German Stereotypes: What is typically German?
When you hear somebody talk about Germans there might be a few stereotypes popping into your mind.
The most obvious one is the slightly overweight German with a beer belly, holding a one liter glass of beer in his hand and wearing white tennis socks with adidas flip flops.
And if you spend your holiday on Mallorca this German stereotype probably would be 100% accurate.
However there is so much more about us Germans (and not all that bad), so let’s brake it down starting with the German stereotypes.
Beer – Germans love beer
Let’s start with this first stereotype about Germans. In the past this stereotype might have been true.
Beer has been invented by German monks back in the Middle ages.
During their time of fasting sneaky monchs bent the rules a bit and figured that drinking some of that delicious beer would not break the rules of fasting.
And since then thousands of breweries have been opened all around Germany, with most of them in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
However looking at the beer consumpotion per person in 2016 Germany only comes in at 4th place with 104 liter compared to 143 liter in Czech Republic.
But nevertheless beer is deeply embedded in our German culture and we even celebrate the biggest party in the world, the Oktoberfest, with hundredthousands of liters of beer.
Truth of stereotype: 75%
Towel war – German tourists
We all here are proud and happy being German – until we run into another German on holiday.
This is when we become embarrased by our fellow nationals.
The majority of Germans travels once a year for a big holiday, which usually means all-inclusive beach holiday.
And as we are very structured and love following rules we have come up with a genius idea – Towel war.
All other countries, especially the Brits, don’t even notice what is happening until they find out that each single chair at the pool/beach has been reserved by a German.
Here is the ususal strategy:
Germans set their alarm really early, take their towel, leave it on the chair and then go to have an extensive breakfast.
After around 2-3 hours they come back to the pool/beach and enjoy their prime location in the sun while all Brits need to sit on the floor or, if lucky, manage to find a single chair in a bad location such as right next to the toilets.
Truth of stereotype: 100%
German Autobahn – Crazy German Racers
One of our proudest achievements amidst all those EU laws and regulations.
Germany successfully kept their maximum speed limit, which is around 130km/h in most European countries, against all odds.
If you wonder now what this speed limit is, well that depends. It depends on the car you are driving.
Nobody will ever forget the first time driving 200km/h on the Autobahn just to see lights appear in their rear mirror.
And before they know what is happening a Porsche overtakes you with 300km/h.
Truth of stereotype: 100%
German food is just Sausage and Meat
German is definitely not the most exclusive cuisine worldwide. That we can easily admit.
And yes, we do love Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Bratwürste, etc.
But there is so much more about German cuisine than just meat and sausages.
Most notably there are Käsespätzle, which is a dish coming from the Southern German area around Stuttgart.
We already have put together a list of the most famous German dishes if you are interested in more information.
Ok, when being honest we have to admit that if you are a vegetarian in Germany the choices are not that great.
Truth of stereotype: 70%
Germans enjoy working more than having spare time
The general opinion about the work ethics of Germans is that they are all workaholics.
If you talk to any German he will tell you that he actually counts the minutes until he finishes work.
So from our point of view we are actually more like “ok we have to work to feed our kids or to earn enough for our holidays on Mallorca”, but if you ask some foreigner you will start questioning this.
All foreigners I have run into say that Germans are so focused on work that they somehow miss out a bit on life itself.
And it is true a bit that Germans rather go to work with 40 degrees fever than call in sick and have the colleagues gossip about taking paid holidays 🙂
Truth of stereotype: 90%
Germans love to be naked
Yes, we really do love to get naked. This is something that even our parents already enjoyed in the summer time.
FKK – Freie Körperkultur – is very famous and it is not unusual to see naked people in parks or at lakes in the middle of Berlin.
Also going to the sauna is a ritual that many Germans follow – and of course completely naked.
You can spot a foreigner in a German sauna from miles away.
It is always that person wearing clothes or being double wrapped in a towel and looking insecure at all that naked flesh.
Truth of stereotype: 100%
What is typically German?
Now that we have gone through all the typical German stereotypes we can move on to the next important question.
What is typically German?
What makes Germans what they are? Well let’s try to break it down.
Germans love to stick to the rules
Yes we are a bit boring in this aspect.
If there are rules they are there to be followed.
That also explains why we have such a big bureaucracy aparatus where you need 500 forms and papers just to renew your passport.
Don’t cross the red light
This stereotpye is only partially true. Whenever we see a red light and there is no car and no police in sight we might break this rule and cross at red light.
But beware, if there is a minor with 12 years and less we do not cross at red light, we don’t want to set a bad example.
Also you need to consider the consequences of crossing at a red light.
If you get caught in Berlin by the police they will give you a short lecture if they even bother at all.
If you cross a red light in Munich and get caught you can be sure to pay a hefty fine of around 40-60€.
Work, work, work then build a house
“Schaffe, schaffe, Häusle bauen”. Actually this term is coined to the Swabians, which are considered the most stingy of all Germans.
But generally speaking this applies to all Germans.
Germans all dream of building their own house that they bought with their own hard earned money.
Obsessive waste separation
Germans usually are close to a mental breakdown when they are on holiday and you throw all your waste in one single bin.
You need to know that we in Germany love to separate our waste.
That way we don’t feel that bad about destroying nature with our extensive travelling and our high speed cars 🙂
Here is a little lecture in German waste management 101:
- Hausmüll – Normal waste which goes into a usually black bin
- Biomüll – Organic waste such as the food you did not finish again
- Altpapier – Paper waste which goes into the blue bin
- Sondermüll – All things plastic which go into the yellow bin
- Altglas – Naturally glas is separeted as well in white and coloured
This is the minimum stetup of German waste management. Easy, isn’t it?
We love Football
The absolute Nr. 1 sport in Germany is Football – Soccer in the US.
Every littly boy age 5 to 12 wants to become the next football superstar.
The German Football Association – DFB – is the biggest sports association in the world! That shows how crazy we are about football.
And we don’t only like to play football, we also love to watch the German Bundesliga each weekend and cheer for our team.
Continue here if you want to read more about which sports are the most famous in Germany.
I think we have broken down the most important German stereotypes and answered a bit the question what is typical German.
Table of Contents of this Article
- German Stereotypes: What is typically German?
- Beer – Germans love beer
- Towel war – German tourists
- German Autobahn – Crazy German Racers
- German food is just Sausage and Meat
- Germans enjoy working more than having spare time
- Germans love to be naked
- What is typically German?
- Germans love to stick to the rules
- Don’t cross the red light
- Work, work, work then build a house
- Obsessive waste separation
- We love Football