Top 10 German Souvenirs

More than a stereotype?

Lederhosen are to Germany what beer is to Oktoberfest. Just don't let a northern German hear you say that. The stereotypical Deutsch duds are actually traditional attire from the Alpine regions in the South. On special occasions, men from the South can be spotted in these "leather trousers." In department stores, you can snag a pair starting at 65 euros ($86).

Birthplace of the gummy bear

Haribo invented the sweet snack in 1922, but recipes vary between countries. Unofficial taste-testers report that the German version tastes more fruity than the US version. Could it be because they get their hues from an all-natural a mix of natural ingredients like spinach, nettle and carrot? Bonus: The German bag of bears includes an extra flavor not featured in the US version - apple.

Once upon a time

The German Fairy Tale Route links many actual and fictitious locations from Brothers Grimm lore. While on the route, pick up a copy of the duo's "Children’s and Household Tales," one of the most widely distributed books in German history. Translations exist in more than 160 languages. But some of the more macabre tales like "How Children Played Slaughter with Each Other," have since been removed.

In the limelight

Psychologist Karl Peglau developed the iconic East German crosswalk light symbol, known as the Ampelmännchen. After German reunification, the hat-wearing fellow would have been swapped out for his slim Western counterpart. Designer Markus Heckhausen stepped in to repurpose the icon. From sunglasses and shotglasses to ice cube trays and chalkboards, the crosswalker was propelled to global fame.

Cuckoo for cuckoos

The German gift that keeps on giving - every minute of the day! Basic hand-carved models can be found in Black Forest souvenir shops for less than 200 euros, while luxury models range upwards of 3,000 euros. For those who would rather see than own the vocal timekeeper, the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen is featuring a special cuckoo clock exhibit through November 3, 2013.

For better or wurst

Developed by a Berlin housewife after World War II, the dish of pork sausage, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder has evolved into a cult snack. In Berlin, there's an entire museum dedicated to the delicacy. For those unable to smuggle one of the pre-packaged supermarket sausages in their suitcase, separate tubes of curry ketchup may be purchased for home indulgence.

O, Tannenbaum

Many Christmas ornaments as we know them today trace their roots to Germany. Glass baubles stem from a glass blower's workshop in the village of Lauscha in the 1830s. Wooden, candle-propelled "pyramids" and little incense men hark back to the Erzgebirge mining region of Germany. The German Christmas Ornament Museum opened in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in 2000 to showcase ornamental handiwork.

Concrete reminder

Once a symbol of oppression, the 155-kilomenter (96-mile) Berlin Wall has become a sought-after souvenir. Vendors hawk baggies of spray-painted concrete as former bits of the Wall. According to a spokesperson at the Berlin Wall Memorial, they're probably not authentic. Nevertheless, one swanky Berlin hotel offers guests a hammer and chisel to chip out their own piece of the Wall to take home.

Hummel figurines

Borderline creepy and cute, the sacharine sweet figurines are based on drawings of a nun, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. They were first introduced in 1935 and gained popularity at the end of World War II as US soldiers stationed in Germany sent them home as gifts. Today, the M.I. Hummel Club boasts 100,000 members worldwide.


Nothing says Germany like a cold pils! And what better way to drink your brew than from a beer stein, the ultimate - albeit heavy - symbol of German culture around the world. Mug materials range from stone, porcelain, glass and pewter. Some come with fancy pewter lids that can be single-handedly flipped up with the flick of a thumb.

From treasures to kitsch, Germany offers unique reminders about what makes the country special. DW highlights 10 of the traditional - and more quirky - souvenirs Germany has to offer.