German Nationalparks – Part 1: Schwarzwald

Posted on 04. Feb, 2016 by in Geography, Nationalparks, Travel

Hi everybody!

This is a new series on the 16 national parks of Germany. Each park has its own characteristics and peculiarities that make it so special. In the posts in the coming weeks, I will explore these characteristics and peculiarities with you. In a last post, I will provide a little summary, give some statistics on the parks in Germany, and will elaborate on some debates around areas that have been qualified to become a Nationalpark, but due to all kinds of reasons did not make it.

Before we get into the parks, however, I will shortly explain what a Nationalpark in Germany is.

Der Nationalpark

Nationalpark is established mainly to protect a large, natural area and its ecological processes. At the same time, a Nationalpark is established to bring people closer to nature, educate them about it, do research, and of course, to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Obviously, it is prohibited to harm these parks. This includes any economic activity, like hunting or farming. A Nationalpark is different from other kinds of nature protection, like a Naturschutzgebiet (Nature protection area). A Nationalpark is basically a step further, because there is also a great emphasis on recreation.

Basically, to be able to become a Nationalpark, an area must:

  1. Be large, mostly uncut, and of a special kind;
  2. Fulfill in a large part of it the requirements of a Naturschutzgebiet;
  3. Be influenced by humans as little as possible. For this last one, that may also be done when the park is already created. In fact, most parks do not even comply with these criteria yet all the way – but they are working towards it!

The National Parks in Germany (Image by Lencer at under license CC BY SA 3.0)

Der Nationalpark Schwarzwald

As the title of the post suggests, I will start with the Nationalpark Schwarzwald, which is located in the Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) in the southern Bundesland (Federal State) of Baden-Württemberg. The Schwarzwald is a well-known mountain range in Germany, but a part of it only became a Nationalpark very recently. On May 3, 2014, it opened its gates as the first Nationalpark in the Bundesland. It is split in two areas, because the city Forbach lies in between the two. The two parts together encompass around 100 km² (approximately 25,000 acres).

What is special about the Nationalpark Schwarzwald?

Sundown in the Nationalpark Schwarzwald (Image by Schwarzwert Naturfotografie under license CC BY 2.0)

First and foremost, the vast woodlands and signature hill ranges of the Schwarzwald can be admired. The tall Fichten und Tannen (spruces and fir trees) grow closely together, which gave the forest its name: sunlight is sometimes barely let through, and thus it is a “Black Forest”.

There are wonderful paths and routes for hiking, and there are hundreds of activities organized by the Nationalpark every year that you can participate in, like guided tours and educational activities about the ecological system of the Nationalpark. During the winter, there are loipen prepared to go Langlaufen (cross-country skiing).

Abenteuer Schwarzwald

Last year, a wonderful project was realized: Abenteuer Schwarzwald. Photographers and Film makers returned each season to the Nationalpark to take the most beautiful shots of the park. On the website, you can see the final Ausstellung (exhibition) of pictures that were shot.

Also four videos were made: one for each season. Using drones and high-end cameras, some amazing footage was made, that really catches the beauty of the Nationalpark Schwarzwald!

Frühling (Spring)

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Sommer (Summer)

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Herbst (Autumn)

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Winter (Winter)

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I wanna go to the Schwarzwald now! What about you?

3 Things Germans Do On A Sunday

Posted on 31. Jan, 2016 by in Culture, Film, Holidays, People, Traditions

For many people, Sunday is a langweiliger Tag (lazy day) on which they have a lot of time. However, a lot of people don’t know what to do on that day. Below I listed 3 things that Germans do on a Sunday and that you can do too, with posts that can help you with it! Of course, you can also just read and learn from these posts on a Sunday ;-). Enjoy!

1. Kaffeetrinken mit Freunden oder Familie

Kaffee. (Image by Raymond Zoller at under license CC BY SA 2.0)

Going for a coffee with friends or family is a great idea on a Sunday! Most people have time, and it is a nice time to get together and have a “recap” of what they did in their lives. With this post, you will definitely know how to order and what the different coffee varieties mean in Germany!

2. Eine Sehenswürdigkeit Besuchen

Schloss Neuschwanstein. (Image by Diego Cambiaso at under license CC BY SA 2.0)

Another wonderful plan is to visit a Sehenswürdigkeit (sight, tourist attraction) – if the weather allows it, of course!

There are many great places to visit in Germany, like Schloss Neuschwanstein, the capital Berlin with the Fernsehturm, the Brandenburger Tor, and many, many other sights, like Lübeck.

If you want to stay home, maybe the next tip is a better idea…

3. Sich Einen Film Ansehen

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Watching a movie is fun! An all-time German classic is Lola Rennt. Above is the trailer. Other good movies are Good-bye LeninDie Welle, or Das Boot. A recent and controversial movie is Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who’s Back).

ImDB has a good list of German movies, of which I can recommend Das Leben der Anderen (The Live Of Others). I myself recommend you to watch German movies in German, and movies from other countries not in German. I am personally not a fan of dubbing.

Have fun on your Sunday!

Parallel Texts: German Beer Trade

Posted on 30. Jan, 2016 by in Culture, Current Events, Language


Today I’ve got another reading comprehension for you in the form of a news article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 

This time, it’s all about German beer and its popularity abroad. I’ve put the vocabulary in bold, with its English equivalent also in bold in my translation on the right. To read the full article in German, click here.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest bier

Photo: dubswede on under a CC license.

Der Biermarkt boomt – im Ausland

Die deutschen Brauereien verkauften 2015 gut, besonders in Übersee. In Deutschland fiel der Absatz auf ein Rekordtief. Doch eine Sorte erfreut sich immer größerer Beliebtheit.


Der Deutsche liebt Bier – so lautet zumindest das Klischee. Das stimmt auch immer noch, doch die Umsatzzahlen in Deutschland sinken. Die zunehmende Beliebtheit deutschen Biers im Ausland hat den Brauereien im vergangenen Jahr dennoch das Geschäft gerettet. Die Bier-Exporte stiegen 2015 um 4,0 Prozent, während der Absatz in Deutschland um 0,7 Prozent auf ein Rekordtief von 79,5 Millionen Hektolitern fiel. Zusammengenommen stieg die Biermenge im Vergleich zum Vorjahr um 0,1 Prozent auf 95,7 Millionen Hektoliter, wie das Statistische Bundesamt am Freitag in Wiesbaden berichtete. Für den Export-Boom waren vor allem die Länder in Übersee mit einem Mengenzuwachs von 16,8 Prozent verantwortlich. Innerhalb der EU sank der Durst auf deutsche Biere hingegen um 2,5 Prozent.


Wichtigstes Bier-Bundesland war zum zweiten Mal in Folge Bayern, wo mit 24,8 Prozent Anteil nahezu jedes vierte deutsche Bier gebraut wurde. Auf dem zweiten Platz landete erneut die Pils-Hochburg Nordrhein-Westfalen mit einem Anteil von 23,4 Prozent.

Beer trade booming abroad

Business was booming for German breweries in 2015 – especially overseas. In Germany, however, sales hit a record low. But one type is enjoying ever-increasing popularity.

Germans love beer – at least, that’s the cliché. This is still true, though the sales of beer in Germany are dropping. The increasing popularity of German beers abroad, however, kept the breweries in business last year. The amount of beer being exported rose by 4% in 2015, while sales in Germany fell by 0.7% to a record low of 79.5 million hectolitres. Collectively, the volume of beer was 95.7 million hectolitres – 0.1% greater than the previous year, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office on Friday in Wiesbaden. It was mainly overseas countries that were responsible for the export boom, with a total growth of 16.8%. Conversely, the thirst for German beer sank by 2.5% within the EU itself.

Bavaria topped the list for the second time in a row as the most prominent state for beer brewing; with a 24.8% share, practically one in four German beers were brewed there. In second place with a share of 23.4% was the beer stronghold otherwise known as North Rhine-Westphalia.

Source of German article: Der Biermarkt Boomt – Im Ausland, 29.01.16, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


If you like this feature or have suggestions on how to make it better, please do let me know in the comments. One thing I’m aiming to implement with future posts is to use articles with varying levels of difficulty, so that beginners, intermediate and advanced German learners can all benefit from this feature. :)