Watching the slapstick 1963 British comedy sketch “Dinner for One”, starring Freddie Frinton and May Warden, is an essential part of the German New Year’s Eve celebration.
Although he cut a fine figure in his youth, “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria started losing his teeth in his twenties – one of the reasons why he became increasingly reclusive in his fairytale castles.
If you ask a German the time and are told “halb drei” (literally “half three”) the time is in fact half past two (half two in English).
Germans count the minutes to the next hour rather than after. The Munich Oktoberfest actually starts in late September. Don’t worry too much if you miss it: there are 60 beer gardens in and around the city that are open all summer.
The Plattdeutsch dialect spoken in parts of northern Germany stems from Old Saxon and contains many words with the same roots as English – “maken” (make), “dat Kniv” (knife), “dat Sailschipp” (sailing ship), “af un an” (sometimes).
Trabant, the name given to East Germany’s answer to Audi and Mercedes Benz, literally means “satellite”. It was intended as a tribute to the first-ever satellite – the Soviet Sputnik, which went into space in 1957.
In 1888 Germany had three emperors: Wilhelm I, Frederick III and Wilhelm II. Frederick III died from cancer of the larynx aged 56 having ruled for just 99 days. A liberal by disposition, he would have been a very different emperor to Wilhelm II.
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