B1 Intermediate US 446 Folder Collection
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Lederhosen, schnitzel, beer,
bratwurst, order, bread and beer,
complicated history, beer,
no humor, EDM,
and gummy bears that will kind of like
give you diarrhea but it's like worth it.
Ugh! Those are such horrible
stereotypes that every

German is so sick and tired of hearing.
Want a gummy bear?
♫ It's time to learn Geography! NOW!!! ♫
Hey everyone, I'm your host Barby.
So we've conquered Belgium's castle,
jumped through Denmark's lagoon
danced to France's force
and now we've made it to
the final boss of the EU,

Kingpin Germany!
Level one! Begin!
♫ Political Geography ♫
Ha, you know why I'm smiling!
Yep, Germany has a lot of territorial anomalies.
We'll get into that in a little bit but first,
Germany is located in central Western Europe
bordered by nine other countries,
(Don't forget little Luxembourg!)
with small coasts on the North and Baltic Seas
which they own about 50 small islands.
Now Germany like, the US, is a
Federal Republic which has 16 smaller states
or Bundesländer,
each with its own constitution,
three of which are cities,
the capital Berlin, Hamburg and
Bremen which is actually kind of like
two cities including Bremerhaven
on the coast but they kind of act like one entity.
Fun side note: Lower Saxony is
actually geographically situated further
north than regular Saxony.
Now let's jump into the fun stuff.
Now we already discussed the Jungholz quadripoint
and the Vennbahn railway enclaves
with Belgium and Austria.

However, there's a few more.
The entire town of Büsingen am Hochrhein
is surrounded by Switzerland

where a part of Konstanz
is cut off by the Rhine river

and surrounded by Switzerland,
however immediately across the river,
a small patch of empty land
on the German side actually
belongs to Switzerland.

Finally they split the island of Usedom
with Poland in the north.
Germany is interesting because every
state in the country has its own
distinct culture, dialect, history, food,
and traditions. I mean Bavarians will be
quite drastically different
from Schleswig-Holsteiners,

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will
be different from Saarland.

This all has to do with
ancient and recent history.

Basically, in the quickest way
I can summarize this,

Germanic tribes,
Roman Wars,

three kingdoms,

this guy marries an Italian,
creating a whole new mess

called the Holy Roman Empire
made of about 300 smaller separate kingdoms,
states and dukedoms which
had nothing to do with Romans,

Teutonic knights,
Brandenburgs became Prussia,
Habsburgs became Austrians,
Lithuanians and Poles made their own thing,
whereas the Hungarians join the Austrians.
Wars, wars, battles, battles,
Napoleon comes over
and messes everything up,

and finally German nationalism surges
and in 1871, Otto von Bismarck
creates the first proto-German unified state,
and they're all like; "Oh dang,
we came late to this game,

we gotta scramble for
some colonies," and that's

how all of these countries at one point
spoke German. Oh and also keep in mind
like 300 years before this, a German
banking company obtained colonial rights
to Venezuela for like 20 years. They were
looking for the lost city of El Dorado.
So technically, you can kind of see
Germans colonized the Americas, but it
wasn't like a nationalized conquest thing.
Fast foward even more and then
you get World War I,
the monarchy ends,

Treaty of Versailles,
they lose land,

Nazis come in, World War II,
Germany splits in two

for about 40 years, and then finally...
we get the Germany we have today.
East Germany consisting of these states is today
still quite different from the rest of
Germany as it was first occupied
and influenced by the Soviet Union. They are
generally not as well off economically
as a rest of the country as you can
still see the blocky Soviet-style
buildings brought throughout the regions.
In fact, the city of Berlin was split in
half and the west side was actually
an enclave of West Germany only accessible
by train and highway. You can even see
from a satellite image to divide.
East Berlin still uses the yellowish tinted
sulfur vapor lightbulbs, whereas the West
still uses fluorescent and Mercury arc
white tinted light bulbs. And the funny
thing is, although Berlin is the largest
city in Germany, the busiest airports are
actually Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf,
with Berlin-Tegel ranking at number four.
Otherwise, some top notable landmarks and
spots would be the Brandenburg Gate,
the Valhalla, Cologne Cathedral,
the Ulm Minster Church,

the tallest in the world,
the Berlin Victory Column, and hundreds and

hundreds of castles all over. The most
notable one probably being Neuschwanstein,
the concept behind Disney's
Cinderella Castle. Germany also has over

400 zoos, more than any other country in
the world, and of course, everybody knows
about the autobahn, the highway system in
which if you see this sign, it means there's
no speed limit, and it's like that for a
huge portion of the roadway. And no
wonder, considering how fast and wide those
cultivated countrysides can get.
Time for level two!
♫Physical Geography♫
Okay think of it this way, in Germany, the
more down you go, the more up you move.
Basically, Germany lies on the Atlantic
shelf in the North that starts with the
mudflats in the North Sea. Seriously this
island right here is accessible only for
a few hours by foot until the tide comes in
and floods everything. Then everything
just kind of creeps up into the Alps
and the south by Bavaria and
Baden-Württemberg, with the highest
mountain, Zugspitze, located right
along the border with Austria. Kinda like
France, Germany is filled with a vast
irrigating network of rivers like
the Spree, Elbe, Wesel, Rhine and
of course the mighty Danube that starts
here. About a third of the land is arable
and another third is woodland, and after
a millennia of civilization, Germans have
cultivated the crap out of their
country! Most agriculture of course
happens in the north flat plains and the
central regions of the country, which is
by the way kind of like Europe's tornado alley,
due to its position sandwich between
the Arctic blasts of Scandinavia and
the moist warm jet streams of the
Mediterranean below, Germany can be an
atmosphere at war zone in the summer.
There are more tornadoes on average in
Germany than any other country in Europe.
Speaking of flat farmland, Germany is the
world's largest rye and hop producer.
Germans abso-freaking-lutely love their
bread! There are over 300 different kinds
of bread in the country more types than
any other country in the world and
almost every meal incorporate some kind
of slice or small bun or Brötchen of bread.
"Bist du gluten-free?"
Germans are heavy meat eaters, specifically in pork,
they basically know every possible way
to cook a pig. Over 50 different types of
sausage exist, alongside Schnitzels, Rouladen,
Sauerbraten, Schweinshaxe, and a big
party, you might find Spanferkel.
Beer reign supreme
all over, as the third largest consumers
of beer after the Czech Republic,
(Even their president has
no problem with public intoxication)

and Austria. Germany is world-
renowned for their beer which

by the way, follows the Reinheitsgebot rule
in which they're only allowed to
use water, hops, malt, and sometimes yeast.
Nonetheless, about 1,300 breweries exist
pumping out over 5,000 brands. The oldest
continuously existing brewery in the
world started by Benedictine monks in
1040 AD can be found here. Germany takes the
environment very seriously and for the
past two decades, has been going on a
major Green Revolution. As of today they
have the largest installed solar power
capacity and green infrastructure
practices like home installed turbines
and solar panels. I've seen a huge
surgeons in the past 10 years. Forests
dominate the southern regions where the
landscape gets hillier and mountainous,
the most famous one being the Black Forest
or the Schwarzwald
in Baden-Württemberg.

Deer, bears, boar, foxes, badgers and the
national animal the eagle can be found
thriving in these parts. Nonetheless,
economically, Germany is known mostly for
their exceptional engineering and
industry production. Companies we've all
heard of like Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz,
Porsche, Audi, Telekom, Nivea, DHL, Bosch.
Yeah, it's kind of like
the whole "Biscoto/Bolacha"-thing

from Brazil. Remember? Well we
have mudflats, tornadoes, pork, beer,
mountains. All that's missing is people!
Level 3!
Fun little side note: In Germany,
this is three, not this. Now, if the EU
was a family, Germany would kind of be
like the dad who got out of rehab,
reconciled with his wife and kids, and
taking his new life very seriously as
he's haunted by the demons of his past every day.
First of all, the country has about
82 million people and is the most populated
in the EU, second-most in Europe after
Russia and has the fourth largest
nominal GDP in the world. About 80 %
of the country identifies as
ethnically German, 12 % other Europeans,
mostly Polish, Italian, Dutch, and so on,
Turks make up about 3.5 %,
Asian at 2 %, and the rest are made
up of other groups like Africans and
Americans. Also they use the euro, they use the
C&F type outlets and they drive on the
right side of the road. Germany is
without a doubt a global powerhouse.
It is the strongest economy in the EU and
makes up about sixteen percent of the
union's population. It's the third largest
exporter and importer of goods in the
world, and after the United States, Germany is
also the second most popular global
migration destination. Germany
experiences a high standard of living,
tuition free universities, (If you can
accept that is) a mostly
government-subsidized universal
healthcare system. About a quarter is to
privatize and state pension for
retirement at age 65. Now when it comes
to language, things get a little tricky.
Each state kind of has their own type of
German, however to get by most Germans
learn how to speak "Hochdeutsch" or
"High German" which is the standard dialect.
The European Charter however protects the
minority languages of Frisian, Danish,
Romani, Sorbian, which is like a Slavic
base language used along the Czech-
Polish border, and Plattdeutsch, or
"Low German" which has similarities to Dutch
and typically used by the Amish and
Mennonite communities across the world.
In terms of regional distinction, though,
Germany is kind of divided into five
cultural areas. Rhineland,
East and Middle Germany,

North Germany, Baden-Württemberg
and Bavaria. Rhineland is on the west
side and has a culture somewhat more
influenced by France, more Catholic,
carnival celebrations are huge out here.
East and Middle Germany was
the part that used to be

its own country for 40 years as it was
influenced by the Soviets. (Sorbians can
also be found here too.) Northern Germany
has a coastal sea culture that
identifies closer with Denmark and the
Netherlands. They're also known for being
kind of quiet and reserved.
Baden-Württemberg has
an interesting Swabian culture

where they speak a dialect so thick
that only about 40 % of it is
intelligible to other Germans. And then
you have Bavaria, which is where the
Americanized perpetuated stereotypes
about Germany came from with lederhosen,
dirndls, half-timber beer houses, and
cuckoo clocks. For the record, Germans are
sick of those stereotypes, it's like
saying all Americans are cowboys with
guns and horses. Speaking of stereotypes, some
of the stereotypes in Germany include
things like Saxons being very indecisive,
Berliners are always bragging about themselves,
Swabians are stingy,
Bavarians drink too much,
Hessians talk too much

Holsteiners don't talk enough, and so on.
Words differ from regions to. For
For example, in High German
you would say "Auf Wiedersehen!"

But in Bavarian, you would
say "Pfiat di Gott."

In Kölsch, you would say "Tschüss."
And in Rhineland, you might say "Adjus."
And there's so many compound words to get
really long and complicated like --
This is because many words
are "mehrdeutig" or ambiguous

words that are kind of elongated to give
up an extensive meaning. Germans have
very vivid imaginations and make up
words for everything. Like my favorite word:
"Backpfeifengesicht". Not this time!
By the way, for the record, this letter
makes a double S sound, however spelling
reformers have tried to decrease the
usage of this letter in recent years
which has led to some protests. Germans
also love dubbing everything from
foreign media into German. Some like this,
some don't, but either way, it's here to stay.
About 60 % of the country
identified at least nominally as

"Christians" split between Protestants and
Catholics. Germany with even the
birthplace of the Protestant Reformation,
split from the Catholic Church

by Martin Luther. Otherwise,
the rest are mostly

agnostic or irreligious with
a noticeable community of Muslims, mostly
from the huge Turkish and Middle Eastern
communities at about 5 %,
as well as a few Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus
rounding up the remainder 1 %. To kinda get a
feel of what it's like to be German,
you kinda have to understand
where they've come from.

After World War II, they've kind of had a
LOT of work to do.
However it wasn't until the mid fifties
and early sixties that the "Wirtschaftswunder" or
economic wonder happened to which almost
everybody got to work. Basically, this guy
envisioned and implemented a social
market economy combined with free market
capitalism alongside socialist policies
that established fair competition
in a welfare state. GDP increased
by 80 %, investment by 120 %,
labor forces were utilized
to the maximum. Things started to

get better. In Germany, all children are
corralled into general public schools
until age 10 when they are given the
option to enroll in three different
types of middle schools.
Gymnasium, geared towards focusing on higher
linguistic, mathematic and science
fields for universities. Realschule, a middle
ground type of school. And Hauptschule,
a school that is geared towards helping
kids that seem to show promise in
specific vocation or trades. Germany also
has the largest music market in the EU
and the third in the world after the
U.S. and Japan. They love preserving
their heritage and culture through music
and art. In fact, there around
a 130 national orchestras, mostly
supported by public money, and artists
get up 50 % reduction in health
insurance through a special type of
offer in the legal system. One thing that
still kind of supposedly maintained
itself in Germany is the mindset of
Totally butchered that!
Which kind of translates
to a lingering sense of guilt from the
past. Germans have reportedly some of the
lowest levels of national pride and
unless if you're at a soccer game, chances
are, you almost never see anyone
holding a German flag or waiting it in any
kind of like patriotic setting.
It's weird, but it's kind of how things are.
They've made great strides to move on
from the past. Nazi flags and "Mein Kampf"
are incredibly illegal items to own in
Germany. They even have a rule.
The Volksverhetzung, which basically says:

you cannot talk trash by denying the past
atrocities. Some people say this
infringes on free speech.
Others say it's good because it
solidified truths. Otherwise, some
notable Germans throughout history
includes Charlemagne, although he was a
Frank, but eh- I guess it kinda counts.
Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich, Gutenberg,
Bach, Beethoven, Carl Benz, Albert Einstein,
although Americans like to claim that he
moved to the US and became an American,
Johannes Kepler, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Friedrich Schiller, Michael Schumacher,
Alexander von Humboldt, and
of course, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,
co-founded Marxism...
*cough cough*
But one thing Germans do best
would have to be diplomacy.
To this day, the German passport holds the
most visa-free nations out of any other
country in the world just beating Sweden.
Therefore, you can kinda conclude that
Germany kind of knows how to relate to
people. Let's find out how in the final round!
Level four!
♫Friend Zone♫
Germany knows how to make friends.
They have over 220 diplomatic missions abroad
and over 350 honorary councils and have
an incredibly high position of authority
in the EU. The closest African friend
would probably Namibia. As a former German
colony way back in the 19th century,
Namibia held on relations and to this day,
German is still a recognized language in Namibia.
Germans have been supporting and
sharing ties both economically and
ideology for over a century.
India and South Korea are really close friends in
Asia. India supported both East and West
Germany during the Cold War and after
reunification they were like "Woohoo! Even better!"
And Germany is to South Korea
what Japan is to France. They love to
piggy-back off each other's ideas and
cultures, especially in the automotive
industry. Many South Koreans were sent to
Germany after the Korean War to work
abroad and study and Germans have been
growing fascination with visiting South Korea.
The U.S. is probably the closest
ally outside of the EU. About 30 %
of Americans claim German
heritage and after World War II, the
Marshall Plan allow the U.S. to give
post-war aid to Germany, which helped
kick-start the economic recovery.
Germany was a key figure in the formation of the
State of Israel after World War II
which after the Holocaust, left an
obligation to invest in the building up
of a Jewish community. Turkey is probably
the closest Middle-Eastern ally as the
Turks make up the largest Asian
demographic in Germany, although many of
them may or may not also identify as
Kurds, but since Kurds don't have a
state of their own they usually go into
Turkish passports when immigrating and are
documented as such. They're best friends
however would probably be... literally all
their neighbors! The thing is, think Germany is
kinda like Bosnia and Herzegovina in which
by default, they kind of get friends
based off of the regional alliances.
Bavarians get along with Austrians,
Baden-Württembergs get along with Switzerland,
East Germany had good
relations with the Slavic countries,

the Rhine states love Belgium, Luxembourg and
France, and the northside loves
the Netherlands and Denmark. France, though, is
kinda like the trophy wife of Germany, as
the two have had an angry start, but then
eventually fell in love and work
together beautifully. France is like the
beautiful flashy spokesperson for the EU
that stands in the spotlight as Germany
stand in the background managing all the
money and logistical work.
In conclusion, although Germanic people have existed
for thousands of years and actually
unified German state didn't appear until
kinda recently, and the brief time that
they've been around, they've kind of gone
through some of the most intense world
revolutionizing historical events
possibly imagine, yet they come out
working hard and building the way up to
become a world superpower.
You got to give it to them. There's
something about the Germans. And with that,
final boss level complete! Stay tuned!
Another African state Germany has ties to,
Ghana is coming up next!
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Geography Now! Germany

446 Folder Collection
Elma Kung published on September 19, 2017
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