Germany is an amazing nation filled with history, culture and tasty cuisine. Here we explore 10 fun facts that may not be familiar!
Beer is an integral part of German culture. Germans drink it at each meal and can start drinking legally at 16 years old. Furthermore, over 65% of German autobahn highways do not impose speed restrictions.
1. Germany is the largest country in Europe.
Germany is a major European power with an advanced economy and population. It boasts an enduring cultural legacy which features such 18th century composers as Bach and Beethoven as well as distinguished literature, architecture and art works.
Germany lies at the center of Europe and boasts a variety of wildlife including wildcats, boars and ibex. Home to 97 nature reserves protected and managed by state forest services; wading birds preferring its flat northern coast while its southern forested hills and mountains may conceal wildcat sightings.
Adolf Hitler led the Nazi Party on an inhumane crusade during World War II to conquer Europe and exterminate Jews, Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, and other undesirables. Their military victory eventually resulted in their defeat; after World War II Germany was split into West and East – with West quickly rebuilding into an economic and political power while East Germany suffered under communist control.
German society today is characterized by multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism; almost one out of ten Germans come from outside Germany; it is united by language, values, and shared culture. Germany was also one of the founding members of both NATO and EU.
Germany, as an influential EU member, contributes significantly to the European budget – but this money doesn’t go toward redistribution of wealth; instead it funds projects and programs that benefit all EU citizens, such as free movement within the bloc or protecting the environment. Read more here about how both Germany and Europe benefit from each other.
3. Germany is the birthplace of gummy bears.
Do you know where gummy bears originated? They were initially developed in Germany by Hans Riegel in Bonn in 1922 – inspired by watching trained bears perform in street festivals, Riegel created his Tanzbaren candy line named after these cute ursine creatures and named it after them!
He founded his candy-making business after growing dissatisfied with his 9-5 job at a confectionary. Feeling unfulfilled by this arrangement, he decided to launch it himself with just some sugar, marble slab and copper kettle – drawing inspiration from different cultures such as Turkish delight and Japanese rice candy when creating his candy treats.
At one point, he introduced gum Arabic into his recipe – an ingredient derived from sub-Saharan acacia trees bark that had already become widely used as an additive in soda, liquorice, marshmallows and soft caramels across Europe at that time. By adding gum Arabic into his candies he could form them into various shapes including bears which remain popular today.
This iconic candy has since become one of the world’s most beloved treats, appearing in various films, songs, and art installations – even becoming a favorite snack of renowned German figures such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, children’s author Erich Kastner, and former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer! Their soft texture and delicious sweetness has become part of global culture and an everyday snacking option for many across the globe.
4. Germany is the birthplace of the Easter Bunny.
Germany is famously associated with some of the greatest inventions ever conceived, such as the light bulb, automated calculator, automobile, paraffin engine technology (gasoline and diesel fuel engines) and television (partly). Furthermore, with over 400 zoos across its borders – Germany ranks highly for animal lovers!
Germany is also the birthplace of the Easter Bunny, who first appeared during an ancient pagan celebration to mark springtime and later came to symbolize Jesus and his resurrection, becoming widely adopted among Christians worldwide and celebrated worldwide – it remains popular not only in Germany, but also America, France and Australia.
Tradition holds that Martin Luther, a 16th-century German protestant, first popularized the Christmas tree (Tannenbaum) tradition in Germany. German culture boasts over 6,200 museums, 820 theaters, 130 professional orchestras and 8,800 libraries; their educational system produces some of the world’s most highly educated individuals.
Many Germans speak multiple languages and dialects; Germany was also the first country to implement Daylight Savings Time and boasts an abundance of literature; for example, Gutenberg revolutionized printing using movable type, while Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen magazine was first published here in 1663. Germans are deeply protective of their culture and heritage; movies often dub into native tongue for German audiences – this industry alone generates over $115 Million each year in Germany! Additionally, Cologne Cathedral took 632 years to construct; making it Europe’s second largest church after St Petersburg Cathedral.
5. Germany is the first country to implement Daylights Savings.
German culture encompasses much more than sauerkraut, Volkswagens and Rammstein bands; it boasts an abundant heritage in art, language and cuisine as well as engineering with world renowned companies like Mercedes, BMW and Siemens to name just a few.
Germany became the first nation to implement Daylight Saving Time (DST) during World War I as an energy conservation measure.
At that time, telling time across the world was somewhat chaotic as each city used their own solar clock to determine local times – leading to various times across the globe. But once the 1884 Washington Conference established 24 global time zones on Earth, global timekeeping became more consistent.
Germany uses approximately one-third of its energy from renewable resources and many Germans consider the amount of energy Americans use a waste. Berlin boasts more bridges than Venice and serves as a cultural, science and commerce center – even hosting its own Museum devoted to Currywurst (of which Berliners consume an astounding 70 Million annually!). Haribo even runs an Acorn Exchange Scheme through which children can exchange acorns for delicious gummy sweets before sending the collected ones off to nature reserves!
As evidenced above, Germany offers many interesting and fun facts for you to discover! Cactus provides language holidays tailored for both adults and juniors – click here for more details!