10 strange questions people are asking about Germany

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 13 Dec, 2017 Updated Wed 13 Dec 2017 17:17 CEST
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We try to answer some unusual and interesting questions that have brought people onto our website in recent months.

The Local Germany has been going for almost a decade now, so naturally we have written on just about every issue you can possibly imagine that relates to Deutschland.

With that in mind we delved into Google Analytics and picked out ten unusual questions that have led people to our site via a search engine over the past two months. We hope our attempts to answer them are informative.

1. Did Hitler drink Fanta?

Not as far as we know. But Fanta was invented in Nazi Germany. Legend that the drink was invented because Hitler wanted his troops to drink the finest oranges from his fascist ally Italy, are just that though - legend.

The truth is that Coca-Cola’s soft drink Coke was wildly popular in Germany in the 1930s, with 4.5 million crates being sold per year by the end on the decade. But embargoes placed on Germany during the war made it difficult to get the necessary ingredients to the country. So instead the company made a new drink out of scraps and leftovers from various industrial processes - and thus Fanta was born.

2. Is it better to live in England or Germany?

Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder. But we have two articles that might help you decide. We have compared the capitals of the two countries from everything from the quality of their pubs to their orchestras. In some ways London clearly beats Berlin, but we believe the Prussian city has the upper hand overall.

More recently we looked at how German food compares to British grub. While neither country is famed for its cuisine, we concluded that British food just snuck a victory.

3. What is the name of the goddess lying on the Brandenburg gate?

Photo: DPA.

While we would argue that lying is a slightly inaccurate word for a goddess driving a four-horse carriage, we can confirm that the goddess is Victoria, the Roman deity of victory.

But Victoria didn’t always stand tall above Germany’s most famous gate. Before the Napoleonic Wars the gate was known as Friedenstor (peace gate) and Eirene, the goddess of peace, took pride of place there. But after victory over Napoleon, the Prussian rulers wanted something more defiant.

4. Where is Erfurt in Germany?

We wouldn’t be surprised if this question was posed by someone from Erfurt itself, so unobtrusive is the city. But Erfurt is in fact rather important, since it is the state capital of Thuringia and lies more or less in the middle of the country.

With a population of 210,000 it is certainly on the small side for a state capital. Notably, Martin Luther studied law at the city’s university. It is most well known in recent history for a much darker event, a high school shooting in 2002 that had a big effect on gun laws.

5. Why should you date a German woman?

Earlier this year we interviewed a woman from Wiesbaden who acts as a matchmaker between German women and American soldiers. She told us that her American clients “like the women here, they're taller on average and seem a little more natural. A lot of American men say they love the idea of an international romance. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”

So, there you go.

6. How deep is the Rhine river?

Photo: DPA.

The depth of the Rhine varies depending on the amount of water in it and where exactly we are talking about.

It is actually rather complicated to calculate the depth of the Rhine as the water levels don’t test actual depth. What we can say is that the Rhine is deeper in Karlsruhe in the southwest of the country than it is in Cologne. While the water level is on average 516 cm as the Rhine flows past Karlsruhe, it has dropped to 321cm by the time it sweeps through the cathedral city.

7. Is social media a big thing in Germany?

Statistics released in 2015 by the OECD reveal very interesting facts about the internet habits of Germans. Along with the Swiss, highly educated Germans are the only Europeans less likely to use social media than their less privileged country folk. Well educated Germans are also overall the least likely of any Europeans of a similar educational level to use the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

“A mixture of protectionism and distaste for communication organized through the market economy makes the educated classes see the power of social media more as a threat than an opportunity," an expert told us at the time.

8. What war was the Holocaust in?

While this might seem like an obvious question to ask, people come on to our site from the entire world. In just the past month we had 173 readers in Mongolia, 26 in South Sudan and 139 in Bolivia - so it is hardly surprising that questions that seem obvious to us might be less so to some people who visit the site.

For the record, the Holocaust took place during the Second World War. Germany still remembers it in a variety of ways which we describe at length here.

9. Can you get a beer at a German Christmas market?

Surprising as it may seem, some German Christmas markets do indeed ban the sale of beer. Visitors to the Osnabrück Christmas market who want to quench their thirst with the golden brew will spend a long time hunting. For reasons of “upholding tradition" beer is banned there - and there are even public order officials who go around and check that the ban is upheld.

But this certainly isn’t the case at many Christmas markets. Last year Bild angrily reported that beer at the Christmas market in Stuttgart cost more than at Oktoberfest.

10. Are prostitutes in Germany tested?

Other than a brief interlude in the Nazi era, prostitution has always been legal in Germany. The women and men who work in the industry therefore have a lot of rights, including access to health insurance plans. They cannot be compelled to undergo health checks, but are encouraged to do so. Since July this year the men who use prostitution services are obliged by law to wear condoms.



The Local 2017/12/13 17:17

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