Germans are not exactly famed for their good sense of humor. While we can argue about how much truth that stereotype holds (German wit can be quite odd if you’re not accustomed to it), the Germans love an internet meme as much as the rest of us. The jokes Germans tell about themselves through memes can help you understand German culture. And German language memes can be an easy way of learning German while having a good chuckle. To save you some time scrolling endlessly through social media, here are some of the most clever, curious, famous and funny German memes we’ve found.
- Es ist Mittwoch meine Kerle (It’s Wednesday my dudes)
- The Berlin Unicorn
- Not “lol”, “lül”
- High time for wine
- Angela abandons ship
- This is… Spargel?
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1. Es ist Mittwoch meine Kerle (It’s Wednesday my dudes)
The “it’s Wednesday my dudes” frog is one of those curious pieces of internet culture that endures despite few really understanding where it came from and why it’s funny. Whilst the original was posted on Tumblr in 2014, and gained traction through a popular vine, its popularity in Germany skyrocketed in 2017, when the German version appeared on Reddit bedecked in Lederhosen and holding a healthy tankard of beer.
2. The Berlin Unicorn
You visit Berlin in the warmth of summer, see the Brandenburger Tor, the Berliner Dom and Museum Island, sip a cold beer and think “what a city to live in!” Then you move here and notice some of the grimier corners, the skyrocketing rent and the broken glass. It’s a little dirty, a little shabby and a little bit gray. But at the end of the day that’s part of Berlin’s charm.
3. Not “lol”, “lül”
Germany’s greatest scientist, Albert Einstein, explains why Germans should logically use “lül” instead of “lol”. As the blackboard states: “Instead of the Anglosaxon “lol” we should say “lül”. On one hand, it means “laugh terribly loud”. On the other hand, lül looks like someone smiling joyfully and throwing their arms up in the air.
4. High time for wine
World leaders may not often seem relatable, but when they are, there’s sure to be a meme about it. This 2018 picture of then-chancellor Angela Merkel is just such a picture. Many took one glance at that picture and said to themselves: “I’ve been there too, Angela.” Having served as chancellor from 2005-2021, with many weighty political issues and some particularly tiresome world leaders, one could imagine she might need something a little stronger than a glass of vino!
5. Angela abandons ship
Another excellent Merkel meme, this one depicting the former Chancellor’s timely escape from politics into Ruhestand (retirement), which coincided with a series of electoral disasters for her party the CDU (Christian Democratic Union). While the CDU floundered, Angela avoided having to deal with the fallout just as smoothly as Captain Jack Sparrow hopping cleanly off a sinking ship onto the safety of a dock.
6.This is… Spargel?
One of the great mysteries of German culture is the national obsession with asparagus or Spargel. April to June is known to Germans as Spargelzeit (asparagus time), the period when white asparagus is in season, when “white gold” fills the markets and asparagus dishes become the premier fare of many German restaurants. Their devotion to the vegetable is nothing less than Spartan.
Laugh and learn with German memes
Hopefully we haven’t encouraged you to fall down the rabbit hole of scrolling endlessly through internet meme pages. If you do though, why not do it auf Deutsch? Just like books, podcasts and movies, funny German memes are a great way of learning the language and gaining greater insight into German culture.
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Leona has her roots in the South of Ireland, where she grew up on her family farm. She went on to study World Politics at Leiden University College, The Hague and then completed her MPhil in International History at Trinity College Dublin. Leona has now settled in Berlin, having fallen in love with the city. In her spare time she is working on perfecting her German in anticipation of her doctoral studies, during which she plans to study modern German social history. Her hobbies include bouldering, dancing and reading a healthy mix of history books and corny fantasy fiction. You can find more info about her on LinkedIn.