Interesting facts about Germany

Facts about Germany

Germany is a diverse, exciting, constantly surprising country, and there's always something new to discover, even for people who have lived there for decades. From sports and history to language, music, food, culture and technology, there's so much to find out. So what are some interesting facts about Germany? Let's discover some fun facts about the country to help you get to know it better.

Interesting Facts about Germany

Let's start with one of the most important questions of all: what is unique about Germany?

Well, cultural features like Lederhosen and Oktoberfest are rarely found elsewhere. But on a deeper level, the idea of a Sonderweg is distinctively German. This historical idea traces German history from the forests through to landed aristocracy, and modern life, while keeping German culture preserved.

When did Germany become a country?

German became an independent state in 1871, when the German Empire was proclaimed. However, some will say that Germany really became a modern country in 1990, when West and East Germany were reunited. And others will tell you that the German "nation" as a group of people sharing languages and stories, has existed for thousands of years. So it's actually a controversial question.

Anyhow, with history out of the way, let's look at some other German facts that shed a bit of light on how the nation works.

Interesting German facts:

  • Reading is a German obsession, and has deep roots in German culture. The magazine was invented in Germany in 1663, when Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen started delivering monthly philosophy updates from its Hamburg base. These days, Frankfurt's Book Festival is easily the largest of its kind in the world.
  • Beer plays a big role in German life, and it has done for generations. In fact, the world's oldest brewery is German. Weihenstephan Abbey has been brewing up its own varieties since 1040. Germans also consume 104 liters of beer every year – ranking them 4th in the world.
  • Bread is also a key symbol of German identity, and the country's 17,000 bakers create over 300 different styles.
  • Football dominates German recreation. There are 26,000 football clubs in Germany, with over 6 million members, and the national team is hugely successful, having won 4 World Cups.
  • Germans love music, but their tastes may differ from some nations. The biggest selling album ever in Germany is 2002's Mensch by actor Herbert Grönemeyer, which has sold 3.15 million copies (although Phil Collins is close behind).
  • Germans love to travel, and their money travels too. In fact, they spend more abroad than any other travelers, outspending even Americans.
  • Germans are also fiercely protective of their language and identity. So much so that movies are almost always dubbed into German using only local actors. This doesn't just help to promote German-speaking against the influence of Hollywood, it's also turned dubbing into a 115 million Euro industry.

Superstition in Germany

Reason and rules matter a lot in Germany, but superstitions are everywhere. For example, it's very bad luck to wish people happy birthday in advance. But it's fine to show your good wishes by smacking wooden tables. However, never toast anyone with water in your hand. That's like a curse to German people.

Fun facts about Germany

While Germans are known for serious achievements and respecting rules, the country definitely has a lighter side, as these fun facts about Germany show

1. When children enter school, they receive a cone of gifts called the Schultüte. Containing toys or sweets, the cone is a symbol of entering "serious" life - and a way to ease the stress of being in a strange environment.

2. Angela Merkel is a superstar politician in Germany. She's so famous that toy-maker Mattel created a limited edition Barbie doll in her likeness.

3. Every New Year's Eve, Germans gather round their TVs to watch "Dinner For One", an obscure British comedy that is rarely seen in its home country but is cult viewing in Germany.

4. Despite its name, Munich's massive beer festival Oktoberfest actually starts in September and is over by the first few days of October.

5. The city of Reutlingen is home to the world's narrowest street. At just 31cm wide, Spreuerhofstrasse is not well suited to 4x4s and trucks.

6. People often associate canals with Amsterdam or Venice, but Berlin outdoes both of them. No city in the world has more canals than the German capital, which hosts 120 miles of waterways. Great for sailing excursions!

7. Berlin also hosts a museum dedicated solely to Currywurst (curry sausages). That's no surprise, as Berlin natives eat 70 million of them every year.

8. Sweet maker Haribo runs a scheme which lets local children exchange acorns they have collected for delicious gummy sweets. The acorns are sent to nature reserves for animals to feast upon.

9. Germans famously love cars, and they love to set them free to show what they can do. As a result, there are no speed limits on around 65% of the Autobahn network.

Manners in Germany

Manners in Germany can seem strange at first. When Germans say "Danke" (thanks), they usually mean "no thank you", and when they say "Bitte!" (please), they mean, "yes, please".

The arrival in another country can be very exciting but also stressful. To prevent unnecessary frustrating situation the best way is to inform yourself about everything you need to know for your new start in Germany. This Video from Make it in Germany refers to the most important things and helps you to prepare yourself. 

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