Review Germany actually has a lower rate of dependency and alcoholism over many other countries.

Clearly, though, alcohol itself rather than alcoholism is responsible for many issues within the country ranging from health issues to traffic issues to increased incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Legal drinking Age in Germany: Final Observations

Health campaigners, backed by the World health Organisation, have been lobbying the German Government for years to alter alcohol laws in German specifically in regards to the legal drinking age.

With the Legal Drinking Age being low on a worldwide comparative level, it’s obvious that the German Government does need to address the issue as clearly their is correlation between drinking alcohol at a young age, and ongoing social problems in the country related to alcohol consumption.

Here at Absolute Munich we don’t advise people on their own personal habits or offer medical advice. But we certainly do use our commonsense, treat all circumstances on their own merits and we enjoy alcohol in moderation (with maybe the odd exception).

As parents, we should all understand what’s best for our children, and we should be able to make our own family decisions accordingly but always with our children’s health at the forefront of any decision, we make for them.

What do you think about the Legal Drinking Age Laws in Germany?