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The five weirdest and best reality TV shows for improving your German

From the 'Voice of Germany' to 'Farmer Seeks Wife', here are five of the most sublime and ridiculous German reality TV shows that will keep you entertained while improving your language skills.

The judges of ProSieben's
Photo: DPA

The Voice of Germany

For over 10 years, “The Voice of Germany” has been one of the most popular casting shows on German television. Launched with a new “blind audition” concept in 2011, the ProSieben show has consistently brought in high ratings, particularly amongst younger viewers.

In this singing contest, the judges initially sit with their backs to the auditionees so that they can only judge them on the quality of their voice. They can vote for a candidate by pressing a button during their performance to turn their chair toward the stage.

In the current season, British pop star James Blunt surprised the judges with a blind audition of his hit song “Goodbye my Lover”.

Watching this show will broaden your musical vocabulary and ability to critique anyone’s Stimme (voice) and Ton (volume/tone) – but as a bonus, it will also improve your knowledge of German popstars. To get into the mood, you can start by listening to some of the tunes of this season’s judges: Sarah Connor, Johannes Oerding, Nico Santos and Mark Forster.

Höhle der Löwen

German Lion's Den case
The investors on hit German reality TV show ‘Höhle der Löwen’ gather for a press photograph. Photo: picture alliance / Caroline Seidel/dpa | Caroline Seidel

The German version of the British hit show “Dragon’s Den” features lions instead of dragons and invites entrepreneurs to present their business proposals to five wealthy German investors.

The “lions” have included some of Germany’s wealthiest business people over the years, including extreme sportsman and experience-website founder Jochen Schweizer and Formular One champion Nico Rosberg. The investors probe the ideas and business plans of start-up founders, before deciding whether or not to invest.

Earlier this year, the show was the subject of a furious online storm when two entrepreneurs proposed a peculiar menstrual hygiene product, in the form of a rubber glove.

READ ALSO: Two German men face backlash over ‘Pinky’ period glove product

The show is great for broadening your business vocabulary with Umsatz (turnover), Gewinn (profit) and Anteile (shares) being the most prominently featured terms.

LOL: The Last one Laughing

The German stars of the third season of LOL: The Last one Laughing. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Prime Video | Frank Zauritz

This is a great show for anyone who doesn’t think that Germans have a sense of humour.

In this reality show, ten top German comedians compete against each other in a battle for €50,000 in prize money that’s donated to good cause.

The participants stay in an apartment for six hours and present each other with short performances and the winner is the person who manages not to laugh the longest.

This is definitely a show for those who want to broaden their lexicon with some colourful German phrases – and hopefully make their German friends crack a smile in the process. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Is it true that Germans don’t understand sarcasm?

Bauer sucht Frau

Bauer Sucht Frau
Farmer Keno Veith stands next to his tractor as he searches for true love in an episode of ‘Bauer Sucht Frau’. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Carmen Jaspersen

In this somewhat old-fashioned dating show, farmers from all over Germany search for their true love.

The show is one of the most popular and long-running German reality TV shows, and has been shown on RTL since 2005.

The farmers – who are usually referred to in the voiceover as either a raubeiniger Rinderwirt (rough-around-the-edges cattle farmer) or schüchterner Schweinebauer (shy pig farmer) – receive written applications from women hoping to be considered as farmer’s wives.

Prospective female farmers are invited to frolic around on the farm, to prove themselves in the field and in the barn and to try to win the heart of the respective farmer.

It may not be the most enlightened of TV shows, but it will do wonders for your agricultural vocabulary.

Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!

The 2015 Jungle Queen Maren Gilzer sits on her throne. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Stefan Menne

Another British import, the German version of “I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of here!” has been delighting German audiences since 2004.

In each season, 10 to twelve German celebrities are shipped to the Australian jungle, where they must compete in Dschungelprüfungen (Bushtucker trials) to win meals for their campmates. Celebrities are voted off by the public and eventually one is crowned the winner, or Dschungelkönig/in (Jungle king or queen).

While it may not help you order in a regular restaurant, the show is great for broadening your exotic culinary vocabulary, as one of its most well-known features is the eating challenge where contestants have to eat a variety of stomach-turning meals to win stars.

Previous episodes have seen stars eating a Käfersaftcocktail (beetle juice cocktail), Ziegenzunge (goat’s tongue) and even a Glas voller Kuh-Urin (Glass full of cow urine). Yummy!

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For members


Five German drinks to try this summer

There’s nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot summer’s day and the Germans know it well. That’s why they’ve got a variety of tasty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to cool them down in the hottest months. Here are five you should try.

Five German drinks to try this summer

Summertime in Germany can get pretty hot, but thankfully there are plenty of popular drinks which can help you cool down, as well as tickle the tastebuds.

In Germany, fizzy water is wildly popular, so it’s not surprising that Sprudel is a key ingredient in most of the drinks on this list.


A Hugo cocktail. Photo: Greta Farnedi/Unsplash

The Hugo is a cocktail made of Prosecco, elderflower syrup, mint leaves, a shot of mineral water and a slice of lime.

This refreshing alcoholic drink was invented by Roland Gruber, a bartender in South Tyrol, the mainly German-speaking region of northern Italy in 2005.

Though the drink wasn’t invented in Germany, it quickly spread across the borders of northern Italy and gained popularity here. Nowadays, you’ll be able to order a Hugo in pretty much any bar in the country.


A woman holds a pint of Radler. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Nicolas Armer

One of the best-known and most popular mixed beer drinks is the Radler: a concoction of beer and lemonade, a bit like a British shandy. In some areas of Germany – particularly in the south – the mixture is called Alster.

Usually, the ratio is 60 percent beer and 40 percent lemonade, but there are also some interesting variants. In some regions of Germany, a distinction is made between sweet (with lemonade) and sour (with water) Radler. Some foolhardy drinkers even mix their beer with cola (called a diesel).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The German regions producing the most important beer ingredient


A woman pours apple spritz into plastic cups. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Soeren Stache

Apfelschorle is an absolute German classic.

The traditional mix of apple juice and fizzy water is a 1:1 ratio, but if you’re making the drink at home you can adjust the measurements to your liking. 

The concept of Saftschorle (fruit spritzer) has moved way beyond the plain old apple in Germany though. On Supermarket shelves, you’ll find major drinks chains offering a wide variety of fizzy fruit beverages, including  Rhabarbe-Schorle (Rhubarb spritz), Schwarze Johannisbeer-Schorle (Black currant spritz) and Holunderschorle (elderberry spritz).

Berliner Weiße mit Schuss

A woman drinks a Berliner Weiße in Berlin.

A woman drinks a Berliner Weiße in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Britta Pedersen

The Berliner Weiße (or Weisse) is an old, German beer, brewed with barley and wheat malt.

As the name suggests, it originates from the German capital, where it was extremely popular in the 19th century and was celebrated as the “Champagne of the North”.

But by the end of the 19th century, sour beer styles, including this one, became increasingly unpopular and they almost died out completely. 

READ ALSO: Five German foods that aren’t what you think they are

So people started mixing the drink with sweet syrup. This gave rise to the trend of drinking Berliner Weissbier with a shot (Schuss) of raspberry or woodruff syrup, which is still widely enjoyed today. Some breweries even ferment fruits such as raspberries or strawberries.

The drink is so well-known in Germany, that there was even a TV series named after it which ran for 10 years 1984 to 1995.


Water and wine in equal parts and both well chilled – a light summer drink. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | DWI

Another fizzy-water-based German classic is the white wine spritz. 

A wine spritzer is a refreshing drink on warm summer days which has the advantage of not going to your head as quickly as a regular glass of wine. With equal parts fizzy water and wine, the drink has only about 5-6 percent alcohol, compared to glass of pure white wine, which has about 9-14 percent. 

For optimum German-ness when making this drink at home, choose a German white wine such as Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner or Riesling.

Enjoy and drink responsibly!