The multimedia project Those Germans aims to portray a differentiated picture of life in Germany. Deutsche Welle's program takes up clichés and scrutinizes them in an informative and entertaining way.
When people discuss the reputation of Germans abroad, conversation quickly turns to the legendary "Sommermärchen (Summer fairytale) 2006". Hosting the FIFA World Cup allowed Germany to portray itself as friendly, cheerful and, in any case, cosmopolitan.
But perceptions of German lifestyle and the German mentality are still characterized by prejudice and by clichés. Spontaneous reactions by Facebook users only confirmed this. Last summer Deutsche Welle invited users to share what came to mind when they thought of Germany and the German mentality. The result: Germans are still thought of as being punctual, tidy and reliable, but also as badly dressed and usually uptight or even humorless. Cars, beer and sausages are still synonymous with Germany.
The multimedia project Those Germans zeroes in on these clichés. Video reports, columns, articles and picture galleries take up the stereotypes and scrutinize them. Deutsche Welle is featuring the project in English, as well as in German and in Spanish (Así es Alemania).
In one column, well-known journalist Peter Zudeick will be getting to the bottom of characteristics seen as typically German. He asks, for example, why Germans are so frugal and why they allegedly can't flirt. In his search for answers, which can't help but being somewhat subjective, general discussions and a glance at German history are accompanied by a generous portion of self-deprecation.
Video journalist Gabriela Gleinig, on the other hand, is always aided in on-camera explorations by her curiosity. Born in Germany to an Argentinian mother and a Paraguayan father, she, too, is often puzzled by why the Germans love football, sausages and beer. She'll be contributing a series of reports from across the country, which can be seen on DW TV channels in the magazine Deutschland heute as well as in its English and Spanish editions Germany Today and Alemania hoy.
The multimedia project Those Germans also includes a series of articles which places famous quotes in their historical context – such as "What belongs together is now growing together", a statement made by former Chancellor Willy Brandt on German reunification. These articles illustrate why such statements have entered into Germany's collective memory.
Finally, anyone who is interested can take part in a "How German are you?" test. A traditional "German Michel" doll presents an interactive test in which users themselves can find out how German their mentality really is.
The new website is available in German at http://www.dw.de/themen/so-geht-deutschland/s-31789 and in English at http://www.dw.de/top-stories/those-germans/s-32017