50 Comments

  1. Debunking German Stereotypes - Grounded Traveler
    July 16, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    […] enough and having at least a basis to start is helpful. It can be fun as well, to test the stereotypes and see if they are […]

  2. Juergen
    June 13, 2012 @ 4:27 am

    I am from Germany, and I’d really like to read that you are so interested about my country! I am very excited about that and would like to say thank you to all of the authors whose show your fellow citizens how Germany really is! Please excuse my bad english, and please feel free to correct me!

    Rgds
    Juergen

    • Andrew
      June 13, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

      Hi Juergen, welcome to the site. Take a look around. I have lived here a number of years now. I definitely enjoy it. And Germans have a lot of different facets to explore, so I will be writing for a while.

  3. Andy
    March 21, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    Well-observed list this…I had a light-hearted crack at my impressions of Berlin, Germany and the Germans in this post too http://grownuptravelguide.com/six-slightly-strange-observations-about-berlin
    Cheers,
    Andy

    • Andrew
      March 22, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

      Great link and great name. Glad you enjoyed the list.

  4. Are Germans Any Fun? » Grounded Traveler - Expat Adventures in Germany
    February 15, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    […] German culture is known for order and efficiency. The stereotypes of well run train systems and high engineering pervade. But does this mean that the creativity and […]

  5. The Beautiful German Language » Grounded Traveler - Expat Adventures in Germany
    January 15, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    […] and Italian is more passionate like the German but with the romance language flair. These are the stereotypes that form the character of these […]

  6. tracifoust
    December 20, 2011 @ 12:14 am

    HA! No, Downer Dan was an elderly man. I’d say 109 maybe, 14 wars or something like that. I guess he has crank rights. Yes the SoCal “hippie” scene is a fake one. Everyone protests to be on a “vibe” yet no one truly cars about the environment or spending less money. When we moved here it took all of a year to miss Germany something fierce. Now 550,000 negative equity later, we are stuck at lteast a few more years πŸ™

  7. tracifoust
    December 19, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    So true Andrew. The only American comedian I have seen come close to this is Demetri Martin. It does take my American friends a lot of time to really “get” how my boyfriend and I joke to our kids. The other week we hosted a party where a friend brought her boyfriend who was a complete downer. This guy complained about EVERYTHING! Finally, at the end of the evening when he left, my boyfriend turns to our 9 y/o and 16 y/o sons and says, “I truly never thought I would meet someone who is a bigger buzz kill than the two of you” And while we all had a gigantic laugh some of our friends thought it cruel. Then again, we live in SoCal where everyone cries at the drop of a hat and all problems can be solved with a yoga pose and a granola bar

    • Andrew
      December 19, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

      Was the “downer” a German? They seem to complain about things a lot. Someone walked on a red light, someone else is not following the rules… that kind of thing usually. I love that story though. Sarcasm is really awesome. (Seriously, no sarcasm in that comment implied. πŸ˜‰ ) And really, German is where the word Schadenfreude comes from, has is that cruelty not funny somehow?

      I’ve not been to SoCal, but i think of it as big business not necessarily as the hippy set, though I guess I can see it too.

  8. tracifoust
    December 17, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

    It’s true!!! I get my best material from my Berlinese boyfriend. Though of course most Americans aren’t smart enough to get his jokes…

    • Andrew
      December 19, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      The German sense of humor seems very much about the intelligence. I was told at one point it is based on irony. But the jokes I have understood seem to require a deeper knowledge than a normal American joke. Either linguistically or otherwise. So like most everything here, perhaps you need an Ausbildung to understand the joke.

  9. Yvonne
    December 17, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    why is everyone saying we’re not funny??? we are funny as hell!!
    duh. need a Wurst and a beer now. πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      December 19, 2011 @ 9:48 am

      German’s are indeed quite humorous. The sense of humor is just quite different from the standard English speaker. And often the public/private split means laughing in public is less common. But yes, Beer and Wurst are needed!

  10. tracifoust
    December 2, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    LOVE THIS! I’ve been several times and I am planning on moving to Berlin. Stereotypes are awful and true and funny as hell. I’m a comedy writer and I happened upon your blog for research on my next project: THANK YOU!

    • Andrew
      December 3, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

      Thanks! Welcome on your stumbles through the net.
      When are you coming to Berlin? Comedy writer in Germany itself must be dreadfully ironic. Germans are not well known for their sense of humor. They definitely have one (but only the one, they have to share. πŸ˜‰ ). What project are you working on?

      • Heinrich IX
        December 17, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

        “Comedy writer in Germany itself must be dreadfully ironic”
        Exactly. A German joke is no laughing matter. *grin*

        • Andrew
          December 19, 2011 @ 9:48 am

          *grin* Love it.

  11. Typically German, yet little known. » Grounded Traveler - Expat Adventures in Germany
    October 26, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    […] German, yet little known. 26 October, 2011 Tweet0Stereotypes of Germany such as beer, sausage, fast cars, and on-time trains are common. While these are true to a very […]

  12. Heinrich IX
    July 29, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    My all time favorite Verkehrsfunk message is
    “Achtung, auf der A7 zwischen Niedertupfelbach und Hinterzipfelhausen liegt ein Kantholz auf der Fahrbahn”. A Kantholz is a squared timber and I don’t have the faintest idea why tons of those get lost on German highways every day. Maybe it’s just IKEA stuff falling from overloaded vehicles and Kantholz is the code word for Billy?

    The dead pig warning you mentioned is of course not meant as a service for rednecks…”Please pick up your fresh roadkill for dinner shortly after exit 44, northbound on A22″
    No, in reality there is a huge difference between hitting a boar in a Porsche going 320 kilometers per hour compared to hitting a deer in Montana at 45 mph in a 5 ton pickup truck. Believe me, knowing what lies ahead (on the road) can by VERY helpful if you have a braking distance like a Shinkansen…

  13. BARBARA
    June 2, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    Hi guys, I have spent 10 years of my life in Germany (as well as a few years in other european countries ) and I just love the country and its people. I found real friends over there and endless work opportunities. Most people who have preconceptions about Germany have never or barely been there. Most people are friendly and generous. Of course, bad apples can be anywhere in the world. Yes, sandals and socks look weird, but there are so many good things about the country which to my eyes are more valuable than fashion. I don’t wear sandals and socks myself, I am italian after all :-), but I am glad I could get to know other cultures where people are not obsessed with fashion like it is the case in Italy. Tschüß und alles Liebe! Barbara

    • Andrew
      June 8, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

      “Endless work opportunities”? What is your chosen profession?
      We get the fashion oddities in Germany for sure. The Italians have their own oddities. I remember being in Bologna in March and it was sunny and not so cold and still nearly everyone was huddling in winter coats. In Freiburg on such a day, people would be out in the sun enjoying it.

  14. Heather
    May 27, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Great post – very interesting perspective on German tourism stereotypes. I recently blogged about a German community in South Australia (‘ve just moved here from Canada). It’s interesting the number of things in your post that came up as German markers as I toured through the Adelaide Hills!

    • Andrew
      May 30, 2011 @ 2:45 am

      Yeah the stereotyping concept is an interesting one. It seems to help describe some typical aspects or attitudes of a culture. However these are reinforced by society at large, so it is interesting that a community that is cut off from that “main society” still carries so many markers. Have they been there long?

  15. Going Kraut
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    Great post! I am still amazed at how some stereotypes are kind of right and wrong depending on how you look at them. Germans being direct maybe see as rude but if you know them and they trust you they will completely open up to you and tell you everything. It is a double edged swoard. I have never heard the quote β€œGerman is more a throat condition than a language.” I’ll have to remember that one.

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

      Thanks. I have no clue where that line comes from originally, but if you can’t understand what is being said, the language sure can sound pretty harsh. The Germans are fond of double-edged-swords. My favorite phrase is “alles hat vor und nachteile”, “everything has advantages and disadvantages”.

  16. Ali
    May 25, 2011 @ 6:00 am

    Schnitzel!!! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

    Now that you’ve pointed out all of the things that don’t necessarily match the German stereotypes, I’m rethinking this whole moving thing. I really thought I was going to be living in a castel, dressing in a dirndl, drinking beer and eating sausages all the time. You really burst my bubble.

    KIDDING!!!

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

      I will get you a dirndl if you want. Plenty of schnitzel, sausage and beer are available. πŸ™‚

  17. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista
    May 23, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

    Germany is also one of my favorite places in the world. It is interesting to read about the stereotypes regarding Germans. Some of these are the things I like the best πŸ™‚ Autobahn is amazingly efficient. Love how you just kind pull off to get gas and then go forward to get back on. Traffic jams anywhere are annoying. Trains are great too even if they are a little late from time to time. If you take a bus tour around a city and the guide tells you to be back at a certain time. Well you better back because they will leave you behind! Had my eyes opened to this one when we let someone behind.

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

      I don’t doubt that someone would get left in that kind of situation, but never heard a story of it happening. I really don’t drive, so I know very little about how the autobahns are built. I travel almost totally by rail.

  18. Sabrina
    May 23, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out!

    I really enjoyed reading this post. You summed up a lot of the things people here in Texas throw at me when they find out I am German πŸ™‚ Maybe I should just send them to your blog for some clarification on what’s true and what isn’t in the future πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

      You’re welcome. Your post could explain that stuff far better than I could. By all means send people here.

  19. jade
    May 22, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

    Interesting post- I know a lot of people stereotype others, I often do it too, and I think it’s good and bad. I know I hate it when people think all southern u.s. people are stupid- simply not true. And I’m sure it’s the same thing surrounding the Nazi/German people feeling.

    • Jeremy Branham
      May 22, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

      Jade very true about Southerners. Many people have the stereotypes that we are hicks and/or stupid. Andrew can relate to this as well. However, we live in California now and don’t have to worry about that as much now! πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

      I dunna know what yall talkin’bout.

  20. Jeremy Branham
    May 22, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Interestingly enough, I like stereotypes. I do it a lot and it’s not fair. However, your explanation of these things makes my point in my latest post – we all complicated. We can’t be put into a box and all classified as being one way. I have to admit I like Germany for being Germany. I wouldn’t want it to be any different – stereotypes and all. I realize we all are unique and in our experience should look at each other that way. But honestly, stereotypes are sometimes fun! And who doesn’t love a lederhosen, beer drinking, sausage eating, punctual German who drives fast? πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      May 26, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

      I liked your post Jeremy and did notice the reference to stereotypes. Like cats you can put people into boxes, but they rarely stay there. πŸ™‚

  21. Tijmen
    May 22, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Don’t forget that Germans are always to serious and have no humor, at least thats how many Dutch people view the Germans πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

      Ha. And the Dutch take nothing seriously? I don’t know if the Germans say this, but I imagine it could be. Usually the stereotypes run like that. The Germans definitely have fun and a sense of humor, it is just different than the English style that I am used to.

  22. Adriana Perez Vieira
    May 22, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Apfel struddel!!!! πŸ™‚ yummy

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

      Woot! Warm with icecream. Prefer without raisins though.

  23. Giulia
    May 22, 2011 @ 3:02 am

    As an Italian (=Germany “neighbor”), we have many stereotypes about Germans, as I believe they do about us!
    I think you covered them all: being strict, wurstel, etc.
    The only one I would point out is the weird fashion. Might be just a stereotype but we are used to spot Germans looking at their sandals (paired with socks…) πŸ™‚
    In the end, I kind of admire them because they seem not to care too much about being fashionable, but more about being comfortable! And I agree on this 100% (I am a weird Italian!).

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

      We make fun of the socks and sandal combo here too. There seems to be a German idea that noone should ever be without socks, including babies. I have never seen it, but apparently women will come up offering socks if they see a baby without them in public.

      The loud German tourist stereotype is the one that I remember Italians telling me. Which seems almost to fit with the Loud American idea.

      • Rod
        August 23, 2011 @ 9:53 am

        Germans make fun of the sandal/sock combo, too. Especially the younger generations living in cities with over 500k people. I wouldn’t say I’m a fashion freak like most Italians (3 out of 2 at work :D) but I do cringe when I see the black socks and cheap Tchibo sandals. πŸ™‚

  24. Christina
    May 21, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    A great article! I like how you describe the intercultural differences between Germans and Americans : “The other part is that the public life and manner is very separate from the private life. Once you get past the more direct nature of the culture, Germans are very friendly and hospitable people. The road to getting beyond that can be a longer one than English speakers is used to.” As a German, I couldn’t agree with you more. Have you heard of the concept of coconut and peach people? http://www.culture-contact.com/fileadmin/files/coconut_und_peach_engl.pdf

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

      I have heard the peach vs coconut, although with a walnut instead of a coconut. The idea that Americans tend to be friendly up to a point, and hold in their feelings like a peach pit; while Germans start out more rough and standoffish, but once you get beyond the shell open up completely. It is a neat image, especially as to each other the other’s way of doing things seems weird. Americans seem superficial while Germans come off rude. This isn’t true in either case, but still it is the perception. Thanks for the reminder of that image.

  25. Gillian @OneGiantStep
    May 21, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

    I love, love, love Germany!! I had been with my family when I was 18 and loved it. Jason and I put it on our RTW itinerary to visit (previously unmet) family there and were warmly welcomed and generously trotted around to all the great sites. I love every stereotype you just listed! Germany is on the top of our list of places in Europe to move to as part of our Responsibly Irresponsible plan. We’ll see you then!!

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

      Yes, come join us. It can be stressful living here sometimes, but the society is fairly good about keeping stuff running even if to the expat it seems a bit over the top.

  26. Andrea
    May 21, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    I went to Germany for the first time about 3 years ago even though I had lived in Europe for many years before that. I don’t know what was holding me back but it’s now one of my favourite destinations. Each region is so different and even though they have a reputation of being a little cold I have never experienced that. I think they are some of the friendliest people in the world. I haven’t been to Germany for about six months so am due for another visit soon πŸ™‚

    • Andrew
      May 22, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

      Indeed, you should come back. It is coming into summer, which is truly one of the best times to be here. Not too hot, plenty of beer gardens open late into the warm evenings as well as the beginning of festival season. πŸ™‚