40% German blog (and podcast)

I’m just logging in to make a gesture towards posting in 2021, post Brexit and mid-Covid.

I have only just discovered Nic Houghton’s blog 40% German, subtitled Pretzels, Beer and Confusion.

Nic is a Geordie who has been living in Germany since 2011 and writes about that. Topics include:

Annoying the Germans: Small Talk
The Eye of the Beer Holder
The Two Sides of Germany’s Cutting Edge
Germany’s Class System
How Healthy is Germany?
Königreich of Kebabs

and all those other topics I have wondered about over the years.

The first thing that caught my attention was a post on integration, Integrating the Germans. A recent discussion with local Bavarian villagers about immigrants to their village not really joining in turned out to be referring to people from Nuremberg who wanted to enjoy the village social life without contributing to it themselves.

This put in stark relief, in my mind at least, the problem of integration. How can anyone in Germany expect peoples from vastly different cultures to integrate into German life, if we still have problems integrating Germans into German life. It also made a mockery of the expectations that some people seem to have that immigrants from all over the world will suddenly become their particular brand of “German”. I’m not sure it can boiled down into some checklist. Politicians in the past have tried, making bold statements about the need for a Leitkultur or a Guiding culture that defines for immigrants the way they should behave, but which culture? Is it the one from the North or the South, the East or the West?

He also has a podcast, Decades from Home, together with Simon Maddox, which I’m listening to now.

Decades from Home is a podcast that looks at the weird and wonderful of German life from the perspective of two non-Germans.

With over two decades of living in Deutschland between them your hosts, Nic and Simon, find news articles and tell stories that show the many different sides to German life.

4 thoughts on “40% German blog (and podcast)

  1. 40% German
    Das war ja eine Entdeckung – danke, Margaret! Ich habe immer gedacht, ich sei die einzige Deutsche, die sich über den Small Talk der Engländer*innen so ärgert. Weit gefehlt …

    • Hallo Christiane,
      kommt darauf an, in welchen Situationen es dich ärgert, denn “Small Talk” ist ein breiter Begriff. Ich weiß auf jeden Fall, dass ich ein Road Map für Deutschland gebraucht hätte. Mein Problem ist, dass ich dazu neige, ein paar Wörter mit Fremden auszutauschen, z.B. an Bushaltestellen, und sich bekam ich 50% der Zeit in Franken das Gefühl, dass ich eine Fehler begangen hatte und nicht willkommen war. Mit ein Grund, warum ich jetzt in London bleibe, anstatt nach Fürth zurückzukehren. Vor allem, wenn man alleine lebt, ist es deprimierend. Dabei ist es nur ein Verhaltenskodex und man sollte Unbekannt einfach nicht ansprechen.

  2. Could they have been practicing something like *hostile environment*? Or did you mention the weather? (My pet peeve.) They (i. e. Germans) say that people are much more talkative down south (i. e. in Germany). I found it very hard indeed to strike up conversations in England until they pulled out their earplugs that I hadn’t even noticed.
    Once I had a very lively chat with a man to my surprise. When I asked where he was from he said Ireland. Of course!

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