Despite the fact that Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world, it tends to be known by non-Europeans for its sound economy and reliability as a place to do business rather than an interesting country in its own right. Of course, picking out 10 facts about Germany is always controversial as it is bound to leave out more than it includes! So, apologies to anyone who thinks that they know more interesting things about Germany than the limited snippets included here, but there is limited space in this article. What is needed is an ‘encyclopaedia of interesting facts about Germany’ instead!
Interesting fact no 1
As far as we know the very first book to be printed was the Bible in Latin, printed in 1455 by Johannes Gutenberg. This was more about a revolution in printing than it was about spreading the word about the Bible.
Interesting fact no 2
German soccer fans were understandably disappointed about the performance of their national team in Russia during the Soccer World Cup recently, but they can take solace in the fact that their team is the second most prolific after Brazil in the number of times it has won the ‘beautiful game’s’ most coveted trophy. Germany has won the World Cup four times already, as carrying off the European Championship three times as well.
Interesting fact no 3
Does Germany like being second? Probably not, but when it comes to guzzling down beer, it probably prefers to be further down the list. Germans drink more of the amber liquid than any other nationality with the exception of the Czechs! The Belgians are close runners-up!
Interesting fact no 4
Germany may not be the second most densely populated country in the world, but it can’t be far off! It is not a particularly small country on European standards, but it manages to fit in over 80 million people.
Interesting fact no 5
A related interesting fact about Germany is that a third of it is covered in trees. Over 30% of Germany is covered in forest, so that means that its 80 million people are squeezed in between the trees!
Interesting fact no 6
Emphasising the fact that you really do need to know something about another language before pretending you do is the famous quote from former American President John F. Kennedy, who claimed that he was a ‘jam doughnut’ on a visit to Germany in the Cold War era, before he got shot (not by a German). He actually said that he was a ‘Berliner’ in German, but a Berliner is also a nickname for a jam doughnut!
Interesting fact no 7
The German language is well known for its compound nouns which are often very long, at least from a non-German’s point of view. The longest of these compound words is 80 letters long, but thankfully is hardly ever used as it refers to an obscure riverboat association.
Interesting fact no 8
Germany’s capital, Berlin is about the same size in population as Paris but takes up 8 times as much land area. You might think that it was full of trees, but it seems that it is just rather spread out compared to its French counterpart.
Interesting fact no 9
Another interesting fact about Germany related to Berlin is that the Germans can’t make up their mind where they should have a capital. This is all because of Germany’s history, of course, but in fact, it has changed its capital 7 times already. The shift back to Berlin became logical after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the country in 1989.
Interesting fact no 10
To make up for their propensity for beer drinking and kicking a ball around, Germans are also known as a nation of poets, writers, and philosophers. German writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature no less than 13 times!