German House Windows – The Finest Example of German Engineering
For the finest example of German Engineering, look no further than German House Windows. Truly, what one other innovation so closely embodies German love for form, function and cultural norms than those shiny clean windows on the world?
Think about it.
German windows are designed to open in. This gives you with a great spot to hang your feather bedding out for air, or you can wave to passing friends.
They can go “auf Kippe” to get that oh so necessary air circulation through the house without leaving the home open to burglars.
When they close, they are AIR TIGHT… no drafts will come through. Oma will never say “es zieht!”.
German house windows have a wide “Fensterbank”, windowsill, perfect for plants. (What German household doesn’t have a line of potted plants along the window?) OK, sure, I’d probably kill the plants, but, I’d really like to have that option.
You Can CLEAN German House Windows!
Best of all… they are designed to be easily cleaned. Since the windows can open inward, you can clean each window without use of ladder and circus training. And the frames are made from some wonder material that actually WIPES CLEAN! (My windows have painted wood frames designed to collect every last speck of dust and grime).
We all know that clean windows are the outward sign of a good German housewife. My poor Tante cleaned her windows four times in the week my cousin married… no, the wedding wasn’t at the house, no their house wasn’t in town…and heaven help her it was raining that week. It was the principle of the thing. People would see the windows. They must be clean. (Clearly, an extreme example… still… so that’s how it is).
Why is this an issue for me? You see, I was imprinted with the desire for clean windows. Growing up in a Southern California Ranch style house, this was not too big of a problem. While I hated the chore, I would haul out the hose and squeegee, and (reluctantly) help mom do the job. Today, it’s not so easy. I currently live on the 2nd floor (actually 2 ½ stories above ground) just out of reach of a ladder. (And as it turns out, spraying with the hose annoys the landlord downstairs). The windows slide up around 15 inches; barely enough to wriggle through, if there were something to stand on outside the window, which there isn’t, but climbing out isn’t possible anyway because someone bolted screens across the bottom of the windows.
So I sit here glowering. I can clean the inside… but can’t get at the outside. This means I have to hire a professional, which kind of goes against my “don’t pay someone to do a task that you can do yourself” policy (especially when you know they won’t do it right anyway…).
Part of the problem is that I live in an older home (old by American standards, not German… it was built in 1898). And I think the windows are original. They sort of slide up and down. Sometimes they stick… sometimes they randomly drop. And they bang in the wind.
Don’t get me started on how inefficient they are… you can see the curtains billowing even when the windows are closed.
(edit- Since writing this, I moved to a one story home with windows that open with a crank… still not German windows, but we are getting close. Renovations will happen eventually)
How to Open and Kipp German Windows
Image courtesy of Sicher 24
Granted, there is a little bit of training required to use a German window, and there was a time when I was sure I would turn that handle the wrong way and send the whole window crashing to the ground… handle sideways? handle up? But ultimately, it’s easier than remembering to bring your own shopping bags to the store.
Handle DOWN- Window is closed
Handle HORIZONTAL- Window is Auf Kipp (tilted inward)
Handle UP- Window will open inward.
One last thing… Those flower filled window boxes... in every German City, in every small town or Dorf… people have window boxes lush with colorful flowers. As soon as the Spring rolls around, those boxes are filled and planted. They are watered and cared for, and they are so lovely.
Others may daydream of a big German car or a German vacuum… but give me a good German house window any day.
How to Clean a Window Properly like a German
(Remember, you want to get ordentlich in die Ecken und Kanten!)
Leifheit 3-in-1 Mini Hand Window CleanerLeifheit Window Wiper Powerslide 40 cm with Telescopic Handle, 120-200 cm, 51521Leifheit 51107 Click System Window Cleaning Tool Kit with Vacuum Squeegee – Pole and Microfiber Cleaning Pad3pk Original German Shammy Towels Super Absorbent Chamois Cloths Large Size 20×27 Inch For Home Kitchen Bathroom Car Pet Stains (Orange)Leifheit Glass Liquid Cleaner
I recommend this company for your window replacement.
Thanks… when I own my own house, I will be sure to call them!
I recommend Wasco Windows in Milwaukee. Dave Paulus, Jr lived and taught Thermal Dynamics in Berlin for about 7 years. He came back to the US and owns the business with his dad. Imported German hardware and framing the windows are made to order using the same German machinery as in Germany, they are the best. http://www.wascowindows.com/european-windows/
Thanks! As soon as I have a house of my own, I will install them.
I live in Connecticut in a old house (even for German standard) and I realy like the apartment, but I hate the windows. There is no way to clean them. This are doublewindow and there is no way to get to the second window or even outside. I only can clean the inside of the window. To christmas my doughter comes to visit me, oh boy what a shame. 🙂
I realy miss also the “Fensterbank” a place for plants.
I hear you… You can’t get to the upstairs windows without a tall ladder!
I could hardly wait to find an article about Germans liking CLEAN windows. My name is Monika, I am German, living outside of Washington DC, and I am the owner of a professional window cleaning company. Our clients own big homes with many windows (up to 80) Most cover them with curtains or shades or both. Most have not cleaned their windows in years. Replacement windows are a last resort, but the expense of German windows are outrages. Unless you will live in your home for the rest of your life, save the cost, get a professional window-cleaner, and put up some pretty lace curtains.
Wishing you were closer to me than Washington DC. My windows are impossible to clean without help!
I too loved German windows. I lived in Germany many years ago with my now ex husband who was in the army. We didn’t stay in base housing we stayed on the economy. I loved our apartment and windows. I miss Germany so much, not my ex husband though, lol. The windows were great to open and easy to clean. They really didn’t let a lot of bugs in either.
I have tears seeing and reading about the German Windows (silly, but I love them and all things German)
I would adore having a German home. I am not German except in my heart. Married 54 years to a
Sudeten German who’s family came to Ameria in 1949 (kicked off their hof by the Czechs in 1946 -sent
To Bavavia where they weren’t welcome, then chose to come to America. I am reading “Orderly and
Humane” and find it difficult and heart wrenching but eye opening…as an American I had no idea.
We went to a birthday party at Schloss Glenieke several years ago so I will order “House by the Lake”.
All my husband’s dear family live in Germany so I have been fortunate to travel there many times. I love
It, My all time favorite is Schliersee, Bavaria and until my Husband’s health failed we went twice a year.
I could go on and on about all the things I love about Germany.
Thank you for recommending the books. I enjoy your writing….
thank you so very much!
I live in pa. Had a house built and found German windows. The gentleman who installed them did not do a good job, had them replaced by a company from Canada. They had screens. But these windows were better , but not as good as good as the ones in Germany.
Had German windows manufactured in pa. Was not happy with the windows. They were drafty. Had them replaced with windows from a French company in Canada. Liked them a lot better but not Es good as the ones in Germany. I also had screens.
A wide window ledge is also in my house and my windows tilt in both sashes there is a stop so window can only open 4 inches unless you release from top of sash(safety for bulers and child proof for second story windows and mine are American made!
Mine are American made: They also open in for cleaning both sashes, they filter the light, they have wide marble sills, they have kid proof latches that only allow them to open 5 inches unless you release the tabs, I have German background on my Dads side.I like to clean them with ammonia, vinegar and water mix.
I just found your website and I love everything I’ve read so far!! I’m a German girl in America as well – I moved to the USA about 3 years ago. I don’t know how many times I’ve complained to my husband about those American windows! I cannot stand them … those “Gitter” or what they are totally annoy me when I want to look out the window. I just want a big window and not something that reminds me of a prison … (not really,, but ya know). Plus, on our windows are screens which are absolutely worthless. I have spiders in between the window and the screen in almost all of them. Super disgusted to open my windows. Lots of “Viehzeug” comes in. If we build a house someday, I’m totally buying the good German windows!!!
Thanks for this great article! 🙂
I been here for 30 years and miss my window seals for my plants and my cat to lay on it. I wonder if we have a company in Alabama or close to ot who sell and install german windows
I have lived in several US states, Colorado, Missouri, Alabama and now in retirement settled in Pennsylvania. Every time I was looking to buy a house I checked out the windows and window sills (for my plants) first but have never found anything suitable. I for sure gave up on finding anything with a “Rollladen” decades ago. At least now I have radiator heat and wooden boxes built over them by the windows so I can put some plants in them.
Since we are in California, we have central heating and no radiators. Would be nice to have such a place for plants.
Minkota Windows our of North Dakota sells tilt & turn windows. They are associated with Rehau.
My wife is from Lithuania and their windows are like this along with most doors. People here if you want these type and are building a new home allow for the difference in framing as it will save you time and money if you decide to go with them later. They are also 3 glazed and heavy, so be ware.
Maybe someone else commented already, but the drawing for the diff handle positions is incorrect: handle up for “kippen”, horizontal handle for “ganz offen”. I guess I’m too German to not mention it😉
That’s what happens when I borrow an image instead of making one.
(what direction is the handle when the whole window comes out of the frame… that’s happened too)