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German Culture

May 29 2012 German Culture Newsletter

Summer is on its way and German Culture's latest article is one of the country's warm weather topics:


Germans love their gardens, it really is a part of the country's culture, even if 'the garden' is only boxes on a balcony, and Schrebergarten, little rented plots on a city's edge, or perhaps in the middle surrounded by asphalt and exhaust fumes, are the pride and joy of millions of city-dwellers, who spend any available time digging or just 'enjoying'. And the trend of 'back to nature' is increasing, as are the waiting lists for available plots.

And the German Culture 'Word' word of the week is: ZWICKMUEHLE

Which in English would be used in the context of “Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, and literally comes from the German word for …....Mill – Muehle together with Zwick (zwicken) to pinch.

However it's usage originates from 'Muehlespiel', a board game for two players where, similarly to check-mate in chess, a player is trapped when his opponent plays the 'Zwickmuehle' move combination.

So something that can happen to us all, when there is no 'right' solution. – we are stuck in a 'Zwickmuehle'. Sometimes known as 'Damned if we do, and damned if we don't'.

Many more topics on and a forum:

so if you have any comments, questions or ideas for topics you would like covered, hope to hear from you either on the forum or via email.

Francine McKenna,
German Culture Editor

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