Grote spectrum flaws


When reading Wikipedias in Dutch and other languages, I am sometimes amazed about the basic flaws with regard to German politics and history. Now I have consulted Grote Spectrum Encyclopedie, and I understand that I should not expect to much from encyclopedias.

GSE is a remarkable encyclopedic work that was published in 1974-1980 by a Dutch and Flemish publisher. It belongs to the group of long-article-encyclopedias, similar to Collier’s. The articles are impressive and well-written, for example Duitse Bondsrepubliek (vol. 5, 1980, pp. 244-266) about the Federal Republic of Germany.

Some points I have noticed:

* A minor inaccuracy is listing up West-Berlijn among the German states, which had a special status.

* A common misunderstanding, even among Germans: GSE says that the Federal President is elected by the Bundestag and Bundesrat, although the latter has nothing to do with it.

* According to GSE, the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, “in political practice he is the leader of the largest Bundestag group”. This error is very strange, maybe the author wanted to say that the chancellor is usually the leader of the party with the largest Bundestag group. But by 1980, there have been two occasions (1969, 1976) that the largest Bundestag group did not deliver the chancellor.

* Since 1972, the SPD (Social Democrats) are the largest party; but the volume is from 1980 when this was already history for four years.

* The Social Democrats are called “socialisten”, which is actually common in the Netherlands.

In future, I will be milder concerning flaws in Wikipedias, and I am happy that something can be done about.

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