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German Culture

German Culture

German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular.


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Reba Gonzalez

Reba Gonzalez

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Now, as ever, the press stands for in-depth analysis and background reporting, addressing specific topics, and comment. The partial dissolving of fixed ideological convictions along the classical spectrum of left and right was accompanied in part by the disappearance of a clear cut political allegiance on the part of the press. Several publications are still considered to be highly influential, for example national quality newspapers such as “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and the traditional weekly “Die Zeit”.

Article: Culture and Media: The Pr...
Source: Facts about Germany: The ...

Germans put truth and directness before diplomacy, believing that the fact is the important issue and that personal emotions should not deflect the truth from being spoken. This directness can be interpreted by certain cultures (U.K, Japan, Korea etc.) as rudeness. It should be noted, however, that direct speaking is seen in Germany as a sign of respect and a fundamental in the search for the correct answer to a particular problem.

Article: Business Culture in Germa...
Source: World Business Culture

Duty (Pflichtbewusstein)

The other side of the phrase “Say what you mean”, is “Mean what you say”. For someone to say something and not do it, or at least attempt to do it and explain the problems in good time, is seen very badly. If a German says, “I’ll do my best” it means, “I will use my best efforts and probably succeed”. If an English-speaker says it, on the other hand, it may well be an excuse for likely failure. Doing your duty is a very important part of German life, and applies as much to the person walking their dog and picking up and disposing of dog mess as it does in a military or business context.

Article: German Values & Attitudes
Source: Cactus Language

Ordnung Muss Sein -

A key concept in German life, therefore, is Ordnung, or order. The phrase “Ordnung muss sein” means that order “must be”. It reflects the belief that there is an inherent order and system in everything. The object of life is to analyze everything to find that order and system, and then to apply it. Inculcating that search for order and meaning, and showing how it is applied, is the function of German education and social t raining. Order is what gived a secure basis to life. Disorder is deeply unsettling for the Germans, and therefore their first aim in any difficult situation is to search for and re-establish order.

Article: German Values and Attitud...
Source: Cactus Language

Personal Space & Touching:  
Germans in general prefer to guard their personal space.  An arm’s length of space or more is normal when conversing.
Unless having an intimate conversation, any closer than an arm's distance apart is usually considered an infringement on personal space.
Germans generally do not touch when speaking.  When speaking with those outside of the family or close circle of friends, touching can be seen as an invasion of privacy.
Between friends and family, hand holding, walking arm in arm and hugging are commonplace.

Article: Personal Space and Touchi...
Source: Culture Crossing

Although there are some differences among them, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland all have a primary school (Grundschule or Volksschule) that begins at age six and lasts four years (five or six in some places), a secondary level that generally starts at age 11 (grade 5) and is divided into a less academic Hauptschule (to grade 10) leading to vocational education, an intermediate Realschule (not in Austria) leading to a technical or business school, and the academically oriented Gymnasium that leads to the Abitur or Matura diploma and a university education.

Article: Education
Source: Education - Schools and u...

One area in which German Europe seems to be less health conscious than most of North America is smoking. For Germans over the age of 17, the smoking rate is a shocking 44 percent for males and 37 percent for females. [in 1996] Despite health warnings on cigarette packages and ads similar to those in the U.S., Austrians, Germans, and Swiss continue to light up more than Americans…

Article: Health and fitness
Source: Health and fitness in Ger...

Wedding Cake - the wedding cake, mostly a large cake with lots of ornaments, has to be cut by the bride and the groom together.

Wedding Evening - at the wedding evening a lot of games are played, speeches are held (the first normally from the father of the bride), sometimes a wedding newspaper is handed out. Songs are sung, and so on.

White Ribbon - the bride carries lengths of white ribbon with her bouquet, and after the church ceremony is over and the guests are leaving the church, she hands each driver a ribbon that they tie to the radio antenna.

Wedding Rings - Germans wear wedding rings on the right hand - the groom and the bride have normally identical rings (wedding "bands" -- no diamonds).

Wedding Shoes - another tradition is to collect pennies for years and buy wedding shoes for the bride with this money.

Article: German Wedding Traditions
Source: German Culture

While the Germans and the Swiss (the Austrians less so) are often thought of as cold, and a friendship takes longer to establish, that friendship is often deep and enduring. Casual friendships, American style, are less common.

Article: Friends and acquaintances...
Source: Familiar and formal 'you'...

German-speakers tend to be more formal and reserved than do some other cultures in conducting their personal and business affairs. As in other European languages, German has both a formal and a familiar form for “you.” The formal Sie is used to address strangers, business associates, and acquaintances (Bekannte, as opposed to close friends, Freunde), and for most situations outside the family.

Article: Friends and acquaintances...
Source: The German Way

Germany is known as das Land der Dichter und Denker (The Land of Poets and Thinkers). Famous German poets include Goethe, Schiller and Heine. Poets in Jena and later in Berlin led Romanticism in the 19th century

Source: German Culture

State Minister for Culture and Media-
Since in Germany culture comes under the ambit of the states, there is no federal ministry of culture. A State Minister for Culture coordinates activities in the field of cultural policy.

Article: The German Cultural World
Source: Facts about Germany