What Do Scandinavians Think of Germany?

Germany has had a turbulent history over the past century, particularly around Europe.

For example, during the early 1940s, Germany invaded Norway and Denmark, so one might wonder what Scandinavians think of Germany nowadays.

Most Scandinavians think Germany is nice, with lots to do and see. Despite Germany’s history, Scandinavians look forward and don’t dwell on the past.

However, they may have some stereotypes about Germans, including the stereotype that many Germans like beer and are often angry.

This article will discuss if Scandinavians like Germany. It will also discuss the prominent opinions Scandinavians have on Germany and the German people.

Also, see Why Are Scandinavians Good at English? to learn more.

Do Scandinavians Like Germans?

Scandinavians generally like Germans and see them as friendly and trustworthy. However, there are stereotypes about them being angry or sometimes outwardly rude.

Most Scandinavians are aware that these stereotypes are generally exaggerated.

There is no bad blood between the Scandinavian countries and Germany.

Plenty of Scandinavians like to visit Germany (and vice versa) each year, and the people tend to get along well.

Here’s What Scandinavians Really Think of Germany

The People Work Hard

One thing that many Scandinavians think about Germany is that it’s a country full of hard-working people who favor work over almost everything else.

In the eyes of many Scandinavians, Germany’s culture revolves around work, even more so than family.

The Germans are seen as dedicated because once they set out to do something, they’ll see it through until the end.

Many Scandinavians would say that Germans are more work-oriented than them.

Everyone Follows the Rules

Scandinavians believe that Germans are serious rule-followers for the most part, which is usually what most of the world thinks–and it’s generally true.

They notice that Germans tend to abide by the law, clean up after themselves, and avoid getting into trouble.

The strict rule-following nature of Germans is down to the fact that most rules make sense and are reasonable, so people don’t mind following them. [1]

When particular rules are set out in Germany, everyone must follow them. Otherwise, one may get angry looks or even a stern talking-to from a stranger.

Germans Are Good at Football 

Scandinavians also tend to associate Germany with football, which is no surprise considering it’s home to one of the world’s most successful national football teams.

For example, the German football team has won four world cups, putting it just behind Brazil and hand-in-hand with Italy.

Plenty of Scandinavians will associate German football skills with the fact that they’re a hard-working, dedicated nation. 

None of the Scandinavian football teams are as successful as the German ones, so it’s no surprise that this sticks out to them when they think of Germany.

The People Like Beer

While Scandinavians are known to enjoy alcohol, they often associate their German neighbors with being beer lovers.

Many Scandinavians imagine Oktoberfest when they think of the drinking culture in Germany.

They also associate Oktoberfest with dress up, as people tend to dress in typical Bavarian attire while drinking from beer steins.

As such, many Scandinavians also believe Germans are good partiers and fun to go out drinking with. 

Germans Are Good at Creating and Building

Another opinion Scandinavians have about Germany is that it’s a highly innovative and creative country.

They look at the automotive and IT industries and recognize how powerful and influential Germany is in those areas. 

It’s no surprise that Scandinavians think of Germany as one of the leaders in the automotive industry, considering many of the leading car brands (like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz) are German.

The Nordics also generally assume anything made in Germany will be of a high standard because of German people’s precision and work ethic.

The People Are Efficient 

In the eyes of the average Scandinavian, German people are highly efficient. Additionally, Germany (as a country) is seen as efficient because everything runs smoothly. 

For example, most German cities and towns have excellent public transport systems that consistently remain at a high standard. [2]

Not only do all cities and many towns have efficient public transport systems, but plenty of trains go between the different cities (and to cities outside of Germany).

Compared to Scandinavian countries, Germany is streets ahead in transport infrastructure, and Scandinavians aren’t afraid to admit it. 

It’s a Highly Powerful Nation

Although Nordic countries like Sweden and Norway are rich, the average Scandinavian sees Germany as a mighty and generally “big” country.

They often view it as a leading country in Europe and the rest of the world. Here are some of the reasons Scandinavians view Germany as a very powerful nation:

  • The population. As of 2022, the German population is over 84 million. [3] On the other hand, Sweden is the most highly populated Nordic country, and its population is just over 10 million. [4] Due to the sheer number of residents in Germany, it’s seen as influential by many Scandinavians.
  • The economy. Another reason Germany is seen as so powerful by Scandinavians is that it is the largest economy in the EU. Not only that, but it’s also one of the largest economies in the world.
  • The German language. German is a widely spoken language in comparison to the Scandinavian languages. In fact, many Nordics choose to learn German as a third language (after English). Due to the number of German speakers worldwide and the influence of the language, Scandinavians view Germany as powerful.

Germans Are Very Truthful and Sometimes Angry

Another thing that Scandinavians notice about Germans is their truthfulness. In some cases, this is a good thing. But other times, it can come across as rude.

For example, it’s common for Germans to complain about someone blocking the sidewalk or path as they walk by.

One generally wouldn’t complain or say anything to a stranger in a Scandinavian country, so this aspect of German culture is highly apparent to most Nordics.

Many Scandinavians have the impression that Germans aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind, even if it’s something bad.

On the other hand, most Scandinavians prefer to keep to themselves and avoid confrontation.

Nordics also feel that Germans are angry (or sound angry) a lot of the time. This may be due to the harsh sounds of the language and tone of voice more than anything else.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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