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Landeskunde und Kultur

5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year

5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year

Besides books and reading, it's safe to say the board games are an important German cultural element. Games are so important to Germans that there is a Verein (club) that reviews games every year known as the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year).

German board games are awesome and some of them are now cult games of epic proportions. You might have seen Catan spread out on the coffee table in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. (Das war echt toll zu sehen.)

Here are a few games you could get to …

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21 Christmas Gifts for German Students - listed by learning level!

21 Christmas Gifts for German Students

When you're buying a Christmas gift for someone who is studying German, you may not know exactly what they need. With one small piece of information, that is which level of German they are at, you can do some quality gift buying right here.

Be sneaky! Look on your German learner's book for one of these combinations: A1, A2, B1, B2, or C1. There might be a "+" after it or the book might show a range of levels, for example A2-B1. Sometimes the letter/number combination is on a blue square with th…

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12 Reasons to Visit Germany--Whether You Speak German or Not!

12 Reasons to Visit Germany Whether You Speak German or Not

1. Experience the opposite of urban sprawl:

Germany is about the size of the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin together and they have a population of around 82 million people. To contrast, in the US we have about 300 million on a huuuge plot of land, so it’s much more densely populated. Germany is growing in diversity, so you will likely run into folks of many different backgrounds.

2. Speak with your hands and feet.

Most Germans, in particular in big cities like Hamburg, Bremen, Stuttgart, M…

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Aufräumen ist nicht putzen!

Aufräumen ist nicht putzen

Picking up is not cleaning!

So what's the difference between aufräumen and putzen?

Many German learners want to know what "to clean" is. The verb "to clean" in German is putzen. However putzen is something very specific in German--it may not be what you think!

For Germans, putzen is the actual process of cleaning, and nothing else. Americans think of cleaning as vacuuming, putting away books that might be laying about, doing the laundry, and any other amount of things. However putzen does not…

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

Viel Glück oder viel Erfolg

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.

viel Glück oder viel Erfolg.png

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 to the fact tha…

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Esskultur - 9 Rules for Dining with Germans

Esskultur 9 Rules for Dining with Germans

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 can…

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How to Make a German «Nudelpfanne»

How to Make a German Nudelpfanne

Germans have a great way to use up small amounts of leftover noodles & meat--Nudelpfanne! Literally:  noodle-pan.

While it's probably most convenient to make Nudelpfanne with leftovers (Essensreste), you might be in the mood to just make a Nudelpfanne. It's simple, delicious, and you can make it the same or different every time.

Here's the step-by-step process:


 gekochte Nudeln  Noodles (cooked)
 gekochtes Fleisch  Meat of your choice (cooked)
 Gemüse (gekocht ode…

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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.


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

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Karneval / Fasching / Fastnacht

Karneval Fasching Fastnacht Fifth Season in Germany

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 nu…

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Persian Ware Presentation on 2/12 in Richfield, Minnesota

Persian Ware Made in Germany

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 hous…

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