Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

soc.culture.german FAQ (posted monthly) part 1/6

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Restaurant inspections ]
Archive-name: german-faq/part1
Last modified: 2001-09-02
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Version: 2001-09

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
  ||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   FAQ for SOC.CULTURE.GERMAN   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~||
  ||                      -- general remarks --                       ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||      DOWN-LOADING the FAQ                                        ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||  via WWW: (aka HTTP)                                             ||
  ||    The FAQ homepage is at            ||
  ||    where you can also obtain tarballs and zip-archives           ||
  ||    for download.                                                 ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||  via EMAIL:                                                      ||
  ||     The FAQ is no longer available via email. If you             ||
  ||     absolutely, positively can't get the FAQ either from         ||
  ||     the WWW or from USENET, send email to       ||
  ||     and highly trained chipmunks will hand-pick a version        ||
  ||     for you and send it off (most probably to you)               ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||  via FTP:                                                        ||
  ||    The friendly people from news.answers archive the postings    ||
  ||    of this FAQ on their server. You can find it at               ||
  ||                       ||
  ||    The website above also provides zip- and tar-archives of      ||
  ||    the ASCII and the HTML version of the FAQ.                    ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||                                                                  ||
  ||  David Lutterkort                   Berkeley,  Sun, 02 Sep 2001  ||

                      Table of parts

  Part 1: Sections  1- 4
  Part 2: Sections  5- 7
  Part 3: Sections  8-12
  Part 4: Sections 13-17
  Part 5: Sections 18-22
  Part 6: Sections 23-27

                     Table of Sections

  1. Introduction to the FAQ List
  2. Traditions and Cultural Oddities
  3. Soc.Culture.German
  4. News
  5. The Internet
  6. Geography
  7. Language
  8. Electronic Language
  9. Genealogy
  10. Phone System
  11. Political Life
  12. History, Law -- Internet Resources
  13. Books
  14. Audio / Video
  15. Foreign Affairs; Consulates / Embassies
  16. Educational System
  17. Economy; Industry; Working in Germany
  18. Broadcasting Media
  19. German zip codes (Postleitzahlen, PLZ)
  20. (Public) Transportation in Germany
  21. Cars and Driving in Germany
  22. Tourism
  23. Money Talk
  24. Moving!
  25. Urban Legends
  26. Humor
  27. Questions and Answers

                     Table of Contents for Part  1

  1. Introduction to the FAQ List

     1.1 Where can I get it ?
     1.2 This thing is huge. Is there a way to search the FAQ       ?
     1.3  May I Copy the FAQ List?
     1.4 Can I help, too?
     1.5 Can I believe what's in here?
     1.6 Who did it ?
     1.7 What's new in the FAQ ?
        1.7.1 Page comments

  2. Traditions and Cultural Oddities

     2.1 German Holidays and Festivals
        2.1.1 Holiday Dates
        2.1.2 Carnival
        2.1.3 St. Martin
        2.1.4 Advent, St. Nicholas and Christmas
  St. Nicholas
     2.2 Walpurgis Night
     2.3 Wedding Traditions?
     2.4 Card games -- Skat and Doppelkopf
     2.5 Gluehwein Recipe
     2.6 German Cooking
     2.7 Flea Markets and such
     2.8 Kneipen, Discos, ...and curfew time
     2.9  Who are these freaks in black suits asking me for money ?
        2.9.1 Richtfest
        2.9.2 Page comments

  3. Soc.Culture.German

     3.1 What Language to use?
     3.2 How to Type Umlauts?
        3.2.1 Page comments

  4. News

     4.1 Newspapers and Magazines online
        4.1.1 National newspapers and magazines
        4.1.2 Regional and local publications
     4.2 GermNews
        4.2.1 Searching the GermNews Archive Notebooks
     4.3 De-News (the English version)
     4.4 Deutsche Welle News
     4.5 Press Agencies
     4.6 Magazines
     4.7  Mail Ordering Newspapers and Magazines
        4.7.1 Page comments

         @ ....CITY              !_      __!     __/    @ KOPENHAGEN     
         \ ...river                !   !_\~~~~! !     /~                
         # ....lake                !     / `\_ ! `~\   \   o s t s e e   
                                 !-!    `!    ~` ___;~'~-                
                                 '. !    `,      \__!       ,-\          
                                  ._!  KIEL@--._\       ,\__\_!          
        n o r d                    `\_        ,-'_ ,-~-~    `~---___--~  
                  ..............  /~~~`\ HAMBURG~ ~               !      
       s e e   ..',------.!~~~~~U\!     `\@_                       \     
             ,'  /        U       !weser    `~-_ elbe          oder/     
             /\ !_                 @\           `-_              /'      
      AMSTER! ,' _!            BREMEN!             `\    BERLIN  \_      
      DAM  /'@`-'                    /  HANNOVER     !       @     !     
         /_      rhein              |_   @          /               \___ 
           ~~~~~----_                 !             \___                 
              DUESSEL`,  @@ RUHR      !             elbe~`\              
                DORF @!@@@@ POTT       !                @  `\            
         @             @@                           LEIPZIG  `\          
        BRUESSEL       `@KOELN                                 `@ DRESDEN
                          _!   FRANKFURT                          PRAG   
                        _- `\___@_     _    _                       @    
                 mosel_-      `\  ~!__! `\_! ~~                          
                               !    main      NUERNBERG                  
                  SAAR @       `,               @                        
                   BRUECKEN   ,'  STUTTGART          donau               
           NANCY            ,'      @           ___--~~~~-_              
              @            /                _-~~           ~~--__        
                     rhein'           __--~~                     ~~@--_-_
                        !       ----~~            @              LINZ    
                        `\___,-----### boden  MUENCHEN      @            
                    BASEL @     @    ### see              SALZBURG       
                              ZUERICH            @                       

  1.  Introduction to the FAQ List

  This posting contains answers to frequently asked questions in
  soc.culture.german.  Please check this posting first before you ask a
  question in soc.culture.german.

  1.1.  Where can I get it ?

  The FAQ is available on a website
  <> from which you can also
  download it in various formats.

  It is posted to soc.culture.german on the first of every month.

  If neither of these methods works for you, send email to and request a copy.

  1.2.  ?  This thing is huge. Is there a way to search the FAQ

  The whole FAQ is indexed with htdig <>. The search
  page <> lets you find the stuff
  you're interested in.

  The FAQ used to contain long lists of postal addresses of various
  institutions. These are slowly going away since it is too hard to keep
  these lists up to date. Instead, the search engine
  <> also indexes the pages where
  institutions like the Goethe Institut <> publish
  postal addresses of their branch offices. To try it out, search for
  Lyon and marvel in amazement.

  1.3.  May I Copy the FAQ List?

  The FAQ is under the GNU Free Documentation License
  <>. The exact legal statent is:

        Copyright (c)  1999-2000  David Lutterkort.
        Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
        under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1
        or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
        with the Invariant Sections being Section 1 'Introduction to the FAQ
        List', with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
        A copy of the license can be obtained from

  If you downloaded the FAQ as a tar- or zip-archive, you can also find
  a copy of the license in the file COPYING.

  1.4.  Can I help, too?

  This FAQ list was prepared by collecting different postings and email
  messages. Input is always welcome.  Maybe you would like to volunteer
  for writing a paragraph or two? <twinkle> <peering over shoulder>
  <wink> <wink>

  So, please, please, send any comments, corrections, enhancements, new
  questions etc. to If you want to speed up the
  process of incorporating your material into the FAQ, try to submit
  something that I can (almost) cut and paste into the FAQ.

  1.5.  Can I believe what's in here?

  Even though I strive for accuracy and I try to verify all I can, the
  information contained in this FAQ list is nevertheless provided as is.
  The good news is that it's free.

  1.6.  Who did it ?

  Over the long, long history of the USENET, this FAQ has had various
  maintainers, who under the greatest personal sacrifices and hardships
  faithfully puttered over this list, turning it into what it is today.
  They are:

  Ralf Vogelgesang: maintainer from 19xx to 1999

  Who else ?


  What's new in the FAQ ?

  Recently, I changed these sections:

        Completely rewrote the section on ``humor''.

        Some blurb on the ``Green-Card'' added.

        Many changes throughout. Special thanks and kudos to Paul
        Schmitz-Josten for his detailed suggestions.

        Added a comment system to the website. See this      page
        <> for some information
        about it.

        Moved the FAQ to a new website <>.

        New section on ``minimum wage'', thanks to Peter Haefner and
        Stefan Huebel. Added an explanation of ``St. Martin'', thanks to
        Karl-Hendrik Kueper. Minor changes in ``Money Talk'' and
        ``Broadcast Media''.

        Revised the section on ``public transportation'' and added links
        to online resources. Thanks to Karl-Hendrik Kueper.

        Added long list of links to ``newspapers and magazines
        online''. Thanks to Joerg Ulrich Chlistalla.

        New section on ``immigration''. Many people in
        soc.culture.german contributed to this, most notably Wayne Brown
        and Dirk Brink.

        Some more ``Tongue   Twisters''. Thanks to Georg Umlauf.

        Changed the sections on ``the        phone system'',
        ``government        resources'', ``elections'', ``history'',
        ``card games''. Smaller changes throughout. First stab at
        updating dead links. Still too many left.

        Reworked the ``section on the   internet'', in particular the
        subsections on ``email in   Germany''  and ``getting Internet

        Cleaned up and updated the section on ``Zip

        Started this What's new section. Older entries are retrofitted
        and pretty spotty.

        Updated some information on the ``German railway system'' in
        ``Section 21: Public      transportation''. Thanks to Mark

        Added a full-text search capability

        Took over as maintainer of the FAQ. Converted the FAQ to SGML
        and discovered why many people dislike the Linuxdoc DTD.

  1.7.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments

  2.  Traditions and Cultural Oddities

  2.1.  German Holidays and Festivals

  2.1.1.  Holiday Dates

  The German Information Center <> maintains
  a well hidden list of German holidays
  <> with
  information on their origins.

   Date       German Name                    English Name       Observance                                                                                                        Variable
  Jan 1      Neujahr                        New Year
  Jan 6      Heilige Drei Koenige           Epiphany           ``BW'',``BY'',``SN''
  Feb 19     Rosenmontag                                        no official holiday, but free day inmost parts of the Rhineland                                                   7 weeks before Easter Monday
  Apr 5      Karfreitag                     Good Friday                                                                                                                           Friday before Easter Monday
  Apr 8      Ostermontag                    Easter Monday                                                                                                                         First Sunday after the first newmoon in spring
  May 1      Tag der Arbeit                 Labour Day
  May 16     Christi Himmelfahrt            Ascension Day                                                                                                                         11 days before Whitsuntide, a Thursday
  May 27     Pfingstmontag                  Whitsuntide                                                                                                                           7 weeks after Easter Monday
  Jun 6      Fronleichnam                   Corpus Christi     ``BW'',``HE'',``NW'',``RP'',``SL''.In ``SN'' and ``TH''  only towns and villageswhich are mostly Roman Catholic    10 days after Whitsuntide, a Thursday
  Aug 15     Mariae Himmelfahrt                                 in ``SN'', in``BY'' in towns and village which aremostly catholic
  Oct 3      Tag der deutschen Einheit      National holiday
  Oct 31     Reformationstag                Reformation Day     ``BB'',``MV'',``SN'',``ST'',In ``TH'' only towns/villages with mostlyprotestant population
  Nov 1      Allerheiligen                  All Saint's Day     ``BW'',``BY'',``NW'',``RP'',``SL''.In ``TH'' only towns and villages which aremostly Roman Catholic
  Dec 24     Heilig Abend                   Christmas Eve       Half a holiday, after noon
  Dec 25     Erster Weihnachtsfeiertag      Christmas Day
  Dec 26     Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag     Boxing Day
  Dec 31     Silvester                      New Year's Eve      Half a holiday, after noon

                German Holidays; dates are given for 1996.

                 Abbreviation     Federal State
                 BY               Bayern
                 NI               Niedersachsen
                 BW               Baden-Wuerttemberg
                 NW               Nordrhein-Westfalen
                 BE               Berlin
                 RP               Rheinland-Pfalz
                 BB               Brandenburg
                 SN               Sachsen
                 HB               Hansestadt Bremen
                 ST               Sachsen-Anhalt
                 HE               Hessen
                 SL               Saarland
                 HH               Hansestadt Hamburg
                 SH               Schleswig-Holstein
                 MV               Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
                 TH               Thueringen

              ISO 3166 Abbreviations for the Federal States

                             Year     Easter
                             1997     Mar/30
                             1998     Apr/12
                             1999     Apr/4

             Some of the upcoming dates of variable holidays.

  2.1.2.  Carnival

  In Germany the season of Carnival is referred to as Karneval or
  Fastnacht or Fasching depending on the region.  It's very different
  from e.g. Brazilian or Venecian (Venice/Italy) Carnival. In general,
  Carnival is a Catholic festival. In predominantly protestant areas
  you'll find little Carnival activities. It is the period before Ash
  Wednesday, before the Lent, the fasting-days, begin. People take it as
  the last opportunity to drink, eat and frolic to their hearts content.
  Until Easter things will be going to some extremes.
  A common trait throughout Germany is people's liking for costumes and
  disguises, may they be traditional (e.g. in Baden or in Venice/Italy)
  or leaning towards the bizarre side as in the Rheinische Karneval,
  (i.e. between Mainz and the Dutch border along the river Rhine)
  Naturally, children like to dress up but adults do so, as well.

  The Alemannische Fasnet, celebrated mainly in Southwestern Germany and
  northern Switzerland, has its roots in pagan beliefs and is
  preoccupied with chasing ghosts and demons by intimidating them with
  very elaborate scary wooden masks, fire and the terrible noise of
  pipes and drums. One of the most impressive displays of the
  alemannische Fasnet can be watched in Basel, Switzerland at the
  Narrensprung (run of the fools).  For the Narrensprung, which starts
  early in the morning between 4am and 5am, all the lights in the city
  of Basel are turned off and men disguised in traditional costumes
  parade through the streets, accompanied by marching bands playing
  traditional songs.

  The Rheinische Karneval has its roots in the French occupation of the
  Rhineland following Napoleaon in the early 1800s, mocking the
  occupiers. Traditional Karneval costumes are modeled on the military
  uniforms of that time. The season begins on 11/11 at 11:11 a.m. at
  which time people on market places of every major Rhineland town
  celebrate Hoppeditz Erwachen (The awaking of Hoppeditz, a figure in
  the Carnival).  Typical music is played, disguised people drink beer,
  wine, champagne...  and Hoppeditz rises from his bed (or grave).  This
  beginning mark is not really a big event, however, very quickly normal
  day-to-day life takes over again; Christmas passes..., Silvester
  passes...  but eventually Carnival gets going! Some Sitzungen start
  being held here and there; people commence at halls for a show that
  starts precisely at 7:11 (or 8:11) p.m. On the stage a panel of eleven
  (the Elferrat) presides the Sitzung and some artists (who can be
  ordinary people) come on stage.  Music groups perform and dance groups
  and especially Buettenredner -- men and women who make mocking
  speeches about everyday life, politics (local, national,
  international) and so on.  The most important of the evening are,
  however, the Prince and Princess of Carnival. Every town has their own
  royal couple.  The Prince and Princess' guards bear wooden rifles and
  wear uniforms resembling those of Napoleons armies which occupied the
  Rhineland from about 1800 to 1815. Their manner of conducting serves
  to ridicule military in general.

  The hot phase of Karneval starts on 11:11am of the Thursday before Ash
  Wednesday, the so-called Weiberfastnacht (Carnival of women), the day
  women take control. (Wearers of ties beware! Women might carry
  scissors to trim your manly accessories -- and you won't even be
  allowed to complain!-) 1997-01

  From Saturday to Tuesday parades take place in many towns; the most
  important ones are on Rosenmontag ... starting at (you guess!)
  11:11am. The three big ones are in Duesseldorf, Cologne and Mainz. In
  the parades you see some brass bands, a lot of disguised people, a few
  guests from abroad (US brass bands, Brazilian groups; only in the big
  parades) and many Motivwagen. Those are tractors with a trailor
  displaying a motive, some paper dolls representing celebraties or
  politicians to mock about... other Wagen carry the Prince and
  Princess, or their guards or the children prince and princess. All
  parading groups throw sweets or other goodies into the watching crowd.
  Spectators along the way shout Helau or Alaaf (depending on the area.)
  There are different traditions to end up Carnival. On Ash Wednesday
  0:00, Carnival is over. The Hoppeditz goes back to his grave, or the
  nubbel has to be burnt...

  2.1.3.  St. Martin

  According to legend, St. Martin was a knight in Roman times who
  charitably cut his cloak into two with his sword and shared it with a
  beggar who was about to freeze to death. This memorable event is
  celebrated to this day in November, mainly in Southern and Western
  Germany. St. Martinstag is the 11th of November. The celebrations
  involve little kids walking around town at dusk on November 10th,
  carrying home-made lanterns. The lanterns used to be made from
  hollowed out beets with a face carved in, similar to what Americans do
  to pumpkins around Halloween. The kids parade threw town singing
  traditional songs, sometimes accompanied by a St. Martin on a horse.
  In some regions the kids also go gripschen (grabbing) by singing songs
  in front of houses, and being rewarded with candies, apples and nuts.

  After the parade, kids traditionally get a Weckmann and a cup of hot
  chocolate, while the adults devour a Martinsgans (goose). The Weckmann
  is a sweet breadroll, 25-30 cm long,  in the shape of a man with
  raisins for the eyes and often a white clay pipe in his mouth.

  2.1.4.  Advent, St. Nicholas and Christmas

  Of course, the usual disclaimer applies: regional variations are to be
  expected!  Advent

  Advent is very similar to the way it is celebrated in the US, except
  for the wreath displayed with four candles on a table instead of being
  hung on the door. The Adventszeit are the four weeks (each concluded
  with an Adventssonntag) before Christmas.  It is customary to light
  only the number of candles on the wreath that correspond with the
  count of the Advent Sundays having passed. Consider the old nursery

       Advent, Advent,
       ein Lichtlein brennt.
       Erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier --
       und dann steht das Christkind vor der Tuer.

  Instead of the last line, you may find the rather sarcastic variation:

          und wenn das fuenfte Lichtlein brennt,
                dann hast du Weihnachten verpennt.  St. Nicholas

  St. Nicholas is based on a bishop of Myra (in what is today Turkey)
  who lived in the 4th century AD. He is said to have provided
  charities to people, in particular children.  He is usually portrayed
  in a bishop's habit with a Mitra and a red coat.

  In the catholic tradition, on the eve before December 6th St.
  Nicholaus comes to the children's houses, accompanied by his servant,
  Knecht Ruprecht (sometimes called Krampus). He reads out of the golden
  book all good and bad attributes of the kids and the generaly well-
  behaved children will get small presents (traditionally fruit, nuts,
  and cookies) But the bad ones receive a birching from Krampus...and
  the really bad apples are taken away in Krampus's big sack.

  In protestant regions, children will put a pair of shoes, well
  cleaned, or a dish in front of the house's front door for Nikolaus to
  fill small presents in, on the evening of December 5th. The next
  morning, they find some chocolate, oranges, nuts or similar there.  Christmas

  Christmas is celebrated on the evening of December 24th -- the
  Heiligabend.  As a child, you will be told to remain in your room from
  late afternoon on, because the christ-child (das Christkind) will come
  tonight.  Without you knowing (or something like that), your parents
  prepare the Christmas tree (Weihnachtsbaum). Choice of ornaments
  varies dramatically from household to household, ranging from all-
  natural and home-made with wax candles to the plastic tree with
  flickering electric lights. 1997-01

  After sunset (maybe 6pm) you are asked to join your parents.  This is
  typically done with a special little Gloeckchen that serves only this
  one moment in the year. After the Bescherung (when the gifts are
  unwrapped) the special Christmas dinner is served. 1997-01

  In a varition, dinner may be served before the Bescherung in the room
  different from where the Weihnachtsbaum is.  When the family has
  almost finished dinner one of the parents will sneak out and ring the
  little bell.  The other parent exclaims: "Oh, das Christkind was just
  here!"  which is your cue to open the door and for the first time you
  see the Weihnachtsbaum -- and all the presents underneath. Then
  everyone wishes everybody else a "Froehliche Weihnachten"; you open
  your presents and play until you fall asleep under the tree. This is
  the one night in a year, when you do not have to go to bed early.

  2.2.  Walpurgis Night

  On April 30th, in the Harz Mountains, near Hahnenklee and Bad Grund
  some odd things happen. At Blocksberg and Brocken you will see some of
  the few last real witches leaping over camp fires...and (if you are
  really lucky) taking off on their broom stick into the air for their
  annual journey to where no one knows... 1996-04

  2.3.  Wedding Traditions?

  Of course, there is no single accepted tradition. You'll find lots of
  peculiar behavior surrounding this event...some of them:

       I remember being surprised at seeing in Idar Oberstein,
       Rheinland Pfalz, people carrying dishes out to the street
       and smashing them, and a young couple, turned out bride and
       groom (to be?) trying to keep them swept up. Apparently the
       custom is that all old dishes should be broken before the
       wedding, and the marriage will be excellent if the couple
       can keep up with the sweeping.

  During the reception the bride is kidnapped by the wedding witnesses
  (best man etc.) to a local bar or restaurant, the groom has to go
  rescue her and pay the bill at the local bar.

  German receptions last very long into the night - at midnight the
  bride's veil comes off and is given to the next girl/woman who is
  going to get married.

  The first dance is danced by the bride and the groom, it is
  traditionally a waltz! The next dance is only for bride with father
  and groom with mother, while bride's mother dances with groom's
  father. The day/night before the wedding there is the tradition of the
  Polterabend, where everybody who knows of this wedding is coming to
  the bride's house and brings old dishes (ceramics - NO glass - bad
  luck) and breaks them in the front yard (drive way), this is done for
  good luck! And the bride's parents generally provide refreshments -
  beer (very German). The bride and the groom have to clean up
  everything that same evening with a broom, and they have to do it each
  time somebody breaks something. This is to demonstrate that the bride
  and groom will cooperate in good as in bad times.

  Germans wear wedding rings on the right hand!  And the groom and bride
  have identical rings (wedding bands - no diamonds).

  In Northern Germany they like to play a trick on the wedded couple,
  while they are in church, getting married.  As they come back they
  will find all their furniture on the roof of the house where they are
  going to live, and all the doors locked, i.e.  barricaded, no way to
  get in the normal way. The first obstacle for the couple to take then
  is to somehow get into the house and the furniture off the roof, beds,
  chest drawers and everything, usually through a hole in the roof. No
  outside help, but everybody will be watching ...  1996-04

       What I thought was quite romantic about their weddings was
       how they decorate the hood of the bride/grooms wedding car
       with lots of flowers (compared to the junk they put on and
       tie to Americans cars) They form a procession after the wed-
       ding and drive through town honking their horns.  Friendly
       Germans always honk back wishing the couple "Good Luck".
       I've witnessed this in a few parts of Germany, and think it
       is a nice tradition! 1996-04


  Card games -- Skat and Doppelkopf

  The card games homepage <> has a list of the most
  popular German card games

  Skat is the German cardgame, it is played everywhere, from bars to
  after Christmas dinner at home, recreationally with a case of beer
  next to the table, with small or large money stakes, and competitively
  at official Skat tournaments. If you see people play cards in Germany,
  chances are they are playing Skat.

  Unfortunately, the rules are somewhat complicated to learn, but it is
  well worth the effort. A very rough description of the rules can be
  found here <skat.html>.  The International Skat Homepage
  <> is dedicated to Skat.
  It contains an extensive explanation of the rules
  <>, and some links to
  proprietary Skat software
  <> and Skat
  shareware <> ,
  among other things.

  If you don't feel like Skat, and if you have big hands, try Doppelkopf
  <> or Schafkopf
  <>.  They both have their origins
  in southern Germany, mainly Bavaria, where they still are very

  2.5.  Gluehwein Recipe

                        3 cups     red wine
                        1 cup      water
                        1/2        cinnamon stick
                        3          cloves
                        1/2        lemon's juice
                        some       lemon peel

             Ingredients for Gluehwein (Lechner's Kochbuch).

  Mix and heat up everything (don't let it boil, though); serve hot.

  And a variation:

       Take a huge pot or kettle. Place in it 1/2 cup of water. Add
       1 tbsp ground cinnamon and 1 tbsp ground cloves and juice of
       1 lemon.  Bring to a boil. Add a 4-liter jug of burgundy (or
       other cheap red wine). Heat, but make sure the temperature
       stays below 170 degrees Fahrenheit (boiling point of ethyl
       alcohol). Add sugar to taste and brandy for additional wal-
       lop if the outside temperature drops below 0. Walk, don't
       drive home!


  And one more:

                  3 cups     red wine
                  150 ml     water
                  1          cinnamon stick
                  10         cloves
                  2          small pieces of ginger root
                  75 g       sugar
                  700 ml     red wine
                  1          orange for taste

                Another list of ingredients for Gluehwein.

  Cook a thick syrup from the water, the spices and the sugar. Add the
  red wine and mix with the syrup. Reheat, but don't let it boil.  Take
  out the spices (e. g. pass the Gluehwein through a sieve) and serve
  immediately. 1997-01

  What is it used for? Well, you drink Gluehwein during the cold times
  of the year. Imagine, you are strolling over the Christkindl's Markt
  on a weekend before Christmas. Or it's one of those really cold
  winters again, when the Steinhuder Meer freezes over and you can go
  skating for hours -- what nicer thing to warm up right on the ice at
  one of those booths set up for the season!  1996-10

  2.6.  German Cooking

  You can find over 11,000 German recipes at the Kochbuch
  <> of the Unix AG <http://www.unix-> in Kaiserslautern.

  2.7.  Flea Markets and such

  In many of the majors cities there is a tradition to have a regular
  official place for haggling.  All the odd stuff that you might have
  accumulated on the attic you can sell at any price you want (or get.)
  Rather than celebrating individually scattered yard sales, all those
  with an interest in such free micro-marketing come together on, say,
  every first Saturday of the month or (in a sufficiently large city)
  every weekend.

  The conventional ways of placing classifieds in the newspapers are
  also quite popular.  Der Heisse Draht is one of more well-known papers
  which are entirely devoted to direct private ads of stuff.  You now
  even find it on the net. 1996-10

  2.8.  Kneipen, Discos, ...and curfew time

  In most German towns and cities, businesses that sell alcoholic
  beverages have to close at some curfew time (which is under the
  ordinance of the local government) ...unless they apply for a special
  permit (for which they pay quite a bit; discos are a typical candidate
  to purchase such a permit.)  In some areas, such as Berlin and
  Hamburg, there is no curfew at all -- hence the saying Berlin is open
  all day long. Exceptions will also be granted for particular
  festivities (see, for instance, `Fastnacht') 1997-06


  Who are these freaks in black suits asking me for money ?

  Sometimes when you sit in a German bar enjoying a beer, one or a few
  guys in black corduroy suits with fancy hats will approach your table,
  knock with their knuckles on it and recite a poem, the gist of which
  is that they are traveling and asking you to give them some money for
  food and accomodation.

  Since the Middle Ages, when crafts where organized in guilds,
  traveling has been an integral part of the education of any craftsman.
  Before one can become a Meister (master craftsman), one has to be a
  Lehrling (apprentice) with a Meister for usually three years. Upon
  completion of the Lehre (apprenticeship) one becomes a Geselle. The
  guilds for most crafts, in particular the ones for carpenters, masons
  etc., mandated that every Geselle had to travel for a certain number
  of years without returning to their hometown, except in case of family
  emergencies. During these years, Gesellen would travel from town to
  town seeking temporary employment with various Meister.

  These travels are called Walz and are to be done in traditional
  dresses, which for carpenters and masons consists of a black corduroy
  suit, their traditional work clothes, a top hat or a bowler, depending
  on the trade, a bandana, used to wrap and carry all belongings on the
  road, and often a fancy walking stick.  Traditionally, the Walz had to
  last three years and one day, during which time the journeyman walked
  from town to town. The perks of these journeys included one free meal
  at the local restaurant and sometimes a close encounter with the
  current employers wife, the Frau Meisterin.

  In modern times, the Walz is no more a requirement for becoming a
  Meister, since we now have more effective ways of disseminating the
  skills and knowledge for a particular trade.  In recent years, it has
  become more and more popular again with Gesellen in the traditional
  trades, and the people bothering you in your favorite bar are most
  likely legit and on the Walz (those corduroy suits aren't exactly

  Apart from the now optional Walz other bits of the medieval guilds
  that have survived the centuries are the requirement that you have to
  be a Meister to be allowed to have your own shop and take apprentices,
  the Meisterstueck (master piece), a piece of work of high quality and
  demand that you have to produce in rder to become a Meister and the

  2.9.1.  Richtfest

  The Richtfest (topping out) is a traditional part of any building
  construction in Germany. As soon as the Rohbau, the shell of the house
  including the roof structure, is finished, it is decorated with a fir
  wreath or fir tree and everybody involved with the building gets
  together for a celebration with drinks (beer, not cocktails) and some

  This tradition goes back to the traveling Gesellen on the Walz: for
  the traveling carpenters the Richtfest was the time to move on, their
  work on this building had been done and they were supposed to go and
  find work somewhere else. So apart from celebrating a milestone in the
  construction of the building, it was also a goodbye party for some of
  the people working on it.

  2.9.2.  Page comments

  View/add comments

  3.  Soc.Culture.German

  This USENET newsgroup <news:soc.culture.german> was created to be an
  international forum for discussion of German culture, history, etc.

  3.1.  What Language to use?

  I'd have never imagined, I'd write this paragraph...but hey!, after
  all, it seems to be an FAQ, doesn't it?  (If I may add a personal
  note: <sigh>)

  Picking up the previous, it should be noted that while a fresh
  discussion of a nation's culture certainly is about its language, too,
  this does not at all imply the sole use thereof.  S.c.g is arguably a
  unique newsgroup in the soc.culture.* hierarchy, featuring two main
  languages (German and English) as widely accepted modi operandi. The
  vast majority of s.c.g readers do read/write both German and English
  -- on varying levels of mastery, of course -- and for posting to the
  newsgroup they use either language at will.

  Now, this ambiguity of s.c.g frequently has lead someone to wondering
  about two questions, for which ultimate answers have been found only
  the other day:

  o  How did it come to be that way? -- Who knows?

  o  Will it stay that way? -- We'll see...

     The third question, Should it be that way?, is mostly a  matter of
     taste, since this is anarch..., pardon me, USENET! Looking up the
     netiquette <
     documents/doc/netiquette/netiquette.txt> we find: a great big
     nothing in this case. My best answer would be the old McCartney
     song: Let it be!

  As a suggestion about what language to use, please take the following
  into consideration:
  o  When starting a new thread, use whatever is more comfortable to
     you, or what feels more appropriate.

  o  As a courtesy to original posters post followups in the same

  o  And as a courtesy to all readers, don't make a fuss if someone
     decides to answer in a different language, or to mix languages in a

  o  In general, avoid meta-discussions about soc.culture.german.

  3.2.  How to Type Umlauts?

  As you may have noticed, there are various ways to write umlauts.
  Alas, there is no generally accepted way to do this in
  soc.culture.german.  Periodically, therefore, you will observe hard-
  fought battles on this topic in this group.

  Here are the two methods most often used:

  o  common Version   ae  oe  ue  Ae  Oe  Ue  ss or sz

  o  TeX Version        "a  "o  "u  "A "O  "U  "s

  Please! if you have a German-style keyboard with umlauts, and if
  you're using it to post something in soc.culture.german, don't use the
  umlauts. They probably won't get displayed correctly on terminals in,
  say, North America. Call'em poor user's of ancient equipment or
  victims of lousy 7-bit administration -- many people simply don't get
  the vital 8th's a fact, ey!

  For much more in-depth description of how to handle 8-bit characters
  (not only German umlauts) look at the FAQ-ISO-8859-1

  3.2.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments

  4.  News

  Sources of news from/about Germany. One particularly well-done
  collection of pointers to German news sources is Carl Butler's
  listing, <> containing (I bet) all of
  the pointers mentioned here and more. 1996-04

  The alpha  complete news index <> has
  a very extensive selection of German  print and broadcast news media


  Newspapers and Magazines online

  All the major German newspapers and magazines and many of the local
  ones are available on the web. Some put their whole edition online,
  some only excerpts and the really stingy ones will only give you
  contact information.

  A news site to end all newspaper websites is provided by paperball
  <>. The site compiles news from various
  newspapers and magazines and offers them in one overview. Very slick.
  4.1.1.  National newspapers and magazines

  o  Der Spiegel <>.  The German news magazine. Its
     site is frequently updated and similar to online news services like
     CNN <>.

  o  Focus <> The big competitor of Der Spiegel

  o  Die Zeit <> The weekly newspaper of Germany's

  o  Stern <>

  o  Frankfurter Allgemeine   Zeitung <>

  o  Die Welt <>

  o  Rheinische   Post <>

  o  Sueddeutsche Zeitung <>

  o  Monde Diplomatique <>

  o  TAZ <>

  o  Frankfurter Rundschau <>

  o  Handelsblatt <>

  o  Prinz <>

  o  Das   Sonntagsblatt <>

  o  Die   Wochenpost <>

     Der      Standard <> and Tages Anzeiger
     <> are some
     offerings from Austria and Switzerland.

  4.1.2.  Regional and local publications

  Here are some links to local papers: Berliner Morgenpost
  <> | Berliner Zeitung
  <> | Durlacher
  Blatt <> | Express <> |
  Frankenpost <> | Haidhauser      Nachrichten
  <> | Hamburger Abendblatt
  <> | Hamburger Morgenpost
  <> | Hannoversche
  Allgemeine <> | Heilbronner
  Stimme <> | Hellweger Anzeiger
  <> | HollsteinischerCourier
  <> | Kevelaerer Blatt
  <> | Kieler Nachrichten
  <> | Koelner Stadtanzeiger
  <> | Koelnische Rundschau <http://www.rundschau-> | Landeszeitung Lueneburg <> |
  Lausitzer Rundschau <> | Lippische Landes-
  Zeitung <> | Main Echo <http://www.main-> | Mainpost <> | Mannheimer Morgen
  <> | Marktspiegel <> |
  Mindener Tageblatt <> | Mittelbadische Presse
  <> | Maerker <http://home.t-> | Muenstersche Zeitung <> | Neue Presse <> |
  Nordbayrischer Kurier <> | Nordwest
  Zeitung <> | Nuernberger Nachrichten
  <> | Nuernberger Zeitung <> | Nuertinger Zeitung <> | Passauer Neue
  Presse <> | Pirmasenser Zeitung
  <> | Rems Zeitung <http://www.rems-> | Remscheider General-Anzeiger <http://www.rga-> | Rhein-Zeitung <> |
  Rheingau Echo <> | Rheinische Post
  <> | Rheinischer Merkur
  <> | Rostocker Nachrichten <> |
  Ruhr Nachrichten <> | Das Zeitfenster
  <> | Der Tagesspiegel
  <> | Neue Westfaelische Zeitung
  <> | Saarbruecker Zeitung <>
  | Schaumburger Nachrichten <> |
  Schwarzwaelder Bote <> | Schweriner Volkszeitung
  <> | Schwaebische Zeitung <> |
  Siegener Zeitung <> | Singener
  Wochenblatt <> | Stuttgarter Zeitung
  <> | Saechsische Zeitung
  <> | Suedkurier <> |
  Trierischer Volksfreund <> | Weser Kurier
  <> | Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
  <> | Westfaelische Nachrichten
  <> | Wochenspiegel <>

  4.2.  GermNews

  Since December 1993, GermNews <http://www.mathematik.uni-> broadcasts a daily summary of events as reported by
  major German news sources. The paragraphs are manual transcripts from
  radio etc. by a number of volunteers around Rainer Mallon.

  The German compiled text is made available daily in several ways:

  It is posted in soc.culture.german.

  It posted on the world wide web <http://www.mathematik.uni->. An overview of the
  current year <> of
  the current year is also available. 1999-02

  It is emailed to the subscribers of a mailing list.  To subscribe to
  the  mailing list, send email to The body of
  the message should only contain the line SUB GERMNEWS.  To
  unsubscribe, send mail to the above    address
  <> with the line UNSUB GERMNEWS 1999-2

  4.2.1.  Searching the GermNews Archive Notebooks


  A glossary <> 1996-02
  containing English explanations of words and phrases often used in
  German news can be obtained by sending an email:


  (Don't use any signature lines!) 1996-05

  Keyword Search

  All messages to germnews are archived in units called notebooks or
  logs each month. You can search these notebooks for references using
  the powerful database searching function of listserv to get the
  information you want.

  There are two steps to searching the archives. First put your search
  together and send it to which will return as
  mail an index or list of the messages that meet your search criteria,
  each with a unique item number. Using this item number, you then send
  another request for the specific messages you want, which will be
  returned as a longer database output file.

  To find out more about this process send the following email:

       To: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.GMD.DE // Database search DD=Rules
       //Rules DD * Search * in GERMNEWS Print 112 /*

  ok: 6/94

  4.3.  De-News (the English version)

  The de-news <> mailing list
  is the English edition of GermNews -- the English translation of
  yesterday's issue of GermNews.  To subscribe to de-news 1996-05

       send email To: with body SUBSCRIBE
       DE-NEWS  first name  last name


  4.4.  Deutsche Welle News

  The Deutsche Welle <> also has a news service,
  available in various flavors:

  o  As         WWW version <>

  o  and as a mailing list: to subscribe send email

       To: Subject: subscribe nachrichten


  o  In addition, they provide a market news mailing list: to subscribe
     send email

       To: Subject: subscribe market


  4.5.  Press Agencies

  Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)

  The Kurznachrichtendienst features articles from Germany's  premier
  news agency. The articles, transmitted and displayed in German, are
  categorized into Headline News Summaries (Schlagzeilen), Politics
  (Politik), Business (Wirtschaft), Sports (Sport), Culture (Kultur) and
  Miscellaneous (Vermischtes). The news service delivers more than 60
  news stories a day, 24 hours a day.  1994-05

  Compuserve offers DPA News Headline Services as part of its basic
  services; Compuserve members access the service with the command go
  DPANEWS. A warning from CompuServe: The information contained in the
  Deutsche Presse-Agentur news report may not be published, broadcast or
  otherwise redistributed without the prior written authority of the
  Deutsche Presse-Agentur.  1995-3

  Austrian Press Agency (APA)

  The Austrian Press Agency,      APA, <> is  also

  4.6.  Magazines

  o  Oldenburger STACHEL <http://www.informatik.uni-> 1995-3

  o  InDOpendent (U Dortmund) <http://www.fb15.uni-> 1999-04

  o  jetzt <> (Jugendmagazin der Sueddeutschen
     Zeitung <>)

  o  Ruprecht (U    Heidelberg) <>

  o  Spektrum der    Wissenschaft <>


  o  Computer-Zeitung <>

  o  iX-Leitseite <>

  o  C'T-Redaktion <>

  o  Gateway <>


  Mail Ordering Newspapers and Magazines

     GLP International (German Language Publications) <http://www.glp->
        153 S. Dean Street
        NJ 07631
        tel +1 201-871-1010
        fax +1 201-871-0870 1999-02

        You can subscribe to many German publications, daily and weekly
        papers, as well as monthly magazines (altogether more than 150.)
        Ask for their catalog. They offer sample copies for most of the
        titles (for a price).

     Deutschland Nachrichten / The Week in Germany
        The German Information Center (GIC)
        950 Third Ave.
        New York, NY 10022
        tel +1(212)888-9840

        Deutschland Nachrichten <> or
        its English version The Week in Germany <http://www.germany-> is a free 8 page flyer.
        It features selected articles from various German newspapers,
        soccer results, and the US$/DM exchange rate. The German
        Information Center <> also
        distributes lots of other information (books, maps, ...)  for
        free. They are a particularly helpful resource for those who may
        have to prepare a school presentation about Germany.

        Check out the       official web site <http://www.germany-> of TWIG. 1996-03

        The GIC    archive <> can now be
        reached on the net, too. Compuserve users may try GO EURFOR, GO

     Der Spiegel
        (see GLP International above)

        Published weekly, subscription price for the USA is US$280 p.a.
        Partly available         on WWW <>.

        Die Zeit <>" Die Zeit
        29 Coldwater Road
        Toronto, ON
        M3B 1Y8

        Die Zeit
        PO Box 9868
        Englewood, NJ

        Costs: US$54 for 1 year (52 issues)

        international edition via surface mail from Canada. The
        international edition is much cheaper but contains less pages.

     The German Tribune
        does not exist any more ...

     Die Nordamerikanische Wochenpost
        Die Nordamerikanische Wochenpost
        1120 E. Long Lake Road
        Troy, MI 48098

        3 month trial subscription: US$15, one year US$42.95.

        This is a general interest newspaper. The front page generally
        features news from/about Germany. There are special pages for
        regional, domestic American news of interest to German speakers
        (e.g. Florida, New York, Chicago/Milwaukee, and Detroit).
        Additionally, there's a special page for news from/about
        Austria. All the major sections that you would expect in any
        newspaper are represented: politics, sports, the economy,
        fashion, cartoons, features, editorials, etc. There are also
        several short-stories and a serialized novel. There's a list of
        German-language radio broadcasts for North America (US and
        Ontario, Canada). It also contains a list of German-American

        CH-8021 Zuerich
        fax +41-1-248-5055

        Prices (Sfr) for all countries, first four issues free.

          air mail    surface mail 3 months       41.74
          33.75 6 months       78.50           66.50 1 year
          135.00          111.00

     Tages-Anzeiger is one of the major Swiss daily newspapers (besides
     Neue Zuericher Zeitung). Their international edition is published

     German Life
        Zeitgeist Publishing
        1 Corporate Drive
        Grantsville, MD  21536
        tel +1(301)895-3859, +1(800)314-6843
        fax +1(301)895-5029

        Their introductory subscription is 6 issues for US$17.95 It
        seems commercial but with beautiful slick paper and some
        interesting articles. An old map of North America all in German
        (Virginien, Pennsylvanien, Kanada, Chikago, ObererSee, etc...)
        articles about Berlin after WW II (e.g. die Truemmerfrauen,)
        Berlin in the 20's, etc. 1996-03

     Washington Journal (est. 1859)
        1113 National Press Building
        Washington, DC 20045-1853
        tel +1(202)628-0404
        fax +1(703)938-2251

        German language weekly with European news, features, sports, ads
        of German clubs etc., targeted at the audience of Germans in the

        Yearly subscription cost US$32 to US$34 in US; US$40 in Canada
        email for more information.  1995-9

     California Staats-Zeitung
        PO Box 26308
        1201 N. Alvarado Street
        Los Angeles, CA 90026
        tel +1(213)413-5500

        A one year subscription to this weekly paper is US$25. It has
        all the local German events as well as all the Bundesliga
        action. 1995-3

     Sueddeutsche Zeitung
        Sueddeutscher Verlag GmbH
        Sendlinger Strasse 8
        D-80331 Muenchen
        tel +49(89)21830

     Neue Presse (from California)
        Neue Presse - Vertrieb
        9001 Oso Avenue, Suite F
        Chatsworth, CA 91311, USA
        tel +1(818)700-0666
     Koelner Volksblatt
        Alternative newspaper from Cologne; covering topics from the
        region and beyond.  WWW <http://home.t->

        Stern, Hamburg


  4.7.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM