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cultural difference 33: flags

June 9, 2010

Most Germans would never say that they’re proud to be German. Maybe they feel that, after the Third Reich and World War II, Germans lost their right to patriotic pride.

As a result, the national flag isn’t displayed as readily as in the US. In Germany, you can go for months or even years without seeing the German flag anywhere.

With one big exception: the soccer World Cup.

Every four years, Germany goes crazy, and you can see flags hanging from lots of windows, balconies, and cars.

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4 comments

  1. Yes, and it’s the duty of all Germans to have at least one of those flags, one hat in German colors, sing the national anthem (even so most of the players don’t), watch all games of the German national soccer team, and have enough (German) beer stocked in the fridge 🙂
    I have to admit I loved the atmosphere four years ago. It was fun here in Frankfurt and my partner and I even had tickets for one game.
    Yes, I shut up now – I know that wasn’t the subject you wanted to talk about 😉


    • So I’ll lose my citizenship if I don’t watch the game on Sunday? 😉


  2. But it really was only the last World Cup where things changed so dramatically, wasn’t it? Before that I only remember craziness in 1990 when we actually won the World Cup.

    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that ‘kids today’ really don’t have a close connection to WWII. I have parents who grew up in the post war era, knew poverty and the effects of war first hand. So we’re influenced by all of that.

    I must say that I found the change 4 years ago quite refreshing and am pleased that some of it is returning right now.

    On a more thoughtful note, I don’t have patriotic feelings, I think. Being German is just what I am. I am very puzzled by the notion of being proud of your nationality, unless maybe if you changed citizenship or something.


    • As far as I remember, things were indeed different in 1990. Things went crazy only when we won the final game. I bet if we win that first game on Sunday, it will be as crazy as the last game in 1990.

      I would choke if I tried to say “I’m proud to be German.” I’m more proud of the region where I live, or maybe “proud” isn’t even the right term. It’s my home and it’s beautiful.



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