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Home|Germany|Travel|Guide|German Culture|German Stereotypes

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German Culture: German Stereotypes

Robert Easton

Alois Plettl - a contestant at the World Beard Championships.

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

Leather Trousers

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

Beer Guts

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 ( 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.

Herbert Dobner - a contestant at the World Beard Championships. Will Chevalier - current World Beard Champion.

Herbert Dobner

Will Chevalier

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

Terrifying Efficiency

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

World Domination

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.

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Germany Stereotypes - 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 from 1999.)

It is estimated that there are over 1500 different types of sausage in Germany.

See our City guides for further details

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