One of the joys of traveling to a new country is discovering that not all countries are the same when it comes to its cultural features. Germany is no exception and there are some quite surprising German customs that differ from our own.
Things to know about German culture and customs
Under-18s can purchase and drink alcohol
In German culture, it’s not unusual to see a teenager at the supermarket check- out holding a full bag of beer cans. This is because throughout Germany anyone aged less than 18 years can purchase beer or wine. The alcohol purchase restrictions only affect hard liquor, which is still limited to over 18 years.
Comfort with nudity
In German culture, one of the strangest of German customs is that Germans don’t seem to be embarrassed about nudity. This includes TV commercials and a gym locker room, where conversations can happily take place with or without the presence of clothes. In Hainich National Park, one of the German customs is people dancing naked for an hour at a time that marks the beginning of summer. It is called in German the knackarschwiese .
Germans and Austrians share the same language but pronounce it differently
It’s wrong to assume that because Austrians and Germans speak the same language that the language is identical. There are clear differences in pronunciation between ‘Austrian’ German and ‘German’ German, which often bring about ridicule from Germans about the way Austrians pronounce German words!
You rarely hear the actual actor’s voice in a non-German film
Subtitles in most countries are generally used for non-English speaking films when they are being viewed in English-speaking countries. However, in German customs, dubbing is a more common method used, so viewers can understand the film. German voices are used instead of the actor’s own voice. The business of dubbing is worth $125 million.
Everything has a word in German
Because compounding words is a practice used in the German language it makes it simpler to find a word for everything. For example, Arbeiterunfallversicherungsgesetz is a single word used to illustrate accident insurance for an employee. The longest known word is Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung, which is a vehicle’s liability insurance.
Hanging found items in a visible place
One of the things to know about German culture which is one of their quirky German customs is that Germans are known to be more helpful and friendly than people of other northern European countries, where it’s more normal to remain aloof. If on a cold winter’s day you drop a glove on the ground and leave it behind when you go back to look for it you will probably find it has been propped up in a tree or other place where it’s easily visible.