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What I Know About Germans

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Here are some things about Germany and its inhabitants I have noticed during my time spent here, living in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Weiden in der Oberpfalz, Bavaria and Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein.

*** UPDATE *** The beautiful, illustrated BOOK of What I Know About Germans (ebook and paperback) created by Überlin and illustrated by Josh Bauman, is now available to purchase. You’ll find it here!

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  1. Germans are tall.
  2. They enjoy dairy products. The refrigerated section of their supermarkets are homages to experimentations with yoghurt and quark. They will put a cheese or cream-based sauce with most things.
  3. Sauerkraut is both enjoyed and oft consumed, as per the universal expectation.
  4. But the cabbage thing doesn’t stop there. Both krautsalat and rotkohl are regular meal (and döner) companions, the latter readily available in the frozen section of your local supermarket.
  5. Germans have excellent winter wardrobes (perhaps because German winters are endless.)
  6. They are punctual. It’s in their genetic make up. They cannot be late.
  7. In fact, Germans place an enormous premium on the three Ps – Practicality, Punctuality and Planning.
  8. Their babies are particularly beautiful.
  9. They are very good bike riders – nay, they are exceptional bike riders. They manage to look elegant while free-wheeling down cobbled streets, pashminas blowing out behind them. They are also highly adept at riding with umbrellas.
  10. Thus, German kids learn to ride young. They start in small wagons attached to their parents’ bicycles and move through the ranks until, at 6 years old, they are fully fledged members of the cycling community.
  11. Germans can eat. And drink. A lot. They have excellent constitutions.
  12. They love meat. In all its incarnations. Raw, fried, crumbed and dripping in mushroom sauce. But mostly, processed and stuffed into stomach lining.
  13. Germans worship wurst.
  14. Germans worship the pig. He is revered as both a lucky (Glücksschwein) and delicious little fellow in this country and there is no part of the pig that cannot be boiled, shredded, fried, processed, mashed, diced and consumed. And there is no end to the various pig likenesses that can be crafted from marzipan.
  15. They can and do, often, stomach minced raw pork for breakfast … topped with onion and a bit of pepper.
  16. They are good at mostly anything they do. Or, if they’re not, they try hard and become competent. Because …
  17. Germans are thorough. They seem to live by the ‘do it once and do it well’ principle. They work hard and effectively, despite working some of the shortest hours in the western world.
  18. Consequently, they are the strongest economy in Europe. What they do during those short hours is probably double what every other country manages to do in twice the time.
  19. For many Germans, the weekend begins at 1pm on Friday afternoon. The week’s work has been done and done well and now it is time to enjoy the spoils of a well-spent weekend.
  20. They speak English better than most English people I know, or at least get their ‘there, they’re and their’ correct every time which is more than many English speakers can say.
  21. They have unexpectedly wicked senses of humour. David Hasselhoff, anyone?
  22. … a man they continue to embrace by playing Looking for Freedom far, far more than any other country.
  23. They love a good boot.
  24. And they never scuff them. Even when bike-riding down a cobbled street in the rain, holding the shopping and an umbrella, pulling a wagon behind them with a child contained within.
  25. They do not suffer fools gladly, thus only put up with drunk Australians and Americans during Oktoberfest because we’ll pay hideous amounts of money for hideous amounts of beer.
  26. They are extremely hospitable.
  27. They seem to enjoy Westlife. And Take That. And Backstreet Boys.
  28. In fact, your garden variety house party can often remind its attendants of the universality of 90s pop.
  29. Were you aware Germany was responsible for the 90s smash, Coco Jumbo?
  30. Germans simply do not understand thongs/flip flops/jandals as viable footwear. Even when it’s warm and sunny, and a boot is impractical or too warm for the feet to be comfortable. Outside of a very small, very obviously Summer window, they will stare, bewildered, at thonged feet and quietly wonder if the wearer is mad.
  31. They love a large, mind-bogglingly well stocked hardware store (with a bratwurst stand out the front). Perhaps because another mantra of the Germans could be; if you want something done well, do it yourself. Therefore they must be permanently well equipped to do things themselves, like renovate apartments with the help of a good friend and a few beers.
  32. Germans lose their shit when the sun comes out and act in a manner I can only describe as suspicious. They flock to outdoor cafes and tip their faces to the sun … but remain in boots and jeans with a pashmina close by. Even when it’s 25 degrees. Even when it’s obvious the weather isn’t going to turn. Because …
  33. Germans are always prepared for the rain.
  34. They are very fair people and largely adhere to regulations that exist to keep things fair for the masses.
  35. This works because Germans love a good rule. And they reap the benefits of a rule-abiding society.
  36. They don’t appreciate the use of the rude finger when driving. If you give it to a fellow driver, that driver reserves the right to report you and your licence plate and you will get a fine.
  37. Not that it will break the bank – fines for breaking road rules here are, on average, about 30€. When rules aren’t that often broken, you don’t need large rule-breaking deterrents.
  38. They love the breakfast meal and fill the table with four different types of cheese, five different types of meat and a basket of bread rolls.
  39. As a general bread rule, Germans seem to enjoy a darker or seeded bread. Or at least bread with a long name that nods to exciting contents.
  40. In the same vein of their love for enormous hardware stores, Germans favour a mesmerisingly large Ikea (and other such stores in the same vein as Ikea) complete with an upstairs restaurant, a downstairs cafe and the all important bratwurst stand out the front. Because …
  41. Germans can always enjoy a bratwurst, no matter the time, no matter the place. And they never seem to drip the sauce all over themselves.
  42. Germans don’t jay-walk. And they judge those who do with a piercing, back-burning gaze.
  43. They are refreshingly comfortable with nudity. The further East you go, the more apparent this becomes.
  44. Germans are generally candid, frank people.
  45. German men don’t tend to leer lewdly.
  46. But, Germans stare. Not in a way designed to be particularly rude, but in an unabashed, piercing, inquisitive way that makes you wonder if you have food on your face or your skirt is tucked into your underpants.
  47. Germans love doing Kaffe und Kuchen for all sorts of occasions.
  48. Collectively, German people seem to have a very sweet tooth and the cake, biscuit, chocolate, sweets aisles of their supermarket are of Willy Wonka proportions.
  49. Germans can drink. And not just write themselves off, vomit in the bath tub at 2am, wedge in a kebab and back it up the following night, a la American/English/Australian binge drinkers … but drink. While the rest of the world is vomiting in the bath tub, the Germans are calmly ingesting their 57th shot and washing it down with a beer, their cheeks a little rosy, their eyes a little glazed, but their livers working as smoothly as a German made automobile.
  50. This is because Germans start drinking young. They are allowed to drink ‘soft alcohol’ at 16 and ‘hard alcohol’ at 18. By the time we’re all losing our shit with the Breezers, the Germans are enjoying a much more tempered relationship with alcohol … and the benefits of a much more match-fit liver.
  51. They don’t necessarily say it to you face, at the time … but Germans don’t like it when you go against the tide in the supermarket.
  52. Or get on the bus through the wrong door. This they will say to your face, using a microphone and an unimpressed tone.
  53. If there was a study done on countries and how well they dance in a club/bar situation, Germany probably wouldn’t be in the top ten for general skill. But would they would absolutely ace the enthusiasm component.
  54. Germans struggle enormously with the concept of ‘naked feet’. It is better feet be clothed at all times.
  55. Germans, largely, are always exceptionally well groomed.
  56. They embrace one hit wonders. Royalties from German radio probably single-handedly keep the singers the rest of the world wants to forget, in rent-money.
  57. Germans are not afraid to whip out the smoke machine on the dance floor.
  58. They are not ones to make small talk at the supermarket check-out. Or in general, really.
  59. In fact, Germans hate small talk. Words without purpose are wasted words.
  60. This is because Germans are generally extremely direct people. They do not see a need for conversational subtext. They say it as they see it, while keeping you at the appropriate arm’s length distance. Directness and distance are valued social commodities.
  61. Apropos, Germans will always try and shake your hand, even if you feel you’ve reached the status of hugging.
  62. But when you crash through those notorious barriers, you have a German pal for life.
  63. Germans enjoy frozen vegetables.
  64. Germans are generally very open and relaxed about most things sex related.
  65. They have the single most nerve-wrackingly rapid supermarket check-outs in the world.
  66. Germans seem to really enjoy watching (dubbed) How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
  67. And reading crime fiction.
  68. They love their dogs. Often their dogs catch the bus with them and sometimes their dogs even dine with them in restaurants.
  69. Germans. Love. Bakeries.
  70. They don’t tend to go to the shops in track-pants and slippers.
  71. It saddens me to report there seems to be a higher instance of socks and sandals paired together in Germany, than in other countries.
  72. Germans seem to be distrustful of any beverage that doesn’t sparkle and, despite having excellent tap water, relegate it to second best beneath the bottled, sparkling stuff.
  73. They also seem to enjoy mixing drinks. For example, their beloved cola/orange soft drink – Spezi, Schwip Schwap, Mezzo Mix. And the truly excellent Apfelschorle, apple juice and sparkling water. And why stop at white wine spritzers when you can have a red wine spritzer?
  74. In keeping with this, they enjoy mixing beer (with cola, pear, cactus fruit, lime) which, for a nation famed for its superior beer production, is somewhat unexpected.
  75. Germans like buying drinks in six packs of 1.5l bottles which are then dutifully recycled, bottle by bottle.
  76. It is extremely rare to see a German throw out a recyclable bottle and, if they do (in the midst of a brain-snap) someone passing by the rubbish bin will very quickly pull the bottle out and take it to the recycling automat themselves.
  77. During large events (festivals, Summer grilling bonanzas) there will be people making serious money by collecting revellers’ beer bottles.
  78. They aren’t big on bread slicing. Sliced bread, ‘toast brot’, is relegated to the toaster and sandwiches made with sliced bread enjoy a disproportionately small section of the bakery display in comparison to their friends, the brötchen.
  79. Germans love Dackels (Dachshunds) and seem to own several of them at once. Perhaps this adoration of Dachshunds stems from their physical similarity to wurst.
  80. Germans extract a curiously large amount of pleasure from the acts of giving, receiving and processing paperwork. They revel in it. Photocopy it. Sign it. Photocopy it again. Roll in it. Cover themselves with it and inhale the scent of paper.
  81. Those who work for the German government seem to … never work at all. It’s like their entire system is efficient enough to work by itself, without humans doing anything except photocopying and stamping things.
  82. Some German banks take lunch breaks which is unfortunate because many working people can only do their banking in their own lunch breaks.
  83. Germany loves a public holiday. Bavaria in particular.
  84. Germans have this … thing … with bureaucracy.
  85. Should a contestant, for example, on a family friendly ‘celebrity special game show’ or something, be a nude model, German TV is totally down with displaying a great deal of her portfolio, to the audience at home. Pre 9pm. In fact, pre 8pm.
  86. They are rather thrifty and don’t have the weird Anglo qualms with talking about money.
  87. Germans seem to enjoy camping and driving campervans through Europe.
  88. They are bizarrely superstitious about wishing people a Merry Christmas too early, opening presents early and celebrating birthdays early.
  89. Germans have bottomless basements.
  90. Boris Becker and Til Schweiger are the go-to celebrities for game shows.
  91. Germans. Love. Football. Love it. In fact the most passionate you will ever see a German is when they are watching, talking about, thinking about, dreaming about or playing, football.
  92. You may also catch a German in an act of passion if you raise the topic of cars. Germans love their cars and are very proud of their ability to make such good ones. Just ask them.
  93. It is a good thing they have good cars and an Autobahn of terrifying speed because the Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s dirty little inefficient secret. Delays comes with your ticket purchase, free of charge. It’s DB’s gift to you.
  94. Most Germans seem to always buy or possess the appropriate public transport tickets, even though there are so many occasions upon which they could get away with not having one. This sense of honesty will eventually rub off on you.
  95. Germans of a certain age really enjoy Jack Wolfskin jackets. Come Winter, Germany turns into a sea of identical jackets, people’s age distinguishable only by the brand they’re wearing.
  96. There is an obvious divide when it comes to what kind of high school you went to and what kind of leaving certificate you gained. And what kind of further education you go on to do, whether it be university for an extremely long period of time – honestly, no one does university quite like the Germans – or one of Germany’s millions of Ausbildungen (apprenticeships).
  97. The whole country quivers with excitement every New Years Eve when they sit down and watch Dinner for One. But the supremely odd thing isn’t a national obsession with a 1960s black and white sketch comedy from another country that has nothing to do with New Years Eve, but the fact that this is the one film the Germans don’t dub.
  98. Germans have this thing with online privacy. It is a rare German indeed who uses their full name on Facebook as opposed to a bizarre cross section of their first and last names, eg: Mo Na Berg or Le Na.
  99. Germans can’t queue. Full stop, the end. They don’t know how, they have no interest in trying. This is the one time Germans embrace a lack of system and what happens when a queue is called for is the unfortunate culmination of Germanic forcefulness and uncertainty in the face of a system-less world.
  100. Take, for example, what happens in a supermarket when another check out line opens. Instead of calmly indicating the person at the top of the queue, yet to unload their basket onto the conveyor belt, should head up the new checkout line, there is this mad dash like a scattered flock of sheep, and one’s standing in the original queue becomes completely irrelevant. If you are fast enough, you can theoretically come from well behind and end up getting served before the person five people in front of you, who has been patiently waiting for 10 minutes. And no one thinks anything of it.
  101. Germans can open a beer bottle with anything. The couch, a coffee mug, a banana. Body parts. It’s like they all secretly take a class at school when they’re eleven, in preparation for a life time of beer consumption.
  102. Should you not have a garden, but yearn for one, you can rent a small square of land called a Kleingarten (or Schrebergarten). Here you can cultivate a garden and sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labours by resting in a little hut. The Kleingärten (small gardens) are kept neat by the adherence to a set of rules specifically developed by and for each community.
  103. In the average German garden, big or small, you will notice they seem unable to resist the lure of the garden gnome. There is almost always one, lurking sinisterly beneath a bush, or partaking in some sort of Mise-en-scène with other concrete characters and a perfectly clipped shrub.
  104. Stefan Raab. He owns Germany.
  105. Germans are inordinately proud of their states, districts, district-free cities, city states, regions, sub-regions, dialects, entirely different vocabularies, sub-cultures, traditions, festivals and basically being really different from the ten-house village that is 5km away because that ten-house village is in an entirely different region and therefore nothing like this village.
  106. Generally speaking, Germans simply love celebrating.
  107. And dressing up.
  108. And that dastardly Schlager music which they all know the words to.
  109. Often all three passions are combined at an inexplicable pop-up festival that features, without exception, the following: medieval beer stalls, a pommes stand and a wagon with a dazzling array of sugared nuts, waffles and chocolate covered baked goods.
  110. And Spargel. They love Spargel and anything to do with Spargel, like Spargel peelers and Spargel steamers and Spargel platters. Forget Christmas or Easter or any other notable markers, the German year revolves around Spargelzeit.
  111. Germany has assumed the döner kebab as a national dish, Germanified it with pickled cabbage and elevated it to where it now sits, loftily, alongside other key German snacks like currywurst and fischbrötchen.
  112. Germans largely respect ‘Quiet Time’ on Sundays, when they don’t vacuum, use lawn mowers or other loud appliances and generally keep noise levels to a bare minimum. In some parts, an unspoken evening Quiet Time is enforced, via disapproval or neighbourly note leaving.
  113. Church bells are exempt from all Quiet Times.
  114. As ingrained in the German psyche as Quiet Time on Sunday, is the Sunday viewing of crime show, Tatort.
  115. Germans have really embraced the organic food trend and dedicate shelves to products emblazoned with ‘BIO’.
  116. Germans make loyal, warm, life-long friends.
  117. German television seems to produce a startling array of game shows very close to – but not quite the same as – ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’
  118. They like saying ‘juhu!’
  119. While they may borrow the concepts for their solid repertoire of scripted reality TV, the German population yields the strangest, most awkward characters in the entire genre.
  120. Germans can have entire conversations that consist solely of the word ‘doch’.
  121. Occasionally they replace ‘doch’ with ‘eben’, if it fits, grammatically.
  122. They like buffets.
  123. And ‘house shoes.’
  124. Germans seem to enjoy bringing activities to the park, when the weather is fine. Things like wooden blocks to throw around and rope to tie between trees as a sort of make-shift tightrope.
  125. They like drinking yoghurt.
  126. They can eat enormous sausages clamped between very small bread rolls, smothered in sauce, while walking and talking, and not getting a drop of it on themselves.
  127. Germans make for extremely excitable sports commentators.
  128. Mark Twain was not lying about the German language.
  129. It is always too hot, too cold, too windy, too warm, too humid, too snowy or too rainy.
  130. Germans blame 95% of ailments on the weather.
  131. They may be the only people in the world to a) have a word for and b) accept the notion of ‘Frühjahresmüdigkeit‘ – ‘Spring time fatigue’.
  132. On that note, no one does a compound word like the Germans.
  133. Germans like going to Ikea just to eat hotdogs.
  134. No matter where you go – to a festival, on a road trip, to a sporting event – you will find a clean public toilet.
  135. Contrary to all evidence pointing to a socially restrained and reserved people, Germans are actually quite excitable.
  136. They are extremely good natured when it comes to laughing at themselves (and accepting lists like the very one you’re reading.)
  137. Meals with Germans can be quite quiet affairs, the participants seeming to adhere to the unspoken rule of Eat Now, Talk Later.
  138. Many Bavarians have enormous moustaches.
  139. The mullet is alive and well in Germany.
  140. As per Point 99 – Germans Cannot Queue – they are terrible pusher-innerers.
  141. As per Point 123 – Germans Like House Shoes – many Germans seem to choose a pair of fake Crocs both for themselves and their children, as a general house/garden shoe.
  142. Many, many Germans (and, to be fair, Dutch people) seem to love camping, camper-vans, camping grounds, and holidays that combine all three in a country like France or Italy.
  143. Germans love their ‘hobbies’.
  144. A favoured hobby seems to be hiking.
  145. Indeed, Germans enjoy walking in general, particularly after a meal, or indeed on a quiet Sunday afternoon (in pairs, wearing matching Jack Wolfskins).
  146. Tchibo.
  147. Germans are, surprisingly, rather enthusiastic applauders. They especially seem to enjoy falling into the rhythmic clap, while performers are taking their bows.
  148. I have noticed Germans seem to enjoy ‘seasonal decorations’ for their front doors, doorsteps, gardens etc. A floral wreath for Spring, a twiggy one for Autumn (along with pumpkins and red leaves), your classic evergreen conifer for Christmas. Und. So. Weiter.
  149. In keeping with their love of all things ornamental, Germans really seem to like home decor stores, ranging from the kitsch (Nanu Nana, Butlers) to the positively chic (any store that’s name features the words ‘Lebensart’ or ‘Landart’).
  150. You will never actually see a German doctor at the appointed time. That famous German punctuality doesn’t exist in medical practices.
  151. At many social gatherings, you will find a plate of cheese cubes and grapes, held together with a toothpick.
  152. Germans and their pharmacies have a lot of faith in the healing powers of homeopathy and herbal teas.
  153. Speaking of teas, Germans enjoy fruit teas immensely, including flavours such as ‘strawberry and cream’ or ‘blueberry yoghurt’.
  154. Germans love being in, strolling and/or hiking through, or just flat out enjoying, ‘the nature’.

This list (at the time numbering 78 points) ran over at Überlin in 2012 and for a reason no one will ever understand, went viral. Then it went viral again, in 2013. The enormous response to the list has thus far included over 100,000 likes on Facebook (IMAGINE!) mentions on the Facebook pages of Stern, Bild.de and Financial Times Deutschland, a write up in the Swiss paper, Tages-Anzeiger, and listings on all manner of forums and other sites. And that’s why we made a book!

781 thoughts on “What I Know About Germans

  1. soy lin

    Hi Dear Soy Lin
    Happy Christmas! Hope it was fabulous & white.
    I love this article. I have 2 german bosses in my role in Singapore (of all people!) i can empathise with lots of this list. Not sure about the nudity one though (thankfully)!
    Love soy

    Reply
    1. atpresent

      You’ve clearly never lived in Berlin, where I was born. A lot of people I know are vegetarian, Doener is way more popular here than Bratwurst, we jail walk, walk in flip flops and shorts in the summer and do a lot of other things which you describe Germans wouldn’t. I am also notoriously never in time.

      Reply
        1. Alica

          In Berlin and Hamburg 😀

          Like the traffic light at the biggest shopping street:
          30 seconds to walk and 60 to drive for cars.
          but they always have just about 30-20 seconds because everyone just ignore the red light.
          Only tourists stop…

          Reply
        1. atpresent

          I am sorry that you think so Jan. I understand that a lot of people in Germany look jealously at Berlin, because its poor and ugly but everyone wants to fucking live there. Its the counter-part of German monoculture, traditions and boredom. Its Ku-Damm, Techno Parties everywhere, Government City, Capital, Russian Architecture, NSA, Cold-War, Vibrant, International, Artsy, you name it.

          And you should be happy that Berlin is not decoupled from the rest of Germany like Paris is from France. Pretty much any French person I asked told me that Parisians are pricks and live in the their own world. Friends that live in Paris. Paris is not France and vice versa. C’est ca.

          Berlin is a part of Germany and so is Weisswurst and Hefeweizen. I am happy that Liv lived in more parts of Germany than I did, but I just don’t like it when people want to tell as an Berliner how Germans are. I invite all of you to come.

          Reply
          1. AMS

            It’s simply not true that everyone wants to live in Berlin. That’s what you want to think. I have to live in Berlin and I heard a lot of people saying (like me) that it’s okay and fun for a certain period to live here but not for a hole live. And I heard people that were born in Berlin saying, when they’re going to have kids they’ll never raise them in Berlin. Of course I also have friends that really love living here and wants to stay. But you have to mention both sides.

          2. fjva

            Well I live in Paris, and I find there are more French people who hate on Paris and Parisians than the Parisians hate on the rest of France.
            It’s amusing in fact that a lot of people who live in Paris say the same as what AMS says of Berlin : good to live in for a while, but if you have kids, it’s best to raise them somewhere else.

            This being told, I love Germany and love the list above.
            But it’s also true that it’s not true everywhere. I’ve been in different German towns in different Länder, and the vibes and behaviors really vary. And it’s cool 🙂
            (I find the coolest people are in North Rhine-Westphalia. Didn’t like much Berlin myself)

          3. Cedric

            Really, nott everyone wants to live in Berlin. There is even a quite famous song: “Ich will nicht nach Berlin” (I don’t want to go to Berlin)
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhlfIx7t46o

            It is right, Berlin is a big part of Germany and paradoxically it is not like the rest of Germany. It is different, what attracts all people that cannot identify with those clichés mentioned in the list above. [In fact I like Berlin as much as any other town of Germany :)]

        2. KatLou

          That’s so rude. I live in Bavaria, Munich actually. I love Munich and Berlin for very different reasons. I would live in Berlin in a heartbeat. What a shame your parents never taught you manners.

          Reply
          1. Tom Rheker

            Hey KatLou =) (and the others)

            No one has to love Berlin or has to want to live in Berlin – but to say everyone hates Berlin is just wrong.

            I am happy being in Berlin but I guess you can find your peace anywhere. In Germany in any city and in the rest of the world in any city, as well.

            And, KatLou – I guess, some people of today just forget about their parent-teached manners. Don’t understand why.

      1. AufgewachsenInNiedersachsen

        That’s because Berlin is a lot more multi-cultural than rural cities. Which also means that anyone growing up in Berlin (after the war, and let’s say 1970) will have picked up more foreign influences from ‘Ausländern’ than a German growing up in a different city

        Reply
        1. Lance Boyle

          Frankfurt is the most international city in Germany. I’m not sure what a “rural city” is. I think what your suggesting is silly since there are Ausländer everywhere.

          Reply
      2. Mieke

        I think most of the things are true, I have been in Australia and I know thongs are the most important shoes over there, of course some People wear them in Germany but its not the same 😀

        Reply
        1. Nils

          I’ve lived in D for a couple of years now, but at last I realise why people look so strangely at my feet. I love flip-flops! But at least now I know it’s not down to my skinny feet or ugly toe-nails 😉

          Reply
        2. Nicole

          MOKASSINS! That’s what Australians wear, don’t they?
          And UGG BOOTS. A fashion item that has saddeningly been accepeted as “proper boot” by most German girls and women!

          Reply
      3. Michaela

        Ist doch immer super zu sehen das ein paar mal Urlaub in unserer Heimat machten und dann behaupten sie wuerden uns kennen

        Reply
        1. Schmitzi

          Tja Michaela, speziell für Leute wie Dich, müsste Punkt 20 erweitert werden um “…but they have difficulties with their own language”.
          Zudem sollte es extra für Dich einen neuen Passus geben:
          “Lot of Germans go the basement for laughing!”

          Reply
      4. soba

        That seems to go with 105, “Germans are inordinately proud of their states, districts, district-free cities, city states, regions, sub-regions, dialects, entirely different vocabularies, sub-cultures, traditions, festivals and basically being really different from the ten-house village that is 5km away because that ten-house village is in an entirely different region and therefore nothing like this village.” 🙂

        Reply
      5. ilopol

        I been born and raised in Berlin (third Generation) that is true but only when the condition allow it I never saw somebody went in in flip-flop to a concert etc if you never on time I wonder how you can keep a job Smile

        Reply
      6. Alejandra

        some of the items on the list do not match completely. but most do !
        i live in germany, in berlin, and some(a lot of people) do use huge hiking boots with thick white socks in the summer ^^

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Reasons I Suspect I am Becoming German « A Big Life

    1. Pete

      -Every single German child aged 5-12 has a Razor Scooter and a weird box shaped orange backpack with reflectors. They are also always racing at least one other kid somewhere on said scooter.

      -For a weatlhy country, 25% refuse to invest in a shower curtain. Somehow they enjoy showering in an open tub, in a cold room and are able to keep the rest of the bathroom dry.

      -When at the beach, they cannot stand the feeling of a wet swimsuit on their body. As soon a they get out of the water they quickly change into their “reserve” suit. (more true with older generation and parents with children)

      -Trekking poles are a sporty version of a medical walker for the elderly.

      -40 to 65 yr. olds love zip off hiking pants and they have not two but three lengths…..shorts, pants, and capri’s.

      Reply
      1. Jürgen Voß

        Re: “-When at the beach, they cannot stand the feeling of a wet swimsuit on their body. As soon a they get out of the water they quickly change into their “reserve” suit” I want to add that maybe this is because we were told to do so by our parents since wearing wet clothes (even swimsuits) in windy weather can lead to all sorts of awful illnesses – summer flu being the most harmless, compared to a cystitis etc. I was taught as a kid to act thus and I never regretted it, Said as a frank, direct, outspoken, candid German 😉
        Oh, and BTW: using these trekking poles you mentioned is called “Nordic Walking” and I dislike it enormously – not just because the noise these sticks make on the pavement is driving my dog bonkers. It does the same to me, and besides, IMHO it looks just plain silly.

        Reply
        1. Eve

          So true. My husband (American) just wants to dry off in the sun, I need to get a dry swimsuit on. It’s just kind of how you’re programmed, although I do know that cold doesn’t cause illnesses, which my American husband, on the other hand, thinks when I sleep with the window open, even in winter (as a good German should). 🙂

          Reply
  3. admin Post author

    Haahahahaha, it might be a Muensteranian thing, this LOVE of pop, although I have come across SO MANY Germs who just love all things boy bands…

    Reply
  4. Julia

    I love it, Liv! And most of it so true!

    But can I remind you of the musical choices on your “birthday” party?

    And I do NOT like David Hasselhoff.

    X

    Reply
    1. Frank the frank

      No one here LIKES David Haselhoff. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I was something like a ‘party dog’, and on no occasion, party, festival and so on ever those guy’s lyrics have been played! In these days, David Haselhoff was considered to be a relic of the late 80’s and early 90’s, and no host would have ever even considered to play his ‘music’!
      Although, I have to admid, I’ve been told that Germans are considered to be fans of ‘the Hoff’ in general, at least in the USA, but I still don’t know where this comes from…
      Oh, by the way: Berlin is part of Germany, yes, but I, by all consideration, don’t know anyone who ‘is jealous’ of Berlin… Jealous becuase of what? State deficit? Bad educatin system? Overrated real estate prices? Shall I go on? That’s just the kind of explanation the Berlinians use to whitewash their own unhappy living situation 😉

      Reply
  5. Malte

    hahah i love it… been a german having lived in oz for about 2 years… so much of this is sooo true… especially the naked foot thing… loads of german do wear thongs… but not without socks haha (i have to say appriciate the oz way more)

    and well.. for most of the other things is holarious how much its fits the profile of an ordinary german… i only dont agree with the David Hasselhof one.. (but probs most germans would)
    and i got to extend the smalltalk bit… smalltalk with a cashier in a supermarket.. ppl will look and think “can this line move any slower” but once you meet them in the evening over a beer (and maybe mention how good german beer is) they wont stop talking 🙂

    but really well written!!!

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      Haha, well, I’m german, too, and I found out that americans don’t really like talking about beer at all… they just drink what they have and get annoyed when you try to advertise finally buying a good beed, not Corona, this mexican excuse for brackish water hahaha…

      Reply
          1. Liv Post author

            I have no doubt some of you have fantastic taste! Don’t worry, when everyone thinks of beer and Australia, they yell, ‘FOSTERS!’ But we have sooooo much more to offer!

        1. rolloutofbed

          Have you spent any time in Brooklyn or Portland? People are so into it, they make it at home, write magazines about it, buy growlers, grab an empty table and then lament on the goodness of the beer. Heck, I’ve got a box of home brew in my kitchen.

          Reply
          1. Liv Post author

            I think the States is a little bit like Australia with beer, perhaps. Gets a bad rap courtesy of a couple of beers (Fosters for us) but there is actually a huge passion for the stuff and pockets of real beer culture all over the country.

        2. Lance Boyle

          Maybe educate yourself about the craft beer revolution which has been going on for 30 years. German beer is quite boring in comparison.

          Reply
          1. Frank the frank

            Oh really? To which German beer brands do you have access? Löwenbräu, Becks? Yeah, those beers are quite a dissappointment, even to Germans. But what other brands are we talking about here? I’m from, Franconia, and here we have the highest density of breweries in all the world, and I can tell you, the best German beer isn’t brewed for the export, but by little family-hold breweries. Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t think that Americans are not capable of brewing good beer, I just never heard an American here in Germany complain about the German beer, but I heard a lot of Americans in the whole world complain about their own beer in comparison with their own…

          2. Ian

            Frank the frank hat recht! Franken has many, many little breweries that are relatively unknown. One of my favorites was the Kommunalbier in Neuhaus near Nürnberg. That being said, my favorite by far is Südhang Bier from Amberg/Opf (where I used to live)…nectar of the gods!

      1. Heather Schable

        There are some true beer lovers here in the US. I don’t drink bad beer. I look forward to the day when I go back to Germany, and sit down to have a delicious beer. The beer I had when I was in Germany was the most delicious beer I have ever tasted. I do enjoy talking about beer as well. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          Hahaha, you are the perfect example of American beer lovers! I never cared much for it, a cold lime and lager on a summer’s day was enough for me. But just by virtue of living here, I have learnt more and tried more. But I can’t do a big beer with dinner, there’s no room left for food!

          Reply
      2. ulriike weywoda

        Decades ago my husband discovered Corona and we lugged and don’t remember how many 6packs back on the plane!!! I am not really a beer drinker, prefer good wine and am very annoyed that almost all German Riesling in the US are sweet. If I want sweet I will eat Lindt chocolats.

        Reply
        1. Janet MacLaren

          I love German dry Riesling – but unfortunately the Germans keep it all to themselves. I have looked all over for it in the US, but will have to wait until I go back to Germany to drink it again!

          Reply
          1. Phil

            that’s for we are greedy bastards. 😉
            i’m from palatine and i’d always prefer a good wine or a weinschorle over a beer (though sometimes i like one), but i guess if you decend from a wine- growing region, that’s supposed to be normal. 😉

      1. Ulrike

        Thongs with socks…how can anyone walk in thongs with socks on? Anyway, unheard off when I was living in Germany which was till 1970.

        Reply
  6. admin Post author

    Hahaha this is true – the Germans are always in FINE form over a beer at the bar. It’s when they’re shopping that there is NO time for inefficiency haha.

    Reply
  7. phil

    Touche,
    Incredibly accurate, well mostly. I have two very good German friends (1 in Munster) and you pretty much nailed it. especially the straight forward way they go about their lives. Excellent.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Phil – I have a bit of fun with this one, to be fair, poor Germans haha. But I do love them, they’re great people.

      Reply
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  10. amelie88

    hahaha the flip flop thing–that’s a European thing, not exclusively German. Americans wear flip flops all the time (I’m from NY and I’ve seen girls wearing them in freezing weather which I don’t understand) and when I do wear them, I get stared at a lot, especially in France. They consider them beach shoes, not street shoes.

    And the sweatpants/gym wear attire to the store–another American thing that Europeans don’t get. In Spain (where I currently live), it’s considered weird but people will assume you are on your way to the gym. In France it’s a HUGE no-no.

    Reply
    1. Ingrid

      I 100% agree with you! Spot on! I am German but not very traditional and some things I can not gt myself!! 😉 Brgds Ingrid 🙂

      Reply
    2. Sille

      I can’t agree with the flip-flop thing. I’m from germany, and especially young people around here seem to like wearing flip-flops just as much as everybody else. maby not at cold days, but during the summer flip flops are my n1 shoes 😉

      Reply
        1. coopersonic

          Unfortunately, most people just don’t have the feet to wear FlipFlops/thongs (i.e. too ugly). And after all “there are more Shoes between Thong and Boot, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.

          Reply
    3. Stefan

      Flip-Flops are no shoes at all!!! 😉

      Well done list, Liv!

      The thing about David Hasselhof… He is as popular because of a concert after the Fall of the Wall – Even although nobody really likes him 😉

      Greetings from München
      Stefan

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        What I love about David is that no one really likes him, you’re right, and I think most of the time Germans are laughing at David. But David feels ADORED by Germans (and the Swiss, to be fair) and acts like he is the King when he’s here.

        FLIP FLOPS ARE SHOES MY FRIEND! The only ones you need!

        Reply
      2. Bob

        Yes, beer is a great favorite in Germany. I particularly liked Ayinger, but it’s hard to find a German beer that is anything less than very good. I don’t recall which beer was served at the Platzl in Munich, but I do remember that it was served in three-liter kegs. It went well (fantastic) with the Bavarian shows they put on back in the 60’s: Schuhplattler, Jodeln, skits with Erni Singerl, Peter Neu, Karl Baierl, usw. Sadly, folksy entertainment seems to have faded away (my observation from about 20 years ago). Regarding public rest rooms, the only one I ever used that was not as it should have been was at a border crossing point. Using the rest room at the Munich zoo was one of my most memorable experiences. I was standing at the men’s relief site and heard a swishing noise behind me. I turned my head upon feeling something brush against my shoe and saw an older woman mopping the floor. She obviously considered this to be all in a day’s work. I accepted it as a part of the culture and simply went on with what I was doing.

        Reply
        1. Phil

          not that i’d recommend, but we do have bad beer over here, too. mostly the very cheap one. ever tried oettinger or germania püls?
          or one of the tops of my no- don’t- drink- it- list: karlsberg. quite a big brand, sold pretty often (at least in the southwest part of germany) but it only tastes okayish when it’s ice- cold. don’t let it warm up for even 5 minutes or it’s yucky.
          and to top it, it gives you massive headaches the next morning. took me a couple of parties to find out.

          but in general i guess it’s up to personal taste.
          and of yourse germans are the best in making a good beer. maybe the irish can compete. and eventually some begians. but other than those… 🙂

          should be an add- on to no. 105: germans tend not to be very patriotic about their country, but more of the region they come from. and their beer.

          Reply
    4. Jeff Maltz

      I agree with you about the sport clothing. I would never wear a sweatpant, unless I’m working out or walking in the park for a workout.
      I can also explain wearing socks with sandals. I wear socks with sandals and clogs in the USA. Why? Your feet sweat a lot even when you wear sandals or clogs and wearing socks helps it keep the odor down. I also wear low cut socks with tennis shoes. Men’s feet tend to have strong odors. More of them ought to socks.

      Reply
    5. Chris

      Ha, ha, it’s not that we don’t ‘get it’, but that we have (sometimes) do have a sense of style and fashion 😉

      Reply
  11. Jean

    I showed this to my partner who is German Canadian. He immigrated to Canada after WWII as a little boy, but has gone back several times to visit relatives, etc.

    I totally agree about sweets, bakeries and breads for Germans. But then, it’s part of their gastronomy. His mother was formally trained in pastry-making and hence, she made fantastic, multi-layered tortes, kugelhof, etc. where one cannot equivalent recipes in English. We’ve tried, because he wanted to buy gift book for his son who is a chef in Toronto.

    And yes, dearie agrees that the precision of German language is not as easily conducive to small talk as other languages.

    Yes, I agree that German culture fosters precision, punctuality, pragmatism and direct verbal expression to achieve something. I worked for a German company in Canada and we had ex-pats from German working for the firm. I also supervised some Germans, who were all those adjectives but nice folks.

    Reply
  12. DCTdesigns

    Love this. I was in Munich in my 20s. Walking down the street one day I had to part a crowd of people approaching me. I had this odd sense of coming home. There I stood 6’1″ in a sea of giants. I had never felt anything like it. Never been the shortest woman in the room. I was tickled and awed by me own sense of small.

    Reply
  13. thisislemonade

    I would like to report re #58, Germans have finally made it to be trend-setters on the fashion front this spring… I am seeing socks in sandals everywhere, it is not a trend I will be following but Forever 21 has it. Germans are officially trendy. This is a momentous time in the history of the world – much as I love Germans, I did not expect to ever be able to say this 😛

    Reply
  14. averybusygirl

    Hiya! I have nearly peed myself laughing not because it’s funny (it is well-written and enagages intelligent humour) but it is absolutely true! I have also live in Germany and witnessed much of it first-hand! It’s made my day to know that I am not the only one who noticed these things. Thanks for the giggle! x

    Reply
  15. cassmob

    I really enjoyed this list of Germanic behaviour. Apart from the Aussie shoe and casual wear habits I suspect my great-great grandfather’s German genes may have reached me. Must remember #26 when driving in Germany next time 😉 Really look forward to the Bavarian version of the series.

    Reply
  16. wolpertinger

    I just found your blog and I guess you’ve heard it a thousand times: You’re an awesome writer. But maybe I’m just prejudiced because you liked Münster during your stay. Being a Münsteraner myself I got perhaps a littlebit “regional pride”.
    Anyway: Your last point confuses me. Don’t you think the water here is kinda hard?

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Thank you so very much. I loved Münster and hope to go back there one day – or back to that part of Germany, anyway. So, re: the water (or Tapwatergate as it is being called on Überlin) I meant more that bottled water seems to be given so much more preference. I love German tap water and drink it all the time – but whenever I go to someone’s house and ask for water, I get it out of a bottle – still and sparkling! And a glass of tap water at a restaurant/cafe is unheard of.

      Reply
      1. feli

        The water at my house is kinda hard, sadly. But I drink it sometimes. Many Germans drink it but it’s nice to have “fresh” water from the store at home. Also most people (not me) prefer sparkling water.

        Nevertheless, I wouldn’t offer a guest tapwater unless I don’t got anything else. Even to close friends I’m apologetic “oh, sorry, I only got tapwater” cause it’s kinda bad manners since tapwater’s free.

        And of course you don’t want tapwater at a restaurant! You pay them to get “fancy” food, it’s expensive and stuff.

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          The water thing is so great – it is like a ‘class system’ of waters. I am always happy with tap, wherever I go, and love getting a jug of still, tap water when I eat out, or a glass of it when I’m at a bar and need hydration. But here water is sparkling and bottled unless you specifically request otherwise (and they look at you really weirdly, like you’re asking to lick the ground).

          But I did notice, up North, the water was terribly kalky – we had to de-kalk every few weeks. And I never got knots in my hair until I came to Germany, so I think it is a bit ‘hard’.

          Reply
          1. Bengt Weiberg

            It might come a bit late but Germany indeed has a Class System for water, named the “Mineral- and Tapwater Act”. It’s even federal law! Look here: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bundesrecht/min_tafelwv/gesamt.pdf

            As you can see: Germans have regulations for everything.^^ And I love it, even if I’m breaking them sometimes. Something you could put on your list, for a friend the typical German has a last very important rule: If a friend is in need of something, rules are there to be broken (which is even a German proverb, “Regeln sind dazu da, um gebrochen zu werden”, “Rules are made to be broken”).

            Greetings from Hannover, capital city of the federal state of Niedersachsen! (regional pride ftw!!!)

            Bengt

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  18. Emi

    I was just in Germany a week ago! I wasn’t there long enough to notice all of these things, but I was definitely amazed by their bike riding abilities! I’ve never seen anyone ride bikes like they do! It’s awesome! I’m from America so I was assuming that their love of beer/bratwursts/sauerkraut was a bit of an exaggeration… totally wrong. They love it! I loved eating it! It was an awesome time and I can’t wait to go back! I think I want to live there someday!! 🙂

    This was a great post!!

    Reply
    1. rgrzona

      I was wondering about the bike riding abilities when I first read the post by Liv, and I am still struggling…what do you mean in detail when it comes to bike riding skills? I thought we ride bikes like everyone else would do !!!

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        Well, it is more the huge acceptance and love of cycling. I come from a country that isn’t that keen on cycling – I mean, we can and do ride bikes, but our big cities are by far and away car cities, cyclists are really ignored (and disliked, because the poor things have to cycle on the roads, there are no cycle paths). So it’s more Germany’s bike culture I am constantly in awe of (and the whole riding a bike on icy pavements while looking quite good!)

        Reply
        1. Tim

          I’m currently living in Sydney and thats one of the few things that I really miss here in Australia. (in addition to the ‘tap water thing’ :D) But if u see a bike, its always a good one though! Haven’t seen an old and rusty one yet 🙂

          Reply
          1. Liv Post author

            It is true, Sydney-siders aren’t huge cyclists (although, they’re around!) But we do drink tap water, often filtered, and water comes free at restaurants, and bartenders are legally obliged to give you free glasses of water. No bottled fizzy stuff (unless we’re being European hahaha.)

          1. Hannah

            Then you might have not been to the Netherlands before. Their caring for cycling is unheard of. They literally seem to have a “bike before anything else” rule.

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  20. winterlust

    THIS is why I need to live in Germany!! Pretty much every little observation you’ve made has left me thinking, “perfect!” especially this one:

    “Germans do not see a need for conversational subtext. It is a waste of time and Germans do not like wasting time. If you cannot say it as directly as possible, do not say it at all”.

    Although I only got to see Berlin, I was blown away by how much I loved the place.

    Great post Olivia!

    Reply
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  23. standrewslynx

    Having spent a year in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland working alongside a number of Germans, this post cracked me up because it’s all so true.
    Your point about the sense of humour was spot on. In Britain (and I suspect elsewhere) the stereotype of Germans is that they are a humourless race. In fact, the Germans & Swiss-Germans are just incredibly dry. Really, really dry. And I love it. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ingrid

      well, I am afraid that most English people do not understand the sense of German humor and the timing. Germans tend to be much more serious than English people, or anglo-saxons but they are surely not humorless. Germans, as a tendency, believe that there is a time for everything and take work much more serious than people in the UK…as a tendency (as I was told by a few people who lived there). Germans try to do their work, then go home and have fun. English people should watch the German TV shows and the audience, then they will see they are not bone-dry or even humorless. Infact the humor is becoming a lot more “gutsy” these days, especially when it comes to making fun of “Uncle Adolf” and those times, which used to be an absolute no-go only until a few years ago. But…we do not “Schadenfreude” so much! 😉

      Reply
      1. Stephanie

        That’s another Thing an English friend told me: You cannot have a German friend without ending up in a conversation about WWII at some Point and the difficulty to determine which effect it still has on Germans today.

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          It is true, I have had many a very good and very interesting conversation, not only about the war, but also about the effects it had on future generations. I have found, for the most part, Germans are actually very open and willing to talk about it, and hyper aware of how it drastically affected the way they are perceived by other countries.

          Reply
      2. dinahjerusalem

        actually, Germans generally are sick and tired of the English constantly harping on about WWII, but will usually politely talk about it if the English bring up the subject. I am German. We grow up saturated in war-guilt and don’t really fathom the love-affair the Brits have with this subject.

        Reply
        1. Yoko

          In the 70/80 th. we where thought in school, to be ashamed to be a german, because of the WWII. They begun early with it, in the elementary school. in every history, social, ethic, religious – lessons you’ve been told about the world war II and “our” guild. In late 90’s there war a question from a Magazin who has asked k elementary-School-Kids! ” Are you prouf of Germany?” They should send in the answer per mail etc. The reaction from Jewish Zentralrat, was dissatrous! “Why should they proud? Could you be proud of a folk wo have murdered lots of poeple etc..” After that very few has send in thier answer. An most of the Kids where very, very confused what they have done wrong. Those Kids where born 40-55 Years AFTER the wwII! So, sey we are sick about it, we dont understand the english peoples disturbing fascination WWII? This is sick!

          Reply
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  26. daMax

    Hahaha, this list is SO true. Very nice. I would disagree with #21 and #78 though. Me and many of my friends do actually wear flipflops and drink tap water but then again, maybe we are not the typical germany anyway 🙂

    I’m looking forward to reading the list about Bavaria.

    Reply
    1. MCBuhl

      Flip-Flops und verkrumpelte Füsse – würg! Wenn die Träger von Flip-Flops wenigstens ihre Füsse pflegten… Aber so wie die meisten aus ihren Gummistiefeln direkt in Flip-Flops umsteigen. NO-NO.

      Reply
  27. random german

    me as a german can confirm most, but not all of that! could also be that i am still a young grown up… most of these things relate more to people like my parents :). nevertheless, funny to read. you always get teached in class about cultural differences in OTHER countries but nothing is more refreshing than foreigners that confront you with a bunch of stereotypes about your own culture…

    Reply
  28. Demortuus

    This was hilarious! I burst out laughing more than once or twice. I agree with most if it, especially the bank thing. Just recently my banker pestered me weekly to come in and confirm my situation (I own shares, so apparently they wanna hold client contact). I just couldn’t make it because of their business hours. So i finally went on my week off. If they could just shift their hours maybe 2-3 hours, everyone would be happy. But then again they would be home late and that would be unacceptable.
    Like some people already wrote, I cannot agree with you on Hasslehoff. Absolutely no one talks or even thinks about him. And even if we do, you can almost be sure we are drinking and making fun of baywatch. Really, since Knight Rider isn’t screening on any main TV Channel anymore, I never heard anyone mention Hasslehoff in a serious conversation.
    I’m from Bielefeld btw. you may have heard from it (or not) as it technically does not exist. In addition we apparently harbor Michael Jackson, John F. Kennedy and a few others in our non-existent underground Lab. Also known as the “Bielefeld Verschwörung”.
    You may wanna visit here sometime, as it’s really close to Münster and if you need a guide, I’ll be happy to help 🙂

    Reply
  29. caroline @trend-daily

    How completely hilarious-I haven’t got time to finish the list so I’m going to print it off and show it to my German mum too!!! (even she manages to have a good laugh about some of the things we see over there, but then again she has lived in England 40 years longer than she did in Germany!) Don’t know if I dare do one about us Brits? Maybe in private at first!!

    Reply
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  32. Karsten

    Great list. For some habits a view from the ouside is necessary. Often I nodded in agreement but I wouldn’t have noticed this.
    Greetings from Münster, Piusallee123, first floor, right.

    Karsten

    Reply
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  34. Chris

    As a German let me just point out that every single point in this list is absolutely, irrefutably and 100% true.

    Thx for the laughs! 😀

    Reply
  35. Colin

    I found out about the Germans inability to Que the hard way when trying to board the bus ! Some how I was pushed right to the back of the ” Que ” ! also here the Germans don’t stand up while the bus is still moving they wait until the bus stops before disembarking . In England it was common practice to stand up well before the bus reached the bus stop !

    Reply
    1. feli

      In a full bus it’s sometimes impossible to stand up early, cause noones moving out of your way. Well, Germans on a public transportation are just horrible. So glad when I can afford my own car ;D

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        Hahahahaha true! No one moves! Unless they need to get off, then it’s every man for himself (including on the DB)!

        Reply
  36. cchh

    Actually Dinner for one is a production of the northern german television and Miss Sophies Birthday is on Dec. 31st.

    Reply
      1. Andreas

        its actually raw hamburger meat topped with onion, Its a widely common snack on volunteer firemen’s events. So it is literally the Fireman’s Jam. Some also say “Mett” 😀

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          Ahhhhhh yes, I am familiar with mett. My mortal enemy. I don’t think I will ever be able to accept it as a viable meal option.

          Reply
        2. ulrike weywoda

          It used to be called Tartar, Metwurst is something different, or at least it used to be a spreadable sausage.

          Reply
  37. Ingrid

    I really love this list! I agree with most comments except I do not all the cheese-sauces. Maybe it is because I am a tomato-sauce fan! 😉 I am a middle-aged (north) German woman and I have been in contact with many foreigners in my life, especially Americans. They have made me aware of many of those things on the list, which the average German would not notice or even question. I have got to like the more American-relaxed-way, especially when it comes to clothing. Don’t dare to go out in sporty clothes in a Sunday here… it is very silly in my view! Honor the Sunday, it is Church-Day! Well, to whom, these days? The majority of Germans are not religious anymore. I also do not like the German way of starring at people, becaus it really IS RUDE!..and makes other people very uncomfortable. Often I get into a conflict about certain traditions and parts of the mentality here…especially when it comes to dependability because it can put a lot of pressure on a person but on the other hand make one feel rather secure! Depending on the circumstances. Anyway, I like to call myself a European or even a “Weltbürger” rather than a German 😉 I truly believe in a common Europe!

    KEEP IT UP……this list is very good…nicely written as well! Congrats!

    Reply
    1. feli

      Haha, the staring. I just remembered I once had a staring duel with a stranger on the bus. Our eyes crossed and we kinda started staring at each other grumpily until he cracked and then we both started laughing. Never talked thou, since we we’re on opposite sides of the bus and left on different stations. So, maybe we have to take the staring thing with more humor! xD

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        You’re definitely starers, it is something I still have to get used to. We bought a chilli plant at the weekly farmer’s market in town a little while ago, and when we were carrying it home, everybody stared. It was the first time my German boyfriend really saw how much Germans stare. He was traumatised.

        Reply
        1. Elke

          The staring thing is just – not polite – and, by the way, it is done all over the world, just not so obviously. When I realise it, I ask “may I help your” and things are good.
          Maybe its just our way of small talk?
          I was tought to look into people’s eyes when talking to them, a behaviour of mine that sometimes is misunderstood by Germans, English, French, and so on people.

          I love your blog – you are so true! You obviously had your fun her – and thats the best of it.
          Have you ever read Oh these English by George Mikes? And do certainly know Billy Brysons books. To me, you are in the best society you ever could think of.
          May I hug you?

          By the way, I found the link in a forum, Brigitte – you certainly know the magazine-

          Reply
          1. Elke

            sorry I forgot:
            I do stare, too – but mostly with a (hopefully) humorous or earnest or apriciatory resp. silly remark. I this small talk?

          2. Liv Post author

            I love the idea that staring could be your small talk – fascinating possibility!

            I do love Bill Bryson, I actually started reading him quite late, when I was laid up in hospital and his was the only book around. He’s a very funny man.

            And yes, you absolutely may hug me!

  38. Isa

    You have undoubtedly scanned this old hat: http://store.hipstery.com/blogs/news/6877137-how-to-be-german-in-20-easy-steps-part-2 And please elaborate on Stefan Raabed-of-a-laugh, for the love of God (haha). Even when I read your list many moons ago, ‘it’ was old hat, but still funny—but required some padding out. Adam’s pipping you to the post now. Get a move on with your book How to be a good German, or whatever it’s gonna be called. Infuriating or what.

    Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          Innnnteresting. Have you any idea if WIKAG was on a Facebook page recently, have had a fair bit of Facebook traffic over the past few days.

          Reply
      1. Isa

        Oh I get, I think. Like, d’oh. You lot must be in cahoots. Semi-good money-making scheme: überlinblog, hipstery, and you. Hats off 😉 I can’t wait to see people those t-shirts!

        Reply
      2. Isa

        Nah, not much of a facebooker, I haven’t seen the wikAG. I only know that one of my mates shared hipstery’s link. But I’d checked it a couple of daze ago, couldn’t be arsed commenting then, though. Today, I’ve been, dare I say it, ‘busy’ writing inciteful comments. It was fun

        Reply
      3. Isa

        Not in cahoots? For f’s sake – that T-shirt crap was bound to happen some time. There’s an f’n t-shirt for every thing, and a bag. Quite crappy, really. I mean, they’re not even that good, in my not so humble opinion. What else could be done? Too many ideas, too little time, or money, either way, time is money, or is it the other way round ;). Plates. Ties. Socks. Caps. The list is endless. Watches. Tea towels. Key rings. Stop. No more merchandise.

        Reply
  39. Funky dude

    I am not sure about some statements, but in Germany the average work 40,6h/week, so way more then most countries in Europe… If they have such a strong economy it is because they exploit people. Germany doesn’t have a minimum wage! Also they still produce a lot and that they just can afford because they can pay 5-6€/h a person.

    A lot of what you write is simply “european” not german.

    German beer is disgusting dude, everybody knows that in Europe.

    Reply
        1. Biene

          I am a German living in the USA for the past 21 years. And i do agree German Beer is fantastic !!!. I drink Wahrsteiner (dunkel) i did while living in Germany and i drink it over here. A guess you can’t change old habits lol.
          There is no drinking Tapwater for me over here or back home in Germany.
          I love this post a friend shared it on Facebook .

          Reply
  40. Sade

    Thank you for this laugh-out-loud article! As a laid-back American, married for two years to a no-nonsense, non flipflop appreciating German, I have cried in frustration more that laughed in sheer joy since I moved to Germany. Spelling out so many of the German idiosyncracies, as you have, reminds me why I love this country and it’s people!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      You are so welcome! An illustrated e book with 20 more points is due out soon, keep your eyes peeled!

      Reply
  41. Liz R

    As a German/American who’s lived in the US since 1979, you made me miss my old country. My very German traits are often misunderstood here in the States, and even have caused my much younger and un-worldy boss to fire me, but I would not change it for anything. Thanks for a very accurate, humorous, tolerant and caring depiction of the people and customs in my native country.

    Reply
    1. travelangels

      Liz, many greetings to the States, as a German living in Greece, I couldn’t agree more! what a well observed description of us, wherever we are, and wherever we come from, we should never forget our roots!

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        Yassu! Tikanis? Whereabouts in Greece do you live? I love the Germans and I love the Greeks – how did you wind up being a German in Greece? And it is true, we must never forget those roots (mine are still in the red soil of home.)

        Reply
        1. travelangels

          Kala evxaristo!! I live in Athens, happily married to a Greek for 22 years, I do enjoy reading your blog very much and when you come back to Greece with SG please let me know!

          Reply
    2. Liv Post author

      You are so welcome. I think there are such clear cultural differences between where I come from, (and the Brits, the Americans and other English speakers) and the Germans, it’s fascinating. Took me a while to get used to the butting of heads and the different ways we both have of doing/saying/being … but I do love the Germs, you’re good people.

      Reply
  42. Markus

    #99 (Germans can’t queue): When I grew up in Germany, I specifically remember my English teacher telling us that the British can queue really well! So I heard that exact point the other way around.
    As a German immigrant to the United States, I enjoyed reading this whole list very much, and I shared it on Facebook. I have also printed it and will give it to my American wife to read, so she can understand my idiosyncrasies even better. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahaha, the British PRIDE themselves on queuing, it is a national past time! I have a drop of that British blood in me, so I appreciate a nice queue in a shop or in front of an information desk. The Germans just stride on in and up to the desk and order. It drives me crazy! So glad you enjoyed the list, and thank you for sharing (and commenting.)

      Reply
      1. feli

        The problem is even if you want to be polite and queue, people will just run in front of you and you’ll end up waiting forever. I was a very shy person with stuff like this for a long time but someday I just said to myself “get used to the Ellenbogen-Mentalität” (which means poking you ellbows into other peoples ribs to get in front, don’t know if there’s an english word) and now I’m just as rude as the others, except when I see someone shy trying to queue.

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          I push now too! And if a damn kasse opens up next door, and I am halfway down the line, I run to that kasse and get there first! It is so horrible and something you would get slammed for doing back home, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

          Once, I was in a long line at a cafe, and someone pushed in ‘to look at the sandwich cabinet’ and then went to order. A lovely stranger came to my rescue and said ‘this lady was first’ … who did the customers get angry at? Me and the kind stranger. For thinking ‘there was a queue’. Man.

          Reply
  43. S

    Very true 🙂 Love it! Only two things missing for me: 1st Germans love the police, especially using it as a threat or calling it for any (and I mean any!) percieved disturbances
    2nd Also related to police, Germans don’t like noise very much and it is likely that the police will knock on your door if the neighbours find your music is too loud. It is called “Ruhestörung” – don’t even know how to translate this into english…

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Yes! They do not like noise, very true. I always forget vacuuming shouldn’t be done on a Sunday, or after a certain hour in the evening. I guess Ruhestörung would be ‘disturbing the peace’ in English.

      Reply
  44. please-accept-my-need-for-online-privacy

    About #130: Don’t forget ‘Winterdepression’ and ‘Sommerloch’. We’ve got nothing for fall, though…yet

    Reply
      1. please-accept-my-need-for-online-privacy

        Your list was the main topic today at work. Thank you for portraying us in such a positive manner. I’m not used to that, it’s nice for a change.

        Reply
  45. Anna K.

    This list cracked me up, thank you very much for this well written “report” about Germans. Most of whose points are really true, especially about small talk, beer, cars, weather and Deutsche Bahn!

    Very mixed (from too rainy&cold till too bloody hot) greetz from Germany!

    Reply
  46. Andreas

    Greetings from Saxony 🙂
    What a great list, thanks for that look at us germans from a foreigner. Its so funny AND true! 😀
    But, seriously, i never want to live another way 😉

    Two weeks ago i travelled with 3 friends through scotland. We visited a castle an had to buy a ticket. There were 2 queues and when it was our turn we order one after another our tickets fast, as always. Its normal for us, but the ticketseller shook his head and smiled. He said “Germans, always efficient!” 😀

    Sry for my bad english 🙂

    Reply
  47. Berliner Goere

    Awsome list! And most of it is so true! It always drives me mad when there’s a long line in a supermarket and -finally- they open a new one and other people run for it and get there first! And after living for over 10 years in the US, I have to say that the we Germans are the 2nd rudest people! Most of my friends say that the American way of greeting is false, but what is so bad about asking someone how they are and wishing them a great day with a smile? And say “Excuse me” when passing a person? Or help a mother in a bus with her stroller? Most of the time she either has no space for the stroller, because the busses are overcrowded,or she doesn’t even get on it….and nobody helps her to get on or off….(and I’m only speaking for Berlin)
    I had to laugh about Stefan Raab, but can not agree with Hasselhoff! Nobody likes him!
    About the flip-flops: I think it is “illegal” now to even drive with them, because they are a driving hazard! (at least that what my mom told me…lol)
    And yes, we do love Hackepeter (ground raw pork)! And you can even buy it mixed with raw beef! Americans scream:”Food contamination!” about that!
    And I do miss the German bread and rolls! And the first thing I always eat when I’m back in Germany is a Doener!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hurrah, thrilled you love it. Come onnnn, David Hasselhoff sneaks onto radio, into parties and conversation here a LITTLE bit more than he does in other countries. But I genuinely think you guys celebrate him completely wickedly and not at all seriously. As for the queueing thing and the kasse RUSH – watching people from the back of the line GALLOP to the new kasse, while my arms are burning from holding 4 litres of milk, makes me SO wütend!

      As an Aussie, the Hellohowareyou greeting is absolutely par for the course – and I miss it a little bit, a ‘naaaa, wie geht’s dir?’ always wants to drop from my lips here, after a ‘hallo!’ … but that would just be too weird!

      Reply
      1. Anna K.

        I visited Australia 6 times and every time I was stuck after the “how are you?” -question from strangers. Especially at cash points, till I asked one young man back “Do you really wont to know it?” His face… I will never forget his face!

        Another thing is “nice to met you”. Me: “Hi, my name is Anna” – stranger: “Liz, nice to met you” – me: “… (???)” Please tell me what you reply to “nice to met you”???

        Reply
  48. Markus

    After moving from Germany to the United States, I had the same issue with both for a long time. After a while, it became second nature to respond with “I’m fine, how are you ?” for the first, and “Nice to meet you, too” for the second.

    Reply
  49. tiny tine

    I am german and I had a good laugh when I read this post. As a matter of fact it made me kind of home sick. I live in the US now and while I do not agree with all points I think you are spot on with others.

    Also GERMAN BEER IS GREAT I miss drinking something that doesn’t taste like water with a hint of beer flavor. And it is true I used to love to put Banana Juice into my beer lol

    There are so many funny german comedians these days but I guess a lot of the humor gets lost in translation.

    Thank you for keeping it light and amusing to read.

    Reply
    1. feli

      There’s also lots of people who have guest-Hausschuhe. We don’t want our guest to get cold feet but street shoes dirty the floor! ^^

      Reply
  50. Melani

    I am a chronic dancer. It is my life passion and addiction and sadly 53 just BREAKS my heart to pieces. I have been living in Freiburg for 3 years and good dancers are almost extinct species, unless you go to a special course. And even there you can automatically distinguish a German from basically any foreign dancer. 🙁
    Please give me some hope. Is there a place in Germany where people can actually dance like for real.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Bless them. I love watching TV shows like The Voice, where the audience has to dance and move – Germans have so much passion for it, but absolutely no rhythm, and my German boyfriend heartily agrees.

      Reply
      1. Sebastian Felzmann

        You’ve nailed it! I’m a compassionate dancer – but not a very skilled one 😀 My wife is always saying: “You’re dancing to a beat that no one can hear – but you!” Being German means that you will NEVER ever catch a fine sense for rhythm – but hey, we’re almost 82 Mio people, so we will never notice if we’re not abroad 😉

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          And it is the German dancing passion that I so appreciate. The clapping, the stamping, the jumping – you guys just get right in there!

          Reply
  51. shotbyscott

    HI from fellow Antipodean in Deutschland ….. I didn’t see the word Tartort mentioned once. You know you have been eingedeutscht when you can’t wait from Sunday night. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahahaha it’s true! I think I have managed to only ever catch 2 episodes of that show (I am a Fake German!)

      Reply
  52. Stefan

    You might wanna add something about cars:

    Germans NEVER lean or sit on cars that aren’t their own. If you do it in front of a German, it will trouble him deeply (but he will probably not say anything). Touching someone else’s car is clearly invading privacy.

    Reply
      1. Monny

        that reminds me to a wedding I was invited to. I went outside for a smoke, leaned to my vehicle and suddenly had a bunch of kids ’round me asking ís this yours?’. Well, Land Rovers are not that common here in Germany, so my old piece of crap is a rare breed here. Also it’s not shiny nor clean and has some (ok, a lot) dents from offroading. Soon the kids were climbing all on to the Land Rover and had great fun because they were NEVER allowed to climb on their dad’s car.
        Then one horror-stricken dad arrived and ordered his kids to come down IMMEDIATELY! I’ll never forget his face when I’m told him that I allowed them to climb onto the Landy 🙂

        Yes, I am german 😉

        Reply
          1. Monsterkater

            It’s not only the privacy thing, it’s also because if you sit or lean on it with something metallic you could accidentally scratch the paint. Therefore it would have to be repainted and in order for it to be neat, the wohle body part would have to be re-done. Which can easily get expensive, especially on an expensive car. And because insurance companies rarely pay this (because they say it’s willful negligence or gross negligence) a German would be scared to lose a lot of money only because he leaned or sat on somebody else’s car.

            Great list btw, had trouble not to laugh, and sooo true! Greetings from Frankfurt/Main. 😀

  53. Ana

    Very true. Another thing I noticed while going out, is that they love Michael Jackson (it seemed to be always at least one Michael Jackson song in the clubs) and David Hasselhoff.
    And some of my German friends don’t seem to understand why, if we already made a plan, we should not follow it? Even though, there might be a good alternative that popped out last-minute, we should stick to the plan.
    They love to drive fast and they do it well.
    In Munich, it is so peaceful, the police might be very bored (except during the Octoberfest) that they gave a 50 euro fine to a friend because he was riding his bike “too fast”, he wasn’t as fast as a car, but they didn’t care.
    Walking around the park, my friends did not let me cut an apple from a tree (because the apple tree is from the government, they were afraid it was not legal?) but then on the next corner, there were 4 people completely naked, enjoying the sun… so you can’t eat apples that are not yours, but you are allowed to get naked wherever/whenever you want! And this is also not a problem in mixed Saunas.
    And in several occassions I saw a lot of very drunken Germans at 3am, buying tickets to get the ubhan home (when they could easily just drive without paying)…

    Reply
      1. Markus

        Yes, Germans and cheesy songs! I’m a German immigrant to the United States. My American wife is really amused by that. In fact, the first time I took her to Germany, she got to watch the Eurovision song contest. Talk about cheesy songs! Another point to add: Germans take the Eurovision song contest very very seriously.
        While we were in Germany at that time, we were watching a Tatort episode, and they were showing a customer in Frankfurt’s red-light district getting what he paid for. So here we were sitting in the room with with my parents/her in-laws, watching a very racy scene. She is quite open-minded when it comes to that, especially for an American, but that made even her blush. Of course the acceptance of nudity on German TV is on the list.

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          Classic German TV, bit of a nudity here and there at about 7pm. It always makes me laugh and I notice it because Australia is a no nude zone until after 10pm (I think) and all swearing is always bleeped. German TV feels sooooo relaxed in comparison, we are such prudes!

          Reply
  54. Mandy

    Hi Liv,

    just wanted to let you know that this list really made me laugh. I am german, living in Australia and I really found parts of myself here. Great observation and summary. Socks and Sandals… hilarious and shocking at the same time. But the truth for many of us, especially older generations :D.
    By this time I learned to wear thongs at least 3/4 of the year and show my feet openly.
    Reading this makes me think of going home, put on some boots and a big fat jacket (I am afraid I wouldn’t survive the german winter anymore) and have a beer and a bratwurst, or 5 ;o). Or by this time a Gluewein.

    Lots of fun further on.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      I am so proud of you that you show your feet, and probably always have Barfüß, oder? I hope you’re loving Australia and not finding the warm Christmas too strange!

      Reply
  55. feli

    I’m laughing really hard right now. As a German I can say that this is pretty accurate! I love that it’s not only the normal cliche.

    But there’s one thing: Many female Germans aren’t so fond of football, cars and beer (in that order). I’d say 50% of the women roll their eyes when the guys start again with those topics. ^^

    And the queue thing is so true. I absolutely hate it how stupid people in Germany are about this. It’s especially annoying at bus stops. They just refuse to be logical and let passengers get OUT of the bus first, so that there’s more room to get INSIDE.

    Wearing socks with sandals should be illegal. xD We had one teacher, who wore sandals with socks the whole year round, even when it was snowing. And it were always really ugly socks in s**t-brown or puke-green.

    The punctuality isn’t something we’re born with but our mother tend to yell for hours if we’re late just 5 minutes xD At least that’s my reason why I’m not tardy (very often).

    And hush about the DB thing! Don’t tell our secret! Nooo! How could you! Noone must know… damn xD

    Reply
  56. MD

    Very good list indeed.

    However, one more thing we germans love doing is the following:
    Instead or in addition to greeting someone we (once) slowly nod our heads at each other. Seing this almost every day. Even I do it a lot 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahahahaha yes, I noticed the other day someone greeted me with a VERY quiet ‘Servus’ and a long, slow nod. And absolutely not a trace of a smile.

      Reply
  57. fioramiriel

    Also: Garbage seperation (Mülltrennung) is something, that German people do more extensively than any other country I’ve ever been in.

    Reply
  58. Daniel

    I really enjoyed reading this list!
    I as a german can relate to many of my friends or families I know when laughing about something you wrote! Great job!

    Some things really depend on the part of Germany you are visiting, but a high amount of people do really (like) what you wrote. I read one persons reply here, where he or she wondered that they were not allowed to get an apple from a tree, which could have been owned by the government, but a few steps away, people were allowed to be naked.
    You can’t be naked everywhere you want to be, but there are many special places where you can take your clothes off or you can do it on your private ground 😉

    Reply
  59. neureality

    switzerland: how exactly did u come to the terribly wrong conclusion that our tages-anzeiger is “the national newspaper”?…(just to let u know, there is no such thing as a national paper…first because there are quality newspapers and rainbow press ones…second because we got 4 official languages of which 3 are widely spoken and many italian or french speaking ppl won’t understand german well enough to read a newspaper…

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Ah, thanks for the tip, I must have been wrongly informed. I do know it has a pretty readership and for many of us monolingual countries, a paper with that size readership would tend to get lumped into the ‘national paper’ family. But of course, that doesn’t take into account the other national languages and speakers. Point taken!

      Reply
      1. neureality

        it does indeed but it is sort of battling with a second widely read paper called the neue zürcher zeitung (nzz)…those are the two quality newspapers that have the biggest run in the GERMAN speaking part of our country…now for the italian and french speaking parts (notably smaller than the german part even if u take french and italian as one) there are different ones…and then there is the analog to what u certainly know from germany (bild) which is called blick and most likely has a bigger readership than the quality newspapers…actually i guess the two free papers called 20minuten and blick am abend distributed widely all over and even written in french (at least 20minuten) are the ones with the biggest run…to me they do not fit the same category as tages anzeiger and nzz, thou…they’re reduced to what u can and want to read on ur morning commute to work…and they’re more kinda rainbow press as blick is…(blick am abend is a derivate of blick)

        Reply
  60. foksy

    oh great another one of thosei’m gonna pretend i’m really special by posting 100 stereotypes about a country based on my experience in four towns i have been to. seriously i dont wanna be rude but if you really think our economy is running great because of our punctuality than you really…sorry…are an idiot. how so many of the factory workers are foreigners, working their ass of because too many germans are too good for that? how come they get paid shit compared to people who sot in offices all day long. it sounds like you just mashed up a bunch of strereotype rap into another blogpost. you know maybe u should walk around with your eyes open, and maybe you should get out of your world and speak to some people that aren’t in your super duper comfort zone. speak to people in the street, to artists, to musicians, to people who have no job, go to the east of germany and have a look around there…maybe youll discover that there is a world beyond your perfect stereotypical german RTL view. blog posts like this make me sad. oh yeah, i am german, btw…

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hey Foksy, thanks for your comment. I get you’d be frustrated on the basis that, no, this list isn’t particularly ‘deep’ or comprehensive. The list is mostly a bit of fun, and was written with a lighter-hearted approach to ‘knowing Germany’ in mind – it certainly wouldn’t stand up to much academic testing! (And no, I wouldn’t say your economy is purely down to your punctuality, that would be a little too simple, wouldn’t it?) I suppose I can only write about what I see, and what I have seen has been limited to where I’ve lived and travelled. Lord knows there is so much more to see and do and learn about this country, and I very much look forward to it. Thanks again for your comment, all feedback greatly valued.

      Reply
    2. Markus

      My dear friend, please lighten up. This is a list of stereotypes. As such, it doesn’t apply to all Germans, but it’s not wrong. As a first generation German immigrant to the U.S., I find this list hilarious. And I would find such a list just as funny if a German wrote it about Americans (it probably already exists somewhere). For example, if that list includes that Americans like to drink beer, own guns, drive pickup trucks, and yell Yee-Hawww, it would by far not apply to every American. But I don’t have to go far into the countryside from where I live (in Charlotte, North Carolina), until I find folks where all of the above is true. Yes, true Rednecks do exist. That’s what makes this so funny.

      Reply
    3. Teo

      come on, don’t be so negative. Each country has its dark side, and I must say I am quite happy for living in Germany, it could have been worse. Now to your point regarding the factory workers and people who have no jobs, I was raised with the mentality that you are paid depending on the education and the studies you have, which isn’t quite unfair. You can only have a small number of jobs for artists etc. if too many want to be an artist, of course many will end without having a job. But this is in every country the same, not only in germany, so don’t be so pessimistic, enjoy the good things.

      Reply
  61. Kisa

    I am actually dying of laughter – I’m german and find it quite refreshing to read such a “stereotype” list from another angle…kind of other angle… I want mooore *grins*

    Reply
  62. Stefan

    haha, it’s quiet funny.

    And here i thought i’m fully german. xD
    Well, now i learned again something about the people in my country. xD

    Reply
  63. Thomas H.

    It´s hard to hear so often we´d like Hasselhoff; I never heard a song of him in radio and he´s very rare in TV; I really hate the connection to him…
    There are a few more points i do not agree / at all / but most of points are true and funny 😀

    Reply
  64. gina

    in my experience, Germans have NO sense of humor! that and they are generally unhelpful. They keep to themselves and don’t help strangers without being directly asked.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Oh noooo, I am sorry you’ve found that. Although you are right, they do tend to keep to themselves when out in public, and more often than not, you do have to ask for help.

      Reply
    2. Teo

      as a german, i can’t agree with the sense of humor, we definitely have one, but it’s quite different in comparison to other countries. 😉 but we really are unhelpful, i don’t even know why, a friend of mine told me, that she was very surprised when some girls in her architecture lecture didn’t know how to use certain machines and expected that everywhone would rush to their aid. I think germans, generally don’t like to interact with other people they don’t know in public places.

      Reply
      1. Liv Post author

        Teo, you’re onto something. I have discussed before, with German friends of mine, about why Germans tend to keep to themselves unless directly approached. I remember one (extreme) situation on a bus, when I first got here, when a woman was hugely distressed and absolutely no one came to help her, except for one girl, after about ten minutes. The bus driver didn’t even blink. I had no German at that point, so couldn’t do a thing. I was struck by how little everyone interacted. Obviously there are loads of people who would help and do talk to strangers, but generally, Germans do keep to themselves in public, I agree!

        Reply
  65. Franzi

    thanks for making me smile! i haven’t been home in 1.5 years so your post brought back a lot of memories….oh the jack wolfskin jackets 😉 and the fog machines! lol

    Reply
  66. Sonja

    I’ve joked about these things all my life, and to see them in print is hilarious. Thank you! I’d like to add a couple observations of mine: 1) Germans blame a lot of ailments (dizziness, fatigue, headaches) on Kreislauf – WTF? and 2) they think that drinking an ice cold beverage will get them sick. Oh, and driving in an air conditioned car too long will also get them sick.

    Reply
  67. Lind

    It doesn’t surprise me that the author would struggle with the notion that not all cultures abuse alcohol (points 49 and 50)? ..and no, it’s not because ..”Germans start drinking young”. Germans consume alcohol in moderation, something people from binge-drinking cultures (the author) finds peculiar and attempts to rationalise to themselves.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      ’tis true! Younger generations of Australians do tend to binge drink, quite like many other cultures, something we thankfully grow out of. I certainly wouldn’t say, in my experience, all Germans drink ‘in moderation’ – these Bavarians can put away the beers faster than I can water. I also certainly wouldn’t say Germans or Australians ‘abuse’ alcohol as a rule – there’s a difference between ‘drinking a fair bit’ and ‘abusing’, wouldn’t you say?

      Reply
      1. Lind

        Thankfully, binge drinking is confined to the Brits and Aussies, so no, I don’t agree it’s ..”quite like many other cultures”. As a demonstration, watch the Aussies in action at Oktoberfest, it’s cringe worthy. Bavarians are not representative of all Germans, and neither are “some” of the few you encounter.

        Reply
  68. weisecubez

    This is easily one of the greatest things I´ve read about us so far! And, aswell, a big “thank you!” for not calling us “Nazis”. I´d invite you to a lovely panned Bratwurst the next time you stay here! Since then:

    All the best! 🙂

    Reply
  69. Rolf

    Absolutely !
    Frau Liv – your blog is wonderful 🙂
    As a German guy living in the US for the last 23 years I had to laugh out loud so many times while reading your observations about our Teutonic Gestalt.
    And yes, is there any other manor of wearing sandals – socks are needed !!! Can’t have those feet visible to the world.
    Oh ja, a Bratwurst would be great right about now – ready to go sleep just now – but would always, always have time for a Bratwurst.
    Oh the Hasselhoof – or some such Name … pardon me, I left that part back in Germany – LoL
    Again, Frau Liv – my greatest respect for you unique perspective. It is a joy observing us Germans through your eyes.
    Good Night from Washington State 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Thank you so very much, I love that it resonated with you. I can send a Bratwurst over to you, for a morning snack!

      Reply
      1. Rolf

        LOL – you are too kind Frau Liv 🙂
        Have a great Weekend
        And to all Germans in Deutschland:
        “Juhu” – schoen, dass es euch gibt 🙂

        Reply
  70. izzy

    For the first time in my life, I actually feel like a list has actually done us justice. (And yes, I’m German.) Thank you!!

    Reply
  71. Susan

    Hilarious, love your list, except #104: Stefan Raab, I can’t stand him.

    And, according to your list, I am not really german… 😉

    Reply
  72. Liz

    Gosh, this is so sweet XD I don’t like these prejudice stuff about Germany, Americans and so on because it’s always the same shit and mostly too old to be true. People change, nations change and your lovely posting is just so refreshing. Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m proud to be German, we have our positive and negative points (as every nations has) and your funny and lovely style of writing makes me so happy!

    Reply
    1. Bunde

      Absolutely great! As I was born near to Münster, living there for a few years during my time at the university and now living in Bavaria (Munich) I can approve (almost) every single point! THX!

      Reply
  73. Chuck

    I have heard, but can’t verify, that the American sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes”, had enjoyed some popularity, after inserting footage of a nude housekeeper for Col. Klink.

    Reply
  74. Marty Pole

    Liv, hi…I’m not sure if you’ve realized what you kicked loose with this observation…but by now you probably do!! This is darling, hilarious, a pisser and just so true…and yes aside from Sitzfleisch and Schadenfreude, I think you have covered all the bases and then some…;)
    Great work…great observation…keep it up!

    From an expat who emigrated over 20 years ago…and has that thing on his mind…perhaps on a daily basis…if not so, at least every other or every other family vacation, business call and inner conflicts…:)

    Marty from NYC

    PS: I may distribute this to my US and expat friends in my inner circle with your blessing…?..

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Marty, go forth and distribute, thank you! As for not knowing what I kicked loose, my God, it has been huge! The list first went viral about eighteen months ago and it was enormous. This week, it has done it again. What I love, is that 99% of the feedback is a) from Germans and b) so positive. It makes me very, very happy. I hope you can get your bratwurst and pretzel fix in NYC (are the pretzels as good?)

      Reply
  75. walt

    Must agree the author has been in Germany and apparently knows a few things. But, you cannot full understand or know them until you marry one (if you marry two, you are disqualified). Good following, though…….:-)

    Reply
  76. Peter

    *haha* I enjoyed reading this – an old german saying:”The one who made a journey is the one to tell something.” (Wenn einer eine Reise tut, so kann er was erzählen.” – and if something won’t fit to my point of view about my home country and its great citizens, bullet 105 works excellent for me 😉

    …and thank you for mentioning some essential qualities about loyality and friendship, which I think is one of the greatest quality of german people 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      I have to agree Peter, about the two of the greatest qualities of the German people. And point 105 – my God, drives me crazy. And I think Bavaria might be the guiltiest of them all, with their thousands of regions and dialects!

      Reply
  77. Mark

    No. 134? Seriously? I lived in Germany all my life and constantly struggle to find a public bathroom, and when I finally do it is generally dirty beyond belief and (of course) without any toilet paper. The only good ones are the “self cleaning” Sanifair ones…

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Oh nooooo – I have (generally) always had a relatively good experience with public toilets! Even if I have to pay, which I am happy to do, at least I know they’re spotless and there’ll be toilet paper. I always compare them to public toilets in Australia (we don’t have the Sanifair thing) and Germany usually comes out on top – I guess it’s all relative!

      Reply
      1. fwolf

        Note: PAID toilets are something totally different thou, eg. those run by some sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-level company in German train stations. Those are always clean and nice, no doubt about that.

        cu, w0lf.

        Reply
    2. fwolf

      Same here. If you wanna have toilets to eat from (literally!), do a brief visit to (the Republic of) Ireland. Even the nastiest smoke hole with puke in every corner will have squeaky-clean toilet with LOTS of toilet paper, good smell, soap AND towels .. ha ..

      But German public toilets? Or in pubs? Oh my .. to quote Mr. Takei.

      cu, w0lf.

      Reply
  78. Ulrike Weywoda

    I am German and have been living in America for over 40 years and in Germany for about 24. Yes I occasionally get in trouble for being direct and I don’t care for all the useless small talk, especially at the cash register. Anyway, I love your blog it is very entertaining.I don’t know if everything is accurate as I have not been back since 2006. Flip-flops were not around in my time there and nobody wore boots in the summer.
    I would love to hear more of your observations and will send this to all my German friends here in the US.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahaha I love that even 40 years in the states still hasn’t changed your so very German feelings toward small talk! Thank you so much for your comment, and for reading.

      Reply
  79. Barry

    I worked with Germans for two years (I’m an Aussie) and do you know what I noticed when I read this list? Firstly, I agreed and laughed along with most of it, and secondly – you failed to mention the non-mentionability of the War – in front of foreigners. Or how religious they are – super Catholic, or super Protestant or super atheist. They do not do their beliefs or non-beliefs by halves!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Aussie Barry, hello. VERY true re the religious thing! Living in Bavaria right now, I hear nothing but church bells. And how about the church tax! The war thing is interesting. I have found younger generations are very open to discussing it – I have had some great conversations with my students about it – and the baby boomers have a subset of people as fascinated by the war as the rest of the world. That being said, I think they largely avoid raising it because 99% of foreigners they come across raise it for them.

      Reply
  80. Tanja

    As a German expat, living 30 years in Canada and Caribbean, your list made me homesick and proud of being German! And, of course, it made me laugh! Thank you!

    Reply
  81. Susan

    Oh my god 🙂 I just looked at FB and saw this …. and have been reading it until now ~ all the comments and everything 🙂 Its wonderful!!!

    I’m german and living in Japan for one month now~ I must admit… queue isnt our thing… but the japanese people really mastered it! I like taking the train here… people can get out savely, no one rushes and everything^^

    As for other things… like most of them said… Hasselhoff isnt that good anymore. We do know the name, song and such, but we dont like him.

    And yeah I love “Gehacktes” (mett or whatever), sauerkraut, Bratwurst and Kuchen <3 It's nice to have friends come over for tea and cake.

    Hmm tabwater… now that I'm here… I really miss our water. As a student we drink it more often (cheaper) but for me, I like to use my Sodamax to make it sparkle <3 But like everything else… everyone loves it in another way ^-^

    One point I didnt quite get was the thing about socks… I know there are some older people liking wearing socks and sandals (but this is strange in our eyes, too). But do you mean wearing socks in general is bad? Its nice heaving them in a cold evening 😉 As for naked feet… theres nothing better than going "barfuß" in hot summer in grass or on a good street. Often we remove our shoes and just hold them in our hands while walking (if the street isn't dirty)

    Oh and the walking thing~ I get asked by my students why we enjoy taking a walk etc… but isn't it relaxing and healthy, too? Just today I walked around in the neighbor hood to explore the area 🙂

    There's so much more, but I think I'm going to sleep now XDD

    Thank you for this list, Liv. Have a nice week and I'm looking forward to hear more *^-^*

    P.S.: Not just germans, but western people in general are tall ~ It's somehow frustrating when all the people around you are smaller or the same height as you (and I'm just 1,70) 😉

    Reply
    1. Anna K.

      “Often we remove our shoes and just hold them in our hands while walking (if the street isn’t dirty)” Susan, you nailed it! If the street isn’t dirty – this is absolutely German! Can’t stop laughing…

      P.S.: I’m only 1.65 cm, but in India a was a giant too. 🙂

      Reply
    2. Liv Post author

      Thank you so much for your lovely comments – thrilled you enjoyed the list!

      And yes, I am 172, quite tall in my little Sydney circle, but here … below average. Short even!

      Reply
  82. Rinascinto

    Wonderful list! It’s quite interesting and shocking for me as a German to read that things like – let’s say – socks in sandals are NOT common to the rest of the world. 😉
    Why???
    You are so right about the lack of the ability of queuing, especially as you describe the situation when there is opened another checkout counter in the super-market. I feel embarrassed by the truth of that observation, mostly because it seems to turn out the longing for justice that you have also noticed as a German characteristic as a superficial thing.
    But THANK YOU that most of your things are positive.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Not a problem! Most of my experiences here have been super positive – I adore the Germans and their way of doing things (even though sometimes they make me want to scream hahaha, but I think that’s what a healthy relationship is all about, right?)

      Reply
  83. Ulrike Weywoda

    I do remember the Queuing thing. My mother , 50 years ago remarked how disciplined the Americans are in that respect which meant a lot coming from her since the GI’s in general had a bad reputation back then.
    Sandals were never worn with socks in my 24 years in Germany and I don’t think, looking at photos, it was done in the Sudetenland where I am from.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Yes, the queuing thing is something that SHOULD come naturally to the orderly Germans – but it doesn’t. It’s this strange exception to the rule.

      Reply
  84. Ulrike Weywoda

    About being friendly or not, helpful or not. That is not at all how I grew up but I lived in the city and I think that might make a difference, Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart to be exact. I thought Americans were unfriendly and kept to themselves, for example, my American sister in law once said, come over any time to visit, I did, and boy was everyone surprised to see me. It was just a phrase I found out like “hello”.That was in Massachussetts, New Hampshire was even worse.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Ahhhh, classic! The old throwaway comment us English speakers make that we don’t necessarily mean; ‘we should have coffee!’ or ‘drop by any time!’ But we don’t mean it literally. HORRIBLY confusing for cultures that would never say something they don’t really mean (Germans!).

      Reply
  85. Bettina @ Books, Bikes, and Food

    Fantastic post, especially the thing about the queuing. 😉 I never noticed it until my Spanish boyfriend started complaining about it, and now it annoys the hell out of me. It’s completely bizarre that we’re so efficient at most things (with the additional exceptions of building train stations and airports, apparently) but so ridiculously bad at this. A variant of it is going on an escalator. That ‘stand on the right, walk on the left’ thing really doesn’t work in Germany!

    The one thing don’t get is the jaywalking though… or am I living in a different country after all? At least in Hamburg, everyone jaywalks. All the time. There’s one golden rule though: don’t do it in front of kids, because they can’t tell when it’s dangerous. I find that attitude kind of heartwarming actually!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      The queuing! The elevators! The blocking of public paths because no one can walk in a manner that acknowledges you are sharing the path with others! It goes against everything the Germans are otherwise about (order, systems, efficiency)!

      The jaywalking thing is different in big cities – it seems to be more of a notable thing in the mid sized cities and smaller towns, I think.

      Reply
      1. Monsterkater

        Here in Frankfurt/Main, only the foreigners seem to have trouble with the escalator thing, but in the rest of Germany I have noticed it, too.
        As for the jaywalking, here we have something called “Frankfurter Grün”, if the lights are red, but no traffic is close, you walk as if they were green. Especially true for businessmen rushing to or from work.

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          I think the big cities tend to sneak a bit more jaywalking in than the smaller ones. I watched two teens jaywalk yesterday and did the German shake of my head.

          Reply
  86. Sabine

    It’s always quite interesting to read about the own culture and what weird habits people from other country’s find in the way we Germans act. Your points of course doesn’t fit for anybody but are still correct. I really enjoyed reading your list, especially since I spend my current school year in America and could also write a list about the habits of the American people.
    You did a great job!

    Reply
      1. Ulrike Weywoda

        Would love to read your take on Americans, I could add a few tidbits.
        Bike riding in America scares me, they ride on the wrong side of the road and do not have lights! And I found that J-walking depends where you live, in some cities it seems mandatory, in others you will get a ticket.
        Taking your shoes off is something I never experienced in my 24 years in Germany but there seems to be a big debate about this here in the US.

        Reply
  87. Jonathan Zerger

    This is the truth and nothing but the truth. Put quite hilariously I might add. Being German I see a lot of my culture in this and I laughed out loud a few times to the amusement of my Aussie friends.

    Reply
  88. Jo RG

    Head over to http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/how-to-piss-off-a-german/ for a comparable list, though not quite as exhaustive.

    Also would list as #142 that Germans would have by now checked #99 when reading #140 and #123 when reading #141 respectively if the quoted context was correct.

    You mention German never jay-walking, but what about those protesters who walked over cars, when these cars were parked over the line or those playing inner-city golf in abandoned industrial zones?

    Reply
  89. AndrewF

    Amazing.

    Also: There is a danger of getting sick from a slight (if not imagined) breeze of fresh air. While smoking.

    And the whole, bring your own house-shoes when you’re visiting someone else.. 😀

    Reply
      1. AndrewF

        Except, of course, for the obligatory hello & goodbye when entering awkward spaces like lifts and saunas or sitting across from a stranger on the train – the places where we would never talk! 😀

        Reply
        1. Liv Post author

          And doctor’s waiting rooms! That weird rule where you HAVE to say hello and goodbye to EVERYONE who exits and enters. I remember thinking, ‘and yet, you won’t have a chat to the person next to you in line for a coffee.’

          Reply
  90. tobs

    all my childhood i kept thinking…somehow i am different. at the same time i have to admit: you got me (even though i am neither tall, well groomed or particular puntual)

    Reply
  91. Bianca Marschke-Kunz

    Nice list 😛 Though I can see well from which parts of Germany you got some…

    I am also German, and I lived pretty close to Münster, the city full of students and bikes. You might find some exceptions though when it comes to some points, e.g. the dachshund thing (I really, really do not like these so much.)

    Also – yes, many Germans are punctual to the minute, but often only when it is really needed, e.g. the job or university or the like. I know more people who tend to be not really on time. I personally also dislike Stefan Raab – and socks in sandals, eeewwww.

    A lot of this is right though 😛 The real German Wurst is also another type – Currywurst, especially if you live in the Ruhrgebiet or Berlin. And Davis Hasselhoff is easily explained: his song is connected to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, fondly remembered.

    And why do we speak English so well? Simple: it is a mandatory subject at schools from age 10 onwards, at least until we are 15. It is in fact a main subject, and even though on German TV most is dubbed, many watch the original versions, and many read books rather in English than in German. For us, it is pretty easy to learn English as out languages are close enough to find similarities.

    I do not live in Germany anymore, I am only there from time to time nowadays. But one thing: Austria is worse than German concerning churches >_>

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      I think if the Germans didn’t sub their television, they’d be giving the Scandinavians a run for their money with English! And I have heard a lot about how theoretical the English you do at school is, so in my teaching experience Germans are generally quite concerned with the grammar, but perhaps not as orally fluent/confident. Very interesting!

      So true re Austraia and the churches! You are right!

      Reply
  92. Suzy Metzler

    I’m half German and married a German, and I have to tell you, you have definitely included everything I know about Germans – my husband, his three brothers and his parents – in your writing! I love it!

    Reply
  93. Hannah

    I love your list. It’s quite accurate 🙂

    There is only one thing I am wondering about: Where are those jobs with short working hours? And the government jobs where you don’t have to work at all? They don’t exist anymore. The younger generation has to work longer hours for less money. And this is why the German economy is doing well compared to the rest of Europe…

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Oh the government jobs was a bit of a jibe at some friends I know who seem to have an awful lot of down time in their offices! And also I find the banks and Standesamts and Rathaus opening hours a little frustrating!

      Reply
      1. DNK

        It is not all that wrong actually. 😉
        I have a friend who works at the Bundesamt für Justiz in our former capital city Bonn. She earns almost twice the amount of money I earn while doing only half the work I do (during reasonable hours, too, while I have to work a lot of overtime). We both have equal education (graduated from the same university in the same field of studies) and both work as translators. Though she only translates and proofreads whereas I am a project manager with a lot of additional responsibilities besides translating and proofreading.

        So this statement is really not all that incorrect and I really had to giggle about it, because I also used to think it wasn´t true…until I experienced it first hand. 😉

        Reply
  94. Bratwurstessenderbiertrinker

    Hi Liv,

    being a German travelling a lot abroad, your list made my day. Actually, I have some comments concerning your “food topics”:

    – Best Bratwurst in the world is from Nuremberg. But tell this to somebody e.g. in Thuringia. He or she will start a big argument with you as “best Bratwurst” is a big thing in Germany
    – Döner is indeed typical German food. According to some sources, a guy called Kadir Nurman invented the Döner in Berlin. He passed away this year 80 years old
    – You should also mention the pride of Germans about their local beers. This is another point to start an endless discussion
    – Please go to one of the most favourite German holiday destinations: Mallorca. You will find typical German food on every Menu in the main tourist destinations (e.g. El Arenal)

    As I am on business trip in Arab countries I really miss my Bratwurst!

    Good luck in Weiden and thanks for sharing further thoughts about Germany!

    Nico

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      FUNNY you say that about wurst … a few comments down, someone has claimed the worst wurst are the Nürnbergers!

      I am yet to go to Mallorca, but I have heard so much about it – I don’t know if I am brave enough to check it out hahaha.

      Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Ooh! I wonder whether the Hungarians did actually get it from the Germans, or vice versa. Or maybe in countries where these loooong, daaark, coooold winters happen, it’s a normal thing!

      Reply
  95. Thomas

    Hi Liv,
    I am totally amazed how well you captured the German mentality and liked reading your thoughts very much.

    In order to be able to show this article the amount of respect it deserves
    1) I copied and pasted it into a word file,
    2) then adjusted the font to a standard 12-point Times New Roman,
    3) put the whole thing in Blocksatz (naturally), activated the Silbentrennung (which I definitely canNOT do without) and
    4) set the Seitenränder to a neat 2cm each. Finally,
    5) I put the article’s URL beneath (11-point TNR, italics, rechtsbündig) for completion’s sake.

    Finished this task with a satisfied sigh, I might add.

    Thank you!

    P.S.: I CAN bloody well QUEUE — if I see a sense in doing so, that is.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahahaha this comment has MADE my day. I have no doubt the list, in its new, ordered form, would have felt so very treasured.

      Reply
  96. Patrick Hoenigk

    This list is awesome 🙂

    Cheers for that. And the fact that we simply CANNOT queue is def. true & drives me MAD.
    You have to watch out not to get killed when entering ANY public transport. Even Grandma will push you outta the way like it was nothing. We also cannot seem to grasp the concept of letting people OUT of the transport before entering ourself….noooo we have to stand right in FRONT of the freakin door. I tell ya it drives me insane!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Oh my God, spot ON with the public transport thing. Everyone just rushes, and there ends up being some sort of mass wrestling match in the doors as some try to exit and some try to enter and NO ONE gives up.

      Reply
  97. timur hagen

    I am a german and i almost died of laughter while reading this list!^^
    Very keen observation of our social behaviour and culture. As a german i can explain why we can´t queue: You can´t do it efficently! We race through supermarkets with premade shopping list in a frightening effective way, sometimes i catch myself how at fast i am and try to slow down and 10 seconds later i´m running again. Then you get to the queue and you have to stop. Wait. Do Nothing! Very uncomfortable feeling for any german! ^^

    Reply
  98. my6gifts

    You’re spot on with this list! We lived in Bamberg for 7 1/2 years, we just moved back to the U.S last December (2012). I have to say the only thing I’d disagree with is that in all our time a bus was NEVER late and the train was only late once and that was after a train derailment, which made for a VERY long ride home from LEGOLAND (many train switches and then a long bus ride and not getting home until 3 AM).
    I don’t miss being shoved, although it most definitely became a part of life we were used to and fell into!
    Keep enjoying Germany for those of us who no longer are blessed to be there! Go have a doner and brotchen!

    Reply
  99. Martin Busch

    I (43 year old german) love the list! And – just like mentioned I one of the points – I can really laugh about our odd habbits. Many things are so true: We are passionate about Bratwurst, Bier, cars, soccer and Ikea :-). What else is important in this world??? :-). Prost-Mahlzeit!!!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Haha, now if I could just add to that list sunshine, beaches and long, hot summers, all would be perfect (although you know what happens when the Germans are too hot? Enddddless complaining.)

      Reply
  100. deininnererkompass

    This list is awesome. Shared it with a lot of people this evening.

    Germans, who live in small towns don’t jaywalk. That’s true, it’s something I observed as someone, who moved from a big town to a smaller one as well. It’s annoying…but you know what’s funny? We do it secretly sometimes. When there are no children around, who could see us doing it. Because if there are children, ONE does not cross the street, if the lights are still red…

    What strikes me, too is that Germans always tend to defend and explain themselves when it comes to the topic of WWII. I’m a young german and I don’t really care about any of this anymore. We were so stuffed with this topic in school that we don’t feel like discussing it anymore. These times are over, but “we” still feel like we have to defend ourselves for being german. But that changes slowly, too.

    PS: Kölsch is the best beer 😛

    Reply
    1. Ulrike Weywoda

      I came to Germany as an expellee from the Sudetenland in 1946. I went to a Volksschule, then Gymnasium and last Hoehere Handelsschule. I did not hear anything in any of the three schools about WWII. My parents only told me a few stories here and there, I had to read about it on my own. However I always thought my generation had nothing to feel guilty about and even those children who belonged to the Hitlerjugend did not, after all they did not have a choice.

      Reply
      1. DerUmi

        Ulrike, probably back then it was a taboo to talk about WWII, because it was too fresh. I went to the Gymnasium in the 90’s and WWII was a regular subject in some way in many different classes, be it in German, English, History, Social Science, Ethics, Philosophy classes. In history classes it went so far, that those 12 years out of 2000 years of German history filled in total minimum 2 years curriculum. As a German highschool student it was very tiring and one would like to scream: “Damn! I got it! My grandparents and grand-grandparents were monsters!” just to finally focus on other subjects. But unfortunately the time horizon in our history classes ended roughly with the year 1962, because we ran out of time. So basically we ended history classes with the Cuba Crisis and the hint of the construction of the Berlin Wall, although we were already in the year 2000 and therefore 11 years after the fall of the same wall. So we missed at school to learn about other important dates and events in post-war German history such as 1968, hiring of guestworkers (and the failure to adequately integrate them into German society), the oil crisis in the 1970s, the further development of the cold war until its end, the first years after reunification (which would have been interesting for us as we were experiencing that time as children ourselves)…

        Liv, another observation which I made is about showing national pride:
        Outside football events (or sport events in general), national pride is expressed by:
        a) praising the German purity law (you know, that food regulation, which dictates what ingredients are allowed in a beer. It is also the oldest active food regulation in the world, dating back to the year 1518).
        b) taking pride in supposedly being among the least patriotic/nationalistic countries in the world. Sounds like a paradox, right? 😉

        About German humour, there are also regional differences. From my observations, Southern Germans don’t get the jokes of Northern Germans and vice versa.

        About German directness: My observation is that this is the main point, why Germans are considered rude by so many people in the world, and this is also the point I get into trouble with my non-German friends, colleagues, bosses and customers. We are being taught in school to identify a problem, name it and then work together to solve it. Not much place for learning how to express yourself in a more subtle way in order to not hurt someone’s feelings. From my experience, only the Dutch people are in general even more direct (so direct that even a German might consider them rude).

        It is always good to read such lists about one’s own people, especially when you deal with foreigners or live abroad. I am myself from Hamburg, but live for 3 years already in Wroclaw, Poland. (No, I don’t have Polish ancestry).

        Greetings!
        Dennis

        Reply
    2. Liv Post author

      I definitely secretly jaywalk IF there are no children around and IF there aren’t too many people to stare at me.

      I love Kölsch too – I agree with you!

      Reply
    1. Ulrike Weywoda

      Yes, I cannot stomach “fake” people. In the South they are really good at turning it on and off and when they are on they are so sweet it makes me sick. My daughter has lived in the South for 20 years now (grew up in New England) and is just as good at it as everybody else here. Hate it.

      Reply
      1. Markus

        @ Ulrike: Indeed! The epitome of that is the expression “Bless Your Heart”. That can be used as a very sympathetic statement, or it can be used as a huge insult.

        Reply
  101. leodahl

    So true! I am German and I have an Australian Boyfriend. He always points out a lot of these things. Thank you. I had a giggle. 🙂

    Reply
  102. Kay

    Me as a german, i just want to let you know….99% of this is soooo true!!
    Oh my god…i laughed sooo hard!! The queue and check out line in the supermarket..soo true..also, when we are waiting for busses, and they finally come…there wont be a queue…everyone wants to get a seat – so, who is first, wins! Elbows are everywhere:D And i have to admit, i´m also one of the “elbowthrower” 😉

    So, thank you for this list, and the fun i head with reading it:)
    Hope, you have a good time here in Germany!!

    Here is a hand shake – no hug;)
    Kay

    Reply
  103. Judith

    I just had to laugh about myself. I guess in most points you’re right! It is so true! 😀 It was a lot of fun, reading it. Thank you!

    Reply
  104. ulrike weywoda

    Well, I like clubs, official clubs as well as unofficial. I remember hanging out at the local swimming place when I was around 10 in the summer with friends. We went there even if it rained. For the last 30 years or so we used to hang out on our boats at the yacht club even when it rained. We also spent winter weekends at a large ski cabin with our sailing friends for decades. Now we live in Georgia….boring as hell

    Reply
  105. ulrike weywoda

    Yes, You can say just about anything about a person in the South as long as you preface it with “bless her/his heart. It really is so funny to list peoples unique expression or qualities in different areas of the same country or different countries. I love it. I I have not laughed so munch in a long time as when I read the list about Germans.

    Reply
  106. piepmatzz

    “They seem to enjoy Westlife. And Take That. And Backstreet Boys.”
    I know noooooo……one who like that old BoyBands in Germany (and no one lieke Hasselhoff XD).
    I don´t know why do u think that?!! o.o Maybe u listened to “retro-charts” or “retro-radio-shows”???

    Reply
  107. Dominique

    I doubt your knowledge about this culture. Is this really all you could write about Germans? Pretty clear you haven’t lived long enough in this country. It’s so superficial.

    Reply
  108. Paola

    I am married to an (East) German and this describes his family 1,000%. I am from Latin America, which means we couldn’t come from two more different backgrounds!

    Liv: you are incredibly hilarious! This is stuff of comedy legends! jaja !!

    Their love of *raw* minced pork always baffles me. Their honesty, punctuality, care when doing things properly, ordnung, liking of nudity (hilarious), quiet meals (I’ve fallen asleep in the middle of a dinner. Honestly), bizarre liking of British tv programmes, love of English songs (even older people who speak no English!), love of frozen food, etc used to make me feel like I was in another universe. After living withand adjusting to my husband I do think they are cool people (in general 😉

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      The silent meals! I used to die quietly in my chair, or make lots of noises to fill the silence, like fake coughing and ‘mmmmmmm, lecker’. Now my boyfriend’s family understand my horror of silences and try to fill them, which is very süß. Can only imagine the wonderful cultural clashes that come out of a Latin American/German marriage – brilliant!

      Reply
  109. Maximilian Quost

    This is just incredibly amusing and absolutely right! I was fascinated by having such a detailed point of view from a person not being german and still pointing out the facts very “germanous” (right and accurate). Truly, I love lists like that. Me being german, it’s sometimes difficult to be objective, although I think it is inalienable. But reading this text, was very much fun and I enjoyed it to the fullest. Thank you very very much dear miss!

    Reply
  110. Saija

    No one I know eats Sauerkraut on a regular basis and despite being German I am not punctual at all. Also, few people speak english well, I don’t know how you got that impression.
    Wearing clothes while the sun is shining, oh, how I whísh it were true but unfortunately it’s not. No Ikea I know has a Bratwurst stand out front and yes, we do jaywalk. Of course we recycle our bottles, there’s a deposit placed on it, do you throw away money? I don’t. Hate Football, not interested in cars.
    After fact 100 it gets better. Finally. But we have this exact show: Wer wird Millionär? – Quite the eqivalent, don’t you think? And you call Germany’s public toilets clean? Oh boy..
    You forgot one last thing: We love to complain.

    Reply
  111. Jule

    I was travelling in Scotland recently and got a ride in a van. The driver and I hadn’t spoken yet and he told me to fasten my seatbelt. I had already done it and he said “Oh, you’ve got to be German!” I guess fastening the seatbelt immediately is quite a German thing as well…

    Reply
  112. Sirena

    It is a nice article but no one is perfect and they also have some negatives points like:

    1. Germans are self-centre.
    2. Germans are selfish they don’t like to share anything.
    3. Germans count cent by cent and all about the money have to be exactly (cent by cent)
    4. Some germans are racist
    5. Germans are so saving they are always looking for cheaper or costless things.
    6. Germans like dirty sex
    7. Germans are not so open to new people. It takes time to come along with german people.

    It is a great article, my BF is german that is why I considere important to include the bad points, because sometimes when you find it at the beginning is not so easy to manage, especially if you come from some warm and polite culture like Latin or Asian.

    Reply
      1. Eleonore

        Why is that? Why do people become so intolerant when others try to take a look at the other side of a given topic? Take it easy.

        Reply
  113. Charles Shivnarain

    some other points to consider, children with their square backpacks and don’t forget the Schultute! (the usually large cone filled with school supplies), St. Martin’s day lantern making and village walking, laufrad (they don’t believe in training wheels, rightfully so), and the Saturday (like clockwork) street cleanings. my wife is German and i’ve been over here since ’97, and your 62 is significant, it can take some time to warm but they don’t use the word friend like we do in America. if they call you friend it is sincere, not that we’re INSINCERE, but we toss that word around more easily. i once asked the vet “Wie geht’s?” and the next visit she asked my wife something like “Ist er mit mir verarscht?” which roughly translates to “is he taking the piss out of me?” like in a shopping queue, say hello, pay for your shit, press the F* on.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      The Laufrad, yes! And I had to really, really work on my habit of following up my ‘hi’ with ‘how are you’ when I first got here – actually bite my tongue, because it just doesn’t go down the same way.

      Reply
  114. Lan Nguyen

    I believe that Germans are the most intelligent people in the world 🙂 I dont know, met some guys, they really understood me since the beginning, i mean they have high EQ and IQ as well 🙂 Really nice people! X

    Reply
  115. Chris

    So Cliché, but so true!!
    Being German, I can add one more:

    150. We love pointing out errors. Like the one in 131. – It’s called ‘Frühjahrsmüdigkeit’ and not of ‘Frühlingsmüdigkeit‘. Oh, and we LOVE combiningmultiplewordsintonewones!

    Reply
  116. Manni

    Germans queue differently. Example: You go in a full packed bakery, you find your space and then check who is entering the shop after you. You just remember that and the it’s your turn to order when you’re longest waiting in the queue. It looks on-organized but it works on a 3D dimensional level, everyone is inside and nobody has to wait in a 2D line outside the bakery.
    It’s much more effective and it leaves you a chance to be friendly, you have the chance to let someone else in front of you.

    Reply
  117. Marco R.

    Hi Liv,
    one should notice that bavarian people are more the cliché (of Sauerkraut) than the rest of germany. You are right with those small village struggles, but there are very large region differences through the whole country, mostly divided by sorts of beer 🙂
    Enjoyed this list very much though, the garden gnome was killing me 😀

    Reply
  118. Lexi

    As per Point 141 – Germans Like House Shoes – many Germans seem to choose a pair of fake Crocs both for themselves and their children, as a general house/garden shoe.

    These are not fake crocs they are called Glotschen and originate from Holland and are made from wood. Keep your facts straight.

    Reply
  119. Benni

    This is so great and written so well!! I saw myself in about 80-90% of them and really had to grab my desk so I wouldnt drop to the floor laughing at quite a few examples. Especially the ‘Dinner For One’ story.
    Saw you lived in Kiel, that’s where I live. Did you like it?

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      LOVED Kiel. LOVED it. I think it was being by the water – there is a special mentality in the people who live on the coast. Can’t wait to get back there.

      Reply
  120. Patrick Hoenigk

    To my fellow countrymen who are angry at this,

    EVERY country/culture got their own little things that to others outside of this country may seem weird/strange or even funny. Now, if you cannot handle that or just have a laugh or two, means somethings wrong with YOU and not the nice lady who took the effort to create this list.

    Get off you high horse and take a step back. even if some of the mentioned things in that list don’t apply to YOU, they still sure as hell do for MANY MANY of my beloved fellow Germans.

    So take it easy, relax, have a laugh and just take it for what it is. A warm and funny look at our society

    Reply
  121. Thomas

    Hi
    I’m german and agree with your entire list.
    I love the Australian culture as well! I spent a year in Brisbane and whats acutally missing in the German culture is the “no worries” attitude in my opinion…

    However, great job capturing the german mindset!

    Reply
  122. Matze

    Excellent job, made me laugh a lot :D. I’ve been living in Sydney for a year now and while going through the list I realised how German I actually am. Most points are pretty positive though!

    Reply
  123. Kat

    Love love love the list 😀 thank you Liv!
    Don’t forget we do have gay politicians who are not scared to come out. No one cares! they are humans, just like everyone else.
    on a side note to qeuing: we do know how to qeue, but once a news aisle has opened, a new entrence whatsoever, cards are getting mixed again. Once in a qeue, we accept the position we’re in and everything’s in order again. 😉

    Reply
  124. Jules

    no offense … but: Really?! So wrong on so many levels (Really? The old socks-in-sandals-story?)
    Not only that I am, for example, small, can’t drink or eat much, would never mix anything other than lemonade into my beer (!), can’t stand dubbed sitcoms and would rather cut off my huge Bavarian moustache than entering a Tschibo shop, I just can’t see the humor… (sorry, did I miss the point where it says that Germans don’t get irony? That’s another big one, right?) In any case… do you think lists of not-even-funny “Germans are this” (or, let’s say “Greeks are that”) sentences are what will bring this world forward…? What are you trying to achieve?

    You do realize that positive stereotypes are still stereotypes, right?!

    Reply
    1. Kat

      well well well, what do we have here. a german who didn’t get the joke. i’m german and i think it’s hilarious. If you don’t, deal with it. don’t speak for all of us when it’s just you who’s offended.

      Reply
      1. Jules

        Hello Kat, I am not offended, you misread me. And I am not claiming that I am speaking for “all Germans”, as opposed to the author, who claims that “all Germans are…”

        I am sorry, I just don’t think that this kind of list is funny, entertaining or clever, and that is independent of it being about Germans. Some nuancing or cultural sensitivity on the part of the author (and some of the commentators) would have been great, don’t you think?
        Please, just think what happened if I posted a list that was made up on 100 things I KNOW (sic!) about “Women”, “Blacks”, “the Greeks”, or (god forbid!) “THE Americans” (or, as Gerhard Polt aptly puts is: ‘Der Asiate an und für sich”). What a shitstorm that would cause!

        In any case, I stand to my point that “positive” stereotypes are still stereotypes, no matter about whom they are made! And no matter how funny other Germans might find it (as it might cater to this peculiar self-identity that oscillated between self-hate and patriotic pride), I never find stereotypes or racism funny.

        Reply
        1. Kat

          be careful with comparing sterotypes to racism. Racism isn’T funny, sterotypes can be. Look at all the germans in the comments who absolutly agree with this list. so, most germans are like this. I don’t have gnomes on my yard, don’t wear socks in my sandals, don’t like sauerkraut etc. But i do know many germans who do! I don’t eat meat, but many germans do. Liv’s list is no list where she came up with things. it’s a list of things she actually observed many times. And it’s absolutely okay that she writes about them. After all the title is “what i know about germans” and not ” germans are defenitely like that”.

          Reply
        2. Liv Post author

          Hi Jules,

          Thanks for your comments, and no offense taken. To answer your question, I suppose what I am trying to achieve, is simply a collation of observations I have made during my time living here. The key word being ‘I’. This list is entirely subjective, it is a collection of things I have noted, during my time here. Which is why it is called What I Know About Germans. I think in this case, the pronoun is more important than the verb ‘know’ – it indicates these are my experiences and if you share them, wonderful! If you don’t, no worries at all. It is simply not realistic to assume everybody has identical experiences.

          But am I trying to move the world forward by writing an entirely light-hearted, personal collection of observations of a culture within which I am a happy foreigner? No. Is something like this lacking in cultural nuance? I don’t believe so, unless you stopped reading at the socks and sandals line. Is it racist? Absolutely not.

          Again, thanks for your comments, I really do like reading all kinds of feedback and appreciate you don’t find it remotely amusing or accurate – and that is your prerogative.

          Liv

          Reply
  125. JJ

    Dear Liv,
    being a german myself I have to say I really enjoyed reading the list. It’s funny, and it reminded me why I like being a german (and why I loathe it sometimes!). With germans being masters of self-criticism it’s heartwarming when an expat finds so many likable things about “us”.

    Oh, and I always thought it’s called “Frühjahresmüdigkeit”, but that may be just my dialect. After all, we tend to get tired during spring. Probably because it’s the time where we put a lot of energy into finding a proper mate (an endeavour that has a huge set of far to fuzzy rules which is very demanding of your average german 😉 ). But who really gets tired OF spring?

    Keep it up!

    JJ

    @Jules: Come off your moral high ground. Of course stereotypes don’t apply to an individual. But they exist, wether or not you like to see them. Personally, I think stereotypes that are made explicit can be deburred- those kept under the blanket will keep their destructive potencial.

    Reply
  126. Ulrike Weywoda

    Good God how much more uptight can you get. Relax, stop taking yourself so seriously and learn to lighten up and laugh a little, even at yourself.

    Reply
  127. Cailean

    LOL I was reading #15 and I was wondering what the author was talking about. Raw meat? That’s disgusting! Must be something some bavarians in their village in the mountains eat!
    After all bavarian=barbarians.
    My northern german sensibilities were thoroughly offended.
    Hours later I made myself a nice slice of bread with “Thüringer Mett” and onions and that’s when I understood what you talked about. For me that never was raw pork meat, but something else entirely. “Thüringer Mett” in my mind was always it’s own category. Absurd, but true. 😀
    When I told my family that episode we all shared a good laughed… Funny side note: All the females shared my initial disgust, while the males said, yes, it’s “Thüringer Mett”.

    Reply
  128. OvGa91

    This… is the most racist blog I ever read! °_° Please don´t compare your bavarian experince with german behavour in General…. those bavarian People want to seperate themself from Germany 😛

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Oh, I know the Bavarians consider themselves of a different nation! Actually I have spent longer living in the north-west and north of Germany, than I have Bavaria, so I can’t say too many of my observations are specifically Bavarian.

      Reply
  129. chiasue

    Great article 🙂 I am also an expat living in Germany ;).
    Yes, some Germans love their wurst, but you forgot to mention that Germany is one of the countries where vegetarianism is growing the most and that it is the 2nd country in the European Union with the most vegetarians.
    Even traditional restaurants have one or two vegetarian (although not vegan) dishes.
    Another positive point about Germans, they are very environmentally and socially-conscious, which is not only limited to meticulous recycling but also includes activism.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      So true re the environment – I think so many countries could learn from how Germany invests in sustainable energy projects and their recycling system. Australia certainly could!

      Reply
  130. German dude

    Hi Liv, i lol´d hard 😀 Great job and 100 % true!
    I think i can explain why EASTERN Germans love The Hasselhoff, it´s because they think
    he personally teared down the Berlin Wall by singing “I am looking for freedom”. Seriously 😉

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahaha I think HE thinks that too! But I do think the Germans are just having a laugh at Hasselhoff, to be honest.

      Reply
  131. Marc Exner

    Hasselhoff… Yes, he used to be a big star in the 90s. Nowadays we only like him ironically.
    And Germans always wearing boots and never going bare foot? Can’t confirm.
    But everything else is shockingly spot-on.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Yup, I firmly believe your Hasselhoff thing, as a country, is entirely tongue in cheek and speaks to your sense of humour.

      Reply
  132. Sine

    Liv – I love it! As a German now American I can attest that most of this is spot-on. I’m never punctual and I hate the German queueing system (or, rather, lack of a system – our kids when little and on a visit to Germany almost got trampled to death at a breakfast buffet; in fact, you should probably put something in there about buffets and the average German on a mission to get something for free), perhaps that is why I no longer live there?

    Reply
  133. NineInchNade

    Just one thing. Döner is a german dish. It was invented in Germany and people in Turkey barely know about it’s existence. Just saying.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Very, very true – but the kebab itself, which the döner is based on, is actually a Lebanese dish, which is also hugely popular in Australia and the UK. So the Döner that has come out of Germany is a Germanified version of that, falsely attributed to the Turkish people! It’s all so confusing.

      Reply
      1. Halit Batuk

        come on !!! yes also lebanen aslo does kebab. But ıt originates from turkey. There is kinds of kebab and no any country can do as delıcıus as turkey does. Also all europe and entire world eats,knows,cooks kebab because it is delicious and turkısh people brougt it there. Also ıın germany if u see ın every street kebab house its thanks to turkısh people that live there in germany.

        Reply
    2. Halit Batuk

      just ask to whole world ıf any other country execp germany says its not turkısh then ı ll say JUST SAYING. otherwise you JUST SAYING!!

      Reply
  134. NESTOR

    Oh my, what a hoot. As a German having lived in the US for the past 10 years this rings very true for many of the items on the list and makes me a little home sick. I wouldn’t be a German if I didn’t have a few quibbles with some of the things mentioned, but that’s reinforcing another stereotype. The one that Germans are always right. But it’s not a matter of being right, it has to be factually correct. Just saying.

    Having grown up in a region that loves a good get-together more than anything, I have never once experienced a silent meal, though. Quite to the contrary. Lively conversations from finish to the mandatory very late end (see Sitzfleisch).

    Things to add/add more nuance:
    1. Draft can kill you, and only if you are very lucky you only get a cold. AC is the devil.
    2. Punctuality for anything that requires it, flexibility for everything else, like a bar meetup with friends where 20 min mean nothing to a German, but an American would already have asked where the the heck you are via text message. Same goes for planning. My German family and friends are actually quite spontaneous when it comes to making plans, even for vacations. Americans book tickets 8 months in advance, obsessively print out maps for car trips, and know almost to the minute when they will arrive at a place 350 miles away. To this day, that boggles my mind. But maybe I am just a bad German, like my US friends keep insisting when it comes to this topic.
    3. Grilling. Everything about it.
    4. DM Drogerie Markt. It’s a wonderland of body products.
    4. Restrooms: Veto. They are cleaner in the US and they have WARM WATER (crazy concept, I know) to wash your hands. What a treat.

    Thanks again. This made my day!

    Reply
  135. Steph

    You sure nailed it, this list is hilarious – and you managed to turn a lot of complaints I’d have about my own country into something flattering and cheerful 😉
    Cheers, mate!

    Reply
  136. karthikkk

    Some of the stuff in the list I agree with! Most other I don’t. Germany can be a pleasant experience if you are a white. Most others have it tough in terms of getting stereptyped in negative light at work and having to deal with the German attitude of ” I am always right” and having to prove that they could perform equally well as a fellow German colleague. God forbid if you showed too much intelligence.

    A German workplace although very efficient and pragmatic, is not one that encourages creativity largely like the Anglo-Saxon work culture. Conformance is more a norm than being different. And very eloquent English speakers who are German have this nasty habit of talking amongst themselves in German in front of English speaking non white people which they dont usually do when they are speaking with English speaking white people. (I am a foreigner in Germany and speak fluent German. But the Germans don’t usually assume I could speak good German and sometimes crack a joke or 2 before I let them know)

    Germany is one of the most beautiful countries to live in. It is a modern democracy and welcomes immigrants. Has world class institutions and a unique culture to boast of. Is a model for many non English developing economies of the world and has high standards of production and cleanliness on a large scale. But individual experiences do vary and the social structure of the German society has still not opened itself up to the modern ideas of Globalization and diversity as well as countries like Canada, Australia, the U.K and the U.S.

    One cant help but feel that Germany wants to go the British way in accepting immigrants but also wants a bit of France and ends up staying in a quagmire. The usual German standards of excellence in Organization and capacity planning are a model to the world. Right now Germany is very much the boss in Europe but it would be interesting to see in the next 50 years, what would happen to Germany as the developing world takes over slowly. I guess that Germany would get even more Industrialized and get even more tough and competitive. But I also fear that Germany will cause the collapse of the EU. And a united Europe has the best chance to be competitive in the next 100 years, not the other way.

    Reply
  137. Tante Ju

    The piece with Mett you have to get it right. That one infused things in other parts of the world 🙂 “The famous steak in Hamburger style”, which is said to be the start of Hamburgers in USA, is nothing else than fried minced meat, called Frikadellen or Buletten (some other names apply as well) in Germany. Mett is supposed to be minced pork meat, while Tartar is supposed to be half/half (half pork meat, half beef). Mett or Tartar is just raw minced meat, nothing else. No spices, no salt. Did you ever come along the usualy unavoidable “Mettigel” (minced meat hedgehog) for special occasions, consumed with good bread and loads of beer?
    There is even a legal act about Mett and all types of minced meat: “Hackfleischverordnung” (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackfleischverordnung).

    Very well written, still laughing. But I do not get the “Sauerkraut” thing. We get it maybe four to five times a year and there is only one restaurant I know nearby, serving Sauerkraut. Is this considered to be “loving Sauerkraut”?

    Reply
  138. Cailean

    You have forgotten a north german food season. The Grünkohl/Braunkohl Season during fall. What Sauerkraut is to the people in the south, that’s Grünkohl for the North Germans, maybe even more so. It’s almost as crazy as Spargel season. And yes, this food season comes with it’s own Kings and Queens rituals. 🙂
    And did I mention how yummy Grünkohl is? 😀

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Gaaaaah Grünkohl! My northerner boyfriend introduced me to this recently. I have to say, and I am so sorry … not a fan. And he puts sugar on it!

      Reply
  139. Annabelle Knoll

    Well, I AM from Germany and I think at least 90% of your list is correct. When I read that I laughed so hard and the point is that for most of the points I have a dialing example in my connections. Go on with this and I go on with laughing in my wicked sense of humor! thumbs up! ;D

    Reply
  140. tobglom

    Funny Stuff! I think (being a German) most of the points are actually nice if you dont take yourself too serious. The thing about the queueing (i can’t even write it correctly without looking it up) made me laugh the most. Probably because I consider myself a born hater of queues.

    It made me think why this is so. I could imagine that it maybe relates to other facts you pointed out nicely. A queue is ultimately the result of bad planning/organisation. Therefore we must not do it properly, as an act of criticism to whoever makes you wait in that moment ;-)! And we don’t like to wait! It might result in not being punctual 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  141. Sarah

    Hey Liv,
    thank you so much. I am German and I cracked up laughing all the time (to be true I am guilty in most cases). 😀 If you get around to it you could add: Germans love to discuss. Everything.
    I am doing a year abroad in the U.S. and I have to say I had hard time getting used to be hugged and cheek-kissed by people I barely now. Awkwaaard!
    Thumbs up for your work!

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahaha, and I am now used to shaking everyone’s hand, instead of going in for the hug. Glad you liked the list!

      Reply
  142. U. Klaeser-mueller

    I am a german and the first tought was “this guy lived way back at the Black Forest ” very old fashion living- too bad he could not see the modern live style of Germany…….

    Reply
  143. EM

    I read this with a little doubt in my mind, but you nailed my entire German family. I’m an American with a German mother who teaches German in public schools in America and often struggle to get my students to believe me when I come up with these statements, now I have a place on the internet (where everything is true of course) that I can go and show them, see #… it’s exactly what I said. Thank you! Hats off to you for being so positive and thoughtful when writing about another culture, none of these things are bad, just a little different 🙂

    Reply
  144. Ulrike

    Well, I lived near the Schwarzwald (Vaihingen/Enz then Ludwigsburg/Stuttgart), close enough to ski there in the winter and there was nothing old fashioned about my family, their friends nor my friends!!!!!!!!!!! a few years ago we had a 15 year old boy staying with us for a few weeks. He was from Freiburg, nothing old fashioned about him for Freiburg either.
    Where are you from???

    Reply
  145. Jannis

    A realy great article. I’m from Frankfurt and I love my hometown, even though I’m a little depressed you didn’t visit it. I think it’s the one town in Germany that resembles Americas big cities, with it’s skyline and so on, without being realy big.
    For the part with David NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. We do not like him. No we don’t. And for our generation woe don’t like Volksmusik, but you are right we almost all know the lyrics.

    Reply
  146. Kathi

    Thank you so much! I am german and I laughed sooooo hard. my fav. was: “Germans love Dackels (Dachshunds) and seem to own several of them at once. Perhaps this adoration of Dachshunds stems from their physical similarity to wurst.”

    We have a dachshund and we call him always Wurst,because he looks like one 😀

    Reply
  147. Ulrike Weywoda

    Hat I remained in Germany I would have moved to Frankfurt, not that I did not like Stuttgart where I worked or Ludwigsburg where I lived but there were so many more international businesses in Frankfurt.
    And as far as Volksmusik goes, I loved the Faschings music and I liked it at Oktoberfests other wise no way.
    However, I now belong to a singing group and we perform wearing Dirndels (I would not have been caught dead in one before) and Lederhosen.What we enjoy singing most are all the drinking songs played at Oktoberfest or Fasching!!!

    Reply
  148. Pat

    Hi Liv, there are so many points i’d like to reply to. I loved the whole article and except for 1-3 things everything ist absolutly true 🙂 Really enjoyed it, though.The socks topic is true and except for winter it’s a horrible thing to watch, fashion victims or 45+ generation loves it. Sandals with socks, urghh. But an easy way to identify a german countryman in spain, italy 🙂 Like brits always have a sunburn 🙂 One explaination for the socks-fetisch might be that many germans suffer from sweaty feets and therefore want to keep there shoes well-smelling for as long as possible.
    In my climbing group are two frenchman and one belgian. The frenchwoman is struggling with the german language and always pointing out german is a very “bildliche” (visual?) language. Like saying: “Kein Problem, es ist ja alles im Rahmen geblieben”. And we have these things a lot without even realising it.
    One more point to add to your list is an annoyance to every tourist (esp. brits) on vacation: Germans love to claim “their” sun lounger with a towel. They get up early just to be the first to place their towel, go back to sleep, get up 1-2 hours later, have breakfast, conquer the lounger, mission accomplished.

    Reply
  149. Doro

    Love it! My favourite is 100. In fact, at ALDI, when the queue was too long, I just stood next to it, near the closed check out to wait until one opens. I believe I’m safe to say I mastered that technique to an honorable level. It is a skill that needs experience in observing your surroundings in a professional manner, determining the next to be opened check out (only in case the open one is in the middle, thus the queue blocking your way), therefore analyzing walking direction of approaching check out girl/boy and lingering around innocently as to not arouse suspicion until then quickly walking to check out and having all items lined up while clerk is still fiddling with her/his keys for the cash register 🙂 Yup that’s how you do it, but now I’m in Australia…haven’t tried it here yet. And not sure if I should 😀

    Reply
  150. Jochen

    Liv,
    thanks für the read, I really enjoyed it 😉
    For 137, you might want to research the term “Gefräßige Stille” 😉

    Greetings from Frankfurt
    Jochen

    Reply
  151. Andrei

    LOL, thought I was the only one noticing the Wolfskin obsession 🙂 It helps identifying German tourists in London as well 😉 (I am German myself)

    Reply
  152. Ulrike

    Never heard this expression and also never encountered a silent dinner in my 28 years in Germany, not in my family nor anywhere else I ever had dinner. Is this something new?
    We always had lively discussions also when we had lunch in the cafeteria at work.

    Reply
  153. Ulrike

    As far as the sock and sandals go, never in my time. Only Americans used to do that back then in Germany and America and some still do. The same goes for “reserving” the lounger. I have been complaining about this habit for many many years here in America and on vacation in Mexico, Cost Rica etc. I even complained to the people managing the resorts but to no avail.

    Reply
  154. J Göttl

    I would just add that Germans are quick to switch to English (for “practice”), while simultaneously admonishing you for not speaking better German. And there is no argument in the world that will get a German to back down from their opinion that you should speak their complex language from the moment you step onto German soil.

    If my efforts in German-only conversation are met with criticism, I like to switch to top-tier English vocabulary with winding and tangential sentence structure. I do not (yet) possess the humility of my German friends.

    Reply
  155. chloe

    ok so i didnt read all of the abvove comments cos i was so eager to leave mine,… but in case no one has said it already i think like berlin east germany can also be excused from a lot of the points,.. they do things slightly differently over here aswell. though ALOT of your points are also VERY true and i particularly like and have myself long noted 101-the ability to open a bottle of beer with literally anything in arms reach-including like you said-body parts… great list,..its nice sometimes to be reminded that im not abnormal,..just not german 🙂

    Reply
  156. Ira-in-Oz

    Hej Liv!
    Great list, it depicts many years of observation of (middle-aged) Germany… ! 😉
    adding to point 37: Breaking traffic rules is a so-called “Volkssport” in Germany. If the sign says 50 the traffic will go just under 60 and so on, on an Autobahn it can go up to 30km/h more than allowed. Basically, it is socially accepted to break the traffic rules here. Such high fines as in Australia (236$ for a parking fine ???!!!) would cause a huge up-roar!

    Another fun fact: How to tell a German on holidays from other travellers? By their hiking boots! 🙂

    Cheers and greetings from Sydney! Thanks for a good laugh!

    Reply
  157. Judith Chen

    very true, most of the cases. I live in Germany myself, and as a student I might say, about knocking they have a habit of knocking the table with their knuckles after the lecture is over, or after a presentation.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Hahaha yes! Some of my students do this after classes. Also, they knock on the table if they are greeting a big group, instead of saying hello to everyone.

      Reply
  158. aristokitten (@aristokitten)

    This is brilliant, and so funny, it almost made me spit my breakfast against the screen…. I’m German (vegetarian though, so a bit of a social outlaw when it comes to the Bratwurst thing) and living in Kiel. For me, it’s particularly lovely to read about all these familiar things as seen through a stranger’s eye because you really lose sight for it when you live here. Thanks very much, this is definitely a blog that I will keep following.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Thank you! I love Kiel, cannot wait to move back after our stint in Bayern is done. We’re spending Christmas up here, it is such a relief to see water.

      Reply
  159. Pcb

    I missed one – the oh so serious talking head shows on TV, usually with a young pretty blonde and an older, distinguished grey-haired gentleman in the mix (along with others who wear uber-stylish glasses or haircuts). Topic of discussion irrelevant but always dry

    Reply
  160. Hepzi

    Well, I stumbled upon this interesting page of observations when searching on DB+gift and it was definitely worth the visit 🙂

    Some of it helps me better understand the folk in German speaking part of North Switzerland where I am based – previously spent a couple of years in Brissie and wanted to just G’day.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      G’Day! Are there many cultural differences between the German speaking Swissies in the part you live, and the Germans just north of the border (BWers, really)?

      Reply
      1. Markus

        Liv, your comment reminded me of something I noticed that Australians like to do: Every word can be turned into an “ie” or “ies” ending (like your use of Swissies). 🙂 A few years ago, I traveled to Tasmania with my family. When we were on the shuttle bus at Sydney Airport to get to the connecting flight to Hobart, we told an Australian couple where we were going. Their response: “You’ll like Tassie!”

        Reply
  161. John

    I found the multiple reference to Germans’ love sausage & other meat quite curious. In my experience, the 2nd largest group of obnoxiously “in your face” vegans/vegetarians have been Germans. (The largest group are American women in California or those who want be in CA.)

    Reply
  162. Vanessa Sanford

    I don’t know about the Jay-walking thing. We did in my home town alot, As for the dance, I don’t know, either. Where I am from, it is normal to attend a dance school from age 12-16 (when you are allowed to go to the club).

    Starting 6th grade, that’s all we did, shake hands. The girls loved to go around holding each others hands.

    Reply
  163. Manfred Helfert

    While I agree to many observations, the one about Dachshunds (Dackel) strikes me as possibly rather regional (Bavarian?).

    Where I live, near Frankfurt, I do NOT recall having seen one Dackel within the last year (but plenty of Möpse and Pudel).

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Haha yes, the Möpse are also popular! I first noticed the Dackel thing in Münster, NRW. And definitely here in Bavaria. Perhaps they’re just not as popular in Frankfurt?

      Reply
  164. Ulrike

    When I grew up in Germany we always drank tapwater and Sprudel, however later in the 70ies and 80ies my parents always were upset when we visited and drank tap. I have to say that it was not as good as before. Most of the last 40 years we lived in the country or at least outside the city and had well water which always was delicious. Now, here in Marietta, Georgia, we drink filtered water from the fridge as tap really is very chlorinated and not good.
    As for beer, I always preferred wine but always drank beer to be sociable at Octoberfests or other such occasions. I liked the semi dry Rieslings grown around Stuttgart and the Trollinger was my mother’s favorite every day wine.
    When I do drink beer I prefer Hefeweizen which was very hard to get in the US but is slowly becoming more popular.
    As far as Dackel are concerned, I don’t remember seeing many in Germany and I lived there 24 years, however, I fell in love with one from a rescue agency. He was one when we adopted him and is now 10, he still barks a lot and we have a fenced in back yard and a gate on the front deck although as he gets older he is less likely to run outside.

    Reply
  165. Sandra

    Hey Liv,

    I really like your article. I am German, and most of the things are true 🙂 but you forgot our wonderful social security system, I think that another good thing at germany.

    take care and kind regards.

    Sandra

    Reply
  166. SYQ

    You clearly forgot about “Beamtendeutsch” and “Schachtelsätze”. They definitely got to be in there. I think you already covered the very popular “Komposita” by referring to Mark Twain, but the sentence structure of written German in a, for example, legal context can be impressing.

    Reply
  167. Another German

    x. Germans are very rude drivers.
    When a German gets into his car he’s not out for an enjoyable drive, he’s going to war.

    Hilarious article, made me laugh tears!

    Reply
  168. Leonie

    Also very much enjoyed and loved your article! Nice observations!
    Thought you could have mentioned our obsession and love towards Weihnachtsmarkt and Glühwein – something I very much miss here in the states! 🙂

    Reply
  169. Arjen

    Wahahaha terrible … I was laughing out loud … and by the way … the song at point 29 should be COCO JAMBO … if you mean the hit by Mr. President 🙂

    Reply
  170. Chris

    So, when it is a relief for you to see water, you have to come to Hamburg. Just a beautiful city and not far away from Kiel. 😉

    Reply
  171. zarlock

    Hilariously written, my wife and I had a good laugh with it.
    And, mostly, it appears to be spot on. Not sure about the Dackels, I haven’t seen any of those around for years – the statistics say they are still around in numbers, just not sure where.
    They (and dogs in general) have been beaten by cats years ago anyways. I think it’s safe to say that Germans love cats.

    Very much agree with the IKEA and similar stores thing, we also tend to go to these mainly to enjoy a cheap meal. Of course, while we’re there, we still come across things we might like to buy…and sometimes do buy. So the concept does work.

    And regarding Nº20…yes. It actually tends to drive me nuts why seemingly no native English speaker is able to get that right. What’s the matter with that?

    Well, off to Kaffee und Kuchen. Hope to see more from you in the future. 🙂

    Kind regards,

    Robert

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      I have to say, I loved this. I often find myself complaining about ‘Asian Restaurants’ that group in every possible type of food from about ten different Asian countries, put it on a buffet and call is ‘Asian’. Drives me crazy!

      Reply
      1. Judith Chen

        indeed. one of the most common fatal mistake is the strangely popular snack: spring roll. the taste is often off, not even close to the ones in Asia. consequently, what you can enjoy is mostly the crust. ^^;

        Reply
  172. Lauren Schönherr

    I love this! After having lived in Germany for seven years, I have finally found the list that sums up my own experience and observations!!!! Thank you, Liv! (Is it odd that reading this made me miss Germany?)

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      You are so welcome! And I am glad it had the effect of making you miss Germany, now you’ll have to come back and enjoy a Bratwurst.

      Reply
  173. Hannes

    Hi Liv,

    i actually am from Kiel and when I noticed you´ve been up here(even some Germans think Germany ends at Hamburg), I had to write something….

    but as i read i mentioned that most of your “discoveries” cant be from here…
    well, that endless winter thing is a point…and lots of talking about beer and cars and going to Ikea to eat Hotdogs….one more point…
    all in one its very funny, mostly because i found some points i didn´t even know myself…

    Thanks for the list and go on,

    Hannes

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      I adore Kiel, in fact, I adore the north. Up there, I feel the most at home, because I am near the water and people who live near the water have a certain mentality. The list started when I lived in NRW (in Münster) and then grew in Bavaria. There are a few things the northerners do, but perhaps they should have a list all of their own. Eg: they can have whole conversations featuring the word ‘jo!’

      Reply
  174. Ulrike

    When I lived in Germany “Riesling” was synonymous with dry, and yes, I too am still looking for dry Rieslings here in the US

    Reply
  175. Martin

    Thanks for this, I had so much fun reading it! It’s always nice to have someone holding up a mirror to oneself in a charming way. And I confess – no. 100 – I obviously can’t queue and don’t think bad of myself if I run to a newly opened check out… :-S
    Best wishes from Frankfurt/M.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      We need to start a Queuers Anonymous. A lot of confessions are flowing through about Germs not being able to queue. It totally works in a room full of Germs, they innately understand the (lack of) system. But put a Brit, or an Aussie or American in there? Things get ugly.

      Reply
  176. Lilly

    I dated for a year a german guy. I can say they are insensitive. Never speak about their feelings (not sure they have).

    Reply
  177. Maike

    Thank you for being kind to us and not minding that we Germans cannot queue (I can’t even spell it, had to look it up). Love your list, no wonder it went viral. I don’t eat pigs (vegetarian) but everything else is true. This coming from a German married to an Englishman who has been pointig out my German-ness to me since 1999.

    Reply
  178. Anne

    Hey Liv!
    This was so much fun to read I laughed really hard with my boyfriend (german) cause most of it fitted him.
    However would like to suggest some things.
    Germans are not really tall if you compare them to the rest of Europe ( I am dutch…but not only compared to us giants 😛 ).
    As to speaking english…I would say only Bavaria and in Berlin (tourist places) you can speak english. I live in Hamburg and I would have no one to talk to when I couldn’t speak german yet 😛 really even the basics are a no no here, actually (except students) I have maybe met 20 people who actually speak it fairly well. Most people don’t speak it I think cause they have everything synchronized here on TV and even in the cinema.
    Being dutch I can tell you NO they are really,really,really not good bicycle riders!! I wonder a lot of times about what the hell they are doing/planning to do 😀 scary at times seriously 😀
    What you wrote about staring..THANK YOU 😛 in the beginning I didn’t get it and was always looking nervously at my face in the mirror or at my coat trying to find what was wrong with me. my bf didn’t get what I was talking about until I took him to The Netherlands and people started saying hallo to him on the street haha!! Because in smaller towns in The Netherlands if you stare a longer time at people for no reason then they just think you want to communicate with them, too funny!! About the tap water was also spot on! Convinced my bf that it is really safe to drink it here and there is no need to drag a gallon of water from the supermarket everywhere you go 😉 about the humor though, I have learned their humor now but I have noticed that germans don’t get dry humor or sarcastic humor too often..( being dutch I live and breath sarcasm) and I get a lot of weird looks before they realize after a minute that it was a joke,but maybe that’s a timing thing cause when I do it on “feiertag” then all is good and understood and get a portion of sarcasm back 😉 I have noticed they have time for serious behavior and time for fun here very much separated. All in all nice to read and made me laugh a lot 😉 Cheers

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      It is true, the Dutchies are tall! And probably more crazy about bikes. But the Northern Germs tend to be pretty tall (compared to me, anyway hahaha). You are right, the English is better in touristy places, although I have found in Bavaria, it’s not particularly good at all, in the smaller city/towns anyway. I think, with the English thing, it is more than Germans have the grammar drilled into them from a young age, whereas English speakers never learn our grammar – hence the there/they’re/their constant confusion! And I agree – if TV and film wasn’t dubbed here, the Germs would have Scando-style English fluency.

      I think it must be fascinating to look at the Dutch/German differences and similarities. Because to the untrained eye, there are some things the Dutch have in common with the Germans. And then there are many ways in which they are just so different.

      As for the staring thing/not saying hello to people you don’t know … madness. Although I have to say, the Bavarians DO greet people on the street, that they don’t know. Which is nice!

      Reply
  179. Till

    I do not know if anybody already mentioned it since I did not read all the comments, but “Dinner for One” is a German production of NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), where they used British actors.Thus, no. 97 is surely your (and the same goes for most Germans) impression but not quite correct 😉

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      True, it was produced by NDR in the 60s. But the original sketch was written by a Brit, and performed in the 20s. But the German adoration of it (and the fact it is in English, undubbed!) remains fascinating.

      Reply
  180. Saba

    Liv, thank you so much for writing this! It had me in giggles up to #101 and now I’m buying the book. 🙂 As a German, #99 becomes apparent only if you travel abroad and try applying what we consider ‘queuing”. Ooooops.

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Wonderful to hear. Yes, when I first started raging about queuing, my German boyfriend had no idea why I was so irritated. Now, he is a queue police like I am! I hope you enjoy the book, Josh Bauman’s illustrations are just wonderful.

      Reply
  181. Jeff Maltz

    Just a thought, instead of using the word queue which sounds odd and is hard to spell, you can also say “line up” or form a line, e.g., The Germans don’t like to form lines or
    they don’t line up well.
    It’s American English, but it’s easier to undertand and spell. I never heard the word” queue” until I was in Germany. It’s also easy to confuse with word “cue” which means to give a signal or sign to someone or tell someone something. Could you give me a cue, when you’re ready?
    or Could you cue me in on what went wrong ?

    Reply
    1. Anne

      Jeff, “queue” is British english, it’s what people learn in school in Europe thus you’ll hear it here everywhere, I would say in particular Germans use proper British English, especially older people here since they had an exchange program for students here to England and many Germans learned it there (at least that’s what I’ve been told by a number of people). And Liv I am sure uses it because she is Australian and Australian English is closer to British English since England colonized there, my family is mostly from New South Wales and especially their English I find closer to British compared to other parts of Australia, with that I mean the words not the accent they put on it of course 😉 .

      Reply
  182. Ulrike

    Hi Ann, I am one of the “older People” you refer to and I learned English at the Gymnasium from a German who spoke proper English English. There were no exchange programs in my time as Germany first had to recover from the war I have lived in America for over 40 year in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (Boston area) and queue is used there as well. Maybe the language spoken here in New England is closer to that spoken in England . In the South like Georgia where I now live things are very different. I still, after 3 full years here in Georgia, have a hard time understanding the people from here.

    Reply
    1. Anne

      Hi Ulrike, like I wrote I just heard it from a few people age about 60 I would say but it sounded more like a pen friend thing so I might be wrong with the exchange for students, but as I understood it was something that you got the opportunity to do thru school. Anyways there is a huge gap I would say people around 20 and younger mostly speak very good English around 30 and older not too many. And around 60 and above also met quite a few who speak it. I bet if you are hanging around people who seek English speaking friends you’ll find a lot of people who speak it really well, just as you will find at the University I just meant that going to a supermarket/store/restaurant with just speaking English might not get you very far at least that’s how I experienced it… but it did make me learn German in a rapid way 😉
      Georgia! Where abouts? I used to go to Savannah all the time as I have very good friends living in Hilton Head SA. Yes their English differs a lot from what they speak in the North especially Boston I would say. I like how they say “directly” instead of in a minute,or calaboose, and “dinner” is in the middle of the day. 😀 Got so used to it though that when I went to NY people would comment that I am from the South probably 😛

      Reply
  183. Jeff Maltz

    Thank you, Ann. As an English teacher, I know what a queue is. And you are correct about the Germans who learn English. They learn British English and it’s standard pronunciation too. In the United States or Canada as there is no “standard English” pronunciation as in Australia or India, South Africa, etc.

    Reply
  184. jurii

    At university:
    After a good performance (talk, lecture) or as a sign of agreement, Germans don’t clap hands, but knocking with their knukles on the table

    Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      Yes! And also as a group greeting, if there is a table of people you need to join, you can knock your hand on the table to say hi to everyone. Very efficient!

      Reply
    1. Liv Post author

      True! But I think the ost-Frisians put cream in their tea. Germans on the whole drink a LOT of herbal tea. I am quietly turning as many people onto black tea with milk, as I can.

      Reply
  185. Jeff Maltz

    I think English has too many words, over 300,000, in general, to describe the same things. This is due to the Norman French and Latin creeping into English in 1066 when the Normans conquered Britain. On average, English speakers have a working vocabulary of 16,000 words and educated people have 25,000-30,000.
    Modern English would actually be more simliar to German and much easier.
    I think in influx of English words into German sounds silly and unnecessary, when there are plenty of German words to that already describe the same thing.To cite several examples:
    gate( at an airport) the German word is Flugsteig or sale is Ausverkauf, suicide for Selbstmord,hi or hallo for Guten Tag and the list goes on and on. I always use the German words to describe things in German rather than revert to English, if I can.
    I think many Germans and German advertizers(advertisers) think it’s “cool” to use English words in ads, that in many cases sound ridiculous. Older Germans, especially in the former GDR, learned Russian in school instead of English and it’s difficult for them to understand many ads and commercials on television that are loaded with English. West Germans, one the other hand, had more access to Americans and the American way of life and after
    World War 2, they imitated or borrowed a lot of things from the American culture and language.
    German actors and actresses and Promis ,as the Germans call them, use a lot of English words on television to get the same effect. I just laugh and shake my head. 🙂

    By the way,Liv, the “prefered” American accent or pronunciation used by broadcasters in the USA is Mid-western English. Why? The American public was surveyed in the 1960’s, as to what sort of English sounded the best to their ear. They thought Mid-westerners sounded the best.

    Reply
  186. Anne

    Hi Jeff, did you mean by the “influx of English words into German..” that people actually use it?
    Because I would rather here a German himself always say ausverkauf or knut after Christmas. And hallo is a greeting used in many languages and it does not come from English, most dictionaries say it actually comes from old High German 😀 (who would have thought!) . I would say that in my experience Germans actually love to make there own word for something, a lot I find is derived from French as well. You are right about Germans finding The USA cool though, I have seen many adds saying something is “American” like nails, make-up, or clothing. Makes me wonder though, North or South,or middle?? It doesn’t say 😀 haha some words also are borrowed as there is just no alternative for it I guess, in Dutch you also say “überhaupt” we don’t have an alternative for it, we also write it the same, although in the Dutch language you have no alternative for it. 🙂

    Reply
  187. James Miles

    I must dispute the point made at #17 and #18. Germans do not have a successful economy because they work hard. People work hard everywhere. The German economy is successful because of its high rate of investment. (It’s also why modern China is successful: a very high, historically unprecedented, rate of investment as a percentage of GDP.) Investment makes your labour more efficient. This is why Germany overtook Britain in the late 19th century, and overtook the US after the war. Nothing to do with how hard people work.

    Reply
    1. Ulrike

      I have to disagree. I have been working in the US for over 40 years and everywhere I worked it was the same story. People did often not take coffee breaks, short or no lunch breaks so that they looked as if they were working a lot. However, all day long they were talking instead of concentrating on their work and making one mistake after the other.
      In Germany, where ever I worked, we actually worked during working hours and we did our talking and gossiping during coffee break in the morning and afternoon and during our one hour lunch break. We had time to eat slowly and actually taste our food and plenty of time to catch up with personal chit chat. When we celebrated a birthday we stopped working and celebrated, here you get to take a piece of cake, sing happy birthday and go back to your desk and talk and talk while you try to do some work at the same time and I could go on and on and on.
      I have not been in Germany since 2006 so I do not know if things have changed. The only change I saw was after my mother’s funeral back in 1997 when we visited Ludwigsburg where I grew up. Everywhere we went we saw women with head scarfs speaking Arabic, not one German walking around town so we packed our bags and few home.

      Reply
  188. naty

    I’m studying in Germany and I’m so disappointed with my choose. I came here for Erasmus and since begging I had problems at the University because of the mess!
    – Nobody had any idea about exchange students, I’v met my German coordinator accidentally! – The professors didn’t know how many credit points I will get for their subject : /
    – 1000 websites to everything, instead of put everything together, for language courses one website, for other courses another website, to write exam the same, MESS!
    – About German students… I never seen something like thins on any other universities. The people are arrogant and they always think they are the best, if you are better ,you are rival.
    – I know many students from Brazil, Spain and Italy and they can’t understand why Germans are so cold, cuz they came to their country to learn about their culture but is not possible cuz Germans keep distance and they don’t care about others. Example ? Once my friend asked one German guy about some footballer, if he know him, he asked” Is he German?” -“No,Cuban” “So I don’t have to know him” , this only one of 1000 examples.
    – Germans girls are jealous about foreign girls, they just don’t like girls. Maybe becouse because foreign chicas are more beautiful ? I always listen jokes even from GErmans guys about German girls: they are neglected, with strange hair style, with overweight , bad dressed and this awful piercing.
    – My friend from Tunisia is studying here 5 years and since that time she has any German girl friend, boys friend yes but not girls.
    – The food… Seriously I can’t see any sausage anymore, come on! Cabbage,sausage and schnitzel, ooow I almost forgot about potatoes!
    – Parties with Germans are the most boring. If I know that some of my friend invited Germans to party I will take a pillow and pajama with me for the next time. They don’t dance, they don’t even try. If they talk, they only talk about bullshits or about future, their plans, university or homework, plllllssss
    Anyway I just cant wait until I finish the studies here, good luck to everyone and advice to Germans, please… Relax, take it easyyyyyyyyyy 😉

    Reply
    1. piessinger

      such an ugly, short-sighted reply. really, you do germans wrong. you just made wrong encounters. Idiots are everywhere. Who is the one, who should relax?

      Reply
    2. Jeff Maltz

      I can’t believe you’re actually a student and studying Erasmus! Is English your native language? Your spelling,word usage, grammar and snytax are incorrect.
      I studied in Germany too, and I enjoyed it very much. I made a lot of friends, dated German women, went to parties with students and professors and the discotheque to dance. I found German students to be just as much fun to be with as American students. I had no complaints about the food, in fact, I liked it. I spoke German fluently too.
      Perhaps, it’s were you’re located. I studied in Tübingen and I was a German and English major.
      I would do it all over again, if I could.

      Reply
    3. Anne

      Naty, very strange to hear about all the problems at the university…
      I must say, I’m living in Hamburg and had no problems like that, the uni site is very easy to get thru and when I was looking for language courses and couldn’t get a hold of the lady responsible she actually called me back the next day and helped me out. They never know how many credit points you will get simply because your university at home has to decide on that one.
      I have had quite a few friends of mine complaining that they didn’t get their credit points at their own university because of program differences (this is also something that is said on the erasmus site itself).
      I wouldn’t call the students arrogant just competitive they just don’t like to “share” info or notes, they think that everyone has to work hard for the grades they get and I don’t find that a bad quality.
      I understand that you are coming from a latin country and Germans seem quite cold…well you should head up to Norway you would go even more crazy and Germans would seem the warmest, friendliest ever LOL 😛 no but for real they may seem and actually I would agree colder than some other nationalities but they have other qualities and warm up a lot once you get to know them better, Germans are not that open and spontaneous in the beginning which does give a cold impression…
      As far as partying goes, obviously you are spending it with the wrong people 😛 well at least I always had fun on parties here.
      True story about girls here though, can’t argue on that one, have gotten a lot of dirty looks myself and friend making is not too easy when you are “a possible threat” but that does not count for everyone and I have met a lot of nice girls as well, but there is a weird notion of girls hating on girls here at least more than I have ever encountered anywhere else.

      Naty you are being too negative and I think that once you change your attitude towards Germans, they will start doing it as well…. You are not in Spain/Portugal and it’s not fair to not even try and go with the flow here, understand that you are in a different culture, and for Germans a lot of things you do or say also might be strange or even irritating 😉
      Good luck in Germany and hope you’ll grow fond of it 😉

      Reply
    4. Zarina

      Hey Naty,
      I’m really sorry to hear that you have such an unpleasant experience in Germany. I do agree with Anne and Jeff that it depends on the university you’re attending and the major you are doing, though. For example, here in Konstanz, when you study law, there is an introduction for the Erasmus students and there are special advisors for your stay – still, it is not easy – like when you have to ask every professor for an exam (we have many classes with no exams).
      The thing with too many websites annoys many German students too, and it is hard to find out things when you start studying first – of course that is even harder when not everything is translated.

      I also want to give you a few tips on how you might have a better experience:
      – Like it was stated in the list, Germans don’t usually start small talk. They keep to themselves and won’t start to talk to you when you don’t ask them something. But from my own experience there are a lot of people who start warming up when you go to them and tell them that you need help or ask for something. Many will also find your story interesting and want to talk about your experience in Germany or your home country.

      – Germans are rather patriotic when it comes to football and food, and many hate it when they feel like they are being belittled. They are proud – and thus can be antagonistic. Try not to be offended by their directness and find another topic to start about – talking about the weather might be boring, but no one feels offended by it.

      – Well, I am a German girl and I have to admit that German girl tend to criticise other girls or not be nice to them. Some might think that girls from other countries are dressed too sexy or have too much make-up on because it is considered better in Germany to look natural and “anständig”. Try to cope with it – also, like Germans in general, they tend to warm up after they get to know you better.

      – I am sorry about the food and I think there is rather little variety in typical German food. Of course you could have had bad luck also, especially if people wanted to show you typical German food so you ate lots of it. In my experience young Germans love foreign food, so maybe you could try and cook with them and show them some of the awesome food from your home. Also, try “Kaffee und Kuchen”, especially with girls.

      – About the parties and German students being so competitive: That might result from the feeling of pressure that many German students have – they think they have to finish their studies as fast as possible or they won’t get a good job. Talking about it helps many of them.
      I have also heard the complaint about Erasmus students that they do nothing but party all the time – so it is probably just a difference in culture. And I think that you have been to the wrong parties 🙂 I’m sure you can find Germans that you like and that like you and have a great time with them!

      Well, I really hope these negative things won’t be the only experience you take back home, and I hope you get to enjoy being in Germany (though I have to admit that during winter everything is a bit more depressing).

      Reply
  189. Lea

    Initially, I just wanted to leave a comment to thank you for making me feel good about being German, but I can’t seem to let the preceding comment pass without a comment itself. I do not think it is at all blabla although there are a few repititions. It is exactly what you call blabla that is interesting about this list as it concerns itself with the small things, the things that Germans take for granted and feel so normal about, they would never tell a foreigner when abroad. It is only through travels and living abroad that Germans get a grip on the idea that not everyone finds it normal to have a brilliant spargel dinner and enjoy a becks green lemon with your würstchen im speckmantel on the bbq. Especially in a country that lacks national belonging (meaning a healthy and politically correct one) like no.other.country. it is funny and sweet to learn from a simple list like this that there are things we have in common and that we share, even if it is just the love for a good bakery.

    Dear Liv, I think your choice of cities has been terrific and your points are terrifyingly reasonable. You are an excellent observer and have made me feel very German in this post. “Germans love Spargel” and all I think is.. Ooohh Spargel 🙂 You have even captured how regions are more important to us than we admit, as Schleswig-Holsteiners love to find each other in other parts of Germany and make clear that nobody gets a Schleswig-Holsteiner as a Schleswig-Holsteiner does.

    Well observed an written. I hope you will continue to enjoy Germany!

    Reply
  190. Matt

    Wonderful list, laughed quite a lot 🙂

    91: I think I have to disagree, not too many enjoy football here at all (or watch the “world championship” where the world was not invited…). If you talk about soccer, on the other hand, that’s more than correct 🙂

    If you talk about football in Germany, it always means American Football. “Fußball” would of course translate directly to “football”, but is not the same game, thus “soccer” it is.

    Reply
    1. DerUmi

      Interesting observation, because I disagree. I am German (from Hamburg) and as I learned British English at school, I say “football” instead of “soccer”. My british flatmate says “football”. If I want to talk about American Football, I would say “American Football”. I only use the term “soccer” when talking to Northern Americans in order to avoid misunderstandings. But maybe there are regional differences in Germany how to say “Fußball” in English.

      Reply
      1. Anne

        I agree the word soccer is not really used in Europe.
        Actually both should be called “football”.
        The football known to North Americans comes from rugby…which was called rugby football…the game evolved in North America into “American football”.
        Football known to Europeans was called “association football”, some believe that actually “soccer” is a word coming from “assoccer” then became just “soccer”.
        But no one will say soccer here in Europe or actually in Oz or New Zeeland either, same for South Africa. Just when we speak to North Americans to keep it easy 😉
        @Proud rugby fan!! 😉

        Reply
      2. coopersonic

        Co-rrrrrect! (I am a born German, BTW, a “Sauerländer” more precisely. A region largely overlooked by foreign visitors despite its people being more “German” than most other Germans. On the other hand … it’s probably explicable because it is so boring…

        Reply
  191. leon

    I really enjoyed reading your little list you have a very nice way of writing i must admit. I hope you will continue having a wonderful time in germany or if you already returned will have a lovely memory. To the point of germans wanting to go to ikea just to eat hotdogs i have to clearify that while you can get most international goods in almost every bigger city in germany the hotdog is the only exception. It is damn hard to find a good one! (not saying the ikea one is good though :/ )

    anyways laughed my ass off we really seem to leave a very strange but somehow kind impression on foreigners

    wish you all the best
    greetings from Bayreuth 🙂

    p.s. it is soccer goddamn

    Reply
  192. Ulrike

    It is soccer or fussball, Americans do know the word fussball and as far as a hot dog is concerned, I am assuming you are talking about the American hot dog. It is just as difficult to get a good hot dog here in the US which is why I like mine with mustard and relish and whatever else is available, even beans and of course cheese. You can rally only get good hot dogs at a butcher shop and they are few and far between in the US. We had a very good one in Nahant, Massachusetts 40 years ago. They never even made it home as we used to eat them in the car while driving home.

    Reply
  193. Ina

    I think it’s sad that you take your obviously subjective and one-time experiences and make them “observations” about “The Germans”. That is so small-minded and just stupid stereotyping. I’m sorry for the ones reading/believing this.

    Reply
    1. Jens

      Nope! Not true 🙂 Just because it is not aplying to you it does not mean it is incorrect :-). Just look around you next time you go outside to the park with your friends and you will see that it is true!

      Reply
  194. Martin

    Hi,
    I am from Germany and found the website an hour ago.
    Suprising: The most is true 🙂
    Even the point 61: ‘Apropos, Germans will always try and shake your hand, even if you feel you’ve reached the status of hugging.’

    Thanks for the list.

    Reply
  195. Natalie from Germany

    Thank you, Liv, for this great post 😉

    I’d like to share this one with you as I assume you will like it:
    You will meet the “sausage dog” (Dackel) and the different sense of German humor.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL0P1p5yUuU
    (caution, 38 minutes)
    I could not read all the previous comments yet, so sorry if I am repeating what someone else has told you earlier.

    Mach weiter so!

    Reply
  196. Ulrike

    I would like to reply to the hand shaking custom. It used to be that one had to wait for the older person to extend a hand, the male had to wait for the female to extend her hand, the lower rank had to wait for the higher rank etc. One would address people by their last name unless one was told to use the DU instead of the SIE and first name and this tow was done following the same rule which applies to the hand shake. I wonder if this is still observed among the younger generation?
    I wish things were a little more formal here in the US. I don’t like to be hugged and kissed by a person I just met, but they do this here, Cashiers at the supermarket will address you with dear or honey and they are teenagers!

    Reply
  197. Samantha Bhopa

    Sister lives in Hamburg and got three Herman nieces and nephews. I agree with most of your statements. Think it would be interesting to see what my German family thinks of this so will pass it on.

    Reply
  198. Ralf Gawel

    Love it..pure genetics..you cannot get a German out of a German, no matter where he lives. You forgot one major point, which is. We always know better than anybody else!

    Reply
    1. Ulrike

      Ralf you are so right. On top of being German I am also Aquarian and Aquarians are also always right so no one will ever convince me that I am not correct!

      Reply
  199. Woisit

    This blog is so true, I almost feel unmasked while reading it! 🙂

    But you forgot to mention the “Prost”. It’s very important in Germany if u sit together and drink beer to lift up your glas und look the others into their eyes while “prosting” (to stay cheers). Ignoring that is considered rude and somehow they dont do it in other countries.

    Reply
  200. test

    I’d like to add that the sole reason for the Bratwurststände in front of Ikea’s is to keep the men out. This way the women have more time for shopping and buy more stuff.

    Reply
  201. Daniel

    I’ve to admit that i almost peed my pants laughing…

    Great List, Great kind of writing!

    I just HAVE to add some small details:

    Cars arent just vehicles, they are f**king essential! as you know by surviving the db-sweat-and-swear-trains…
    I can Travel faster, and of course MORE TIME EFFICIANT by car! So thats why I’m Never late… Unless some camping van moves out on left lane when i am driving 250… Then the middelfinger-Law has no value anymore…

    Football is the biggest Church in Germany! There are no catholics or protestants… Only Dortmunder or Schalker… Its maybe like northern ireland back in the days…
    No, just kidding… Unless you are a munich Fan and not from Bavaria: die!

    I really never realised this staring-Thing, but you are right…
    But i dont Feel like doing some rude things while looking at others… A smile for strangers? Not in this life! But when the stranger is wearing a Dortmund-Jersey, then he gets thumbs up…

    Best wishes from near Münster

    Reply
  202. Jens

    Hey there!
    I am German myself^^ Best entry about German behaviour I have seen in a looooong time! At some points i laughed so hard I had to hold my belly :-D. Some points are a bit exaggerated but all in all it perfectly fits most of the Germans 🙂 (Not me … I hate hiking, camping and stupid IKEA :-D). Oh and the Bratwurststände are not to keep the men out … they have to come inside too … who is going to carry the bought stuff when they are outside?? ;-). Keep it up and if you have any question to German behaviour and why we are so weird, just ask me and I will, as accurate as possible and IF i know the answer, answer every question you have :-).

    Reply
  203. bavaria!

    They are extremely good natured when it comes to laughing at themselves (and accepting lists like the very one you’re reading.)

    True at all 😀 😀

    Reply
  204. Roger

    One thing is definitely missing: No matter how bad the air is in a closed room, how thick the smoke is in a bar (yes, in some parts of Germany you are still allowed to smoke), the moment someone opens a window and the slightest movement of air happens, you can be 100% certain someone will call out “Es zieht!” meaning someone feels the fresh air being uncomfortable or even health threatening.

    Reply
  205. Anna

    To the unspoken rule of Eat Now, Talk Later: I call it “Gefräßiges Schweigen”. Don’t know if this is a common word for that or my invention.

    Reply
  206. V

    As a German living in Australia I really agree on point 58. Even after more than half year I am still embarrassed when being asked “how are you today” at the supermarket check-out. Luckily you can find a self check-out in nearly every supermarket down here, so Germans can avoid these awkward situations ;).

    Reply
  207. jana

    first, i thougt, this is ironic. or is it? well, you lived in bavaria, baltic sea and münster, that are NOT quite reprensentative for all Germans. i´ve read this and thought, you look quite surfical and cliché. go to more cities and regions and look more intense! talk to people! you will find a lot of this things not true! some things are good looked but i only agree about 20 things the rest is cliché and seems you have talked not really with peope or with people who also think all this clichés!

    Reply
    1. V

      So what do you expect when you read a blog called “what I know about Germans”? A scientific report on the the most representative characteristics of Germans? Come on, of course it is the view of an individual based on her own experiences. You should stop accusing people of being superficial and cliché just because they made different experiences as you. And please, fellow Germans, don’t take everything so seriously (another German stereotype?;))!

      Reply
  208. Shelling

    I wonder if u heard, that Bavaria doesn’t belong to Germany at all xD (it’s practically a joke, but it has some points)
    Bavaria had a King till 1918 (end of the first WW), they want the kingdom back, they doesn’t speak German (Bavarian) xD. Someone from Hanover or Lüneburg Heath, which speak High German, can barely understand Bavarian.
    And yeah, i disagree with some points, but the most of them are right. btw. we don’t worship the pig, pig is just much cheaper than beef. I don’t know anybody who like meat, would choose pig instead of beef, if the prices weren’t too different.

    Reply
  209. H-Peter Runge

    NO BODY KNOWS.de “German Migrunt” and his problems with the
    ***CANADIAN-GERMAN INCOME TAX TREATY***
    -everybody just sucks it up-
    NO T4As, T5s, etc documents
    to file foreign income or property
    “NOne of their business”
    NOW!
    That’s loyalty to.de Vaterland!!!!!
    Regards, PeteR.dePruzz

    Reply