The typical German in the 21st Century

Inspired – once again – by an article on Spiegel.de titled ‘Wie typisch deutsch sind Sie?’ (engl.: ‘How typical german are you?‘ ) I started thinking about it again and here some of my thoughts (sarcasm and irony may appear, but must not necessarily). There is a difference between how Germans see themselves and the perspective from the outside world. So I started looking for some evidence and found two examples, one apparently of a German living home and another with at least experience abroad. An insight and an external view. I’d also would like to call it an older and a current view (more my generation).

Answering a question on Yahoo! Clever about what makes a typical German, the chosen answer is pretty much whining about being unloved in the world, only accepted when there is money with us and not being able to be proud of Germany without being called a Nazi. Not an answer to the question, but an emotional insight. And a sad one! I don’t feel that way and I actually don’t believe most Germans do either, that’s why the other post from Sprachcaffe I like a lot more. It’s what I could instantly put as my answer to what is a typical German. There are some stereotypes mentioned, but that paragraph following is just perfect:

Germans also know how to have a hearty laugh and enjoy a peaceful afternoon at the corner cafe. It is extremely difficult to explain in so few a words just how diverse today’s Germany really is. There is always something new to discover and that is typically German.

It’s true, the first sunny day in spring in any city in Germany, but especially in Berlin, you go out to sit in a cafe or beer garden, enjoying yourself and your friends. Smiles, flirts and friendliness all over the place. I love these days and they are not even rare. We are fun people anyway, the World Cup 2006 was a perfect example for our hospitality. I heard so many good things afterwards from everywhere, it was quite overwhelming. And we enjoyed ourselves as well. The way we carried our flag possibly the first time since the war without fear was quite remarkable. And the remark about new things to discover is so true, not just about us, but how we are. Exploring and traveling the world, best described by that story: I met a guy in a Sydney train station, fairly drunk but in a good mood, and we chatted along for a while as he realized I’m German. He told me a story about his trip on a motor bike he did around Australia. One Day he drove into the desert, a place you hardly would expect any live, but no, he met some people there camping. Germans. His comment: ‘You Germans are everywhere!’. True, as for the Irish from my point of view.

But what the hack is it others think is typical german? Some excerpts and my comments:

  • Sausages, Sauerkraut (cabbage) and Haxen: nope, don’t like sausages but a good haxen with Sauerkraut from time to time I don’t mind
  • Germans love David Hasselhoff: Even though these guys seem to prove me wrong (sometime in second half they perform him – good song actually πŸ˜€ , not):
    Possible I missed that love for the ‘the Hoff’ at some stage. Or it will become a hype because we have some kind of humor and do not want to disappoint visitors. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, that is just weird.
  • Germans wear ‘Lederhosen’ and are fat: That might be true for most Bavarians, but remember, Bavaria is just a part of Germany. And a lot of the rest does not even like them (Hate-Love as found everywhere and depending on scale, I might not like the guys from the next village but meeting one of them in a foreign country we instantly become ‘us’. Other Levels are states, countries and sadly enough race and religion). Here is the first three result on Google Image search for ‘typical german’ The three first results of Google Image Search for \'typical german\'
  • Beer: true
  • Cars: well, possibly for a large part of the german population. But hey, no wonder with our line up of beautiful cars …
  • Weather: Yes, we also have weather in Germany.
  • German is a dead language: No, it’s not.

Well, if you want to look onto us from a statistical point of view, here are some statistics from recent researches as used by the Spiegel article mentioned in the beginning.

Germans in statistics (excerpt):

  • live after death: 48% of female, 32% of male population believe in it
  • European or German: 27%, 29% feel more like European
  • Death reasons (5 most): 43,7% diseases of the Circulation System, 26,4% Cancer, 6,7% diseases of the respiration system, 5,2% diseases of the digestion system
  • Suicides: 9765 cases in 2006, 74% Men
  • working days a year: Germany 192; France: 204; Britain: 217; USA: 238 (wow, makes me wanna go back to Germany)
  • average working time per week: 30,3 hrs (yeah, in my dreams)
  • positive day start: 79% of the Germans are starting positively minded into the day
  • time in bathroom: Men: 24,6 mins, Women: 28,1 mins
  • preferable Breakfast: 63% dark or gray bread (typical), 47% sandwich or toast bread, 27% Cereals, 18% Cornflakes, 9% Muffins, Donuts
  • average wake-up time: 6:23 – bed time: 22:47 – 81,5% do sleep very well
  • per head/year usage (compared to 1900 in brackets): Bread: 85,9kg (139,2kg), Veggies/Salad: 95,1kg (61,5kg), potatoes: 67,6kg (271,1kg !!!), Oil/Fat: 27,0kg (3,2kg)
  • to reach an important political goal you are allowed to use force: no, not at all: 78% women, 63% men; against things: 14% women, 24% men; against humans: 3% women, 7% men (Dear George W., don’t ask us to fight for your bloody wars anymore, coz you fight for the wrong reasons)
  • what is specific for our culture: Freedom (67%), equality of rights (66%), family (48%), Christianity (34%), diversity of cultures (22%)
  • proud to be German: 68% men, 61% women
  • reason of live lies in: happy and harmonic relationship (f: 63%, m: 69%); having good friends (f: 73%, m: 66%); having children (f: 56%, m:48%); career (f: 24%, m: 38%); being able to afford a lot (f: 25%, m: 38%)
  • experience with porn: 34%
  • happy with my sex live: females: 51%, males: 41%
  • believe in true love: 82%
  • underaged pregnancies in 2006: 12753 (42% abortion rate)
  • daily average book reading: females: 33 minutes, male: 16 minutes
  • favorite cars 2007: Audi A4, VW Golf
  • way to work: 67% car, 18% walk or cycle, 13% public transport
  • rent or buy: 40,9% buy (117,7mΒ² average size), 57,4% rent (70,6 mΒ² average size)

Quite some interesting figures, though some of them don’t mean much without comparison with other numbers. But in general I feel we are quite a bunch of happy people. And yeah, we do have prejudices as well and I don’t blame anyone (makes the world a bit easier at the beginning), especially as there are some quite good beyond them like our reputation for good engineering. So, in a more and more global world these differences between cultures and nations will become smaller but never completely evaporate. Good as long as this does not lead to isolation amongst others. And there good immigration politics are required. Such as in typical immigration countries like Australia. And better as in ‘old’ nations like France or Germany, still struggling to fix their immigration politics from former decades.

Well, I hope I can find some more information and probably create a series of ‘Typical xxx’. This might help understanding what makes people tick.

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6 Responses

  1. […] Hans Rippel wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptInspired – once again – by an article on Spiegel.de titled ‘Wie typisch deutsch sind Sie?’ (engl.: ‘How typical german are you?‘ ) I started thinking about it again and here some of my thoughts (sarcasm and irony may appear, but must not necessarily). There is a difference between how Germans see themselves and the perspective from the outside world. So I started looking for some evidence and found two examples, one apparently of a German living home and another with at least experience abroad. An insight and and an external view. I’d also would like to call it an older and a current view (more my generation). Answering a question on Yahoo! Clever about what makes a typical German, the chosen answer is pretty much whining about being unloved in the world, only accepted when there is money with us and not being able to be proud of Germany […] […]

  2. Good article ! Just one thing: It’s called “hospitality” not “hostility” πŸ˜‰
    Never mind if it was meant as irony

  3. Great! As an Englishman,I am anti-EU, but ProGerman!! I find alot of similarities between the British & Germans:Football,Beer & the Weather being the obvious! I know there is a love-hate relationship between us,but I think we are very close in out personalities!

    • I’m a German and I like the GB ^~^
      For me, it doesn’t matter if I were Indian, Turk, Russian, France or whatever instead of being German, but that doesn’t means that I’m not proud or ashamed of my country. Of course, there were many sh*t happened in the history, like Hit*er or the national socialism (I’m not sure if I wrote it right *^^*), but the most German NOWADAYS are tolerant and NO nazis (I’ve heard about such rumours). Well, it’s right that there are some nazis also nowadays here in Germany, but I think that there are also some in other countries! And I don’t think that they will ever reign this state once again, because the most German are not proud of our history and we learnt an important thing: that the reign of Hit*er was the wrongest and worst thing ever happened in Germany. The NPD (nationalsozialistische Partei Deutschlands – national socialistic party Germany) became an illegal party and before it was they had just a few, pretty less voters and were spied out of the reign.
      All in all I have no fear to say that I’m German, because I know that the most people in this world recognized that Germany changed, but you’ll be watched very sceptic if you say something wrong, just like “Berlin lies in the east of Germany” or “we live somewhere in the west of Germany” … but if you hard think about what to say next, you won’t become stress ^~^
      Oh, I just wanted to write less, but now it became such a long text β€’.β€’; πŸ˜›

  4. Well, Australia was made an immigrant country without asking the “first nations” there. Also, in North America the original population has been erased by the newcomers. So let’s hope this does not happen to European Nations! πŸ˜‰

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