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Thread: The Pillars of Northern German Culture

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    The Pillars of Northern German Culture

    Abroad, Germany is mostly known for the Southern, especially Bavarian culture. But what about the Northern culture? Give some examples of essential cultural traits of Northern Germany. How are its people compared to the Southerners? Is it true that they are colder and less talkative?

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    How are its people compared to the Southerners? Is it true that they are colder and less talkative?
    Yes.

    Give some examples of essential cultural traits of Northern Germany.
    Well. I'm not sure what you mean by "cultural traits", but I guess you're looking for some history, folklore, mentality and the like. I'll try to give some examples.

    Cultural legacy
    As north germany is the eternal borderland between north- and central europe, it naturally has both scandinavian and continental cultural roots, especially if you consider the younger history of Holstein and especially Schleswig. When you travel the small towns of Angeln, it will be obvious to you: This towns have danish roots. The houses are of scandinavian style, villages' and streets' names are in danish. You'll also notice that northern germanys native language, Plattdüütsch, sounds like a mix of german, the scandinavian dialects and english. A native Plattdüütsch speaker can pretty much understand all of these.

    Anyone willing to go even further back in time to learn north german culture should consider to visit the viking museum in Haithabu. Located near Schleswig, Haithabu was the most important trading point and cultural centre in the southern part of viking territory. Almost any north german elementary school class visited this at least one time and learned to know their ancient viking roots.

    Traditional trades in north germany are fishing, agriculture and naval trade.

    Mentality
    This point isn't necessarily to be understood literally, because describing a people's mentality doesn't work without generalization. It mustn't be true for the individual at all.

    The north german mentality could possibly be described as a mix of prussian accurateness and scandinavian calmness, spiced with the legendary cunning of the Hanse. The stereotype of a north german would be prudent, distanced to cold, unsentimental, pragmatic and honest, armed with a clever business sense and unique, ironic sense of humour.

    A stereotype would be the Hamburgean tradesman, tough as nails and anything but humble, also cunning and a bit egoistic, always an ace up his sleeve, but still a man of honor who stands by his word and doesn't forget a friend in need.

    Folk traditions
    Well, given the typical north german unsentimentality, there aren't many important ones which are still commonly practiced, and most of them aren't unique but just similarities with either the pagan tradition of scandinavia (Mittsommer/midsummer, Julfest/yule) or the christian tradition which spread from continental europe (easter eve fire, latern parade).

    There are, however, some typical pieces of cloth, like, for example, this sailor's shirt:

    http://www.elbsegler.de/800a.jpg

    Another important part of tradition is north german music, which is very much linked to typically naval instruments, like the...

    ...accordion:
    http://www.travemuende-aktuell.de/ak.../b_11609_2.jpg

    ...harmonica:
    http://www.musik-produktiv.de/img-00...n-melody-c.jpg

    ...or even the guitar.

    A classical north german food would be Grünkohl mit Kochwurst (kale with boiled sausage):

    http://www.lecker.de/media/recipes/h..._img_308x0.png




    That's it for the moment, I have other things to do now. If you're interested, I'll maybe go on later. More specific questions would be better though.
    "Lever dot as slav."

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    Quote Originally Posted by totenlicht View Post
    Well. I'm not sure what you mean by "cultural traits", but I guess you're looking for some history, folklore, mentality and the like. I'll try to give some examples.
    Yes. Thanks. That's what I meant.

    What I'm also curious about, is if you have any specific words for Southern Germans, or sayings about them, like the Austrians have "Piefke", if you know what I mean. Are there specific ways in which you tease the Southern Germans?

    Another question is, where does Northern Germany start and end? Would you consider Thuringia and Saxony Northern?

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    Northern German culture is similar to Danish culture.
    The Nothern Germans are colder than the Southern.
    The Southern are seen as always cheerful and with more sense of humor.
    The Northern Germans aren't exaggeratedly stiff,
    but they are more serious and peaceful.

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    What I'm also curious about, is if you have any specific words for Southern Germans, or sayings about them, like the Austrians have "Piefke", if you know what I mean.
    We sometimes call the south germans, more specific, bavarians, "Seppl" (deriving from the south german name "Sepp") or "Weißwurscht".

    Are there specific ways in which you tease the Southern Germans?
    Sure, many people here often make fun of the bavarian dialect and culture, bavaria is the most "hated" (in a non-serious way) country in the world over here. We also joke about bavarias seperatism, like asking them how they like their stay in germany...

    Another object of mockery is the south german's piety: North germans, especially those from the larger coastal cities like Flensburg and Kiel and those in the far north (Angeln) are known to be the least pious of all germans. Even on the countryside where people are more conservative, the protestant church is more a social center than a place of true faith. There are many jokes about the "Pfaffen" (a dismissive word for catholic priests) and their hypocricy.

    And, of course, anyone here deeply despises the infamous bavarian football club "FC Bayern München". By the way, they recently lost their Bundesliga match against Hamburg. Zieht den Bayern die Lederhosen aus!

    Another question is, where does Northern Germany start and end? Would you consider Thuringia and Saxony Northern?
    Haha, sure as hell not. I actually even have problems to admit that Niedersachsen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are northern

    North germany to me is: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen and the northern, coastal parts of Niedersachsen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
    "Lever dot as slav."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resist View Post
    Another question is, where does Northern Germany start and end? Would you consider Thuringia and Saxony Northern?
    The Northern German states are:
    -Bremen
    -Hamburg
    -Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
    -Lower Saxony
    -Schleswig-Holstein

    The Altmark in Saxony-Anhalt, the northern Brandenburg area with the Prignitz and the Uckermark, and Westphalia are also considered to be part of the Norddeutschland region.


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    Quote Originally Posted by totenlicht View Post
    We sometimes call the south germans, more specific, bavarians, "Seppl" (deriving from the south german name "Sepp") or "Weißwurscht".
    Well, I´ve heard some other negative words regarding us Southern Germans by your people: Schluchtenscheißer, Almöhis, Hinterwäldler, Inzestdörfler, Alpenheinis....

    Sure, many people here often make fun of the bavarian dialect and culture, bavaria is the most "hated" (in a non-serious way) country in the world over here.
    The same counts vice versa, you damn Fischköppe, Wattwanderer, Waalkesverehrer, Heide Simonis victims, Ebbe-und-Flut-Kasperl and Saupreißn.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Architecture could be considered a difference.

    Houses build in brick :
    In Northwest Europe, bricks have been used in construction for centuries.
    Until recently, almost all houses were built almost entirely from bricks.
    Although many houses are now built using a mixture of concrete blocks and other materials,
    many houses are skinned with a layer of bricks on the outside for aesthetic appeal.
    From en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick

    Then there is the Fachwerkhaus, a timber-framed brick house :
    In Deutschland werden drei Stilgruppen unterschieden:

    Alemannisches Fachwerk ist vor allem im südwestdeutschen Raum, der Schweiz und dem Elsass zu finden

    Fränkisches Fachwerk ist überwiegend in Franken, Thüringen, Hessen, Nordrhein-Westfalen und Rheinland-Pfalz vertreten durch das Ernhaus

    Niedersächsisches Fachwerk mit sächsischem Ursprung kommt vor allem im norddeutschen Raum zwischen den Niederlanden und Ostpreußen in Form des (niederdeutschen) Fachhallenhauses („Niedersachsenhaus“) vor
    Northern Style :

    Southern Style :

    From https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fachwerkhaus
    See English en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_framing


    Roof covering of houses :
    Northern 'Hohlpfanne' vs. Southern 'Biberschwanz'

    From de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohlpfanne


    From de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biberschwanz
    Mk 10:18 What do you call me a good master, no-one is good .

    Gylfaginning 1.39 But on wine alone Odin in arms renowned Forever lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bärin View Post
    The Northern German states are:
    -Bremen
    -Hamburg
    -Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
    -Lower Saxony
    -Schleswig-Holstein

    The Altmark in Saxony-Anhalt, the northern Brandenburg area with the Prignitz and the Uckermark, and Westphalia are also considered to be part of the Norddeutschland region.

    Basically, anywhere the Ingvaeones lived. Hanover, Oldenburg, Pomerania, etc. I'd say Saxony is an honorable mention.

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    How to Understand the North Germans

    You need to understand three key words to communicate properly with northern Germans, according to Australian writer Liv Hambrett who has fallen for one of them. She takes us on a linguistic tour.
    Way back when, when SG was but a brand new flickering flame of romance, my flatmate said to me upon meeting him, "he is a typical north German."

    I didn’t quite know what that meant because I didn’t know any other north Germans, just a lot of Westphalins. I simply thought, "if by typically north German you mean wonderfully handsome, then how marvellous."

    When talk of visiting Kiel sprung up among my Westphalin friends, they spoke of the famous aloofness the northerners possess, the arm’s length they hold you at. Once or twice, I seem to recall, the word "cold" popped up.

    At the time, I was struggling with the Münsteranian arm’s length, the lack of hellos to passersby – I had visions of arriving in Kiel and being frozen to an ice chip by averted gazes, being cowed by a whole new level of German directness, gasping for air in conversational vacuums.

    Falsch my friends. Falsch.

    Over the years, due to moving around the country a bit, and cohabiting with a typisch Norddeutsche, I have come to appreciate what being a ‘typical north German’ means - direct, self deprecating, funny, and cheery.

    Yes, cheery. Schleswig-Holsteiners are happy people, they ranked as the most content Germans last year – I suspect it is the sea air.

    They are energized by innovation and by projects that focus on communities. And they love the north, protecting their borders with the same vigour all Germans protect their regions and all they contain. They also love holidaying in Denmark, but that’s a different story for a different day.

    One thing about northern Germans that became very clear very early on is that they don’t waste words. Perhaps this tendency to say things as succinctly as possible, or indeed in as few words as possible, could account for their reputation of über-directness.

    Most Germans are, when push comes to shove, direct, but some regions are chattier than others, padding out conversations and interactions with the type of conversational fat I am more used to. The Oberpfälzers, for example, could talk under wet cement.

    The northerners, however, have no interest in conversational padding. They have their own brand of directness that seems to spring from a desire to make themselves understood as quickly and effectively as possible.

    Indeed, you can have an entire conversation by simply employing three key words - Moin, jo!, mmmm. The latter isn’t even a word – this is the level of conversational efficiency we are dealing with.

    "Moin"

    "Moin" is the only greeting you need in the northern parts of Germany – Northern Friesland, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Hamburg, and MeckPomm - and you will have it bounced at you by all and sundry regardless of time of day and the formality (or informality) of the situation.

    Often, when one is greeting friends or family, "moin" is followed up with "naaaa?" which roughly translates to "how’s it going" and can be responded to with a counter "naaaa?".

    North Germans enjoy a good handshake, so the classic greeting will encompass a firm handshake while the "moin" is being passed back and forth. One has the choice of responding to a "moin" with a "moin moin" although only if you really feel the situation calls for it.

    A little research reveals that "moin" also pops up in the east and north of the Netherlands, in Denmark’s Southern Jutland and despite its apparent connection to "morgen", it actually more than likely springs from the East Frisian word mōi, which means good or lovely.

    "Jo!"

    Often, I will write SG a text containing some detailed information, not lacking in verbosity, and he will respond with a merry, "jo!" (pronounced, naturally, "yo!"). Just one word.

    Or, a transaction in a shop will begin with a crisp "moin" and end with a rally of "jo!" being volleyed back and forth between the guy slipping the purchase into a bag and the customer tucking his wallet back into his pocket.

    This peppery little syllable is most often used as confirmation, but can also make an appearance as a greeting, particularly when answering the phone to a pal, and also to wrap up a conversation.

    Where we might get trapped in the endless cycles of, "okay then, alrighty, good, yep, okay then, sounds great, stay in touch, I will too, take care, yes I will too, okay I’ll pass it on, yep, good, chat soon, yep, yep, byeeeeeee", the northern Germans snap out a fizzy "jo! Tschüss" and end the conversation there and then.

    "Mmmm."

    This is a key one to master, because if left misunderstood, the "mmmm" can wound an English speaker, crippling their confidence in the hitherto-believed affectionate friendship. I first encountered the "mmmm" with SG’s mum and left the house certain she despised me.

    What else could account for a conversation ending with an "mmmm"? And an "mmmm" uttered, no less, with a slight chin-led nod with nothing following.

    Say "mmmm" to an English speaker and we think you’re deep in thought and will soon deliver your opinion on the given conversational topic. We’ll wait for you to say something, to weigh in.

    But here, the "mmmm" isn’t an indication the person you’re having coffee with is thinking about what you’ve just said, it’s more likely they’re bringing that chapter of the conversation to a close. "Mmmm" very often means "right. Okay then. What’s next on the agenda?" It isn’t a filler while you ponder, it is a punctuation mark.

    "Mmmm" can also be used to signal a world of disapproval, in which case there is a slight tonal difference to the "mmmm" that signals a subject change. The disapproving "mmmm" hangs in the air, it withers nearby plants.

    Sometimes an additional syllable is added to the "mmmm" and it becomes "mmhmm" and that generally signals simple comprehension and may precede some questions on the matter. This is the least terrifying of the "mmmms."
    https://www.thelocal.de/20140620/dec...alive-hambrett


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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