School supplies in Germany. Notebooks, folders, art lessons

Last Updated on April 17, 2023

In the first part about school supplies in Germany there were satchels, pencil cases and how to deal with theft, in the second there were pencils, rulers, erasers, sharpeners and pens. Now let’s move on to notebooks, numerous types of folders, materials for art and some furniture.

School supplies in Germany
School supplies – 2
Deutsch in German primary schools. Grades 1-2
Gymnasium. First year
Secondary school in Berlin – Brandenburg


With the beginning of school life, parents enter the world of Lineature.

Lineature is an complex of

  • type (lined – liniert, squared – kariert or empty – blanko),
  • distance between lines
  • and margins (Rand – one, two or not).

There cannot be a lineature of the same number, but a different distance between the lines or a different number of fields. There can only be a different volume – 16 or 32 pages or a different format – A4 or A5, but not by all lineatures.

Usually the bigger the number, the higher the grade. Nummer 0, 1, 3, 4, 9 are notebooks for texts (Deutsch, Sachkunde, Musik etc.) for primary school. Nummer 5, 7, 22 are typical notebooks for Mathe. Blanko – lineatur 20.

Why do they need blank notebooks? Firstly, it is considered useful for first graders not to force them into lines, so as not to interfere with creativity. That is, these will be notebooks for free writing. Secondly, materials are simply pasted there or pictures are drawn. That is, these are notebooks on music, art and the nature.

If the teacher wrote something like “kariert mit 2 Ränder”, it makes sense to first look at which lineatures are suitable, and search in the store by number. For example, you can see it here

They have their own lineatures for those who are learning to write (with houses and from large lines to smaller ones), musical notebooks, vocabularies, with graph paper.

Notebooks should have covers. In the first grade they demanded paper ones, then it didn’t matter. I can say that paper is more convenient to use, but it does not survive for more than a year. Plastic ones are too big and tend to pop off.

Important. Notebook prices may differ in 1 euro. For five years, I have not found a single reason why you should choose notebooks that cost more than 1 euro. Thin or recycled paper should not be taken (ink leaks), but simply cheap (for example, there is no fashionable cover) – fit. If you take 6-8 notebooks, then the difference can be significant.


Folders are another headache for parents. The German school is very fond of demanding a variety of folders. It is not surprising – after all, some of them, like a classic order book and a self-binder, was invented by the Germans already in the 19th century.


The most demanded type is Ordner. This is a large solid folder for storing papers. All teachers strongly insist on keeping school waste paper during their studies. The difference may be in thickness and price. The price is connected not only with the thickness, but with the firm and the color of the folder. A thick black folder can be purchased for 1.30-1.50 euros. And the same, but more cheerful colors can cost more than 2 euros. And if there is also a picture, then the price easily goes over 5 euros, which is not the limit at all.

Therefore, we buy thicker folders, check the price. In 4 years, at least 6 folders will be needed.

The Ordner have a very delicate metal mechanism. If pressed slightly incorrectly, it can break permanently. For this reason, I do not recommend Ordner from Kaufland.

If they want to wear an Ordner to school, they most likely mean Ringbuch, since the classic Ordner does not fit into the satchel at all.

* The links in this post are related (i.e. if you buy something I get very little reward, but you don’t pay for it) but that doesn’t affect my opinion.


Ringbuch is a thin Ordner, with a softer cover. The same very thin and with a cardboard cover will be called Ringheft.

In the high school, Ringbuch is used in place of a notebook. And this is convenient. You can insert an additional sheet or remove an unnecessary one at any time. You can carry one folder on all school subjects by inserting dividers inside.

Veloflex* olders are especially convenient.

There are options with two, four and six rings. Four rings are more comfortable: they hold better and are suitable for standard blocks. But then you must have a four-hole punch at home. The six-ring ones are mainly diary notebooks and telephone books. They are mostly A6 and smaller.

Jurismappe / Eckspanner / Sammelmappe / Ordnungsmappe

Jurismappe / Eckspanner is a folder with three edges folded inward to form an envelope. When closed, the two corners are held together by elastic bands.

Sammelmappe usually does not have an envelope, the edges do not bend inward. But there is no exact definition for Sammelmappe.

Schnellhefter. Spiralhefter

Schnellhefter – folders with iron stripes. If instead of straight stripes we have a spiral, then this is called Spiralhefter.

The first are often used in the primary school for temporary collecting of worksheets, which are then removed into Ordner. The second – instead of notebooks in high school.

Spiral binders hold more sheets than regular binders. On the one side, there is the classical storage of sheets.

On the other side: a notebook in which additional sheets are placed in the back as needed. The cardboard fold prevents the sheets from wrinkling.

Art lessons

The list for the art lessons (Kunst) is very different. Teachers who love this subject often give a minimum to the list, as they prefer to buy quality ones themselves. So, we had brushes only in the fifth grade.

The cornerstone of the art list, which appears 99 percent of the time, is the Wassermalkasten, a box of watercolors. Likewise, 99 percent of teachers insist or recommend buying Pelikan*.

Important: its price is a little more 5 euros, at most a little more 6 euros. Buy during the pre-school discount period and during the mid-year discount period! 8-10-12-15 euros is not its price.

For 5 years I have changed about 5 colors from this box. Spare colors cost around 1.50 euros at Müller. Thus, it was cheaper to buy a second box right away. Moreover, we happily carried the same box further to the gymnasium.

Paints are regularly given home to wash.

As a protection for clothes, it is really better to give an old shirt than Malkittel.

The top quality wax crayon is Stockmar*, but in my experience they use them so rarely that you can easily get by with Pelikan*.

A few words about furniture

If you want a budget option for a pupil’s desk, then in Ikea you can buy legs that make it possible to change the slope, and a table top for them. Looking towards highschool, I highly recommend that you immediately think about the large size of the table and the organization of notebooks and books. Already from the third grade, we no longer fit into our desk the size of a standard pupil’s desk.

Considering the development of online lessons (place for PC), it may be worth thinking about a corner table and a decent-sized bookshelf right away, especially if you are considering a gymnasium.

In terms of chairs, ergotherapists and osteopaths alike recommend a one-legged chair with a round mushroom seat of this kind*. The cheapest I saw in Aldi (80 euros, if I’m not mistaken). The seat should train your back and make you sit upright.

Part 1, Part 2.
All about primary school – #primaryschool

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