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What Is German National Anthem: Facts About Composer, History and Lyrics. Photo DW

The German national anthem is called 'Deutschlandlied' and has a long, complicated history.

It is also known as 'Das Lied der Deutschen', or 'The Song of the Germans'.

History of German national anthem

The music to ‘Deutschlandlied’ was composed in 1797 by Joseph Haydn. The anthem, originally called ‘Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser’, was written for the birthday of Francis II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and later of Austria.

The lyrics, which were attached to the music in 1841, were written by a German poet called Hoffmann von Fallersleben.

Only the third stanza of Fallersleben’s poem is now used as Germany’s official anthem, and will be used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Who composed the music of the German national anthem?

The tune to Germany’s national anthem is considerably older than the lyrics and started off life as an Austrian anthem. Called the ‘Emperor’s Hymn’ it was composed by Joseph Haydn in 1796 to celebrate the birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II – Haydn also used the tune in the second movement of his Op. 76, No. 3 string quartet. The first lines of this anthem – ‘God preserve Francis the Emperor, Our good Emperor Francis!’ – echoes those of the British anthem ‘God Save The Queen‘. It was used as Austria’s anthem until the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

READ MORE: Top 15 Most Popular Holidays in Germany

Who wrote the lyrics to Deutschlandlied, the German national anthem?

The words of the German national anthem started life as a poem written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841. The poem was a call to unify Germany, as the country was then made up of principalities and ducal kingdoms. In 1922 the song was officially adopted as Germany’s national anthem by the Weimar Republic.

Did the German National Anthem change after World War II?

When the Weimar Republic emerged after World War One, the country wanted to enhance its republican credentials – so they made ‘Deutschlandlied’ their national anthem.

West Germany adopted the anthem in the early 1950s for similar reasons, while the anthem in East Germany remained ‘Auferstanden aus Ruinen’ (‘Risen from Ruins’) from 1949 to 1990.

When Germany reunified in 1990, the third stanza of ‘Deutschlandlied’ was confirmed as the national anthem.

The other verses, which include the lyrics ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ were dropped due to their association with Nazi Germany.

What are the lyrics to the German national anthem?

Photo Schengen Visa
Photo Schengen Visa

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit

Für das deutsche Vaterland!

Danach lasst uns alle streben

Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit

Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;

Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,

Blühe, deutsches Vaterland!

What do the German National Anthem lyrics mean in English?

Unity and justice and freedom

For the German fatherland!

Towards these let us all strive

Brotherly with heart and hand!

Unity and justice and freedom

Are the foundation of happiness;

Flourish in the radiance of this happiness,

Flourish, German fatherland!

Official national colours of Germany

The official national colours of Germany are: black, red and gold; these are the colours of the national flag of the country, they are specified in the Basic Law or the Constitution of the country. The colours used for various national symbols are usually taken from these three colours, either combined with each other or one colour individually. For example, the eagle, as a symbol of the country, is used by various government agencies and is usually depicted only in black, while some other symbols are presented in gold or red. Below you will find the Germany distinctive colours codes in the RGB-HEX colour scheme.

Cities as national symbols of Germany

Photo Getty
Photo Getty

Berlin is the capital and largest city in the country, so it is also a symbol of the country. However, there are other major cities and metropolitan areas, in Germany that are cultural and historical centers of the country. You can find a list of major cities on a dedicated page of our website.

Buildings as national symbols of Germany

A number of world famous buildings or structures in Germany are also national symbols of the country. Some of them are well known, others are mentioned but seldom. The list of the buildings and architectural structures, monuments, castles, being the national symbols, is presented below.

Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) - Berlin's ancient city gate with a chariot at the top

Frankfurter Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) - St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt am Main, built in the 18-19th centuries

Hambacher Schloss (Hambach Castle) - a castle in the city of Neustadt, Rhineland-Palatinate - a symbol of the German democratic movement

Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) - a Gothic cathedral in Cologne, one of the tallest churches in the world, is a World Cultural Heritage Site

Wartburg (Wartburg Castle) - a monument of cultural and historical heritage of the country, a World Cultural Heritage Site

Schloss Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Castle) - the Castle of the Bavarian King Ludwig II in Bavaria

Reichstagsgebäude (Reichstag) - the Reichstag building, the seat of the German Parliament

Berliner Siegessäule (Victory Column) - The victory column in Berlin on the Great Star Square

National mottos, slogans of Germany

Mottos are usually short phrases, slogans, or words that define aspirations or shared values. Mottos are usually used on national symbols, such as coats of arms, as well as on coins and banknotes. The most common motto in the country is the very first words from the national anthem: "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit", which are translated into English as: "Unity and Justice and Freedom". The list below features other mottos or slogans in German that are used in Germany and associated with national symbols, along with their translation into English.

"Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (Unity and Justice and Freedom) - the national motto, the incipit of the German anthem

"Made in Germany" (Made in Germany) - marking products made in Germany as synonymous with high quality products

"Gott mit uns" (God be with us) - formerly in the German Empire

"Wir schaffen das!" (We can do it!) - is an assertion often made by the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel

"Meine Damen und Herren" (Ladies and gentlemen!) - often used in speeches of politicians for a speech opening

Animals as national symbols of Germany

The eagle is one of the oldest state symbols of power, it was used as far back as during the reign of the Roman rulers. The eagle is still the state symbol of Germany. It is depicted both on the coat of arms and on its own, without the coat of arms; the eagle is also depicted on buildings of state institutions, on coins and in other places.

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