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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 22, 2008

German flag season

Filed under Life in Europe

With Germany advancing to the semifinals of the European soccer championship, German flags are once again visible all over Germany.

When I first visited Germany in 1971, it was not common to see EM flags the German flag displayed by private citizens. The general sentiment expressed when I asked about this was that Germans were not supposed to be proud of their country. By contrast, when you cross the border into Switzerland, you see the Swiss flag displayed in lots of private places. But things have changed in recent years, especially two years ago during the World Cup soccer tournament hosted by Germany. This year at the start of the European Cup tournament three weeks ago, German flags were on prominent display on apartment balconies and cars. There seem to be more of them as Germany advanced to the quarterfinals, and now the Germans will be getting ready for Wednesday’s semifinal game against Turkey by displaying their flag. I think this is a positive development – why shouldn’t the Germans follow their team like other people do? For example, before yesterday’s semifinal game in Basel between the Netherlands and Russia, Basel was subjected to an "orange" invasion as thousands of Dutch fans descended on the city, most of them draped in their team’s traditional color.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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