Johannes Gutenberg. Man of the millennium.
  • Meissen porcelain manufactory in Saxony
    Meissen porcelain manufactory in Saxony ©Meissen/Manufaktur MEISSEN 2009
  • The first ever electric tram travelled through Berlin
    The first ever electric tram travelled through Berlin ©visitBerlin
  • Bertha Benz on the first ever car
    Bertha Benz on the first ever car ©Mercedes-Benz Classic
  • Replica aircraft in the Lilienthal Museum in Anklam, Western Pomerania
    Replica aircraft in the Lilienthal Museum in Anklam, Western Pomerania ©TMV / Werk3
  • Karl Drais invented the first draisine in Karlsruhe
    Karl Drais invented the first draisine in Karlsruhe ©TMBW
  • Garden gnome
    Garden gnome ©Europa-Park
  • Hannover's New Town Hall and Maschteich lake
    Hannover's New Town Hall and Maschteich lake ©H. & D. Zielske/TMN
  • Market square in Braunschweig old town
    Market square in Braunschweig old town ©Braunschweig Stadtmarketing GmbH
  • Cuckoo clock made in Baden-Württemberg
    Cuckoo clock made in Baden-Württemberg ©Tourismus Marketing Baden-Württemberg

Made in Germany.

Germany has always had its fair share of inventors, tinkerers and other resourceful enthusiasts. And their discoveries have conquered the world. From aspirin and airbags to garden gnomes and the Christmas tree, many of the things that make our life easier, safer or just nicer started life in Germany. Follow in the footsteps of great engineers and enterprising visionaries, all the way up to the present.

Johann Friedrich Böttger had boasted he could produce gold. When that didn't work out, Böttger turned his attention to the manufacture of porcelain, which up to that point had to be imported from China at great cost. In this he had more success, and by 1710 the first porcelain in Europe was being produced in Meissen . Over 300 years later, Meissen porcelain has established a reputation as the epitome of dining room elegance. At the House of Meissen interactive exhibition, visitors can get an insight into the triumphant 300-year history of 'white gold'.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Princess Diana and Bill Clinton couldn't live without it. In 1708 in Cologne , Johann Maria Farina created a fragrance that, in the truest sense of the word, was timeless. This 'eau de Cologne' was designed to remind Italian-born Farina of his homeland. Today, wherever in the world it is used, it's a reminder of the 'perfume city' of Cologne. Since its invention, many different fragrances have been marketed as eau de Cologne. But the original was created here in the House of Farina on the Rhine, where the world's oldest working perfumery today houses a fragrance museum.

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Everyone listens to music. But CD-quality sound requires large amounts of memory on the medium used to store it. In the 1990s, electrical engineer Karlheinz Brandenburg began to look at ways of compressing audio data without loss of sound quality. The MP3 format was the result. It involved the omission of redundant frequencies that are outside the range of human hearing. The compressed data takes up nearly twelve times less space than the output data, but the difference in quality is practically inaudible to normal ears.

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Two hemispheres can be lightly pressed together and filled with nothing. And yet the strength of 16 horses wouldn't be able to separate them. In 1657, a demonstration of this fact by Otto von Guericke amazed the city of Magdeburg . In this way, the diplomat and scientist was able to show, in the most dramatic way possible, exactly what he had discovered: the power of the vacuum. It was a discovery that was to lead him to develop, among other inventions, the vacuum pump. To commemorate the experiment, the centre of Magdeburg is today home to several installations each featuring two colourful half spheres. The Otto von Guericke Centre features an exhibition dedicated to the city's most famous son.

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One of the world's most famous camera brands is still produced in the town of Wetzlar in central Hessen. The Leica, introduced in the early 20th century, was the very first functioning 35mm camera. The company now has a new production facility with an adjoining museum in Wetzlar. Another attraction in Wetzlar is the interactive Viseum museum, which features exhibits on optical and opto-electronic systems.

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Baden-Württemberg may be considered the birthplace of the motor car, but it had associations with progressive forms of transport long before Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz. In Mannheim , where decades later the first car was launched, Karl Drais was already designing a running machine on two wheels in 1817. He embarked on a pioneering journey to showcase his invention – the forerunner of the modern-day bicycle was born. The Technoseum in Mannheim has a department devoted to Karl Drais and his invention.

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In 1876, engineer Carl von Linde invented a new form of refrigeration technology in Munich that was particularly well received among brewers. Up until that point, it had been necessary for them to use natural ice for cooling during the complex brewing process. It is also thanks to von Linde's entrepreneurial spirit that the world had artificial ice rinks, and later household refrigerators. German engineers are still involved in the latest developments in refrigeration systems: in 1992 the first CFC-free fridge was developed in Saxony. The Deutsches Museum in Munich provides a fascinating overview of technical inventions and their history.

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Nothing quite captures the character of the Black Forest and Baden-Württemberg like the cuckoo clock. Its design has remained largely unchanged since first being invented in the mid-19th century. The two largest examples in the world can be seen today in Schonach and Triberg, the most famous cuckoo-clock towns. You can trace the history of this iconic Black Forest timekeeper at the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen and on the German Clock Route in the Black Forest.

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Germany inspires

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