Ah, Germany! The economic powerhouse of the EU! A shining beacon of hope in a world that’s gone mad! More and more, the world turns to Berlin (and Munich and Hamburg and even Düsseldorf) as a sign of stability in uncertain times. Quality of life is high, employment is steadily rising, and the lessons of history have been well learned. However, as one starts to examine what exactly makes the German system work, they come face to face with some rather inaccurate stereotypes. So in order for you, dear reader, to truly understand what it’s like here, I offer the truth I have personally uncovered regarding 5 Myths About Germany.
- The food is disgusting
I’ve definitely been guilty of believing that German food is disgusting (especially in past posts). And odds are good most would put other European countries ahead of Germany regarding culinary delights. There just seems to be a common misconception that it’s all sausages and bread- and that’s plain wrong. While German food does tend to lean towards the carnivorous end of the spectrum, there is still plenty to enjoy for all tastebuds. Want something sweet? An Apfelstrudel has you covered. Savory? Käsespätzle should be at the top of your list. Hearty? Get yourself a Schweinshaxe and tuck in. Even the aforementioned sausages and bread are amazing (seriously, try the bread). And to wash it all down you have delicious German beer! But about that…
- The beer is better than anywhere else
Many, many years ago, Germany (or more rather, Bavaria and then later the rest of the unified country) put the Rheinheitsgebot into law. This “German Beer Purity Law” dictated that the only ingredients that could be used to make beer were water, hops, and barley. Otherwise, the beverage could not be officially considered beer, with only a few exceptions. This led to the German market being dominated by pilsners and not much else. Now while there are truly some fantastic beers here, Germany has sadly fallen behind due to their strict adherence to this law. With the rising importation of foreign flavors the Rheinheitsgebot is now viewed as a hindrance than an advantage. Fortunately there seems to have been a shift as German craft breweries are starting to take off, leading to some interesting twists on original styles.
- There’s no sense of humor
When I told my friends back home I was performing stand up comedy in Germany they mostly asked, “How?” I’d guess the biggest myth about Germans is that they have no sense of humor whatsoever. Well I’m here to tell you, from personal experience… that’s sort of true. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve had many laughs with my German friends (even at the workplace- shocking!) and have found German audiences to be extremely responsive. But I’ve also found that it’s just a different kind of humor than what most people outside the country know. Case in point- ask your German friends about “Dinner for One”. It’s a tradition to watch this old movie on New Year’s Eve before going out to blow everything up. Why is this movie about a lonely widower and her progressively alcoholic butler so damn popular? As I like to put it, I could write the best material of my life but still lose German laughs to a guy hitting himself in the face with a frying pan.
- Everything’s super efficient
German efficiency. It’s a stereotype as old as the country itself. You can almost picture the assembly line of a BMW plant being watched by a gruff, portly German in a hardhat, holding a clipboard as he notes minor problems that would slow down the process. You poor, poor fool. You’ve obviously never had to renew your visa or wait for a doctor to see you. Oh you made an appointment in advance for a specific time? All it takes is for one employee to call out sick or take one of their many, many vacation days and you’re facing a 30 minute wait, minimum. It may not be as bad as some other countries, but to assume that German efficiency can be found anywhere besides the autoplant will leave you disappointed again and again. But don’t think to complain- you’ll just get a 10 minute response about how things are normally on schedule except this time someone didn’t follow procedure. Nicht in Ordnung, indeed.
- You don’t need to learn the language
Growing up as a native English speaker is a privilege I didn’t realize I had. It meant that I could go pretty much anywhere and there’d be someone who spoke my language. It also put me at a disadvantage when it came to learning languages; I still have to force myself to speak German and prefer English most of the time. There does seem to be a large number of people who move (or are planning to move) to Germany but not worrying about the language difference since “everyone speaks English there anyway”. And truthfully, many in this and other countries do speak English- but it is extremely arrogant to not even try and learn the language. It also puts you at a huge disadvantage when trying to enjoy the many wonderful things the country has to offer. Yes, a lot of Germans speak English. But you’ll look like a complete tool if you can’t even properly introduce yourself.
Like the post? Think I’m wrong? Please like/comment/share!
Be sure to follow me and the blog for more!
Check out when we’re coming to your city for LIVE English comedy.
Don’t see your city? Then sign up for the mailing list!