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Urban German Graffiti Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Culture, Language

I’ve been quite interested in graffiti as of late. I like the way words are used in it, and I like the political, cultural meanings these words take on in their public settings. But I also just like the power of language that is contained in these scribbles.

I thought that showing you some German graffiti would be a great way to present the German language in a way you might not have seen it before, but in a way that is just as relevant and fascinating as it is everywhere else. Here it is used in its raw form, and in an urban setting – yet it is still extremely clever, as the German language generally is. Often, as in English graffiti, there are heavily political and anti-government messages contained within it. I will be coming back to that in more detail later on, but for now here are a few examples of some ‘urban German’ in use!

berlin 2005

Photo: samchills on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Fordert nicht Arbeit & Brot, sondern Freizeit & Kuchen!
Don’t demand work & bread, but free time & cake!

"Heute war damals Zukunft" Berlin 2013

Photo by 66944824@N05 on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Heute war damals Zukunft
Today was the future then

"Freiheit stirbt mir Sicherheit" Berlin 2013

Photo: 66944824@N05 on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Freheit stirbt mit Sicherheit
Freedom dies with security

"Nazis Raus, Schnecken Rein?"

Photo: materialboy on flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nazis raus
Nazis out

Sowas macht mich gluecklich.

PhotoL ssatta on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Sowas macht mich glücklich
Something like this makes me happy

Mannheim - Graffiti - If I could only speak

Photo: picksfromoutthere on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Wenn ich nur reden könnte
If only I could speak

Dieses Graffiti ist in deinem Land nicht verfügbar. - This graffiti is not available in your country. #graffiti #lindenau #streetart #stencil #leipzig

Photo: streetcleaner on flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dieses Graffiti ist in deinem Land nicht verfügbar
This graffiti is not available in your country

streetartpassau19

Photo: streetartpassau on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Dein Fernseher lügt!
Your TV lies!

"Keine Macht für niemand" Berlin 2013

Photo: 66944824@N05 on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

Keine Macht für niemand
No power for no one

Her damit

Photo: sbl on flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0

her mit dem schönen Leben
Bring me the good life

 

Germany is a country with a very strong street art/graffiti scene, and one that is heavily linked to its history and politics – especially in Berlin. I will be writing more about Germany’s street art scene in a future post, so if you liked this one then stay tuned for more German graffiti!

Bis bald

Constanze x

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. Allan Mahnke:

    Somewhere in our house there is a book published quite a few years ago (20 or more) of German university graffiti. It’s a wonderfully funny and occasionally extremely witty collection. In the US the situation is similar. Often the best reading on any university campus is on the restroom walls.

  2. Joseph T. Madawela:

    Have more German graffiti!

  3. Mirko von Berner:

    Great post. Thanks.

  4. unknown:

    Right away I am going away to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming over again to read further news.