While traveling around Europe, have you ever noticed the different names people use for what most of us know as Germany? Most local Germans call their homeland Deutschland, while the Spanish use the name ‘Alemania’ for the country.
In Poland, Germany goes by the name ‘Niemcy.’ To summarize, this country has almost six different names, but why is there this variety?
And why do we call Germany Germany and not, let’s just say “the beer land” (I just made that up)?
It does feel like a mystery, and I am here to solve it for you.
Table of Contents
What Is the History of Germany?
Before we dive into the story behind the name and origin, let’s take a brief look at Germany’s extensive and exciting history.
Germany is a large country in northern Europe that is home to more than 82 million people. However, the Germany you find on the map today didn’t become a country. Just like that.
It is a product of complex history that started with a very renowned figure, Julius Caesar.
To make it more understandable here is a quick yet detailed story of Germany’s past.
Why Do We Call Germany Germany: The Story
In 500 BC, powerful Germanic tribes moved to the northern part of Germany. They fought against the Roman Empire led by Julius Caesar.
The tribes won the war and inhabited northern Germany as their home. However, the rest of the country was still under the control of the Roman Empire.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Franks conquered the Germanic Tribes and won over their land. They came under the control of Charlemagne, who is still famously referred to as the “father of the German Monarchy.”
However, the unity of the Frankish Empire was also not long-lived. After the passing of the Treaty of Verdun, the Frankish Empire experienced a division and separated into three different regions.
Following this division, in 936 CE, Otto I became the king of Germany and the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. From this point on up to 1918, many changes took place.
There was a thirty-year-long war and the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia in this region. Then, 1914 marked the beginning of World War I, which ended with Germany’s defeat.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor and initiated World War II. While Hitler successfully conquered much of Europe, Germany faced another defeat against Britain, United States, and their Allies.
This war divided the country into two parts, East Germany and West Germany.
The Soviet Union ruled East Germany. However, the western part was a free state.
They had a Berlin Wall between them to keep locals from escaping from their respective regions.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the wall was no longer there, and Germany became a single country.
In 1991, Berlin became the capital of Germany, and Euro was declared the official currency; that was it!
Germany’s Many Names
Phew! With such a history, Germany is a country that has seen it all. However, there is something else you should know too.
The place you and I refer to as Germany has more than one name. While it may sound strange, this fact is worth reading.
Why Do We Call It Germany?
Have you ever heard the old lyric “You say tomāto, and I say tomăto?” The disconnect in this sentence is pretty similar to why people have different names for Germany.
However, the word “Germany” itself was one of the first titles used for this place.
Germany is an English-derived term that comes from the Latin word Germania. Given by Julius Caesar, this title represented the people in the east of Rhine.
The name Germany existed way before the country’s complete union took place.
The country you see on the map today came into being in the 19th century. It happened when a man called Otto von Bismarck decided to combine different regions into one single empire.
Who Came Up With the Title “Germany” in the First Place?
It all started when the Roman Empire was taking over Europe. The Germanic tribes were the first people to move to this land to win against the Romans.
While Romans were successful in taking control of a massive land of western Europe, they failed to conquer the area under the power of the Germanic tribes.
However, after a few years, the Germanic tribes eventually joined the Roman Empire to strengthen its weakened affairs. But let’s keep that story for another day.
Since it had a central location in Europe, Germany shared borders with people from different languages and cultures. When the Germanic tribe came into this place, many regions around adopted their language and started calling the area Germania.
The root of the word Germania comes from the Gauls. Gauls was a title given to the Celtic tribes of Continental Europe in France.
Julius Caesar had already conquered the Gauls. And to distinguish it from the unconquered Rhine, he named it Germani.
Germani meant “neighbors,” or as some historians think, “men of the forest.”
However, quite soon, ‘Germani’ got a modification by the Englishmen who anglicized the term, and today, we have Germany. But, the English only began to use the word in the late 1500s.
Before that, the region was commonly referred to as Almany.
Why Do We Call Deutschland Germany?
Now many of you may ask, is it Germany or Deutschland? Many countries around the world have an endonym and also an exonym.
While the former is the name a place gives itself, the latter is the term the other countries use to call that place. It is exactly what applies to the different names of Germany.
Germans use Deutschland as an exonym. Deutschland is a native title for the word Germany which means people or nation.
The word first came into being in the 8th century. At that time, the locals didn’t identify themselves as either Allemanis or Germans. Instead, they existed as individuals, free from the influence of Roman and Latin culture.
They had a distinct name for their language and culture, and that was ‘Duits Disk.’ This term means “of the people.”
As the German language started developing, ‘Duits Disk’ became ‘Deutsch,’ and the region was given ‘Deutschland’ as the new name.
Throughout Europe, the word Deutsch and Deutschland went through many modifications. Each country called it with a different title.
For instance, the Italians translated Deutschland to Tedesco. Moreover, some English speakers started calling the region Germany to differentiate between the many Germanic speakers.
So, the answer to why do we call Germany not Deutschland lies in the vast history and various languages of the region.
What Are the Different Names of Germany In Other Languages?
Since Germany is a central part of Europe, it is famous for many things; no, it is not just the beer or the landscape that attracts people from around the world.
Germany’s six different names in varying languages is a highlight for people who love to read about this country. While I have mentioned a few names above, here is a better description of different titles and their meaning.
This is a French word for Germany. However, it is referred to as Alemania in Spanish and Almania in Turkish.
The word Allemagne is a derivation of the name Alemanni and means “all men.”. Alemanni was a union of all Germanic tribes that ruled the Rhine river.
The title above means “the country of the mute.” While this name may sound strange for a country like Germany, it has a fascinating story.
Neimci was a title given to foreigners who couldn’t speak the Slavic language.
Most non-Slavs in Germany had Germanic origins and interacted with Slav locals. They didn’t know their language and hence were called dumb and mute.
It is how the title, Neimci, became synonymous with the Germanic tribe.
Deutsch means people, and Deutschland stands for the “land of people.” Deutschland is still a trendy name for Germany, and Germans use it for themselves.
However, many Englishmen also started using the word Dutchland for Germany. But the title was later given to the Netherlands to avoid confusion.
This expression is a Serbo-Croatian word. While the name applies to the Swabia region of Germany only, many people still use it for the whole country.
Derived from Germania’s Latin word, this name refers to a land that the Germanic tribes conquered. It is one of the most common terms that people around the world use to call this region.
In simple terms, Germany means neighbor. It is a common word in many languages like Asian, African, Romance, and Slavic.
Also, here is a fun fact: Germany has a nickname!
It is called ‘Das Land der Dichter und Denker.’
While it is pretty long, it means “the country of poets and thinkers.” Quite thoughtful, no?
See Related: 18 Best Restaurants in Germany
Do Schools In Germany Teach Its History?
Most schools around Germany teach the country’s history as a part of their academic curriculum. It also includes the story behind the name of this region.
German children are aware of the different names of their land, from its original titles to the interesting modifications.
Since these schools have kids from various regions with other languages, all the words give a sense of pride to everyone.
However, most Germans are not proud of what they have achieved and lost when it comes to history. Unfortunately, World War II portrayed a bad image of Germany which many people today don’t like to believe.
What Do You Think? Is it Germany or Deutschland for You?
A country with many different names and meanings, Germany has quite a culture and history. With every title, there is a background that can quickly grasp all your attention.
However, after reading about all the titles, which name would you want to use for Germany? If you are a tourist from the United States, Britain, or Asian countries, you may always have called this country Germany.
And that’s what you will prefer when you visit the region.
However, as a German citizen, Deutschland is the word that will suit your identity. However, you have every right to use a name of your choice.
Germany is one of the friendliest nations and accepts people from around the world. While its history may have been devastating for many, it doesn’t reflect the characteristics of the people and the country’s many names.
So when in Germany, call it by any name you want. But make sure you pronounce it correctly for the locals to understand.
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Why do people call Germany Germany? ›
The root of the name is from the Gauls, who called the tribe across the river the Germani, which might have meant “men of the forest” or possibly “neighbor.” The name was anglicized by the English when they made a small adjustment to the ending of Germany to get Germany.What do you call Germany in Germany? ›
For example, in the German language, the country is known as Deutschland from the Old High German diutisc, in Persian as ''Alman'' (آلمان), in Arabic as Almania (ألمانيا), in Spanish as Alemania and in French as Allemagne from the name of the Alamanni tribe, in Italian as Germania from the Latin Germania (although the ...How was Germany called? ›
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Deutschland, Allemagne, Tyskland, Saksa, Németország: All over the world, the federal republic that is Germany is known by different names. This is largely down to the tribal history of Germany, as other civilisations and people came to associate certain words with the people who resided in the area.Has Germany always been called Germany? ›
Before it was called Germany, it was called Germania. In the years A.D. 900 – 1806, Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire. From 1949 to 1990, Germany was made up of two countries called the Federal Republic of Germany (inf.When did Germany become Germany? ›
The third and final act of German unification was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, orchestrated by Bismarck to draw the western German states into alliance with the North German Confederation. With the French defeat, the German Empire was proclaimed in January 1871 in the Palace at Versailles, France.What does Germany call America? ›
In Germany we use Amerika as a synonym to the country U.S.A, allthough using it at the same time for referring to the continent, but usually adding Nord- or Süd-. Thus, the inhabitants of the country are called Amerikaner.Does Germany have a nickname? ›
It may have escaped your notice, but Germany is actually Das Land der Dichter und Denker – 'the country of poets and thinkers'. Never a people to fail to blow their own trumpet, this is, fairly obviously, a nickname they gave themselves.What do you call a married German woman? ›
ˈfrau̇ plural Frauen ˈfrau̇(-ə)n. sometimes disparaging. : a German married woman : wife.What was the Roman name for Germany? ›
Historically, the name Germania was given by the ancient Romans to the land north of the Roman Empire. These areas were inhabited by Germans, as well as other non-Germanic peoples, including the Slavs…
What do Germans call Santa? ›
Traditionally, Santa Claus, or Weihnachtsmann in German, does not drop down chimneys and deliver gifts the eve of Dec. 25 in Germany. Instead, the Christkind or Christkindl, an angel-like creature with blond hair and wings, brings gifts to families on the eve of Christmas.What was Germany called in 1700s? ›
Germany, or more exactly the old Holy Roman Empire, in the 18th century entered a period of decline that would finally lead to the dissolution of the Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.Why do we call Germany Germany and not Deutschland? ›
Germany is an English-derived term that comes from the Latin word Germania. Given by Julius Caesar, this title represented the people in the east of Rhine. The name Germany existed way before the country's complete union took place. The country you see on the map today came into being in the 19th century.What do Germans call each other? ›
Schatz and its variations, Schätzchen and Schatzi (“little treasure”) is the most common term of endearment in German by far. It is capitalized like all German nouns. Almost all German-speaking couples call each other this, and it's also commonly used with children.Why do we change the names of countries? ›
The most common reason is wanting to throw off the shackles of colonialism. Since the second world war, scores of countries have become independent, and then re-christened cities, institutions and even themselves to reflect native cultures, often ditching European-imposed names that were fiercely disliked.Why is France called France? ›
The name France comes from Latin Francia ("land of the Franks"). Originally it applied to the whole Empire of the Franks, extending from southern France to eastern Germany.What did they call Germany during ww2? ›
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Italia, the ancient name of the Italian Peninsula, which is also eponymous of the modern republic, originally applied only to the tip of the Italian boot. During the Roman Empire, the name "Italy" was extended to refer to the whole Italian geographical region.How did Germany become Germany again? ›
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and, eventually, the Soviet Union. Soviet-occupied East Germany, officially known as the German Democratic Republic, was reunited with West Germany on October 3, 1990. And the Soviet Union collapsed a year later.What country is Prussia now? ›
Geography and population. Prussia began as a small territory in what was later called East Prussia, which is now divided into the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship of Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave of Russia, and the Klaipėda Region of Lithuania.
What was Germany called after 1945? ›
In 1949, Germany formally split into two independent nations: the Federal Republic of Germany (FDR or West Germany), allied to the Western democracies, and the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany), allied to the Soviet Union.What did German soldiers call Americans? ›
During World War II, German soldiers called American soldiers ami. my | \ t-m \ plural Tommies.What are German soldiers called now? ›
|Federal Defence Forces of Germany|
|Conscription||Yes, but indefinitely suspended since July 2011|
|Active personnel||183,638 (2022) (ranked 28th)|
|Reserve personnel||29,000 (2022)|
The person credited with naming America was a German cartographer named Martin Waldseemüller. Born around 1470, Waldseemüller drew his seminal map in 1507 with a colleague, Matthias Ringmann.What do Germans call their girlfriend? ›
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Along with Alice and Emma, the top German girl names in the US Top 1000 today include Adele, Amelia, Annalise, Ella, Elsa, Emmeline, Millie, and Zelda. In Germany, unique girl names with modern style include Anja, Frieda, Ida, Maude, Romy, and Tilly.How do Germans name their kids? ›
Traditionally, children were named after grandparents, but this practice is fading. The most common and traditional German names are biblical, such as Johann/Hans (John), Georg/Jörg (George), Jakob (Jacob), Anna, Maria and Christina. Other popular names have Germanic origins, such as Friedrich and Ludwig.Is it rude to say Fräulein? ›
Fräulein as a formal address for an unmarried woman is now uncommon and considered disrespectful and sexist by some. Frau is the normal address for all women.
It seems Germans are in no hurry to tie the knot—the average age at which people in Germany get married is 33.1 years.What happens if you marry a German? ›
German citizenship after marriage
If you marry a German citizen, you are not automatically entitled to German citizenship. However, spouses of German citizens are permitted to apply for citizenship by naturalisation much sooner than others: usually after two years of marriage.
What is the origin of the word Germany? ›
From Middle English Germanie, from Old English Germanie & Germania, from Latin Germānia (“land of the Germans”), from Germānī, a people living around and east of the Rhine first attested in the 1st century B.C.E.What do they call Christmas in Germany? ›
Christmas Day is called 'Erster Feiertag' Unlike Christmas Day celebrations in England, the Germans know 25th December as 'Erster Feiertag', which means first celebration day.Who lived in Germany before the Romans? ›
The Germanic tribes, which probably originated from a mixture of peoples along the Baltic Sea coast, inhabited the northern part of the European continent by about 500 B.C. By 100 B.C., they had advanced into the central and southern areas of present-day Germany.What is the meaning of 🎅? ›
The Santa Claus emoji 🎅 portrays the face of Santa Claus, the legendary Christmas figure. It is commonly used to refer to Santa Claus specifically, or Christmas and the Christmas holiday season.What is Shrek called in Germany? ›
Shrek – Der tollkühne Held is the German dub of Shrek.What is Santa called in Japan? ›
In Japan Santa is known as サンタさん、サンタクロース / Santa-san (Mr Santa) or サンタクロース / Santa-Kurosu (Santa Claus). (Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism. But he is NOT related to Christmas.)What is the most German state in America? ›
Pennsylvania, with 3.5 million people of German ancestry, has the largest population of German-Americans in the U.S. and is home to one of the group's original settlements, Germantown (Philadelphia), founded in 1683 and the birthplace of the American antislavery movement in 1688, as well as the revolutionary Battle of ...What were the first Germans called? ›
The Germanic Tribes
The first people to inhabit the region we now call Germany were Celts. Gradually they were displaced by Germanic tribes moving down from the north, but their exact origins are unknown.
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The Old English cousin to Dutch, thiod or theod, simply meant “people or nation.” (This also helps explain why Germany is called Deutschland in German.) Over time, English-speaking people used the word Dutch to describe people from both the Netherlands and Germany, and now just the Netherlands today.
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The term Spain (España in Spanish) is derived from the Roman name for the region: Hispania.Why is the Netherlands not called Deutschland? ›
Dutch comes from Deutsch, the German word for German. There used to be High Deutch and Low Deutsch, and the people from the Netherlands were Low Deutsch, which got made into Dutch. Germany, in German, is actually Deutschland, but somehow it became Germany after the Latin name Germania.How do Germans say I love you? ›
Ich liebe dich is how to say “I love you” in German.What is Turkey called now? ›
Turkey adopted its official name, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, known in English, in the US, as the Republic of Turkey, or more commonly known as Turkey, upon the declaration of the republic on 29 October 1923. In the UN however, via 2021, Turkey changed its spelling to Türkiye.What countries are no longer countries? ›
- The Former Country of Prussia. Teutonic Knights, via historyofyesterday.com. ...
- Republic of Texas. ...
- Yugoslavia. ...
- Vermont. ...
- Czechoslovakia. ...
- Kingdom of Hawai'i. ...
- The Former Nation of Gran Colombia.
Until 1871, Germany had been divided into dozens of small states. This was the old Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, which had existed for 900 years when it finally collapsed under Napoleonic pressure. This was also known as the old Reich, or the First Reich (Reich is the German term for empire).Why do Dutch wear orange? ›
The orange color that's present throughout much of Dutch culture is a nod to the royal family, which is made up of members of the House of Orange.Why are there 2 names for Holland? ›
The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. King Willem-Alexander is the king of the nation. Holland actually only means the two provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. However, the name Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.Are Dutch people Germanic? ›
The Dutch (Dutch: Nederlanders) are a Germanic ethnic group and nation native to the Netherlands. They share a common ancestry and culture and speak the Dutch language.What do Germans call Americans? ›
Ami. Ami is derived from Amerikaner, but it specifically refers to people from the United States, including US soldiers in Germany.
What do the Germans call the English? ›
During the World Wars French, Commonwealth and German troops would all refer to British Soldiers as Tommies and phrases like “For you Tommy the war is over” have become synonymous with British Forces.Can a Dutch person understand German? ›
Dutch, German, English, Swedish and Danish are all Germanic languages but the degree of mutual intelligibility between these languages differs. Danish and Swedish are the most mutually comprehensible, but German and Dutch are also mutually intelligible.Why are Dutch so tall? ›
Scientists assume that a diet rich in milk and meat played a major role. The Dutch have become so much taller in such a short period that scientists chalk most of it up to their changing environment. As the Netherlands developed, it became one of the world's largest producers and consumers of cheese and milk.What do you call people from Amsterdam? ›
Amsterdam is one of the best-known cities in the world – but what are people from Amsterdam called? The correct term is Amsterdammers in both Dutch and English but people from the city are sometimes referred to as Mokumers.Why did Prussia become German? ›
Prussia went to war with France again in 1870 (in the aptly named Franco-Prussian War). It was during this war that Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck unified the German states. After this, Prussia was increasingly consolidated into Germany and started losing its distinctive identity.When did Germany first exist? ›
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