As a native German living in Ireland, teaching Irish students, I have come across my fair share of stereotypes about Germany. Some of these are 100% true, and some are so ludicrous we can only sit and laugh.
Today I will debunk some common stereotypes with some facts, stories, and lots of laughs.
Germans on holidays - I think this has to be the first one, as it was the first one mentioned to me when I moved to Ireland in 2015- Germans love getting up early on holidays to reserve the sun loungers! I will admit I have not done this, however I know many people who have. I think most Germans are efficient and want to make the most of their holiday time, and want to ensure they have a sun lounger to sit on. Yes we sometimes like to get up late too, but we are not huge drinkers so will often get up early and start the day by the pool. Stereotype=Correct
Germans love order - I cannot even try to deny this, yes we are (all 83 million of us) super organised and love structure in our lives. We like to follow rules, and if you are ever in Germany, please observe Germans crossing the street and waiting for the green light to show. Even if no cars are present, we will not cross the road on a red light, it is frowned upon, and of course illegal (jay walking). We love order so much we have at least four bins in our homes- for plastics, paper, glass and general waste. We separate our waste like it’s an olympic sport. We love rules so much that there is a government office called Ordnungsamt, which literally translates to “office of order.” Stereotype=Correct
Germans love beer - I know you’re all thinking of Oktoberfest right now. Germany has over 1,300 breweries and more than 5,000 different brands of beer. In 2019, Germany ranked second in Europe for beer consumption, just behind the Czech Republic (they invented Pilsner), which happens to be the top beer for Germans. Paulaner's Hefeweizen is a firm favourite amongst Irish people, and one of our biggest exports. Stereotype=Correct
Germans are punctual - Being on time is a given for Germans. It is a sign of respect to the person you are meeting, not saying we are never late, but we would be extremely apologetic if this was the case. Public transport runs on a schedule like here in Ireland, with very few delays, and over 90% punctuality. On a recent survey Germans were asked what customs they are the most proud of, over a third (37.3 percent) were quick to answer “punctuality.” Stereotype=Correct
Germans wear Lederhosen all the time - again thoughts of Oktoberfest spring to mind when thinking of this style of dress. Lederhosen (traditional leather pants for men) and Dirndl (traditional dress for women) culture is kept alive through Oktoberfest all around the world. The German outfits originated in Bavaria in 1870 worn by the working class peasant community. Be warned if you come visit Germany you will most likely not see any German citizens wearing these clothes. Stereotype=Incorrect
Germans love football - one word: Bundesliga. German football (soccer) games are the most attended sport games in Germany. The German Football Association consists of more than 26,000 clubs and 178,000 teams. This league has attracted fans from all over the world who come to see FC Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and others. There has also been a variety of international players including some from Ireland; Alan Clarke and Noel Campbell. The Bundesliga was the first football league to begin playing during the Covid-19 pandemic, with a dramatic increase in viewership. Stereotype=Correct
Germans aren’t funny - personally I don’t think we are as funny as Irish people, but we do enjoy a laugh too! Let me try make you laugh now:
— Kann ein Känguru höher als ein Haus springen?
— Can a kangaroo jump higher than a house?
— Ja! Weil ein Haus nicht springen kann.
— Yes! Because a house can’t jump.
Stereotype=Kind of Correct
Germans just love to work - it’s a big yes from me! I love teaching German and I love meeting my students! Over 50% of the German population attend third level college or university. We are an educated, ambitious culture that strives for success. Some of the biggest companies in the world are German including BMW, Siemens and Bayer. As punctual people we often arrive to work early, and also stay late. Efficiency is at the key of everything we do, and that is why I think we are so successful as a nation. Bearing in mind our love of family, and quality time, German supermarkets do not open on Sunday’s or public holidays as we value family time. German employees often receive 25-30 days annual leave to spend time with family and friends. Stereotype=Half Correct
Germans aren’t creative - Germany is often known for the seriousness of the country, the economy, the industry, but not many people know that Germany has some of the world's most famous artists including Fraz Marc, Max Ernst, Caspar David Friedrich, and Emil Nolde. Germany is also home to some talented musicians and composers including Ludwig Van Beethoven and Hans Zimmer, alongside singers such as Nena (99 red balloons), and legendary actor and singer Marlene Dietrich. Germany has many art colleges, and Berlin is known as the capital of art and culture, with creatives celebrated daily. Stereotype=Incorrect
German’s love sausages - many believe all we eat are wieners or sausages every day, and yes they are an essential part of the weekly grocery list, as is meat in general, but there are so many varieties per region, that we can have different flavours and make different dishes with them everyday. Did you know we are amazing bread makers? German bread is the best in the world, if you haven’t tried any, please go source some today. We adore these carbs so much that bakeries open on Sunday morning’s (prohibited) just to provide fresh bread for the Sunday breakfast. We make a variety of breads including dark, white, sweet, savory, crunchy, soft, plain or with all types of seeds. When I ask my native German teachers what they miss most about home, they always mention the bread! German wieners or sausages are also an essential part of the weekly grocery list, as is meat in general. Each region in Germany would have their own variety, but my favourite is the Bockwurst. Stereotype=Correct
If that hasn’t given you enough food for thought (see what I did there) you can also learn about German culture and tradition in our German classes. We teach German with a love for the language and country, and embrace the culture in every lesson and module.
Our next set of classes are beginning shortly, and we are so happy to be back teaching in person from August 10th at our school on 16 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2.
Use code: WelcomeBack for 10% off