As a British person wandering around Germany, you do notice some cultural differences – no queuing, no PG tips. But, in general, there isn’t a big culture shock. Most people speak English, and everyone is super friendly. Just be careful to look left when crossing the road and go lightly on the sarcasm. But of course, there are things Germany has that we don’t have in Britain. Be warned that this article uses numerous generalizations and stereotypes. But only the good kind. Honestly – it’s mostly beer and food related.
So – what does Germany have that we need in Britain?
True, we have quark in Britain. But it’s still pretty under the radar, mainly reserved for a particular niche of healthy, creative recipes. Still, it’s delicious and healthy. But in Germany, it’s cheap, available anywhere and loved by all. It’s essentially a soft cheese, dairy product, thick yogurt type thing. But apparently – it is NOT just cottage cheese. No, Quark is a very distinct entity that you might never fully understand.
Efficient train system
This stereotype is a bit overrated. Obviously, you still get late trains in Germany. But still – anything beats UK national rail. Plus you get double-decker trains, which are just weirdly exciting. Why – who knows? For no reason at all, you will say to yourself – yes, a double-decker. Win. We so need these in Britain.
‘Spargel’ – Asparagus
One thing we do have in Britain? Asparagus. One thing we don’t have in Britain? A deeply rooted, national love for asparagus. No, this is reserved only for Germans and their beloved spargel. Be sure to go to Germany during asparagus season and be repeatedly asked – do you like asparagus? -‘GREAT because it’s IN SEASON!’ Celebrations and spargel for all.
Germans love bakeries! And rightly so – these are no Greggs. Filled with numerous pastries, elaborate cakes, packed sandwiches and unbelievable varieties of bread rolls, they satisfy the bread-crazed population of Germany. Bakeries are everywhere – stations, streets, parks. Easy to find, reasonably priced and delicious, they are the perfect place for a getaway lunch.
In general, Germany is quite environmentally aware. One of the signs of this is their pretty great bottle recycling system. No carrying heavy crates of empties down to the not-so-local bottle bin for the Germans. Instead, it’s a habit to take them to the supermarket and put them through a fun machine – and get paid for the effort! You get a small money reward for recycling and then go on your way. Better still, it is encouraged to leave any empty bottles next to public bins outside. Some people make money from collecting and recycling them. This way – you get rid of your bottle, those who need to take the money, and we all save the world through recycling. Everybody wins.
Fireworks on NYE
In Britain, yes – everyone has a great time watching one firework go off and waiting five minutes for your dad to set up the next one. But in Germany, fireworks are taken a lot more seriously. New Year’s Eve is the only time fireworks are available in shops all year. And Germans make the most of it. Stocking up in advance, they then put on an impressive display, showing off their elaborate firework releasing abilities. It’s a lot of fun – after all, who doesn’t love fireworks. Germans do NYE very well, according to their stereotyped love for celebrations. And, of course, fireworks are only done after the random, traditional, annual watching of Dinner for One.
Sunday – Rest Day
Leaning away from European chilled-out-ness and following the footsteps of the American industrious dream, Britain, as a country, works a lot of long hours. One clear sign on this is the frantic busyness of any city center on a Sunday afternoon. But Germany knows how to relax. Rather than capitalizing the day of rest, shops close on a Sunday. Most people spend the day at home enjoying a well-deserved break – something most people truly do need in Britain.
Beer opening abilities
I don’t judge Britain’s beer– personally, I think the broad range of diverse, unique real ales beats any other national selection. But I do judge our dependency on bottle openers. Although the best between British and German beer might be a matter of choice, we are far inferior in our beer opening abilities. On a rock, a bench, another bottle – Germans can open a beer with anything. No doubt, in Britain we need to adopt this inherent national skill.
Random German Words
Britain loves talking around a subject as much as possible, without directly saying what is they want to say. Germans? Germans can condense whole ideas into a single word.
- Ohrwurm – when a song sticks in your head
- Fremdschämen – second-hand embarrassment
- Backpfeifengesicht – someone you want to slap in the face.
The language is very efficient.
A healthy beer drinking attitude
Britain and Germany share a national love for beer. And Germany holds a refreshing, generally healthy attitude towards alcohol. It’s very cheap in supermarkets, and obviously, German shops have a better range of German beer than just Becks. From wheat beer to pale beer, dark beer to pilsners to cask-ale type brews, the whole country is a beer drinking paradise to be explored. They also hold a great selection of mixed drinks – beer and lemonade, beer, and orange or beer and cola. Similar to Britain, just a little different. And, although a pint will always be the perfect beer measure, one thing Britain doesn’t have? One liter glasses. They are a stereotype of Munich Hofbräuhaus that in reality, no one uses. But still – when you have one, it is pretty fun.
‘Frühstück’ – Breakfast
Of course, we have breakfast in Britain. But soggy Weetabix and a half-forgotten cold cup of tea won’t quite cut it in Germany. Instead, they line the table with various meats, cheeses, spreads, fruits, some decent coffee, a bit of quark, and of course – favorite bread. Germans treat breakfast with respect, the most important meal of the day, with dedication and deliciousness.
It’s not a competition
So, in conclusion, yes – Germany is fab. And it has all these things that we need in Britain. But Britain is alright too. So a shout out to GB – and our queuing, tea drinking, Monty Python watching, rolling hills walking, overly polite, always apologizing, weather-beaten, functioning alcoholic population. God save us, and our gracious Queen.
Anything else that Germany has that we need in Britain? Leave a comment, let us know!