Country Facts

Celebrities you should know

Angela Merkel (chancellor), Franz Beckenbauer (former national footballer and coach), Herbert Grönemeyer (musician), Michael Schumacher (race driver), Helmut Schmidt (politician, Social Democrats), Udo Lindenberg (musician)

Food taboos and favourites

Germans like it simple. A main dish can consist of potatoes, meat and vegetables. Some favorites are: sausages, Sauerkraut and pretzels.

Historical figures

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) famous poet, Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898) politician, significant in the foundation of the German Empire, Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) theoretical physicist

Keywords and national identity

Germany’s long history of wars and changing boarders lead to a struggle with national identity. Keywords are Bildung: individual self-fulfillment (Kant) not exactly equal to the English word education, Kultur: something spiritual and intellectual, something that people of “Bildung” do and Sicherheit: security

Languages and foreigners

Official language is German. The biggest foreign community is Turkish, followed by Polish and Italian. English widely spoken. In smaller companies and amongst older workers, German may be preferred. In border areas, French. Germans are proud of their excellent language skills, so check in advance: someone is likely to speak a common language.

Landmarks and places of cultural significance

Berlin: capital and historical landmark, Kölner Dom (cathedral), Dresdner Frauenkirche (church)