What type of plugs and sockets are used in Germany?
In Germany, plug and socket types C and F are the official standards. The type F plug and socket system was designed in Germany in 1926 and has now virtually become the universal Continental European standard. Only five Continental European countries use the slightly different, but fully compatible French type E standard (France, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic & Slovakia).
used almost everywhere in Europe & Russia, except for the UK & Ireland
Typically, type C plug sockets are not allowed to be installed in Germany: these outlets are not earthed and are therefore considered dangerous. Only type F power points are permitted because they are grounded and therefore significantly safer.
The only (and rare) exception to this rule is that an old type C outlet should be replaced by a new one. After all, if you hook up a grounded wall outlet (i.e. type F) on a two-wire circuit, the socket will not be grounded, but people will get the wrong impression that it is actually grounded. No need to say, this would be a potentially dangerous situation.
Nowadays, however, type C receptacles are not frequently installed anymore, since older properties are almost always completely rewired when they are renovated or significantly altered.
Obsolete type E plug, i.e. without top and bottom earthing clips nor plastic notches on the left and right.
Neighbouring Belgium,France, Poland and Czechia don’t have the same plug and socket standard as Germany. This used to be a problem because French type E plugs and sockets were initially incompatible with type F. The reason for the incompatibility was that grounding in the type E socket is accomplished with a round male pin, which is permanently mounted in the socket. Type F outlets, on the other hand, are earthed by means of two sprung metal strips on the inside edge of the recessed socket which make a friction connection with similar metal strips on the sides of the plug body.
Old type F plugs did not have a grounding hole to accept the earth pin of the type E socket and old type E plugs did not have top and bottom indentations with earthing clips to mate with the type F socket. Moreover, old type E plugs were perfectly round and lacked a necessary pair of plastic notches on the left and right side to fit the type F socket.
Fortunately, the now standard hybrid E/F plug (officially called CEE 7/7) was developed in order to bridge the differences between E and F sockets, so technically type E and F plugs (not the sockets) have now become 100% identical.
Click here for a global map showing the spread of the different plug types used around the world.
Click here for a detailed list of the countries of the world with their respective plug and outlet types, voltage and frequency.