10 Somewhat Ridiculous Facts About Germany
By Marriette Rough, Segway guide and trivia master.
1. There is an Angela Merkel Barbie Doll. Toy manufacturer Mattel celebrated their 50th Birthday back in 2009 and to commemorate this fine day they had a Merkel doll modelled in the German Chancellor’s honour. For all those aspiring young girls…
2. Since 1936 Haribo has been sponsoring a free sweet exchange program at the site of the original factory in Bonn. The local kids collect acorns and chestnuts for weeks before the day and then queue up in front of the factory to have them weighed. How many sweets they get in return depends on how many buckets full of nuts they bring. These nuts are loaded directly on to truck containers and are driven to wild animal parks for the critters to feast on. Everyone is a winner.
3. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in ’89 many segments of were auctioned off and were shipped off around the globe. There is a section in the Vatican gardens. Perhaps a little weirder is that there is a segment in the men’s room of the Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas. The urinals are mounted on a graffiti-covered section of the wall, which is luckily protected by glass.
4. The German Government can and will reject weird baby names. The person’s gender must be obvious. However, Germany recently became the first country in Europe to allow parents to leave the gender blank on birth certificates if the child has characteristics of both genders. So, maybe one day soon parents will be allowed to go to town on the name front!
5. Giving someone the middle finger in Germany is in fact illegal. A driver can report your license plate if you flip them the bird and you may well get a fine in the post.
6. You can swim naked in the beautiful Neo-Classical bath house Stattbad Neukölln (a public swimming pool) in Berlin on Saturday and Sunday from 5-10pm. Not for the faint hearted.
7. Germans do not get treated on their birthdays. In fact quite the contrary, they have to treat everyone else. They bring their own cake and champagne to have a mini celebration at work. Then if they go out with friends for a meal, they pay. For everyone. Happy Birthday!
8. Prostitution is legal in Germany. The Government actually goes as far as paying for a sexual intercourse for disabled people. In fact they even offer an official training course to prostitutes in ‘sexual companionship’.
9. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and if someone were to do this in a public forum they could end up with a maximum of 5 years in prison.
10. There are over 1,000 types of sausage in Germany. On the beer front, there are over 5000 types. Good luck trying to sample them all before you leave!