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European beds

What is up with the bed linen in Eurpoe? How does one sleep with the huge comforter and no sheets? Are the comforters washed between visitors? Do I bring my own sheets? Can anyone help me?

Posted by
9222 posts

Thank you for bringing this up Bonnie. When we were in Germany during a heat wave it was very uncomfortable sleeping at night with only a duvet. I need to have a sheet or something covering me, and it was way too hot for a duvet. I never thought about asking for an extra cover. Thanks for mentioning that Jo.

So what is the bedding like in Italy? Do they use top sheets there or duvets like in Germany? I was prepared to bring a top sheet that I would discard before going home, but I would prefer not to if it is not necessary.

Posted by
26 posts

I hate the top sheets and blankets in this country. I much prefer the european way, with a duvet cover. It seems cleaner this way. But, if my memory is correct, I have only noticed this in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

Posted by
9110 posts

I can't remeber a case of no sheets. The duvet has a cover that is washed just like you wash sheets.

Posted by
22263 posts

Sheets are provided unless you are going the hostel route. It is wash clothes that are not provide because they are consider a personal item.

Posted by
12040 posts

I've slept in several hotels that did not have sheets, and when I'm with family, they never have sheets either.

Don't worry, it's easy to sleep with just the duvet.

Posted by
8358 posts

The blanket or duvet is inside the "sheets" or duvet cover. There are various thicknesses of these duvets depending on the time of year. You do not usually have extra sheets then to go with this, as there is no need for this. If it is very hot, just ask your hotel for an extra duvet cover and use that as light sheet. This is what we do at home too.

Yes, these duvet covers are stripped off the blanket and washed after check-out or during a stay if you are there multiple days. Most hotels try not to change towels and the sheets on a daily basis, unless you are in a swanky hotel. The blankets that are inside are also washed on a very regular basis, thus assuring very clean linens. Much nicer than those bed spreads or fuzzy blankets that one gets in the US. Those just creep me out.

Most often on double beds, there will be 2 duvets, one for each person. There are fitted sheets underneath, also on a seperate mattress for each person. This is just how beds are made here. They do not have box springs, but use flexible wooden slats under each mattress instead.

You do not have to bring your own sheets.

Posted by
375 posts

I have stayed at many hotels and B&Bs in Germany (and Austria, but I think not so much elsewhere) where they use only a bottom sheet. The duvet cover acts as the top sheet and is washed between guests. I find it rather inconvenient, since the comforter is either on or off, so you either burn up or freeze. Sometimes in warmer weather I just take the duvet out and use just the cover as if it were a top sheet.

EDIT: Apparently Jo and I were typing our responses at the same time, so I had not read hers when I posted this. She has a good explanation. I agree totally, Jo, that the blankets that stay on the beds all the time in the US are creepy and nasty.

Posted by
42 posts

Andrea, all the places I've stayed at in Italy used top sheets.

Posted by
9222 posts

Lori - Thanks for letting me know. I really need one, especially in warm weather. I hated the thought of packing one with me. Now my bag will be lighter...

If it is still warm when I get to Germany at the end of September I will ask for a duvet cover to use.

Posted by
276 posts

I remember the first time I encountered the bottom sheet/duvet bedding in Poland. The duvet was folded in thirds like the way you fold a sheet of paper to put it in an envelope. I was flummoxed, I thought at first you were supposed to insert yourself into the duvet like you would a sleeping bag and end up feeling like a pig-in-a-blanket (LOL)But then I realized your feet would be hanging out the end and figured out you had to unfold it. (You have to realize I was really jet-lagged:P )I got used to it and now even prefer it for cold weather.

Posted by
3 posts

Encountered the duvet in Scotland. First in B&Bs and then in my friends home. My friend(an American) once she got used to them, likes it better than the top sheet way.

Posted by
669 posts

I agree- I've always found the German bedding much cleaner and like Jo, the American hotel bedding creeps me out. Yech, the dirty re-used comforter. (I don't like top sheets, really, though, so maybe I am the wrong person to ask.)

Posted by
873 posts

Has anyone ever shopped at IKEA? That's where I got all my bedding, and all they have are basic white blankets and covers for them that you can remove and wash. That's what I've always used. It's much easier to deal with than the stupid bottom sheet that gets bunched up and is generally annoying. It's also nice to be able to have different blankets and keep the same cover -- we just swapped the thick winter blanket for a thinner one now that the weather has finally shaped up.

Posted by
8358 posts

I don't like top sheets either, it feels like my feet are "captured". If that is what is on the bed, the first thing I do is pull the sheet out. All those nice, tight corners that the housekeeping staff have made with the sheets are wasted on me. :-))

Posted by
3580 posts

I'm with Jo on this one. Travels in Europe taught me that a top sheet is unnecessary. At home I sleep under a very light down-filled blanket in the summer and in a downy sleeping bag in the winter. My feet appreciate not having weight/pressure on them. Where the duvet (in Europe) is used without a sheet, the duvet cover is changed with each new guest. Tall people may find their feet sticking out. Not my problem.

Posted by
873 posts

Feet sticking out shouldn't be a problem in Scandinavia apparently, since as I found out yesterday, most Scandinavian countries are in the top 10 countries with the tallest average population (Netherlands being #1)!

Posted by
668 posts

I hate these duvets! As D.D. said, you either boil or freeze - like clothing, I like my bedding layered. As for tall Dutch people, it did not help me in Amsterdam last year when my feet stuck out from the bottom of the duvet which was far shorter than the matress - and I am only 5'9". We had the two duvet style somenoe else mentioned, and it was impossible to cuddle without the duvets splitting and letting the cold air in!

Posted by
873 posts

I'm sure that's been their long-term plan all along, James.

Posted by
368 posts

After visiting Germany and staying in a B&B that just had twin duvets on a double bed, we totally dropped our one blanket and sheet and went that way. Wife gets a duvet with a single layer as she is always hot, and I get a double layer duvet because I hate being cold at night.

I have to say my marriage has been 37% happier since then and we have 84% less butt draft.

Posted by
8358 posts

When my husband first moved to Germany, he disliked the 2 seperate duvet thing too. It wasn't long until he changed his mind. No more "stealing the covers", no more its too hot, its too cold, as each person has their own. He likes a thick one, I like the thin ones. He is also a tall guy but doesn't have problems with them being too short.

Question, are all of you who claim they are too short and too hot unfolding your duvets? Hotels fold them over to make the bed look nice. I know this seems like a silly question, but thought I would ask anyway just to be sure. With new things one never knows. My dad claimed he didn't like Baby Bell cheese and it turned out he didn't know to take the red wax covering off of it before eating it.

Posted by
3580 posts

I sleep in long pants--either sweats, knit pants, or pajama bottoms plus a t-shirt at home and while traveling. Sleeping in "clothes" helps with the duvet problem. I often sleep wearing sox, too. With my system, if the duvet is too much, I just kick it off or sleep under only part of it.

If you sleep nude, you will depend on bedding to keep your body temp. Consider wearing pajamas.

Posted by
4383 posts

If I had a euro for every duvet I've removed from its cover...I'm a 'hot' sleeper, and I usually end up just using the duvet cover while the duvet gets folded over the end of the bed. In the morning, I either put the cover back on, or simply smooth it out over the duvet.

A few years ago I had an epiphany - I took a cheap twin-sized flat sheet, cut it in two lengthwise, sewed the cut edges, and now had two 'sheet blankets', lightweight and the same size as any throw blanket (think airline blanket-size). I use it on airplanes (again, I usually find the blankets too hot), and I've used it several times as my sheet, with or without a blanket or duvet, while traveling. I use both of them at home and in the car all of the time. This sheet has a lower thread count, around 120, to promote airflow because -- say it with me -- I'm a 'hot' sleeper. And each 'sheet blanket' cost $1.50. I love you, IKEA. Perhaps pick up a cheap pillowcase, too...The back-to-school/dorm room sales are starting; they're a great resource for cheap twin-sized sheets.

I do love how I can cross 17 inches across the border into either Germany or Austria and know it by the duvet folded in half, or thirds, on the bed! Especially when I'm feeling a little "If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium"...I know I'm either in the Germany or Austria part of my itinerary!

Posted by
503 posts

I too usually take the duvet cover off and just use that to cover in the summer. I used to make sure I put it all back together again before leaving the room in the morning so as not to "insult" the host, but I don't bother doing that anymore. I just fold the comforter up over the back of a chair to keep it out of the way and keep the duvet cover on the bed.

Posted by
668 posts

The "too short" duvets I experienced in Amsterdam were folded lengthwise in three, and looked like a very narrow sleeping bag, yes we unfolded them. As for sleeping in pajamas - what fun is that???

Posted by
5671 posts

Wow, all this anti-duvet sentiment. I love duvets. I first encountered them when I went to Germany as a student and really like them. In fact, when I found some in Chicago in the 80's I promptly bought one and have been sleeping under one ever since. I will admit that I put mine away in May or June and bring it out in October. When I visited friends in Amsterdam last week when it was so very hot, they gave me a top sheet to use instead of the duvet. So, I wonder if it might be as simple as asking for a top sheet--at least in some hotels. Here in Scotland, I'm delighted to have the duvet.

Pam

Posted by
2297 posts

Question, are all of you who claim they are too short and too hot unfolding your duvets? Hotels fold them over to make the bed look nice.

Good question! I remember having visitors from France arriving at our house in Germany and it was only by pure chance that I discovered that they didn't unfold the duvet. It's been a running joke ever since during subsequent visits.

Me, when I moved to Canada, it took a grand total of 4 weeks to separate my boyfriend from his waterbed and blankets to get a real mattress and a duvet! We use a king size duvet on a queen size bed and that works really well so that nobody steals too much of the cover. Our winter duvet is on from Oct - April and then we switch over to a thinner summer duvet.

Posted by
5671 posts

I heard today from friends from Germany that they have summer duvets and winter duvets. The latter are thicker. Also, the agreement amongst the Europeans was that if you're experiencing hot weather, just ask to see if they have a top sheet. ; ) They have been having hotter summers lately so this may be a time of adjustment. Pam

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for all the information! It's been very helpful and has put my mind at ease! I did have to laugh at Penny's comment about the pig in a blanket! I'm a travel newbe and have all sorts of worries (the bidet is a whole different conumdrum!) I'll sleep better now.
Bonnie

Posted by
265 posts

Netherland, Germany and Scandinavia typically use duvets. France, Italy, and Spain use top blankets.