Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Quiet Hours

In Germany they have Ruhezeit which is "quiet time".  Germans love their rules but they go a bit crazy with their quiet hours.  The specific hours can vary depending on the municipality or even the building but in general quiet time is Monday to Saturday, 8 pm to 7 am.  Definitely from 10 pm to 6 am.  

All Sundays, and public holidays, are designated as quiet time too.  This means that during quiet time, you can't do anything that could infringe on your neighbour's peace and quiet.  So no loud music or parties.  No loud DIY projects which means that all hammering or drilling is forbidden.  To me, weekends seem like the logical time to get caught up with home projects but it's a no no.

I had no idea that Switzerland is even crazier than Germany when it comes to quiet hours.  Natalie's apartment building in Geneva has some rules which sound absolutely mental to me but are actually normal across the country.

Geneva prohibits excessive noise during quiet hours.  During quiet hours you can't do housework meaning no vacuuming.  No moving furniture around.  No playing music that can be heard through the walls.  No taking baths or showers because your neighbours will hear the water going through the pipes.  There's an urban myth that you're not even allowed to flush the toilet during quiet hours but this one isn't true.  

Not that anyone would the lawn during the night but people aren't allowed to mow their lawns on Sundays or public holidays.  Some people will risk it hoping that they will finish mowing the lawn before the police show up responding to whatever neighbour reported the violation.

Most city apartments have communal washing machines.  Usage of the machines is regulated as each tenant has a specific time slot for when they can use the laundry room.  I believe Natalie gets to use the washing machine during a four-hour time slot once every two weeks.  I absolutely don't understand this.  Oh and to comply with the quiet hours the machines won't work at all on Sundays and they automatically cut off at 10 pm.  Nat pushed her luck once by running a load of laundry.  The cycle had 2 or 3 minutes left to finish but at 10 pm the machine stopped.  Her clothes were locked in the machine and she had to get them the next day.  I'm glad that I don't live in a Swiss flat.

Violating noise ordinances in Switzerland will result in fines ranging from CHF 100 to CHF 10.000 ($110 - $11,000).

In Czechland we have noční klid which is "night quiet".  This is pretty much from 10 pm to 6 am.  I've been lucky that my neighbours are all pretty quiet.  I'm probably the noisy one just because of having so many people in my flat for Thanksgiving.  But hey, it's only once a year and no one has ever said anything.

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