Backward Southerners, Frigid Northerners: Germany's Real Divide
In 1990, all of Germany celebrated the reunification of a country divided since World War II. But the optimism was naively misplaced. The real German division sees the North pitted against the South.
Southern Germans: Stupid, fat beer drinkers. And did those blondes come from Berlin?
What happens when a blonde moves from Berlin to Bavaria? The collective IQs of both places go up -- at least according to a favorite joke told in the German capital. And the Bavarians? They just call everybody not from their easy-going part of Germany Saupreussen, or "pig Prussians." In other words, not a lot of love is lost between the North and the South in Germany.
People in the warm, hospitable, easygoing, earthy, rural south, for their part, figure the calculating northerners are just boring snobs. They are also sometimes called "flat-landers."
In short, northern and southern Germans mistrust each others food, each others dialects, each others politics, and each others religion. And southern German accents are so sing-song that movie distributors here subtitle accents from the American South in the southern-German dialect of Bavarian. Howdy, Earl, might be rendered as Grüß Gott, Earl! Ahd like me some hash browns, will likewise be faithfully translated to the slow, slightly ridiculous sounding Alpine dialect. Indeed, the fact that accordions and yodeling found their way from southern German regions into American country music may not be such a historical quirk.
The real difference between Germans, you hear in Munich as well as Hamburg, isnt between east and west, its between north and south." Indeed, had the Allies split up Germany between north and south after World War II, the Wall might very well still be standing.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2006
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH