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5 Things you Need to Know about the Germans

GERMANY | Monday, 26 September 2011 | Views [24867] | Comments [6]

There are a lot of prejudices and clichés about Germany. Some of them are true and some of them aren’t. We’re not drinking beer all the time and we’re not wearing Lederhosn and Dirndl all the year round. Most of us don’t even owe one of those. But we get back to this point later. One’s for sure, we love to give it a go on the German Autobahn and we do have a complex system to separate garbage. But there are a few more things you should know about Germans.

1.) St. Peter and the “Wetterfrosch”

Yes, it's true, the Germans always complain about the weather. And we blame St. Peter or the weather frog for it. Yes, the weather frog. Nowadays no one really believes that a frog can forecast weather but in former times they put a frog into a jar with a small ladder and when the frog climbed it, they thought the weather will be good. That’s why we still talk about the “Wetterfrosch” and what he’s probably doing. If he’s sleeping or… you get the picture. 

2.) Tatort

You want to meet up with a German friend on a Sunday evening? Good luck! Sunday evening at 8:15 is “Tatort” (crime scene) time. The TV crime show, which runs since November 1970, is quite popular. Every Sunday up to 10 million Germans watch it and during the last years it also became very popular to watch it in bars together with other fans. And as soon as the theme starts you better keep quiet as no one will be listening to you for the hour and a half.

3.) Kehrwoche

Yes, we do separate our waste in up to seven different bins. Blue for paper, yellow for plastics, brown for organic waste and black for everything else. And so on. But in southern Germany they even go further. Every Saturday another person in the house has to do the “Kehrwoche”, a really strict house cleaning tradition. It includes sweeping the stairs and the sidewalks and even sometimes furbishing the garbage bins. If you don’t do the “Kehrwoche” it's possible that your neighbours may report you to the landlord.

4.) Schorle, Radler and 7 years of bad sex

The Germans love to mix drinks. If it’s fruit juice, white wine or red wine, we do mix it with sparkling water. This is called “Schorle”, “Saftschorle” if mixed with juice and “Weinschorle” if mixed with wine. We even do mix our beer with lemonade which is then a “Radler” or we mix Coke and Orange Fanta and call it “Spezi”. And if it comes to toasting traditions there’s one really important one. While clinking glasses individually with each person you must maintain eye contact. If you don’t your penalty will be seven years of bad sex.

5.) Oktoberfest

First of all, yes, the famous “Oktoberfest” is the one in Munich. But there are several other beer festivals all over Germany which are also a lot of fun, for example the “Cannstatter Wasen” in Stuttgart and there’s even one at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. And yes, the “Oktoberfest” is called October festival but it starts (at least the one in Munich) in the middle of September. And it is all about drinking beer, dancing to German folk music and wearing Lederhosn and Dirndl.  That’s the only time in the year you’ll see Germans wearing Lederhosn and Dirndl, if you see a German wearing this traditional costume apart from Oktoberfest you can be sure he or she will be Bavarian.

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About the Author

Yvonne Zagermann is a German TV journalist and travel blogger based in Berlin. Trips to Jamaica, Cuba or South Africa have only made her more hungry to see the rest of the world and she hopes to one day go on an extensive trip around the globe. You can follow her on her way to travelosity on her blog JustTravelous or on twitter.

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Tags: connect locally, drinking, entertainment, europe, festivals, germans, germany, oktoberfest, travel, weather



Dear Readers,

honestly I don´t know anybody who is watching "Tatort", not even my mother or grandparents do. I´m studying mediasience and take it as a try to spread rumors since these 10 millions are merely statistically spoken... And the thing with the frog is obsolete as well. But the thing with Dirndl and Lederhosen and that they are worn only by bavarians apart from octoberfest-time may be true. I´m from Munich by the way.

  Julia Sep 27, 2011 7:19 AM


Dear Julia,

the 10 million are according to the German TV rating system which is a representative measurement. And as you don't know any people who are watching "Tatort" I do know a lot. "Tatort public viewing" is for example in Stuttgart or Berlin a really popular thing.
And yes, believing in the "Wetterfrosch" is obsolete (as I said) but using the word "Wetterfrosch" (for example also for the weather man in TV) is typical German.

  Yvonne Sep 28, 2011 9:09 AM


Haha awesome. Since we just returned from Oktoberfest I find it hard to not think everyone in Germany owns a pair of Lederhosen's haha (just kidding). We loved it in Munich though, not just the beer but the people and the city. Cant wait to visit other cities and areas now too!

  Cole (half of Four Jandals) Oct 6, 2011 10:36 PM


I don´t know anybody who is watching "Tatort", not even my mother or grandparents do. I´m studying mediasience and take it as a try to spread rumors since these 10 millions are merely statistically spoken... And the thing with the frog is obsolete as well

  domin Dec 16, 2011 6:16 PM


Most of your list is definitely wrong!
I am german and I can say 1 and 2 aren't quite true and 3 with "Kehrwoche" doesn't only exist in southern Germany for sure, because I live in north-western Germany!

  Sadie Oct 17, 2012 10:51 AM


"Most of your list is definitely wrong!
I am german and I can say 1 and 2 aren't quite true"
Oh since you are German you must be right... sorry, I am also German and I can assure you that I definitely know lots of people who watch Tatort especially those Muenster and Cologne episodes (and those are people of every generation, grandparents, parents, fellow students). claiming that fact 2 is wrong despite the high rating (10 million is around 25% of all viewers, not counting expats like me who are watching it online)

and about point 1: it's true that many germans blame "petrus" for bad weather (that does not mean that they actually believe in him as being existent or responsible), but I never heard that anyone blames frogs (people only blame the weathermen (aka "Wetterfroesche") on TV if their forecast was wrong)

  Hans Dampf Nov 26, 2012 2:31 AM

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