Thursday, July 10, 2008

German Citizenship Test

As previously mentioned, Germany has introduced a citizen test for immigrants. Spiegel Online now has the full version with 33 questions:

I got 32 right, I failed on the colors in the state flag of North Rhine-Westphalia. Outcome:
    "Well done! You would have no problem getting a German passport."
I'm relieved to hear. Particularly nice the question:
    Which of the following do Germans traditionally do at Easter?

    • Leave pumpkins in front of the door
    • Decorate a fir tree
    • Paint eggs
    • Let off fireworks

Hint: if you follow this blog, you know the answer.

They left out however some of the really important questions, here are my suggestions:
    1. Besides being a citizen of Frankfurt, what is a 'Frankfurter'

    • A: A bakery
    • B: A sausage
    • C: A flat tire
    • D: A drink mixed of beer and lemonade

    2. If a German says he will meet you at three-quarter eight (dreiviertel Acht), what does he mean?

    • A: 8:45
    • B: 8:15
    • C: 7:45
    • D: Any time between three quarter to and after eight, ie 7:15 - 8:45

    3. What did the crowd chant on Nov. 9th '89 at the Brandenburg Gate?

    • A: Lasst uns rein - Let us in
    • B: Lasst uns raus - Let us out
    • C: Wir sind der Staat - We are the state
    • D: Wir sind das Volk - We are the people

    4. If a Bavarian tells you to "Grüss Gott" - "Say hello to God", he means

    • A: Thank you
    • B: Hello
    • C: Piss off
    • D: I died and went to heaven

(Answers: 1 - B, 2 - I don't know!, 3 - D, 4 - B)


  1. You forgot the most importante one:

    5- You find yourself at 2:00am on one side of a loooong road with 500m clear visibility on both directions (Needless to say there is no single car arround). You want to get to the other side but the traffic light for pedestrians is red. What do you do?.

    A- You write a text-message to inform that you're going to be home 45 seconds later than expected and remain there until the light gets green.

    B- You cross the street.

  2. Don't you mean Leipzig October 9th? That was the slogan mostly associated with the Mondays demoes no? (to young to remember though)

  3. I'm ashamed to say that I only got 24, but then I live on the other side of the world. Hard to imagine how anybody could fail. These tests are stupid.

  4. Hi Bee,

    I’m somewhat ashamed to report I only scored 24 out of 33 . It also said I should have no problem in obtaining a passport. I suspect they must be lowering their standards:-) All the history ones I got right, all but one of the geography, the constitution and law stuff and of course the Easter question. The flag thing did me in along with one capital question and a couple of the numerical EU ones and I’m sorry to report I didn’t know your first modern leader either. The one that really stumped me was that zero hour question. Oh yes, I still don’t understand that until you are fourteen question where your parents can decide on whether you study religion or not. Does that mean before you don’t have to study it and after you must what; and what’s the significance anyway?

    I also suspect the test would be issued in German so I couldn’t in that case read the questions let alone answer them. I guess then I stuck being a Canuck eh:-)



  5. Hi Again Bee,

    Now your questions are tougher.

    1. (B) a sausage, wiener, hotdog or Obama

    2. (C) 7:45 even though 3/4th of eight is six

    3. (C) Wir sind das Volk - We are the people

    4. (B) Hello. Of course the northern response is often, Wenn ich sehe ihn :-)



  6. My Score:
    "You scored 29 out of a possible 33 points. Well done! You would have no problem getting a German passport."

    I've never been to Germany and never studied anything about it, although, genetically, I am mostly German.

  7. Bee, what flag colors did you first guess? I guessed black and gold, as a pure guess ... which was wrong. Then I thought about the colors of the remaining three choices and guessed the one with green correctly.

    I wonder if people are subconsciously influenced to pick the black and gold color for the flag, since on the web page with the questions, the picture of the Muslim girls is flashed over 60 times before getting to the flag-color question, and so the photo of the four girls all dressed in black and all waving orange-yellow and black flags is subliminally flashed into the brain over 60 times.

    (Oh, yah, I guessed 7:45 correctly also ... just kinda made sense.)

  8. Dreiviertel acht is somewhat trivial. I always found "Viertel neun" more confusing: Is it "viertel nach neun" with silent nach (i.e. 9:15) or one quarter of the nineth hour (i.e. 8:15)?

  9. Why don't you know what dreiviertel Acht means?

    We use it even in Czech, "tři čtvrtě na osm", three quarters on eight, which means that three quarters of the hour-time needed to get to eight o'clock has already passed, which means it is 7.45.

  10. Why don't I know that? Well, I just don't. It could mean all kinds of things, three quarters before eight, three quarters after eight, or three quarters of the eight hour, I am never sure what people mean (and then they come at eight). It's just an expression that nobody I know ever used and so I find it confusing. As far as I am concerned 3/4 8 is 6 ;-)

  11. Hi Frank,

    Yes, it was mainly the Montagsdemos but very likely somebody shouted it also in November. I can't really recall it either, I was in England with an exchange program at that time, the only thing they reported on was BSE.

    Hi William,

    Something with blue in it I think, it was a mere guess. I have no clue what the state flag looks like. I also don't know what it's good for knowing admittedly. Best,


  12. There are marked regional differences between the usage of "viertel/dreiviertel acht" and "viertel nach sieben/viertel vor acht" - here is a map, and here is a link to a recent online project.

    If you've grown up in a "viertel nach sieben/viertel vor acht" region (as I have), it's no surprise that you have trouble interpreting the "dreiviertel acht", since it could mean equally well "three quarters of the hour to eight", or "three quarters of an hour before eight".

    BTW, the website of the "Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache (AdA)" has many more interesting maps about regional differences in the usage of German, for example also on the usage of "Grüß Gott" and the corresponding local varieties.

    Cheers, Stefan

  13. There are about 100 million practioners of the Falun Gong religion. But would they be allowed to practice in Germany, I wonder? Or would Germany ban them because of their logo, as shown here.

  14. One would hope they be considerate enough not to prominently display this logo or possibly use one that is less offending for many Germans.

  15. [Catching up with the feeds, late for commenting, but what the heck.]

    Interesting test, and I'm ashamed to have scored only 28/33 (after 12 years in a German school and a year living in Germany, I ought to know better).

    One think that shocked me despite not being such a surprise, was that all history questions had to do with events after 1933. I always complained about that in school, at "Deutschlandskunde" lessons, or when the "Scala" (a magazine sent by the German government) arrived: official Germany seems to forget that there were quite a few interesting humans and events in the centuries before 1933.

  16. 29/33! Egyptian, never been to Germany!

    If that's how they want to stop Islamic fundamentalism, so sorry for you! It won't work!!

  17. my nan was Born in Hasselfelde East Germany in the Harz district she left just before the russians occupied Eastern Germany...i would really love to live in Germany for the rest of mylife even if i had to do 10 years or so in the army (i am 17) i wanted to know if it would be hard for me to get a citizenship

  18. What is your present citizenship, what is your relation to Germany, what is your education?

  19. My passport is british
    my Nan is German (my Mums mum)
    i have done my GCSE's passed all of them and now i learn plumbign and i am on my second level

  20. Well, I can assure you Germany needs plumbers, so you'll be welcome. I don't think you need to have German citizenship though to live in Germany given that both are EU member states.

  21. mmmm but i want a citizenship i hate england hate the fact that im there because of ww2 and cant wait to get away


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