German style “sweeping the snow before each door”

  Once, I temporarily stayed in Coburg, a small German city, during my trip. I had nothing to do in the morning, so I went out for a walk. The hotel is at the foot of the mountain, and you can reach the castle on the top of the mountain by going up the slope. This castle is the second largest castle in Germany. Although there are not many tourists, it is very famous. On both sides of the hillside and the horizontally extending alleys are residential houses, small villas with small yards, quiet and leisurely.
  Walking on such a slope is naturally very pleasant, and the snow on the road also adds a lot to the scenery. But what surprised me was that many people were sweeping the snow, including old men and old ladies, uncles and aunts, and teenagers and young children. Of course they are not cleaners, some people are coming out of the house, some people are ready to go home after cleaning. Their equipment is also very complete, not only snow shovels, but also small snowplows. Not only do they sweep their own yards, but they also shovel a path through the sidewalk. The road I walked was snow removed by their joint efforts.
  It turns out that this is the German “sweeping the snow”.
  Germany has a lot of wind and snow in winter, and most states and cities have laws and regulations related to snow removal. During the winter time from November 15th to March 15th of the next year, urban residents need to prepare snow shovels, snowplows, and materials such as sand, sawdust, and gravel. People are obliged to clean the sidewalks near the house, otherwise they will be punished accordingly.
  The law has more detailed regulations on when and how sidewalks are cleaned. For example, before the rush hour begins, the snow and ice in front of the house must be cleaned and sanded. On holidays, cleaning can be postponed for 2 hours. The swept sidewalk is generally 1.2 meters wide, enough to allow two oncoming people to pass. Of course, the specific regulations of each city are different. For example, Bonn stipulates that the width is 1.5 meters, while Dusseldorf only needs to be 1 meter wide.
  The law even stipulates that residents can only use snow-plowing tools when clearing snow, and the use of snow-melting agents is prohibited, so as not to cause damage to the grass and trees beside the road. If the road surface is frozen, you need to sprinkle sand or sawdust. More coarse-textured deicing salt is used, which does not need to be purchased by the public, but will be provided by the local municipal department. I was in this residential area of ​​Coburg, and I saw some yellow boxes placed on the side of the road, which contained deicing salt. People can take it by themselves, and sprinkle it on their doorsteps and roadsides when it snows to prevent freezing. The municipal department has a special person in charge of these boxes, and fresh salt is placed at any time, and the boxes will not be empty all winter.
  What I saw in Coburg also revealed a mystery in my heart: it turned out that this yellow box was used to store snow salt! You know, when I first saw and opened this yellow box, I thought it was a trash can. When I was about to throw the garbage in my hand, I found that there was a bag inside, full of white particles. Although I don’t know what it is for, I still know that it is definitely not a trash can, so I am not kidding.
  If the road in front of your house is not cleaned within the specified time, you will face a fine ranging from tens of euros to as much as 10,000 euros. Homeowners can be held legally liable if they fail to remove snow and cause someone to fall on their doorstep.
  Generally, the obligation to remove snow falls on the homeowner. If it is a single-family villa, the owner has to be responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in front of and around the door; if it is a multi-family house, the neighbors must agree to clean it by order, day, or week. If the snow is very heavy and does not stop, several families must work together.
  If it is renting a house, the landlord can delegate this obligation to the tenant, but it must be stated in the rental contract. Tenants can also pay for snow removal in advance, and the landlord will hire a winter service company to remove the snow. Landlords can also reduce the rent by asking a tenant to shovel snow, which is more common in apartments where many families live together.
  When the snowplow reaches the walls of their own house and the neighbor’s house, they stop sweeping, and the same is true for the neighbors. That’s it, a clean and barrier-free road has been swept out.