In this last article of the semester I want to share 10 things about my country with you.
1. When I arrived in the United States almost four months ago I had the impression that people seemed extremely friendly, open and when people passed me on the street they were usually smiling. That was a great welcoming! So if you ever have the chance to come to Germany please don’t think bad about us when you walk around in the streets and don’t find people smiling at you. That will change once you actually talk to Germans and make friends with them!
2. We generally do not wear “Lederhosen“ and most Germans are unable to yodel. Also it’s uncommon for young people to listen to that kind of music. “Lederhosen“ are part of the traditional clothes of Bavarians. Today some Bavarians might wear it for special festivities (like the Oktoberfest) but not on a regular basis.
3. We have a broad range of artists that are making German music in different genres. To let you know about German music that young people might listen to (since it is to yodel-music) I want to share a few links of contemporary German music with you:
4. The German Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400 – died 1468 in Mainz) is the inventor of the printing press with movable letters. The usage of movable type printing was a media revolution and it spread rapidly throughout Europe. Gutenberg’s invention is seen as a key element of the Renaissance and his major work the famous “Gutenberg- Bible“. Gutenberg’s works are known for their high aesthetic and technical quality.
5. The Wadden Sea (German: Wattenmeer) is a part of the south eastern part of the North Sea that was added on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009. What is so special about it? The Wadden Sea has high water and low water; Twice a day the water of the ocean rises and falls. It takes around 6 hours for the water to rise and fall again. In the Wadden Sea there is a unique tideland and special kinds of organisms that live in this mud flats eg. “Wattwürmer“
On many islands lying in the North Sea you can find man-built dikes which protect the coast.
If you want to find out more about the Wadden Sea check out this page.
6. Within the German language you can produce pretty long words. It is possible to put many many nouns together (often by linking them with a “s“) to create a new word: “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän.” Can you say that? Give it a try
Also, there are three different genders in German. We use three articles to refer to the different genders: der (masculin), die (feminine), das (nutral).
7. Did you know it was a German who discovered X-Rays in the late 19th century? Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923) was a German physician who received the Nobel Prize in 1901 for his discovery of X-Rays (in German: Röntgenstrahlen). His discovery represented a revolution for medical diagnostic and led to other crucial insights for example regarding radioactivity.
8. This year (2011) is a special year for the Turkish-German relationship. We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Turkish guest workers in Germany. Today around 2.5 million people living in Germany have Turkish roots. By the way did you know that the “Döner Kebap“ is a very popular dish in Germany? Probably you can find more Döner-Kebap take-aways than those for Bratwurst…
9. Germany has a wide network of social security systems (pension, health, healthcare and unemployment insurance) which are equally financed by employees and employers. Every German is covered with health insurance (around 10.4% of the GDP is spend on the health).
10. In Germany, December is a very special time of the year. Every single place, from the smallest village to a big city has a Christmas market (“Weihnachtsmarkt“ in German). The whole city is decorated with Christmas lights and you find lots of stands where hot wine, delicious food, and handcrafts are sold. In some cities you can also find ice skating places. The four Sundays before Christmas we Germans celebrate “Advent“. We put an “Advent wreath“ (Adventskranz) with four candles on the dining table and every Sunday a further candle is lit. On December the 24th Christmas Eve is celebrated and the giving of Christmas presents takes place. The 6th of December is also a special day, especially for German kids. The “Nikolaus“ (leading back to the historic figure of a catholic priest who lived in the 4th century) brings presents (mandarins, walnuts, chocolates and Lebkuchen (similar to ginger bread) to the kids.
I hope I could give you a few new insights with this different bits of information about my country.
Since I ended this article with telling you about what Christmas is like in Germany I want to wish you all: Fröhliche Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Have a great break!