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My father has told me many times a proverb that also he grew up with: Ordnung ist das halbe Leben (order is half your life). Yes, Germans cherish tidiness and order, which can go into the absurd. Sometimes, Germans just take their Ordnungssinn (sense of order) too far! Enjoy!
Back in the 1990s, one particular woman became a hit for the way she pronounced Maschendrahtzaun (wire mesh fence). See the video above. It was picked up by the host of the comedy show TV Total, Stefan Raab, and he made a song out of it. It is a German attempt to make a country song, so please take it with a grain of salt 😉
So, you may ask, besides the bad German humor, what about this is so penibel (fastidious), präzise (precise), or simply: German?
The Grund (reason) for the Klage (lawsuit) that she filed. As you can hear in the first part of the video above, she is very verärgert (upset) that her Nachbar (neighbor) has a small Haufen (pile) of Erde (soil) and next to it a Pflanze (plant), which are close to her Zaun (fence). In her words, he has a Knallerbsenstrauch (snowberry bush) planted next to the Erdaufschüttung, or aufgeschüttetes Erdreich (earth hill). And the humidity of the soil destroys their Maschendrahtzaun, she claims. Yes… Worth a trial!
Obviously, this ridiculous sense of Ordnung added a lot to the fun!
3. Loriot – Das Bild hängt schief
Loriot was an important German comedian, that made a lot of fun of the German way of life in a great way. The humor focuses on the eloquent and precise way of expressing oneself in German, and in this case, of getting annoyed with something as small as a picture that doesn’t hang exactly straight. This leads to much worse Unordnung (disorder), and as much as the man tries, he cannot get Ordnung back! Ashamed, but trying to show his good, rightful, German intentions, he tells the lady: Das Bild hängt schief (The picture is crooked). Enjoy!
Germans like it spezifisch (specific). They do not shy away from using extremely long words to make clear what exactly they mean! The one we have here is… Well, 85 letters long. Schauspielerbetreuungsflugbuchungsstatisterieleitungsgastspielorganisationsspezialist means Specialist for the Organization of Guest Appearances, for the Management of the Extras and for the Support of Flight Booking of an Actor. Obviously, this is quite a fabricated word, and nobody would ever use a word like this. But, it has its Ordnung. Yet, there are many long words in German, and often they are simply abbreviated. Makes things a lot easier. Check out the video above, as he explains this quite well!
A little tip: Check out the first comment of the creator of the video below the video on YouTube – shows again, Die Deutschen mögen es ordentlich! (Germans like it orderly!)
1. Realer Irrsinn – Der Bahnsteig des Bahnhofs Bad Bentheim
Typical for Germans – Bürokratie (bureaucracy). So much so, that the show Extra 3 has a segment called Realer Irrsinn (real insanity). One of these segments is about a Bahnhof (train station) that I used many times, and this is one I want to highlight here.
The platform is owned by the Deutsche Bahn, whereas the station building is owned by the Eisenbahngesellschaft Bad Bentheim. The platform had to be heightened to enable the trains to be barrierefrei (accessible, for people with disabilities). Unfortunately, the coordination did not go so well – and the station building was not heightened so far. Consequence: the platform cannot be accessed through the building – unless you use the window!
I was there myself lately, and the window is now sealed, so you cannot go through the building anymore to get onto the platform. You have to walk around the building now!
Also interesting is the following case:
What do you think? Do Germans take Ordnung too far? Is there something particular about your culture that is taken way too far? Share it in the comments below!