Experiencing Germany

Background: German Cities and Regions

Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe,
Copyright: Office of Economics and Urban Development

German Cities and Regions: an Excursion

Germany – a country in the heart of Europe, reinvented in 1945 and redefined in 1990 through the reunification of the two German states, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.More ...

Portraits of German Cities

Where may you discover an ocean-liner in a pedestrian area and where can you find a sentimental tower? Explore curiosities and characteristics of German cities.

Deutsche Städte im Portrait

    Architectural Walk

    A popular tourist attraction in Hamburg are the landing bridges in the harbour. Photo: © Stefanie Maeck

    From the Speicherstadt to St. Pauli – An Architectural Walk in Hamburg

    Hamburg is elegant and reserved. But in recent years this interface between land and water has become the site of ambitious and modern architectural projects.More ...
    Dresden’s silhouette; © Holger Oertel

    Between Baroque and Modernism – Architectural Walk through Dresden

    The face of Dresden has changed dramatically since the political turnaround of 1990 and the reconstruction of the Baroque Frauenkirche attracted worldwide attention.More ...
    Jahrhunderthalle Bochum | © Jahrhunderthalle Bochum

    From Coal Field to Creative Quarter: An Architectural Walk around the Ruhr area

    The Ruhr area’s architectural scenery is dominated by old industrial developments, which have been revived by modern planning.More ...
    Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Photo: HASCHER JEHLE Architect, Berlin © Hugo Jehle

    High-Tech Traditionalism – Architectural Walk through Stuttgart

    This walk allows you to explore the treatment of the Modernist legacy through extraordinary examples of architecture – all the while discovering the beauty of the Stuttgarter Kessel.More ...
    Paulinum und neues Augusteum | Copyright: Anne König

    Spectacular in new ways all the time – Architectural Walk through Leipzig

    Boomtown, Shrinking City, Building Site? An architectural tour with ten stops through a city searching for its new equilibrium.More ...
    Changing Times, Foto: Meena Kadri (CC BY 2.0)

    Oh What a Perfect Day! – Architectural Walk around Berlin

    Berlin has always experienced a continuous process of change and upheaval, not merely since the fall of the Wall. The city’s entire structure is riddled with radical breaks with whatever had gone before.More ...
    Mortuary chapel at Westfriedhof, water basin at the ribbon windows | © Stadt Nürnberg

    Picture-postcard Franconia: Architectural Walk through Nuremberg

    Nuremberg is doing a lot to preserve its medieval flair – and adding some modern touches to its venerable old cityscape.More ...

    Street Art Tour

    Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz: Construction site with graffiti, Photo: © Norman Posselt

    Of Goblins, Foxes and Madonnas – A Graffiti Walk through Leipzig

    In the past twenty years, a very lively, artistically ambitious and versatile graffiti scene has developed in Leipzig, which has long ceased to move only in illegal terrain.More ...
    You can already see murals by BLU from the Oberbaum Bridge, Photo: © Matthias Wahsner

    Bombed and Blasted Out – Graffiti Walk through Berlin

    There is nowhere else you can find so much abandoned land in the city centre. Graffiti and Street Art is simply part of Berlin’s cityscape.More ...
    Even Madonna sprays in the “Kiefern”; photo: Susanne Sitzler

    Pioneer Sprayers’ Hood – A Graffiti Stroll through Düsseldorf

    Street art enthusiasts can purchase relevant pieces for themselves in Düsseldorf’s galleries, or enjoy them for free right at the source of origin – in the city streets.More ...
    Isar Fun II, Zellstraße, Isarinsel/Muffathalle | Photo: Angela Gruber

    Artworks thriving in obscurity: A tour of Munich’s street art

    Munich has a lively street art scene. But it doesn’t reveal itself to everyone, it wants you to go out and find it. A walking tour of the spots with the most beautiful and imaginative graffiti in town.More ...
    School gym located in the south of Dresden; Photo: Charlotte Töwe

    Flood channel, school yard and „under the bridge“: A city tour of Dresden’s street art

    Changes in urban architecture, swiftly abandoned factories, and spaces between buildings were among the catalysts that drove Dresden’s flourishing street-art scene.More ...

    Living Together

    Supporters of civil partnerships were not able to achieve equality in all areas. Photo: Robert Dodge © iStockphoto

    Not exactly equal: civil partnerships in Germany

    Germany's Civil Partnership Act (LPartG) came into effect on August 1, 2001. The decision was preceded by a long battle for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.More ...
    In Germany, people are more likely to experience a sense of envy when they see success. Photo: Friis Larsen © iStockphoto

    The envy factor – Birds of a feather flock together, just don't step out of line!

    A turn of phrase from Cologne says that “You've got to be able to give credit where credit is due”, but it is something Germans often have a problem with.More ...
    How did past names come about? Photo: Loretta Hostettler © iStockphoto

    Müller, Meier, Schulz: German family names

    In German, when one speaks in generalities relating to people, the names Müller, Meier and Schulz are often used to represent the anonymous masses – the equivalent in English to the Smiths or the Joneses. Why is that?More ...
    What is so German about the angst? Photo: Jacob Hamblin © iStockphoto

    A Typically German Feeling? – The Myth of “German Angst”

    People like to accuse the Germans of panicmongering and being overly apprehensive. Theories about the source of such tendencies towards “German angst” should be taken with a pinch of salt.More ...
    Absurd bureaucratic situations are referred to as being Kafkaesque. Photo: Pesky Monkey © iStockphoto

    Bureaucracy – the misunderstood entity

    Rampant bureaucracy is also to be found not only in the offices of public administration, but also in large companies and organisations. Many Germans believe that this is a German phenomenon. But is that really the case?More ...
    Coexisting instead of living side by side. Copyright: wagnis EG

    New Urban Villages – Alternative Residential Projects in Germany

    Loneliness and anonymity are not inevitable, even in big cities. More and more people would like to live as part of a community and are moving into multi-generation houses or alternative residential projects.More ...
    Copyright: www.colourbox.com

    More and More “Diaper Volunteers” – Family Allowance brings Dads back Home

    Mum at work, Dad at the diaper-changing table. In Germany, just about one in seven new fathers takes advantage of the paid parental work leave introduced in 2007. And there are more and more of them.More ...
    Copyright: Migrantas

    A Visual Language of Migration

    The Migrantas collective uncovers how migrant women experience everyday life in Germany - using pictograms based on the women’s drawings.More ...
    Further articles


    Zeche Carl in Essen | © Frank Vinken

    Industrial Heritage in Germany

    A former coal mine, Zeche Carl in Essen is now a music venue – just one example of how former industrial sites are being reused. These days, a large part of the abandoned mine’s grounds is used for cultural projects.More ...
    “Die Ostsee von oben” (i.e., The Baltic Sea from Above): the village Graswarder © vidicom

    Bird’s Eye View of Germany

    “Die Ostsee von oben” (i.e., The Baltic Sea from Above) or “Das grüne Wunder – unser Wald” (The Green Universe) - an impressive wealth of nature documentation views Germany between the Elbe and the Alps from above.More ...
    View from the Three Country Point of the surroundings, Photo: Daniel Gerhards

    Borders still exist only on the map – through the three-border region by bike

    On a tour through the three-border region of Germany-Belgium-Netherlands, many people aren’t even sure which country they are biking through.More ...
    Taut's Home in Berlin Photo: Ben Buschfeld

    Tautes Heim: experience what life was like in 1930s

    “Live like in Bruno Taut's time” sounds interesting for fans of architecture. Visitors to Berlin can stay in a vacation rental at the Taut “Hufeisen” (horseshoe) housing estate, a gem for architecture enthusiasts.More ...
    In use since 1997: the ferry MS Schleswig-Holstein (Photo: Scandlines)

    Where Europe Is Growing Together – The Flying Bird Line between Germany and Denmark

    In 2013 the ferry link between Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. 2021 from now a tunnel will shorten the travel time to ten minutes.More ...
    The new target group of the youth hostels – families Photo: © Barbara Polzer

    Youth Hostels in Transformation

    German youth hostels have undergone a change of image. Turning to families as a new target group, some of them have been transformed into smart accommodation offering an attractive range of leisure activities.More ...
    Unusual town names don't say much about the quality of life there. Photo: gemeinfrei

    Unusual town names: from “Hell” to the “Kingdom of Heaven”

    Who wants to live in “Hölle” (hell) or spend their life in “Elend” (misery)? If you could choose the location yourself you would more likely head toward “Himmelsreich” (kingdom of heaven) and “Glückstadt” (luck town).More ...
    The Green Belt; © BUND/Klaus Leidorf

    Natural Monument to Contemporary History: The “Green Belt”

    For human beings, the “Iron Curtain” represented a no-go area. Over the decades a slice of precious wilderness evolved between the borders.More ...
    The maypole tradition is deeply entrenched in many regions of Germany. Photo: ra photos © iStockphoto

    A sapling for May

    Whether it's a towering symbol of prestige on the town square or a display of affection placed against the window pane of an adored damsel, there are still a number of regions in Germany where raising a maypole on May 1st is a time-honored annual tradition.More ...
    Gerhard Polt Photo: © Herlinde Koelbl

    Gerhard Polt – perspectives from the boat rental guy

    Cabaret artist Gerhard Polt celebrated his 70th birthday on May 7, 2012. An unorthodox exhibition at the Literaturhaus in Munich portrays the Bavarian comedian and philosopher of life in a style that reflects his own.More ...
    Literature hotels: not just pretty buildings in pretty landscapes. Photo: © Gutshotel Groß Breesen

    For Travelling Readers: Literature Hotels

    Anyone wanting to travel to track down writers and books will find a small but fine selection of literature hotels in Germany. They are more than just pretty buildings in pretty landscapes.More ...
    Many dog owners are in the meantime avowed lovers of the dachshund Photo: Alta Oosthuizen © iStockphoto

    A dog’s life – the ups and downs

    The dachshund is a bit of a phenomenon. Over the last few decades, virtually no other breed of dog in Germany has been the target of such simultaneous doting or irreverence. But people seem to have rediscovered the dachshund as a loyal companion.More ...
    The traffic light man is still a fixed part of East German traffic culture. Photo: Pavel Pospisil © iStockphoto

    Green Light – The Red and Green Man at 50

    The red and green man of the pelican crossing has now grown up and he celebrates his 50th birthday in 2011. He has been around for generations in Germany and all around the world.More ...
    Football fans; © colourbox

    What Remains of the “Summer’s Tale”? Norbert Schütte on the Outcome of the 2006 World Cup

    Parties. public viewing, German flags: The 2006 World Cup presented Germany in a completely different light. But did the championship really change the country?More ...
    Western Pomerania is Germany's best tourism area for water-oriented travel. Photo: © Abenteuer Flusslandschaft

    Western Pomerania’s River Territories – A Canoe Trip through the Amazon of the North

    Four beautiful rivers invite visitors to northern Germany for adventures on the wild and romantic waterways of Western Pomerania: the Peene, Trebel, Tollense and the Recknitz.More ...
    There are 23 carnival clubs in Berlin. Photo: Nadine Lind © iStockphoto

    Berlin Hei-Jo – Carnival by the River Spree

    Carnival in Berlin? Many Rhinelanders would shake their heads in incredulity. But “Fastelawende” were celebrated in the capital as early as 1430, and in 1870, Rhinelanders who had moved to the city founded carnival clubs in Berlin.More ...
    East frisian tea set Photo: © Deutscher Teeverband e. V.

    East Frisians do not make jokes about drinking tea

    If you want to get on the wrong side of East Frisians for all time, all you have to do is to tell jokes about drinking tea. After all, nowhere else in Germany is tea-drinking culture cultivated as much as it is here.More ...
    Wolves have been more or less extinct in northern and central Germany since the end of the 19th century Photo: Mylifeiscamp © iStockphoto

    Wolves in Germany

    Fierce, evil and bloodthirsty. It is this negative image that led to merciless hunting until the last known wolf living in the wild was finally killed in 1904. Since 1990 they have been under official protection.More ...
    National park of global significance: the wadden sea Photo: Hans-Ulrich Rösner © WWF

    From Beach to Beach – The Wadden Sea World Heritage Site

    The Wadden Sea has been on UNESCO’s shortlist since June 2009. Hans-Ulrich Rösner, WWF’s Wadden Sea expert, reports on this World Natural Heritage Site, an ecosystem that is globally unique.More ...
    The new Federal Länder leave no holiday desire unfulfilled Copyright: Magdeburg Marketing Kongress und Tourismus GmbH

    Go East – Eastern Germany as a Tourist Destination is a Well-Kept Secret

    Munich, Heidelberg, Neuschwanstein – foreign tourists often walk along well-trodden paths. The east is still a well-kept secret. Berlin and Dresden are among Germany’s most-visited cities, but who knows Schwerin or Zittau?More ...
    A Pilot supplies Fresh supplies for the island cinemas in the North and Baltic Seas Copyright: LFH Luftverkehr Friesland Harle

    Island Cinemas: New film reels for the Wadden Sea

    Pilot Jan-Lüppen Brunzema supplies the latest Hollywood films to the German islands in the North Sea three times a week. And he has been doing so for near 30 years.More ...
    German cuisine includes substantial dishes across all the regions Copyright: iStockphoto - esemelwe

    The Taste of Germany: Relishing the Regions

    Germany is Bavarian, Franconian, Swabian, Hessian, Vogtlandic and Palatine. Germany comes to life in its regional diversity. And so does its food. Regions and cities melt in your mouth.More ...
    The Ruhr district today: clean air, and quality of life Copyright: RVR Swakowski

    Workmates, Coal, Culture – Structural Change in the Ruhr District

    The days when the Ruhr district was referred to as the nation’s black lung are long gone. The air is clean again, and quality of life has returned. The industrial region has become a landscape whose new trademarks are culture, education and service.More ...
    Manchester 07 (c) Maclese

    „Just Come along with Us... to the Next Film!“ – en Route with the Hamburg Artists’ Group, A Wall is a Screen

    When darkness falls on the streets, the hour strikes for Hamburg’s artists’ group, A Wall is a Screen. With minimal means, they project films onto house walls, advertising pillars and hoardings in urban areas. They and their city tours have now become an internationally sought-after attraction. In mid-November of 2008, A Wall is a Screen guested at the Hannover festival “Stadt macht Kunst” (i.e. the city creates art).More ...
    Further articles

    Scenic Routes

    Also a stable habitat for many plants and animals: The “German Alleenstraße” Photo: © Deutsche Alleenstraße

    A journey under the green canopy: the German Alleenstraße

    The “German Alleenstraße” is an impressive stretch of green, tree-lined avenues that connects the Baltic Sea with Lake Constance. It is the longest holiday route in the country, extending roughly 2,900 km.More ...
    The Brocken Photo: © Harzer Tourismusverband e. V.

    The Harz Mountains: A Mountain Range With a Rich History

    It does not take long to find famous people who have visited the Harz mountains. After Goethe had visited, Heinrich Heine was also drawn to the mountains. Travelling in the region today involves making a journey through German-German history.More ...
    Neuschwanstein Castle; Copyright: Touristik-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Romantische Straße

    A Delight to the Eye and the Soul – The Romantic Road

    The oldest and best-known holiday route in Germany stretches from Würzburg via Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Füssen – past half-timbered villages, houses built by the Fuggers, pilgrimage churches and dream castles, all framed by ever-changing backdrops of vineyards, lowland forests and the Alps.More ...
    Copyright: Tourist, Kongress und Saalbau GmbH, Neustadt

    The German Wine Road

    On the German Wine Road, you can drive from place to place and taste the wines which have been cultivated here, in the Palatinate's mild climate, since the Middle Ages. At least, that might be the first idea that springs to mind when you hear the name. But that is just one way of experiencing the German Wine Road – although it is by no means the worst option!More ...
    Hornberg Castle; Copyright: Burgenstraße e.V.

    Along Germany's romantic Castle Road

    The fascination of days of old

    Germany's romantic Castle Road between Mannheim and Prague winds its way through the picturesque scenery of the Neckar valley, Bavaria's Franconian Switzerland and the Fichtelgebirge mountains – and the route is simply teeming with castles and palaces.More ...
    Logo; Copyright: Deutsche Märchenstraße e.V.

    The German Fairy Tale Road - Following in the Footsteps of Enchantment

    The Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen) by the Brothers Grimm have featured on every home's bookshelves for generations, but were only included in UNESCO's Memory of the World International Register in 2005. The German Fairy Tale Road brings them to life in truly diverse ways.More ...

    Art Calendar

    Current Exhibitions in Germany

    MTL/MUC Cities Blog

    On the way through their respective cities, the urban bloggers keep an eye out for street corners, shop windows and outdoor cafés – Eric in Montreal and Verena in Munich.


    News from Germany’s culture and society

    Dossier: Art in urban spaces

    Isarinsel/Muffathalle | Foto: Angela Gruber
    What started with anonymous sprayers has become renowned street art. Learn more about art in urban spaces in Germany and the Czech Republic.

    Meet the Germans

    What is typical about them? Read portraits and interviews of people worth knowing and Rory MacLean’s blog from Berlin.

    Discover Germany