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German as a foreign language dictionary. Photo copyright dpa
I recently returned to Germany for the first time since moving and it felt as if I never left. I was speaking German, indulging myself in good food, and surrounded by familiar brands and sights. Even though I haven’t missed speaking German, it felt good to know I could still carry a conversation in a foreign language – especially since my command of Dutch is non-existent. To honor what Mark Twain eloquently described as “the awful German language,” here are my 10 favorite words (in no particular order):
When it comes to pigs, there is no beating around the bush: as much as I want to dispel the idea that German food is nothing but pork and sausage, I must acknowledge that there indeed is a longstanding and intimate relationship between Germans and their pigs.
With a per capita amount of 87 pounds per year, pork is the most consumed meat in Germany. Consumption is decreasing slightly every year, and the meat industry has a nervous eye on this development. But let’s be realistic: Germans won’t turn into a nation of vegetarians. Poultry, beef, fish and seafood have a long way to go to catch up with pork – even with their numbers added up, their overall consumption is less than pork. That Germans keep filling their plates with pork is of vital economic interest, as Germany produces more pork than it consumes. The country is the biggest exporter of pork in the European Union.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Pigs, Pork, and Luck.
Surrounded by hundreds of creative industries and cultural institutions, Berlin is one of those cities where there is always something left to watch, visit and feel. This autumn brings an important event to the cultural calendar: The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Therefore those who fancy a cultural trip to the German capital will be in luck. Art, cinema and photography will be some of the highlights of the season.
“Magic Rooms & Contemplatio”: The Art of Contemplation
This is a preview of Events You Won’t Want to Miss in Berlin This Autumn.
October 3 is the German national holiday, the Day of German Unity. But unlike the Fourth of July in the United States, there are no parades and no traditions, culinary or other, because the holiday only goes back to 1990. It was introduced to mark German Reunification that year and replaced June 17, the holiday that commemorated the East German uprising of 1953.
This is a preview of German Cuisine on the Day of German Unity.
Unlike me, my husband does not enjoy cooking. His repertoire nonetheless includes two dishes where I yield the kitchen to him without hesitation: grilled cheese sandwiches and American pancakes. The emphasis is here on American because German pancakes are quite different, in ingredients and size, and they are also eaten at a different time of the day.
On more than one occasion my husband announced to friends or family visiting from Germany that he would make them pancakes for breakfast the next morning. Sometimes he got a puzzled look and lack of enthusiasm, which he did not understand. So I told him he should explain that pancakes are a breakfast fare and that American pancakes are actually much smaller than German pancakes.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: To Each His Own (Pancake).
My first visit to Germany was in the summer of 2004, when I had the opportunity to participate in a two-week workshop about the European Integration organized by a leading political think-tank in Bonn.
Bonn is one of the oldest German cities founded by Romans on the banks of the beautiful river Rhine. Culturally, economically, and politically Bonn is one of the most important cities in Germany. Between 1949 and 1990 it even served as a capital of West Germany. Bonn’s picturesque nature inspired poets such as Heinrich Heine to create their timeless masterpieces.
This is a preview of Expat Stories: My First Time in Germany.