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 analysis 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 analysis 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.
Popular German characteristics
You might still be deciding whether or not you want to take a German DNA analysis, 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.