Here are some typical character traits of Germans:
- Direct and honest with thoughts
- Loud talkers
- Love hearty food
While most Germans adore their country, they are not excessively patriotic as they are ashamed of their country’s history and involvement in the first and second World Wars and affiliation with Hitler. Therefore, despite Germany being an impressive country with a booming economy, their patriotism is tempered by their complicated history.
It may seem obvious, however the single most important means to communicate effectively with Germans is to speak their language, even with those who speak English. Not only does it demonstrate a genuine interest in their culture, it also facilitates deeper friendships that will help uncover additional layers of German culture.
When people meet, such as strangers and distant friends, they typically shake hands or merely say “hallo.” Greeting each other with two kisses is not very common, as it is in France and Spain. However, family and friends greet each other with hugs and the occasional two kisses (one on each cheek).
The use of mobile technology is pervasive among the majority of German citizens. Contrary to practices in the U.S., WhatsApp is by far the most popular way of communicating with people. Similarly, Instagram and Snapchat remain the most popular social media apps.
Outlook to other cultures
Germans are open to other cultures. English language skills are greatly encouraged in Germany and many colleges and graduate schools require a strong competency in English for admissions. Additionally, students are encouraged to learn either French, Spanish or Italian as a second foreign language. Consequently, study abroad programs in Europe are popular as recent generations are more outward looking and show greater global interest. The European Union created a student exchange program, called Erasmus, which facilitates and encourages study abroad programs within Europe amongst Europeans.
Almost 60% of Germans are Christian, evenly divided between Catholics and Protestants. Catholicism plays a more significant role in the south of Germany, especially in the state of Bavaria. Germany has the second largest Muslim population in Europe, with more than six percent of the population being followers of Islam, and that percentage is expected to grow over the next decades.