What should I know about the local culture?

What should I know about the local culture?

The culture of Germany is largely defined by the cultures of the constituent states of which it is formed, as well as the other prevalent cultures within Europe.

Germany has its origins in the various Germanic tribes that populated the region during the classical era. By the 10th century, most of Germany had become part of the Holy Roman Empire, until its dissolution in the 19th century. Germany as we know it today first came into existence in 1871 when the German states, under the leadership of Prussia, unified into a single country.

Germany has also played a major part in the development of Christianity throughout the Western world, with the protestant reformation initiated by Martin Luther having its origins in the northern German regions.

The majority religion in Germany is Christianity, with about two thirds of the population adhering to Protestantism and one third to Roman Catholicism. As mentioned, Germany is the home and centre of the protestant reformation, a major schism from the Catholic Church, and ever since Protestantism has been by far the most popular religion in the country.

Germany has been home to some of the most popular and influential writers, artists, musicians and philosophers in the history of Western civilisation, including Rubens, Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Goethe, Kant, Nietzsche, and the Brothers Grimm, to name but a few.

Responsible travellers will rarely litter, but in Germany, it is particularly frowned upon. They have green genes compared with many of us and recycling is the norm. Note that for plastic and glass drinking bottles as well as drink cans, you can claim money back when you return them to supermarkets, which is what everyone does. Think of it as claiming back a deposit, known as a Pfand, and most bottles have the Pfand marked on them. In supermarkets, there are machines that read the Pfand value, you deposit the bottles, and collect a ticket that enables to collect the refund.

In Germany, you might be confronted with a much more tolerant, open attitude to public nudity than might be the case in your home country. Saunas, a minority of swimming pools and even some public parks on sunny days are considered to be "textile free," at least at particular times. Getting together completely naked in a sauna, however, has no sexual dimension to it whatsoever. But if you feel you would be uncomfortable, it may be a good idea to ask first before you join a trip to the pool. And if do join it, don't stare at strangers, it's not considered polite. This attitude spills over to television, where the programs and even the commercials can feature more nudity than is the case in most countries.

By a wide margin, football is the number one most attended and practiced sport in Germany. It is so popular that it could be considered a national pastime. The German Football Association consists of more than 26,000 clubs and 178,000 teams. There are more football fan clubs in Germany than any other country. In addition, the German football league, the Bundesliga attracts international superstars and is followed by many people outside of Germany. The country’s national team is strong in international contests and has won four World cups.

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