To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, The Local looks at some surprising things about trekkie culture and its influence in Deutschland.
The first series of Star Trek aired in the United States 50 years ago, on September 8th 1966.
The show has become an international hit, even in Germany, so here’s a look at the impact it’s made here in the Bundesrepublik.
1. Most trekkies in Germany live in the north and east
According to a study by sci-fi network Syfy, most German trekkies live in Bremen, Berlin and Brandenburg. Bremen’s locals were 55 percent more interested in the series than the German average, while Berliners were 44 percent more interested.
2. Most Germans prefer Captain Kirk
The same Syfy study also found that Germans have a fondness for the original captain of the Starship Enterprise, James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), over Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. Some 54 percent of respondents said Kirk was their dream captain, while 31 percent were on team Picard.
Poor Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway of the Voyager got just 8 percent of the vote.
3. The Klingons were partially inspired by the Nazis
The brutal, martial law society of the Klingons has often been compared to Nazi Germany, with their insignia of red and black also reminiscent of the Nazis’ swastika.
The show’s creators have also said that part of the inspiration for the warrior species were the Nazis.
4. There was a Nazi-themed Star Trek episode
The 1968 episode “Patterns of Force” has Captain Kirk and Spock dress up as Nazis to infiltrate a right-wing extremist alien regime that had adopted the ways of the Nazis.
The episode therefore did not air in Germany on public television until more than 40 years later in 2011, because of the Nazi subject matter, and at one point in the episode Adolf Hitler’s regime was called “the most efficient society” ever.
5. Cologne’s Volkshochschule taught Star Trek cuisine
Cologne’s Volkshochschule (VHS) aimed at adult education, years ago decided to start giving courses on something both practical and out of this world: Star Trek cooking classes.
The community college teacher, Helga Schmidt was a big trekkie and decided to figure out how to cook up meals prepared on the show, according to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
Unfortunately, after a quick search of the VHS website, it doesn’t seem that Schmidt is still offering such culinary counselling anymore – at least not at the moment.
6. Germans are building a Star Trek roller coaster
Movie Park in Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia, is currently constructing a huge Star Trek-themed roller coaster, due to be opened next year, according to TrekNews.net
It’s supposed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Movie Park next year, so what better way to do that than the trekkie way?
7. Star Trek reflects German philosophical ideas
One of the most beloved aspects of Star Trek is how it probes not only science fictional ideas, but also quite philosophical and moral ones. So naturally one can easily see German philosophical thought reflected in the series.
As Professor Klaus Vieweg from the Jena Friedrich-Schiller University told DPA news agency this week, the ideas in Star Trek of universalism can be traced to Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
“Spock is for me the undisputed philosophical leader of Star Trek. He is a logical and rational thinker,” explained Vieweg. “His saying that ‘logic is the beginning of wisdom’ is a statement that philosopher Hegel could also fully get behind.
“Hegel’s philosophy is central to the series. His masterpiece in Jena The Phenomenology of Mind is itself a voyage of discovery through knowledge. The mission of the Enterprise crew is also a voyage of discovery and knowledge: it seeks to gather knowledge about other worlds and cultures.”
The way the show tackles questions of freedom and free will, equality and ethical issues is also reminiscent of Kant, explained the philosophy professor, who has taught a seminar on the philosophy of Star Trek.
8. German broadcaster Deutsche Welle had a Klingon website
Broadcaster Deutsche Welle is available in 30 different languages and aims to inform the world about German news.
So perhaps it makes sense that they’d also want to appeal to those a bit more other-worldly as well. In 2004, to celebrate being online for ten years, Deutsche Welle launched a website in the language of Klingon. Alas, it’s no longer available. Not yap wa’ Hol.
9. German trekkies are giddy to celebrate the 50th anniversary
Air Berlin decided to get in on the fun of commemorating the big anniversary by setting up a special flight to mimic Star Trek at the end of last month. Cabin crew members exchanged their typical uniforms for character costumes, and the outside of the plane was painted with the Vulcan hand gesture for “live long and prosper” next to the Star Trek logo.
Throughout September, the specially decorated plane will be flying around with special Star Trek headrests, playing episodes from the series and they will also be giving their weak-stomached passengers “Spocktüten” – a play on the German word for sick bags, Spucktüten.
In addition, broadcaster Syfy will be presenting a mega-marathon of Star Trek with all episodes, starting on Thursday evening.