There’s many a stereotype about Germans and Germany, mostly related to efficiency, order, organisation, punctuality and other exciting things. And often, what people know about the country is, in fact, limited to stereotypes (which, of course, does not just apply to Germany but is a general human foible!). So, let’s take a look at some – random – German fun facts and trivia that go beyond the commonly known labels. They might come in handy in any future quiz rounds or to impress others in a conversation.

The (we like to think) world’s oldest continuously open public restaurant can be found in Regensburg. The city’s ‘Historische Wurstküche’, known as ‘Wurstkuchl’, was opened in 1146, and to this day, the ‘Historic Sausage Kitchen’, subtle cue in the name, specialises in grilled homemade sausages. Wouldn’t want you to go completely without beloved stereotypes!

Germans are an inventive bunch. The letterpress, beer brewing, zeppelins, insulin, aspirin, coffee filters, gummy bears, the kindergarten and, not to forget, contact lenses are all on the list of things that Germans came up with. The latter, just in case you must know and/or are a contact lens wearer, goes back to a Marburg-born ophthalmologist who, in 1888, invented the first optical lenses that could be worn as an alternative to glasses. And should you wonder about the all-American garment of jeans: Löb Strauß (Levi Strauss) was born in Bavaria in 1829, emigrated to the US at the age of 18 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Speaking of textiles, global sportswear giants Adidas and its rival Puma are not only both headquartered in Herzogenaurach in Franconia. They were founded by brothers who parted ways after some kind of argument or other to both build their own sporting goods empires that conquered the world. And one of them, Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler, used his name for his brand. Yes, now you know what’s literally behind Adidas – the founder’s first name and a bit of his surname. And to round off this list with another very relevant bit of information for all gummy bear lovers out there: Haribo is nothing else but an acronym made up of Hans Riegel (name of the gummy bear inventor and company founder) and Bonn, the city where Haribo was founded. What an efficient way to name companies. Damn, there’s really no escaping those stereotypes after all…

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

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