Common Stereotypes Faced by German Expats


Common Stereotypes Faced by German Expats

After we provided Lost in the Pond with a guest post entitled 5 of the Most Common Stereotypes faced by British Expats we decided to explore the stereotypes that expats from other nations have to face.

So far we’ve examined American stereotypes, Canadian stereotypes and French stereotypes.

Today we’ll be looking at the most common stereotypes applied to expatriated citizens of Germany!

Germans have no sense of humour and are far too ‘uptight’

Well, you could argue that whether or not you find German’s funny entirely depends on your sense of humour and how well you’re able to understand German, but back in 2011 Germany did top an international poll to find the world’s least funny country.

At the time a spokesman for the survey stated: ‘Germans are brilliant at so many things, including making cars and beating us at football. Unfortunately, telling jokes isn’t always one of them. If only there was a comedy World Cup, we might stand a chance against them.’

And Mark Twain did famously say that ‘a German joke is no laughing matter’.

But a lot of the issues with German humour are to do with the complex sentence structure of the German language, so the more you work on your language skills the funnier you’ll find the German sense of humour!

And when it comes to rule breaking German’s can actually be pretty rebellious. Although Germany, along with much of Europe, brought in a nationwide smoking ban back in 2008, cities like Berlin and Hamburg have all but ignored it, still allowing smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. They even have designated smoking bars!

Lederhosen are the most popular form of German casual wear

According to the image some people have of the Germans, the men trot off to work in lederhosen and the women serve them beer while wearing their hair in plaits and frolicking in busty corseted dresses.

As hard as it may be to hear, this isn’t actually the case. Lederhosen and dirndl (the busty dresses) originate from Bavaria, which is in Southern Germany. While people from this region might wear the traditional clothing on very special occasions, the only time the vast majority of Germans would ever put on a set of Lederhosen would be if they were heading to Oktoberfest or a fancy dress party.

The German language is aggressive and unromantic

Although some people have argued that ‘German is more a throat condition than a language’ the German’s treat conversation as an art form, and their language is actually hugely expressive. Perhaps it doesn’t flow as sensuously as other European languages, like French and Italian. But having a less melodic rhythm doesn’t make it harsh or unromantic. In fact, German is a key language of Romance literature. Plus, German’s don’t actually shout everything, despite how they’re often portrayed by the media.

You will die on the German Autobahn

Okay, people do drive pretty (very) fast on the German Autobahn, and it is illegal to pull over for any reason. And there were 21,300 autobahn related deaths in one year… But that was decades ago.

Since then road safety standards have improved consistently and the number of deaths has steadily declined, despite a rapid increase in the number of cars on the road. Follow the road safety rules and you should (fingers crossed) be fine.

The German’s are super, super efficient

Well, they are. But is that a bad thing? Over the years many, many jokes have been made concerning German efficiency. But when other nations laugh at the German’s attention to detail and timekeeping are they saying it’s better to be inefficient and late?

Given how Germany’s economy has managed to hold up while those around it crumble, perhaps other nations should try to emulate this particular German stereotype!

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