Typical German, what is this?
I moved from Germany to the USA 5 years ago. Often I am asked by Americans what life is like in Germany and what is typically German. I think this question is no longer so easy to answer.
Of course there are stereotypes from Americans about Germans. From my experience, what Americans know about Germany (or believe to know):
- Nazis and Hitler
- Beer and Oktoberfest
- Rasted sausages and pretzels
- Germans are hardworking but arrogant
- Christmas Pickle
Typical German is changing
If someone had asked me 30 years ago, what is typically German, I would have a different answer than today. For me, Döner is now as typical German as curry sausage.
Germany has changed. This is nothing new. Germany has always been influenced and changed by foreign influences. The Döner is a good example, but also the curry sausage, curry is indeed an Indian spice. Also what is typical German architecture, has often been affected by foreign influences, for example the Onion towers of German village churches. It is not only the food and architecture that is constantly changing. Currently, the German language is greatly influenced by English. This is nothing new, even in the Middle Ages, the French language had a great influence on German (for example, the words “Balkon” and “Adresse”).
What is for Germans in the USA typical German?
There are some things that you can read about in forums or Facebook groups, from German imigrants in the USA dependently. Often the same things are asked, where you can buy things it in the USA, or German standards, which are missing here or are better in the USA. I think these posts show a trend that is typically German for German immigrants:
- Bread (#1 in every forum)
- Kinder Überraschung (Head shaking about the ban in the USA)
- Beer garden
- Compliance with rules/but also require compliance with the rules
- Social network, good insurance coverage
- A lot of holidays and good protection for workers
When you miss German food, you can find German restaurants and delis in this directory.
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What do I tell Americans about Germany?
If you ask me here in the USA about my homeland and what I miss, I don’t even know where to start. Homesickness has plagued me sometimes. I tell you about cities like Munich, Nürnberg or Regensburg, among other things the old buildings, which still stand from the Roman period, as well as strolling in the pedestrian zone with street musicians and cafes, from the afternoon in a beer garden and the good food. Americans are often amazed when I tell them about the quiet Sundays and closed shops.