10 most interesting and strange facts about Germany
Each country is known for what makes it unique and fashionable. There are 195 countries in the world, which means that when each state is named, people recognize it because of its different criteria and characteristics. Some are known for their climate, flora and fauna, some for famous cities, monuments, history, and some for cuisine and many other things. And of course, the most beautiful and most exciting memories are from people who have these countries. When you go to the country, you get a chance to get acquainted with its history, observe its nature, communicate with the locals, and enjoy their cuisine. The unforgettable experience you will have can definitely change your standard or known opinions and views about the country.
Of course, flags, coat of arms, and anthems are the main symbols representing the country, but it is undoubtedly difficult for people to know all of them. Thus, people mostly remember unusual things about the country. Let’s see. When you say France, what comes to your mind first? City of Love Paris or Eiffel Tower. What about Australia? Kangaroos and koalas! Spain? Real Madrid and Barcelona! Egypt? The Pyramids! We can extend this list further with new countries. Nevertheless, this time, the country we have chosen is Germany!
What about Germany? Therefore, what do you think of when you are asked about Germany? World War II? Hitler? High-quality education and health sector? Of course, these are some common facts about Germany. But what are some interesting facts about Germany? We have come up with little known, exciting, and strange facts about Germany. If you are thinking of travelling to Germany one day, I am sure that this information will be useful for you to feel more native and to be more informed when talking to the locals. You can also build a warm, friendly relationship with them in a short time, by knowing what they like or don’t like.
1. The capital of Germany has not always been Berlin!
When talking about the capital of Germany, Berlin may come to mind, but this has not always been the case. The capital city has been changed seven times throughout history. During the Carolingian Empire, the German capital was Aachen. Subsequently, during these years, the capital cities were changed to Regensburg, Frankfurt am Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar (unofficially during the Berlin riots), and Bonn. Berlin has been re-elected as the capital of Germany since 1990 and has remained the capital ever since.
2. Over 1,000 sausages, more than 300 types of bread, and over 800 million Currywurst is eaten up in a year!
While speaking of Germany, you cannot do without mentioning its cuisine. German cuisine has more than 1,000 types of sausages. Their favourite dish is Currywurst. They love this dish so much that it is said that it is being eaten more than 800 million a year. So what is this favourite food about? It contains pork sausage and curry ketchup. Currywurst is a fast food dish of German origin. Steamed and then fried pork sausages are cut into small pieces and mixed with curry ketchup, spicy ketchup, or tomato paste sauce. Curry powder or ketchup, rich in curry and other spices are added. Then, it is served hot. I can tell you something even more interesting and exciting thing. There was also a museum dedicated to Currywurst. The museum was based in Berlin and was the first and only museum in honour of Currywurst. The museum was opened on August 15, 2009, 60 years after Berlin resident Herta Heuver invented Currywurst in 1949. It was closed on December 21, 2018.
Moreover, Germany is the country with the most popular type of bread in the world. It is an indispensable and most important part of German cuisine. It is impossible to go more than a few meters without seeing the bakery while walking in the streets. Around 300 different types of bread are being cooked in the country. This figure does not include the different kinds of bread that are made across regions. Besides, about 1,200 baking rolls and candies are being cooked as well. The Germans, of course, opened the museum for their favourite food. The country has two bakery museums in Ulm and Ebergötzen.
3. On the first day of the first grade, each child is given a giant cone packed with toys and candy
The first private and essential day in each child’s life is the first day of the first grade at school. This day is the end of the comfort and the beginning of the responsible days in their lives. Thus, another period in their lives begins. The first day of the first grade is different for each child. Some are happy, some are crying, and want to go home to their parents. Of course, it is a difficult step for children who are only six or seven years of age to be exposed to radical changes, to be in an environment they do not know, to be surrounded by dozens of people they do not know, and to be more responsible and independent. The Germans, thinking about this, have come up with an adorable and encouraging idea for their children: The school cone! The school cone (Schultüte in German), the small tradition, which dates back to the 1800s, is given to children who go to school for the first time to celebrate the “seriousness of life.” This cone is specially packed as a gift with lots of toys and candies, and often even bigger than the kids themselves are. In our modern age, children’s cones may also include video games and mobile phones. Taking into account that they will dedicate 12 or 13 years of their lives to education, excluding the university years, it is worth celebrating the day!
4. Country of castles – Germany!
As we read history, each of us encounters castles mentioned in various geographical locations. Anyone interested in history or architecture is more interested in these castles, examining them, researching what they can tell us about the past. At least if you like to see historical architectural monuments and beautiful works, the castles will also be of interest. Have you ever wondered what country in the world has the most number of castles? It is Germany with 20000 castles in some sources and 25,000 in others. Many of these fortresses date back to the past, and most of them are open to the public. Some of the castles have served as restaurants, hotels, cafes, and museums, and some have even been for sale.
Why are there so many castles in Germany? There is no known cause, but only a historical explanation can be given. Before becoming a nation, Germany was made up of many tribes. According to the records of 3500 BCE, these tribes are said to be at war with one another. They were also under constant threat from foreign invaders. Therefore, German tribes built numerous castles to protect themselves. It would be better to have the chance to see all the castles, but if you want to know the most travellers visit, these are Wartburg Castle and Lichtenstein Castle. As mentioned earlier, visiting German castles is a great way to get information about history and architecture.
5. Do not congratulate anyone’s birthday ahead of time! It is a failure!
Birthdays, especially for children, are one of the favourite things that many people love. Being the hero of the day, receiving congratulations from your family, friends, and relatives, accepting gifts, and thinking of people is one of the reasons why everyone is happy. Sometimes it may be that you have to celebrate your birthday a few days in advance, or someone will congratulate you the day before. In many places, this is acceptable, and there is no problem, but this is not the case in Germany!
There is a statement that perfectly reflects the German way of thinking: “Du sollst den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben” or “You should not praise the day in the night before.” It makes perfect sense. It means that you cannot be sure of something until it happens, as it might not happen. Therefore, celebrating someone’s birthday ahead of time means that he or she will not have a birthday or, to be more precise, that person may die. Ah, this superstitious belief of the Germans!
6. It is the world’s first pine tree decorating country
It is probably the only holiday in the world where everyone, regardless of the country, religion, language, or race, celebrates the New Year with great enthusiasm and joy. For everyone in the New Year, “must-have” is a pine tree decoration. As the time of the pine tree decoration approaches, everyone, especially children, is filled with joy. Thus, have you ever thought who decorated the pine tree first? Which country has started this tradition? Who thought to decorate a pine tree for the New Year? We again refer to Germany for the answer to the question!
Long before Christianity, evergreen plants and trees had a special meaning for people in the winter. As people today decorate their homes with pine trees during the holiday season, ancient peoples hung the branches of evergreen trees on their doors and windows. In many countries, the evergreen trees were believed to have cast out evil spirits and protect from diseases.
Early modern Germany is known for beginning the New Year’s tree decoration tradition in recent times during the Renaissance. We know this in the sixteenth century when Christian believers brought decorated trees to their homes. Some made pyramids out of wood and decorated them with evergreen grass and bushes, as well as candles.
The addition of lights to the tree has a more pleasant and beautiful story. It is widely known that Martin Luther, a 16th-century Protestant reformer, added lights to the tree for the first time. It is said that on the way home on a winter evening, he astonished with the brightness of the stars visible behind the branches of the evergreen tree, and to demonstrate this to his family, he put the tree in the room and decorated it with the candle lights. Thus, the decoration of the New Year’s tree with colourful lights and various toys has started.
7. Never raise your glass with water to drink to someone’s health, as you might kill that person!
Imagine that you are in a small or large party, a birthday party, or a celebration for new families. Everyone raises their glasses on toast. However, you have a glass of water, and you do not want to drink anything else. Then do not raise your glass. Do whatever you want, but do not raise your glass to toast. According to the Germans, you wish that person to die. You are scared, aren't you? If you do so, then the others will be terrified. No matter how beautiful things you have wishes, it will be accepted as if you wish the person to die. It is better not to raise a glass at all, to change it, or even to raise an empty glass.
8. Angela Merkel Barbie!
I’m sure you all know Barbie dolls well. There are different types of dolls for both boys and girls, regardless of gender. Did you know they have unique toys for German Chancellor Angela Merkel? The doll, which exactly looks like her! This Barbie was specially created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of this famous doll. The toy, made in honor of the then 54-year-old German leader, was first presented at the 60th International Toy Fair in 2009 in Nuremberg, Germany, and was put on sale for € 20. The Barbie toymaker said at the time that Mrs Merkel is an excellent and perfect example for young girls. In preparing this toy, it was emphasized that she is an ideal role model for girls all over the world. Angela Merkel Barbie doll reminds her as soon as you see her blonde hairstyle and elegantly designed jacket, which is precisely the same as her style.
“Angela Merkel is an incredible role model, and with the coming of Angela Merkel Barbie, we want to recognize and honour her incredible impact on women all over the world,” said Richard Dickson, GM and Barbie’s senior vice president. “Barbie has been encouraging girls to be whatever they want for more than 50 years, and Chancellor Merkel and her success, of course, give this message to girls around the world.”
65-year-old Angela Merkel has been acting as chancellor of Germany since 2005 and has become a favourite in her country. Angela Merkel, who has become the most influential leader in Europe, is also known as the most powerful woman in the world. Every year, the famous Forbes magazine compiles a list of the world’s most influential women leaders in politics, business, and entertainment. This list was also composed in 2019, and for the ninth year in 2019, Merkel has again been selected as the best in the world by taking one of the best ranks in the list.
9. If the government does not like the name you want to give to your child, it will be changed
The German government has the same right as parents to choose the name of their children. They should also like the name. I would even say that their approval plays a more critical role. Therefore, you will have to change the name you want to give your child if the government considers it against the rules. What are these rules?
According to German law, a person’s gender should already be apparent on his or her name, and the chosen name should not adversely affect the welfare of the child. Thus, the civil registry office of the area where the child is born may refuse to use incompatible names. However, you can appeal this decision. Nevertheless, if you lose, you will have to think of a different name. Each time reapplying is a costly process. Thus, many parents use the traditional names such as Michael and Maria. They even have a particular book of names so parents can look there and choose among a list of approved names.
10. The Country of Culture, Science, and inventions!
Several things that have already become common for us were invented in Germany. For example, the X-ray machine was designed by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895. Germans did pocket watch, clarinet, jellyfish, CooKoo watch, diesel engine, paraffin, automated calculator, aspirin, contact lenses, the phone, Fanta, garden, bicycle, LCD screen, pregnancy test, and many other inventions. Moreover, Adidas and Puma are well-known German brands founded by brothers Adolf Dassler and Rudolph Dassler. Also, world-renowned musicians Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, world-renowned scientist, physicist Albert Einstein, and few other geniuses are of German origin.
As you can see, Germany is a fascinating and colourful country. You have already become acquainted with its history, culture, strange beliefs, traditions, and, most importantly, the inventions. If you plan your trip there, do not forget to visit as many castles as you can and to eat the famous Currywurst! The best way to get to know a country is to be acquainted with its history, culture, and cuisine.
Nargiz loves sharing. Gradually, she learnt to direct this feeling by sharing what she experienced and read with her readers. Nargiz started her career way by writing short stories and articles and aims to publish her book in the future. She believes that by writing we express ourselves and leave memories for future generations. Her favourite gift is a book. She wants everyone to contribute to her future library. She is very interested in art and learning new languages. If she expressed herself in one sentence, that sentence would be: "I am a 12-year-old Madridista who wants to watch a REAL MADRID game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium while being in Madrid during the world trip I dream of one day."