The soccer World Cup took place in Germany 15 years ago. Large parts of the republic believed they were on cloud nine. But much of the past appears in a different light today.
Instagram did not yet exist, the Pope was a German, a woman had only recently been sitting in the Chancellery and there were still smoking cars on the long-distance trains – that was the year 2006 when the World Cup took place in Germany (June 9th to 9th) . July). Because of the warm weather and good mood, it was stylized as a “summer fairy tale”, for example in the documentary by Sönke Wortmann. The beer consumption per capita was 116 liters per year, today it is less than 100.
“The world to make friends” was the official World Cup motto, government and industry marketed Germany as the “Land of Ideas”. Around 6.8 million people were then registered in the AZR, the central register of foreigners maintained by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF); today there are 11.5 million.
Xavier Naidoo was an adored pop star
At that time, designer Hedi Slimane designed very slim men’s fashion at Dior – Karl Lagerfeld had lost an extra 40 kilograms for this.
Xavier Naidoo was a well-heard artist. The national team listened to his song “This Way” before each game to cheer them up. The squad included Jens Lehmann and Christoph Metzelder.
And it’s not just in the cabin that things are different today: the black, red and gold flags that shaped the streetscape in 2006 are likely to be less present this year as well. Most Germans would no longer buy Hawaiian chains, flags or make-up pencils in the German tricolor, according to a survey by the Yougov opinion research institute. Around 5,800 people aged 18 and over were surveyed. About 73 percent gave a clear no, another twelve percent said “rather no”. Only three percent of those questioned let themselves be carried away to a clear yes.
Podolski was mad at Böhmermann
Away from the football event, striker Lukas Podolski was angry at the ARD because a certain Jan Böhmermann – then 25 years old – produced “Lukas’ Diary” on the WDR station 1Live, a radio parody of the Cologne football star.
In the crime series “Tatort” in 2006 mainly old men investigated: in Stuttgart for example Bienzle (Dietz-Werner Steck) and in Leipzig Chief Inspector Ehrlicher (Peter Sodann), in the “Traumschiff” Siegfried Rauch played the captain, Ulrich Wickert moderated the last time “Tagesthemen” and “Um Himmels Willen” ran the last episode with Jutta Speidel as the main character, Sister Lotte. This year, the ARD nuns series ends for good.
Fifteen years ago the “heute-show” didn’t exist, but Harald Schmidt and Stefan Raab set the tone with their late night shows in humor.
There was the first integration summit
The experts from GfK Entertainment chose the catchy tune “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley as the Official Summer Hit 2006. Finland surprisingly won the Eurovision Song Contest with the monster metal band Lordi (“Hard Rock Hallelujah”). Rock won the Music Grand Prix again in 2021, but this time from Italy.
For the World Cup, the football association Fifa selected the classic pop song “The Time of Our Lives” by the Il Divo quartet. Hardly anyone remembers it today. Many people are more likely to have the World Cup anthem “Time that something is turning” by Herbert Grönemeyer or the whistling hit “Love Generation” by Bob Sinclar. Mitgröl-Renner was “’54, ’74, ’90, 2006” from the indie band Sportfreunde Stiller.
Socially, Germany believed that it was enlightened and open. For the first time there was an integration summit in July 2006 – a conference of representatives from politics, migrant associations, business and so on. It was triggered by the sobering results of the Pisa studies, which made it clear how much success in the German educational system is related to the family’s origin and level of education.
SPD and CDU almost equally successful
Meanwhile, the comedy series “Turkish for Beginners” started in the evening program, in which Elyas M’Barek played a “macho Turk”, as his role was often described at the time. In the feuilletons there was unusual agreement on how funny, witty and politically incorrect the multicultural society is shown here. But scientists also saw a wealth of stereotypes.
Senta Berger wrote in her autobiography in 2006 (“I knew that I could fly”) that in the course of her career she had to fend off many unwanted advances from men, including serious sexual assaults. She recently told the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “At the time the book came out, nobody was really interested.” That is of course a good sign that something has changed for the position of women in the last 15 years. “Although there was of course a voyeurism that annoys me. Oh, Ms. Berger, too, #MeToo?”
15 years doesn’t seem like much, but sometimes it seems like an eternity. In the Bundestag the parliamentary groups of the Union and the SPD were almost equally strong and the name “grand coalition” still made sense. There was no trace of the AfD. Many German citizens considered the republic to be immune to a party of this kind; Looking at Austria, France or Italy, one was still wondering who was celebrating political success there.
Germans are optimistic about the future in 2021
As early as 2006, trend researcher Horst Opaschowski saw values such as reliability and helpfulness on the rise. On the basis of 2000 interviews, he dared the thesis that the Germans are on the way from the elbow society to the responsible society. The then Family Minister (and today’s EU Commission President) Ursula von der Leyen called his book “exciting and worth reading”.
In 2021, the Opaschowski Institute for Future Issues sees Germans looking positively into the future despite the corona pandemic for more than a year. Men are therefore a little better off than women, East Germans better than West Germans. By the way, young people between the ages of 14 and 24 are – fortunately – particularly excited about the future.