Tag Archives: rivalry

The Köln-Düsseldorf rivalry continues…

Düsseldorf and Köln are the Rhineland’s rival cities. Neither town has a good word to say about the other. At Karneval time the Kölner greet each other with the words “Alaaf!” while the Düsseldorfer shout “Helau!” During the rest of the year, the Kölner listen to the rock band “BAP” while the Düsseldorfer bop to “Die Tote Hosen”.  And of course the Kölner drink Kölsch (literally “from Köln”) while the Düsseldorfer quaff Alt (literally “Old”).

So the new advertising campaign from the Kölsch brewery “Früh” (literally “early”) is bound to cause some raised hackles to the north.

The ad shows an empty Kölsch glass, and the words “Bevor es Alt wird” – literally “Before it becomes Alt” (a nice play on words – the capital A indicates that it is referring to the Düsseldorf beer, rather than meaning “before it gets old” – which would be “Bevor es alt wird”).


Düsseldorf is, however, striking back. Their riposte has been a picture of a Früh Kölsch with the phrase: Früh übt sich, was ein Alt werden will.  Literally “Früh must practise to become an Alt”  but also a play on an old saying: “Früh übt sich, wer ein Meister werden will” –  He who would become a master must start practising early.

This ad is the result of a grassroots initiative to promote Düsseldorf Alt and protect it from the attacks of the Kölsch breweries. There is currently a competition running on their site where people can vote for the best anti-Kölsch ads.

There is bad news for Düsseldorf though – apparently sales of Kölsch are actually rising in the northern city. Unthinkable! Quick everyone… down to the pub!


Leave a comment

Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

International rivalries

Of course the eternal struggle for national dominance isn’t just restricted to Birgit and myself. It isn’t even just a German-British thing. It seems like everybody wants to get one up on the Germans.

Take the Dutch, for example.

Living, as I do, in the border area of Germany and the Netherlands, it’s impossible to ignore the intense enmity between the two nations.

The Germans refer to the Dutch language as a Halskrankheit (thoat infection), whereas the Dutch have never quite recovered from wartime occupation and are prone to lock up their bicycles whenever they see a German car coming over the border, lest their sole means of transport should be commandeered again.

The Germans refer to their Dutch neighbours as Käseköpfe (cheese heads). The Dutch get their own back by towing their caravans at a snail’s pace down the German Autobahn in convoys of several thousand every Summer, thus ensuring that the Germans never have chance to switch their Porsches and Mercedes out of second gear.

But at no time is the rivalry between the two nations more fierce than when sport is at stake. And by sport I mean, of course, football.

Remember when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea, and the Germans released a hit single “Ohne Holland fahr’n wir zur WM“?

Or what about the Euro 2004? Remember this video?

With the Euro 2008 coming up and both teams going to Austria/Switzerland… and with the Dutch driving all the way across Germany to get there, it should make for an exciting Summer on the roads.

I might have to buy a Bahncard.

1 Comment

Filed under comedy, German video, Life in Germany