Health tourism with tradition: Germans in “Kur”

“Ist zur Kur” – if you are interested in German language and culture, this skid of Hanns Dieter Hüsch, a brilliant wordsmith and satirist, is worth listening to. It describes the growingly

Hanseatic nobility and civic freedoms

The medieval trade association that shaped Germany and modern Europe Welcome to a journey back into history and up to the very North of Germany, the realm of the “Hanseat”, a very special breed

No nonsense: Fashion, made in Germany

What do you think of when you hear terms like “Haute Couture” or “Pret a Porter”, when you imagine super models on glamourous catwalks and sophisticated, if a bit pretentious audiences admiring

Where music gets real: Festivals in Germany

For over a year fans of music festivals around the world have lived through a drought. I remember the collective shock among some of my friends when Glastonbury was cancelled. I also remember the

German Cinema Part 2: Modern movies

In our last article, we had a close look at the history of German movie-making, with all its ups and downs and its historical landmarks. Now is the time to value contemporary German filmmaking.

From Metropolis to The Lives of Others: History of German movie-making

Do you remember the last German who took home an Oscar? It was in 2017 when Gerd Nefzer won the Academy Awards for Visual Effects on an American movie “Blade Runner 2049”. To find a win for a

Office of Honour: The “Ehrenamt” – Voluntary commitment in Germany

When I came to England ten years ago, many things seemed weird, often quirky and in many cases confusing. One of these things were the idea of Special Constables – voluntary police officers who

Valentine’s Day special: Flirting, dating, wedding – the German way

It is fast approaching: The opportunity to shower your loved ones with all the attention and treats that a busy life might have deprived them of. The day to prove your love in the most romantic

Could you pass me my Handy, please? How Denglish influences modern German language

Let’s jump right in: The term „Handy“ causes plenty of confusion between Germans and native English speakers. The German word for mobile phone sounds so very English that it’s hard to grasp that

Charitable Germany: The culture of giving

Christmas is coming, and with it the talk of love and care for others, of charity and compassion. It is a time of huge spending not only for gifts and consumerism, but also in donations. The

Dass ich nicht lache – “Don’t make me laugh!”German humour is no laughing matter

“Don’t mention the war!” This legendary Fawlty Towers quote is a prime example how English people like to make fun of Germans. “I did once, but I think I got away with it.” British comedy

Digital Germany – How the world leader in invention struggles to pick up speed in digitalisation

Talking to people visiting Germany from abroad, they often mention two things they found interesting before anything else. One of them is cleanliness. Especially Americans are always fascinated

How the New German Wave made steel sheets fly

Nosediving vultures, astronauts lost in space, red balloons chased by fighter jets, dancing dairymaids and golden horsemen… this colourful pandemonium defined the beginning of the 1980s in

Beyond Halloween: Being spooked, German style

Soon the gates will open to the realms of darkness, for ghosts and demons to wander the world and scare the living daylights out of ordinary people – by ringing doorbells and yelling “Trick Or

Back to nature: German’s national parks and the return of the wolves

Nature might not be the first idea when thinking about Germany. Engineering, industry, car manufacturing, the Autobahn, densely populated cities spring to mind. But then there are, of course,

The Nile of Germany: The River Rhine and its legacy

Rivers are the literal life line of civilisation. The heart and soul of many countries developed on their banks. Not to say that mountains, forests and of course the coasts aren’t important for

The country of poets and thinkers (and maybe engineers and inventors)

Sometimes back in the philosophical revolutions of the early 19th century, German intellectuals coined the phrase of the “Land der Dichter und Denker”, the country of poets and thinkers, to

Grim, grimmer, Brothers Grimm: German traditional fairy-tales that everyone knows – but not in their

There are fairy-tales all around the world, and quite a few of them have been made into Disney movies, but no cultural heritage has been as successfully disneyfied as the German. Everybody knows

Skilled trades have “golden foundations” in Germany

The benefits and setbacks of a dual education system “Handwerk hat goldenen Boden”: When choosing your career as a young person in Germany, this sentence will be thrown at you again and again.

Why it always rains in England: Your food defines the weather. Germans know.

“Iss auf. Sonst regnet es morgen.” German kids know this sentence when growing up: Empty your plate, or it will rain the next day. Quite a few of my German friends, visiting Manchester, used this

The German gardener

“My home is my castle” – it might be surprising, but this English term can be found on the wall of many German households, often in handmade stitching. It fits all too well with the German

Der Alte Fritz and his relatives: Aristocracy in Germany

Are you a native English speaker? Did you try to speak the name “Der Alte Fritz” in the headline? If so, we would love to hear it! The name “Fritz” is one of the most iconic German names from the

Home entertainment, old style: German parlour games, survival in Corona times

Being in lockdown with a small kid brought back something that we neglected due to all the offers of the electronic age: Family and group entertainment via parlour games, a term I never heard in

Verflucht und zugenäht – The art of swearing in German

Trigger warning: Bad words and naughty language ahead. Admittedly the author enjoys swearing quite a lot (probably even more since moving to England 10 years ago), so there is literally no

Can you say „Schnuckiputzi“? (Or maybe try “Mausibärchi”)

Tongue twisted? Not for Germans. When it comes to pet names, Germans are amazingly creative – as opposed to given names, where the authorities still apply strict rules in comparison to England.

Ore Mountains – legends of toys

Many of the stereotypical German qualities are born from a certain level of conservatism and a love for the status quo. Yet innovative ideas are just as German, embracing change and making the

Don’t slip, but slide: Getting into the New Year, German style

Already made up your New Year’s resolutions? Do you actually believe in them? Let me go out on a limb: Probably not. And neither do Germans. Despite their reputation as being reliable and

Treats without tricks: St Martin in Germany

Every November brings a challenge for German parents: The candy collection. If you now think of Halloween, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. The very American habit of “trick or treating” has made

Everything goes… especially the passenger – Public transport in Germany

“Well, in Germany buses are on time.” This was the famous answer of politician Gregor Gysi, asked about outstanding German qualities. Punctuality, reliability, quality are stereotypical German

Per aspera ad astra: Germany’s dream of Outer Space

On 21st of September this year a pioneer of space travel died – after a long and exciting life full of adventures, always on the bleeding edge of history. Sigmund Jähn was famous in East Germany

German Illness – Beware the draught

“Tür zu! Es zieht!” – A sentence you might hear quite often when entering German houses. And no, this is not a special greeting, and there is no friendly answer to it. Just close the door.

Celebration of unity: October 3rd, the German National Day

„East or West?“ – this dreaded question followed Germans around the globe whenever they were traveling until 1989, when the political status as “front state of the Cold War” finally seized. For

The Volksfest tradition: Party, German style

Being German, one can’t avoid the biggest of clichés (if we leave out “Don’t mention the war!”): Lederhosen, beer, pretzel, Oktoberfest. The most German thing of all seems to be to get drunk in a

The forest nation: Why trees are at the heart of the German soul

The English language doesn’t know a word with the same meaning as the German “Heimat”. The translation as “homeland” doesn’t remotely touch the emotional charge of its German counterpart, which

The learning society: Schools in Germany

Two decades ago Germany lived through a shellshock. The world famous PISA study classed the country’s schools as merely average, while Finland took the pole position. This was an attack on a

Organized Germany: Nonprofit associations are a backbone of society

Legend has it that there is nothing more German than proper “order”, well sorted administration and neat bureaucracy. That might be true in some ways, especially when it comes to taxes and

Life is a highway – Germany’s love for cars

There’s magic in the air when it comes to German motorways – “die Autobahn” is famous among motor enthusiasts around the world. Legend has it that Germany does not have a speed limit. And it’s

The 5 most important things you need to know about driving in Germany

Driving abroad can be a challenging venture and requires a bit of courage. But with some idea of what to expect and where rules and local driving behaviour differ from what you know, you can

The Cult of Purity: German beer and why it is the best in the world.

Legend has it that beer was popular in ancient Egypt. The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi mentions beer in 1754 B.C. and lays down explicit rules regarding brewing and serving of the beverage. The

Car(e) free Sundays and ecological conscience: Green Germany

The third Sunday of June traditionally marks the “Mobile without a car” day in Germany – a tradition going back to the car-free Sundays of the Suez crisis in the 50s and the oil crisis in the

“You’re welcome” – How to enjoy your time as an overnight guest in a German home

Back in the days when I was a pupil, I spent some weeks as an exchange student in Cambridge, like many other German kids who stay in host families around the world to broaden their horizon and

Celebrating adolescence: Jugendweihe German youth ceremonies in and outside of church

Growing up in West Germany in a Catholic surrounding with just a few protestant sprinkles, it was normal for me to witness plenty of church rituals. Many of my friends were altar boys or at least

Bridge days and Christian tradition: What Father’s Day and the Ascension of Jesus have in common

Thursday, May 30th is Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension of Jesus) and a national holiday in Germany. What would be a “bank holiday” in England, demonstrating the historical power of banks and the

German Tea Time: Kaffee und Kuchen as the peak of social culture

For immigrants freshly arriving to the UK, one source of confusion is the use of terms like “lunch”, “dinner”, “supper” and “tea time”. Germans face a special challenge in this department. When

May Day in Germany: Worker’s movement tradition and folkloristic entertainment

I remember the term “May Day” being confusing to me when I heard it the first time. As a non-native speaker, it was a little too close to the “Mayday” distress call, and given that Bank Holidays

The fifth season: How German carnival takes over and splits the nation for days of folly

A few years back I found myself in hospital for surgery on a more or less auspicious date: Outside the gates (and a little bit also inside), carnival had taken over, switching huge parts of

There’s no Chinatown in Germany… … and Little Istanbul is still a matter of discussion

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – a name so cumbersome that in Germany it was renamed as “International Day against racism” (Welttag gegen

Colourful worlds of education and fun: German Children’s books

Believing the teachers of my six year old daughter and my own intuition, reading is the most important skill for young children. Schools in England put huge effort in motivating pupils to read

Did you kill your relatives after Christmas? German superstitions can be cruel… and entertaining

Why we ask this peculiar question in the headline? Because it is relevant! Christmas and New Year have just gone by, and if you washed your laundry between these two holidays, you condemned a

Don’t call me Kraut – … the proper term should probably be “potato”

No, don’t worry, this article won’t complain about insults thrown at Germans. Rather the opposite: We want to correct an inaccurate stereotype and replace it with something far better. Yes,

The football nation: Germany’s heritage of sport

The last football world cup reinstated a huge chunk of England’s pride regarding this national sport, even though it was not “coming home” at the end of the day. Germans, on the other hand,

Your fork is female, your spoon is male: Gender is a big issue in German language and culture

When the news broke that Germany now officially recognizes a third gender in official documents, many people were surprised to see this kind of breakthrough in a country as focused on the status

Saint Nicholas, Baby Jesus and Santa Claus: Three iconic figures compete about bringing gifts to Ger

Looking into German Christmas traditions, it’s a big surprise how many of the well-known icons of English Christmas celebrations have their roots in Germany – the Christmas tree, for example, or

The cyclist is always right (when the car driver isn’t)

Riding a bike in Germany means being on the bleeding edge of social change Does this headline sound a bit extreme to start a fun topic like cycling? Yes and no. It is a very German way to start

Remember, remember the 9th of November – The German Day of Fate

While the UK celebrates Remembrance Day on November 11th, for many parts of Germany the date (and the time 11:11am) marks the start of carnival celebrations, with red noses, clowns costumes, beer

Food, kitsch, gifts and sweet alcohol: Germans love Christmas markets – as do Mancunians

Long before the actual season starts, Christmas markets make their appearance in Manchester’s streets and squares – from November 9th to December 22nd it’s nearly two months in which

Is this German!? A patchwork of dialects mirrors Germany’s colourful history

When we moved to England, one of our first experiences with local dialects was Liverpudlian. Our life in Britain has been an exploration of local lingo ever since, with various moments of

Know your Knigge: What to avoid during German Mealtimes

“When you’re at home, behave as if you were on the king’s table. This way, when you’re at the kings table, you can behave just like home.” Many German kids will have

Magic dwells in each beginning: The start of school is a special moment for German families

Many things can be said about the English education system. Being surrounded by home-educating parents, I hear a lot of criticism. One of them is the early start: It is a tough call to send small

The big outdoor splash: German Freibad culture is every summer’s trend

Come summer time, beaches are a favourite destination all around the globe. Germans have taken the love for outdoor swimming, sunbathing and picnic to an all new level by introducing the

You can say you to me: Formal language is serious business in Germany

„You can say you to me“ – legend has it that German chancellor Helmut Kohl made this generous offer to US president Ronald Reagan during the negotiations of Germany’s reunification. The

Bread and Butter – The core of German nutrition

Legend has it that beer and Bratwurst are the cornerstones of German food, and Brits like to call Germans “Krauts” for their love of Sauerkraut, but both is not quite accurate. The actual core of

The ball is round: German football is pure wisdom… and en route to win a fifth star

“The ball is round, and a game lasts 90 minutes” – famous words of German football legend Sepp Herberger, and a common proverb even among people usually not very interested in

Up and away: Going on holiday, German style

„Wenn einer eine Reise tut… dann kann er was erleben.“ The German proverb, in old-fashioned language, simply translates to: “He who travels will live through adventures”. Adventures and

Homemade Meat Feast: Germany’s traditional barbecue

Visiting Germany in summer, it is hard to avoid the scents of a longstanding German tradition, celebrated whenever the sun is out: Homemade barbecue, grilled over searing charcoal in gardens,

Germany’s Fabled Forests

Germany is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful forests. The romantic woodlands cover one-third of Germany and occupy a similar fraction of every German person’s heart. In Germany,

Easter With Goethe’s Faust

To the English speaking world, Shakespeare is known as the greatest playwright of his age. Little is known of his life, his loves or his religious beliefs. It is even argued that it was not

The Berlin Film Festival

Berlinale is one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. The Berlin Film Festival creates a buzz across the city for two weeks each February. This year over 300,000 tickets have

German Wedding Anniversary Traditions

Many of the traditions celebrated in the world today began in Germany. It is unsurprising to discover that a number of wedding anniversary traditions also originate in parts of Germanic Europe.

What is the Four Hills Tournament?

Celebrating its 66th anniversary this year, the Four Hills Tournament is a yuletide sports event like no other. The competition dominates the news across Germany and Austria for nine intense days

The Castles of Germany

Germany is home to some of the world’s most incredible castles. From defensive medieval castles to stunning fairy-tale castles built merely for pleasure, Germany has over 1000 to visit.

It’s Carnival time!

For many Germans, February is carnival time. Since medieval times a period of merriment has been a precursor to the Lenten fast for Christians across the world. Germany explodes in a riot of

Heiligabend – Christmas Eve in Germany

For Germans, the most important Christmas traditions are reserved for Christmas Eve. On this most magical of evenings, German families come together and celebrate with song, food and gift giving.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2017

Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0) It’s that magical time of year when the city of Manchester dons its fabulously fluffy red Santa hat, scoffs in the face of the chilly winter weather and

The German Day of Unity

October 3rd marks the anniversary of Germany’s unification. Across the country, people remember the date in 1990 when East and West Germany united to become one federal Germany. Why was

Martin Luther & The Reformation

Five hundred years ago a theses was printed which forever altered the path of western culture. The theses was the ’95’ and was written by Martin Luther, Priest, and Professor of

Art Project: Message from Manchester (English)

A guest post by Wolfgang Schnurr translated into English by Sabrina Wagner From 22nd to 24thSeptember 2017, the Industrial Heritage Days are taking place in Chemnitz for the 8th time already. The

Kunstprojekt: Message from Manchester (Deutsch)

Gastbeitrag von Wolfgang Schnurr Bereits zum 8. Mal finden in Chemnitz am 23. – 25. September 2017 die ‚Tage der Industriekultur’ statt. Veranstaltungsort ist das Fabrikgelände der Schönherr

Great German Holiday Destinations – Thuringia

Thuringia is in the heartland of Germany. With the Harz mountains at the states northerly point and green, dense forests across the middle of the region, Thuringia offers visitors some of

Five of the best German Beaches

When you think of Germany you probably don’t picture white sands and palm trees. If you’re in search of a European beach holiday you might be more inclined to go to Spain, Italy or

How to make Hamburg’s Famous Red Berry Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

In the North of Germany food reflects the region’s proximity to the sea. Hamburg, in particular, is known for its seafood inspired cuisine. Lying where the Elbe and Alster Rivers meet,

Der Hund – The Top 5 German Dog Breeds

German people love their dogs. They take them everywhere including to work on ‘Take Your Dog to Work day’. The pampered pooches can travel on trains, buses, and trams. In Germany many

10 of the Best German Foods

Before a trip to Germany familiarising yourself with the foods, sights, and traditions that await you is important. Embarrassing moments such as ordering a dish only to be horrified to receive

Why German Wine?

Germany is the eighth largest producer of wine in the world. If you have ever lazily sailed along the Rhine River in Western Germany you will have noted the vineyards which pepper the banks.

Great German Holiday Destinations – Berlin

Since the Wall came down in 1990 Berlin has become a major tourist destination. Returning the city to its position as Germany’s capital, the reunification metamorphosised Berlin into the

Why Kids should Learn a Second Language

We teach our children to count and to read from an early age. Today many parents even conduct explosive kitchen experiments with their pre schoolers as they attempt to give their kids an avantage

A Toast to German Cheese

Cheese. Loved by the English, Germans, and mice of all nationalities. The UK boasts a number of famous cheeses such as Cheddar but Germany is the King of Käse production in Europe. There are over

Marvellous May – A Month of Mayhem & Merriment in Germany

May has arrived bringing with it blossom, birds and brightness. It may be the month with the shortest name yet it is one of the most significant months in the calendar. May may just be one of the

Learning German Outside

Our German lessons with Antje from the Deutsch Centre are the highlight of the week for my children. My 7 year old enjoys being a bit of a know-it-all with his German vocabulary whereas my twelve

Music to Mein Ears

There exists a stereotype about the German people which suggests that they are a stoically unromantic race. That the collective desire for perfection and precision overrides any sentimental

Mein Manchester

by Antje Timmermann and Prudence Clarke Manchester is our hometown – most of the the Deutsch Centre staff have chosen to live here, our blogger Prue was even born here. It is a city of

Black Forest Gateaux Recipe – Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

Baden-Württemberg is the federal state which is home to the beautiful Black Forest, Schwarzwald. It is also the name given to one of Germany’s most calorific cakes – the Black Forest

Germany’s Shakespeare – Der große Barde

Along with Sunday roast dinners, Stonehenge and the Royal family, William Shakespeare is synonymous with British culture. If England was a stick of rock then Shakespeare would be the word running

Celebrating Easter the German Way

Easter is a predominantly Christian tradition celebrating the crucifixion and rebirth of Jesus. It is also the time of year when people celebrate the coming of the spring and the reawakening of

A German Fairy Tale

World Book Day is the highlight of the week for many children across the world. The world wide celebration of reading encourages literacy. It will see children dress up as their favourite book

German Sausages – From the Best to the Wurst

Germany has such a rich culinary heritage that many of its foods are known and enjoyed across the world. From the acquired taste of sauerkraut to the sublime sweetness of the Lebkuchenbiscuit,

Learning German – Food and Culture

What is the old show business saying – never work with children? It has certainly been true for us as poorly children have prevented our lessons taking place for two weeks. A doctor friend

Gutenberg – One of Germany’s Great Innovators

The internet, newspapers and even this blog are distant relatives of one very important invention- the printing press. Constructed in 1439 the Gutenberg press changed the way in which information

Subscribe to our mailing list below