european neighbors

Gelnhausen in Hessen, Central Germany, about 40 km east of Frankfurt am Main, lies between the Vogelsberg mountains and the Spessart range. According to the Institut Géographique National, from 2007-2013, the geographic center of the European Union was located in wheat field just outside this town. Gelnhausen is also located on the scenic “German Fairy Tale Route”. It was founded by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1170. The place was chosen because it was at the intersection of the Via Regia imperial road between Frankfurt and Leipzig and other major trade routes.

Die Bastei is a rock formation towering above the Elbe river in the Sandstone Mountains of Sachsen, Eastern Germany. Reaching 305 m above sea level, its jagged rocks were formed by water erosion over 1 million years ago. They are situated near Rathen, not far from Pirna near Dresden, and are the main landmark of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. They are part of a climbing and hiking area that extends over the border into the Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic. The Bastei has been a tourist attraction for over 200 years. The spa town of Rathen is the main base for visiting; the town can be reached from Dresden by paddle steamer on the river Elbe.


“Moin” is a German greeting from Ostfriesland, Southern Schleswig, North Frisia, Flensburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, parts of the Netherlands, and Southern Denmark, meaning “hello” and in some places “goodbye”. It’s also used in the Danish dialect Southern Jutish and some Finland Swedish dialects, where it’s spelled “mojn”. Moin is used at all times of day, not just in the morning. The reduplicated form moin moin is often heard, although some locals regard it as tourist usage. Etymology: Although many people think that moin derives from (Guten) Morgen, the word actually comes from the Dutch, Frisian, and Low German word mo(o)i, meaning “beautiful” or “good”. Similar forms in Low Saxon are mooien Dag, mooien Abend, mooien Mor(g)en. Moin is semantically equivalent to the Low Saxon (Plattdüütsch) greeting Dagg and has now replaced it in many areas. Unlike Guten Morgen, moin can be used 24 hours a day. In Southern Jutish, mojn is used for hello and good bye, but mojn mojn is solely used for good bye. The double form is also used as a greeting in the Swedish region of Scania. 

hateliners  asked:

I just found your blog and fell in love with all your analyses :"> I was wondering if you have any theories about the significance of Iceland in the whole series, aside from the obvious VON? Why Iceland?

Wow! Thank you so much!

Honestly, that is a really interesting question. Besides the use of “VON” in the beginning of the series,  using it as their mantra per say, there really are not many other references to Iceland present in the actual show (in the soundtrack titles, on the other hand, there are “saga”, “fugl”, “hanna”, “ili” in “ili lolol”, “bless”, and “kvak”.). The only other time Iceland is remotely referenced is when Nine’s eyes are described “as cold as ice from a faraway land”. Outside of that, there isn’t much. However, looking a little bit deeper, there is more of a connection than initially thought.

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poland staring at his unwashed medieval european neighbors and going all “ugh u guys are so gross u should bathe” and then the black plague hits and everyone gets sick but him and hes all “HAHA I TOLD YOU FUCKERS”

German (Deutsch) is a West Germanic language that derives mostly from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Several German words are derived from Latin and Greek; fewer are borrowed from French and English. Widely spoken languages which are most similar to German include Dutch, Luxembourgish, English, and the Frisian and Scandinavian languages. Written German uses the Latin alphabet, but in addition to the 26 standard letters, it has 3 vowels called Umlaute (Ä/ä, Ö/ö, Ü/ü) and the letter ß, called “Eszett”, which originated as a ligature of archaic forms of the letters s and z. German is the native language of about 100 million people, making it the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and one of the major languages of the world. It’s a pluricentric language, with multiple countries having their own standardized variants (e.g. Austrian, Swiss) as well as many dialects. It’s the only official language in Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein and one of the official languages in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium. It’s a recognized minor language in other countries, incl. Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Namibia, and Poland. German also is the 2nd-most commonly used scientific language in the world and the 3rd-largest contributor to research and development. It’s a dominant language in business, culture, history, literature, philosophy, and theology. Worldwide, Germany is ranked #5 in terms of annual publication of new books, even though it only has a population of 80+ million, making it #16 in the world by population. Despite that, 1/10 of all books (including e-books) in the world are published in German. It also is the 3rd-most used language used by websites.

It’s the 3rd-most taught foreign language in the English-speaking world, after French and Spanish. It’s the main language of about 100 million in Europe (13% of all Europeans) and the 2nd-most spoken native language in Europe after Russian, above French (77 million) and English (64 million). It is therefore the most-spoken first language in the EU and the 2nd-most known foreign language in the EU. It’s one of the official languages of the European Union, and 1 of the 3 working languages of the European Commission (with English and French). Among citizens of the EU-15 countries, 32% say they can converse in German, either as a mother tongue or as a 2nd language. 

Das Allgäu is a region in the German South. It covers the south of Bavarian Swabia and southeastern Baden-Württemberg (plus parts of Austria). The region stretches from the pre-alpine lands up to the Alps. The main rivers flowing through are the Lech and Iller. The region is sub-divided into:

Das Oberallgäu (in Bavarian Swabia, in the state of Bavaria)
Das Unterallgäu (in Bavarian Swabia, in the state of Bavaria)
Das Ostallgäu (in Bavarian Swabia, in the state of Bavaria)
Das Westallgäu (mainly in Upper Swabia in the state of Baden-Württemberg, but also a very small part in Bavaria)

The western Austrian part is the Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg, accessible from Germany only. The region is noted for its beautiful landscapes and is popular for vacations and therapeutic stays. It’s well known for its farm products, esp. dairy including Hirtenkäse (“herdsman’s cheese”) and Bergkäse (“hill cheese”). Besides tourism and dairy, another important economic sector is the building of industrial equipment and machinery, such as Fendt tractors. The alpine regions of the Allgäu rise to 2,000 m in altitude and are popular for winter skiing. The famous Neuschwanstein castle is located here. Famous people from the region include Ludwig Ganghofer (writer of Bavarian homeland novels), Max Ritter von Mulzer (WW1 pilot), Ernst Walter Mayr (leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century), Klaus Nomi (countertenor & one of the first prominent German victims of HIV/AIDS), and Mario Götze (football player & scorer of the goal that made Germany the 2014 FIFA World Champions).

Beilstein is located in the Cochem-Zell district of Rheinland-Pfalz, Southwestern Germany. Finds from Frankish graves show that it’s been settled since AD 800. It was granted town privileges in 1309 by Heinrich VII. In the 17th & 18th centuries, the village’s appearance took on the shape that it still largely retains today. In 1794, French Revolutionary troops occupied the region. In 1815 Beilstein was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia. Since 1946, it’s been part of Rheinland-Pfalz. It has one of the best preserved historical appearances on the Mosel and is thus sometimes called a mini Rothenburg ob der Tauber or Dornröschen der Mosel (Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle). Towering above the village are the ruins of Castle Metternich, which once belonged to the like-named noble family. Each year in July & August, the Beilsteiner Märchensommer (Fairytale Summer) is held, at which the theatre from Cochem produces fairy tales at the winegrowing museum. Always opening and closing the series of events is a traditional version of the Brothers Grimm’s “Sleeping Beauty”, in keeping with one of the village’s nicknames.

Gengenbach is a town in Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany and a popular tourist destination on the western edge of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) with about 11,000 inhabitants. It lies near the French border and it’s known for its traditional Alemanic “Fasnacht” carnival celebration. It also has a traditional, medieval Altstadt (old town) and features “the world’s biggest advent calendar” - the 24 windows of the 18th century town hall represent the 24 days of Advent. The nearest larger cities are Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, and Strasbourg/France. Gengenbach is twinned with the town of Obernai in Alsace, France.

Der Gugelhupf is a South German, Austrian, Swiss and Alsatian marble cake or Bundt cake. It’s tall with the distinctive ring shape and it’s usually eaten with coffee or tea, at coffee breaks. It consists of a soft yeast dough with raisins, almonds, and Kirschwasser (cherry brandy). Some also contain candied fruits and nuts, or poppy seed.

Der Hintersee in Ramsau. Ramsau is a German municipality in the Bavarian Alps, pop.: ~1,800. It’s located on the Königssee in the Berchtesgadener Land in Bayern (Bavaria), Southern Germany, 35 km south of Salzburg/Austria and 150 km from München (Munich). Notable sights include the 3rd-highest mountain in Germany called the Watzmann, Lake Hintersee and the village’s famous church.

Die Burg Hohenzollern. The House of Hohenzollern is a dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century; their first ancestor was mentioned in 1061. They may have derived from the Burchardinger dynasty. The Hohenzollerns split into 2 branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch, which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849, it also ruled Romania from 1866-1947. Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525.

The Westweg is a long-distance hiking trail in Germany, running north-south through the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) from Pforzheim to Basel in Switzerland. The trail is 285 km long and is part of the European long-distance trail E1 (North Cape to Sicily). The route passes through numerous villages or small towns, so there is no difficulty in finding overnight accommodation and meals along the route. There are services that will transport your luggage to the next accommodation by vehicle, leaving hikers with only their daypacks for the hike. Details and routes:

Münster in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Northwestern Germany, started with a monastery in 794 by a Frisian missionary to aid Charlemagne’s campaign to gain control over the Saxons. It has had town rights since 1170. Today, it’s a fast-growing city of 300,000+, and has a large number of bikes which creates a special atmosphere that reminds of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. There are 40,000 uni students in town so travelling by bike and on foot are key modes of transportation. Pavements have a red brick section reserved for bikes; the entire city has a pedestrian/bike path that surrounds it, which follows the route of the old medieval walls, and makes for a nice walk, taking you past the lovely Aasee, a large artificial lake with surrounding park.

Deutschland (Germany) is the largest country in Central Europe and most populous EU state. It’s bordered by Denmark, Poland, Czech Rep, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. There are 16 states (Bundesländer), roughly corresponding to regions with their own distinct and unique culture. Germany is one of the most influential nations in Europe, and one of the world’s main economic powers. Known for precision engineering, high-tech products, philosophers, and composers, it’s equally admired by visitors for its old-world charm and “Gemütlichkeit” (cosiness). Discard any perceptions of Germany as homogeneous and a country of great regional diversity awaits. The states can be roughly grouped by geography as listed below, although there are other groupings. For a long time, the division between north and south was the most notable, nw, due to the Cold War legacy, there also is a great division between the cultures of east and west.

* Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Niedersachsen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein) - windswept land, maritime culture, busy harbors, beaches, and the popular vacation destinations of the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

* Western Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland) - wine country, modern cities and industry, sharply cut by the Middle Rhein and Mosel valleys.

* Central Germany (Hessen, Thüringen) - the green heart of Germany, with some of the most important historical cities, financial districts, countryside, and ancient forest.

* Eastern Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt) - highlighted by the eccentric, historic capital of Berlin, and rebuilt historic Dresden, “Florence on the Elbe”.          

* Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bayern) - Black Forest, Oktoberfest, Alps. The 2 states most foreigners picture as “Germany” even though it is only 1 region - the one of Lederhosen, Dirndl, romantic old cities. and alpine views.

People of Germany: Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nürnberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his 20’s, due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini, and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by emperor Maximilian I.

His vast body of work includes engravings, altarpieces, portraits, and self-portraits, watercolors, and books. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavor than the rest of his work. His well-known engravings include the Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolors also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium. His introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective, and ideal proportions.