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A few interesting facts you might not know about Germans

There are clichés about every nation, and many of these contain at least a grain of truth. Here are some of those clichés about Germans, or some of those grains. As you like it.

Germans usually say what they think. This can be really great at times, and really insulting at other times. Not all Germans take criticism as well as they hand it out, though.

Germans are not naturally polite. Stop to let a car pass on a road, and if you by law were required to do this anyway, mostly the driver will not thank you. It is taken for granted. Likewise, only if someone was very clearly interfering with somebody else, is ‘sorry’ seen as a necessary word. Simply pushing past to join the front of the queue is not enough of a reason.

Germans tend to stare. Figure someone dropping something, or a person slipping on the pavement, or an accident on a road. Most Germans would simply stare patiently or drive past slowly, while a few would actually help.

Germans in fact do have a sense of humour. It varies in different parts of the country, but by laughing about somebody looking silly you can seldom go wrong. Self-humouring on the other hand is less appreciated.

Germans are often afraid of missing out. Although Germany is probably one of the countries with the highest standard of living worldwide, Germans are often enviously discontent with their status quo and forever strive to change this.

Germans like to follow authority. Call it fear, cowardice or opportunism, but many Germans like to conform and obey the system, and only dare to mumble quiet criticism of those above them. Thus any kind of opposition needs a large critical mass, but once this is reached, it can drive a dangerous dynamic.

Germans enjoy to clap rhythmically to music. Play a song to a German audience, anything a bit upbeat, and you will mostly get a predictable and sometimes misplaced response of everyone joining in with their hands. Those not participating are using their hands to hide their faces.

Germans want to show how well they are doing. Probably no nation spends more of its income on riding luxurious cars. While the quality of workmanship is praised, the fact that these are faster, look intimidating and seem to have an inbuilt right to drive close to the person in front may help.

Germans are everywhere. Go to the most northern tip of Scandinavia or to the most remote Asian island, and you are always bound to meet at least one nature-loving German called Stefan, Peter, Julia or Katrin.

Defining a German is becoming increasingly difficult. With a growing number of descendants of foreign workers and ex-Eastern-block immigrants living in Germany, it is quickly becoming futile to define Germans by anything else than their language, common culture and place of birth. The only problem is that the shared culture is not representative of any origin, but instead tends towards the lowest common denominator.

Germans cannot talk about the past or present without emotional polarisation. As not so many decades ago some really bad things happened in Germany, most Germans are not able to talk objectively about bad things happening today. They either feel guilty or are fed-up with feeling guilty. That is a shame, as many are actually quite well educated.

Germans appreciate to do things thoroughly. That can be good or bad, depending on what it is about.

Germans are being cheated by neoliberalism the same as people elsewhere. And just like people elsewhere, Germans are usually too brainwashed by media to notice it.

Germans enjoy to criticize their own. ‘Typically German’ is a phrase often used by Germans, about Germans. It usually entails one of the points mentioned above, but implies that the person making the statement is excluded due to his or her insight.

Germans are mostly just like people anywhere in the world. At the end of the day, they want to eat, drink, sleep, multiply and be happy.

Note the larger seagulls sitting closer to the water. It's called Darwinism.

Note the larger seagulls sitting closer to the water. It’s called Darwinism.