Category Archives: Kultur in Deutschland

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

Haupteingang Oktoberfest
Haupteingang Oktoberfest
Seit wann gibt es das Oktoberfest?

Seit 1810

Zu welchem Anlass wurde es zum ersten Mal gefeiert?

Zur Hochzeit von Kronprinz Ludwig von Bayern mit Prinzessin Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Woher hat die Theresienwiese ihren Namen?

Von der Braut Prinzessin Therese

1819

Die Stadt München legt fest, dass das Oktoberfest jedes Jahr gefeiert wird.

1835

Erster Trachtenumzug zur Silberhochzeit von Ludwig und Therese.

1850

Die „Bavaria“ wird eingeweiht.

1880

Buden und Zelte werden zum ersten Mal mit elektrischem Licht beleuchtet.

1881

Die erste Hendlbraterei wird eröffnet.

1887

Wirte und Schausteller fahren zur Eröffnung zum ersten Mal gemeinsam zur Festwiese.

1910

Größtes Bierzelt der Welt mit 12.000 Plätzen zum 100. Geburtstag des Oktoberfestes.

1950

Der Oberbürgermeister zapft zum ersten Mal das erste Fass Bier an.

1980

Bombenattentat von Rechtsextremen

1985

Besucherrekord: 7,1 Millionen Gäste

2005

Die „Ruhige Wies’n“: Erst ab 18 Uhr darf in den Zelten Partymusik gespielt werden.

2010

Bierrekord: 7 Millionen Liter

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

Abfall und Verpackungen

Abfall und Verpackungen

Der Gruene Punkt
Der Gruene Punkt

Vor ziemlich genau 25 Jahren wurde die deutsche Bevölkerung mit dem Grünen Punkt bekannt gemacht. Seine offizielle Einführung im Jahr 1990 wurde begleitet von dem Ausbau eines modernen Recycling-Konzepts und dem Erscheinen der uns nur allzu vertrauten bunten Mülleimersammlung vor unseren Häusern.

Die Erfolgsgeschichte der deutschen Recycling-Kultur hat allerdings eine durchaus dunkle Vorgeschichte, die jede moderne Nation nur zu gut kennt. Heute hat man Schwierigkeiten es sich vorzustellen, doch in den achtziger Jahren – vor dem großen Auftritt des Grünen Punktes – türmte sich förmlich der Müll in Deutschlands Deponien. Plastik war allgegenwärtig und trug einen wesentlichen Teil dazu bei. Zur gleichen Zeit war natürlich niemand sonderlich darüber erpicht, neue Deponien in seiner Umgebung den Betrieb aufnehmen zu sehen. So wurde dem damaligen Umweltminister Klaus Töpfer klar, dass strenge Maßnahmen notwendig waren, um das Problem so effizient wie möglich zu bekämpfen.

So kam es, dass den Produktherstellern vorgeschrieben wurde, dass sie von nun an selbst dafür zuständig seien, ihre Verpackungen nach Nutzung durch den Verbraucher zurückzunehmen und umweltschonend zu recyceln. Um die Hersteller allerdings nicht zu zwingen, selbst die Verwertung durchführen zu müssen, wurde die „Duales System Deutschland AG“ (DSD) gegründet. Mit einer großangelegten Kampagne wurden dann, nach und nach, die Bürger sowie die Produkthersteller umerzogen, das neu aufgelegte Konzept der Mülltrennung eingeführt, und der Müll begann zu zirkulieren. Deutschland hat inzwischen eine Recyclingrate von 62% erreicht (USA 34%).

Muelltonnen vor den Haeusern
Muelltonnen vor den Haeusern

Dieser Erfolg führte dazu, dass der Grüne Punkt, die bunten Mülltonnen und das getrennte Sammelsystem, für das sie stehen, heutzutage zu einem erfolgreichen Exportgut floriert sind, und das grün-weiße, Ying und Yang-ähnliche Siegel in ganz Europa auf Verpackungen zu finden ist. Das war ein kleiner Einblick in eine deutsche Erfolgsgeschichte, die nicht nur den Alltag der Deutschen nachhaltig geprägt hat, sondern den von ganz Europa.

The White Asparagus Season in Germany

For Germans the Spargelzeit, or the white asparagus season, is an eagerly anticipated sign of spring. Depending on the weather, the season for asparagus begins some time in April and lasts until St. John the Baptist’s feast day June 24, and during this time the country is gripped by ‘Asparagus Fever’.

Everything comes with asparagus in the restaurants, the farmer’s markets offer abundance of asparagus (most of which is white, not green as we are used to in USA) – small and large, and any other supporting products that are used in the making of the asparagus dishes, like the Hollandaise sauce. The Hollandaise sauce is the main and most popular sauce used to serve the white asparagus with, and, to tell you the truth, it goes very well with it. It can be bought in a box or made at home from scratch.

The Germans consider asparagus – a royal vegetable that is why it’s served in some of the best restaurants and homes in the country.
However, it wasn’t until it was discovered in Asia that asparagus was even considered to be ‘edible’.

The History of How White Asparagus Tradition Has Become So Prominent in Germany:

Around 2,000 years ago, green asparagus spread from Asia to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea where it became a delicacy.

At the time the word ‘asparagus’ was used by the Greeks for most stalk type vegetables but eventually described just this one, which the Romans transported, together with many other plant species, when crossing the Alps to conquer northern Europe’s ‘uncivilized’ tribes.

However, there was a time when asparagus fell out of favor. It was after 300 AD and it was ‘gone’ until the 11th century, when it was brought ‘back’ to existence after it’s been used as a medicinal herb usually grown in German monastery gardens and prepared by monks.

But it wasn’t until the reign of Louis XIV – the French Sun King – who found asparagus to be up to his taste, that asparagus regained popularity in Europe as a luxury vegetable reserved for the tables of nobles and the various royal courts.

Then in 16th century Germany ‘Spargel’ began to be cultivated around Stuttgart, and gained a nickname, ‘The Royal Vegetable’, because, as in France, it was only available to the nobility. But it was only a matter of time before all the Germany fell in love with asparagus. By the middle of the 19th century it was popular with all levels of society. The ‘Spargelzeit’ – Asparagus Season – had become and up to this day a huge event that is celebrated throughout the country. It’s all the farms that grow asparagus come every day to the main square of the towns to sell it to the public and restaurants, but when all the restaurants that offer German cuisine make up a ‘seasonal menu’ for the months of the asparagus season that is called “asparagus menu’, featuring all kinds of dishes with the asparagus.

German Bread

Bread Tradition in Germany

From the days of Charlemagne until the end of the previous century, a staple of the German diet was thick, hearty slices of sourdough-leavened bread made from grains like rye or spelt. The German word for supper, “abendbrot,” means “evening bread.”

German Bread Tradition
German Bread Tradition

In Germany, bread is more than just a food – it is a part of the German culture. Germany produces more varieties of breads than any other country in the world. The Deutsche Brotkultur bread registry, run by the Zentralverbandes des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks Ev. has documented over 3000 varieties of dark and white breads and over 1,200 varieties of rolls and mini-breads (Brötchen & Kleingebäck) are produced in Germany.

Germans abroad yearn for German bread. You can’t easily find German style bread in the states. Yes, there’s Jewish Rye, which comes close, but the coarse, thick German bread is nearly non-existent. Back in the day, the East European immigrants came the closest to recreating such loaves in the US , but the sourdough fermentation/proofing process took days and soon succumbed to the quickly mass produced starchier white breads. German bread is really unique and it is hard to find anything close outside of Germany.

The Bread business is changing. There is an epidemic of gluten sensitivity in the US, but it remains hard to believe that the most important food in all our recorded history, so highly revered, and so widely eaten, is quietly poisoning us. The arsenal of gluten based additives, used in mass produced loaves and products is more likely to blame. Thankfully the number of small artisan bakers in the US is growing. But the last few years have seen the opposite trend in the German baker’s trade: self-service discount bakeries are popping up in almost every city in Germany. Their breads are mass produced, par baked and even frozen and only get crisped up in the local branches. They may offer low prices and convenience, but their products are often considered to lack taste and their competitive prices could force many small traditional artisan bakers out of business.

That shift in culture is so worrying to bakers, that they are taking extraordinary steps to raise the awareness of Germans, and the world, to the uniqueness of their threatened baking traditions. They are reaching out to young people via social media in an effort to attract more of them to the job. The German Bakers’ Association also applied for the country’s baking tradition to receive special recognition and protection by adding it to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The education and cultural affairs minister conference and a panel of experts from the German UNESCO commission will assemble the final list (from 128 submittals), which will include 30 to 50 candidates. We will see which of Germany’s entries will be recognized in 2016 at the earliest.

How to Parent Like a German

An American mom finds some surprising habits

The first time I went to a playground in Berlin, I freaked. All the German parents were huddled together, drinking coffee, not paying attention to their children who were hanging off a wooden dragon 20 feet above a sand pit. Where were the piles of soft padded foam? The liability notices? The personal injury lawyers?

“Achtung! Nein!” I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me.

Contrary to stereotypes, most German parents I’ve met are the opposite of strict. They place a high value on independence and responsibility. Those parents at the park weren’t ignoring their children; they were trusting them. Berlin doesn’t need a “free range parenting” movement because free range is the norm.

Here are a few surprising things Berlin parents do:

Don’t push reading. Berlin’s kindergartens or “kitas” don’t emphasize academics. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my children to read. I was told it was something special the kids learn together when they start grade school. Kindergarten was a time for play and social learning. But even in first grade, academics aren’t pushed very hard. Our grade school provides a half-day of instruction interrupted by two (two!) outdoor recesses. But don’t think this relaxed approach means a poor education: According to a 2012 assessment by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, German 15-year-olds perform well above the international average when it comes to reading, math and science while their more pressured American counterparts lag behind.

Encourage kids to play with fire. A note came home from school along with my excited second grader. They were doing a project on fire. Would I let her light candles and perform experiments with matches? Together we lit candles and burned things, safely. It was brilliant. Still, she was the only kid whose parent didn’t allow her to shoot off heavy duty fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Let children go almost everywhere alone. Most grade school kids walk without their parents to school and around their neighborhoods. Some even take the subway alone. German parents are concerned about safety, of course, but they usually focus on traffic, not abductions.

The facts seem to be on the Germans’ side. Stranger abductions are extremely rare; there were only 115 a year in all of America, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice study. And walking around without parental supervision, or “independent mobility” as the researchers call it, is good for kids.

Party when school starts. One of my Berlin friends once told me that the three biggest life events are Einschulung (starting first grade), Jugendweihe (becoming a young adult) and getting married.

In Berlin, Einschulung is a huge celebration at the school—on a Saturday!—that includes getting a Zuckertute—a giant child-sized cone filled with everything from pencils to watches to candy. Then there’s another party afterwards with your family and friends. Einschulung is something children look forward to for years. It signals a major life change, and hopefully, an enthusiasm for learning.

Jugendweihe happens when a child turns 14. It involves a similar ceremony, party, and gifts, marking the next stage of growing up. With all the negativity heaped on adolescents, there’s something to be said for this way of celebrating young adulthood.

Take the kids outside everyday. According to a German saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” The value of outside time is promoted in the schools, hence the “garten” in Kindergarten. It’s also obvious on Berlin’s numerous playgrounds. No matter how cold and grey it gets, and in Berlin it gets pretty cold, parents still bundle their kids up and take them to the park, or send them out on their own.

Which brings me back to that dragon—since moving here, I’ve tried to adopt some of the Berlin attitude, and my 8-year-old has climbed all over the dragon. But I still hesitate to let her walk alone in our very urban neighborhood.

I’ve taken one small step. I let her go to the bakery by herself. It’s just down the stairs and one door over. The first time she did this, she came back beaming, proudly handing me the rolls she bought herself.

I figured there was no need to tell her that her American mother was out on the balcony, watching her the whole time.

© Sara Zaske – @sarazaske – Feb. 24, 2015

Studying In Germany

Federal Republic of Germany
Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is the third most popular destination among international students in the world. More than twelve percent of students at German universities come from abroad – just like you. Germany is an attractive place to study and German university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide.

1. YOU HAVE A TOP-CLASS DEGREE RECOGNIZED AROUND THE WORLD!

German higher education is one of the best in the world! Whether it’s cars or education, people everywhere recognize “Made in Germany” as a seal of quality. You can benefit from Germany‘s long and famous university tradition especially in the fields of engineering and science. A German university degree is highly respected by employers around the world.

2. YOU HAVE A DIVERSE RANGE OF STUDY OPPORTUNITIES!

Germany’s higher education system has something for everyone! There are almost 450 state-accredited universities with some 17,500 degree programs in Germany. German universities offer degree programs in every possible subject and academic level – be it bachelor’s, master’s, state examinations or doctoral degrees. General universities focus strongly on scientifically oriented study in a wide range of disciplines. Universities of applied science, on the other hand, are very practice-oriented. If you’re more interested in artistic subjects, you can enroll at a college of art, film or music.

3. YOU CAN STUDY IN ENGLISH!

More and more courses and degree programs are being offered in English, especially at the master’s degree level. This is good news if you don’t know any German or if your German isn’t good enough yet. You’ll find an overview of international degree programs in Germany in the large DAAD database.

4. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Around twelve percent of students at German universities come from foreign countries, just like you. You can make friends from around the world, become acquainted with different countries and expand your horizons. The universities offer support to make your start in Germany as easy as possible. There are many mentoring programs available, such as “Buddy” and “Tandem” programs.

5. YOU PAY VERY LOW TUITION FEES – AND SOMETIMES NONE AT ALL!

Students normally don’t have to pay tuition fees at German universities, and if so, the fees are very low. Most German universities receive considerable financing from the government. Bachelor’s degree programs are usually tuition-free at public universities. Some master’s degree programs, however, come with tuition fees, but they’re not as high as in other countries.

6. YOU HAVE VERY AFFORDABLE LIVING EXPENSES!

Compared with other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is reasonable. The cost of food, rent, clothing and cultural activities are equivalent to the EU average. There are also a number of concessions available to students. You can receive reduced prices at theaters, museums, opera houses, cinemas, swimming pools and other institutions. All you have to do is present your student ID.

7. YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM MANY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS!

As an international student with outstanding academic achievement, you have good chances of receiving a scholarship to finance your studies in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is one of the largest scholarship organisations in the world and offers countless scholarship programs. No matter what your country, subject or status, you’ll find a scholarship that matches your profile and needs in the DAAD scholarship database! And not only does the database contain programs offered by the DAAD, but also many other organisations in Germany.

8. YOU LIVE IN A SAFE COUNTRY!

Germany is a safe country – also on an international scale. The police are reliable and help you in every situation. Whether you live in a big city or in the country, you can move freely day or night without having to take any special precautions.

9. YOU LIVE IN A DIVERSE COUNTRY IN THE HEART OF EUROPE!

Beaches and mountains, medieval city centers and pulsating metropolises, and above all, lots of nature. Germany is a diverse country with many facets! Living in Germany means living in the middle of Europe surrounded by many other countries. Whether you’d like to visit Paris, Prague, Rome or Copenhagen, you have a wide range of destinations at your doorstep. Within a couple of hours by train or plane, you can experience an entirely different culture and language. Weekend trips are no problem and affordable.

10. YOU LEARN A LANGUAGE WHICH CAN OPEN MANY DOORS!

German is one of the ten most spoken languages in the world. Some 185 million people worldwide can speak German. You can still study in Germany even if you don’t know German, but having some knowledge of the language can make everyday life easier and help you make friends faster. Knowing a foreign language also looks great on a resume! Nobody says that German is an easy language, but there are many ways to learn German – in a course, with a tandem partner or with German flatmates.