Germans are orderly and efficient. “Alles im Ordnung” and all that. There are rules and restrictions for all possible activities. So in an environment that is so regulated, is there any whimsy left in Germany? Find out in the Misconceptions edition of the Stammtisch Roundtable.
So the myth for today is “Are the Germans any fun?”.
The 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 whimsy is gone from the Germanic culture completely?
This is what they are known for.
Essen Spiel Fest
Many large board game producers are based in Germany. The largest convention dedicated to games and playing happens in Germany. In the city of Essen in October, well over 100 000 game players descend on Essen convention center. It runs four days long and on the weekend it is not just the geeks but also tons of families from Germany come to try out the newest games.
Ok, so they play games. So what? That is a private at home kind of thing, right? Is there anything in public?
There is still a lot of creativity in advertising. This Pig-Kiwi in Berlin and an ice cream cone on a building in Cologne.
Festivals : Christmas, Fasching & Karneval
Ok, so there is a group of companies that are creative and daring enough to put it out there. What about the general populace?
Grown men and women in fanciful costumes jumping around making noise. There is even a group in Freiburg that has these great instruments that look to be welded together randomly. Festivals and the mirth and gaiety that comes with them in definitely part of German culture. Christmas markets and all that comes with is the center of most social outings in late November and December; honey and nun farts..
A part that when removed would make the culture no longer Germanic. The local festival even more than the national one is an integral part of local life. And in all of these festivals fun and enjoyment are encouraged and practice (ok, yes inside specific limits, but hey it is still Germany.)
Statues and Sculpture
Ok, specific times of the year, there is fun in the streets. What about stuff that is always out there to see?
Art and silliness exists in German art as well. There are so many little crazy statues in the cities, except they are often in corners and easily overlooked. Check out the great little door knob I found in Bamberg and a head of Beethoven in a Bonn Park.
Although not German, Friedrich Hundertwasser is a good example of whimsy and creativity in a Germanic context. He was Austrian, although his work is definitely spread around the world. Just look at the Hundertwasser Haus in Vienna and say that isn’t whimsical.
It does seem that there is whimsy still in the Teutonic world. It may have been controlled by the rules, but it is still there. The society imagination that created the Grimm’s fairy tales is still alive in places. Maybe it is not as wacky as some places like Seattle or Venice, but there is a subtle rebellion to the order to be creative.
So despite not being able to build anything large or explode anything in an empty quarry, I would say this myth is Busted. The Germans are fun and whimsical in their own way. (Ok, sometimes you just have to look harder.)
This is a part of the February German Blogger Stammtisch. The theme of Misconceptions was chosen by Country Skipper.