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May 15, 2007

35 facts about Germany

Posted in: Germany

The country

  • Germany’s territory covers about 137,850 sqm (slightly bigger than Montana).
  • The biggest city is the capital Berlin with 3.4 mill inhabitants (Hamburg: 1.74 mill, Munich: 1.26 mill).
  • Germany consists of 16 states, 3 of which are city states (Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen).
  • Germany shares borders with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.
  • One of the world’s top exporters, with the main exports being cars, machines and chemical products.
  • 18 is the universal age of consent.
  • There are 9 to 13 holidays (varies from state to state).
  • Employees get 20 to 30 days paid vacation per year.
  • The population growth rate is -0.033 - more of a decline rate.
  • 34% of the population are Protestants and also 34% are Catholics.

Innovations

  • Johannes Gutenberg developed a technique to print with movable type around 1450.
  • Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit developed precise thermometers and the scale still used in the US.
  • Robert Koch discovered the anthrax bacillus (1877) and the tuberculosis bacillus (1882) for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize.
  • Karl Benz built the first automobile in 1886.
  • Emil Berliner’s patent for a gramophone was granted in 1887.
  • Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895 and was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
  • Karl Ferdinand Braun developed the cathode-ray tube in 1897.
  • Rudolf Diesel built the first diesel engine in 1897.
  • Melitta Bentz didn’t enjoy coffee grounds in her cup. So in 1908 she develops the coffee filter.
  • Konrad Zuse invented the first programmable computer (the Z3) in 1941.

Oddities

  • The state Hesse has a death penalty in its constitution, but Federal Law prevents its use.
  • The biggest festival is called Oktoberfest, but starts in September.
  • The price for a liter beer at the Oktoberfest 2007 will be 7.70 to 8.00 Euros.
  • There are about 300 sorts of bread and over 1500 sorts of sausage in Germany - but not one decent barbeque sauce.
  • Everyone who owns a tv has to pay 17.03 Euros per month for public tv.
  • Prices of books are set by the publisher, not the retailer.
  • Germans are the World Heavyweight Champions of recycling.
  • Why heavyweight? Because they have the fattest asses in all of Europe.
  • Germans are known for their “Bratwurst”. But their favorite fast food is the Doener Kebap.
  • During WWII the Germans couldn’t get Coca Cola syrup. So, the threw together everything juicy they could find and called it Fanta.

The Autobahn

(since you’re always asking)

  • Germany has an autobahn network of more than 7600 miles.
  • 65% of the autobahn has no speed limit.
  • Autobahns may only be used by powered vehicles that have a maximum speed exceeding 60 km/h.
  • If you get caught running out of gas on an autobahn, you get fined.
  • No, the Autobahn wasn’t Hitler’s idea.

“To the English I say this: be grateful for the Germans. Were it not for them, you would be the most hated people in Europe.”
(Simon Munnery, Attention Scum)

I just received an email from a reader, who informed me that the “Germans are the fattest Europeans” study has used the wrong data. I read it up and, although my ass backs the story up, it indeed might be wrong.

Revised fact: Germans are one of the fattest nations in Europe. Another title I didn’t win. I feel so inadequate. (Thanks to Johta for the tip ;-))


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