45 Interesting Facts About Germany

Last updated on November 4th, 2016

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in West-Central Europe. It is also the most populous member state in the European Union. And after the U.S., it is also the second most popular migration destination in the world.

Germany is a developed country and provides tuition-free university education. With these 45 interesting facts about Germany, let’s explore more about this world’s third-largest exporter and importer of goods.

10 Facts About Berlin History

#1. Modern Berlin is only 26 years old! The city has been around since at least 1237, when it is believed to have been founded. But modern Berlin was really born with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

#2. One of the slogans against the communist rule in divided Berlin before the Berlin wall fell was “Turn the State Into Cucumber Salad.”

#3. Just behind the Berlin wall on the erstwhile East German side was a ‘Death Strip’ of sand, vicious dogs, floodlights, tripwire machines and soldiers to stop people trying to escape. 98 brave or desperate people lost their lives to the ‘Death Trap’ between 1961 and the fall of the wall in 1989.

#4. Over six hundred years ago, the site of the present Berlin Town Hall in Mitte was where another town hall stood in 1390, when Berlin was a merchant city with nearly 8500 residents and 1100 buildings. Today, Berlin is home to more than 3.5 million people!

#5. JFK once said “Ich bin Berliner” (trying to mean I am a Berliner) during an important Cold War era speech. If you’ve ever eaten a Berliner (a German pastry) then you’ll understand the linguistic quirk which created the urban legend that Kennedy had called himself a Jelly Donut!

#6. The eerie rows of concrete blocks at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are painted with a graffiti-resistant coating by the same company whose subsidiary produced deadly Zyklon B gasfor concentration camps!

#7. The Berlin Wall was officially called the Anti-Fascist Protection Wall, ironically implying that it was built to protect East Germans from West Germany which still had not got rid of all elements of Nazism.

The remains of the Berlin wall
Interesting facts about Germany: The remains of the Berlin wall. Image credit – Heather Cowper

#8. During the Cold War, the Russians closed supply lines between East and West Germany to drive out the U.S., Britain and France. But the US got back at them with the famous Berlin Airlift, bringing in 2.3 million tons of food and supplies into West Germany for over a year.

#9. In 1933 thousands of books by Albert Einstein, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Erich Maria Remarque and others were burned were burned at Bebelplatz, to protest against “un-German spirit”. Ironically, the fascists were doing the burning.

#10. The XI Summer Olympics take place in 1936, where all anti-Jewish slogans are taken down. Two years later will be “Night of the Broken Glass”, when nine synagogues were burned, 1200 Jews were arrested and taken to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen.

Germany Facts for Kids

#11. Germany is the land of the Grimm fairytales. If you go to the town of Hamelin, you will find painted rats on the pavements guiding you around the city!

#12. When in Berlin, keep an eye out for the colorful Buddy Bears around the city to take selfies with. There is even a bear that does gymnastics at the Europa Center!

#13. Frankfurt is your one-stop shop for toys. Here you will find everything from handmade dolls (in Das Spielzimmer) to wooden toys (in Hannah Kley).

#14. Looking for teddy bears wearing leather pants? Munich has them in plenty.

#15. Silent Night is really a German song. It was composed in 1818 in Austria.

Map of Germany with bordering countries
Map of Germany with bordering countries

#16. Kris Kringle comes from the German word Christkindl, which means Christ Child. It is this Christ child who brings gifts to Germany on Christmas, and not Santa Claus!

#17. The Christmas Pickle is a legend, but some families still hang the pickle on the tree and the first child to find it receiving a present.

#18. In Rothenburg you can enjoy Christmas all the year round, at the Christmas Market of Reiterlesmarkt.

#19. Germany is slowly closing all its nuclear power plants. There should be none by 2022!

#20. Check out Southern Bavaria on Google Map in winter. It looks like a surface of the moon!

Germany Culture Facts

#21. Germans have the strangest queens – the Apple Queen, Saxon Fish Queen, Beer Queen and more.

#22. Germans like square pillows instead of rectangles. And the pillows are huge, so beware if you bring your own pillowcases from home!

#23. Germans don’t have house numbers. The postman delivers mail by the last name, even in apartment blocks.

#24. When you go to eat at a restaurant in Germany, don’t expect the automatic glass of water. You have to buy your bottled water here. In fact, beer used to be cheaper than water in Germany!

#25. The cost of dying in Germany is high – strict laws regarding funerals mean that there is less competition in the funeral industry and costs are really high!

#26. You won’t find many locals asking to take leftovers home from restaurants.

#27. Pork may soon go out of public school menus, to please kosher religions.

#28. Some stretches of the Autobahn has no speed limit at all.

Autobahn , Germany
A spectacular view of the skies over Autobahn, Germany. Image credit – foerster_christoph

#29. Germans prefer cash to credit cards when shopping, so always keep an eye out for a Geldautomator ATM when you’re at a large shopping center.

#30. There is a closing law for shops in Germany! Don’t expect to find shops open after 8 pm on Sundays. For groceries on Sundays, you’ll have to go to a train station store.

Weird facts about Germany

#31. Germans enjoy egg-fighting in Easter. Take a hardboiled egg and smash it on your opponent’s egg and see whose cracks first. Search for Eiercatchen rules, to see how it’s played!

#32. Join the crazy Schwalbe race with your moped or scooter. This is an over fifty-year old traditional race that hasn’t lost its spirit to macho bike races.

#33. Denying the holocaust is a crime in Germany. It’s obvious why, but it seems a silly thing to do even if you are a neo-Nazi!

#34. Weird fact. Michael Jackson dangled his son from the balcony of a hotel that is in Berlin.

#35. Kids can drink beer and wine in public at 13! In fact, drinking in public in Germany is legal, much to the envy of many other parts of the world.

10 Fun Facts About German Food 

#36. The Crazy Ice-cream Maker (Der verrückte Eismacher) in Munich has the strangest ice creams you could think of, including fries with ice cream, and flavors like bacon, beer, cannabis and even pregnancy (flavored with a combination of pickles and Nutella)!

Bayerisches National museum, Munich
Interesting facts about Germany: Bayerisches National museum, Munich. Image credit – digital cat

#37. Sauerkraut was originally an accompaniment for meat and potatoes, and not for fish!

#38. German beer is famous, but you can’t ignore the wine. Visit the Apple Wine Festival in Frankfurt to find out more!

#39. The quintessential German fast food is doner kebap – which is really a Turkish dish.

Interesting facts about germany - doner kebap
A chef preparing doner kebap. Image credit – Albert Skibinski

#40. Germans love their spargels – white asparagus that is delicious and very healthy!

#41. If you see Zungenwurst on the menu, know that it means blood tongue and eat only if you’re feeling adventurous!

#42. Hot dogs in a jar of brine? Germany has them, along with hot dogs in a can.

#43. If you find Head Cheese at the grocer’s it means it’s made of flesh from the head of a pig or calf.

#44. Raw sausage you can spread on bread and crackers? That’s Teewurst.

#45. Hamburg Speck (a candy) has thankfully nothing to do with regular German Speck, which is nothing but pig fat.

Quick Facts

Capital CityBerlin
(52°31′N 13°23′E)
Largest CityBerlin
(52°31′N 13°23′E)
Total area357,022 sq km
Population80,722,792 (July 2016 est.)
Official LanguageGerman
BordersDenmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
CurrencyEuro (€) (EUR)
ReligionChristianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism.
Life expectancy80.7 Years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Climatetemperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
Terrainlowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
Natural resourcescoal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
Agricultural land48%
Birth rate8.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate11.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratio0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Government typefederal parliamentary republic
PresidentFrank-Walter Steinmeier
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Independence dayMay 23, 1949
National holidayUnity Day, 3 October (1990)
National symbolgolden eagle
National colorsblack, red, yellow
National anthem"Das Lied der Deutschen" (Song of the Germans)
Industriesamong the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, automobiles, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles
Exports$1.283 trillion (2016 est.)
motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products
Imports$987.6 billion (2016 est.)
machinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products
GDP - per capita (PPP)$48,200 (2016 est.)
Time ZoneCET (UTC+1)
Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet country code.de
Calling Code+49
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedAugust 26, 2017