As a German language learner, the first question that pops up in mind is- apart from Germany, which are the other German speaking countries? German is one of the top ten commonly spoken languages in the world. The top 6 German speaking countries in Europe are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
Here are some interesting facts about the top 6 German speaking countries of the world:
Germany – The first of the top 6 German speaking countries
- There are more than 80 million German speakers in the country.
- There are over 20000 castles in Germany.
- Germany has the highest recycling rate in the world.
- Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight saving time.
- There are over 1200 breweries in Germany. They produce around 5000 brands of beer.
- Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the biggest train station in Europe.
- There are 300 different types of breads in Germany.
- The world’s first commercially successful electric tram built in 1881, was the Gross-Lichterfelde Tramway near Berlin.
- The world’s largest cuckoo clock is in Triberg-Schonach. The pendulum is 8 meters long and the cuckoo weighs 330 pounds.
- The narrowest street in the world, Spreuerhofstraße, is in Reutlingen. It is 31 cm wide at its narrowest point.
- The Germans launched the first magazine, Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, in 1663.
Austria – The second largest German speaking country
- Austria has around 8 million German speakers.
- Almost 1/4th of the entire population lives in Vienna, the capital of Austria.
- Vienna is the ‘European capital of classical music’.
- Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, founded in 1752, is the oldest zoo in the world.
- Austria was the first country to introduce postcards.
- It is Europe’s no. 1 organic farming country. It is also the first country in the world to register the first organic farm.
- The world’s largest emerald (2860 carats) is on display in Vienna.
- St. Peter Stiftskeller, located in Salzburg, is the oldest operating restaurant in the Central Europe.
- The Austrians created Red Bull Energy Drink.
- The largest ice cave in the world, Eisriesenwelt, is in Austria.
- Krimml Waterfalls (total height- 380 meters) is the highest waterfall in Central Europe.
Switzerland – Third among the 6 German speaking countries
- Switzerland has around 4.6 million German speakers.
- There are over 1500 lakes in Switzerland.
- Switzerland is also known as Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin. Hence, the abbreviation CH is used in banking codes.
- Switzerland and Vatican city are the only countries in the world to have a square flag.
- The world’s largest particle physics center, CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), is located near Geneva.
- Swiss company, Nestlé, launched Nescafe in 1938. They were the first to come up with the concept of instant coffee.
- Gotthard Tunnel is the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel. It is 57 km long and is located under the Alps.
- Switzerland is one of the leading exporters of chocolate. That is to say, it produces the most chocolate in the world.
- According to surveys, the Swiss have the second longest life expectancy in the world.
- It is illegal to have just one pet in Switzerland. Therefore, the people must own the pets in pairs.
- Sonnenberg tunnel in Lucerne was the largest nuclear fallout shelter in the world.
- Luxembourg has approximately 4,00,000 German speakers.
- Radio Television Luxembourg Group is the largest television production and radio company in Europe.
- Firstly, Luxembourg has the lowest rate of unemployment in Europe.
- In addition, it offers the second highest minimum wage in the world (€1,923 per month).
- Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, was the first EU leader to marry a same-sex partner.
- Luxembourg has the highest rate of car ownership in the world.
- It has the largest GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in the world.
- This country’s petrol is one of the cheapest in the European Union.
- Restaurant Chiggeri in Luxembourg has the world’s largest wine list (over 2200 choices).
- Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world.
- About 43% of the country’s residents are immigrants.
- Belgium has approximately 75,000 German speakers.
- Brussels International Airport has the highest number of chocolate sales in the world.
- Belgium holds the world record for the longest period without a government.
- The word “spa” originated from the Belgian city Spa.
- Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world.
- Belgians built the first stock exchange building in the world in Bruges.
- Belgians invented French fries.
- The largest sand sculpture festival, Disney Sand Magic, takes place in Belgium.
- On an average, there are 30 different types of waffles and 10 types of potatoes in a Belgian supermarket.
- Every single Belgian beer has its own special matching glass.
- The Coast Tram in Belgium is the longest tram line in the world. It is 68 km long.
- Liechtenstein has approximately 35,000 German speakers.
- Due to bad weather, Swiss Army Troops accidentally invaded Liechtenstein in 2007.
- Liechtenstein and Haiti unknowingly developed identical national flags. Liechtenstein added the crown to their flag a year later.
- It is the only country to have won medals at the Winter Olympic Games. However, never at the Summer Olympic Games.
- The crime rate in Liechtenstein is low. According to a survey, the last murder occurred around 2007.
- It is the world’s leading manufacturer and exporter of false teeth.
- There is no airport in this country.
- Liechtenstein is one of the two doubly landlocked nations in the world. In short, it is surrounded by 2 countries, Austria and Switzerland.
- Every year on the National Day, the Royal Family invites all the residents of the country to party in the garden of Vaduz Castle.
- Few years ago, one could rent the entire country of Liechtenstein for $70,000 a night.
- Gampriner Seele is the only lake in this tiny country. It was created in 1927, when the Rhine river got flooded.
Roaming in these countries is a lot easier if you know basic German language words. Click here to get to know a few German words related to food and travel.
If you enjoyed reading this article, also read about the 15 Beautiful Castles in Germany.