I was reading a news article about Sandro Wagner, a German footballer:

Bei Wagners neuem Klub geht es ganz schön zu.

I can roughly translate this as:

At Wagner's new club, things are going well.

I then decided to look at the definition of zugehen and I couldn't make sense of any of the definitions:

  • to shut
  • to approach
  • to take place

What does zugehen mean in this instance?

My literal translation of this sentence was

At Wagner's new club, it is going very beautifully.

but I couldn't find the definition to match the context of the sentence.

3 Answers 3


The relevant definition from Duden is in bestimmter Weise vor sich gehen, geschehen, verlaufen. In the synonym list, there is also "los sein", which (in the form "viel los sein") is perhaps the closest to how "zugehen" is used here, minus the nuance of judgement present in the latter.

But you are right that this definition misses the exact meaning of "es geht (irgendwo) ganz schön zu", which describes a situation where the normal order has been disrupted in unexpected, intense and possibly subversive ways.


es geht drunter und drüber

es herrscht Chaos

  • "viel los sein" means "there is quite lot of action/customers/..". Nothing to do with chaos or mayhem.
    – TaW
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 21:06


Es geht da ganz schön zu.

is a fixed phrase and an euphemism for

That place is in mayhem.

It may also be an euphemism for debauchery but this doesn't match here – at least we hope so.

If you wanted to deconstruct it, the modal particle ganz works similar to English quite so

ganz schön

translates into at least British English

quite well ← not at all well!


Es geht da zu.

roughly translates into

It's beyond words.


It seems to be an abbreviation of zu- und hergehen:

vi impers dort geht es … zu → things are … there; es ging sehr lustig/fröhlich etc zu (inf) → we/they etc had a great time (inf); du kannst dir nicht vorstellen, wie es dort zugeht → you can’t imagine what goes on there (inf); hier gehts ja zu wie in einem Affenhaus! → it’s like a zoo here! (= geschehen) → to happen; hier geht es nicht mit rechten Dingen zu → there’s something odd going on here; so geht es nun einmal zu in der Welt → that’s the way of the world ? Teufel b


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