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What is Germany Famous For? 31 German Claims to Fame

Germany is one of the world’s most impressive countries. It is a country that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Plus it is a world leader in economics, automotive technology, engineering, and many other fields. Then you add in its food, all things Christmas, football and it turns out that Germany has provided the world with quite a lot.

Here are 31 German Claims to Fame.

What is Germany Famous For? 31 Things

1. Christmas Markets

Germany is the home of many of the different ways that we celebrate Christmas in the Western World (more to come in this article) and one of the key things it is most famous for is Christmas markets. Christmas markets are held in many towns across Germany and have a mix of stalls selling Christmas decorations and other items, music, mulled wine and a generally merry feel.

Some of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany are Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Wurttemberg.

what is germany famous for Christmas markets

2. The Berlin Wall

Overnight on August 12, 1961 the East Germany Army began sealing off the streets and railway lines providing access to West Berlin. A wall was then erected along the sector border. The 167 kilometre wall encircled West Berlin until 1989.

The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. Germans from both the East and the West crossed the wall and then took hammers to it in an event which was watched all over the world.

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall didn’t fall cleanly, chunks were left. Local artists began using these to make street art in what has now become known as The East Side Gallery. In 1990, more than 100 artists from over 20 countries decorated what was the last stretch of the Berlin Wall. One of the best ways to see the Berlin Wall today is to hire a bike and ride the Berlin Wall Cycle Route.

3. Bread

There are over 300 different types of German bread. Germany is perhaps best known for its dark breads like Pumpernickel made from rye grains. There are also 1200 types of rolls and mini rolls. Bread is served at pretty much every meal occasion in Germany from breakfast to dinner.

Pretzels are a well known chewier pastry in Germany with a salty crust.

4. Neuschwanstein Castle

If you’re into fairy tales, then you certainly won’t want to leave Germany without a trip to see the picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle exterior against forest
Neuschwanstein Castle

The 19th-century castle sits nestled on a hill just outside the enchanting town of Füssen, in Bavaria. It’s situated between the Ammergau and Allgäu Alps, near a beautiful alpine resort, especially popular for its water sports.

King Ludwig II commissioned the palace as a tribute to German composer Richard Wagner. The final result was incredibly opulent. In fact, it was used as the basis for Walt Disney’s famed castle at Disney World.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter
Neuschwanstein Castle

It’s one of the most famous castles to visit, with various tour options offered. These include trips to see the sumptuous interiors and incredible art collections found in the Hall of the Singers and the Throne Room.

5. The Black Forest

The Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, is located in the south-west of Germany. It got its name from the impressive canopy hanging over the mountain range in Baden-Württemberg. Here you’ll find cuckoo clocks, ruined castles, and black forest cake, and yes, it’s as enchanting as it sounds.

Black Forest House Germany
Black Forest House

With more than 160 km of the wooded forest to explore, extending from Pforzheim in the north to the High Rhine in the south, it’s a hiker’s paradise. It’s one of the most stunning natural landmarks to visit in Germany, with an abundance of towering waterfalls, thermal hot springs, and glacier lakes.

Black Forest Rooftops Germany
Black Forest Rooftops

Popular places to include on your must-see list while you’re here is the Black Forest Railway in Triberg, Triberg itself, the Baden-Baden Spa, and the stunning ski area at Todtnau. So, grab a map and take a tour of this panoramic region.

6. Cars

Germany makes some of the most well-known and highest quality cars in the world. Audi, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, BMW, and Volkswagen are some of the biggest car brands in the world and popular both in Germany and abroad. Germany has an enviable reputation when it comes to the manufacture of automobiles. Saying German Car is synonymous with quality, reliability and safety.

mercedes benz museum germany
mercedes benz museum

7. Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist and one of the world’s best known musicians. In addition to his general brilliance some of his best works were completed after he had become almost completely deaf.

8. Beer

Germany is known for producing some of the best beer in the world and this beverage is a critical part of German culture. Germany is the third-biggest beer-drinking country in the world after the Czech Republic and Austria and is known for brands like Becks and Stein.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 different beers in Germany. And “Reinheitsgebot” lays out what ingredients are allowed to be used in a German beer.

Munich Germany
Munich Germany

9. Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine or Gluhwein originated in the 2nd century. The Romans created this warm wine to heat their bodies in the cold winters. They spread their love of gluhwein across Europe and the Germans, in particular, embraced the new trend. Mulled wine is mostly made with alcohol (red wine) and different varieties of spices and herbs. It is most popular around Christmas time and commonly drunk at Christmas markets.

10. Albert Einstein

The man whose name that is synonymous with intelligence was born in Germany. The theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity was born in Ulm, Germany.

11. The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic German landmark in Berlin and one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Located in the Mitte district, it’s a neoclassical monument that was commissioned by the Prussian king, Fredrick William II, in the 18th-century.

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin at night. Germany.

The grand monument was constructed as the city gate and modelled in the style of the Acropolis in Athens. The colossal structure measures an impressive 26 meters in height and is one of Berlin’s most iconic designs that were once part of the infamous Berlin Wall.

One of the prime features of this beautiful sandstone building is a sculpture of the Goddess of Victory, The Quadriga, which is perched at the top of the gate. Enormous Doric columns are at either side of the entrance and were once used by guards and toll-collectors.

If you’re keen on sightseeing and discovering more famous landmarks in Berlin, join a tour to see almost 50 sights around the city.

12. Trains

The main railway network in Germany is called Deutsche Bahn. It covers more than 41,000 kilometres which means you can travel virtually all of Germany by train. And unsurprisingly those trains are almost always on time.

13. Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born in Germany. He is best known as the father of Protestant Christianity. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther is said to have nailed a list of 95 things he disagreed with about the Catholic Church. There are still roughly the same number of Protestants as Catholic churches in Germany today.

14. Gingerbread Houses

The Grimm brother’s fairytale Hansel and Gretel increased awareness of gingerbread houses. The story was published in 1812 and an opera with the same title launched soon after and was performed just before Christmas. It became a tradition in Germany for German Opera houses to build miniature gingerbread houses at Christmas time. This practice was then adopted by bakeries and then by people in their own homes.

German gingerbread house at christmas

15. Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is one of the world’s most well-known festivals and probably the most famous beer event in the world. Despite its name, Oktoberfest takes place in late September. The festival is held in Munich and lasts 16 to 18 days and tends to receive over six million visitors. Many visitors to Oktoberfest choose to dress in traditional Bavarian clothing like dirndls.

16. The Autobahn

Who wants to drive as fast as they can? Germany has wide roads that stretch for miles. The Autobahn is the German highway system and it covers over 8,000 miles. The autobahn began construction in the 1930s and it was the first high-speed, limited access road in the world. Today, there are parts of the autobahn that don’t have speed limits but there are also many sections which do have speed limits in place and of course fines for breaking those limits.

17. Sausages

Sausages or wurst are a big part of German food and they are one of the biggest producers and consumers of this meat. Whether it is Blutwurst, Weisswurst or Frankfurters there are over 1500 different types of sausages in Germany. Sausages in Germany tend to be served in one of three ways: boiled, raw or smoked, or scalded.

german sausages

Thuringian bratwursts have their own law and must be at least six inches long if they want to use that title. Sausages are most commonly served with mayonnaise or tomato ketchup in Germany.

18. Christmas Trees

In the 16th century Christians in Germany began bringing trees into their homes ath Christmas time and decorating them. It is said that Martin Luther added the first lit candles to a tree.

19. The Easter Bunny

The first mention of the Easter Bunny was in books in Germany in the 15th century. Germany also produced the first edible Easter Bunny. It was made of pastry and sugar and was produced in the early 1800s. At this time children began to make small nests of grass so that the Easter Bunny could fill them with brightly colored eggs during the night.

Romer Frankfurt Germany
Romer

20. Knackarschwiese

You may not know this particular word but you may well have heard that Germans are very comfortable with their bodies and quite enjoy being nude. Knackarschwiese is a one-hour-long naked dance that happens at the beginning of summer each year.

Germany’s free body culture is known as freikorperkultur. This concept is about nudism and a non-sexual way of communing and connecting with nature.

21. Football

Germany has been football world champion four times and this is the country’s national Sport. Germans are very passionate about their football and the country has many big stadiums and large football clubs. Bayern Munich is the most successful of the clubs.

The first league of German football is called Bundesliga. And by law, a German football club cannot sell more than 49% of itself to investors.

Eltz Castle Germany
Eltz Castle

⇒ There is something special about seeing a famous landmark in person – and Europe has a lot of landmarks – see how many you have visited – 60 Most Famous Landmarks in Europe, Famous Greek Landmarks, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, 37 Landmarks of Portugal, 30 Famous Landmarks in France, Spain Famous Landmarks, 25 Famous Paris Monuments, 23 Beautiful Barcelona Landmarks, 40 Impressive English Landmarks, 38 Famous Landmarks in Italy and top Landmarks of London.

22. East and West Germany

After World War 2, Germany was divided into two parts. East Germany became the German Democratic Republic and was part of the Soviet empire and the west was known as the Federal Republic of Germany. When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989 Germany became reunified. There are many fascinating museums and tourist experiences to be had around understanding this split as well as the effects of reunification, particularly in Berlin.

23. Daylight Saving Time

Germany was the first country in the world to take up Daylight Savings Time. This happened during the first World War when Germany realised that putting the clocks forward could save them energy and water. The rest of Europe, the US and Britain later did the same. However, Asia, Africa and most of South and Central America don’t bother with daylight savings time.

cologne cathedral germany
cologne cathedral

Would you get naked at a spa? Check out my posts on Naked or Clothed – Baden Baden Spa Guide, the best Baden Baden Tour options, What is Germany Famous For? 31 German Claims to Fame, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 9 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany and One Day in Hamburg – all in Germany.

24. Being on Time

When visiting Germany make sure that you are on time as the German’s will be. If a train is meant to go at a certain time that is exactly when it will go and this holds true for most things in Germany society.

25. Adidas and Puma

These two iconic sporting goods brands were both started in Germany. Adidas was started from Adolf and Rudolph Dassler’s mother’s home in 1949. The three stripes logo was purchased by the brothers fro a Finnish company. These paid the equivalent of just over USD$1,900 and two bottles of whiskey for them.

Puma was formed by Rudolph Dassler after a dispute with his brother.

cochem castle germany
Cochem castle

26. Modern German History

Germany’s major roles in World Wars 1 and 2 are major components of the world’s modern history. Germany is known for its culture of taking responsibility for its part in those wars, particularly in regards to the treatment of Jewish people in World War 2.

There are now monuments and museums covering all elements of the Nazi regime all over Germany down to the small “stumbling stones” plaques. Holocaust denial is punishable by law in both Germany and Austria.

27. An island of Museums

Located in Berlin, Museumsinsel or the Island of Museums consists of 5 museums which are housed in an 18th-century building. These museums feature some of the oldest and most impressive artworks from ancient Egypt, Berlin, and Byzantine times.

museum island berlin
museum island berlin

28. Palaces and Castles

In addition to Neuschwanstein Castle, there are believed to be approximately 25,000 castles in Germany. Many were built in the Middle Ages by European nobility. This also includes palaces. Palaces were designed with a focus on decoration whereas Castles were built for defense – but both can be quite magnificient. Some of the most famous are Sanssouci Palace, Schwerin Palace and Cochem Castle.

sanssouci palace in germany
sanssouci palace

29. Free Education

All education in Germany is free. That includes secondary education and universities. And it applies even to international students!

30. A Miniature Wonderland

The second most popular paid tourist attraction in Germany after Neuschwanstein Castle is Miniatur Wonderland, the largest model railway in the world. This model railway was started only in 2004 in Hamburg and today it has more than 15 kilometres of train tracks, 389,000 lights, 263,000 figures and receives over 18 million visitors a year.

germany_hamburg_miniatur-wunderland-hamburg
Miniatur Wonderland

I have been and may I say I loved Miniatur Wonderland – something I never would have expected to say. It is absolutely fascinating.

31. The Beatles

I bet you thought the Beatles were from Liverpool. Well, you are correct. However, The Beatles may not have become the Beatles without Hamburg in Germany. Between August 1960 and December 1962 The Beatles played over 250 nights in Hamburg sometimes for up to 5 hours. It is often said that this is when The Beatles really honed their skills – and without this time could they have gone on to become the world’s most famous band?

germany_hamburg_beatlesplatz
Beatlesplatz in the Reeperbahn District of Hamburg

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this What is Germany Famous For post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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