Berliner Dom

Even though I’ve been living in Germany for over two years now as an expat, I’m still discovering new things about this country every day. Here is a list of my favourite weird and wonderful facts about Germany that you probably didn’t know.

50 things you never knew about Germany:

1. Germany has the highest population of any country in the European Union with over 82 million people.

2. Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris.

3. Berlin has more bridges than Venice.

4. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany.

5. Nearly a third of Germany is powered by renewable energy.

6. In Germany, there’s no punishment for a prisoner that tries to escape jail because a desire to be free is a basic human instinct.

7. Oktoberfest actually starts in September.

8. Germany has the lowest birth rate in the world.

9. Beer is officially considered a food in Bavaria.

10. Germany launched the first magazine in the world in 1663.

11. Chinese checkers was invented in Germany.

12. German grammar rules for compounding mean that this language contains some of the longest words in the world, such as ‘Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft’ (79 letters), which means: ‘Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services’.

13. After WWI there were so few men in Germany that only 1 in 3 women would find a husband.

14. It is illegal to run out of fuel on a highway in Germany.

15. Germany’s capital has shifted around over the centuries from Aachen, Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar, Bonn (and East Berlin), and, since 1990, Berlin again.

16. Hamburgers got their name from Hamburg in Germany’s north.

17. Last year, Germany officially abolished college tuition fees, even for international students.

18. Performing the Nazi salute is a criminal offence in Germany and is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

19. There are over 300 kinds of bread in Germany.

20. 60% of You Tube’s 1,000 most popular videos are blocked in Germany.

21. Germany made its last WWI reparation payment in 2010, as determined by the Treaty of Versailles.

22. 5,500 unexploded bombs are found in Germany each year and an average of 15 are defused every day.

23. Fanta originated in Germany.

24. The legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine. Consumption of spirits is restricted until the age of 18.

25. Germany was the first country to adopt Daylight Savings Time in 1916.

26. During WWI, the King of England, the Tsar of Russia and the Kaiser of Germany were all first cousins.

27. There are over 20,000 castles in Germany.

28. Prostitution is legal.

29. Germany has official rules about what a baby can be named.

30. East and West Germany still look different from space because of the different street lamps used.

31. Germany is the world capital of penis enlargement.

32. Flipping the bird is illegal and, if reported, can result in a fine from police.

33. 65% of the Autobahn has no speed limit.

34. The first printed book was in German.

35. Hugo Boss designed the official uniforms for the Nazi Party and the Hitler Youth.

36. The Christmas tree tradition originated in Germany.

37. Germany shares borders with nine other countries.

38. The Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest train station in Europe.

39. Germany has made a commitment to eliminate nuclear energy by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster, with a focus on developing renewable energy instead.

40. German is the third most commonly taught language in the world.

41. Approximately one third of Germany is still forested.

42. Drinking alcohol in public is legal.

43. Beer is about the same price as water.

44. Everything is closed on Sundays except cafés and restaurants.

45. The German government gives the disabled a stipend to pay for sex.

46. The Berlin Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world and, with 1,500 species of animals, holds the most comprehensive collection of any zoo.

47. Ever since WWII when the Nazis infamously used the German national anthem, ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ (Germany, Germany above everything), only the third stanza of the German national anthem is legal to be sung.

48. Germans separate their waste into six different categories for recycling purposes.

49. Many German men are ‘sitzpinklers’, which means they sit down to pee.

50. To order a beer, you raise your thumb in Germany, not your index finger.

Do you know any other weird and wonderful facts about Germany? Share them with us in the comments below!