If you ask non-Germans about their picture of Germany they would probably say this:
Oom-pah music, beer tent, Dirndl and Lederhosn.
Unfortunately this is not representing Germany. All those things very well describe Bavaria. Some part of Bavaria. The southern part.
I hope during one month of introducing different cultural aspects of Germany you will get a different picture of this very diverse country. But up to now we are still quite in the beginning of the months – therefore some stereotypes are of course allowed.
So here we go:
All people in Germany are like Bavarians….. Tell that to a person from Hamburg and the chance to become friends will very fast go down to zero.
Germany has all the same traditions. North and South – East and West.There are some quite significant differences. Carnival is the biggest event in the Cologne area. Try to call a business partner on “Faschingsmontag” – the Monday of the festivities. I would assume the chances of reaching anybody are quite low. In most other parts of Germany people might dress up a bit, but honestly, it is not the biggest event in Hamburg.
Everyone in Germany speaks the same language. German ≠ German. I have a friend in Berlin who just loooooves when I role the “r” the way we do it in the northern part of Bavaria. Little side note – the rolling “r” is not even the same in north and south Bavaria. And some people in Aachen would not understand what a person from Saxony with a strong accent tells them.
Roasted pork with dumplings is Germany´s national dish. Ah, nope. The north eats a lot of fish dishes (logic, since they have the sea right in front of their doorstep.) The south eats a lot of roasted pork and dumplings. Berlin is known for its Currywurst while the cuisine in the southwest is very much influenced by the French kitchen (again they are quite close to France).
Fashion = Dirndl and Lederhosn. If you would like to out yourself as a tourist, wear a Dirndl in Hamburg. You better not wear a Dirndl or Lederhosn outside of southern Germany – around Carnival times it is ok though. And even in Bavaria – again north and south differs here as well – not everybody has a Dirndl in their wardrobe. Coming from north Bavaria I got my first Dirndl when I moved to south Bavaria – Munich. It might be different nowadays, but back in the days running around in Dirndl was a definite no-go and considered really conservative – even strange – when you were under 65. There is by the way some great and quite famous German designers out there that you probably already know. Karl Lagerfeld, Bogner, Guido Maria Kretschmer, Wolfgang Joop to just name a few…. and you probably don´t know them for their Dirndls.
German music = oompah music. Yes – also. But again – Bavaria – in beer tents – at the Octoberfest. And even with the oompah music there are hugh differences. If you are not particularly into oompah music – try this one. LaBrassBanda. They are really cool and almost made it to the Eurovision Song Contest for Germany … but that´s another story.
Eventhough you thought you understand German you have not understood what this song is all about? Don´t worry – even as a native Bavarian (to be very specific Frankonian – which means I speak a very different language myself) I could not fully translate this song to you.
There are many more stereotypes on Germany and we will touch upon some more in later posts.
What stereotypes do you have about Germany?