# How do decimal points and thousands separators work in Germany? [closed]

I've got a quote from a German company for 36.000€. Does this mean 36 or 36,000?

It seems more likely to be 36,000 based on the value of what I am buying.

• out of curiosity: Is the quote written in English or German? Dec 4, 2019 at 15:31
• That's why it's wrong and ambiguous to use "," or "." as thousand separator, wherever you are, especially when no decimal separator is present. Either don't use any thousand separator, use a space or an apostrophe. "123.456" and "123,456" are both ambiguous, "123456", "123 456" aren't. Dec 5, 2019 at 9:47
• As currency amounts in Euro are normally not written with three decimals, it should indeed be 36000. Dec 5, 2019 at 10:07
• "It seems more likely to be 36,000 based on the value of what i'm buying". This makes me wonder so much what kind of product could cost either 36 or 36,000€ Dec 5, 2019 at 11:19
• @MrLister "Never" is too hard a word. The prices per unit can sometimes be fractions of a cent, e. g. on the electricity bill where there are (at least in Germany) 4 or 5 components for the price per kWh. Or the price per L of petrol normally is something along of x,xx9 € per liter. But you are right in so far as the price which is to be paid is always a multiple of one cent. Dec 5, 2019 at 13:52

Yes 36.000€ is 36000 €. In Germany groups of thousands are separated by . and in exchange we have a decimal comma like 36.000,56 € as a result of: (36000 + 56 / 100) €.

Just to mention it: If there is a date, in German it would be: day.month.year, so 6.12.2019 (sometimes written as 6. Dezember 2019 or 06.12.2019) is Dec 6th, 2019.

• Maybe as an addition: Many Germans in certain fields, e.g. IT, are well aware of the difference of comma separators, but many don't. Dec 5, 2019 at 7:28
• @MarkLösche It's even worse if you are aware, but the software tries to compensate for it. So if you have a german locale on your windows installation, then Windows tries to accommodate you by using , as the decimal separator. The user, aware that . is the more common standard, attempt to use . and promptly don't get the result you had hoped for. It's a nightmare. Dec 5, 2019 at 7:48
• @MechMK1 I love it when I open a CSV file with a German Excel. In the same column, some numbers will be parsed as a string (e.g. "67.89"), while other numbers will be converted to dates ("1.5" as "1. Mai"). Dec 5, 2019 at 9:45
• This ambiguity seems to be one of the reason Switherland uses ' as thousands separator. Dec 5, 2019 at 10:10
• @help-info.de - In daily life nobody cares about such a norm. It will always be 6.12.2019, without leading zero. And if somebody write zeroes, he will also do it for the months. So, 06.07.2019 does not make it safe either.
– mic
Dec 5, 2019 at 10:15

As shown in the example usage on wikipedia, Germans use , as the decimal seperator and . to group to thousands.

Germany: 1.234.567,89
USA: 1,234,567.89

• Or, also often seen, will omit the thousands grouping and use either a comma or period for the decimal separator. Which is common practice around the world. Dec 5, 2019 at 8:06
• @jwenting, using a decimal point instead of a comma when omitting thousands grouping is definitely not common in Germany. Dec 5, 2019 at 9:45
• In German typesetting, the use of a dot for grouping numbers is restricted to accounting contexts (and perhaps some fields of science). In good typesetting for general purposes (think of a popular science book or a newspaper or a printed encyclopedia) a non-separating thin space is to be used. Dec 5, 2019 at 11:16
• there is some development towards using nonbreakable spaces as the thousands separator, I saw it in a german Excel 2019 but don't know if it is a standard setting. the decimal point is here to stay as a misleading tradition and cause of errors. Dec 5, 2019 at 11:25
• Funny. I never realized that but USA really has to have everything their own way. Dec 6, 2019 at 6:45

Amounts in Euro will always have two decimal places - it has cents, not mils. However a price could have any, for example I've worked in telecomms and they used 4. They aren't the same thing - the latter is always per something or other (kg, megabyte, dozen). It should be obvious from the context which it is.

• Yeah, in particular contexts prices can be to any number of decimal places. (For example, stock market prices are often quoted to 4 decimal places, but can be to 0, 2, 6, or 8 depending on the instrument and/or exchange.) — However, in general usage, prices are almost always given to the smallest currency unit, which means 2 decimal places for EUR, GBP, USD, and most other currencies. Dec 6, 2019 at 1:14
• This is a (in my opinion) better answer than the higest-voted one. Another example would be exchange rates, gold price, or stock prizes, or gasoline. Those don't have two decimals places. Plus, although DIN says so, it can be dangerous to rely blindly on "comma means decimal comma, and dot means thousands group". The approach "go by context" makes the most sense. Dec 6, 2019 at 14:57

It is 36000 €. However, the , as the standard German decimal separator and the . as the standard German thousands separator are showing signs of weakness, at least at gas stations. See

Note that the price per liter is either shown in € with three decimals, the third decimal (which is always a 9) being depicted as a superscript and thus indicating its very special role, or in cents with one decimal. The only exception is example no. 3.

The rule is: Prices to be paid have at most two decimals (the decimals are frequently omitted if they are 00), prices per unit may have more decimals.

For prices you can frequently see also see the form € 12,- instead of € 12,00. In some restaurants you will € 12,8 instead of € 12,80, but this seems to be still unusual.

• It might have become uncommon, since the first "not full cent" I have also seen ,4 cent. I assume that it is just cheaper to use the dot: the comma needs space below and is "alone" there. The dot's bottom line fits into the number's bottom line. And additionally: one market more where to sell the same panels. Dec 6, 2019 at 8:13
• Note that each of those displays uses a seven-segment display for each digit, except one which is a dot-matrix display. Perhaps the reason why a dot is used as the decimal point, rather than a comma, is that the hardware can't display commas or the software is written to display a dot. Dec 7, 2019 at 9:03

not just Germany uses a decimal comma, most of Europe do and many other countries...

USA: € 100,000.00 Europe: € 100.000,00

An interesting read on decimal points and commas can be found at this link (smartickmethod)

• Welcome to German.SE. Could you please include the "core information" from your link into your answer? Because the link might vanish one day and this might be before SE vanishes. Dec 9, 2019 at 7:08
• Shegit, basically that site shows the difference in points and commas used around the world. Without just cutting all text from us the OP's original question's answer is put here, the link merely provides some additional reading on the decimal separator Dec 9, 2019 at 7:53
• My thoughts in mind were referencing to the help section about references: german.stackexchange.com/help/referencing . I'm far from saying your answer is link only. I just thought you might want to incorporate your knowledge with some arguments. Like "who is most of Europe" or what is the interesting part of the external reading. That's all. Dec 9, 2019 at 8:30