Located in Central Europe, Germany is the second-most populated country on the continent. It’s rich with dynamic culture and fascinating history, and its natives have had a significant impact on the world’s approach to literature, art, philosophy, and food. Whether you know you’re of German ancestry or suspect you might be, taking a German heritage test can be a great way to learn more about yourself, your culture, and how you and your family got to where you are today. There are plenty of options for German DNA testing that are quick and easy to accomplish from your home – but if you’re still on the fence about taking one, you can start by learning a little bit about German ancestry, common genetic traits, and a brief history of Germans by reading on.
A brief history of German people
As an ethnic group, modern Germans first established themselves in the 10th century, when they formed the Kingdom of Germany after separating from the Middle Age Frankish Empire. This new empire began to expand exponentially, moving further eastward to establish a nation. The Germans were known for being pastoralists: the bulk of their milks, cheeses, and meats came from their own flocks and herds. They also farmed root crops, grains, and vegetables, and crafted early domestic utensils out of wood, clay, or leather. Miners, smiths, and potters were early traders in the country, but in general, most German people made many of their objects at home. The modern nation was founded on Christianity, and many Germans have carried these religious principles throughout generations of German ancestry.
German DNA testing: How it works
Are you interested in getting a German heritage test done? Whether you know you have German roots, think you might, or just have no idea whatsoever, consulting some German DNA testing could be a great way to answer your burning heritage questions. Finding out about your German ancestry actually hasn’t always been that simple. Until recently, most mainstream DNA tests only broke down ancestry into three categories: European, African, or Asian. Getting more specific than that just wasn’t going to happen – but today, things have significantly expanded. This expansion came from people utilizing the tests. Once more people were in genetic databases, DNA companies had more references to go off of – a.k.a., more DNA to compare. So while you might not have been able to narrow your origins down to Germany ten years ago, today you absolutely can.
The benefits of German DNA testing
Taking a German heritage test is a lot easier than you might think. Most DNA testing companies will simply send you a test in the mail, and you’ll submit the sample (usually hair, saliva, or blood) right back to them the same way. Eventually, your results will be live on an online portal, and you’ll be able to explore your heritage in quite a bit of detail. There are quite a few reasons to look into your German heritage beyond pure curiosity, but here are a few main benefits you might come away with if you’re thinking about German DNA testing.
- German DNA testing can help you understand more about your relatives.
Maybe you know most of your relatives, a handful of them, or none at all. Taking a German DNA test will help you understand who you come from: what they were like and what sort of quirks, illnesses, or conditions you might be prone to – both from the perspective of your nuclear family and German heritage as a whole. This can be a great way to learn more about yourself through your family’s history, and maybe connect or grow closer to some of your loved ones in the process.
- Taking a German heritage test can help you complete a family tree.
Are you working on some sort of family heritage project, or attempting to complete a family tree? A German heritage test will be an incredibly helpful tool for your endeavors. The results will essentially do a bulk of the work for you, leaving you to the fun part of organizing, designing, and fleshing out anecdotal details to really personalize your heartfelt work.
- German DNA testing will allow you to learn more about your culture.
Beyond you and your family, German heritage comes with thousands of years of rich history and culture, and being able to confirm that you’re a part of this tribe might inspire you to dig a little deeper. Knowing exactly how German you are and what region you and your family hail from allows you to get pretty specific when looking into the details of your origins, and what sort of culture has been enjoyed by your people for centuries. It might explain why you tend to gravitate more towards certain hobbies or pastimes.
- With a German heritage test, you might be able to unite with some long-lost family members.
Maybe you’re consulting a German heritage test for the sole reason of connecting with family members – and it’s definitely a great way to do so. Other members of your family might even have gotten to the DNA testing site before you, which makes it that much easier for the platform to make those connections on your behalf. Then, all you have to do is reach out and start sparking those relationships.
Popular German characteristics
You might still be deciding whether or not you want to take a German DNA test, and that’s perfectly okay. In the meantime, it could be a good idea to explore some very general German characteristics – both physical and cultural – that may or may not apply to you. Here are some of the most popular characteristics that many German people share. Of course, keep in mind there is no one way to be German, and even if you contain none of these traits, you could still very well be Deutsche.
- A light and pale complexion
Almost half of the German population has blue eyes, and many also have blonde hair and pale skin.
- A square jaw
Many German people also tend to have square jaws: a.k.a., jaws that are about as wide as the rest of the skull.
- Higher cheekbones
German people also tend to have quite high, prominent cheekbones – and overall, quite angular features.
Germany is home to some of the tallest people in the world. The average German man is about 5 foot 11, while the average German woman is just over 5 foot 5.
Shared Cultural Traits
German people are known for working very efficiently. From architecture and machinery to cooking and creating art, German people tend to complete tasks in a timely and neat manner.
- Low crime rates
As a country, Germany has a rather low crime rate – about 6,070 crimes per 100,000 people in 2021. A common German stereotype is one of orderliness, and while this tends to be exaggerated for humor, it might account for the particularly low rates of crime.
Another common stereotype about German people is their communication style, as outsiders tend to view them as to the point, clipped, or even rude. This may have something to do with their tendency for efficiency – even in speech, Germans are as neat and timely as can be.
Before you go: Famous German people
Now that you know a little more about German culture and some common traits among German people, let’s wrap things up by taking a look at some of the country’s most well-known figures – both within the nation and throughout the entire world.
- Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a well-known deaf German pianist and composer, and is easily one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music. His work continues to be some of the most performed throughout the world.
- Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen – a.k.a. “Saint Hildegard” or the “Sibyl of the Rhine,” was a German Benedictine abbess. She was also a talented writer, philosopher, composer, visionary, mystic, and medical practitioner throughout the Middle Ages.
- Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist who is known today for being one of the most influential people in his field. He is perhaps best known for his theory of relativity, but he also made significant advancements in the field of quantum mechanics theory.
- Angela Merkel
The former Chancellor of Germany (2005-2021), Angela Merkel is a politician and scientist who is a member of the Christian Democratic Union. She went down in history as the first woman chancellor in the country, and has often been referred to as “the most powerful woman in the world.”
- Henry Kissinger
Born in Germany, Henry Kissinger served as the United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under presidents Nixon and Ford. Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his role in ceasefire negotiations in the Paris Peace Accords.
- Heidi Klum
Supermodel Heidi Klum is one of the most famous modern German women, known for her work with Sports Illustrated, Victoria’s Secret, and her television hosting and production. She is also a talented singer and actress.