Germany has a long history of major contributions to the world’s culture, ranging from the arts to many commonplace aspects of daily life.
- Germans have dominated classical music and was the birthplace of Bach, Beethoven, Händel, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Wagner.
- The number of German philosophers is equally impressive and includes Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Schopenhauer.
- German is the most spoken native language in Europe.
- Germany played an important role in what became known as the Reformation of Christianity.
- The clarinet, insulin, LCD screens, motorcycles, diesel engines, and pocket watches were are invented or discovered in Germany.
- The term “ecology” was introduced in 1866 by a German biologist and the Germans have a long history of ecological awareness. Their Green Party was founded in 1978 and is an active part of the government coalition. Germans are among the world’s most avid recyclers and lead the world in the production of wind energy.
Interesting Facts about Germany
- There are more than 1,300 breweries in Germany, one of which has been in operation since 1040. Germans consume about 107 litres of beer per person each year.
- Germany is home to about 700 zoological gardens, aquariums, animal reserves, and wildlife parks; including the world’s largest zoo.
- Germany ranks second in the world for the number of Olympic medals won since 1896.
- According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Fairy Grottoes in Saalfeld are the most colourful caves in the world.
- There are more museums in Germany than in Italy and the UK combined.
- Germany was one of the last countries to enact strict smoking bans. Currently 40% of Germans live in an area with very strict smoking regulations and others are expected to follow suit. Part of the reluctance to ban smoking can be traced to the Nazis, who frowned on smoking. German lawmakers have often avoided regulations that have any similarity to those of the Nazis.
- Europe’s oldest known sun observatory is in Germany.
- The Autobahn is the world’s oldest motorway network and the only one in Europe without a speed limit.
- Germany is among the most vibrant and profitable industrial countries in the world.
- Germans are classified as “hard workers.” German workers actually work an average of 26 hours per week per year.
Germany is home to the world’s most famous and popular festivals, Octoberfest. Germany is home to more than 10,000 annual festivals, which may rank as the highest in the world.
- The Leipzig Book Fair is the Europe’s largest literature festival.
- Germans have a reputation of being a bit straight laced and reserved. During Karneval, the 40 days before Ash Wednesday, that reputation does not apply.
- The Berlin Film Festival is in its 66th year and is the second largest in the world.
- Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are two of the most prestigious and popular music festivals in the world. The three-day festivals are held at the same time every year.
Regions of Germany
Germany can be divided into about 13 different regions, each with unique qualities and characteristics.
- Berlin and Brandenburg – Berlin is the vibrant, fast paced business and entertainment hub of the country, while Brandenburg is more sedate and reminds visitors of the country’s Prussic past.
- Saxony – This area promotes itself as an arts destination and has some of Germany’s most impressive scenery.
- Saxony-Anhalt and the Harz – This area is an interesting combination of farmland, and post-industrial towns.
- Thuringia – A very laid back and bucolic area.
- Bavaria – Bavaria can actually be divided into a number of smaller areas. A lot of what the world perceives as “German” (food, beer, and clothing) originated in this area. Bavaria is also a major business centre and industrial hub, the home of the Alps, and a large farming area.
- Baden-Württemberg – One of the wealthiest regions in Germany which combines farmland and major industries and business. Several major universities are also in the area.
- The Black Forest – This area lives up to the image portrayed in the Grimm Brothers fairy tales.
- Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland – This area was an important trade route dating back to Roman times. While some areas were industrialised, it is mostly known for its vineyards and scenery.
- Hesse – Frankfurt is a major European financial centre, while surrounding towns feature storybook like cathedrals and Hansel and Gretel style buildings and a more laid back atmosphere.
- North Rhine-Westphalia – Germany’s most populated area and a major industrial and economic centre.
- Lower Saxony and Bremen – This area is best known for being the home of Volkswagen. The area is consider to be fairly boring
- Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein – This area is a combination of commercial industrialized port cities and beach holiday resorts.
- Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – This is the least populated area in Germany and is home to the country’s most popular beaches.