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Old 03-23-2009, 08:39 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,073 posts, read 5,447,005 times
Reputation: 4299

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Holy Crap.

Almost all of these posts completely missed the point of the OP. Probably not due to the fault of the posters, because it seems like a REALLY strange question at face value. Especially to the majority of City Data posters that live in large metro areas.

I think the OP was referring to the physical appearance of very small towns in the midwest with a large proportion of residents with a German heritage. We're talking about towns of 500-5,000 residents. Most of you have no point of reference to even answer his question.

From my personal observations, a lot of these towns are noticeably clean and well-kept (same with the farms outside of town). Some examples from my experience are the Mid-Michigan towns of Fowler, Westphalia, Pewamo and St. Johns. These range from 1,000 to 5,000 residents, are all farming communities, and are very German. It's funny to read the box scores from high school games over the years, and it's the same last names year after year.

I am positive that this is what the OP is talking about, and I think it's true to some extent. It has nothing to do with the superiority of the German people or anything ridiculous like that (I have no German roots, by the way). It's just an interesting observation that the OP, myself, and many others that I know have made of these small, midwestern German towns. I'm thinking that any town much larger than what I've mentioned will be way too diverse to even attempt to make a generalization about ethnicity and the town's physical appearance.

I am certain that the OP was not claiming anything about the character and personalities of the actual residents. But I promise you he is not the first one to make that observation about the physical appearance of these places.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,977 posts, read 5,996,585 times
Reputation: 559
Default York, Pa.

Let me mention York, Pa., a pretty well preserved town that for a long time serviced a thriving agricultural area around it. If you visit the industrial museum there, you will be amazed by how self-sufficient that town was and how its industries gradully became factors in the wider economy. Exhibits at the museum feature York-made Conestoga wagons, cars and trucks, printing equipment, various agricultural implements, pianos and so on. I was most impressed. Much of this activity was driven by German immigrants who had technical skills that many other immigrant groups lacked.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:43 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,366 posts, read 19,297,224 times
Reputation: 8483
Being from Germany, I wonder how come many German cities themselves are so ugly and depressing if neat American cities had to do with German stock
By the way, some things said here about Germans are quite nasty and only prove that those uttering them have probably never had to do with Germans. Americans are not necessarily known for their great foreign-language skills, so how come Americans know Germans are cold and have no sense of humor? In order to understand humor, one has to speak the language, especially with German, as Germany has a very word-focused culture.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:06 PM
 
7,848 posts, read 18,265,202 times
Reputation: 2781
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
Being from Germany, I wonder how come many German cities themselves are so ugly and depressing if neat American cities had to do with German stock
By the way, some things said here about Germans are quite nasty and only prove that those uttering them have probably never had to do with Germans. Americans are not necessarily known for their great foreign-language skills, so how come Americans know Germans are cold and have no sense of humor? In order to understand humor, one has to speak the language, especially with German, as Germany has a very word-focused culture.
I've encountered many Germans in my lifetime, and some spoke perfect English...others spoke some English. While I don't judge entire groups based on individuals, I've never met a German who was nice and friendly - not even a little bit. Sorry, but that has been my experience. I'm not saying there aren't any nice, friendly German people, but the 10-15 personal encounters I have had have been with snotty, arrogant, condescending Germans who apparently thought they were a little better than Americans. They weren't.

Many Americans speak more than one language...that is a very old stereotype. It's strange that other nationalities can be warm and friendly without speaking much English, but Germans can't seem to master that skill.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,366 posts, read 19,297,224 times
Reputation: 8483
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaconJ View Post
I've encountered many Germans in my lifetime, and some spoke perfect English...others spoke some English. While I don't judge entire groups based on individuals, I've never met a German who was nice and friendly - not even a little bit. Sorry, but that has been my experience. I'm not saying there aren't any nice, friendly German people, but the 10-15 personal encounters I have had have been with snotty, arrogant, condescending Germans who apparently thought they were a little better than Americans. They weren't.

Many Americans speak more than one language...that is a very old stereotype. It's strange that other nationalities can be warm and friendly without speaking much English, but Germans can't seem to master that skill.
Well, sorry to say this, but then obviously the fault lies with you, for some reason you seem to attract and provoke unfriendliness towards you. You know, there are several studies on friendliness around the world, and Germans rank among the best countries in that respect.

It also depends on where you go and why. If you go on a business trip to Frankfurt or Berlin you will probably not get to know a lot of friendly Germans as business people of any nationality are not overly liked among normal Germans, they are regarded as greedy capitalists, be it American or German businessmen.

And, especially during the Bush years, being American did not help you a lot, to many Germans the American accent is reason enough to think little of you.

Basically, if you don't speak German you won't be treated nearly as warmly as if you spoke at least some German. Germany is not a developing country where people are nice to you just because you are American or have money to spend. Quite to the contrary, you have to kind of prove to them that despite being American you deserve to be treated in a friendly way. And speaking their language is the best way to do that. Foreigners who go to Germany expecting jolly, beer-loving, English-speaking actors in a Disney-style Euroland just waiting for foreigners to come along might as well stay at home because they are bound to be disappointed.

And if you go to Germany, please avoid doing certain things if you want to be taken seriously. E.g. grown-up men should not wear shorts in cities (or pretty much anywhere else for that matter), nor baseball caps on their heads, nor those little carrying bags around the waist. If you run around like that you will be considered clowns and treated accordingly. Nor do grown-up Germans like people speaking overly loudly, it is considered rude, as Germans pay a lot of attention to privacy.

Last edited by Neuling; 03-23-2009 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:36 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,900,535 times
Reputation: 660
I don't think so necessarily. Many of those cities suffered the rust belt effect. Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh are prime examples of this. However, the bonus side to the rust belt effect is that these cities are very rich in culture and history, and I think they hold a bit more status because of it.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,977 posts, read 5,996,585 times
Reputation: 559
Default Germans

Each country is very different. I don't know about interactions in today's Germany, but when I was growing up in the late 1940s and 1950s, war-ravaged Germans seemed particularly reserved. But, then, in the German language there are two you's -- one that is formal and used in speaking with people you don't know well and the other reserved for intimates.
I see the same phenomenon in Russian and was flabbergsted when I realized that many husbands and wives used the formal you in addressing one another.
Waht I am saying is that in my childhood years many Germans view Americans with a mixture of scorn and amusement. They got to know msotly the U.S. military and formed their opinion about Americans that way. They couldn't believe that a country would send an Army incapable of speaking the local language to occupy their country.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,977 posts, read 5,996,585 times
Reputation: 559
Even today, Germans prefer predictability, punctuality and precision to behavior that lacks orderliness. Interestingly, Russians, who as a nation are lacking in orderliness, see disorderly behavior -- defined very broadly -- as a cardinal sin
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
11,878 posts, read 33,536,114 times
Reputation: 5566
Germans are very orderly, and tend to keep a tight reign on things. I think the OP has a good point. I lived in Germany for two years and it's one of the safest countries on the planet; at least it was then. If it is no longer safe, I would assume that massive immigration from other countries might be responsible.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 1,367,470 times
Reputation: 275
[quote=Neuling;8010128]Being from Germany, I wonder how come many German cities themselves are so ugly and depressing if neat American cities had to do with German stock
/quote]

Really? What part of Germany are you from? I visited my friend in Hannover in 2007, and I have to say it was by far the cleanest and best-maintained large city I had ever seen (Other than Hannover I've only been to other North American cities, but that even furthers my point). Maybe it's all the rain that makes it look depressing (it does to some people, not to me), or maybe it is grass-is-greener syndrome.
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