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Culture, Shopping, and Recreation in Germany

As the country of poets and philosophers, Germany offers a lot in terms of literature, theater, and music. Expats will soon find that there is a lot to learn about German culture, including social customs, religion, and art. So get ready for your life in Germany: there is a lot to discover!

Art, music, literature, and theater have a long and proud tradition in Germany. There is a reason, after all, why Germany is also referred to as the country of poets and philosophers. On top of that, Germany was one of the first countries to develop a form of movie projections. German cinema grew big and became a popular form of entertainment early on. Famous musicians and composers such as Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms, and Johann Sebastian Bach are household names of classical German music. Because of its rich cultural heritage, there is an abundance of cultural activities all year round. Especially, classic literature, theater, and music are treated with the utmost seriousness. However, if you enjoy contemporary culture a little more than the classics, then you are right at home in Germany. Book fairs, music festivals, and outdoor summer cinema make Germany a cultural hot-spot.

Culture, Shopping, and Recreation: Social Etiquette and Holidays

Germans are said to be rather serious, dour, and even humorless. While this is not entirely true, German people do indeed need some time to warm up and keep a polite distance when dealing with strangers. While it might be customary in some countries to address people by their first name, Germans like to stick to formalities. At the same time, their blunt direct way of communicating might put some people off and even appear rude. On the upside, once you’ve cracked a German’s hard shell, they will warm up quickly. This is also when you will find out that Germans are indeed funny and like to joke around a lot. Compliments are given rarely, but if so, then they are sincere. The number of federal holidays in Germany depends on the German state you live in. As a rule of thumb, northern German states have less federal holidays than those in the south. The reason why Bavaria, for instance, gets to take about 13 days off each year, is that it is a Catholic state. Although the country also celebrates public holidays such as Labor Day on May 1st or German Unity day on October 3rd, most federal holidays have a Christian origin. Although many Germans enjoy the day off, only few actually celebrate these Christian holidays. Expats who belong to a religious minority need not fear though. Germany holds on to its freedom of religion and protects the rights of individual religious beliefs.

Culture, Shopping, and Recreation: Sports and Domestic Tourism

Germans are big fans of all kinds of athletic activities. No matter if you like to kick back with a cold beer and watch a soccer game with your friends or if you’d rather get active yourself, you will definitely find your place in Germany. Soccer is probably by far the most popular spectator sport in Germany, but the Olympic Games, or the Tour de France are popular as well. Moreover, many people enjoy cycling and hiking or other outdoor activities, particularly in the summer months. If you want to get out of your German town every now and then, you should not hesitate to do so. Germany has a lot of great vacation spots, from vibrant cities like Hamburg or Berlin, to nice small towns at the German coast.

InterNations Expat Magazine