Germany has produced so many prominent composers and performers we’ve ever witnessed that it’s only fitting that music, in general, makes this list. Take German classical music for one. Names like Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Händel, and von Weber are just a few of the biggest names in music that have really shaped the history of music and how it is now. In recent times, Germany has been known to host some of the largest rock music festivals in the world, namely, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park.
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Germany is notable for its free body culture, or locally known as freikörperkultur. This movement pushes for the naturistic community living or the simple joy of being nude in and at one with nature without it being sexual. Those who practice this culture are called naturists or nudists. One of the biggest ways public nudity is celebrated in Germany is through Knackarschwiese, which is an hour-long naked dance welcoming the beginning of summer. It is held at Hainich National Park in the Free State of Thuringia.
Football is considered the most popular sport in Germany. It is not to be confused with what we may know as American football, which uses the oval ball. Football in Germany is actually soccer. Today, the German Football Association, the country’s national association, is based in Frankfurt and was founded in 1900. Germany has a really lively football culture, gathering fans from all over the world during matches. If you’re a fan of this sport, try catching a game or two during your visit!
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4. Nuremberg Christmas Market
Germany meets some of the best Christmas markets come the holiday season. One of the most notable is the Nuremberg Christmas Market, locally called Christkindlesmarkt. The event is held at the Hauptmarkt which is the central square in the city’s old town. This German event is one of the largest of its kind in the world, with an estimated visitor count of two million annually. This Advent festivity is one of the most wonderful times in the city and a must-not-miss when you’re in town!
5. The Berlin Wall
What is Germany famous for? The ol’ faithful Berlin Wall, of course. It is perhaps the most iconic structure in German history. Constructed in the 1960s by the German Democratic Republic, the Berlin Wall used to separate West Berlin from the surrounding areas of East Berlin, as well as entire East Germany. It stood for nearly 30 years until it was finally brought down in the latter months of 1989. Although there is very little left of the Berlin Wall at its original site, several portions have been restored to serve as monuments. Visitors continue to frequent these monuments, which serve as a reminder of Germany’s unification, as well as the shared history of the West and East Germans.
One of the best things Germany is known for is most everyone’s favorite: beer! Germany is consistently one of the top consumers per-capita of the drink in Europe, topped only by Austria and Czech Republic in 2012. A little-known fact about German beer is that up until the late 1980s, it was made in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot (also known as the “German Beer Purity Law”), which regulates and limits the ingredients that may be used. The Oktoberfest, a 16 to 18-day beer festival and funfair, was also first celebrated in Munich, one of Germany’s largest and most popular cities. Needless to say, beer is definitely a huge part of German culture and one that you shouldn’t miss on your next trip there.
7. Castles and Palaces
Germany also boasts dreamy castles and palaces that look straight out of a fairy-tail. In fact, there are around 25,000 castles and palaces that can be found around Germany. Some of the most popular ones include the Schloss Heidelburg (or Heidelburg Castle), which dates all the way back to the 1300s, and the luxurious Sanssouci, which is also known as “Germany’s Versailles”. Of course, you can also just travel along Castle Road, which stretches over 625 mi (1005 km) and is lined with over 70 castles and palaces.
8. Adidas & Puma
You have probably owned a pair or two of these. Adidas and Puma are two of the biggest names in the shoe and clothing industry. These two corporations actually share an intense history. Brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler started a shoe company called Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in 1924; the partnership ended in 1949 when their relationship dissipated. Adolf started his own company called Adidas which is derived from his nickname Adi and last name Dassler. Rudolf did the same, choosing the name Ruda, from Rudolf Dassler, which was eventually changed to Puma. Both companies are based in Herzogenaurach in Bavaria, the brothers’ hometown.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the German culture - while having fun at the same time - is to take part in a festival! There is no shortage of them, too. In fact, over 10,000 festivals are celebrated in Germany every year! If you are a film buff, you should definitely check out the Berlin International Film Festival, which is one of the largest and most prestigious film fests in the world - second only in attendance to the Cannes Film Festival. If you love good food and good beer, the annual Oktoberfest is also not to be missed. There are also seasonal festivals - in particular, if you are planning to spend your next Christmas in Germany, definitely check out the Weihnachtsmarkts (or Christmas markets) for unique finds and delicious, traditional Christmastime eats.
Bread is a staple food in Germany, served during almost every meal from breakfast to dinnertime. There are many different kinds of bread that are popular in Germany, most of which are more savory than sweet to taste. One of the most popular types is the Five Seed Bread, or Fünfkornbrot, which is made of wheat, oat, rye, barley, and maize grains. Pretzels, another well-known pastry, are popular for their salty and delicious crust, paired with a soft, chewy texture. Pumpernickel, a rich, dark bread made completely of rye, is another must-try, as it can be pretty difficult to find in other countries.
As a global leader and innovator in the automotive industry, Germany takes pride in producing some of the most robust and top-quality cars. Every type of car, from high-end luxury vehicles to reliable, everyday cars, is produced here. Some of the most popular brands of vehicles - including Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW - were also first established in Germany. If you’d like to learn more (or if you are a real car-buff and enjoy seeing luxury vehicles), you can pay a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, where you get a glimpse into the long history of the brand and of the automobile industry in the country, as a whole.
12. The Culture
Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker, or the “country of poets and thinkers”. It is little wonder, then, that it boasts such a rich history and culture. There are many facets to German culture, from art and architecture to literature, religion, philosophy, and technology. German culture has helped shape major intellectual movements in the West, including Marxism and Communist theory. In the field of the arts and design, Germany has also served as a major influence, with movements such as Bauhaus originating here. Although it is difficult to condense such a rich culture in a few words, German culture and its many great contributions to the world at large are definitely worth learning more about at your own time.
13. The Autobahn
As cars are such a big part of their culture and national industry, it is not surprising how Germany also boasts wide roads that stretch for miles. In particular, the world-famous Autobahn is another one of Germany’s most popular attractions. The Autobahn is an extensive highway system, with a total length of 12,996 km (8,075 mi). It was constructed in the 1930s and was the first limited-access, high-speed road network in the world. Although many are led to believe that the entire Autobahn has no speed limits, that isn’t actually the case, as many parts of it (especially those under construction) do have limits and are carefully monitored by the local authorities. Nonetheless, the Autobahn not only makes for an interesting drive, but it also serves as an important part of German history.
14. Historical figures
Some of the most important figures in Western history were born and raised in Germany. Many Germans have made great strides in the fields of science, technology, religion, philosophy, and literature. Some of these historical figures include the protestant reformist Martin Luther, the inventor Johannes Gutenberg, as well as author and philosopher Karl Marx, whose childhood home in Trier now serves as a museum commemorating his life and works. In recent history, there is also Pope Benedict XVI, who served as the head of the Catholic church from 2005 to 2013.
One of the best things associated with Germany is sausage. The country is not called “the country of sausages” for no reason - the country is easily one of the largest consumers and producers of sausage in the world. There are a wide variety of delicious sausages that can be found in Germany. They are typically served in one of three ways - scalded, raw or smoked, and boiled. One of the most popular types of sausage includes the Nuremberg, a small, smoked sausage that is typically enjoyed with some mashed potato and roasted vegetables. Another interesting type is the Thuringian Bratwurst - a spicy, aromatic bratwurst and one of the oldest recipes in the country! Thuringian bratwursts are actually regulated by law in Germany and must be at least six inches long - a testament to how serious the Germans are about sausages.
Where the past meets the future
Part of Germany’s charm is how it remains rooted in its culture and traditions. In spite of being one of the most technologically-advanced and forward-thinking nations today, many Germans have not forgotten their heritage and where they have come from. Learning more about all these things that Germany is famous for, paints a fascinating picture of a nation where the values and traditions of the past meet the innovations of the future.
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