In Germany, the strength of the new and the warmth of the old converge. This multifaceted nation is at once charming and imposing, simple and complex, carefree and intensely serious. It is quite young as a nation (Germany was not unified until long after the American Revolution), but its towns and cities are ancient and filled with the shades of medieval scholars and craftsmen. It is one of the most powerful nations in Europe, and yet its people are reliably gregarious and welcoming. It has been divided for much of its history – first into northern and southern, and then into East and West – but today its people are more united and less factional than many of their neighbors. And even as it produces some of the world’s finest and most advanced technology, it also produces music, beer, and food that resonate with timeless allure.
The identity and personality of Germany vary tremendously from city to city. For the vast majority of their history, these cities were mostly independent from one another, and so developed their own unique cultures and traditions. Southern cities, such as Munich, are known for their food and drink, their relaxed lifestyle, and the beauty of their mountain scenery. In the north, cities like Berlin and Hamburg offer the height of modern luxury and efficiency, yet maintain a great commitment to the fine arts and the cultivation of the mind. Throughout Germany, the common threads seem to be a love of beer, hearty food, and dancing – whether it’s to the booms of electronic rave music or the lilting cadences of traditional polka.