Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Germany. The land of sausages, great cars and lederhosen. These are just a few of the things that come into your head when I say ‘Germany’ to you. But these are not the only amazing facts about German culture.

Germany, just like Spain, is not as old as you may have thought. Yes, there was the Holy Roman Empire before that and the German Confederation, but no ‘Germany’ per se.

Germany was only founded in 1871, fast forward 120 years, two world wars, the Berlin wall, everything. Some even argue that Germany itself was only truly founded in 1990, when the reunification between east and west happened, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Thanks to Germany’s presence abroad in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, German culture is quite prevalent, especially in former German colonies and America…

1. German culture isn’t unified

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Whilst the country of Germany may be unified and one, their culture is not. Germany still has a rich regional culture which is the region’s own take on a national festival or tradition.

Many regions are famous for this, both nationally and internationally, with the most famous internationally being Bavaria. Even Germany’s religion isn’t standardised, with most of the country being protestant, but the south being vehemently Catholic.

2. Philosophy!’

German Philosophy Has Finally Gone Viral. Will That Be Its Undoing? –  Foreign Policy

If you love your philosophy, Germany is probably the place for you! Philosophy has deep ties to the country, especially during the time of the Enlightenment. You’ve probably heard of a few German philosophers and not even realised it!

SOme famous German philosophers include: Nietzsche; Hegel; Kant; Heidegger and Marx. Yes, that does mean that Germany is the homeland of communism, not Russia!

However, during the reign of the Third Reich, many German philosopher’s words were bent in order to suit the Nazi regime’s policies. Nietzsche’s work was the most heavily damaged, and remains so until this day due to its use in the justification of the holocaust.

3. Jailbreaks!

Jailbreak | Seen in an abandoned Prison in Germany | Shantideva | Flickr

One of the more interesting facts about German culture and law is that the act of breaking out of jail itself is not a crime. This does not mean, however, that there are other crimes that someone committing a jailbreak can be excluded from.

And, if the person is caught, he or she will be sent back to prison, there’s just no extra time added on for actually breaking out of jail.

Take this example, you are locked up in a minimum security prison, and want to escape. So, you ask a friend to rent a helicopter, fly it over the prison during break, toss down a rope, and fly off once you’ve clung onto it.

The crime of breaking out of jail wouldn’t be punished here, but if you were caught, there would be other crimes that you’d be charged for.

For example, as your friend used the helicopter for an illegal purpose, he negates the contract, which then makes it unlawful for anyone to be inside it (both you and them!)

You would also potentially be charged with other crimes such as endangerment or not registering the aircraft’s flight path with your local aviation authority.

Whilst some of these may only incur a fine, some may also include years or even decades added to your sentence!

For the record, if you find yourself in Germany, having committed a jailbreak, please do not cite this article in your defense. I am not a qualified lawyer in any way shape or form!

4. Baby names

Germany: Emilia and Noah top list of baby names | News | DW | 10.05.2021

Unlike many other nations, Germany has a say in what your child can be called. Whilst it’s unlikely that they’ll object to you calling your baby ‘Darkmatter’ because it sounds cool, they can have a say in other parts of your baby’s name.

Germany is very strict on not allowing cross-gender names, ie. you can’t name your son ‘Isabel’ or your daughter ‘Maximilian’.

Germany is also very strict on using family names as first names, eg. you can’t name your son ‘Hohenzollern Schmidt’ just because you want to ‘honour Germany’s past’.

Germany is also very strict about certain… right wing name’s of famous 1940’s individuals shall we say…

5. Germany’s books

German Book Prize 2020: The 6 finalists | Books | DW | 12.10.2020

Germany is not only the land of philosophy but also books! This is one of the most interesting facts about German culture as you wouldn’t really have thought that this would be the case, until you look at sixteenth century German history.

Germany is the home of the printing press, which allowed authors, poets and kings alike to send more documents that they’d reasonably be able to before. Due to this, Germany harboured a strong writing feeling, that has stayed with them ever since.

Germany’s book output is 94,000 titles a year. Germany is also host to the largest book festival in all of Europe- the Frankfurt Book Fair.

6. Germany’s inventions

Automobile | National Geographic Society

Germany is famous for their inventions, there’s no doubt about it. One of the most interesting facts about German culture is the sheer number of things Germany has invented.

For example, the jet engine is of German origin (although some people also claim that a German man did the first flight of a heavier than air aircraft, even before the Wright brothers, although that is heavily disputed).

The car is also of German origin having been made by a German engineer (Karl Benz). Other things include:

  • Insulin
  • The clarinet
  • LCD screen
  • The pocket watch
  • Paraffin
  • Walkman
  • Petrol/gasoline & diesel engines
  • The motorcycle

7. Beer

25 Easy Traditional German Food Recipes • Our Big Escape

This is one of the most well known facts about German culture. Germany is known for its beer, it has hundreds of brewers, and millions of drinkers. Surprisingly though, it is not Europe’s largest beer-drinking nation.

No, that title belongs to the Czechs. Whilst Germany did not invest beer (that was the Mesopotamians), they are the most famous consumers.

One of the weirdest facts about German culture is that Germany has the oldest still-functioning brewery (Benedictine Weihenstephan Abbey brewery) which was founded in 1040!

8. Revolution(ary)

German Revolution of 1918–1919 - Wikipedia

Germany is not simply the place where new inventions are made, but where they are expanded upon.

Where the car was invested in Germany, Germany has continued to innovate on the car. Think for a second about the world’s largest car brands: BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Daimler, Opel and Porsche all come into mind. All of these are German companies (yes, they really are!)

This is too one of the best facts about German culture, their resilience and perseverance to keep on innovating, even when they already hold the world title!

9. The language

What Languages are Spoken in Germany? - WorldAtlas

The language of Germany is unsurprisingly German. Whilst that in itself isn’t one of the many surprising facts about German culture, this is: their language is the most spoken in Europe.

Yes, their language is even more spoken than English in Europe. Yet, their langauge is by no means an easy language to learn, rather, it is one of the harder European languages to learn.

Another interesting fact about German culture is that German is spoken in seven different countries- six in Europe, one in Africa.

10. Moving house

The things you need to watch out for when you move house in Germany

Germany, in one form or another, has had seven different capitals (not all at the same time obviously).

This is probably one of the most interesting facts about German culture, as even I’ll admit, I didn’t know this one!

During the Carolingian Empire, Germany’s capital was Aachen. During the Holy Roman Empire’s collapse, the capital was at one pint or another Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, or Nuremberg.

Since the formation of Germany, the capital has been Berlin, until Wiemar was used during the Berlin Airlift and Bonn was used for East Germany. Berlin has been used since reunification in 1990.


By Snowy