Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cliché 4 – Life is Simple… Eat, Sleep, and Play Football!

“Football is a simple game.

Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

– Gary Lineker

World Cup


We won’t beat around the bush here. This cliché is straight up true.

Fuβball (football) is the most widely played and attended sport in Germany. There are millions of Germans playing football at thousands of football clubs throughout the country, ranging from social and amateur clubs to the Bundesliga. The professional clubs draw an average crowd of 25,000 spectators, however, towards the end of the football season almost all games are sold out, or close to sold out (approximately 55,000-75,000 spectators depending on the stadium’s capacity).

Some Germans prefer to watch football games at home or out with friends, others prefer to go to the stadium to watch the home games and enjoy the atmosphere, and some fans even travel throughout the country every second weekend to watch their club’s away games. In 2014 Germany won the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and almost half a million supporters greeted the team as they arrived back in Berlin as heroes – some supporters even waited overnight to make sure that they had a good viewing spot!

World Cup 2

In short, this myth is absolutely:


Images retrieved from:

Information retrieved from:

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cliché 3 – Being German is No Laughing Matter

Who is your favourite comedian? Or what is your favourite comedy TV show? Maybe it’s Canada’s Louis C. K., Britain’s Ricky Gervais or Australia’s Ahn Do? Could it be ‘The Office’, ‘Brooklyn 99’ or ‘Fawlty Towers’? Regardless of who or what it is, it’s fairly unlikely that the first answer which popped into your mind was a German or German TV show. This could be because most people think that Germans have no sense of humour. Is this really the case? Is Germany a country filled with completely serious people who never joke? Let’s find out…

When you look up German comedians on Wikipedia there are links to over 100 pages, including some of our favourites such as Kaya Yanar, Martina Hill, Otto Waalkes and Anke Engelke. When you look up German comedies on Google there are pages upon pages of websites listing the best German film comedies including everything from ‘Der Schuh des Manitu’, ‘Fack ju Göhte’, ‘Schlussmacher’ and ‘7 Zwerge’ to ‘Toni Erdmann’ (which won Critic’s Choice at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival), ‘Keinohrhasen’ and ‘1 ½ Ritter auf der Suche nach der hinreiβenden Herzelinde’.

If there are so many German comedians and comedies, why do people still think that Germans have no sense of humour?

Well, it’s a simple language problem.

Whilst most German movies have English subtitles, most jokes simply don’t translate, meaning the comedy is about as funny as a movie about the history of calculus (at this point we’re really hoping that there isn’t some hilarious movie out there about the history of calculus…). Even the movies which are funny and contain jokes with can be translated are not very popular outside of Germany – would you really go to the effort to purchase a German comedy on DVD when you can simply watch English comedies on Netflix? Probably not. Additionally, most TV shows and recorded stand-up comedy shows are never translated into English, either, again, because the jokes can’t be translated, or because there is simply no demand for it. In everyday life the German language itself also poses a minor obstacle to humour. For example, in English many words have a double or triple meaning upon which many jokes are built – this is rare or non-existent in German due to the use of compound words which clarify any confusion which could arise.

So what have we learned? Germans can definitely be funny, you just have to speak German to understand their humour!

Our Tip: If you are quite fluent in German check out some of the comedians which we mentioned above on YouTube. If you are not confident enough yet with your German language skills, buy or borrow a German comedy on DVD and watch it with English subtitles!


Overall, we’d say this myth is:


Images retrieved from:


Information retrieved from:


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cliché 2 – If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late.

One of the first characteristics which people think of when they think of Germans is punctuality.

Well, they’re not wrong… mostly.


Punctuality is actually quite an integral part of German culture and there are several reasons why:

  1. Germany has a relatively low power distance. A low power distance means that Germans generally view each other as equals. By being punctual Germans show each other that they value another person’s time just as much their own. If you show up late you are letting people know that their time is less valuable than your own.
  2. Germans like to plan. By being punctual, Germans are able to plan out their days very accurately. If you show up late to a meeting you may be forcing someone to push back their other meetings or reschedule appointments – this is a sure way to lose a friend or even get fired from your job!
  3. Germany is among the uncertainty avoidant countries. This simply means that Germans try to avoid unknown situations. If you can’t be trusted with something as simple as being on time, you will not be trusted with more important issues – so if you’re looking for a promotion at work, make sure you’re always on time!

Does this mean that every German is always on time? Of course not, but generally speaking they will be fairly punctual. Although there is one exception…


There’s a running joke that all Germans are on time, except for the Deutsche Bahn (DB) – the largest German railway operator. Although the railway has made large efforts to increase their punctuality, don’t expect your train to be on time. Particularly in winter trains can be delayed for up to a few hours!

Overall, the myth that Germans are punctual is:



Images retrieved from:


Information retrieved from:


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cliché 1 – The traditional ‘German Outfit’

When we think of a traditional Indian outfit we think of the sari. When we think of a traditional Japanese outfit we think of the kimono. When we think of a traditional German outfit we think of Dirndl and Lederhosen… but are these really ‘traditional German outfits’?

Dirndl und Lederhosen

The tradition of Dirndl and Lederhosen actually dates back all the way to the 18th century in Bavaria. Lederhosen, literally meaning ‘leather pants’, were worn by the working peasant community as they were sturdy, whereas the Dirndl, made up of a blouse, dress or bodice and skirt, and apron, was worn by the servants and maids as they were very practical for work both inside the house and outside on the farm.

Dirndl und Lederhosen2

So are they are a traditional German outfit? Well, the short answer is, no.

They originated and are still worn to cultural events in Bavaria today, such as the Munich Oktoberfest, and, whilst some people in the Bavarian countryside still wear Dirndl and Lederhosen every day, this is not the norm. Outside of Bavaria they are uncommon, although there are few exceptions, such as the Cannstatter Wasen folk festival in Stuttgart, however, they are not found in mid to north Germany. If you were to show up to an event in Hamburg wearing a Dirndl or a pair of Lederhosen people would probably be very confused or assume that you’re going to a fancy dress party.

We’d say the myth that Dirndl and Lederhosen are traditional ‘German’ outfits is:



Images retrieved from:


Information retrieved from:

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s get this OktoberFUN for Teens started!

Herzlich Wilkommen zum Oktoberfest für Teens 2017!

We hope you’ve had a fantastic start to the year and, most recently, enjoyed a wonderful Easter break with your loved ones. Whilst you were busy settling into the school year and hunting for chocolate eggs, we’ve been having plenty of brainstorming sessions about how we can make this year’s Oktoberfest for Teens the best ever!

All of your favourites will be back this year, and, of course, we have some new and exciting surprises in store for you!

EURO 2012 - Public Viewing Berlin

What’s Coming Up…

We are thrilled to announce that the Goethe Institut’s theme for 2017 is … drum roll please … ‘Menschen in Deutschland’ (people in Germany).

Our Infosheets and quizzes will take you on a journey through the wonderful worlds of German literature, science and technology, music and fashion, cinema and TV, sport and give you an insight into Germans today. In addition, the blogs in the weeks leading up to our Infosheets will inform you all about German clichés – the true, the untrue and the somewhat true. Our weekly Arbeitsblätter will also be returning this year due to the large amount of positive feedback which we received last year!

At this year’s event there will be a new game which guarantees nail-biting excitement and will give you even more opportunities to win fantastic prizes! How can you prepare? Read the weekly Infosheets carefully and play our preparation game which will be distributed with the Infosheets in week 6!



So brush up on your Fliegerlied moves, dust off your Dirndl and Lederhosen, and WATCH THIS SPACE – we have some great blogs coming your way! 🙂

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Paula Hay at

Bis bald!

Your Oktoberfest for Teens Team



Images retrieved from:


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at