Geography Now! Germany

Alright! 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 through France’s forest, 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. Pfffhhh! 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, Charlemagne,
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?” “Nein!” 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. “Adidas!” “Puma!” “ADIDAS!” “PUMA!” 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! ♫Demographics♫ 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 — Ughhhh! 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 “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” 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. “YOU MONSTER!” 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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