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All you ever wanted to know about GERMANY!

Deutsche Kultur

December 20th, 2009

I need Christmas advice! @ 05:42 pm


I realize I left it kind of late, but now here it is the Sunday before Christmas and I haven't figured out what to give my neighbors.  These are people who we wave to and say Morgen or Abend to, help with putting their garbage cans out, talk about the weather, etc.  Not close friends for sure. 

We are probably known as "those Americans" to the rest of the people on the street, which is short.  There are only 7 houses that I would want to give something to. 

At home (i.e, Seattle or San Diego) we gave hand-made marzipans, cookies or fruit.  The first year we lived in Germany, the kids were here and we did make marzipan fruit, but the general reaction was fairly cool, I guess because marzipan is so common here.  The next year I made cookies, which were better received.

Now, this is a new neighborhood and I have a chance to do better.  The people are mostly single people and are older (that's to say, 60+), 3 quite old (i.e, about 90).  There are no young children or families.

So what do you think?  Wine? Cookies?  At this point, I'd have to buy whatever it is.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

December 19th, 2009

German Recipe: Marzipan-Pralinen @ 10:07 pm




1 lb Marzipanrohmasse (Raw Marzipan at Quality Level 100:0)
3/4 cup chopped Walnuts
2 teaspoons Rum
1 lb Semi-Sweet Chocolate (for melting)
40 Walnuts or almonds, halved

Knead raw marzipan, chopped walnuts, and rum together to combine. Roll out the marzipan mix to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out 1 inch squares. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes (stir to check if it's completely melted, if not, repeat). Using a toothpick or fork, poke a marzipan square and dunk it in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire square is covered. Let any excess chocolate drip off, then place square on a plate or cake cooling rack. Immediately place a walnut (or almond) half on top, lightly pushing down so it sticks to the chocolate. Allow squares to cool in the fridge until chocolate hardens. Enjoy at room temp like regular chocolates. :)

December 18th, 2009

Word Of The Day ~ die Attrappe @ 04:02 am


die Attrappe (pl. die Attrappen) - mockup, dummy, fake device, facade, model [architec.]; sham, hoax; requisite; blank [tech.]

Zur Sicherheit wurde die Bombenattrappe beschossen. -
For safety's sake, they shot the fake bomb device.

Bei ihm ist alles Attrappe. - Everything about him is false.

Das ist alles nur Attrappe. - That's all just smoke and mirrors.

die Fälschung - counterfeit
falsch - wrong; fake
die Etappe - leg, stage [sport]; back area [mil.]


December 15th, 2009

Word Of The Day ~ die Atemnot @ 01:37 pm


die Atemnot - breathing difficulties, breathlessness, labored breathing [med.], shortness of breath [med.], dyspnea/dyspnoea [med.]

Der Vizepräsident hatte nach Angaben von CNN über Atemnot geklagt. -
According to CNN, the vice-president had complained of difficulty in breathing.

Bemerkt nicht dessen Atemnot... -
Doesn't notice (the child's) breathing difficulty...
(From the song "Dalai Lama" by Rammstein, for more see~

der Atem - breathing; breath
atemlos - breathless(ly)
die Not - need, poverty; emergency


December 14th, 2009

German Films - The Undiscovered Cinema! @ 07:48 am


I am a San Francisco Bay Area resident and local Deutschophile, and I just found out that our beloved Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, the annual German film festival put on by our local branch of the Goethe Institute, has been pushed back from its traditional January date to Fall of 2010!

Naturally, many of us German enthusiasts are VERY dissapointed. We discover many good and sometimes great films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that we never would've known about if not for the festival. Some of us are thinking about organizing our own mini-festival of some of our fave and perhaps not so well known German films. I am posting this because I'd like to hear your lists of beloved Germanish films, be they from Deutschland, Austria, or Switzerland.

Especially let us know about lesser known gems, those films that you think more people should see or be aware of, especially people outside of German speaking countries. We've all seen the usual suspects like Das Boot, Run Lola Run and The Lives of Others. (usw...) Some of the more memorable Films I got around to checking out through this festival were Whole Train, Revanche (from Austria,) Der Freund (from Switzerland,) also Die Welle and 12 Winters. Those were just the films I saw. I know I've probably missed some other gems.

Berlin and Beyond film Festival progams from other years:




Word Of The Day ~ die Arznei @ 12:32 pm


die Arznei (pl. die Arzneien) - medicine, medicament, medication; lesson (pill)

Es ist von 315 Arzneistoffen bekannt, dass sie von Lebensmitteln beeinflusst werden. - 315 medicinal ingredients are known to be affected by foods. (see comments!)

Das war eine bittere Pille für ihn. - It was a painful lesson for him. [literally: a bitter pill]

Er kann nicht kommen, seine Freundin ist im Krankenhaus. - He can't come, his girlfriend is in the hospital.

die Pille - pill, tablet, medication
die Arzneilehre - pharmacology
der Arzt/die Ärztin - male/female doctor
die Apotheke - pharmacy (place to go for presciption drugs)
die Drogerie - drugstore (over-the-counter medication only)
das Krankenhaus - hospital
der Patient - patient

MORE > Medical Vocabulary - Diseases and treatments
German words and phrases related to medical treatment, diseases and injuries~


December 13th, 2009

Currywurst @ 02:41 pm

Current Mood: amused amused

This appeared on the BBC News website today and I thought I'd share it with you all.

Berlin's Obsession with Currywurst

So are there any Berliners out there who would say they are obsessed with Currywurst? Personally, it's always my favourite thing to eat whenever I go over to Germany :)

December 12th, 2009

Germany & Population Development @ 12:44 pm


Germany's Population

The population of Germany manifests trends characteristic of most advanced industrial countries: lower marriage rates, delayed marriage and child-bearing, low fertility rates, small household size, high divorce rates, and extended life expectancy. The population of indigenous Germans has been in decline since 1972 in the west and since 1969 in the east because the number of births has not kept pace with the number of deaths. In 1990 only five of the sixteen Länder registered growth in population because of natural increase.

Household size decreased from 3.0 persons in 1950 to 2.3 in 1990. Marriage rates have slackened, while divorce rates have risen or remained stable at high rates. In the late 1980s, almost one-third of all marriages ended in divorce. Infant mortality has steadily declined, and life expectancy has risen, albeit more slowly in eastern Germany. As in the United States, a greater proportion of the population is moving into advanced age. In 1871 only 4.6 percent of the population was sixty-five years of age or older. By 1939 that proportion had risen to 7.8 percent, and by 1992 it had risen to about 15 percent. By 2000 it is estimated that one-quarter of the population will be sixty or older. (Article from 1995)

Since the 1950s, the population of Germany has become more diverse. Millions of foreigners have migrated to Germany, seeking employment, citizenship, or asylum. In contrast to the native population, foreigners in Germany tend to have more children and larger households. In 1988 their average household size was 3.5 persons. Depending upon their origins and social status, foreigners in Germany have been integrated into society in widely varying degrees.

Total fertility rate:
1.41 children born/woman (2008)

Life expectancy at birth (2007):
82.0 years females
76.2 years males
78.6 years total average

READ MORE> Historical Background, Gastarbeiter (Foreign Workers), etc~

More than 16 million people are of non-German descent (first and second generation, including mixed heritage), about 7 million of which are foreign residents. The largest ethnic group of non-German origin are the Turkish residents (2.1% - 1,713,551). Since the 1960s, West and later reunified Germany has been attracting migrants (Gastarbeiter = guest workers) primarily from Southern and Eastern Europe as well as Turkey and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, etc), many of which (or their children) over time acquired German citizenship. While most of these migrations had an economic background, Germany has also been a prime destination for refugees from many developing countries (many of them Sub-Sahel African), in part because its constitution long had a clause giving a 'right' to political asylum, but restrictions over the years have since made this option less attractive.

German population as of 2008:
Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

That's currently #14 in the world and translates to 1.2% of the world population.

December 11th, 2009

Politics @ 09:17 am

Current Music: WDR Köln 2009

How is it that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg can go from being the Federal Minister of Economics to the Federal Minister of Defense. The latter makes sense, because he was a sergeant in the military before, but Economics? Eh? Somehow I find this odd. Then again, he surpasses in popularity against Angela Merkel and he has a law degree. Law and Economics? Hmm. Could someone explain to me? I obviously know very little about German politics!

Thank you in part to Wikipedia, but thanks to people who respond to this post! :)

Word Of The Day ~ die Arbeitsplatte @ 06:33 pm


die Arbeitsplatte (pl. die Arbeitsplatten) - work surface, kitchen counter, countertop, workplate

Wann können wie die Designentwürfe für die Arbeitsplatten sehen? -
When can we see the design drawings for the kitchen counters?

Wann gehst du zur Arbeit? - When are you leaving for work?

die Arbeitsfläche - work counter, work surface
die Arbeit - work
arbeiten - to work
flach - flat, level, even
der Schreibtisch - desk


All you ever wanted to know about GERMANY!

Deutsche Kultur