You may know Germany as a country that loves beer and sausages, but it’s also a really interesting and vibrant place that’s full of history.
Don’t worry if you’re an international student that doesn't know too much about the country, these Germany facts will help you get to know the country a lot better before you move here. Even if you’ve lived in Germany for a long time, we’re sure there will be some facts in here that you never knew before!
We’ll cover some basic information about the country and all the facts about Germany you should know as an international student before you move. We’ll also be including some cool and interesting facts that you might be surprised about!Here are some of our favourite facts about Germany that we think everyone should know!
Germany is located in central Europe and shares borders with a lot of nearby countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and Czech Republic. You can see where Germany is located on the map below.
The population of Germany is 83.02 million (2019), which is the third-largest in Europe.
Here’s the population of some other European countries, for comparison:
France - 67.06 million (4th largest)
UK - 66.65 million (5th largest)
Spain - 46.94 million (7th largest)
Netherlands - 17.28 million (12th largest)
The capital of Germany is Berlin, which is located in the northeast part of the country.
Berlin has a population of 3.645 million and is a very popular destination for expats and international students.
Germany has an area of 357,386 km², making it the 7th biggest country in Europe.
Here’s the area of some other European countries, for comparison:
France - 551,695km² (3rd biggest)
UK - 242,495km² (11th biggest)
Spain - 498,511km² (4th biggest)
Netherlands - 41,198km² (32nd biggest)
Germany’s currency is the Euro, which we’ve used since 2002. Before that, we used the Deutsche Mark as our currency.
This is a bit of a tricky question, which there are 3 answers for:
February 2nd 962 AD - the date Germany was first recognised as a region
January 18th, 1871 - the date where Germany became a unified state
October 3rd, 1990 - the date when East and West Germany were united to form the current Federal Republic of Germany
Germany is the second most popular destination for expats in the world. In 2019, 1,558,612 people moved to Germany and around 400,00 of these people were students. At CBS, around 20% of our students are international students from across the world.
In total, Germany is home to 13 million immigrants who are most commonly from Turkey, Poland, and Italy.
A lot of people are attracted to Germany because of our robust economy and well-developed education system.
In Germany we have 1,500 different types of beer, 300 types of bread and 1,000 types of sausage
In the state of Bavaria, beer is actually considered a food!
Germany is home to the biggest Beer Festival in the world, Oktoberfest in Munich, where the standard glass of beer is a whole litre!
If you want to order 1 beer in Germany, you show your thumb and for 2 beers you show your first finger
More than 800 million currywurst sausages are eaten every year in Germany. The snack is so popular that there’s even a museum dedicated to it in Berlin
Germany is the second largest beer consumer in Europe - we usually drink around 2.55 billion gallons of it a year
In Germany, there are over 1,200 breweries that produce over 5,000 brands of German beer
Most German main dishes include meat and sometimes fish - the most popular kinds are pork, beef, veal or fish
The most famous German food exports are sauerkraut, sausages and brezeln (pretzels)
The sweet maker, Haribo, runs a scheme where local children can exchange acorns for sweets. Their acorns then get sent to nature reserves to feed animals.
German is the most popular third language that’s taught in the world.
German is the most common native language in Europe and is 11th on the list of most widely-spoken languages in the world
There are 35 different dialects of the German language
Because there are so many different dialects in Germany, people may have problems understanding those from different regions - some regional films even have to be shown with subtitles!
The Germans are very protective of their language so most movies are dubbed into German using local actors - this has made dubbing a 115 million Euro industry
In the German language there are three genders - the third being ‘neuter’
German has a unique letter that’s not used in any other language, the ß, called "Eszett" which is pronounced like a double-s
German has lots of words that don’t exist in other languages. For example, "fremdschämen" translates to the shame felt on someone else’s behalf and "Fernweh" translates to the feeling of lusting after an adventure
The German languages shares 60% of it’s vocabulary with English
German is also the official language in Austria and Liechtenstein and one of the official languages in Switzerland and Luxembourg
The word for football in German is “fußball”
Football has been played in Germany since 1974
The German Football Association is called Deutscher Fußball-Bund or DFB
There are more football fan clubs in Germany than anywhere else in the world
Germany has only lost a penalty shootout in a major competition once, in 1976
The premier league in Germany is called Bundesliga and includes popular teams such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
The German football team has won 4 World Cups, making it the joint-second most successful nation in the tournament
Germany also has a record 3 UEFA European Championships (joint with Spain) and won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017
A popular football chant in Germany is “Ole, Ole, Ole, Super Deutschland, Ole” which is the German version of “Ole, Ole, Ole, We Are The Champions, Ole.”
The women’s football team is also very successful and has won two FIFA Women's World Cups and a record 8 UEFA European Women's Championships
One-third of Germany is covered in forests and woodlands
You can find over 2100 castles throughout the country
Our capital city, Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice
There have been many capital cities of Germany including Aachen, Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg, Weimar, and Bonn - and the current capital, Berlin
You can find Europe’s largest train station in Berlin
Germany used to be made up of lots of small kingdoms until they were unified as the German Reich in 1871
German people love to travel and spend more on their holidays than any other nation
The highest peak in Germany is the Zugspitze in Bavaria which is 2,962 meters high
Germany has a moderate climate all year round, in July the average temperature is almost 17 degrees and in January it can be -0.5 degrees
The highest temperature ever recorded in Germany was in 2019 when it got to 42.6 degrees in Lingen
65% of the highways in Germany have no speed limit and are called the Autobahn
Germany sells around 6 million cars a year, making it one of the largest car producers in the world
The first book ever printed was in German, and the first magazine was launched in Germany in 1663
We’re a nation that loves books, we publish around 94,000 titles every year
Germany has more zoos than any other country, we have over 400
Fanta was created in Germany during the Second World War after Coca-Cola syrup was prevented from being imported into the country
Munich is the second most punctual large airport in the world after Tokyo
Some of the world’s most famous inventions were created in Germany - the lightbulb, automated calculators, automobiles, insulin, petrol engines, jet engines, and the Walkman (to name a few!)
Germany is a very cultured country, with 6,200 museums, 820 theatres, 130 professional orchestras, and 8,800 libraries.
Because we have so many cultural activities for people to enjoy, it was found that more people go to exhibitions than to football matches in Germany
When visiting Berlin, JFK famously said “Ich bin ein Berliner” which actually means “I am a jelly donut.”
Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft is the longest word to be published - it’s 79 letters long!
The tradition of having a Christmas tree was started in Germany
Our Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has a Barbie doll created after her
You’ll find the world’s narrowest street in the German city of Reutlingen, at its narrowest point it’s only 31 cm (one foot) wide
Locally, we call the Chancellor’s office the “washing machine”
Escaping prison in Germany isn’t illegal because it’s a basic human instinct to want to be free
There are laws that determine what you can name your baby in Germany - the law bans names that don’t denote a gender or use a family name as the first name
When children start school in Germany, they receive a Schultüte which is a cone of presents that helps to ease the stress of entering a new, serious life
Even though it’s called Oktoberfest, the festival actually starts in September!
Germany is the 5th most popular country for international students
In 2017, 91% of graduates were active in the job market. Learn more about your chances in Germany after graduation
We have over 380 universities in Germany that deliver over 17,000 study programmes
Times Higher Education named Germany the 2nd cheapest country in Europe to study. Learn more about the cost of living in Germany as an international student
The average cost for an international student living in Germany is £7,113
In an article by the BBC, Germany was the top university in providing global education and supporting international students
If you’re a student who likes to stay active, Germany is the right place as outdoor activities are very popular - especially sports like hiking, cycling, and skiing
The German school system is extremely well-structured and produces some of the most accomplished students in the world.
Germany has a very high level of employment - in 2016, over half of the people aged 15–64 were working (43.3m people) and unemployment was at a record low of 4.2%
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up around 52% of Germany’s economic output
Germany is the largest economy in the EU, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.73 trillion USD - which is also the 4th highest in the world
Germany is focused on sustainability and is a world leader in climate and energy policies – at least a third of Germany is powered by renewable energy. Here at CBS, we are a climate-neutral university. Learn more about sustainability and climate neutrality at CBS
The average salary in Germany is €42,000 a year, the 11th highest salary in Europe
Germany is home to a large number of expats which has helped the employment rate to consistently rise over the past 12 years
¾ of the German working population is employed in the services sector
We’re a very industrious country, but actually, work less than a lot of other countries. In 2017, the average German worked 1,356 hours a year on average in 2017
The biggest companies in Germany are Volkswagen, Daimler, Allianz, BMW, and Siemens
There are many career possibilities in Germany, the current most in-demand jobs are Information Technology, Banking, Telecommunications, Engineering, Marketing and Construction
Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany and is home to 1,108,000 million people - it’s also one of the oldest cities in the country (it was founded by the Romans in the year 50!)
Cologne is home to 99,000 students
The Cologne Cathedral is the second largest religious building in Germany and took 632 years to build
Cologne has an entire museum entirely dedicated to chocolate!
In Cologne, you’ll find over 40 museums and 110 galleries
Every July, the largest musical fireworks display in Germany is held in Cologne - it’s called the ‘Cologne Lights’
Kölsch is a beer brewed in Cologne that has a sweet and refreshing taste - the name is also protected by law so that only beers brewed in Cologne can use the name Kölsch
You’ll find Europe’s largest Pride event in Cologne that’s held every year on the first weekend of July - more than half a million people come to celebrate
People in Cologne have their own language, which is called Kölsch
The city of Cologne was destroyed during the Second World War but was rebuilt following the same layout in the 50s
Cologne is the only German city where house numbers have four-digits
There’s a very famous sculpture in Cologne on top of Neumarkt Galerie - it’s a 12-meter tall ice cream cone which is pretty hard to miss if you come and visit!
We hope that we helped you learn lots of new and interesting facts about Germany. Did any of these facts surprise you?
If you’d like to learn more, or need more information about what to know about Germany before you move here, you can check out our other pages on tips for living in Germany, what’s Germany best known for, and why you should study in Germany.
If all of these facts have convinced you that Germany is the right place for you to study, you can take a look at the wide range of Bachelor's & Master's degree programmes that we offer. A lot of our courses are taught in English and we have over 70 nationalities on campus - so we’re sure you’ll feel right at home.
If you have any questions, schedule a meeting with one of our friendly study advisors, who would be more than happy to help you, or attend one of our virtual info sessions.
We hope that you enjoy getting to know more about our school, study programmes and what we stand for. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook, get to know us at one of our Information Events, or Contact our student advisors to get more info.