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The Wedding House – World’s Smallest Five-Star Hotel

At 2.5 meters wide and with just 53 square meters of floor space, the Eh Häusel (Wedding House) in Amberg, Germany is the world’s smallest hotel, and a five-star one at that.

From the outside, the Eh Häusel looks like it’s been pushed into the narrow space between two neighboring buildings, but it’s the interior that’s supposed to impress its guests. The hotel is set up on 6 staggered floors and has all the features you’re used to finding in a luxury hotel, including a very comfortable bed, fireplace, fine furniture, flat screen TV and spa bathroom. Guests from as far as China or Mexico pay 240 euros to spend a night at the world’s smallest hotel, and believe it or not the Eh Häusel is fully booked many months in advance. Of course that’s partly due to the fact that’s it’s so small it can only be occupied by one couple at a time.

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Computerspielemuseum – Berlin’s Computer Game Museum

If you thought the Video Card Museum of Kharkov was a geek paradise, than the Video Game Museum in Berlin is really gonna blow your mind. It features vintage hardware, interactive installations, and over 300 video games, including the first ever arcade game, Computer Space, released in 1971, which by the way was a total commercial failure.

The Video Game Museum was first opened for a brief period at the end of the 1990s, but was eventually closed down in 2000. The new museum opened in January 2011 and is located in an east Berlin building formerly occupied by Cafe Warsaw. The exhibits in this geeky museum aim to document all the aspects of video games, including graphics, hardware, music, storylines, etc, since 1951 to current day. Apart from tracking the evolution of video games, the museum also explores the effects gaming has had on modern society, from positive ones like social networking to negative, like addiction and video-game-inspired violence.

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German Village Hosts Weird Tobacco Sniffing Championship

Around 220 man and women gathered in the small Bavarian village of Kucha to fill their nostrils with tobacco, last weekend, during the German Tobacco Sniffing Championship.

The origins of this offbeat competition are unclear, but one thing is for sure: Bavarians take it very seriously. For competitors outside the region it’s mostly just a fun way to spend a summer weekend, but locals actually train for it, and come with all kinds of techniques to help them sniff as much tobacco as possible. During the German Tobacco Sniffing Championship, competitors are given a small box with five grams of tobacco called Smalzer, and they have to get as much of it in their nose.

Sounds easy enough, especially if you have a big nose, but seasoned veterans claim it’s all about skill and technique. Competitors are allowed to blow their noses, sniff and push the tobacco up their nose, but whoever sneezes is disqualified.  Tobacco sniffing is a big deal in Bavaria, and 90 % of tobacco-sniffing clubs are established in this region, so it’s no surprise Bavarians always win the competition.

This year, the contest was won by 43-year-old Christian Knauer, who managed to stick 4.993 grams of tobacco in his nose, and score a maximum score of 20, for cleanliness. Knauer, who also won last year’s competition, says his secret lies in the special plastic nails he uses to pick up the tobacco from the small wooden box. Picking as much Smalzer in only one minute can be tough, because the box has corners and angles, so he uses these custom nails.

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Entrepreneur Turns Atomic Reactor into Popular Amusement Park

Wunderland Kalkar is a unique amusement park built on the site of a never-used power plant, complete with a fast breeder reactor, in Kalkar, Germany.

Construction of the Kalkar nuclear plant began in 1972, but was constantly  delayed due to technical difficulties and protests from those concerned about the safety of nuclear power. When it was completed, over 10 year later, authorities decided to pull the plug on the project, and the $4 billion complex was dismantled in  less than a decade. The fast breeder reactor remained in place, and in 1995 Dutch entrepreneur Hennie van der Most bought what was left of the Kalkar plant for a mere €2.5 million and managed to turn it into a profitable amusement park visited by over 600,000 people, every year.

Wunderland Kalkar has around 40 rides, for children and adults alike, and a 400-bed hotel. Among the most interesting features of the park are the swing ride set up inside the cooling facility, and the climbing wall on its outer walls. Also, chairoplanes, quad bikes, go-karts and a whole bunch of other fun gadgets make trips to Wunderland Kalkar a blast for the whole family.

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1,500 Unwanted Facebook Guests Show Up for Girl’s Birthday Party

Facebook is one powerful tool, and a 16-year-old German girl found that out the hard way, after she forgot to set her Facebook birthday party invitation as private and had her celebration crashed by 1,500 strangers.

The girl, known only as Thessa, had originally planned to invite only a few friends over at her house in Hamburg-Bramfeld, but mistakingly published the invitation on Facebook so that everyone could see it. Before long, the invitation went viral and around 15,000 people confirmed they would come to the party, even though they didn’t even know the girl. When Thessa’s parents found out, they made her cancel the invitation, announced the police and hired a private security firm to guard their house on the big day.

Even though public announcements that the party had been cancelled were made in hamburg, some 1,500 people showed up in front of Thessa’s house ready to party. Some of them had banners asking ‘Where is Thessa’, others brought presents, home-made cake, and plenty of alcohol, but they were all ready for a good time, and the 100 policemen present on the scene weren’t going to stop them. They started singing ‘Thessa, celebrating a birthday is not a crime’, in relation with the massive police presence on the premises, and although eleven revelers were detained, a police officer was injured and dozens of girls wearing flip-flops cut their feet on broken glass, Thessa’s party was abig hit.

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Indoor Swimming Pool Hosts Underwater Opera Show

Aquaria Palaoa is a different kind of opera performance, where the protagonists sing in, out and under the water of a swimming pool, in Berlin, Germany.

Claudia Herr, a former swimming champion before turning to a music career, is the mastermind behind the unique Aquaria Palaoa project. In an interview with news agency AFP, Herr said she first got the idea for hosting an opera show at an indoor swimming pool the first time she visited the art nouveau Stadtbad Neukölln pool, in Berlin, 10 years ago. The large hall, complete with neo-classical pillars made her feel like she was at the opera.

Playing the lead role in Aquaria Palaoa, the former swimmer turned opera performer dives into the pool in a green evening dress, telling the story of a woman looking for the elixir of eternal youth. She sings both above and under the clear water of Stadtbad Neukölln, with the help of oxygen tanks. Special microphones transmit underwater sounds to speakers set up around the hall. Claudia’s voice, and those of other singers also singing underwater (but without oxygen tanks) are mixed with sounds recorded 100 meters under an ice shelf, in Antarctica. Meanwhile, the orchestra stays dry and accompanies them from the side of the pool.

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Germany Hosts Big Nose World Championship

Ever since 1961, the German town of Langenbruck has hosted the Big Nose World Championship, a competition where “nosy” people from around the world compete for the title of world’s biggest nose.

The history of this wacky contest dates back 40 years, when a group of hops growers and the town minister sat down at the Lagenbruck pub and started making fun of each other’s big noses. “We could actually create a big nose club and you with your nose, could make the board” one of them said, while another replied “If I should be on the board then you would have to be nose king!” It was all in the spirit of fun, but Max Reichart and Wilhelm Höfler actually began thinking about establishing an “Association of Big Noses”, and a few weeks later they had actually done.

Everyone could join, as long as their nose was at least 60-mm-long or 40-mm-wide, and it numbered 40 members in the first hour since sits official inauguration. The Big Nose Club currently has 330 registered members and uses a modern nose gauge to measure the nose size of contestants during the Big Nose World Championship, held every five years. The judges measure the length and width of the noses, and contestants are allowed to frown or make faces in order to enlarge their noses, but they aren’t allowed to use any illegal substances.

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German Couple Convert Train Cars into Comfy Home

Vanessa Stallbaum and Marco Stepniak love trains so much they decided to integrate two old mail cars in the design of their new house.

The German couple met on a train, and their first vacation was a four-day train ride from Berlin to Kazakhstan, so when Marco told his girlfriend he wanted to build their house around two train cars, she immediately agreed. 34-year-old Stepniak got the crazy idea 15 years ago, when he attended a youth club, close to his home town of Herten. It was set up in two old train cars and he remembers thinking someone could actually live in them.

Two new train cars like the two wanted to use for their new house, cost around €500,000 ($725,000), but they were lucky enough to find an online ad for two second-hand mail cars from Switzerland. Built between 1974 and 1975, the two railway antiques were in remarkably good condition, and they cost only €20,000 ($29,000). Unfortunately, transporting them from Switzerland to Germany actually cost more than the cars themselves €26,000 ($37,600), but  Vanessa and Marco spared no expense in order to realize their dream.

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German Funeral School Offers Recession-Proof Job Training

The funeral business is probably the only one that hasn’t been affected by the recession, and people are turning to undertaker classes to make sure they find a job in these troubled times.

The Theo Remmertz Academy in Münnerstadt, northern Bavaria, claims it’s the only official funeral school in Europe. It offers a three year training course which teaches future undertakers the secrets of this creepy but profitable business. Students learn everything from how to dig a proper grave, and cement a vault, to how to deal with grieving families and write death notices. Most of the 525 apprentices currently attending the German funeral school have worked in completely different fields before, but the recession pushed them to find a more stable and secure area.

Trainers of the Theo Remmertz Academy admit that funeral skills used to be handed down from father to son, but times have changed, and with more and more people drawn to this recession-proof business, the need for an undertaker school became a business opportunity in itself. Now, groups from as far as China and Russia have contacted the school regarding their methods of training.

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Canned Cow Farts Prove Big Hit in Germany

Stall Duft is a small can filled with the smell of an old wooden stable full of gas-producing cows. This thing is actually for sale in Germany and Austria, and the strangest part is that it’s a success.

Internationally known as “Countryside air to go” Stall Duft was conceived by Daniela Dorrer, originally from the Bavarian village of Adlkofen, who says her product is meant to help people who were born and raised in the countryside but later moved to an urban area, get over their homesickness. All they have to do is take off the lid, stick their nose in the can and they are instantly reminded of the carefree days they spent in the German countryside, surrounded by farting cattle. Stall Duft contains textile odorants that retain that country smell for a long time, allowing clients to enjoy it several times.

Believe it or not, this crazy idea actually worked and Daniela Dorrer sold so many Stall Duft cans in Germany and Austria that she decided to open a website, as well. Furthermore, inspired by the success of her canned cow farts, Dorrer intends to soon can and sell other earthly odors like horse, pigs, manure and straw.

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German Dentist Uses Cleavage to Distract Patients

Dr. Marie Catherine Klarkowski, a dentist from Munchen, Germany, has found the perfect way to open her patient’s mouths as soon as they enter her practice – she and her staff wear low-cut dirndl dresses.

Doctor Klarkowski says she came up with this unusual idea when she noticed how men looked at the waitresses wearing this kind of traditional gowns, at the annual Oktoberfest. The most important thing for us is to take away the patients’ fear. The sight of cleavages gets patients narcotised and distracted from the pain rather quickly.” says this witty dentist, who ordered 10 dresses for herself and her staff.

Believe it or not, this unusual investment paid off  as doctor Klarkowski says she receives a third more patients since the change, all male. “Competition doesn’t sleep – I know colleagues who have decorated their whole practice with Mickey Mouse and one even in Star Trek style.” the good doctor said. She also changed her 250 square meter practice into an “Alpine Lounge”, complete with an open fireplace, wooden benches and deer antlers on the walls.

“Some patients’ mouths are already wide open on entering the practice – and that is just what a dentist wants.” dr. Marie Catherine Klarkowski concluded.

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Design Panoptikum – The Museum of Extraordinary Objects

Design Panoptikum is a unique Berlin museum featuring all kinds of rare and unusual items collected by Russian-born artist Vlad Korneev.

“A Panoptikum”, Korneev says, “is a collection of extraordinary or rare objects” and he really couldn’t find a better way to describe his quirky museum on Torstraße Street, in Berlin. The moment you set foot in his Design Panoptikum, you find yourself surrounded with all kinds of bizarre things, from funky clocks, to odd-looking medical equipment, and even a life-size Power Ranger brought in from Japan.

Vlad Korneev handpicks the exhibits in his museum, from his secret back-alley store, from eBay and even from the junkyard. He carefully and patiently restores every one of them and then proudly displays them in his panoptikum. Visitors can purchase most of the merchandise shown in the main rooms, but the backrooms hold some truly special exhibits that are not for sale, but can be rented for film or fashion shoots. When asked where can find, let’s say, an old airplane engine, Korneev gracefully avoids a straight answer, as his sources are an important secret of the trade.

Among the rarest objects you can find in the Design Panoptikum are a talking dispensing machine, an old birthing doll, one of the earliest electric sun lamps and many other devices that make Vlad Korneev’s museum look like mad scientist’s lab.

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Dog Gives Birth to Seventeen Puppies

A dog in Germany gained it’s celebrity after giving birth to 17 puppies. Both the owners and the vet were thrilled and amazed by this “numerous” surprise, especially since all the puppies were born naturally, without a cesarean being necessary, and although the birth took almost 26 hours, all puppies have survived and are in good health.

Ramona Wegemann, Etana’s owner is very proud of her dog, a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback, but non the less exhausted after having to cope with feeding and taking care of all the 17 puppies for the first 4 weeks, as their mother wouldn’t have been able to deal with all of them.

This was Etana’s second pregnancy, but the first time she gave birth to 8 puppies, a number very common for her breed, so nobody really saw this coming. As this has turned into a full time job, both Ramona and her husband have had to dedicate most of their time, and space, to these little ones. Their living room was turned upside down as it is now occupied by a giant box housing the puppies. It’s really a full time job,

Etana has given birth to 9 male and 8 female puppies, and as you can imagine, their owners are having a difficult time telling them apart: the male puppies are called Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton and Bulus and the female ones are Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, Bisa. These are all African names, because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an African breed, but…do all African names start with a “B” or is this a real weird coincidence?

The 17 puppies were born on September 26, and since then four of them have been sold, two more are already paid for, and Ramona hopes she will be able to find good homes for all of them. But she says they are only considering families with children, not breeders.

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Artist Creates Weird Igloo from 322 Refrigerators

German artist Ralf Schmerberg has created a bizarre-looking igloo, in the middle of Hamburg, to send a message about the country’s uncontrolled waste of energy.

Entitled “Wastefulness is the biggest source of Energy”, Schemerberg’s igloo aims to raise awareness to the amount of energy people are wasting nowadays. A huge electrical meter set up outside the igloo shows passers-by how much electrical energy the 322 old fridges would consume, and is meant to inspire them to think carefully about how much energy they are wasting every day. According to recent studies, Germany could save up to 40% of its energy, if everyday people would use electricity more efficiently.

The refrigerator igloo was sponsored by a German energy provider and will be exhibited in Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt until November 9th. The bizarre installation is 5.6 meters high and 11 meters in diameter, and was built using 322 old refrigerators and 1,718 meters of wire. On the inside, visitors can admire a funny electrical installations made up of colorful blinking lights.

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Pumpkin Lovers Compete in Giant Pumpkin Boat Race

The Pumpkin Boat Race of Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has people racing each other in hollowed out pumpkins, across Ludwigsburg Lake.

Known as the biggest pumpkin related event in the world, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival draws in pumpkin enthusiasts from all around the globe, every year. They travel to the small German town to see over 500,000 pumpkins, from 450 different varieties, arranged in all kinds of different shapes, from animals to abstract sculptures.

One of the most eagerly awaited events of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is the pumpkin boat race. Giant pumpkins, some of them over 90 kg heavy, are hollowed out and launched onto Ludwigsburg Lake, and contestants have to paddle their way to the finish line, in the cheers of onlookers. I’m not sure what the prize is for winning such a bizarre boat race, but I could swear it’s something related to pumpkins.

If you’re a pumpkin lover yourself, you’ll be happy to know the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival continues until early November.

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