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Germany: Culture, Literature, Art and Society



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    German Culture

    Germany has been remarkably called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). The diverse culture of Germany has been molded by the major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. This report is divided into several aspects of German Culture which are as follows.


    German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany. Minority languages constitute Sorbian, Danish, Romany and Frisian. The immigrant languages include Turkish, Kurdish, Polish, Balkan languages and Russian.


    German literature dates back to the Middle Ages. The most celebrated authors of the period are Walter von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The world renowned Grimm Brothers – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their fairy tales collection in the 19th century. Among the most respected German poets and authors are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine and Schmidt. Nine Germans have been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.


    Majority of the German population are Christians of whom half are Roman Catholic and half are Protestant. Small fraction of the population is Muslims and the remaining Germans have no official religion. The north and eastern parts are occupied by the Protestants whereas Catholics occupy the southern and western parts of Germany. [1]


    Germany has been the home of many prominent inventors, engineers and researchers. There have been significant achievements in the science and technology. German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Zeppelin, Daimler, Diesel, Otto, Wankel, Von Braun and Benz were the pioneers in modern automotive and air transportation technology including the beginnings of space travel. The work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck was vital for the establishment of modern physics. The first Nobel laureate for physics was Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen for the discovery of X-rays.


    The architecture is based on Carolingian and Ottonian styles, the precursors of Romanesque. It also constitutes of remarkable works in Gothic, Renaissance, Classicism, Historicism and Baroque styles. Germany has diverse architectural styles as a result of fragmentation of the country during centuries. The major architectural sites include Abbey Church of St. Michael’s, Speyer Cathedral, Freiburg Cathedral, and the Cologne Cathedral [2]


    The different styles of German-language music include Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW), Krautrock, Hamburger Schule, Volksmusik, Classical, German hip hop, trance, Schlager, Neue Deutsche Härte (NDH) and folk music, such as Waltz and metal. German Classical is among the most performed in the world. Germany is the birthplace of world famous classical music composers which include Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, and Richard Wagner.

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    German cuisine varies from region to region consisting mainly of meat (especially sausage) and varieties of sweet dessert and Stollen (a fruit cake). It is divided into three categories – Bavarian (Southern Germany), Thuringian (Central Germany) and Lower Saxon.The main varieties of meat consumed are pork, beef and poultry with pork being most popular. Germans are famous for rye bread. The popular drinks comprises of beer, German wine, carbonated mineral water and schorle.


    In the field of visual art, Germany has an illustrious tradition from the early works of figurative art to the present contemporary art. The distinguished artists have contributed to every era especially the Renaissance (Albrecht Altdorfer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Matthias Grünewald, Hans Holbein and Albrecht Dürer), Romanticism (Caspar David Friedrich), Expressionism( the Brücke and the Blaue Reiter) Surrealism (Max Ernst) Conceptualism (Joseph Beuys,Wolf Vostell) and Neo-expressionism (Georg Baselitz).


    German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to the film industry since 19th century. In 1895, the Skladanowsky brothers were the first to conduct a public display of the self-invented film projector. The silent movie Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang is referred to as the birth of modern science fiction movies. In current years several German movies have won the Academy Award. The Berlin film festival also known as Berlinale, held annually since 1951 showcases upto 400 films in several sections, representing a widespread exhibit of the cinematic world.


    Sports are an indispensable part of German life. Germany is a world leader in tennis, track and field, cycling, and swimming. The national sport is football. The other popular spectator sports include ice hockey, volleyball, handball and basketball. Germany is one of the leading motorsports countries in the world which has produces Formula 1 world champions such as Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Germany has numerous ski resorts that attract skiers from all over the world. Historically, German sportsmen have been some of the most successful contenders in the Olympic Games.[3]


    Since the middle ages, German philosophers have played an integral role in shaping western philosophy. The prominent philosophers during 17th century included Leibniz and Kant who greatly influenced the world philosophy. The communist theory was developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century. German intellectuals who influenced sociology included Adorno, Habermas, Luhmann, Simmel and Webern. In recent times, Germany has emerged as a significant country for the development of contemporary analytic philosophy in Europe.


    Germany is a modern, progressed society molded by diverse lifestyles and regional identities. Majority of the people are well educated and enjoy a high standard of living. In the course of globalization “Germany has taken a path that has made it a modern immigrant society with increasingly ethnic cultural diversity, and has increased its efforts to integrate the migrants in the nucleus of society” [4].


    1. The German Way Of Life , 2. Countries and Their Cultures- Germany 3. Culture of Germany 4. German society – modern, pluralist and open-minded

    Germany: Culture, Literature, Art and Society. (2016, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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