Top 50 Interesting Facts about Germany and Germans
Germany is a country in Central Europe that shares many similarities with its neighbors. However, it is also a unique country with its own customs, history, and culture. In this article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its people that will help you form a first impression and plan your holiday in Germany in an interesting way.
50 Most Amazing Facts about Germans and Germany
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions, and sights of this incredible country.
1. The first humans on the territory of Germany appeared 500,000-600,000 years ago, marking the age of the Heidelberg Man.
2. Germanic tribes settled in these lands in the 1st millennium BC, often competing with Rome.
3. The Germanic king Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor.
4. The Hanseatic League, which united the northern cities of Germany, was the most powerful trading organization in Europe for an extended period.
5. Johannes Gutenberg invented book printing here in the mid-15th century.
6. In the 18th century, Germany became the birthplace of philosophy, with great philosophers such as Kant and Fichte living and working in the country.
7. The first centralized state on these lands appeared in 1815, known as the German Union, uniting 38 states.
8. Germany is the only country in the world that initiated two world wars simultaneously – the First and the Second.
9. The final unification of the country took place in 1990 when the GDR and FRG became a single state.
10. Modern Germany is divided into 16 federal states, each with its own laws and regulations.
11. It is home to 83 million people, making Germany the most populous country in the European Union.
12. Germany is now one of the most popular countries for tourists, despite the absence of warm seas or palm trees. More than 40 million tourists visit the country every year.
13. Berlin is not only the capital of Germany but also one of the largest metropolises in Europe, covering an area 8 times larger than Paris.
14. The country currently ranks first in the EU in terms of its contribution to the Union’s economy and fifth in the world in terms of GDP.
15. Medieval castles are among the symbols of Germany. With more than 2,000 of them, many resemble fairy-tale palaces. Neuschwanstein Castle is considered the most popular among tourists.
16. Another symbol of the country is the famous Cologne Cathedral. This Gothic cathedral took over 700 years to build, held the title of the world’s tallest building for four years, and can now accommodate 40,000 people.
17. Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, built in the Rococo style, served as the summer residence of King Frederick the Great and is now a significant tourist attraction.
18. Germany boasts over 400 zoos, with the Berlin Zoo being the largest and most renowned. Established in 1844, it now covers an area of 35 hectares.
19. In the city of Reutlingen, you can find one of the narrowest streets in the world, measuring just 31 centimeters in width.
20. Germany is renowned for its family-friendly parks, with Europa-Park and Legoland among the most popular. Legoland was created using 50 million real Lego pieces.
21. The Bavarian Oktoberfest, held every autumn, is considered the world’s most popular folk festival, drawing over 6 million tourists each year.
Character and Customs of Germans
22. The primary character traits of Germans include punctuality, discipline, law-abidingness, pedantry, and pragmatism. These traits are so ingrained that they have become the hallmark of the nation.
23. Germans value personal space and typically do not openly flaunt their family relationships.
24. In Germany, receiving an invitation to visit is a symbol of great respect, and visiting someone uninvited, even among relatives, is considered impolite.
25. To strengthen family bonds, the bride and groom traditionally plant a rosebush and saw a log together before their wedding.
26. In Germany, the tradition of bride kidnapping at weddings is still observed. However, today, it’s more common for the groom’s friends to whisk the bride away to the nearest beer bar. The groom’s task is not only to locate the bride but also to cover the expenses of the kidnappers.
27. Germans prioritize rationalism and frugality, and they carefully plan the birth of a child. Typically, German families choose to have children after they have achieved financial stability, with a focus on their careers before starting a family.
28. Due to German laws, which forbid leaving a child under 9 years old alone and unsupervised, almost every family employs a nanny.
29. Germans have a strong affinity for pork sausages. With over 1,500 different types of sausages in the country, they are often served as a standalone dish or as an appetizer.
30. Germans also have a fondness for other meat dishes. Every festive table is sure to feature schnitzel, steak, cutlets, or Schnellklops – a quick chop.
31. In Bavaria, beer is considered a food rather than a beverage. In total, Germany produces more than 2,000 types of beer, ranking second in the world, just behind Ireland, in terms of beer consumption.
32. In Germany, there is a tradition of fortune-telling using molten lead. On New Year’s Eve, special lead figurines are available in shops. They are melted over a spoon, and the molten lead is poured into water to form a figure, which is then used for divination about the future.
33. Germans have no superstitions about the even number of flowers in a bouquet; it’s not a concern. However, they are particular about the color of the flowers, as white is considered a symbol of death.
34. Germans enjoy giving gifts. However, there is an unspoken rule that the value of a gift should not exceed 20 euros, except for special occasions. This practice is in place to ensure that the giver doesn’t feel obligated.
35. Schools in Germany determine the start date of the new school year themselves, and, typically, classes commence as early as August.
36. Germans like to gather in small groups or with like-minded individuals. These groups often choose a specific bar for their meetings, where the owners offer them special discounts and reserve tables for their gatherings.
37. The national German dance is the Landler. It is a cheerful and even mischievous partner dance that is loved to be performed at folk festivals.
38. The Germans also have a dance known as the Schuplattler. This is a type of Landler, which was traditionally danced exclusively by men. In addition to stomping, clapping on the thighs, and other noise, this dance includes a movement involving a kick to the partner’s buttocks.
Fines in Germany
39. One of the defining features of German life is strict adherence to rules and laws, known as «ordnung.» Violators of these rules may face hefty fines.
40. Fines are imposed for littering the streets. For instance, throwing chewing gum can result in a 75-euro fine, while discarding a cigarette butt can lead to a 50-euro penalty. Fines await those who fail to properly sort their rubbish.
41. Even heftier fines await those who litter in natural settings, where the fine can be as high as 1,000 euros because Germans are highly sensitive to environmental concerns.
42. Dog owners should also be cautious. The typical fine for not cleaning up dog feces is 10 euros, but in certain regions like Bavaria, this fine can jump to 150 euros.
43. There are some peculiar fines in Germany. For example, on some beaches, building tall sand castles is prohibited, and violators can be fined 1,000 euros.
44. In some states, there’s a fine system for indecent gestures. For instance, a person can be fined 150 euros for sticking out their tongue and 400 euros for using their middle finger.
45. However, no one is punished for attempting to escape in Germany because the desire for freedom is considered a fundamental human instinct here.
46. The country’s symbol is the German Shepherd Dog, a breed that was developed only in the late 19th century from local shepherds’ dogs.
47. Another symbol of the country is the dachshund, a breed originally bred for hunting foxes in narrow burrows. This explains the unique squat and elongated silhouette of these dogs with powerful but short legs.
48. The Baltic island of Rügen is the largest in Germany. It is home to Jasmund National Park, famous for its white chalk cliffs.
49. The second-longest river in Western Europe, the Rhine, flows through Germany, while the longest river, the Danube, originates in the mountains of southern Germany.
50. The most popular forest area in the country for tourists is the Black Forest, a dense coniferous forest located in the southwest of Germany, often nicknamed the Black Forest.
Friends, if you know any more interesting facts about Germans and Germany, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture, and traditions, and many people would be glad to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!