35 Fun Facts about Germany You Probably Didn’t Know

The Federal Republic of Germany is a very fascinating country. In the following article I have gathered some facts about Germany that you may not have known.

1. Germany is the most populated country in the EU

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 83.2 million people lived in the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of 2020 – 42.14 million women and 41.05 million men.

2. Germany is a federal state made up of 16 federal states.

There are three city states: Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen and 13 other federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia , Saarland. The smallest federal state in terms of area is Bremen, the largest is Bavaria.

3. Germany has changed capital seven times.

Together with all previous states, a total of seven cities were already Germany’s capital: Aachen, Regensburg, Frankfurt am Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar and Bonn. Berlin has been the capital of Germany again since 1990.

4. Germany is the largest economic power in Europe.

With an annual gross domestic product of around 3.33 trillion euros (in 2020), it ranks 4th worldwide after the USA, China and Japan.

5. Facts about Germany: German in the EU.

In the EU, German is the most widespread mother tongue – ahead of English. German is the official language in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein; it is also one of the official languages in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

6. Facts about Germany: German in the world.

Around 130 million people worldwide speak German as their mother tongue or as a second language. This puts the German language in 11th place on the list of the most spoken languages worldwide.

7. Facts about Germany: German as a minority language.

About 7.5 million people in 42 countries belong to a German-speaking minority. Around 60,000 members of the German minority still live in Romania, mainly the Transylvanian Saxons and the Banat Swabians. The current President of Romania, Klaus Johannis, is one of the best-known representatives of the Romanian Germans.

8. Facts about Germany: Germany is green.

About 32 percent of the country’s total area is forested – that’s 11.4 million hectares. Hesse is the state with the most forests, accounting for 42% of the entire German population.

9. Germans have a long life expectancy.

The average life expectancy at birth in Germany in 2020 was 78.9 years for men and 83.6 years for women. Life expectancy has thus developed rapidly since the 19th century and has more than doubled since the 1870s.

10. Numerous inventions come from Germany.

Several things that we use in everyday life were invented in Germany. Including the X-ray machine, the pocket watch, the clarinet, the gummy bears, the diesel engine, the aspirin, the Fanta and the pregnancy test. The world-renowned brands Adidas and Puma are also German brands.

11. The largest folk festival in the world is in Germany.

The Oktoberfest has been held annually on the Theresienwiese in the Bavarian capital of Munich since 1810 and is now visited by around 6 million people every year. The festival always starts in mid-September and lasts 16-18 days until the beginning of October.

12. Germany has the second highest beer consumption in Europe.

With over 1,500 breweries and 6,000 beer brands, this is probably not surprising – only in the Czech Republic is it drunk more often. In Bavaria, beer is even considered a staple food.

13. The most species-rich zoo in the world is in Berlin.

With more than 19,400 animals and almost 1,200 species, the “Zoologische Garten” attracts over three million visitors every year. Since the Berlin Zoo was founded in 1844, it is also the oldest zoo in Germany.

14. The Germans received 84 Nobel prizes.

When the first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901, a German was among the winners. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen received the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. Some of the most famous German Nobel Prize winners are Robert Koch (1905), Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1918), Albert Einstein (1921) and Thomas Mann (1929).

15. There is no speed limit on German autobahns.

Germany is the only European country that does not have a general speed limit on the Autobahn. However, about 30 percent of the routes on German autobahns are subject to restrictions, such as roadworks, dangerous stretches of road, near cities or in dangerous curves.

16. There are no tuition fees in Germany.

There are no fees for foreign students at state universities. In most federal states, even non-EU foreigners can study for free, apart from a few administrative costs. A total of 411,601 foreign students were enrolled in Germany in the 2019/2020 winter semester. The three largest countries of origin of foreign students in Germany were China, Turkey and India.

17. Germany is known as the land of poets and thinkers.

Bach, Beethoven and Goethe were all German, along with composers such as Handel, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner and R. Strauss. Some of the world’s greatest philosophers were born in Germany, including Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger.

18. Germany is the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

In terms of sales, the automotive industry is by far the most important branch of industry in Germany: the companies generated more than 436 billion euros in 2019 and directly employed more than 832,000 people. Most recently, around 75 percent of the passenger cars produced in Germany were exported, which makes Germany the world champion exporter of cars. Famous brands like Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, etc. come from Germany.

19. The narrowest street in the world is in Germany.

This is Spreuerhofstraße in Reutlingen (Baden-Württemberg), which is only 31 centimeters wide. The alley was created after the city fire of 1726, which largely destroyed Reutlingen.

20. Facts about Germany: Albert Einstein was of German nationality.

The famous scientist was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Kingdom of Württemberg, which was then part of the German Empire.

21. Facts about Germany: The hamburger comes from Hamburg.

It is believed that the roots of the hamburger are based on the dish: “Rundstück warm”. A warm round piece is a slice of roast in a round piece that has been sliced open (Hamburgish for rolls or bread rolls) that has been poured with gravy. Immigrants from Hamburg brought this simple recipe to America in the 19th century.

22. The longest word in the German language has 79 letters.

“Beef identification meat labeling monitoring task transfer law” is the longest word in the German language.

23. With the German passport you can visit 189 countries without a visa.

The German passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world. In 2020, after Japan and Singapore, which occupy the first two places, it took 3rd place together with South Korea.

24. Germany is the country with the world’s largest bread variety.

Around 3200 different types of bread are served in Germany. The German bread variety was declared an intangible UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

25. The highest mountain in Germany

At 2,962 meters, the Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany.

26. The world’s leaner tower is in Lower Saxony.

There are towers leaner than the famous Tower of Pisa. The steeple of Suurhusen in East Friesland has an inclination of about 5.2 degrees, the tower of Pisa only 4 degrees.

27. The most common surnames in Germany are professional names.

The most common German surnames are Müller in 1st place, Schmidt in 2nd place and Schneider in 3rd place. The history of the most common German surnames is self-explanatory because they go back to occupations.

28. There are about 25,000 castles in Germany.

The most famous palaces and castles in Germany include Neuschwanstein Castle (Bavaria), Eltz Castle (Rhineland-Palatinate), Hohenzollern Castle (Baden-Württemberg), and Heidelberg Castle (Baden-Württemberg).

Here you can find an overview of the castles and palaces in Germany.

Best Hotels in Heidelberg

29. Prison breaks are not punishable in Germany.

In Germany, this goes back to a principle that was established as early as the 19th century: every prisoner has a natural desire for freedom. It is a universal right to seek freedom and therefore a prison break must not be punished.

30. Sunday is a rest day in Germany.

In Germany, most shops are closed on Sundays – the only exceptions are small shops at train stations or petrol stations.

31. Germany has 9 neighboring countries.

This makes it the country with the most neighboring countries in Europe. These are Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

32. The tallest church tower in the world is in Ulm.

At 161.53 m, the tower of Ulm Minster is the tallest church tower in the world.

33. The largest airport in Germany

Frankfurt Airport is not only the largest airport in Germany, but also the third largest in all of Europe.

Do you want to learn more about Germany? Here you will find an overview of German politics, society, economy and culture.

34. Federal Eagle

The German state emblem with the most heritage is the Federal Eagle. Differently shaped eagles are used by the Federal President, the Bundesrat, the Federal Constitutional Court, and the Bundestag. The national flags of German sports organizations and the eagles that appear on coins have different designs.

35. Euro

Germany adopted the euro as its official currency on January 1, 2002. Frankfurt am Main, a major financial hub in Germany, serves as the home office for the European Central Bank (ECB).