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Culture of Germany
Germany is historically called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). Since 2006 it has called itself the Land of ideas. German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. As a result, it is difficult to identify a specific German tradition separated from the larger framework of European high culture. Another consequence of these circumstances is the fact that some historical figures, such as Wolfgang Amadeus, Mozart, Franz Kafka and Paul Celan, though not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, must be considered in the context of the German cultural sphere in order to understand their historical situation, work and social relations.
Since the 2006 World Cup celebrations the internal and external perception of Germany's national image has changed. In annually conducted global surveys known as Nation Brands Index,, Germany became significantly and repeatedly higher ranked after the tournament. People in 20 different states were asked to assess the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, exports, its people and its attractiveness to tourists, immigrants and investments. Germany has been named the world's most valued nation among 50 countries in 2008. Another global opinion poll based on 13,575 responses in 21 countries for the BBC revealed that Germany is recognized for the most positive influence in the world in 2009, leading 16 investigated countries. A majority of 61% have a positive view of the country, while 15% have a negative view.
Germany is a legally and socially tolerant country towards homosexuals. Civil unions have been permitted since 2001. Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children (stepchild adoption). The mayors of the two largest German cities, Berlin and Hamburg, are openly gay.
During the last decade of the 20th century Germany has transformed its attitude towards immigrants considerably. Until the mid-nineties the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 10% of the population were of non-German origin. After the end of the influx of so-called Gastarbeiter (blue-collar guest-workers), refugees were a tolerated exception to this point of view. Today the government and German society are acknowledging the opinion that controlled immigration should be allowed based on the qualification of immigrants.With an expenditure of €58 billion on international travel in 2005, Germans invested more money in travel than any other country. Most popular destinations were Austria, Spain, Italy and France.