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Kultur und Reisen Culture and Travel

Karneval / Fasching / Fastnacht 2015

Karneval beginnt am kommenden Donnerstag!

Carneval begins this coming Thursday!

Karneval Fasching Fastnacht 2015Carneval is the celebratory season/week-long party before Lent. Carneval is centuries old and is found most frequently in Catholic areas, however similar celebrations are found to date back to pre-Christian times.

Time is of utmost importance for carnival: at 11.11 a.m. sharp the carnival begins--on Thursday the 12th, known as Weiberfastnacht. In between Thursday and Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), there will be...

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Free Reading Lesson: Stasi-Akten - Germans still want to know.

Guten Tag!

Here's a reading exercise for you to do. You'll need:

  • Free Reading Lesson Stasi Akten Germans Still Want to Knowsome quiet time
  • a print-out of this post
  • a print-out of the article (linked below)
  • a colored pencil and a regular pencil

The Background

During the time of the DDR (GDR in English) there was a secret police called the "Stasi," which spied on the people in Eastern Germany, listened to their phone calls, opened their mail, and infiltrated schools, hospitals, every part of life.

After the end of the DDR, Germany set up a...

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Sagt man "Viel Glück" oder "Viel Erfolg"?

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Wishing someone "good luck" in German often goes one of two ways--either "Viel Glück!" or "Viel Erfolg!" Which one you use depends on what you want to say.

If you'd like to wish some one "good luck," then go with "Viel Glück!" It really is like wishing them luck--because you're unsure how the result may turn out. However, just like in English, it's also possible to say, sarcastically, "Good luck with that!" Then you also use "Viel Glück!" and if you want to add extra emphasis...

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Esskultur - 9 Rules for Dining with Germans

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Esskultur is important in Germany; Esskultur is the culture of food, dining, and manners. For most Germans, Esskultur begins when they are in high chairs and their parents teach them to eat when the adults are eating, to wait until the adults are finished to be excused from the table, how to use a napkin, and how to use their eating utensils.

In the US, manners vary widely and the manners you learn depends largely on what your family has taught you. We don't have one set of manners, and you...

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Visit the German Settlement Cemetery in Hudson, Wisconsin

Last week you learned about the German Settlement in St. Croix County and the bake house/smoke house that is still used for bread baking demonstrations. Not far from there is the German Settlement Cemetery. Be sure to visit it when you head out for the bread bake. It's set beautifully and is a peaceful reminder of where so many of us have come from (another place) and connects you with another time.

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As the sign implores, it's a place to "Reverently read the old gravestone names of those...

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7 Things to Know When You Visit Germany

7 Things to Know When You Visit GermanyGermany is really what I consider to be my second home and there is a special place for it in my heart; there are so many reasons to visit Germany and here are 7 things for you to know when visit Germany and enjoy much of it, no matter what your level of German.


1. Country Size & Travel Basics:

Germany is about the size of the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin together and they have a population of 80 million people—we have about 300 million on a huge plot of land, so obviously Germany...

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Karneval / Fasching / Fastnacht

Karneval is known as "die fünfte Jahreszeit" --the 5th season. It's known as Karneval, Fastnacht, or Fasching in many places in southern Germany.

Karneval is a big deal.

Their costumes are pretty fantastic, one of Heidi Klum's favorite things, and their costumes are no exception at the parade on Rosenmontag. But let's back up a few days and a few months to give you the best idea of Karneval.



It begins on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. because 11 is known as the "narrische Zahl," the fool's...

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Persian Ware Presentation on 2/12 in Richfield, Minnesota

Persian Ware, Made in Germany

Black and Gold Autumn Pitcher SetBetween 1820 and World War I, nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants. Though we had had immigrants from the German states as early as the 1670s, none of the groups were as massive as what was seen in the nineteenth century.

Though Germans were mostly eager to fit into American life, learning English as soon as possible, there was still a preference for German customs, foods, and...

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In Germany You Can Name Your Kid "Jacqueline" or "Schaklyn." Yes, really.

It's no secret that Germans have a lot of rules. One "rule" that has become more flexible in the last few years is what you can name your child and how you spell her or his name. Now you can even bypass the commonly-accepted French spelling of the name "Jacqueline" and go right for the German phonetic spelling of "Schaklyn."

Yes, really.

Here is an article about the process of naming your child in Germany and for all you German learners out there, here are a few ways to read this article and...

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Dinner for One oder: der 90. Geburtstag

Every New Year's Eve (auf Deutsch: Sylvester) there is a particular television tradition in Germany: Dinner for One oder: der 90. Geburtstag.

This is about as traditional as the Dick Clark New Year's Eve Special from Times Square, except it comes on television on multiple different stations all evening long. So don't worry if you miss the first showing at 10:55 am, because it will be running constantly from 5:30 to 8 pm.

Dinner for One is well-known for its catch-phrase "The same procedure as...

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