Germany Culture

Germany Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Germany

According to COMPUTERANNALS.COM, Germany is a country located in Europe. Germany has a long history of mass media. The world’s oldest preserved newspapers were founded here as early as the 17th century. German is the largest single language in the EU, about 100 million are native speakers, and several of Germany’s media companies also operate in Austria and parts of Switzerland.

After the reunification of West and East Germany in 1990, major changes occurred in former East Germany, mainly through democratization and privatization. From 2000 onwards, it is primarily new technology in the IT sector that has created new consumption patterns and business models across the country.

Internet and mobile telephony

More than 80% of the population has access to the internet, but access is increasing sharply as more and more people use mobile broadband to connect. Global players like Facebook, Google, YouTube and eBay dominate the list of the most visited sites. The news magazine Der Spiegel and the sensational tabloid Bild are the only national players who have sites that qualify for ten in the top list.

The German mobile market is the largest in Europe in terms of subscribers and sales. It is dominated by two companies, domestic Deutsche Telekom and British Vodafone. Dutch E-plus and Spanish O2 also have their own mobile network. In addition, there are nearly 40 virtual operators who buy capacity from operators with their own network.

Almost the entire country is covered by the 3G network, except for some white spots in the countryside.

TV and radio

Radio was established in 1923. The Swedish Post Office was responsible for the technology and private regional broadcasters for the programs, which however were coordinated in a national program. The radio was nationalized in 1932. After World War II, the radio became a decentralized organization in the west, while in the east it became highly centralized. With the same structure, the first East German TV channel was started in 1952 and the first West German TV channel in 1954.

Following the reunification, the etheric media in Germany is divided into two main groups: license-financed public service channels and advertising-funded channels.

The license financed are organized by two companies, the ARD (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der public-law Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen). All the state’s program operations are part of the ARD, which with a budget of € 7.5 billion and just over 21,000 employees is the world’s largest public service organization after the British BBC (2012). ARD has several nationwide radio and TV channels, some 50 local and regional radio stations and seven regional TV stations.

ZDF was started in 1963 as a complement to ARD. The range includes mainly niche channels such as the cultural channels 3sat (in collaboration with Austria and Switzerland) and Arte (in collaboration with France).

Commercial TV is controlled by two groups: ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG and Bertelsmann. Together they have almost 50% of the TV market with around 15 channels. The biggest channels are ProSieben’s Sat1 and Bertelsmann’s RTL. In addition, there are a large number of digital pay channels. The largest is Sky Deutschland, owned by media mogul Robert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

The German radio market is very decentralized and divided at the state level. Each state has an average of six public service channels and twice as many commercial channels. There are two nationwide channels, both license funded. In total, there are about 150 different channels, of which ARD is behind some 50.

Daily Press

The German daily press is characterized by a large number of titles with many local editions. If all editions are included under their own name, the country has almost 1,500 different newspapers. There are only a few nationwide newspapers. The largest is Bild, published by the Springer Group, with an edition of over 3 million copies. (2012), making it Europe’s largest daily newspaper. Other nationwide newspapers are the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Tageszeitung and the Frankfurter Rundschau. All are party-political independent.

The daily press has lost a lot of circulation since the beginning of the 1990s and the income from investments in the internet has not compensated for the reduced turnover, but despite this, Germany is still a country where the daily press is relatively strong, compared to, for example, France.

The first attempts at daily publishing were made in Germany in the mid-17th century, and at the end of the century there were newspapers in all major German cities. During the 18th century and most of the 19th century, the development of censorship and imposition was slowed down. The censorship was abolished in 1848 and eventually also state involvement in the newspaper publishing.

At the end of the 19th century, the first newspapers were launched in Berlin aimed at a wide audience. The newspaper type, called Generalanzeiger and had French and American role models, was characterized by a focus on news, low price, subscription and home delivery and was mainly ad-financed.

The first newspaper of this kind, Berliner Lokal Anzeiger, was started in 1883 by August Scherl. The most successful was Berliner Morgenpost, founded in 1898 by Leopold Ullstein. When the ban on selling newspapers on the street was lifted in Berlin, Ullstein’s publishing company in 1904 started the lunchtime magazine BZ am Mittag, which got many followers. The successes attracted a consortium led by industrialist Alfred Hugenberg to the industry. Hugenberg acquired, among other things, newspapers and a news agency and took over the film company Ufa. Using industrial methods, the Hugenberg Group was developed into Europe’s largest media group during the interwar period. During the 1930s it was gradually nationalized. Other newspapers were taken over by the regime or forced to shut down.

After World War II, the Allies in the West sought to create a regional pressure structure to avoid monopoly formation. The newspaper publishing was regulated until 1949 with a license agreement. The licensees were gradually allowed to start editions, which laid the foundation for today’s system of main magazines with many editions. A typical example is the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (founded in 1948), with 50 local editions.

In East Germany, another press structure was created with a leading national newspaper, Neues Deutschland (founded in 1946), a number of regional newspapers and magazines intended for special groups, such as youth and sports enthusiasts.

After the Second World War, the newspaper center was moved from Berlin to Hamburg. It laid the foundation for the largest post-war newspaper group, the Springer Group. Axel Springer started with two program magazines, of which Hörzu, founded in 1946, has an edition of 1.4 million copies. (2012). He continued with Hamburger Abendblatt in 1948 and started 1952 Bild-Zeitung (since 1971 Bild), which developed into a nationally spread sensation newspaper and which reached 5 million copies in the mid-1960s, an edition development without equivalent in German press history.

The 2012 Springer Group controls over 20% of the daily press edition. None of the other newspaper houses has more than 10% of the market.

Weekly press and magazine

The German-language magazine market is Europe’s largest with over 900 titles. The trade press, including more than a thousand magazines, is added.

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel, founded in 1946 with American Time Magazine as the role model, is the most influential politically and has a circulation of just over 1 million copies. (2012). The biggest competitor is Focus, founded in 1993. Both put a lot of resources into investigative journalism and often stand for revelations that shake the political establishment.

The weekly magazine Stern, with a circulation of just over 1 million copies, also devotes itself to investigative journalism, but more focused on sensations and rich visual material. Stern’s credibility suffered a major setback when the magazine published in 1983 what it claimed to be Adolf Hitler’s diaries. They turned out to be counterfeit and the entire newspaper management had to resign.

German magazines have a long history. Already in the mid-19th century a number of magazines became international role models. This includes Gartenlaube (1853-1944), which is regarded as the first weekly newspaper, as well as the jokes magazines Fliegende Blätter (1844-1928) and Kladderadatsch (1848-1944). During the 1890s, illustrated weekly magazines such as the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung and Die Woche came.

After the Nazis seized power in 1933, all press was censored and special guidelines were issued regarding how different subjects would be described. After the end of the Second World War, state control of the media continued in East Germany, while West Germany introduced freedom of expression and expression in its constitution.

Book and publishing system

Gutenberg’s edition of the 42-line Bible (c. 1454, Mainz) and Johann Fusts (c. 1466) and Peter Schöffers (c. 1430, c. 1503). In these, for the first time, printing place, year of printing and letterpress mark were stated. The highlight of the Inconvenient Age was reached by Erhard Ratdolt (born 1447, died about 1527) in Augsburg, whose specialty was liturgical literature.

During the early 16th century, Leipzig was Germany’s leading city; inter alia Nikolaus Wolrab (active in Leipzig 1537-47) published Luther’s (by Cranach et al.) illustrated whole Bible 1541. The thirty-year war, like hardening censorship, depleted book production in the 1600s. Leipzig remained, and Cologne and Frankfurt developed into the main places for printing companies.

The Cotta family ran bookstore and publishing business 1659–1889; Johann Friedrich Cotta von Cottendorf (1764-1832) was the publisher of Goethe and Schiller. The modern tradition in Leipzig was started by Bernhard Breitkopf (1695-1777) who in 1719 founded the firm Breitkopf & Härtel. The son Johann Breitkopf (1719–94) led the firm to its forefront in the typographic field. In Berlin, Johann Unger (1753-1804) established the first significant printing press in 1780.

During the 19th century, essential inventions were made for the printing industry: the cylinder throttle press 1812, the stereotype 1816 and the setter machines (Linotype 1884, Monotype 1897). The publishing and printing operations were separated and several specialized book publishers were founded, e.g. Advertising 1828, Insel-Verlag 1902, Ullstein 1903.

The publication of pocket books in the series “Reclams Universal-Library” began in 1867; until 1945, 7,600 titles were published in more than 280 million copies. Literally important publishers are Suhrkamp Verlag, Carl Hanser Verlag, Rowohlt Verlag, S. Fischer Verlag and Piper Verlag and Ullstein Buchverlag GmbH, owned by Bonnier. In the former East Germany there were several prominent publishers, among others. Aufbau Verlag (language, fiction) and Volk und Wissen Volkseigens Verlag (universal publisher).

As in other Western countries, the trend towards publishing groups and media groups has been strong. The largest media groups with extensive book publishing include Bertelsmann, Springer, Holtzbrinck and Weltbild.

Book fairs have been held in Frankfurt since the 16th century and from the early 18th century until the Second World War in Leipzig, which was a central place for international bookstores. The Frankfurt Book Fair since 1949 is the largest and most important annual international book fair. It is run by a company owned by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, an association founded in 1825 in Leipzig, which includes a department for bookstores and one for publishers. The association created a binding copyright and laid the foundation for the German National Bibliographic Center (Deutsche Bücherei and Deutsche Bibliothek). Every year the association awards the prestigious Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels and since 1952 publishes the annual industry statistics “Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlen”.

After the fall of the wall, Berlin has become an intellectual center, favoring book publishers. Hamburg has also become the center of the book alongside Frankfurt, Munich and Leipzig. In Germany and Austria, there has been a system of fixed prices for books for more than a hundred years. The agreement means that the publishers set the price and that the bookstore must not discount. The price is set in negotiations between bookstore and publisher. Since German is spoken in both countries, trade between them is great, although it is mostly moving from Germany to Austria.

According to Börsenverein statistics, sales in 2012 were EUR 9.52 billion and the number of newly issued titles was 79,860 (general literature and teaching materials). The sale of books over the Internet has been successful in recent years and represented 16.5% of the sales value. Leading players on the Internet are Amazon and Weltbild.

E-books accounted for 2.4% of sales, which was three times as much as 2011.

See also Baedeker, Bibliographisches Institut, Brockhaus, and Tauchnitz.


Regionalism, which is one of the basic features of German history, is clearly evident in cultural life. There is no self-written cultural metropolis, but many cultural centers, which have been built up over the centuries. Nor does the Federal Government pursue any central cultural policy. The Ministry of Culture is only available at the state level.

According to APARENTINGBLOG, German music, literature and philosophy have produced a number of significant works that have influenced cultural development in other countries as well. In the late 18th century, famous writers such as Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller made the city of Weimar a cultural center. German romance during the first half of the 19th century had its centers in Jena and Heidelberg, from where impulses were sent to the rest of Europe. Among the great poets of the 19th century were Heinrich Heine and at the end of the century Rainer Maria Rilke, who had great influence on modern lyricism. In the early 1900s, Thomas Mann, who was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize for the novel Buddenbrooks, and Herman Hesse became the big names in Roman art. Author Erich Maria Remarque gave nothing new on the Western Frontan unmistakable depiction of the reality of war. The playwright Bertold Brecht had great success with, among other things, the twelve-part opera. Other known names are Heinrich Böll, Christa Wolf and Günter Grass. Romanian-German author Herta Müller received the Nobel Prize in Literature 2009. In recent years, writers such as Judith Hermann, Daniel Kehlmann, Felicitas Hoppe and Juli Zeh have become popular in Sweden.

Adolf Hitler’s entry into power in 1933 led to mass exodus of cultural figures from Germany. After the end of the war in 1945, a new generation of West German writers began to settle with their country’s past. Among the most famous are Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, both of whom have received the Nobel Prize for their novels.

Germany has old music traditions that survived into our time, for example Dresdner Staatskapelle from 1548 and Leipzig’s Thomask Choir dating back to the 13th century. The classical music tradition is kept alive through annual music festival games, such as the Beethoven-Bach and Mozart weeks as well as the Wagner festival games in Bayreuth. In the early 1900s, composers such as Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern renewed the classical music tradition through the twelve-tone technique, but this was banned during the Nazi era. After the end of the war, West Germany regained its place as a musical center. In popular music, singer Ute Lemper has become a world name.

After the end of the Second World War, the leading German scenes ended up in East Berlin, including the Deutsches Theater, the Komische Oper, the Volksbühne and the Berlin Ensemble, where Bertolt Brecht was artistic director in 1949-1956. In West Berlin, among others, Deutsche Oper and Schaubühne were set up. When Berlin was reunited in 1989, the city thus received an unusual number of significant cultural institutions.

The GDR government (East Germany) invested great resources on culture but at the same time set tight limits on cultural life. Poets, playwrights, painters and other artists were forced to participate in political propaganda. Several cultural workers chose to leave the GDR. Others wanted to stop and work for greater artistic freedom but were expelled, like the poet Wolf Biermann.

In the German film, well-known works were created already in the 1920s with expressionists such as Robert Wiene and FW Murnau and Fritz Lang, among others, with the dark vision of the future Metropolis. Ernst Lubitsch was known as a director as early as 1922 when he moved to the United States. Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary films during the Nazi era were based on a technique and aesthetic that influenced later filmmakers. The film got a new heyday in the 1970s with names such as Werner Herzog, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Among award-winning filmmakers in recent years include Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, Academy Award-winning 2007 for The Life of the Others, and Fatih Akin, Gold Bear Award 2004 for Against the Wall.



Angela Merkel re-elected as party leader

The Christian Democratic CDU Party Congress elects Angela Merkel as party leader with close to 98 percent of delegates’ votes. She receives standing ovations as Germany’s by far the most popular politician with more popular support than any other Chancellor since World War II.


Clear sign from the Constitutional Court to the ESM

After several weeks of deliberations, the court concludes that the euro zone rescue fund ESM and the EU financial pact do not contravene Germany’s constitution. Thousands of Germans had notified the financial pact and crisis fund to the court. However, the Court sets certain conditions, including a ceiling for the size of Germany’s contribution which, according to the ruling, may only be exceeded by decision of the Bundestag.


Support for crisis fund and financial pact

The government receives the opposition’s support in the Federal Day of the EU Financial Pact and the Eurozone Crisis Fund (ESM), whose approval requires a two-thirds majority. Germany will account for more than a quarter of the ESM, or almost EUR 22 billion in cash, and guarantees of just over EUR 168 billion. In order to support the government, the SPD demands, among other things, that Germany work for growth measures in the EU and a European tax on financial transactions. The left decides to report the financial pact and the crisis fund to the Constitutional Court.



Elections in Saarland

March 25th

In the election to the Saarland state parliament, the FDP resigns and the CDU goes backwards. CDU forms government with SPD. The Pirate Party enters Parliament.

Joachim Gauck is elected new president

March 18th

He gets 991 votes out of 1232 in the vote in the Federal Assembly. The counter candidate is journalist and Nazi reviewer Beate Klarsfeld. The 72-year-old priest Gauck, who was a leading critic of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, enjoys broad support among the people. He has led the investigation into East German security service Stasis’s operations.


German support for new grants to Greece

The Bundestag approves the new euro zone support program for Greece. 496 of 591 members vote yes.

Wulff is leaving

February 17th

Following new disclosures about President Wulff’s financial affairs, prosecutors are demanding that his legal immunity be revoked. The president’s situation becomes untenable and he leaves office. Wulff’s departure is a severe political hardship for Merkel, who fought in the headwind for Wulff’s candidacy when he was elected.

Germany Culture

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