The following are some of the misconceptions about Germany. Some are derived from my own thoughts of Germany before arriving here in 2002 and others are from random people. Some may not be so common anymore but hopefully, we can clear up at least one misconception you may have about Germany.
If we come to the conclusion that this is something that many people think of Germany we may include it below.
1. “NO SENSE OF HUMOR”
In the five years that I have lived in Germany, I have not noticed that Germans have any less sense of humor than anyone else I have met in my life. Time after time I hear people claiming that Germans have no sense of humor. I would guess that this branches from the language barrier.
If you tell someone a joke and they do not completely understand you, they will probably not laugh too hard. Another thing that you have to realize is that different countries have different senses of humor. American humor is much different than German humor and the same can be said about England and most other countries.
See Related: Best Things to do in Berlin
2. “NO SPEED LIMIT ON THE AUTOBAHN”
It is true that on some stretches of the autobahn there is no speed limit but you must be aware of the signs and be sure not to speed on the stretches that have a recommended speed limit.
The recommended speed limit on the autobahn is usually 130 kilometers per hour ( approximately 81 miles per hour ) and this should be obeyed.
3. “UNGROOMED WOMEN”
Although it is true that many of the older, more traditional German women do not shave their legs, armpits, etc. the majority of the more modern-day German women do, in fact, shave the same places any American woman would.
4. “WARM BEER”
Nowhere in Germany have I found a person or establishment that has offered warm beer. This misconception comes from the fact that the typical American beer should be served ‘Ice Cold’ and the typical German beer should be served ‘Cold’.
See Related: Best Things to do in Hessen, Germany
5. “ALL GERMANS LOVE BEER”
Most German cities do actually have their own beer breweries and Germans pride themselves on their rich preservative-free beer but this does not mean all Germans love beer.
From my experience in Germany, it seems that beer and wine are consumed more than hard liqueur but as a whole German people are not obsessed with beer.
See Related: History of Beer in Germany
6. “World War II and Nazis”
There are a lot of rumors floating around that current-day Germans deny the Holocaust ever happened, and still support Hitler’s views. This is most definitely NOT true at all!! I have not met one German who denies the holocaust happened.
Of course for obvious reasons, most do not like to talk about it, but they will admit that it did, in fact, happen. My own opinion is that modern-day Germans despise Hitler’s views and what he stood for more than anyone.
See Related: German Travel Phrase Guide
Other misconceptions about Germany
Cold and Asocial People
Germans are not as cold and asocial as people think they are. I have found that Germans, for the most part, are just like everyone else in the world. They enjoy spending time with their friends and family, going out to eat, and enjoying a good laugh.
The only difference may be that Germans are more direct in their communication and they do not enjoy small talk as much as some other cultures do. But, this does not mean they are unapproachable or unsociable.
Germans are extremely organized and many people believe that this is a negative thing. I, myself, have found that being organized has its benefits. For example, when I am looking for something I know exactly where to look because everything has its place.
This may be a cultural difference but it is not a bad thing. In fact, most people I have encountered in my travels through Germany are very helpful and will assist you with anything that you may need.
Germans Won’t Speak English
This misconception is slowly changing as more and more German students are learning English but it is still true that a majority of Germans do not know how to speak English.
However, many Germans understand basic English phrases and will be happy to help you with anything you need. Just be sure to have a translator on hand just in case!
I have found that romance is not dead in Germany! I have met people here who are very romantic and enjoy being intimate with someone they find special.
However, Germans are less likely to pick up on social cues or give hints about their feelings so if you are attracted to someone be sure to communicate your interest before anything happens.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Germany
German cuisine consists of only wurst and sauerkraut
This is completely untrue! Although Germany does have many different types of wurst, they are not the only type of cuisine that Germans eat.
There are some German dishes that are more traditional but this varies from region to region. Every town also has its own regional specialties so there is sure to be something on any restaurant’s menu for everyone to enjoy.
Germany is hostile
I have found that the only people who find Germany to be cold and hostile are those who do not understand Germans or speak their language. Germans, for the most part, are very direct and to the point when communicating with someone. They will give you an immediate answer so if they don’t want to talk to you they will say so.
This does not mean they are hostile or mean towards you, it just means that the conversation is over for them. If you do not understand this then that is on you and not on them!
The Germans don’t like Americans
I know many Germans who live in Germany and find nothing wrong with being American. In fact, they often enjoy the American way of life and find it to be very interesting.
There are, however, some Germans who do not like Americans but this is not because we are Americans, it is because of the things our government has done in the past. Just as there are people in America who do not like Germans for the same reason.
See Related: Everything About Wine in Germany
The German culture may differ from your own country but it doesn’t mean they are cold or hostile people. Some may speak only the German Language but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to speak English at all.
They don’t just drink beer, Germans drink different kinds of beverages like wine or juices just like any other people. German food also has a wide variety of recipes. And just like any other country, Germany imposes speed limits on its roads to maintain safety and order.
Narrow-minded people may still think about the concentration camps of World War II, the Berlin Wall, and Southern Germany with the Soviet Union but everything is already in history, and the current generation of Germans is different from the past.
Are Germans good hosts?
Yes, most Germans I have encountered in my travels are very nice and happy to help you with anything you may need.
Is it safe to visit Germany?
Yes, Germany is a very safe country to visit. Just be sure to use common sense and take the same precautions you would anywhere else.
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