Most people probably associate Germany mainly with blonde people, sausages and beer; and maybe some think of Oktoberfest as well. But there are plenty of things about Germany you would never suspect and which make it one of the most interesting countries to learn about (or travel to). Here are the top 15 cool facts about Germany: most are not very well-known but super-impressive all the more.
1. Beer is officially considered a food (in Bavaria)
Everyone already knew that there are a lot of types of beer in Germany, but few would guess it’s officially considered a food. In fact, there have been historical recordings of medieval monks in Germany who fasted with no food for days, only by drinking beer (about 5 liters a day, which amounted to about 2000 calories, precisely the recommended intake for an adult). Still, the alcohol contents of such a ‘diet’ is pretty high, so we don’t recommend it to anyone.
2. Over 300 kinds of bread
Beer isn’t the only thing the Germans do well and in many ways. Although you wouldn’t normally think about German specialties when it comes to bread, one of the cool facts about Germany is its wide variety of breads. Try to sample a few when you have the chance.
3. And also bread museums
As if the wide variety of breads wasn’t enough to establish bread as a cultural landmark in German history, the country can also boast with bread museums.
4. Over 150 castles
Germany seems to be the ideal place for medieval reenactment festivals (and there are indeed plenty of those): with over 150 castles, there’s surely enough ground for them.
5. The most densely populated country
Although there are no slums and ghettos to speak of, Germany is the most densely populated (but not overcrowded) country.
6. But also with one third total surface still covered in forests
Still, in spite of almost every bare area being populated, one third of Germany’s surface is still covered in forests. They sure managed to take care of their wild areas well and prevent excessive deforestation.
7. 1 Liter-sized beer glasses (the Mass!)
When attending Oktoberfest, you can expect the standard beer serving size to be not 0.5 liters, but 1 whole liter! A list of the top cool facts about Germany couldn’t be complete without this gem.
8. The Christmas Tree tradition comes from Germany
The Tanenbaum (or Christmas tree) has been a Christmas tradition in Germany long before it spread to the rest of the world.
9. They also invented Fanta
During WWII, when they couldn’t import Coca-Cola anymore, they had to come up with an alternative, and hence Fanta was invented.
10. Holocaust denial is officially a crime
Since this is the place where it all began, they take Holocaust denial very seriously and punish offenders who claim that the crime didn’t take place.
11. The first printed book was created in Germany
Johannes Gutenberg is the worker credited with inventing the printing press, and the first such machines started to function in Nuremberg (southern Germany). This happened in approximately 1436, and the fast multiplication of written works has sparked a social revolution: the immediate effect was that literacy increased dramatically among people. For all the good which derived from what is known as The Printing Revolution, we have a German metalworker to thank. The first thing ever printed was a German poem.
12. The world’s tallest cathedral
Many of you may be familiar with the cathedral in Koln, but the one in Ulm (Einstein’s city) is taller by a few meters. Thus, the Ulm cathedral is the tallest cathedral in the world, measuring 162 meters.
13. The most zoos in the world
Over 400 zoos can be found in Germany, and they are also notable for the kind treatment of animals and the positive impression they leave on their visitors. One of the major tourist attractions in cities both large and small, zoos are definitely a long and esteemed tradition in Germany.
14. No speed limits on the highways
This is perhaps one of the most exhilarating detail on the list of cool facts about Germany: over 65% of the total surface of German highways (Autobahns) has no speed limits whatsoever. It may sound like a dangerous thrill, but the highways in question are actually very safe, and have plenty of lanes. If you ever want to find out just how fast your car can go, do visit Germany with it!
15. The country’s leader has a Barbie doll made after her.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has had a Barbie doll made after her. For real!