Germany is an intriguing nation full of rich traditions and customs you may be unaware of, from nudity laws to its famed beer production – there is much more to discover in Germany!
German is one of the world’s most widely spoken native languages, serving as official in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium and Luxembourg. Furthermore, over 65% of Germany’s Autobahn highway system does not impose speed limits.
1. It’s the largest country in Europe
Germany is Europe’s largest country and home to an estimated population of 83 million people. Germany shares borders with France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland in the west; Poland and Czech Republic in the east; Austria and Switzerland in the south; and
Germany boasts a rich cultural history that attracts tourists. However, its natural beauty and commitment to sustainability make Germany all the more impressive for visitors. Germans enjoy walkable neighborhoods and have a keen appreciation for keeping forests and green spaces intact; plus they are known for their technological innovation having developed both automobiles and nuclear bombs as well as pioneering new forms of renewable energy sources.
German is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, spoken natively by 90 million Germans and an official language in both the European Union and United Nations. Furthermore, an estimated 100 million non-German speakers also speak German – making it sixth in popularity overall! Martin Luther is often credited with creating Standard High German, while Heine, Goethe, and Brecht all left an indelible mark upon its development through their works written in it.
Since World War II’s end, Germany has emerged as a key leader in European affairs. As the continent’s largest economy, Germany plays a central role in its development. Additionally, Germany is committed to furthering European integration through investments that bring its eastern regions up to western standards and promote European integration as an aim of its policymaking agenda. Germany was one of the founding members of both European Economic Community and NATO and remains a top donor to international development initiatives.
2. It’s the birthplace of Oktoberfest
One of the best German facts to keep in mind is that Oktoberfest began as the wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. Since then, it has grown into a two-week festival celebrating Bavarian culture while offering plenty of beer! Beginning Sept 16 and running through to October 3 (if this date occurs prior), Oktoberfest typically lasts 16 days.
Germans are fiercely proud people who take great pride in upholding their language, identity and traditions. That’s why you’ll often see movies dubbed into German using local actors – not only is this an effective way of keeping their identity intact but it has become an industry worth over EUR115 Million euro!
Germans are well known for being experts at sports, often competing at Olympic competitions. Additionally, Germany boasts one of the world’s most iconic highways – the Autobahn – which features no speed limits for cars like Porsche and BMW to reach 150 mph speeds.
Germany is an extremely religious nation and many citizens attend church services regularly. Cologne Cathedral stands as one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and one of the world’s most stunning Gothic structures.
Germany takes great pride in their culinary talent and boasts over 300 types of bread including pretzels, pumpernickel and funfkornbrot. Additionally, Germans love sweets such as apple strudel or stollen cake as dessert after dinner – thus earning their nation its title of being known as the Land of Poets and Thinkers.
3. It’s the largest beer producer
Germany is the world’s top beer producer, making up nearly 30 percent of global output. Many mistakenly believe Germany was responsible for inventing beer; however, their rich and proud history with alcohol makes this claim unlikely.
Germans have been crafting beer since at least 1000 AD, when monasteries started running breweries to produce safe, nutritious and slightly alcoholic drinks for both small children and adults alike. Beer also helped boost economies through providing jobs and tax revenues to monasteries – while its popularity increased further with the passing of the Beer Purity Law in 1516.
Today, Germany boasts over 6,000 brands of beer – enough to enjoy one different beer every day for 16 years, though many Germans might never attempt such an undertaking! Alongside major industrial breweries, over 200 smaller independent breweries have emerged over recent decades as new competition for traditional leaders has increased substantially; domestic consumption reached its peak in 1976 but has gradually declined since. Many large breweries have combined and demand has decreased for many old favorites; as a result.
Even with its challenges, Germany’s beer industry continues to draw visitors from across the world. At Krombacher brewery in Dortmund, visitors get a unique glimpse into how this national treasure is produced; this family-run business has been operating for more than 227 years and is well known worldwide for producing pilsners that serve as the basis of many beers consumed in America by descendants of German immigrants.
4. It’s the birthplace of currywurst
Currywurst is a deceptively simple German street food, consisting of sausages smothered with a curried tomato-based sauce and served hot off the grill. Origins date back to 1949 in Berlin when housewife Herta Heuwer is believed to have created it by trading spirits for ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers stationed there after World War II, then experimenting until she perfected the recipe that could be drizzled onto freshly-grilled bratwursts.
Currywurst has become an immensely popular German treat, either as a snack or hearty meal. The perfect balance between its savory sausage and flavorful curry sauce creates an irresistibly tantalizing treat that is enjoyed at many festivals and fairs around Germany – it even appears at Epcot on Disney World property! Germans take great pride in their culinary heritage and take great delight in producing various varieties of sausage. Some recipes remain close family secrets while others can often become hotly debated due to authenticity concerns.
Germany is home to many delicious sausage varieties beyond Currywurst, including Nuremberg sausage, Knodel and Bavarian bratwurst. Germany’s unique culinary tradition can be seen through their wide array of sausage varieties; many recipes for German sausage remain close-guarded while there are others which are widely enjoyed worldwide.
5. It’s the birthplace of Haribo
Gummy bears have their roots in Germany, thanks to Hans Riegel. Hans was an industrial confectionery worker in Bonn until 1920 when he decided to open up his own candy company – starting off making hard candies and calling the venture Haribo after both his name and hometown of Bonn.
Initial sales weren’t stellar for Riegel’s candies. But his persistence paid off; eventually his hard work paid off with the creation of the iconic gummy bear!
Hans Riegel passed away in 1945 and the company was passed on to his two sons, who continued expanding it further. By 1960, Haribo’s gummy bears were a worldwide hit – now they remain one of its signature products! Today Haribo remains one of the leading sweet producers worldwide.
Germany has an extensive publishing tradition and remains one of the premier book nations worldwide. Johannes Gutenberg pioneered book publishing with his invention of the printing press in 15th-century Germany; this revolutionized how books were distributed. Furthermore, Germany published its inaugural magazine Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen in 1663 – another milestone event.
Germany is full of fascinating facts that provide great motivation to visit this incredible country, but before planning your journey it is wise to learn about German culture and customs first. For instance, raising your middle finger when ordering three drinks is illegal under German law and it is improper to address police officers as “du.”
When camping in Germany, be sure to bring a tent! Over one third of its land area is covered by forests; additionally there are plenty of autobahns (65% have no speed limits) where driving at any speed is permissible and don’t forget the famous currywurst of Berlin!