It is truly astonishing to see what kind of stuff many German gift shops flog as “typical German souvenirs”.

For example snow globes with a miniature of Cologne Cathedral – made in China! Or salt and pepper shakers bearing the image of the “fairy tale castle” Neuschwanstein? When we were hunting through souvenir stores in search of stylish gifts for our international friends we could not really find anything that reflects modern Germany. So we decided to offer a modern, stylish, and truly German option – the German export box. We believe it reflects a much fresher and far more contemporary image of Germany – tinged with a touch of irony.

The German Cuckoo-Clock

Are Germans really totally cuckoo?

Well, sometimes we Germans are truly a bit cuckoo. For example, when the German soccer team is playing a World Cup match. Or at the Oktoberfest. Then you might see otherwise very sober and rational individuals dancing madly and singing funny songs in huge beer tents. But when it comes to the famous cuckoo clock, we Germans are not quite as enthusiastic. For many it is a sign of what we call “Spießigkeit”, the German variety of being petit bourgeois. Across the Atlantic and in many other countries, the cuckoo clock is just as much an icon of Germany as the Blackforest and Neuschwanstein castle. We appreciate the fact that the little cuckoo bird housed in a heavy wooden clock has so many fans. But we are convinced this symbol of German tradition needs modernising – and so we have designed a new “Kuckucksuhr”. Please stay tuned for new developments – we will very soon present a brand new version of the “old school” cuckoo clock to you – and you really do not need to be cuckoo to love it!

Are Germans really total beer fans?

Yes, we Germans really like our beer. But today we not only drink this traditional beverage in its purest form (according to the German law of purity from 1516 beer should only be brewed from Water, malt, yeast and hops). In fact, many Germans now prefer beer-mixes with grapefruit, cola, or lemon soda. And no young German man or woman would voluntarily drink his beer from a large mug or “Stein” – this is more a souvenir for tourists. Instead they choose the type of glass designed for the specific variety of beer – Kölsch, Alt, Weißbier, Pils, to name just a few. It is almost as difficult to select the right glass as it is to select your favourite beer – especially as Germany offers over 5000 varieties!

Abroad, micro breweries are the latest fad – in Germany these small breweries have a century-old tradition. Many towns (and even villages) have been producing their own beer for hundreds of years.

The “Brezel” – epitome of Germany’s culinary culture?

In many countries the “pretzel” is a favourite snack food. However, though the German “Brezel” might have been a source of inspiration, it does not really have too much in common with its international “siblings”.

Originally it was a food to be eaten during the time of lent – but today it is a great favourite all year around, equally loved by children and adults! Brezel are versatile – they are a perfect food to be enjoyed with a fine German wine from the Rhine valley or with a “Maß” (1 litre) of beer at the Oktoberfest. Traditionally the Brezel is also served with the famous “Weißwurst” from Munich!

The importance of the Brezel in German culinary culture is symbolised by its prominent place in the heraldic sign of the German guild of bakers.

Yes, we Germans really like our food. If the cliché is to be believed, especially sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes. But we also appear to be great fans of nuts (as a food – we’ve had our fill of maniacs!) if one considers another particularly popular German souvenir – the nutcracker. Artfully crafted from wood and lovingly painted, this colourful soldier dutifully cracks open walnuts and hazelnuts with the greatest of ease. And are we not proud of him? Each Christmas we bring this dust-catching hero out of hibernation and give him pride of place, enabling him to exude his nostalgic charm alongside other German originals, such as the brightly decorated Christmas tree.