Oktoberfest in Munich

By Francine McKenna on Email

It began in 1810 on fields in front of Munich’s city gates, as a horse race honoring Ludwig the Crown Prince of Bavaria’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and when the festival was repeated one year later it signaled the beginning of an annual tradition, the Oktoberfest in Munich.  Named …

Francine McKenna

Frederick the Great – One of Germany’s Most Famous and Admired Rulers

By Francine McKenna on Email

His military successes, and the domestic reforms he introduced into his country, have ensured that Frederick the Great has gone down in history as one of the most famous and admired of Germany’s rulers. Born in Berlin on January 24th 1712, and artistically gifted from his youth, despite not being …

Francine McKenna

Schultueten and the First Day of School

By Francine McKenna on Email

To minimise the spectre of kilometre long traffic queues together with overcrowded everything else during the peak summer holiday season, German school holidays are spread out, so in the separate Laender, federal states, kids are “school free” during different times, ranging from end June to beginning August for Bremen and Saxony for example, to …

Francine McKenna

Herbs and Natural Medicine in Germany

By Francine McKenna on Email

For some time the scientific world has been concerned about the ever increasing numbers of bee colonies dying out and not surviving winters, because of the effect their disappearance is having on essential plant pollination, and German born Albert Einstein’s supposed claim that ‘if the bee disappeared off the surface of …

Francine McKenna

Munich Olympics 1972, From Dream to Terror

By Francine McKenna on Email

It began as a “dream” and ended in terror. The Olympic Park in Munich was a revolutionary and pioneering design, its sweeping acrylic glass canopies symbolized a new democratic, transparent and optimistic Germany, while duplicating a panoramic view of the Bavarian Alps, and it was the home of the Munich Olympics …

Francine McKenna

Germany’s Cult Beach Chair, the Strandkorb

By Francine McKenna on Email

For over a century the Strandkorb has been a part of Germany’s culture, a symbol for holidays, sun, sand and sea.  It is a cult object these days, but the first Strandkoerb was invented in 1882 for an elderly aristocrat, Elfriede von Maltzahn, who had rheumatism but not a lack of energy and …

Francine McKenna

Germany’s Radioactive Wild Boar

By Francine McKenna on Email

Casual strolling through Germany’s many beautiful forests is an enjoyable and popular national pastime, normally with sightings of wild boar, deer or some other flora or fauna either nearby, or somewhere in the distance.  However despite looking like furry pigs and being passive by nature except when panicked, in recent …

Francine McKenna

Denglish – Germany’s Mix of Deutsche and English

By Francine McKenna on Email

Over the last years a strange English German hybrid has eased its way into the language of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, and it has been awarded its own name, Denglish. Deutsche + English.  From Handy, cell phone, Wellness Hotel, Spa Hotel, and Street worker, a social worker, to Evergreen, something that has …

Francine McKenna

German Drinks, Elderflower Cordial

By Francine McKenna on Email

Harry Potter had his mighty ‘Elder Wand’, while the Elder Tree was believed to be a powerful enough deterrent to ward off witches and all evil influences, as well as set a curse on anyone who dared to burn it. The tree comes into its own for the rest of us …

Francine McKenna

Germany’s Tree Lined ‘Avenues Route’

By Francine McKenna on Email

Germany’s Avenues Route, the tree-lined ‘Deutsche Alleenstrasse’, is just one of the country’s 150 scenic and historic routes but at 2,900 km it’s the longest, stretching from the Baltic island of Ruegen in the north to the World Heritage Site of Reichenau Island on Lake Constance in the south.  Running parallel …

Francine McKenna