Germany

Welcome to the German Culture Guide!

This page, like all of our cultural guide pages, will forever be a work in progress. Please check back at a future date for additional information. If you have cultural or culinary expertise when it comes to Germany, please do share! We’d love for you to email us at with your thoughts.

Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany is located in Europe and is the most populous member state in the European Union. It is the major economic and political power of Europe with a very high standard of living and has the worlds oldest universal health care system. It is the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, some of the worlds most well known composers. Germany is also home to many famous inventors such as Albert Einstein, the father of Theoretical Physics. It continues to foster great minds as Germany is one of the leading countries in developing and making use of green technologies.

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Although Germany has lots to pride itself on, it also has a dark past. When thinking about Germany, the second World War and the role that Germany played in the war always comes to mind. It was not until 2006, when Germany hosted the World Cup and the nation finished in third place, that Germans realized that they could feel pride in their team and their nation. This was the first time since the end of the second World War where Germans felt that they could wave their flag and feel proud. German patriotism is something that is very new as they have been reluctant to show their pride until now. Feel free to ask your student about this time in history, but it can be a very touchy subject for Germans and most feel a deep sense of regret. After the Second World War, Germany was divided into two parts: the Communist East and the democratic West. The Berlin Wall became the symbol of this division. In 1989, the wall came down and Germany was reunited a year later.

The German culture fosters forward thinking and to know what they will be doing at a specific time on a specific day. It is said that Germans are the masters of planning. It is very important to many Germans that they live a structured and ordered life. It is more of a collective society, where communication is rather formal and individualism is more so expressed in the privacy of ones home. It would be a great honour to be invited into a persons home in Germany, as the home is considered to be a place of sanctity where only relatives and close friends are invited. It will be an honour for your student to be part of your home and family.

Schnitzel anyone?

Did you know that there are over 300 varieties of bread in Germany? There are so many different types of cuisine that vary from region to region but you will bread in each and everyone and lots of it. Meat also plays a very big role in a typical German diet. It is said that the average person will consume 134 lbs of meat in a year. There are many different german foods that you may have already tried or are familiar with such as sauerkraut, bratwurst and schnitzel. These are all very popular in North America which may be because a quarter of its citizens claim at least partial German ancestry. Germany is also home to the worlds second biggest consumers of beer with an average of 107 litres per person per year. That is a lot of beer!

Language

German is the official language of Germany but dont be surprised if your student speaks perfect English. Many Germans can speak three languages and some even a fourth. Here are some german greetings to start you on your way:

One thing that is interesting about German culture is how Germans will typically say exactly what they think. In North America, we tend to hold back on what we are thinking and replace it by saying something polite. It is not to say that Germans are impolite, its that they can be very blunt and honest. This may be refreshing for some and others may not quite understand it. Just understand it as cultural differences.

Please take into account that the information is a very basic introduction and by no means stereotyping all German students you may meet!