Germany 101: Bundes…what now?

Over the years I have been in Germany, I have noticed one thing in particular about Germans. Anything which has something to do with the whole country has the word Bundes associated with it. For those of you not in Germany or unfamiliar with the German language, let me provide some perspective. Germany’s official name is Bundesrepublik Deutschland or the Federal Republic of Germany. The word Bund means federal*. And anything to do with the federal republic as a whole is Bundes…whatever. For example, the German government is the Bundesregierung (Regierung = government), the federal chancellor is the Bundeskanzler for male and Bundeskanzlerin for female (Kanzler/in = chancellor), the president is the Bundespräsident (Präsident = president), and so on. You see the pattern.

But in everyday life, this term is so widely used that I don’t understand why the Germans have no other term or word to describe their country. If someone is taking part in a discussion in which they have to mention the word countrywide, they’ll say Bundesweit (Weit = wide). Very rarely would you hear them saying Deutschlandweit. I’m told people say this but I have personally

Joachim Löw is the current Bundestrainer.

Joachim Löw is the current Bundestrainer.

yet to hear it. But the weirdest things for me are these terms with the word Bundes in them being thrown about for random, everyday things, such as, the coach of the German national team is called the Bundestrainer! I don’t know about you but it sounds weirdly ridiculous to me. What’s more, the German version of bowling is called Kegeln**  and the bowling alley is called- wait for it – Bundeskegelbahn. Bang! Big word, eh? I won’t go into what the word Kegelbahn actually stands for. Suffice it to say it means bowling alley. Therefore, Bundeskegelbahn literally means National Nine-Pin Bowling Alley. It astounds me that the bowling alley has to be given such an elaborate name.

Another flabbergasting Bundes word is the Bundesadler.

The Bundesadler. You'd think this name would be given to the national animal and not the national seal.

The Bundesadler. You’d think this name would be given to the national animal and not the national seal.

The Bundesadler literally means the National Eagle or Federal Eagle and is the name given to the seal of the Federal Government of Germany. I would be willing to concede to an existence of logic if this was the name of the national animal of the country (which is the eagle), but it isn’t. No, that would be just plain strange.

After noticing these words, I have decided to coin my own Bundeswörter (Wörter = words). These are:

  • Bundesselfie: A selfie with at least one member of the federal government in it (I have one with the German President).
  • Bundesessen: A dish which can be considered to be the national food of the country.
  • Bundesgetränk: The national drink. I think we can all agree that’s beer.
  • Bundesmarke: A brand which is a national icon. Jack Wolfskin would be the prime example of this.
  • Bundesalles: Everything in the country. Everything.

Note: I tried my best to make this article readable, understandable and enjoyable for those people who don’t live in the Bundesrepublik but it’s quite hard to do so. My apologies if you didn’t get the jokes.

*Some hilarious information: bund is slang in parts of Pakistan for arse. Sorry, couldn’t help pointing this out.

**It’s essentially nine-pin bowling played with a smaller bowl which has no holes for the fingers; all five fingers are used to hold and throw the ball.


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