German Culture: German Stereotypes
We all know what Germans are like, don't we?
The men are fat, and love beer, leather trousers, sauerkraut or
bratwurst and beer, and have dodgy facial hair. The women are icy
Teutonic beauties with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Both sexes loathe inefficiency, love the Fatherland, have never
been late for anything in their lives, and would secretly quite
like to invade Europe, even if they have to do it via the EU.
They speak perfect English, and eat about five meals a day. They
don't know the meaning of the word Witz (joke in German). Well,
that's the stereotype, let's check out how true it is.
In spite of the modern trends in Germany away from heavy foods,
obesity is still a big problem. In 1999 it was estimated that 47%
of Germans were overweight and 11% were obese. So that part of the
stereotype is true, but neither Britons nor Americans are going
to feel particularly thin in Germany, their obesity rates are similar
or worse: Stereotype 1 Political Correctness 0
Lederhosen are part of the traditional dress of Bavaria, but not
everyone has a pair, and they wouldn't wear them every day if they
did. Even Bavarians have style.
Stereotype 1 Political Correctness 1
A recent survey of 35,000 people showed that the average German
adult drank 120 litres of beer per
year, 16 litres more than the average British adult, and that 17
per cent of German adults believe the point of drinking is to get
drunk. On the other hand, there is no evidence to suggest Germans
are any more or less likely to floss than anyone else. Good for
them, bad for political correctness.
Stereotype 2 Political Correctness 1
Sauerkraut and Bratwurst
There's no denying Germans love a nice big sausage with their
pickled cabbage, but things are changing and you will now find restaurants
from every country you can think of in most German cities. Half
a point each:
Stereotype 2.5 Political Correctness 1.5
Dodgy Facial Hair
Take a deep breath. This one is actually true. Some, not all,
but some German men are very proud of their luxurious facial hair.
The World Beard and Moustache Championships will take place in Berlin,
on October 1st 2005 (www.worldbeardchampionships.com).
Germans are very prominent in this minority spectator sport. Many
cities in Germany have beard clubs where bearded men can get together
and enjoy the camaraderie of looking like bears
Stereotype 3.5 Political Correctness 1.5.
Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes
Yes and no, but mostly no. Some Germans do have blonde hair and
blue eyes. You'll find more blondes in Germany than you would in
say, China, but no more than in many Northern European countries.
Stereotype 3.5 Political Correctness 2.5
Public Transport is almost always on time in Germany, and if you
agree to meet some friends at eight o'clock, they will be annoyed
if you stagger in at nine with an impish grin on your face saying
you got lost between the bierkeller and the bus stop. On the other
hand, Germany has a government and is part of the EU, so half a
point each. Stereotype 4 Political Correctness 3
The German parliament is dominated by moderate centre-left parties,
but the Socialists and Greens also have more support than in some
Western European Countries. There are regular rallies against the
far right and they are very well attended. Why would Germans want
to invade the world anyway? Germany has the best food and beer already.
Stereotype 4 Political Correctness 4
Sprechen Sie Englisch?
The stereotype is not too far wrong on the English-speaking question,
a lot of Germans speak very good English.
Stereotype 5 Political Correctness 4
Vorsprung durch Slapstick and Stand-up
Germans have a fantastic sense of humour, able to find lots to
laugh about where no one else can. Here are two German jokes: An
American and an Italian meet in a tavern. The American says: "Give
me your hammer and I will build an aircraft carrier for you!" The
Italian says: "Give me your daughter and I will make you the crew!"
Why are old women even worse at parking than younger women? Because
their hearing gets worse as they get older. Well, I thought they
were quite funny
Stereotype 5 Political Correctness 5
Overall then, the Germans are pretty fond of their beer, Bratwurst
and beards, aren't too blonde, don't wear leather trousers much,
don't want to invade the world, do have a sense of humour, and have
arguably one of the most representative governments in the world.
Five points each for Stereotypes and Political Correctness, a draw
overall, but a moral victory for all those that love German culture.
- The Facts
There is no National Day in Germany - German reunification
is celebrated on October 3 - German Unity Day
Germany is 3rd in the league of beer drinkers behind the
Czech Republic and Ireland, the UK is 7th. (These figures
from the Brewers Association of Japan are old, though, dating
It is estimated that there are over 1500 different types
of sausage in Germany.