Top 16 Fun Facts About Germany That You Probably Didn’t Know

Written By: The Planet D

Germany is one of the most interesting places in the world. It has a rich history and a colorful culture that makes it the perfect place for any vacation destination. Whether you want to explore one of Germany’s gorgeous forests or visit the breweries in Bavaria, there are a lot of things to keep you occupied in Germany. 

Fun and Interesting Facts About Germany

We have visited Germany several times and each time we do we learn different facts about the country. Whether it is strange facts about German food to those really interesting facts about German architecture, Germany always seems to amaze us.

Keep reading to learn the most interesting facts about Germany that we are sure you didn’t even think of! 

1. Germany Has 1,000 Varieties of Sausages!

Fact about Germany Sausages

There are over 1,000 varieties of sausage in Germany. It’s safe to say that Germans love their sausage! Some kinds of sausage you’ll find in Germany are: 

  • Bratwurst
  • Blutwurst
  • Weisswurst 
  • Knackwurst
  • Currywurst

These sausage types are all flavored with different spices and they all pack a delicious punch.

Most popular Names in Germany

Müller is the most popular surname in Germany. There are over 900,000 people in Germany who share this last name! A few other popular last names in Germany are: 

  • Schmidt
  • Schneider
  • Fischer 
  • Weber 
  • Meyer 
  • Wagner 
  • Becker 

The popular surnames in Germany are based on occupations. Schmidt is the German word for Smith, Weber is the German word for Weaver, and Becker is the German word for Baker!  German nomenclature is very similar to English nomenclature. 

3. Beer is a Food in Bavaria 

Beer is the most popular food in Germany

In most parts of Germany, beer is simply a drink to be enjoyed. But in Bavaria, it’s a way of life. In Bavaria, the average person drinks around 150 liters of beer per year! Read more: Best Things to do in Munich, Germany

Bavarians consume more beer than any other state in Germany. In fact, almost half of the breweries in Germany are in Bavaria. It has the highest density in the whole Federal Republic! Also read: The Essential Guide to Germany’s Romantic Road

Bavaria has huge beer halls and cellars. It’s deeply ingrained in their culture and their way of life. If you’re a beer lover, make sure you visit Bavaria and take a tour of all the breweries, getting a taste of all the different breweries! 

4. Germany Loves Bread 

Fact: Germany Love Bread

Another fun fact about Germany is that it has over 300 kinds of bread. And that doesn’t even consider regional varieties! 

There are over 1,200 kinds of pastries, cakes, and other baked goods as well. If you’re a foodie who loves to experience cultural foods, Germany is a one-of-a-kind location for you to try a little bit of everything. 

Here are some kinds of bread that you have to try when you go to Germany: 

  • Brötchen
  • Pretzel 
  • Vollkornbrot 
  • Milchbrötchen 

Germany really is a carb-lover’s paradise. 

5. Gummy Bears are a German Invention 

Hans Riegel of Bonn, Germany created his own sweets company in 1920. He was fed up with his unrewarding career as a confectionary worker. He started off making candies that were hard and colorless and his wife was his delivery person! 

He came up with the idea to create gelatin-based fruit snacks when his hard candies stopped selling at street fairs. He didn’t completely invent the recipe himself, but he did perfect it. They take inspiration from Turkish delight and Japanese rice candy. 

6. The First Oktoberfest Was a Wedding

Octoberfest was a wedding

The first Oktoberfest took place on October 12, 1810. It lasted for five days and was meant to celebrate the marriage between the crown prince of Bavaria (who later became King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. 

It eventually grew into a yearly anniversary that included an annual agricultural fair, music, and food vendors. As time passed, booths became beer halls and brewers now build temporary structures that hold upwards of 6,000 people. 

Each year, about 2 million gallons of beer are consumed during Oktoberfest. It’s a festival that includes parades, amusement rides, games, and dancing. More than 6 million people come to celebrate Oktoberfest each year. 

7. JFK Was Not a Jelly Donut 

There is a popular myth that American president John F. Kennedy stood in front of the Berlin Wall in 1963 and proclaimed to listeners “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Newsrooms across the world told the tale of how the American president proclaimed proudly that he was a “jelly donut.” 

Berliner is a word for jelly donut but not in Berlin. In Berlin, the word is Pfannkuchen. 

He indeed delivered a speech on that day. And Kennedy was known for having a hard time with foreign languages. But he knew what he was saying during that speech. 

Kennedy was correct in what he said. In fact, he went off-script and delivered a memorable speech to tense Berliners. 

8. Germany Has the World’s Largest Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral is located in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. It is home to the second-tallest spires. These huge spires make for the largest church in the entire world. 

When architects started to build the Cologne Cathedral, it was all the way back in 1248. Construction of the cathedral didn’t finish until 1880. 

9. Attempting to Escape Jail Is Legal in Germany 

In Germany, it is considered a basic human instinct to do whatever you can to be free. So, if a prisoner attempts to escape from prison, they will not receive additional punishment for the act itself. 

However, if the prisoner damages any property, hurts anyone, murders anyone, or commits any other crimes while they’re attempting to escape, they will be charged for those crimes. 

10. Germany Loves Castles 

Germany has a lot of Castles

Germany is home to some of the most gorgeous castles in the world. There are over 20,000 castles located in Germany, so you’ll have plenty to choose from when you visit. Whether you’re looking to visit famous castles like Neuschwanstein or explore the lesser-known castles, there’s something for everyone. 

The top castles to visit when you’re in Germany are: 

Germany has no shortage of gorgeous castles to spend hours exploring

11. Germany Has Thousands of Unexploded Bombs 

Unexploded Bombs in Germany

Did you know that Germany still has thousands of unexploded bombs located throughout the country? They’re leftover from WWII. 

Even over 70 years after World War II, over 2,000 tons of unexploded bombs are uncovered each year. Before construction companies begin digging for a new project, specialists have to certify that the ground is clear of any munitions. 

The discovery of these bombs is no small affair, either. In 2013, over 20,000 people were displaced when a 4,000-pound Blockbuster bomb was discovered in the western German city of Dortmund. If detonated, it could take out an entire city block. 

Germany has been at peace since the end of World War II, but their bomb squad is one of the most active in the world. 

12. Germany’s Drinking Age is 16

Drinking age is 16 in Germany

You already know that beer is a major part of the culture and lifestyle in modern-day Germany. It’s so common that at the age of 16, citizens are allowed to start drinking wine and beer. They have to wait until they’re 18 to drink other spirits, but wine and beer are totally okay. This is actually common among many of the countries in Europe. 

13. Germany Did Daylight Savings Time First 

In 1916, Germany became the first country to adopt Daylight Savings Time. They sparked a revolution that quickly took over Europe until it got to the United States. 

Daylight Savings Time started at the height of World War I. Within weeks, the trend took off. It wasn’t until 1918 that it became custom in the United States. 

14. German Celebrations 

German celebrations  are a fact of life

We already know that the main German celebration is Oktoberfest. But did you know that there is a myth that the first Christmas Tree originated in Germany also? 

The modern Christmas tree was indeed born in Germany. But we now know that the symbolic use of evergreen trees started in ancient Egypt and Rome. Germany continued the tradition and added candles to the decoration to celebrate the winter solstice

15. Germany Has Over 400 Zoos 

Germany is home to 414 zoos! This means that the country of Germany has more zoos than the entire United States. The Berlin Zoolischer Garten is the oldest and largest zoo in Germany. It has the largest collection of animals in the world. The Berlin Zoo has 19,500 animals and 1,500 species spread out along 84 acres of land. It gets a ton of tourists each year. Between the zoo and the aquarium, over 3 million people visit this attraction every year. 

16. A Third of Germany is Covered in Forests 

Forests in Germany

Germany is covered in over 11.4 million hectares worth of forests. This amounts to roughly 32% worth of German ground covered in trees. 

If you are an outdoorsman who loves to spend time in nature, don’t skip over a trip to Germany. There is a vast expanse of beautiful forest to visit which gives way to camping experiences you can’t have at home. 

Want to Experience These Facts About Germany First Hand?

More interesting facts about Germany

So, what’s your favorite of these facts about Germany? Are you wild for the castles or are you just here for the beer? No matter what your area of interest is, there is no shortage of fun to be had in Germany. 

There’s something for everyone in Germany.

Make sure you’re prepared for your next trip. If you’re interested in learning all of our insider travelers tips that will make your next vacation a piece of cake, keep reading the links below.

And these are fun and interesting facts about Germany. Do you have any fun tidbits? 

Read More About Germany

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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2 thoughts on “Top 16 Fun Facts About Germany That You Probably Didn’t Know”

  1. Newsrooms across the world DID NOT tell the tale of how the American president proclaimed proudly that he was a “jelly donut (sic.)”.
    In fact, except for the applause he received both times he said “Ich bin ein Berliner” in the 4-minute speech that he practiced in the office of Berlin mayor Willy Brandt before delivering it, the phrase went largely unnoticed.
    In a fictional spy novel entitled “Berlin Game” authored in 1983 by Len Deighton, one of the characters, who’s notorious in the story for giving unreliable statements, casually mentions that JFK called himself a jelly doughnut in Berlin in 1961. When the novel was published in the early 1980s, a New York Times book reviewer printed the statement as gospel and an urban legend was born, 22 years after the speech.
    It would seem the author of this article is trying to keep that myth alive… smh

    • Um, excuse me, we say it is a myth. If you would have read the article rather than shaking your head, you’d see that we said, “JFK Was Not A Jelly Donut.” It was a common misconception that newsrooms reported on over the years after the book was published.