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Culture & Identity of Germany

Introduction

German Culture - Waitress in Bavaria
Waitress in Bavaria

The way of life in Germany is, well, diverse. There are so many sub-cultures in Germany and each group, and every individual has their own preferences and interests that trying to distinctly define the way of life is a bit difficult, if not impossible. Despite these challenges, there are many similarities among the people in how they live.

German Culture - All Saints Day
All Saints Day

Much of Germany is urbanized (about 75%) and industrialized, but it's the services sector where most working Germans find jobs. Technology is constantly pushing the people in new directions and offering new jobs. However, for others, this technology is best seen in the form of entertainment.

Even most jobs in Germany have inconsistent hours; many industry jobs have various shifts and the services industries need workers nights and weekends at many times. However, for those in industries that fall outside these entertainment and industry jobs, the hours tend to be more stable. The workday for many runs from about 8:00 am to about 6:00 pm, but again hours vary drastically based on the industry and location. For children, the school schedule is fairly consistent as schools run from early September to late July and hours run from about 8:00 am to about 1:00 pm, although hours and vacations do vary.

For service-heavy positions in some sectors, such as the entertainment sector, weekends (Saturday-Sunday) and evenings are required working times, but for those with more consistent working hours, these times are when they get to enjoy the money they worked hard to earn. For many families, evenings are spent with children, perhaps helping with school work and for singles the nights might be spent with family or friends. Bars, restaurants, and dance clubs are all popular forms of entertainment in Germany, but sports and getting into the outdoors is also hugely popular. Many Germans also like to take an extended vacation during the school's summer break, most often in the month of August when many people like to get out of the cities and head to the rural mountains or go abroad.

Identity

Germany is somewhat in the middle of an identity crisis. In the past most people claimed to be German, which was defined by the ethnicity, language, and political structure. However, since the Second World War, many Germans believe this term has a negative connotation and people are now identifying in numerous ways.

One of the most popular forms of identifying in Germany today is by region or local ethnicity, such as Bavarian, Saxon, or Prussian. This was how most ethnic German identified prior to the unification of Germany in the late 1800s and today many people are again identifying in this way. Another popular way for the Germans to identify is in a larger political term, calling themselves "European" and arguing that all of Europe is one, a statement growing truer with the growth of the European Union in recent decades. Still others primarily identify with a political party as supporters of the Nationalist party, Neo-Nazi party, and Christian Democrat party all have unique view points and these opinions tend to define how many individual see themselves; some of these parties and identities are the result of the suppression of the German identity. Despite all the differences, most people identify as being German on some level.

This page was last updated: November, 2013