As with many other cultures, it is the people, the traditions and the language that makes the uniqueness of German culture. Germany has built up a reputation for being the country of thinkers and poets. In more recent decades its more than 80 million inhabitants aren’t just of German origin, but hail from many countries throughout Europe and around the world.
There are several key features of Germany that if you did not all ready know you do now. It seems Germans are famously known for the vast number of litres of beer they drink, hence the German beer festival that attracts millions of visitors in September. A second point is seemingly true and that is that Germans are known for their hard work and punctuality. What makes Germans so well travelled is their high employment rate, which is the envy of other European countries.
More than 95 percent of Germany’s residents speak German. In addition, there are 4 minority languages which are recognised by the German state. These are Lower and Upper Sorbian, Danish, Romani and Northern and Saterland Frisian. On top of these languages are the ones spoken by immigrant workers, which include Turkish, Russian, Kurdish, Albanian, Polish and Greek, just to name a few.
It is difficult to tell Germans apart from other Europeans when it comes to business dress. The men and women wear formal style simple dark suits. Apart from that there are some variations in dress. In Bavaria, men can be seen wearing leather trousers that reach to above the knee. Women in the same area can sometimes be seen wearing a blouse, a bodice, a full length skirt with an attached apron. These are usually only commonly seen at carnival and festival times these days.
Christianity dominates Germany’s way of life, but 4.4% of the population claim to be Muslims, while 36% do not have any affinity to a particular religion.
Symbolism in Germany
Today, the country’s most well-known symbol is the flag, which is coloured black, red and gold.
Germans are avid readers and around 94,000 new books are released every year. The International Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the most important ones in the world and it takes place in Germany. In fact, the very first book and magazine were printed in the German language.
Philosophy and Germany
Some key philosophers were German-born and lived in the country, such as Immanuel Kant, who went down in history as playing a central role in philosophy’s history. His inspiration came from the German philosophers Schopenhauer and Nietzsche who both lived in Germany all their lives. The famous political thinkers and theorists, Engels and Marx, were both German.
Germans are considered to be the biggest beer drinkers in the world and they eat a lot of sausages too! Their word for sausage is Wurst, which can be made up of beef, pork or veal. There is no shortage of vegan and vegetarian food in a German’s diet if it is your preference.
Classical music composers, Beethoven and Bach, were German, as were Handel, Brahms, Schubert, Orff and Telemann. Germany is the venue for the world’s biggest music festival called Rock am Ring. Germans like their opera too and there are numerous opera houses which provide entertainment for both locals and tourists alike.
Germans and Architecture
The country showcases castles, palaces, monuments and cathedrals to both locals and tourists. In early days, the architecture that was most widespread included spas, amphitheatres and Roman bridges. The well known Cologne Cathedral was constructed in the Renaissance era from the 15th to the 17th centuries. In the 1800s, Basque architecture appeared in Germany and the Augustusburg Castle and Wurzburg Residence are frequented today by both locals and tourists.
Germany and Art
Sculptures and painting in the Gothic style were well known in Germany and throughout Europe. 15th century highlights were altarpiece designs. Romanticism is a key to German art as well.
Germans and Celebrations
Despite Germans being labelled as formal and serious they still know how to enjoy themselves. They have high attendance at both festivals and carnivals. Carnivals are celebrated in street parades where people dress up in masks and costumes.
German weddings are associated with tradition, such as the bride carrying salt and bread, while the groom carries grain to bring wealth and good luck.
Germans and Sport
27 million Germans, it is estimated, have sport’s club membership and, on top of that, 12 million pursue individual sports activities. The Bundesliga, a German football event, attracts the 2nd biggest average attendance of all sports league around the world. The German national football team has won four World Cup matches in 1954, 1970, 1990 and 2014.
In summary, when a football match is taking place it can be viewed in town squares, restaurants and bar cafes, where anyone who wants can stop and watch and drink beer and eat sausages.