What is the Sandmaennchen? A little Man who Sent German Kids to Dream

When the Wall separating East Germany from West Germany fell, many of the icons produced by the East vanished. There is one BIG exception. The Sandmännchen. What is the Sandmaennchen? And how did he continue to thrive despite his East German origins? This little figure with a long goatee and pointed cap captured the hearts of German children with his…

What is a Schrebergarten or Kleingarten? Germany’s Little Gardens

You are traveling along in Germany, and suddenly on the side of the railroad tracks, there is a cluster of fenced in tiny houses surrounded by small gardens. Are these actual homes? Are they campground for seasonal workers? Is this where the Garden Gnomes live when they aren’t in your garden?? Actually, these little plots of land are called Schrebergarten…

A Mysterious German Trend- Photos with a Man in a Polar Bear Suit

  When I was a child, I loved paging through the family photo albums. Old black and white photos of family from years ago fascinated me. Imagine, my mother had braids! My father in a a baby carriage. But the one photo that drew me, more than any other, was the photo of my mother with a POLAR BEAR! The…

Shopping for German School Supplies in Germany

My daughter, Katy, spent a Semester studying in Berlin. I’m delighted that she sent us a few posts about life as a California Girl in Germany. This week… shopping for German School supplies. Apparently, it’s not the same as it is here in California…  All photos taken by Katy used with permission.  There were many things I expected to be…

The Mainzelmännchen… Guud’n Aamd!

Cover image of Mainzelmännchen Michael Kramer, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons Isn’t it nice how the little things can make you so happy? One distinctly German cartoon that brought me endless delight was the Mainzelmännchen! These little animated men on German TV would come on during the commercials in quick animated spots that just made us LAUGH. Over…

What is a Tante Emma Laden? A Corner Store with a Special History

Cover photo- My mom behind the counter of her father’s Laden. That’s me, the Daumenlutscher, on the right What is a Tante Emma Laden? Oddly, one of these shops holds a very important place in my life. My very first memory is of falling down the steps in front of my Opa’s Tante Emma Laden. (This had nothing to do…

How is the German Chancellor Elected?

For people who live outside Germany, the German election system may seem a bit confusing. Just how is the German Chancellor elected? I’m going to do my best to give a concise explanation to help you understand how their system works. For the record, I am not endorsing any German Political Party, this is just an informational article to try and…

Federweisser- All you Need to Know About this VERY Young Wine

When people think about traveling to Germany in the Fall, they often think Oktoberfest. BUT, the country has so much more to offer besides this well-known attractions! For example,  Federweisser. What is Federweisser? It’s an alcoholic drink only available during the months of September and October. This is a real autumnal tradition for many Germans, particularly in the wine-growing regions…

German School Cones- Schultüte for the First Day of School

  The Schultüte, filled German School cones, tradition goes back to the early 1800s in Germany. Leaving the childhood comforts of Kindergarten, and moving on to “real school” can be a tough transition. So, on their first day of school when entering the first grade, children traditionally receive a cone shaped bag or “Tüte” filled with treats and toys, to…

The German President- What do they do? How are they elected?

On March 19, 2027, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was re-elected President of Germany. This left a lot of people unfamiliar with the German political system wondering… What does the German President do? And how is the German President Elected? The system is much different from the presidential election in the USA… but then, the job of the German President is quite different…

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