Typical German! A Critical look at “German” Customs and Vices


Stereotypes about the behavior and vices of the Germans existed as far back as the Early Modern period. Among other bad habits, Germans were known for their excessive consumption of alcohol and food (binge drinking and gluttony), smoking (the “dry drunkenness”), and coarse behavior (grobianism). Criticism of German customs and vices was typically fueled by religious moralizing and often took aim at a perceived decline in German manners and morals. But the stereotypes introduced in pamphlets and prints also served to entertain. Both the stereotypes and the attendant criticism of them helped establish certain “typically German” behaviors, some of which have persisted to this day, including the notion that Germans drink in excess.


  1. < Religious Confession
  2. Art becomes German: The Case of Albrecht Dürer >