Stereotypes won’t go away even from the most positive-sounding qualities you can think of about a nation, and Germany isn’t exempted at all. However, these stereotypes can’t be applied for everyone so here’s a list that will at least try to clear off some long running perceptions about Germany, its people, and culture.
1. Don’t get alarmed when Germans speak using their mother tongue. They’re not angry.
It could be the cause of the language’s guttural sounds, the long-looking words, the CH sounds, the rolling r’s to the rasping throat-clearing r’s; non-Germans think of the German language as something unromantic, something violent to the ears. Enough of the Second World War movies and Rammstein, please.
2. Don’t get intimidated by German words.
As mentioned in number one, don’t hold your guards up when someone speaks German. Moreover, don’t go crying about the “bizarrely” long words. They’re not made to harm you, but they surely can make people give you an instant thumbs up when you perfectly say “Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbierbierbarbärbel”.
3. Germany is known to make and sell good-quality cars but it doesn’t mean that the people are obsessed about them.
Locals also ride bikes and use car sharing services.
4. Sense of humor? Germany has that.
Why does Germany get the first spot as the least funny nation? We have comedy too, but here’s the point: humor is cultural. They can say that German humor basically revolves around real-life problems (like politicians) twisted into jokes, but the truth is, German humor is difficult to translate for non-Germans without sacrificing its meaning.
5. Everything is not always in order and efficient.
Want examples? The Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport was supposed to open in 2012 but it was delayed and now set to open in 2017. Issues later surfaced about the airport’s 150,000 defects, including faulty fire protection systems and miles of mislaid communication cables.
Besides that, there’s the Stuttgart 21 project that began construction work since 2010 with an aimed opening date in 2021. As of 2013, the project took an estimated cost of 6.5 billion euros which created controversies.
6. Everything and everyone isn’t always punctual.
Ask Deutsche Bahn.
7. David Hasselhoff is out of the conversation.
8. Germans don’t always eat meat, bread, and potatoes.
Okay fine. It’s true meat is evident in foods like schnitzel and wurst but these aren’t the only ones you can find in Germany together with bread and potatoes. You can see stores selling such classics but if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or looking for international cuisines, you won’t have difficulties finding food that fits your diet and taste buds.
9. Why so serious? Uhh, not really.
Germans are serious – if there’s work involved. However, if you think they’ll still bring that attitude outside things that deserve seriousness, you’re getting it all wrong. Germans don’t bring up fake smiles and kid around strangers to kill the silence. It can take time to form friendships but if you’re cool and patient enough, you’ll find that Germans aren’t always bitch-faced.
10. Germans don’t only drink beer.
Germany has wine too!
11. The Autobahn is not a long highway wonderland where you can go speed crazy.
The Autobahn has different stretches and not all of them are free from speed limits so better pay attention to the road signs.
12. Germans don’t wear lederhosen and dirndl.
Lederhosen and dirndl aren’t the whole country’s national clothing. These are only worn in Bavaria (Bayern in German) and you’ll probably see them around during Oktoberfest.
13. “You did Nazi this coming”
It’s fine for Germans to receive occasional questions about the war and the Holocaust. However, if you plan on to bring up some silly war jokes to Germany, skip them. The nation has heard enough.
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