Was Zum Teufel? – 5 Obscure Differences Between Germany and Australia

Part 1 – Nudity and a Non-Factor

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These Strange German Ways – Susan Stern

There are so, so many cultural differences between Germany and Australia, most of which one could write an entire book on, let alone a silly little blog entry. But what the hey, let’s have a look at some of the less obvious cultural differences for a bit, and shake our heads in bewilderment at the nonsense other humans get up to. Here’s a few of my favourites.

  1. The Nudity

Skinny-dipping, I guess, can be a thing sometimes in Australia. Certainly, orientation camp and Prosh Week at Melbourne University would suggest that streaking is far from uncommon. But it is by no means normal behaviour. Introducing, the FKK (pronounced Eff Kar Kar for all you new players).

If the sun is out, it’s over six degrees, and there is a lake nearby, there’s a chance you are going to find yourself in close proximity with some naked Germans. In all likelihood, they’re long-standing members of Frei-Körper-Kultur (free body culture). I won’t go into the history of liberalism in Germany (just read the Wikipedia entry, it’s not bad), but this is something that has been around for a long time, and is just a part of life.

It is, as counter-intuitive as this may seem, very organised nudity. There is a section of each lake’s shore dedicated to this, and nude people outside this section are as frowned upon as clothed people inside it.

It’s not just the FKK where the Germans attitude to nudity goes off on tangents which make a Picasso painting look positively straightforward. Until recently Bild (a much longer-running version of Melbourne beloved mX) had a picture of a lovely woman, stark naked and quite provocative, on the first page of every issue. I’ve been told by a spoon-wielding German that they have recently removed these ‘Seite 1’ girls.

And last but not least, to borrow from this brilliant blog, What I Know About Germans:

“Should a contestant, for example, on a family friendly ‘celebrity special game show’ or something, be a nude model, German TV is totally down with displaying a great deal of her portfolio, to the audience at home. Pre 9pm. In fact, pre 8pm. See article 34 and 50.”

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Flückigersee, Freiburg
Photo: Audun Ingebrigtsen

2. Vodafone

This isn’t the most entertaining point I’ve ever come up with, but whilst Vodafone in Australia seems to be a laughing stock, in Germany and across Europe I have heard it reputed as by far the most reliable network in terms of coverage. Who knew. Don’t complain about how mundane this point is, the other one was full of nudity. Sabalott.

Part 2 to come.

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