Prior to 1984, Olympic football was an amateur event, meaning that only non-professional players could participate. Due to this, West Germany was never able to achieve the same degree of success at the Olympics as at the World Cup, with the first medal coming in the 1988 Olympics , when they won the bronze medal. It took Germany 28 years to participate at the Olympics again in 2016 , this time reaching the final and winning a silver medal. West Germany also reached the second round in both 1972 and 1984 . On the other hand, East Germany did far better, winning a gold, a silver and two bronze medals (one representing the United Team of Germany ).
Being a federal republic, Germany is very much a decentralised country, which embraces the cultural differences between the regions. Some travellers will perhaps only think of beer, Lederhosen and Oktoberfest when Germany comes to mind, but Germany's famous alpine and beer culture is mostly centered around Bavaria and Munich . Here the beer is traditionally served in 1 litre mugs (normally not in pubs and restaurants, though). The annual Oktoberfest is Europe's most visited festival and the world's largest fair. Germany's south-western regions, however, are well known for their wine growing areas (. Rheinhessen and Palatinate ) and Bad Dürkheim on the 'German Wine Route' ( Deutsche Weinstraße ) organises the biggest wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.
Symbolism. Any review of national symbols in Germany must take into account the clash of alternative symbols, which correspond either to different phases of a stormy history or to different aspects of a very complex whole. The eagle was depicted in the regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, but since Prussia's victory over Austria in 1866 and the exclusion of Austria from the German Reich in 1871, this symbol has been shared by two separate states, which were united only briefly from 1937 to 1945. Germany is the homeland of the Reformation, yet Martin Luther is a very contentious symbol, since 34 percent of all Germans are Roman Catholic. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Germany became known as the land of Dichter und Denker , that is, poets and philosophers, including such luminaries as Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. In the latter nineteenth century this image was supplemented by that of the Prussian officer and the saber-rattling Kaiser. Der deutsche Michel —which means, approximately, "Mike the German," named after the archangel Michael, the protector of Germany—was a simpleton with knee breeches and a sleeping cap, who had represented Germany in caricatures even before the nineteenth century. The national and democratic movement of the first half of the nineteenth century spawned a whole series of symbols, including especially the flag with the colors black, red, and gold, which were used for the national flag in the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and again in the Federal Republic of Germany (as of 1949). The national movement also found expression in a series of monuments scattered over the countryside. The National Socialists were especially concerned with creating new symbols and harnessing old ones for their purposes. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it is illegal to display the Hakenkreuz or swastika, which was the central symbol of the Nazi movement and the central motif in the national flag in the Third Reich (1933–1945).