Now that you are in Germany, how well do you really know Germany? Find out if you knew these 12 fun and surprising facts about Germany!
OK, you know about Germany. But do you really? Apart from the stereotypes that revolve primarily around order and efficiency, there is a lot to love about Germany. But how much do you really know about your home country? Test your knowledge with these 12 surprising facts about Germany!
- 1. Deutschland, Germany, Alemania, Tyskland, Niemcy … what now?
- 2. You cannot be punished for breaking prison
- 3. It all started in Hamburg for the Beatles
- 4. The world’s first cookshop opened in Germany
- 5. Germans love to invent things, including Chinese Checkers!
- 6. Become a YouTube star – but not in Germany
- 7. Those Levis you are wearing are connected to Germany
- 8. Candles and edibles on Christmas trees started in Germany
- 9. The breathtaking nature of Germany is often overlooked
- 10. Sports should thank Germany
- 11. Beer? Only when it’s pure
- 12. The Germans invented magazines!
1. Deutschland, Germany, Alemania, Tyskland, Niemcy … what now?
The land of the Teutons has different names in different languages, but why? As so often, the question brings us back to the Roman Empire, when elegantly dressed Italians first traveled to the Rhineland in the west of the country. When asked about the name, they received very different answers from the various tribes that inhabited the area of what is now Germany. Among them were names like “mute”, “neighbors” or “people of the forest”, of course in the respective languages of that time. Centuries later, and despite factual discrepancies, most countries still cling to these terms today.
2. You cannot be punished for breaking prison
As early as the 19th century, German law recognized human beings’ natural instinct for freedom and declared escape from prison per se to be exempt from punishment . However, this does not apply to crimes committed during the outbreak.
3. It all started in Hamburg for the Beatles
Most music fans know that the Beatles’ careers really got going in the 1960s in Hamburg’s red-light district Reeperbahn. Here the band members allegedly lived behind a cinema curtain when they were young and washed in the adjoining urinals before all (but one) of them were deported for various reasons.
4. The world’s first cookshop opened in Germany
While elsewhere the Inca Empire was still before its birth, a tavern in Regensburg, known today as the Regensburger Würstchenküche (“Wurstkuchl”) began its career as the oldest continuously open cookshop in the world – the year was 1146!
Although the first evidence of the actual sausage production in this establishment dates back to the 19th century, the German love for sausages – there are over a thousand variations – is completely undisputed.
5. Germans love to invent things, including Chinese Checkers!
The extremely productive Germans can look back on a long list of groundbreaking, sometimes even rule-breaking inventions. For example, we transferred the classic square checkers game to a star-shaped game board and thus invented Halma, which was simply marketed in America as “Chinese Checkers” .
In addition to this and other less surprising inventions usually attributed to Germans, including letterpress printing, brewing, cars, bicycles, jet engines, zeppelins, insulin, aspirin, coffee filters, gummy bears and kindergartens, Germany has also brought the world the contact lenses. In 1888, the Marburg-born ophthalmologist Adolf Eugen Fick invented the first optical lenses that could be worn as an alternative to glasses.
In 1977 after nine years of development, German inventors Jürgen Dethloff and Helmut Göttrup created the first card with an in-built programmable microprocessor. They patented this invention, and it evolved into the chip and PIN cards in our wallets today.
In Bonn you will find a whole exhibition in the Deutsches musuem about the highlights of human inventions and you can see what great inventions we Germans have made.
6. Become a YouTube star – but not in Germany
Despite the best efforts of local music fans, 61% of the top 1000 videos on YouTube were blocked on the German version of the website . Behind this are probably any copyright claims as well as the German organization for performance rights, GEMA. The outcome remains to be seen, but temporarily the career as an online cover star in Germany remains wishful thinking.
7. Those Levis you are wearing are connected to Germany
The inventor of the traditional American jeans was born as Löb Strauss in Bavaria and set out on a journey across the pond at the tender age of 18. Here he changed his name to Levi and was able to secure the patent for attaching rivets to the most stressed areas of work trousers. In the course of the gold rush in California, this invention turned out to be a real gold mine.
He is also still extremely popular with the inhabitants of his tiny birthplace, Buttenheim – in 2000 they opened a museum in honor of the jeans demigod. Similar to Strauss, the children’s book author Judith Kerr and the painter Lucian Freud also went on pilgrimage and relocated to England, where they would later become the foundations of British culture.
8. Candles and edibles on Christmas trees started in Germany
It was only a matter of time before people came up with the idea of adding a dangerous component to the festive season: So the Germans began to decorate fir trees with candles and edible decorations, a custom that soon spread all over the world spread. In most cultures, however, the use of real candles was avoided, and so it is left to a minority of traditionalists in Germany and some other European countries to take the risk of ending Christmas Eve with a flaming inferno.
9. The breathtaking nature of Germany is often overlooked
Between the postcard images of green alpine pastures and dense forests, it’s easy to forget that Germany also has some other breathtaking natural landscapes to offer.
The Saxon Switzerland National Park is one of them: the imposing Bastei Bridge offers wonderful views of the Elbe, and the majestic boulders do not have to hide behind their red counterparts in Monument Valley.
10. Sports should thank Germany
The global sportswear giant Adidas and its rival Puma not only come from Herzogenaurach in Middle Franconia, but were also founded by brothers from the same family. After a dispute, the Dassler brothers broke up, never reconciled until the end of their lives and each built up a sporting goods empire for themselves. A prime example of sibling rivalry.
11. Beer? Only when it’s pure
In Germany you will hardly find a beer that has not been brewed according to the “Reinheitsgebot” , a set of rules for the production of the hop-based thirst quencher.
Although the Germans’ love for barley juice is undisputed, the country surprisingly only ranks second among the countries with the highest annual beer consumption per capita. The loudest “cheers!” goes to the Czech Republic.
12. The Germans invented magazines!
Having already invented printing, the Germans apparently felt under pressure to be the first when it came to magazines too. In 1663 the Hamburg magazine “Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen” became the world’s first regular publication. And Germany is still considered the home of one of the strongest magazine industries in the world today.