Q: I know that most retail outlets are closed on Sundays in Germany, but most gas stations are open. But if the station has a car wash, that’s invariably closed on Sundays. What’s up with that?

A: You’ve run across a bit of an inconsistency that’s justified down to the smallest detail under German law.

According to federal law, people cannot work Sundays and holidays. Some exceptions are made and must be approved by the government. That’s why many gas stations are open Sundays.

But car washes fall under the law that bans excessive noise in Germany, which applies on weekdays during certain hours and all day Sunday and on holidays.

Some states have passed exceptions to this rule. In Bavaria, car washes may run on Sundays starting at noon. Hamburg and Berlin also have made exceptions.

So if you want to use anything but your garden hose to wash your car in Germany on a weekend, you’ll have to do it on Saturday.

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