What are the typical German clichés?

In my own country (Italy) there are many prejudices about Germany and Germans, both positive and negative (ATTENTION: the following are not my personal opinion, but that of the majority of Italians)

Positive klichees:

  • Punctuality: The other countries agree
  • Reliability at work: Germans are good workers, they always pay attention to the rules and are very responsible in their profession.

An Italian entrepreneur would trust a German partner more than another Italian

  • Germans consider the environment and animal rights to be an important issue: Italians present Germany as a “green” country, i.e. many parks, trees, alternative energy sources, etc…
  • A polite company: Germans speak quieter and slow, they let older people sit on the subway or on the train, they often help the tourists and they are satisfied that sometimes they do not speak German or English well
  • Everything works better than in Italy: politicians are more serious and trained, the streets are cleaner, there is little corruption, the judiciary is more reliable
  • Negative Klichees:

    • Germans don’t laugh or can’t laugh: they stay serious all day and don’t make jokes.
    • German tourists in Italy are “the garbage of Germany”: they pollute the beaches, they speak too loudly, they are very rude to the Italians.

    They are the exact opposite of the “typical” German

  • Erano e sono rimasti dei nazisti (They were Nazisands and they have remained so today): I often hear this phrase when you talk about politics, because the Italians don’t love the current German government so much.
  • In their opinion, Germans hide a nostalgia for the “glory of the past”. They do not know that people in Germany risk three years in prison for opinion crimes; they do not know that Germany’s political correctness is much worse than in Italy.

  • Another prejudice about Nazism is the relationship between Germans and Jews: Italian Jews simply cannot believe that many Jews actually want to go to Germany or learn German.
  • “Germans have been our natural enemies since the ancient Roman era”: sometimes this is said as a joke during the European Football Championship (or World Cup), sometimes people really believe in it: they are simply uneducated people, because they do not know that the Italian state exists thanks to Preussens (see Prussian-Austrian War 1866)
  • ‘German women don’t shave [sic!’: The ones who claim these weird things are often sexist men (and Italy is unhappily a sexist country) who demand a high standard of beauty from women
  • They dominate the European Union by damaging the economy of poorer countries (such as Italy): many Italians believe that the European Union is an advantage only for Germany.
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