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April showers, spiders and dew: German weather lore

Dagmar Breitenbach
April 6, 2022

Rain or shine? Today, people consult a weather app. For millennia, ancient weather lore, often in rhymes, would help predict weather patterns.

rainbow over fields
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Pleul

The world's oldest mountain observatory is the meteorological observatory at Hohenpeissenberg, situated in the foothills of the Alps about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Munich.

Meteorological measurements began there in 1781, and the station constantly works on "methods to improve weather forecast and emergency alerts," according to its website.  From the start, it was part of a weather observation network including dozens of stations spread out from the Ural Mountains in Russia to North America and from Greenland to the Mediterranean Sea.

While scientists now use algorithms and large amounts of data for weather forecasts, early weather predictions usually relied on persistence, experience and watching wildlife and recurring natural phenomena.  

Swallows and spiders, dew drops and thunderstorms: Some proverbs were probably more accurate than others... Check out the picture gallery for popular German weather lore.

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on Instagram, on YouTube or at dw.com/MeettheGermans, and check out DW's cartoon series That's so German for a humorous take on German culture and stereotypes.

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