CULTURE (2017 | Issue 3)

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Game On!

Ben gets sporty!

Germans bring precision and hard work even to games! It is not unusual to see people huddled over a gaming console or training in one of the many football clubs. What’s Up, Germany? uncovers the fascinating world of gaming, sports and fashion in Germany.

Germans love their sport. Most of them are super active and love to hike, play football, go longboarding and river surfing. Some even cycle to work! Football is to Germans what cricket is to Indians. Bars are overcrowded during matches, and it is common to see Germans, beer mugs in hand, loudly cheering their team on. This is the land that produced football greats like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, Oliver Kahn and Philipp Lahm. With more than 6.5 million official members, the Bundesliga (the German Football Association) is the largest sports organisation of its kind. It attracts the second-highest average attendance in global professional sport. Germany’s men’s national football team, affectionately called Die Mannschaft, has won four World Cups!

Germany has the largest video games market in Europe. Nearly every second German is into gaming. Simulation and first-person shooter games are all the rage. If you’re a gamer, you would’ve enjoyed playing video games designed and developed in Germany. The Turrican, Far Cry, X, Anno, SpellForce, Crysis, Risen and The Settlers series all carry the “Made in Germany” stamp. German developers have revolutionised gaming designs and have won many awards. Gamescom, one of the world’s biggest video game trade fairs, is held in Cologne every year. In 2017, it attracted more than 3,50,000 visitors from 106 countries!

When it comes to competitive sports, Germany has excelled on the international stage. It ranks third in an all time Olympic Games medal tally. Tennis players Boris Becker, Steffi Graf and Michael Stich; Formula One driver Michael Schumacher; figure skater Katarina Witt; and basketball player Dirk Nowitzki, all enjoy cult status worldwide.

The famous Eurogames originated in Germany. Thanks to these top-notch strategy board games, German families—and families around the world—get to spend quality time together. Popular games include The Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride and Alhambra.

Traditional German wear consists of lederhosen (leather pants) for men and dirndls for women. But German fashion is so much more and goes beyond these clichés. Sure, young men and women still wear lederhosen and dirndls, but the styles are more contemporary and worn only on special occasions like the Oktoberfest.

Young Germans have an international sense of style. They dress normcore: casual, understated and practical. Close-fitting jeans and dark-coloured clothes are the norm. However, it doesn’t mean that Germans steer clear of high fashion. On the contrary! Germany is a giant when it comes to haute couture and ready-to-wear. It is known for its elegant, clean lines and minimalism.

Renowned fashion designers from Germany include Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Wolfgang Joop, Philipp Plein, Hugo Boss and Michael Michalsky. Famous fashion brands like PUMA, adidas, JOOP!, BOSS, Marc O’Polo, TOM TAILOR and s.Oliver are German.

Berlin is one of the top global fashion capitals. It is young, hip and creative. The fashion industry sales in Berlin alone soared to around 3.8 billion euros from 2009 to 2013! The Berlin Fashion Week, held twice a year, is a trendsetter for fashion designers and retailers. Green fashion and wearable IT took centre stage at the 2017 fashion week. Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf are also important design and production hubs.