Germany Culture

German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation state. Due to its rich cultural history, Germany is often known as das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers).

Germany, over the centuries, has produced a great number of polymaths, geniuses and notable people, such as Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Kepler, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Marx, Richard Wagner, Martin Luther, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Benz, Georg Ohm, Rudolf Diesel, Gottfried Leibniz, Johannes Gutenberg, Richard Strauss, and Bertolt Brecht among others.


German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages, with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch, as is the Thidrekssaga. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century became famous throughout the world.


Albert Einstein in 1921

Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first computer. German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Zeppelin, Daimler, Diesel, Otto, Wankel, Von Braun and Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology including the beginnings of space travel.



In the field of music, Germany claims some of the most renowned classical composers of the world including Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, who marked the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. Other composers of the Austro-German tradition who achieved international fame include Brahms, Wagner, Haydn, Schubert, Händel, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Johann Strauss II, Bruckner, Mahler, Telemann, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Orff, and most recently, Henze, Lachenmann, and Stockhausen.


German cinema dates back to the very early years of the medium with the work of Max Skladanowsky. It was particularly influential during the years of the Weimar Republic with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. The Nazi era produced mostly propaganda films although the work of Leni Riefenstahl still introduced new aesthetics in film. From the 1960s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder placed West-German cinema back onto the international stage with their often provocative films, while the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft controlled film production in the GDR. More recently, films such as Das Boot (1981), The Never Ending Story (1984) Run Lola Run (1998), Das Experiment (2001), Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004) and Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) have enjoyed international success. In 2007 the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to F.H. von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others. The Berlin Film Festival, held yearly since 1951, is one of the world's foremost film and cinemas festivals.


Berliner (pastry)

The "home cuisine" differs very much from the "restaurant cuisine". More traditional dishes can be found in restaurants. Cuisine differs also greatly according to regions (in the north people eat fish, in the Rhine region beer is replaced with wine, in Bavaria roasted pork is consumed) and season (in spring people eat white asparagus with ham and sauce hollandaise, in fall people eat green cabbage with a special kind of sausage and mustard and in winter/for Christmas people eat duck or goose with red cabbage, dumplings and brown gravy).


Opened in 2005: the Allianz Arena, one of the world's most modern football stadiums.

Sport forms an integral part of German life, as demonstrated by the fact that 27 million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually. Football is by far the most popular sport, and the German Football Federation (Deutscher Fußballbund) with more than 6.3 million members is the largest athletic organisation in the country. It also attracts the greatest audience, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending Bundesliga matches and millions more watching on television. The other two most popular sports in Germany are marksmanship and tennis represented by the German Marksmen’s Federation and the German Tennis Federation respectively, both including more than a million members. Other popular sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey. Germany has historically been one of the strongest contenders in the Olympic Games. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Germany finished fifth overall, whereas in the 2006 Winter Olympics Germany finished first.

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