Ah, Germany. The country that gave us Boris Becker, Heidi Klum, Diane Kruger, Klose, and Manuel Neuer, is one of the most advanced countries in the world. Having said that, like every other country, Germany has her quirks that might come as a culture shock when you’re first stepping your foot there.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the,
Top 30 Interesting Facts About Germany
1. A TOY FOR YOU AND ME
In an old tradition dating back to the 1800s, known as Schultüte, German kids are given a giant cone that is filled with toys and candy when they enter school. This is a celebration of the “seriousness of life” and is one of the 30 interesting facts about Germany.
However, over time, the type of toys they receive has seen some drastic changes, with even video games and smartphones occasionally. It helps to get gifts if you’re a crying kid on the first day of school, which, if my assumptions are correct, are the majority of us.
2. BOTTOMS UP
If you’ve grown up in an area where drinking liquor is restricted, and you were too short of reaching your parents’ liquor cabinet, don’t worry, Germany may just be the place for you. Statutory warning, though, drinking is bad for health.
Anyway, Germany has one of the loosest laws in the entire world, when it comes to drinking. Now, this may come as a culture shock, but by the time someone is of age 14, they can have beer or wine, “in the company of a custodial person,” and can be considered to be one of the 30 interesting facts about Germany.
3. NO EXCUSE NOT TO STUDY
In Germany, there is no University tuition fee. If you’re reading it for the first time, I understand, calm down, dude. It’s even free for all international students to come to Germany to study.
But you have to pay for other stuff, like library fees, buying books and everything else that a student might need. This has made Germany one of the best destinations for higher education, even though Germany is one of the best places for tutoring for their sheer quality.
4. HEY BABY
According to German laws, the first name of a person must be indicative of a person’s gender. So, if your kid’s name is not like that, the civil registration office, or Standesamt, can simply refuse baby names that don’t comply with this rule.
While you can re-apply, it is a costly process, and that is the reason why many parents go for traditional names that are well-known and can be an easy giveaway as to the gender of the person.
5. SUNDAY, FUNDAY
You’re back home on a Saturday night. You need to grab something from the local grocery store. Do you want to do it the next day? DON’T!! Don’t leave anything for Sunday.
Everything, except the church, is closed on Sundays in Germany. Even something as trivial as drilling is illegal on Sundays. So, you know, if you’ve ever been a victim of this, consider it to be just another lesson in not putting things for the next day. This intriguing dilemma successfully makes our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
6. SAVE THE DAY
The first country in the world to adopt Daylight Saving Time or DST was Germany. Daylight saving time puts your clock an hour faster in summer, and an hour slower in winter. DST was introduced in Germany in 1916 amidst World War I to save energy.
7. DON’T BURN MY BRIDGES
The capital city of Berlin in Germany has more bridges than Venice, which is a city of water. Berlin has 960 bridges and 59.8 square kilometers of waterways that can be navigated. In combination with Brandenburg, a surrounding state, it houses Europe’s largest inland water network.
8. LET’S FLEE
In Germany, if you try to escape prison, you won’t be punished for it. German laws state that it is a basic human instinct to seek freedom, and therefore the prisoners have a right to want to escape jail, which is a quirky one, in our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
As Utopian as it may sound, this does not mean it is nonpunishable. Even if the act itself is not punishable, you can be held accountable for property damage or harm done to any individual in the act of trying to escape. And those are punishable, you know, I guess.
9. AUTOMATIC BAN
You are having an empty gas tank while on the German Autobahn is a criminal offense and is punishable. You can stop if there is an emergency, but having an empty tank is not one of them, as you might have guessed already.
Fines are not pretty, and drivers can get their licenses suspended for up to 6 months. Also, it’s not a good idea to take a stroll or practice for your next marathon over there and is punishable by a fine of up to 90 Euros.
10. BARR BEE
To celebrate their 50th anniversary and to pay tribute to their Chancellor, Mattel came out with a model of Angela Merkel, with her haircut, suit, and strikingly similar features. Et voila, the Chancellor, now has her very own Barbie doll.
11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN ADVANCE
Extrapolating on what Heisenberg said, there is no certainty about the future. There is also a famous German phrase that in English translates to “You shouldn’t praise the day before the night.” It means you shouldn’t be sure of something until it occurs, because then, it probably won’t happen.
By this saying, it is bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before it is their birthday. So stay up late, or do it in the morning, and nothing else. You don’t want to bring bad luck to the person. A culture shock, and an essential candidate on our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
12. A NUCLEAR WORLD
After the horrific events of Fukushima, Angela Merkel’s government announced that they would take the initiative to close all nuclear power plants by the year 2022. Germany’s tremendous commitment to this project has led them to develop renewable energy, which segues us to the next point.
13. OH, THE WEATHER
Following Germany’s decision to go utterly non-nuclear by 2022, the country has been hard at work to go green. At least a third of Germany’s energy is now renewable energy. As such, Germany has been a world leader when it comes to showing the world how to go green and reduce its carbon footprint drastically in a decade, and this is one of the 30 interesting facts about Germany.
14. HEY FOLKS
The world’s largest folk festival is the Oktoberfest in Munich. Despite its name, it starts in the last week of September. Beer flows freely during this time. It is a significant part of the Bavarian culture, especially the agricultural aspects.
It has been held since 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig organized a party to celebrate his wedding to Princess Terese on the 12th of October.
15. BEAR WITH THE BEER
Germany is Europe’s second-largest beer consumer, with 2.55 billion gallons of beer been drank in 2012, which is the lowest since the reunification in 1990. In Germany, there are more than 1200 breweries that produce more than 5000 brands of beer.
16. LET’S ALL READ
Being one of the world’s leading book nations, Germany publishes around 94,000 titles each year. Germany is also the place where you can find the International Frankfurt Book Fair.
Fun fact, the world’s first printing press was the Gutenberg Press, and if the name sounds German, it is because it is. Germany is the country where books were first printed using a printing press.
17. MOM I FORGOT THE ANTHEM
After the World War II, the third stanza of the German anthem is all that remains legal and is sung as the national anthem in Germany. During the Nazi era, the first verse used to be sung.
This is similar to where Americans sing only the first stanza out of the four, and Indians do the same thing when it comes to reciting the anthem extracted from the original song/poem. This is a good entry in our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
18. FANTA-C COKE
The widely popular drink of Fanta, actually originated in Germany, as a by-product of the Second World War. What happened is that the USA put a trade embargo on Germany, and hence Coca-Cola could no longer do business there. Therefore, to keep the boat floating, the head of Coca-Cola in Germany decided to make a domestic product with unwanted products like apple pomace and whey. Thanks to him, we have one of the best entries on our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
Unsurprisingly, it is the second oldest brand of Coca-Cola in the world, and the drink is the second most popular drink outside of the United States, with stats showing that it is drunk 130 million times around the world every day.
19. WHERE’S MY CURRYWURST
Currywurst is a popular dish in Germany, and that is an understatement. It is a sausage served with spicy sauce and is a street food that has turned into a classic with its cult following in Germany.
More than 7 million currywurst are eaten in Berlin alone. Imagine what taking into account the whole country would look like. And to top it all, there is also a museum in Berlin, that is dedicated to this immensely popular snack. This is an exciting addition to our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
20. HEY I GOT A PATENT
Germany has some of the most famous inventions of the world. If you can think of one, they’ve probably made one: calculators, light bulbs, even the automobile. And the list goes on, clarinet, insulin, the pocket watch, paraffin, gasoline, differential gear, the motorcycle, the jet engine, the LCD screen, and even the famous Walkman.
21. CULTURAL BOI
If you’re looking for a dose of culture, Germany is the perfect spot. With over 6200 museums, 130 orchestras, 820 theaters, and 8000 libraries, you can lead the cultural life to your heart’s extent.
Apart from these, Germany is the home to numerous art galleries, exhibitions, and the like. People are often seen flocking to museums than to soccer matches. Where else do you get that?
22. THUMBS UP
In Germany, the thumb stands for one. So, when ordering for beer, or anything at a café or a restaurant and you want one, don’t put up your index finger by mistake. If you have to order two, put up your thumb and index finger. And if you want three, well, you guessed it. The thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger is making it a curious entry to our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
Much like France, bread is a vital part of German cuisine. You’d have a hard time ignoring tempting bakeries as they are placed once every hundred meters or so. And boy, do they look fantastic.
The country of Germany boasts more than 300 varieties of bread, excluding the regional variations, and boasts of almost 1200 types of bread rolls and baked goods. And for the cherry on top, you get two bread museums in the cities of Ulm and Ebergötzen.
24. A CASTLE FOR YOU AND ME
Germany houses a staggering number of castles. How many you ask? More than 20,000. Many of these castles date back to medieval times, and the majority of these castles are open to the public. Many of them house restaurants, hotels, museums, cafes, and even some are for sale. Assuming you have the money for it, of course!
The very famous collection of fairy tales, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, has its roots in Germany. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, are the authors of these legendary fairy tales. These tales have been translated into several languages for readers all over the world to enjoy, and are immensely popular among people of all ages.
Notable mentions include The Frog King, Cat and Mouse in Partnership, The Twelve Brothers, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Girl Without Hands, The Three Languages, The Tailor in Heaven, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Godfather, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel, among hundreds of others.
26. GUMMY BEARS
These small fruit gum chewy candies are immensely popular all over the world. And guess which country do we have to thank for that? The Gummy Bear originated in Germany and was created by Hans Riegel, Sr.
These gooey jelly-like candles melt in your mouth, giving you an immense blast of flavors that will keep you craving for more, just like you’re probably craving for the other items on our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
27. IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME
The Christmas tree was first created in Germany, and it was during the era of the Renaissance. Rather than decorating the tree with Christmas lights, the original version was to decorate it with apples, nuts, and other food, a very interesting addition to our list of the top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
28. DON’T GET FRIENDLY
In Germany, it’s an offense to address a police officer, using “du,” which is an informal way of addressing people, like “tu” in French and “tui” in Bangla. So, if you’re a tourist, you can count the lucky stars that you found this article and saved yourself a hefty fine of up to 600 Euros. So, definitely keep this as an important takeaway from our list of top 30 interesting facts about Germany.
29. WE HAVE CHEMISTRY
If you take a look at the nighttime satellite images of Germany, you would clearly be able to make out the differences between East and West Germany.
And this is because the vast majority of the streetlights on either side were installed before the Berlin Wall was broken down, and they have different colors of light, because of the various chemicals used in them. Fascinating? Yes, and another fantastic addition to the top 30 interesting facts about Germany, list.
In German, it’s a local custom where “danke” or thank you resemble, no thank you in English. So, in case you missed something, before you go cursing your German skills, just remember to say “Bitte” or please, which is referred to you giving consent to receiving that gift or whatever it is.
Also, if you’re interested in the capital city of Berlin, here’s a must check article: 50 Interesting Facts About Berlin.
So, there you have it, the top 30 interesting facts about Germany. Auf Wiedersehen!!