What are some interesting facts about Germany that you know? What is the country famous for? This article delves deeper to give you a clear picture of this incredible nation.
While the country might be popular to many for some crazy stuff like “Hitler and his iron fist rule,” starting “World Wars I and II,” there are certainly more interesting facts about Germany you probably never knew. For instance, did you know that the Germans invented the famous MP3, or that the country has over 20,000 castles?
There’s more to this beautiful country than you can imagine. Located in Western Europe, German boasts a beautiful landscape, full of dense forests, clear rivers, stunning beaches, and extensive mountain ranges. And when it comes to its people and culture, there are tons of interesting things to learn.
So, what are some of the most interesting facts about Germany? Here is a comprehensive list of Germany and the German facts you need to know.
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Top Facts About Germany
If you are looking to learn more about Germany, its culture, people, way of life, inventions, and what makes the country unique, let’s get into it.
Important Facts About Germany
- German is a federation: The country comprises 16 federal states (Länder), with each state having its responsibility areas. For this reason, Germany uses a federal constitution, where every state retains some sovereignty level.
- The country is comprised of 403 districts (Kreise). Of these, 107 are urban districts, while 294 are rural ones.
- German is one of the most populous countries in Europe: With a population of over 83 million people, Germany holds the title of the “second-most populous nation” in Europe. It comes after Russia, which has a population of just over 145 million people.
- Berlin is Germany’s capital: The city, which is the main urban center of the country, also doubles as one of the nation’s states and holds the official residence of the president.
- Besides Berlin, German has had five other capitals. These include Aachen, Bonn, Regensburg, Nuremberg, and Frankfurt.
- Around one-third of the country’s landscape is forested: This offers some of the most amazing tourist sites and vacation areas in the country.
- Germany is the largest economy in Europe, and it’s a member of the European Union (EU). It also holds the fourth position globally, after the US, China, and Japan.
- The Country’s oldest zoo, Berlin Zoological Garden, is located in Berlin. Established in 1844 and with over 1,300 animal species, the zoo claims to host more animal species than any other zoo globally.
- In terms of area, Germany is the 7th largest nation in Europe. It covers around 137,847 square miles, with land covering 34,836 square miles and water 3,011 square miles.
- Besides being the capital, Berlin is the largest city in Germany: This is both in area and population size.
See Related: Best Breweries in Berlin
Historical Facts About Germany
- Germany as a distinct region is as old as Julius Caesar, the famous Roman commander. Caesar talked of Germania when referring to the unconquered region east of the river Rhine. He distinguishes this region from France (Gaul), which was already under his rule.
- Germany became a sovereign state in 1871. This was after the establishment of the German Empire.
- Before 1871, Germany was comprised of several independent states, which were under kings and dukes. Otto von Bismarck brought about the concept of a united Germany.
- West and East German reunited in 1990, after decades of hostility between the two regions.
- Near the end of the 19th century, Germany competed with other large European countries to colonize Asia and African countries. The competition eventually led to the eruption of the First World War in 1914.
- In 1933, Adolf Hitler came into power through his Nazi Party.
- In 1939, Adolf Hitler initiated World War II by invading Poland. It was during this time that Hitler enslaved and killed millions of Jews and other groups. He was later defeated in 1945, bringing to an end more than 6 years of war.
- After the events of World War II, East and West Germany separated, becoming two nations. The division lasted for about 44 years, until 1989, when the Eastern region opened its borders, bringing the cold war to an end.
See Related: Things to Do in Lower Saxony
Interesting Facts About Germany: Language
- German is the official language in Germany, as well as in four other countries. These include Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. However, their dialects are quite distinct.
- The first people to use a language resembling modern German are believed to have lived around 5,000 years ago in the same region. This was way before the German nation was established.
- If you didn’t know, German is one of the four widely taught languages globally. It falls behind English, French, and Spanish.
- The German language contains more letters than the normal 26, found in English. It has four more letters, which include ä, ö, ü, and ß.
- The language comprises two main divisions. These are the Hochdeutsch (High German) and the Plattdeutsch (Low German).
- If you are visiting Germany, some words are used differently than in English. For instance, Germans use “thanks” pronounced “Danke” to mean “No.” On the other hand, the word “Bitte” or “please” is used to mean “Yes.” Make sure you remember!
- The German language has 35 different dialects.
- If you thought the English language was popular in Europe, you’re wrong. German is the leading language in Europe with the highest number of native speakers.
See Related: Best Books to Learn German
Basic Facts About Germany: People and Culture
These are the most basic German facts about culture:
- Germans are one of the most direct people around. While it may be different in your home country, Germans aren’t afraid of calling you out when you make inappropriate gestures or comments.
- Rules are strictly followed here. For instance, an illegal street crossing in Germany might not go well with you. The nasty glares will make you want to run from the scene.
- Tap water in Germany is referred to as Leitungswasser, meaning plumbing water. So, you might want to learn how to pronounce the word before asking for that tap water. It will certainly help you avoid some evil stares.
- Germans are known to value privacy. If it’s your first time in the country, don’t go trying to hug everyone. Also, keep your distance during conversations.
- Knocking on the table is a common sign of greetings in Germany. People here believe that this represents good luck as oak wood is holy, and the devil can’t touch it.
- If you are used to a friendly neighborhood where you can have a friendly chat with anyone, it’s completely different in Germany. Germans are quite conservative and will only allow simple greeting tags; “Guten” for “good day” and “Guten Abend” for “good evening.”
- Absolutely no cheers with water in German. In fact, they view this as wishing death upon those you are drinking with.
- You’ll notice that Germans keep their window panes tightly shut, no matter the weather. Reason! Open windows are thought to be the main cause of diseases like flu and joint aches.
- When your dog pet dies, it’s normal in Germany to bury it under your doorstep. Germans believe that the dog’s spirit will continue guarding the house.
Fun Facts About Germany
- Germans love beer. So much that there over 5,000 beer types produced in the over 1,300 beer breweries spread through the country. They are, in fact, the second-largest beer consumer after Irish people.
- If you want to see some of the oldest beer breweries in the world, Germany is home to one. The Weihenstephaner Brewery is located near Munich and has been operational since 1040.
- In Bavaria, beer is officially considered food.
- Thumb for one beer, first finger for two beers, and the middle one for three. That’s the German beer-ordering rule! So if you want just one, remember to use your thumb. Interesting, right?
- Almost every meal in Germany contains bread. It’s a key component of their cuisine, with the country baking around 300 different types of bread. You’ll even find some bakery museums; one located in Ulm and the other one in Ebergötzen.
- German’s loves music. We can see this through the numerous premier musical events hosted in the country. These include the Bayreuth’s Wagner Festival, Southside Festival, Fusion Festival, etc.
- Football, locally called Fußball, is the county’s number one sport. In fact, Germany’s football national team has garnered 4 Word Cup titles and 3 European championships over the years. If you thought that only the Brazilians are great at this global sport, you certainly haven’t seen Germans play.
- While smoking in public places is prohibited, drinking is legal. You can enjoy your favorite bottle of beer in public.
- The country enjoys a two-week-long festival, held in Munich every September, known as Oktoberfest. This festival, which dates back to 12th October 1810, is one of the main and most lively festivals to attend while visiting Germany.
Important Facts About Germany
- Germans are some of the most literate people in the world. Between 2008 and 2014, the country’s adult literacy rate was a constant 99%. German’s reading obsession is quite evident, having invented the first magazine back in 1663.
- Germans are quite protective when it comes to their identity, language, and culture. This can be seen even in their movie productions, where most of them only include local actors.
- The country values education such that university education is free for anyone who wants to pursue further studies. This includes even international students.
- Germany is not only one of the largest car manufacturers globally, but it also brings forth some of the most respected brands. Think of Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. These brands are quite popular globally, with VW’s Golf version having sold 5.9 million cars back in 2011.
- The first book to be printed in the world was in German. Currently, the country publishes around 94,000 titles yearly. This puts Germany among the leading book countries globally.
- The country’s employment rate is one of the highest worldwide. According to statista.com, approximately 42.36 million people had formal employment in 2020. In 2019, the unemployment level stood at a mere 5%.
- The country’s minimum wage stood at 1584.00 EUR per month by June 2020. This was above France’s 1539.42 EUR during the same period.
Random Facts About Germany
- Approximately 65% of German highways (Autobahnen) don’t have speed limits. However, locals know how to observe traffic regulations.
- Berlin boasts of having Europe’s largest train station. Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, which opened operations in 1915, is estimated to handle over 150,000 passengers daily.
- While Venice boasts a large number of bridges, Germany has even more. The country has approximately 960 bridges, with over 180 km of navigable waterways.
- If you think of funny laws, Germany also has some of these. For instance, escaping prison in Germany is not a crime punishable by law. Germans consider this a natural human instinct; everyone wants to be free.
- Germany shares its borders with nine countries; the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
- Germany is home to some of the most renowned scientists and scholars globally. Think of Albert Einstein, the father of quantum physics, Johannes Kepler, who discovered planetary motion, or Carl Bosch, who found a way to manufacture ammonia fertilizers. The country has, therefore, contributed immensely to the current way of life.
- The DST (Daylight saving time) was first adopted in Germany during World War I. The DST is also referred to as the summertime.
- Germany is among the top countries with the most Nobel laureate holders globally. It stands at number three with 108 winners, behind the US and the UK. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, a famous physician, was the first German to receive this coveted prize in 1901.
- Running out of gas while on the German Autobahn is illegal. You’ll get fined or have your license revoked for 6 months for simply getting low on fuel. So, ensure you check that gauge twice before hitting the highway.
See related: Christmas in Germany.
Fun Facts About Germany for Kids
- The country prides itself in approximately 700 zoological gardens, national parks, animal reserves, and aquariums. This means that a visit to this great country can offer your kids some of the most memorable moments with nature. They have a chance to see more than 1,500 animal species.
- Germany is home to the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. These include the famous “Snow White,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Rapunzel.” They are all creations of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the popular German brothers.
- If your kids love sausages, Germany is the place to be. The country makes over 1,000 different types of sausages. So, whatever your flavor, you are always sorted.
- Germany boasts over 20,000 quaint castles. With most of them being over 100 years old, they are a great tourist attraction. Also, most have been converted into other interesting things like museums, cultural and art centers, hotels, etc.
- Germany is home to some of the world’s most ingenious inventions. Talk of the light bulb, cars and engines, automated calculators, TVs, and pocket watches; the list goes on and on.
- The charming Füssen Castle, which is more than 150 years old, is located in Germany. This is the inspiration behind the famous Disney Juniors theme park castle.
- 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.