When did the German Shepherd Dog start to bark?

German national fragrance
Sauerkraut and Hazelnut

If Germany were to be distilled into a perfume, which scents would be indispensable? Do German forests and German wine really have to go in? And what would the German shepherd bark at?

For some time now, you can wear the city of Nuremberg next to your skin. Not as a tattoo - for example as a picture of the famous imperial castle on the biceps - but as a scent behind the ear. Frank Wesnitzer, a yoga teacher and Ayurveda cook, has mixed the aura of the place into a perfume. It smells lemony because Wesnitzer thinks Nuremberg is open and progressive, woody because he believes the residents are stable. And for gingerbread. Nuremberg city quarters smell of this specialty when the Christmas season begins and the gingerbread bakeries stir up their flocks.

Black Forest needles - Ruhrpott smoke

German cities don't seem to have a problem with their smell. Berlin has been claiming a "lovely scent" in its air since a hit from the 1920s. Sissel Tolaas and Geza Schön may know whether the capital really smells “lovely”. After all, the two fragrance experts designed a kind of “smell map” of the metropolis for the 2004 Berlin Biennale. But can all of Germany create its own fragrance? Which olfactory substances would be in the perfume? Does the Federal Republic of Germany release its own specific molecules into the air? Because nothing else determines the smell of a thing. Do typically German gases float over typically German landscapes?

You can get a sniff when you cross the border. For example at Basel. Does that leave the Swiss smell of alpine pastures and cows, and the German Black Forest sends out its spruce needle tingling? Or at Venlo. Does the Dutch bouquet of cheese and tulips fade and the lignite stain of the Ruhrpott fumes? Or does everything now smell of the uniform flavor of Europe?

The German nose won't give up that easily. A little national smell is a matter of honor! All people all over the world carry their homeland around in their mucous membranes into old age. The scent of childhood - nice nostalgia. But how can you heraldically mix the ozone flickering of the Black Forest with the dance of the coal particles over the Rhine and Ruhr? Will it be possible to create a distinctive German scented coat of arms? The eagle as a traditional heraldic animal has rather unpleasant smell associations. He is actually a bird of prey and a scavenger. It can't be that.

The lasting note of the GDR

It used to be easier. Between 1945 and 1990 at least part of Germany smelled of itself. Even the blind could sniff out the GDR with the nose as soon as one had crossed the “zone boundary”. The precipitation from the coal heaters came over the traveler, heavily fed by the stimulus of a cleaning agent from the laboratories of the Bitterfeld Chemical Combine. It was called Wofasept. And Wofasept developed its aroma not only in the wagons of the Reichsbahn, but in almost all public buildings under the rule of Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker. Sensitive noses twitch in the shock of recognition when they board one of the cruise ships on the rivers of Russia. Because this fleet was built in the GDR in the 1980s. And the scent of the GDR is amazingly sustainable.

But the smell of Germany as a whole after the fall of the Wall and reunification? Some will say that there must be a note of hazelnut in it. The Germans cannot get rid of their story, and the nationalistically abused folksong is so originally German and, with its political play of colors, strongly entangled in history: The hazelnut is black-brown. The hazelnut smell is bitter. The nose has to face history. But the bitter German has long been corrected and differentiated in a multicultural way. The core odor of the hazelnut is now clearly coated with garlic. After all, the Turkish kebab is the most popular fast food among Germans.

The Bavarian bouquet

The song about the hazelnut is "German song". in the Germany song He is praised by Hoffmann von Fallersleben - alongside “German wine”. Sang doesn't smell. But wine is the odor challenge in general. You only have to watch once how ecstatically the noses of connoisseurs tremble over the wine glass. As a result, German wine fragrances are indispensable in the national perfume bottle - with a lot of acidity in Franconia, rather lovely on the Moselle. So typically German in their spread, not so easy to get under one roof in their diversity. And then, in their delicacy, they are countered by those fragrances of the German south that people from overseas in particular like to use for the whole of Germany. Beer and sauerkraut are meant: the bouquet of Bavaria, the odeur of the Oktoberfest. Germany doesn't smell like that everywhere. But everyone thinks that Germany smells like that.

The one who ought to know best because of his fine olfactory organ cannot be asked: the German Shepherd. That is why it remains to be seen what role the evaporation of German industry and German football play in the country's overall rating. To pinpoint the national scent, one may have to resort to a national campaign that was run in all media a few years ago. She addressed every individual on the territory, and the slogan was: "You are Germany". That will probably be the case then: Germany smells like all of its citizens. Sometimes good and sometimes not so good.