One-third of Germany is still covered in forests and woodlands.
You might think that Sunday is the perfect day of the week to check some things off your to-do list - mow the lawn, vacuum the carpets or put a new shelf on the wall. But put the hammer and drill away. In Germany, Sunday is "Ruhetag," or "quiet day." Shops will be closed everywhere and neighbours will complain if your noise disturbs their resting day.
University is free for everyone (even non-Germans).
FKK, the free body culture, is said to have originated in Germany - for a reason. Many Germans love to strip off their clothes on an FKK beach and stroll around the way Adam and Eve once did. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like or who you’re with - at designated FKK spots and in the sauna (mixed or not) - you better get naked or you’ll be considered the weird prudish foreigner.
Berlin has the largest train station in Europe.
Germany is an international leader in developing renewable energy, with its carbon dioxide emissions a fraction of the United States and China. Renewable energy overtook coal in 2018 as the country's leading source of power.
Saying "happy birthday" to a German before the actual date can lead to angry stares and even outrage. Why? For most Germans a premature birthday wish is bad luck. They simply can’t understand why anyone would celebrate their birthday too soon. They celebrate "into" a person’s birthday at midnight - but not before.
Germany is composed of sixteen states. The states have their own constitution and are largely autonomous in regard to their internal organization. At the municipal level, Germany is divided into 403 districts (Kreise), of which 301 are rural districts and 102 urban districts. Bavaria is the largest state.
Germany's international reputation for technological expertise is well-earned. Notable inventions coming from Germany include vehicle automobiles, air bags, the printing press with movable type, the MP3 format and X-ray technology.
For many flat-hunting foreigners it comes as a shock that in Germany a kitchen is not a compulsory item in the apartment. When Germans move they take their entire kitchen with them, leaving only the pipes for the water connection behind. Oven, fridge, countertops, cupboards, and sometimes even the sink; everything will move into the new place.
Germany shares borders with nine other countries. Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
In the 2019 Best Countries global survey of more than 20,000 people, more people said they prefer automobiles made in Germany than from any other country.
Grocery shopping in Germany can be like the Indianapolis 500. Things go fast in the checkout line. The cashier scans items with blazing speed and there isn’t much space for the groceries. Shoppers can struggle to bag items while they continue to pile up, threatening to fall to the floor. And don’t turn around, there’s a line of waiting customers giving you the evil eye if you’re not fast enough.
Germany is one of the world’s largest car producers. Selling 5.9 million cars in 2011. VW’s Golf is one of the best selling cars of all time: in 2012 it year it sold more than 430,000 Golfs around Europe (125,000 ahead of its nearest rival). In 2013, the top-selling car brands in Germany were Volkswagen, Mercedes. Audi and BMW.
The Berlin Zoological Garden is the country's oldest zoo, opening in 1844, and claims to have more species of animals – more than 1,300 – than any zoo in the world.
If you order "water" in a German restaurant, you’ll likely get sparkling water. Germans love their sparkling water and mix it with everything - apple juice, beer, wine, the options are endless. Every beverage mixed with fizzy water becomes a "Schorle" ("spritzer"). A German would never give tap water to a guest; that’d simply be considered rude. Water has to bubble or at least needs to be bottled.
The first printed book was in German.
Both the legend of the Easter Bunny and gummy bear candies originated in Germany. The pagan egg-laying rabbit and the Christian Easter celebration merged sometime in the 17th century, while the gelatinous gummy bear candy dates to the 1920s.
The first magazine ever seen was launched in 1663 in Germany.
Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight saving time – DST, also known as summer time. This occurred in 1916, in the midst of WWI.
German is the most widely taught third language across the world.
Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein have German as the official language.
Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft is the longest word to be published. It is 79 letters long.
There are thirty-five dialects of the German language.
In Germany there’s no punishment for a prisoner who tries to escape from jail, because it is a basic human instinct to be free.
The Chancellor’s office in Berlin is known locally as the “washing machine”.
Most taxis in Germany are Mercedes.
The Christmas tree (Tannenbaum) tradition came from Germany.
There are more football (soccer for the North Americans) fan clubs in Germany than anywhere else in the world.
Our favourite one: The biggest Beer Festival in the world is of course the Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria, where the size of the beer glass is not 500ml but a whole litre!