This helpful sign tells us what German youth are allowed, and not allowed, to do. It clarifies the regulations under the Federal Jugendschutzgestez, or Youth Protection Act. Hey kids, don't get excited over the word "allow"; the first sentence makes clear that just because it's legal, parents don't have to agree to it. So none o' your lip.
Naturally, many of the provisions concern alcohol. Thirsty adolescents should note in §9 that one may drink legally at the age of sixteen, as long as the drink contains no fortified spirits. Germany recently declared college education free for all students, including those from abroad, and this loophole makes the deal even sweeter for many American youth who need to wait 'til they're twenty-one for a Miller Lite. Dichter und Denker, meet underage Trinker.
You may even do this in a pub—before midnight according to §4—but not in a nightclub. Because there might be dancing.
Youth dancing is controlled as strictly as alcohol. §5 forbids those under 16 from entering a disco without the buzzkill of adult supervision. And kids under 14 can't even do folk dancing past the hour of 10.00 pm.
Bavarian Tanzangst reaches a peak next week when we celebrate the Feast of All Souls on November 1. Halloween parties for all ages need to clear the dance floor on the stroke of midnight, lest it run afoul of the notorious Tanzverbot, or dancing ban. The Church, still a powerful influence on German life, insists that the day remain solemn. No dancing, public or private, for people of any age.
Because dancing might lead to sex. That's probably why the sign tells us, in the grey highlight near the legend, that none of these restrictions apply to married youth under 18.
The Tanzverbot turns adult citizens into adolescents. Flout it. Who wants to join me for a quick Madison in the Stachus next Saturday?