The following are some of the misconceptions about Germany. Some are derived from my thoughts of Germany before arriving 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 conclude that this is something that many people think of Germany, we may include it below.
Show Table of Contents
- 1. “NO SENSE OF HUMOR”
- 2. “NO SPEED LIMIT ON THE AUTOBAHN”
- 3. “UNGROOMED WOMEN”
- 4. “WARM BEER.”
- 5. “ALL GERMANS LOVE BEER”
- 6. “World War II and Nazis.”
- Other misconceptions about Germany
- Cold and Asocial People
- Organization Rules
- Germans Won’t Speak English
- Pragmatic Romance
- German cuisine consists of only wurst and sauerkraut
- Germany is hostile
- The Germans don’t like Americans
- Are Germans good hosts?
- Is it safe to visit Germany?
1. “NO SENSE OF HUMOR”
In the five years that I have lived in Germany, I have not noticed Germans have any less sense of humor than anyone else I have met. 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 entirely 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 from German humor; the same can be said about England and most other countries.
See Related: Things to Do in Berlin
2. “NO SPEED LIMIT ON THE AUTOBAHN”
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 times with a recommended speed limit.
The recommended speed limit on the autobahn is usually 130 kilometers per hour ( approximately 81 miles per hour ), which should be obeyed.
3. “UNGROOMED WOMEN”
Although many of the older, more traditional German women do not shave their legs, armpits, etc., most of the more modern-day German women do 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 regular German beer should be served ‘Cold.’
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5. “ALL GERMANS LOVE BEER”
Most German cities have 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 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, most do not like to talk about it for obvious reasons, but they will admit that it did happen. I think 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
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. They enjoy spending time with their friends and family, eating, and enjoying a good laugh.
The only difference may be that Germans are more direct in their communication and do not enjoy the small talk as much as other cultures do. But this does not mean they are unapproachable or unsociable.
Germans are highly organized, and many people believe this is negative. I, myself, have found that being organized has its benefits. For example, when looking for something, I know exactly where to look because everything has its place.
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 most Germans do not know how to speak English.
However, many Germans understand basic English phrases and gladly help you with anything. 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 noteworthy.
However, Germans are less likely to pick up on social cues or give hints about their feelings, so if you are attracted to someone, communicate your interest before anything happens.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Germany
German cuisine consists of only wurst and sauerkraut
This is entirely untrue! Although Germany has many types of sausage, they are not the superior cuisine that Germans eat.
Some German dishes are more traditional, but this varies from region to region. Every town also has its regional specialties, so there will surely 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, that is on you, not them!
The Germans don’t like Americans
I know many Germans who live in Germany and find nothing wrong with being American. They often enjoy the American way of life and find it very interesting.
However, some Germans do not like Americans, but this is not because we are Americans; it is because of what our government has done in the past, just as some people in America do not like Germans for the same reason.
See Related: Everything About Wine in Germany
German culture may differ from your own country, but it doesn’t mean they are cold or hostile. Some may speak only German, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to speak English at all.
Germans don’t just drink beer; they drink different beverages like wine or juices like 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. Still, 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 lovely and happy to help you with anything.
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 elsewhere.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.