<blockquote>“All the southern Germans are much nicer than us anyway, and the nicest ones, because they are the most natural, are the Bavarians.”<br/>
</blockquote>
Theodor Fontane (1819–1898), German author
“All the southern Germans are much nicer than us anyway, and the nicest ones, because they are the most natural, are the Bavarians.”
Theodor Fontane (1819–1898), German author

Evening on Lake Ammer
Image: Simon Katzer/Ullsteinbild

Stadtlust EN Gemeinsam sind wir stark! EN Heimatliebe und Weltoffenheit EN Starfotograf Juergen Teller EN „Be cool, be Bavarian!“ EN Gehörlos tanzen? Kassandra kann‘s! EN Weiß-blau-bunt EN Leben und Leben lassen En Aquarell :: Löwe EN Welcome DAHOAM EN

Live and let live.

If you ask a guest from abroad what his or her idea of the “typical Bavarian” is, the answer will probably focus on lederhosen and dirndl dresses, beer and roast pork. But there is a lot more to being “typically Bavarian”.

More than 12.6 million people live in the Free State of Bavaria. People from Altbayern, Franconians, Swabians and Sudeten Germans have made Bavaria the charming home state that it is, as well as turning it into a location with the best of opportunities. It is a wonderful place to live and work. That is why an increasing number of people are coming to Bavaria: since 1990, the population of the Free State has grown by a net 1.6 million inhabitants.

Bavaria is changing, but that special white-and-blue attitude towards life will remain: live and let live! This love of diversity forms the core of the proverbial liberalitas bavariae.

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Urban delights

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Together we are strong!

Her braided pigtail swings through the air like a lasso. Alysha skips through the dance hall to the sound of flute music. “She used to be really withdrawn,” her grandmother says. Things have been different ever since Alysha started dancing with 78-year-old Helga Koeppe in the therapeutic exercise class in Hassfurt’s multi-generational house.

The people there support each other – with lots of love. They are living the concept of a large family in a modern form, young and old learning from and with each other over four storeys.

Mothers meet up, accompanied by their babies, to participate in the toddlers’ group. Volunteers teach seniors how to use computers and smartphones. And it does not matter where anyone comes from: German class, music, arts and crafts, dancing – all these things unite families with and without a migration background.

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Down to earth, yet cosmopolitan

“Live and let live. It’s in Bavaria’s nature. Bavarians are conscious of tradition and down to earth. They love their home state, the landscape, the culture, and they’re not afraid to show it.”

Franz Beckenbauer (born 1945), Bavarian football legend and honorary president of FC Bayern Munich.
Image: Tina Berning

12,636,006

Population of Bavaria.
Germany: 80,925,031
(as of June 2014)
State capital (Munich): 1,493,900
(as of February 2015)

Image: Tina Berning

“I grew up in Würzburg and will always be rooted in my home state of Bavaria. I come home for a few weeks every summer, and as soon as I step through the door, I am once again my young self, my parents’ son. My parents are down-to-earth. My mother still gives me pocket money when I’m in Würzburg. I like to spend my time there with friends and family.”

Dirk Nowitzki (born 1978), basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) (Source : Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2014 : “Wochenend-Interview. Dirk Nowitzki über Bescheidenheit” SZ No 205 from 06./07.11. 2014.)
Image: Tina Berning

36 %

Around 36 per cent of people over 14 years of age in Bavaria are active as volunteers ‒ that’s more than one out of every three people.

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Juergen Teller is one of the style-defining and most influential photographers in the world. “Perfection bores me.”

He has stuffed Kate Moss into a wheelbarrow and Victoria Beckham into a shopping bag. And his pictures of Kurt Cobain, Elton John and Björk are world-famous. Juergen Teller revolutionised fashion photography by searching for what it really means to be human instead of trying to create the appearance of perfection.

This special style of capturing people just how they are might also have something to do with his background. Juergen Teller grew up in the Middle Franconian town of Bubenreuth in a family that made violins. An allergy to dust prevented him from carrying on the family tradition. He searched for other paths and studied photography in Munich.

Today, the Franconian himself is a global star and lives in London. Yet he still enjoys returning to the place where he grew up. Since 2014, Teller has been a guest professor for photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg.

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Image: Tina Berning

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Fresh, flash fashion – Bavaria’s attire is turning heads. “Be cool, be Bavarian!”

Christina Kronawitter has been wearing dirndls and lederhosen since she was at school. “Back then, they would all say: What do you look like?!” Nowadays, it is a matter of course for young people in Bavaria to wear their home state on their sleeve. A squad of young fashion designers is mixing traditional garb with modern elements. Like 37-year-old Kronawitter, for instance, who runs a store in the Lower Bavarian city of Straubing. Bed linen, tablecloths and curtains all serve as material for her special pieces.

“There are no fixed rules about how to wear a dirndl,” the fashionista explains. “Whether retro, romantic or a tad rock-starish, I want to use my fashion to convey this special attitude towards life: be cool, be Bavarian!”

Incidentally, the position of the dirndl’s bow says quite a lot about the wearer: front left means “still available!”, front right says “already taken!”

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Dancing without hearing? Kassandra can. “I feel the beat in my belly!”

Thirteen dancers stand in the mirror-walled hall of the GSC dance school in Munich. The music starts up, and their hip-hop moves effortlessly match up with the rhythm. How can anyone dance so masterfully without hearing the music?

At the age of three, Kassandra Wedel lost her ability to hear in a car accident. Seven of her students are also hearing-impaired. “I feel the rhythm with my whole body. All you need is some good bass to carry the vibrations into the room.” For ten years, Kassandra has been teaching hip-hop to both hearing-impaired and hearing-able students alike. “Nikita” is the name of her integrative dance group.

In 2001, the passionate hip-hop artist became the German national champion. In 2012, she became German national champion and world vice champion with “Nikita”, also taking home the world champion title in both solo and duo events. “Dancing gives me a sense of freedom and confidence.” And it helps in overcoming prejudice. “Because dancing is a passion that connects us all.”

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White, blue, diverse: Bavaria is growing

Since 1990, almost 780,000 people have come from outside Germany to find a new home in Bavaria. Major Bavarian cities have a greater population of people with a history of migration than does Berlin, for example. They value the human connection that Bavaria has to offer.

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