9 Tips prior to visit Germany

Dear travelers to Germany: please don’t come visit until you’ve understood these 9 things

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1. Shops close on Sundays.

Sunday is a day of rest. Shops and stores are closed, so make sure you do your shopping in advance. You might find a few stores open in train stations and larger cities, but it’s better not to rely on that.

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2. Recycling

Plastic, paper, organic waste, and glass have their own designated containers. The waste removal service might even refuse to take your bin if you don’t recycle correctly. Bottles and cans have a deposit on them so that you can turn them in at your local supermarket, get paid out in cash or use the money to pay for your groceries.

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3. Du and Sie

We have a formal and informal version of the word “you.” Unless you are speaking to children or your friends, it’s always safer to address people with the formal Sie and their last name, until they offer you the informal Du. This means you are now on a first-name basis and considered a close acquaintance or a friend. No one will be mad at you if you do end up using the wrong word, but it is definitely more polite to be formal first.

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4. We’re not trying to be rude…

…we are just not used to small talk. If you approach a German on the train and ask them how they are, you will probably get a confused look. before they either turn away or give a reluctant answer. This isn’t because they are being rude. They are just not used to being asked personal questions by people they don’t know.

At the same time, Germans are very straightforward when asked for their take on something — even if you’ve met them a few minutes ago. This might come off as rude, but it is certainly not meant that way. So, don’t worry, we are not trying to hurt your feelings or pick a fight about everything, it’s just the way we were brought up.

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5. You can bike everywhere.

Along with using public transport, Germans really like riding their bike. Almost all roads and sidewalks have a bike lane, and you better not walk on them. Some places are actually more easily accessible by bike than they are by car. But careful. Traffic rules apply to bikers as well as car drivers, so you can expect some heavy fines if you violate them.

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6. Try to not bring up Nazi-Germany or WWII too often.

Although our history is being addressed quite openly, we don’t always like to talk about it; much less make fun of it. Most things associated with the Nazi regime are actually prohibited by law and you should be careful about publicly displaying certain symbols or saying certain greetings, even if you’re only trying to joke around. You can definitely talk to your friends about German history and they might tell you some amazing stories about their grandparents, but, in general, Nazism and the War are not good dinner conservation topics

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7. You’re going to get an angry look if you ask for free tap water in a café/bar.

You’ll still get your glass of water, but asking for free water instead of paying for a drink is highly frowned upon. Most people will feel uncomfortable enough to order a real drink.

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8. Always have cash on you.

Not all stores or restaurants accept credit cards, which is why you should have some cash in your wallet at all times. Coins also come in handy as most places now also charge for access to public toilets.

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9. Not every German is the same.

As in every country, there are exceptions to every rule. You will meet Germans who love small talk; Germans who are always late; Germans who don’t ever bike; and Germans who don’t recycle. Rather than an ironclad set of rules, this guideline is only to help you understand the German culture and lifestyle better. So please do come visit and ask questions, even if you don’t understand all of our rules and habits.

15 curious facts about Germany

15 Curious Facts about Germany

reading time : 2 minutes

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Every country and culture is based on different habits and behavior. Here are some fun facts about Germany and Germans that you definitely need to know.

1. Germany is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.

Yes, the country has a staggering population size of 82,790,000 people, and counting! And, even though Germany is a rather large country, that still means there’s 231 people per sq km!

2. One third of Germany is still covered in forest and woodland.

Despite the population density, a good proportion of Germany is actually still covered in foliage. And, it sure is spectacular. Our little tip? If you’re a fan of the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales, you might just want to pay a visit to the Black Forest… the setting of many of their stories.

3. Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice

Dating back to the 13th century, the city spans a whopping 891.8 km², plenty of room for those 1700 bridges within the city. Berlin is over 9 times the size of Paris, butit only has 1/5 of Paris’ density (4K inhabitants per sq km as opposed to 21K inhabitants per sq km in Paris). That’s why Berlin feels so airy and spacious! So much so that sometimes you feel like you have a whole park for yourself.

4. During JFK’s famous declaration of “Ich bin ein Berliner” he actually likened himself to a jam doughnut.

What he should have said is “Ich bin Berliner” meaning “I am a citizen of Berlin”. A Berliner is actually a type of jelly donut made in Berlin., so “Ich bin ein Berliner” can actually be translated to “I am a jelly doughnut.”

5. Germany’s Capital City has shifted 7 times!

From Aachen (during the Carolingian Empire) to Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar (unofficially, during unrest in Berlin), Bonn (and East Berlin), and, since 1990, Berlin again!

6. Germany is sometimes known as the land of poets and thinkers.

German writers and poets have won 13 Nobel Prizes in Literature and Germany is home to world-renowned writers such as Friedrich Schiller, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Günter Grass, Hermann Hesse and Herta Müller.

7. Germany is Europe’s second largest beer consumer.

Just behind the Czech Republic, the German’s are known to consume a fair amount of the ‘liquid gold’. But, given the Bavarians even consider beer to be a basic food, and drink on average of 150 liters per person, per year, we think they’re giving the Czechs a run for their money.

8. The longest word published in the German language is Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

Loosely translating to Danube steamboat shipping electricity main engine facility building sub clerk association. The word Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, a law delegating beef label monitoring, was removed from the German language in 2014.

9. The German Football team is the second most successful football team in the world!

The beautiful game, a British sport and a hard fought rivalry in the football world. But, we have to hand it to Germany on this one, falling just behind Brazil, winning four world cups and three European championships, they certainly can play us at our own game.

10. The first book to ever be printed was the Bible by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s in Germany.

The first mass produced printed book was the Latin Bible and was originally published in February 23, 1455 in Mainz.

11. According to German law, a person’s gender must be obvious by first name.

So the civil registration office, or Standesamt, can refuse names that don’t comply. Re-applying can be a costly process, so that’s why many parents go for traditional names like Michael and Maria.

12. In 2014, Germany officially abolished college tuition fees, even for international students.

13. In Germany, there’s no punishment for a prisoner who tries to escape from jail because it is a basic human instinct to be free.

14. During WWI, the King of England, the Tsar of Russia, and the Emperor of Germany were all first cousins.

15. Some 5,500 WWII bombs are discovered in Germany every year and defused, an average of 15 per day.

30 German Phrases to Maintain the Conversation

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People are often a little afraid of getting into awkward situations where they have no clue how to express what they want to say. So, by learning how to express things such as your language level or how to ask for clarification and help with understanding or explaining, you can keep the conversation flowing and you open yourself up to a whole new dimension of language learning.

Armed with these phrases, every native speaker you encounter is a potential tutor.

 

ENGLISH

I only speak a little German.

GERMAN

Ich spreche nur ein wenig Deutsch.

I am learning German, but I am only a beginner. Ich lerne Deutsch, aber ich bin noch ein Anfänger.
I have been learning German for 2 days / 2 weeks / 2 months / 1 year / 2 years. Ich lerne seit 2 Tagen / 2 Wochen / 2 Monaten / 1 Jahr / 2 Jahren Deutsch.
Will you correct me please? Könnten Sie mich bitte korrigieren?
What does ___ mean? Was bedeutet ___?
What does that mean? Was bedeutet das?
Can you explain in German/English to me? Können Sie das auf Deutsch/Englisch für mich erklären?
What does that mean in this context? Was bedeutet das in diesem Zusammenhang?
What is the German word for ___? Was ist das deutsche Wort für ___?
Is this/that correct? Ist das korrekt?
Am I wrong? Liege ich falsch?
Am I correct? Liege ich richtig?
Do you understand? Verstehen Sie?
I do not understand Ich verstehe nicht
I want to improve my level in German Ich möchte mein Sprachniveau in Deutsch verbessern
I need to practice German Ich brauche Übung in Deutsch
Do you mind if we speak in German? Stört es Sie, wenn wir Deutsch sprechen?
Can you please speak in German? it helps me to learn. Können Sie bitte Deutsch sprechen? das hilft mir beim Lernen.
How do you say ‘___’ in German? Wie sagt man ‚___’ auf Deutsch?
I struggle with spelling / reading / writing / listening / pronunciation. Ich habe Schwierigkeiten mit der korrekten Rechtschreibung / mit der korrekten Aussprache / damit, zu lesen / zu schreiben / das Gehörte zu verstehen.
Can you please repeat? I did not understand. Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? Ich habe es nicht verstanden.
I don’t speak German fluently. Ich spreche Deutsch nicht fließend.
I am confused. Ich bin verwirrt.
I don’t know how to say it in German. Ich weiß nicht, wie man das auf Deutsch sagt.
Sorry (or ‘pardon’), what did you say? Entschuldigung, was haben Sie gesagt?
I’ve never heard of that. Davon habe ich noch nie gehört.
That makes sense. Das ergibt Sinn.
That does not make sense. Das ergibt keinen Sinn.
What’s happening? / What’s going on? Was passiert hier? / Was ist los?
What do you mean by ‘___’ ? Was meinen Sie mit ‚___’?

 

7 German habits we should adopt

7 German habits we should all adopt

time reading : 1 minute


THINKING about moving to Germany? If so, prepare yourself to embrace some of the coolest – and sometimes weird German habits.


🍾  1. Leave empty bottles on the streets.

In German, empty bottles = money. The Germans call it Pfand. Locals often leave their bottles outside, beside the trash can to be collected. This is a really kind way to give back to those in need in the community, as they can exchange the unwanted bottles for 25 cents for plastic or 8 cents for glass containers.

pastedGraphic.png🚽  2. Sit when you pee – even if you’re a man.

I’m still amazed why other countries don’t incorporate this into their culture. It is easier, cleaner, there is no mess. In bars, in the cinema and especially in German homes, those who pee standing up are not very welcome. The splashes, the lack of aim… just don’t.

🍻  3. Drinking warm beer.

German people drink warm beer. Why? Because a cold beer can mask poor quality and bad taste, but German beer is some of the best in the world. To experience the flavors at their best, some Germans drink it at room temperature, which is basically ‘warm’ for the rest of the world.

pastedGraphic.png🚐  4. RV, RV and more RV.

Germans are known for their love of travel. They especially love a road trip. RVs are a popular sight throughout Germany, and there are many well equipped camping sites dedicated to RVers. If you want to get to know Germany, German-style, consider renting one and driving your way around the country, you won’t be disappointed.

💶  5. Cash only.

It is very hard to find a restaurant or a bar and sometimes even stores that accept credit cards. Germany is one of the European countries with a lower debt per capita. And once you come here, you understand why. They only spend what they have. Cash only, baby. Believe me, once you adapt, you will love it.

pastedGraphic.png💰  6. Rent for life.

Germans also have lower debts compared to some of the neighbouring countries because the renting market is quite stable. Rent cannot increase over a small fixed percentage every 2 years and you can’t be put on the streets from one day to the other. Because of this stability many families rent their homes instead of owning.

☀️❄️  7. Pretending it is warm. / pretending it is cold.

It is a phenomenon that happens every changing of the season. Germans seem to care more about what the calendar says rather than what the weather forecast says.

Germans have 2 rules:

#1 – if it is winter, it is cold.

German people will wear a scarf, wool socks and all the winter jackets possible during winter. They complain that the winter is miserable and that they can’t wait for the summer because the summer is amazing and they can wear shorts and hang out in the sun. Furthermore, although it is 20 something degrees outside, all the buses and trains have the heating on, the bars and restaurants too.

#2 – if it is summer, it is warm.

If it’s summer everybody wears shorts, flip-flops, tank tops. Nobody cares if the wind is cold — and if they’re not directly in the sun, people apparently don’t feel cold. 

See you next week

 

 

 

6 essential recommendations before settling in Germany.


6 essential recommendations before settling in Germany

  reading time : 3 minutes

Close, easy to access, powerful, Germany is resolutely attractive for French companies wishing to develop in Europe. Its status as the leading European economy, the dynamism of its exports, the industry’s share of GDP above 20% and its global reach make it a destination of choice for SMEs and mid-cap companies seeking growth. This country has one of the most successful industrial sectors in the world. The industry is indeed driven by its model of Mittelstand, these SMEs and ETI independent and distributed throughout the territory that carry as much as large groups innovation and image quality made in Germany. The French are aware of this: in 2018, there are no less than 5,342 subsidiaries * in Germany controlled by French companies. However, Germany remains a country that must be known. So, how to get established in Germany? Despite similar operations with France, there are nevertheless many different subtleties that must be understood in order to avoid pitfalls. Here are 6 essential recommendations before settling in Germany.

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1- Choose a location that is relevant to your sector of activity

By its history, the Federal Republic of Germany is a decentralized country with a very strong regional dimension. Local companies are geographically divided into business units: for example, the main financial industry in Frankfurt is finance – today the start-ups of fintech are the largest, while Düsseldorf is home to the telecom sectors. and services. The automobile, which is the driving force of the German industry, which employs more than 280,000 people **, is strongly represented in Munich, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg. In order to be credible and considered, the French company must imperatively choose a localization location in agreement with its sector of activity and with major accounts or other companies in the value chain that it wishes to integrate. To be relevant, this choice of localization must show both proximity to the ecosystem of the company, a good general accessibility and an attractive position for employees, the recruitment and retention of employees being one of the major issues in Germany today.

2- Adapt your value proposition

The conquest of Germany requires a rethinking of the commercial and marketing approach of French companies: to penetrate effectively the German market, it is essential to offer a value offer in line with its expectations, “Germanized”, with as main features: 

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The quality

The Germans demand precision and rigor at all levels. They are attentive to the ecological dimension of the products and services they buy and have performance and reliability criteria more than price. 

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The technical dimension

The technical characteristics and the product performances are the resources of a successful communication on the German market. For example, presentations are considered “less sexy” than in France, in other words, more factual, without artifice. To add credibility to its value proposition, it is necessary to be able to provide a maximum of detailed descriptions of the products and services offered, based on concrete and quantitative data. 

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The references

To convince, French companies must be able to provide solid references. These can be international if not German at first. They must be supported by precise and quantified examples, which alone can give a sense of security to German customers.

3- Adopt local business practices

Doing business in Germany can be doomed because of differences in the commercial approach. The Germans are very committed to rigorous procedures and favor professional, clear and long-term business relationships. In order to comply with it, it is necessary to adopt some codes: 

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The German language

The business is conducted primarily in German, especially in industry. It is essential to translate your communication tools (website, documentation) and surround yourself with native speakers or speakers who speak the language perfectly. 

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The recruitment of experts

It is wise to recruit profiles with experience and a network of local contacts. Employees recognized in their industry allow upstream to ensure a serious image and “rooted” of his company. However, companies face a shortage of skilled labor and, as a result, high hiring times and costs. 

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Trade shows in Germany

Trade fairs are essential business events in Germany (more than in other countries), where it is essential to be present, whether exhibitor or visitor. “Two-thirds of leading trade fairs take place in Germany” according to the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These traditional German meetings make it possible to get acquainted with the evolutions of the business sector of the company, to know more precisely the competition and to do business. It is also a stepping stone for export to third countries, as foreign visitors are generally numerous at these fairs.

4- To conform to cultural differences

The cultural differences are more marked than they seem between France and Germany. In order not to offend employees and customers from across the Rhine, it is essential to follow a few rules: 

Punctuality

This is an important value strongly anchored in German culture. Being punctual and more widely meet its commitments (schedules, appointments, delivery dates …) is essential to build trusting relationships with professionals in the area. 

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Planning

Germans refuse improvisation and work by minimizing risks. They have a model of decision making different from the French model, based on consensus, the long term and not on an idea of the Leader not validated in committee. Only the respect of protocols and rules can develop in them the feeling of security. 

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An explicit communication

It is better to limit the doubts and uncertainties of the German counterparts by approaching a direct communication, without artifice and devoid of personal emotions. Writing is very important in the German professional culture: it allows to engage or not in a formal way. There is no implied “yes” and “no” in German communication.

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5- Take your time

The installation on the German territory requires patience, perseverance and long-term vision, from the creation of the legal structure to the loyalty of the customers. The deadlines for setting up structures can be relatively high: it can take up to 6 months to obtain the necessary banking authorizations to set up a business in Germany. Time management is globally different in Germany. The reaction time to commercial proposals may seem particularly slow and the time required to record rather lengthy results. It is essential to build your reputation step by step by ensuring a continuous commercial presence and learning to convince in the long term

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6- Well anticipate the costs of setting up in Germany

The creation of a company in Germany is certainly relatively accessible. In most cases, the legal and tax framework is also more advantageous for companies than in France: German employers’ contributions are on average half as much as those in force in France. Germany is not a country of “quick wins”. Establishing a long-term presence in Germany requires budgeted financial resources over time to cope with a late return on investment and significant operating costs (infrastructure, hiring, miscellaneous expenses). With good products and services adapted to the German market, perseverance is then very widely rewarded. Germany is a leading European development destination, because of its size, the maturity of its market and its global reach. In order to take advantage of this first market in Europe, it is important to understand precisely the business culture, its codes, its rules and the marked differences that may exist with French business practices.

Good to know


GOOD TO KNOW

   Reading time : 1 minute

,,,the Nobel Prize went to Germans more than 80 times.

,,,Germany is regarded as a European champion in inventing.

,,,360,900 researchers work in Germany.

,,,Germany belongs to the three largest export nations.

,,,Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world.

,,,the German power grid is 1.79 million kilometers long. With this length, the equator could be orbited 45 times.

,,,In 2014, 26 percent of electricity generation in Germany originated from renewable energies.

,,,By 2050, around 80 percent of electricity in Germany should be generated from renewable energy sources.

,,,Germany belongs to the most sustainable industrialized countries.

,,,18,000 new jobs created by the energy turnaround each year alone.

 

The German Society

 


German Society

reading time : 1 min.

🇩🇪 Nationality:

noun: German(s)

adjective: German

⛪️ Ethnic groups:

German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)

💬 Languages:

German (official)

note: Danish, Frisian, Sorbian, and Romany are official minority languages; Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, and Romany are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

⛪️ Religions: 

  • Protestant 34%
  • Roman Catholic 34%
  • Muslim 3.7%
  • unaffiliated or other 28.3%

👥 Population:

80,454,408 (July 2018 est.)

👁 Age structure:

  • 00-14 years: 12.83% (male 5,299,798 /female 5,024,184)
  • 15-24 years: 9.98% (male 4,092,901 /female 3,933,997)
  • 25-54 years: 39.87% (male 16,181,931 /female 15,896,528)
  • 55-64 years: 14.96% (male 5,989,111 /female 6,047,449)
  • 65 years and over: 22.36% (male 7,930,590 /female 10,061,248) (2018 est.)

👑 Median age:

  • total: 47.4 years.
  • Country comparison to the world: 3rd
  • male: 46.2 years
  • female: 48.5 years (2018 est.)

📉 Population growth rate:

  • -0.17% (2018 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world: 208th

🤱 Birth rate:

  • 8.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world: 213rd

✝️ Death rate:

  • 11.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world: 19th

🧕 Net migration rate:

  • 1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world: 53th

🏫 Urbanization:

  • urban population: 75.3% of total population (2015)
  • rate of urbanization: 0.16% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

🌇 Major urban areas – population:

  1. BERLIN (capital) 3.563 million
  2. Hamburg 1.831 million
  3. Munich 1.438 million
  4. Cologne 1.037 million (2015)

👫 Sex ratio:

  • at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • 00-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • 15 -24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
  • 25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  • 55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
  • total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

🎂 Life expectancy at birth:

  • total population: 80.57 years
  • male: 78.26 years
  • female: 83 years (2015 est.)

📚 Education and Literacy:

  • 99 percent literacy rate in population over age fifteen.
  • Education compulsory until age eighteen.

At age ten, after primary school (Grundschule), students attend one of five schools:

  • short-course secondary school (Hauptschule);
  • intermediate school (Realschule);
  • high school (Gymnasium);
  • comprehensive school (Gesamtschule);
  • or a school for children with special educational needs (Sonderschule).

At about age fifteen, students choose among a variety of vocational, technical, and academic schools. Higher education consists of many kinds of technical colleges, advanced vocational schools, and universities.

Business Etiquette in Germany


BUSINESS ETIQUETTE IN GERMANY

Five things to keep in mind if you want to work in Germany.

Appropriate appearance

Of course, an appropriate appearance and correct manners are expected in professional life. But what is particularly important in Germany? Depending on what country you come from, the cultural differences can be great. Christina Röttgers, an expert in cultural competence from Cologne, explains what you need to know about German business etiquette in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Flatter hierarchies

In many countries, hierarchical structures apply in working life, says Röttgers. “The boss delegates not responsibility but tasks.” In Germany, most companies are organized less hierarchically. Independent work is required. The supervisor gives the employee responsibility for a task or project and relies on him or her doing everything in the appropriate manner. In case of problems, the employee gives feedback in good time.

Work and private life

In Asia, Africa, South America and South-eastern Europe, working life is often group-oriented in Röttgers’s perception. In Germany, colleagues tend to keep job and privacy separate. “Many people who come here are therefore lonely”, she says. “They have little chance of establishing private contacts through work.”

Eye contact and handshake

As a greeting, business partners shake hands, but apart from the handshake, touch in the workplace is inappropriate. Looking each other in the eye, however, is completely normal in Germany and signals attention and interest.

Reliability

Germans expect all participants to arrive punctually and prepared for a meeting. If you cannot, you should say so. “Germans have internalized structures”, explains Röttgers, “they keep promises and deadlines”.

Direct communication

Germans usually cultivate a factual manner of discussion in working life. Work conversations are focused on content; after brief small talk, you get to the point quickly. “Germans want to convince you with skills and therefore show them. This is the way they develop trust”, says Röttgers. Her tip: don’t take criticism at the factual level personally.

German pronunciation


German Pronunciation

When you first start learning about German pronunciation, it can be intimidating. There are a lot of myths about the German language. People talk about how difficult and ugly it is, and how different it is from languages like English. But many people don’t realize that English is actually a Germanic language! That’s why so many words and sounds are similar – our languages evolved from the same ancestor language as theirs.

The easiest and best place to start mastering German pronunciation is with the German alphabet.

When you know how each letter is pronounced, things get a lot easier. Just remember that that pronunciation changes a bit when any of these letters are paired! Start by listening to each of the letters and following along with the table below:

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See, not bad at all. 

Moreover, the best thing is that German words are pronounced like they’re written, with little variation.

German really is famous for having words that are ridiculously long. The longest word in the language is Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (which refers to the “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling”). That’s a mouthful even for native speakers!

But despite how scary those compound words can look, they’re not hard to pronounce. Any long German word is more than likely several tiny German words strung together. It’s essentially the equivalent of saying “the gorgeousgracefulbutterfly” instead of “the gorgeous graceful butterfly”. So when you first encounter a long word in German, draw lines through each of the syllables to divide it into smaller chunks then work on pronouncing each chunk alone. Eventually, you’ll be able to combine the different syllables and pronounce the whole word together.

When it comes to mastering pronunciation in any language, the key is practice, practice, and more practice. As you work on your German, you’ll find that your understanding increases in waves. During the first month, you’ll learn a lot! But then things may plateau and you might not notice any more monumental changes until the six month or one-year mark.

The most important thing is to not give up and to constantly continue to try to improve your German pronunciation.

A bit fun now, please listen and enjoy 🙂

10 tips for doing business with Germany

10 tips for doing business in Germany

“If we apply the French recipes to establish in Germany, we will not get there …” This is the warning issued by Frédéric Munch, associate director of CXP Group, consulting and analysis firm in the software domain, during the Franco-German Digital Meetings organized by Syntec Numérique.

If Germany cultivates its attractiveness and its assets, the country, for a French company that seeks to export or a tricolor start-up in search of new markets, can not be approached by chance, without asking the right questions or knowing the characteristics of this market characterized, in particular, by the dynamism of its midsize companies.

  1. Choose your location according to your sector of activity
  2. Grow your networks locally
  3. Germanize your company
  4. Adapt your commercial approach
  5. Prefer to recruit experienced people
  6. Developing your approach to recruitment interviews
  7. Prioritize the experience
  8. Address the subtleties of German labor law
  9. Going to the salons and exhibitions
  10. Budgeting your implementation project

1. Choose your location according to your sector of activity

This is not a discovery: Germany, unlike France, is a very decentralized country. Rather than a capital and a region of Ile-de-France encompassing entire sectors of economic activity, it is distinguished by a multiplicity of “clusters”, that is to say, poles of activity angled on large sectors – energy transition , connected home, industry 4.0 … – 67 precisely.

That’s why, far from the idea of ​​going to Berlin, the capital, at all costs, “the entrepreneur must choose according to its segments”, advocates Raphaël Goldstein, Director France promotion of investment at GTAI Paris , Franco-German point of contact for the cooperation of clusters. The future location will depend primarily on the objectives of his company and his sector.

2. Grow your networks locally

Beyond the importance of its manufacturing sector and the dynamism of its mid-cap companies, Germany is also characterized by its federalism. “Germany is full of small towns, where everyone knows each other,” says Frederic Munch (CXP Group) “A regional presence is important according to your goal, you have to be present in the region and be the same “. Important, and even primordial. This is where you have to make yourself known, to gain credibility, strengthen your ability to find support and business opportunities. This networking work is essential if you want to give your business every chance to grow sustainably.

3. Germanize your company

In Germany, business is done not in English, but in German. “You need to get as much of your business as possible,” says Violaine Terreaux, Head of Technology and Services at Business France in Düsseldorf.

In other words: plan commercial media in German, employees comfortable with the language of Goethe, an address on the territory. In addition, preferably use sales representatives who understand the decision-making process, time management or the structuring of the country’s own business market. So many codes whose mastery will enhance your efficiency.

4. Adapt your commercial approach

During a business meeting, a German contact will be quick to ask for customer references. To satisfy it, do not just quote a few names, however prestigious they may be. “You have to be precise, concrete, put forward facts,” says Frédéric Munch (CXP Group).

Moreover, while in France, having worked with the competitor of a prospect is sometimes prohibitive, in Germany on the contrary, this experience is rather seen positively.

In addition, Germans are known to be “concerned about certifications, patents”, says Violaine Terreaux (Business France). Even if certification methods differ between France and Germany, it seems advisable to put it forward if your products are concerned.

Another point of vigilance: no question, as is sometimes seen in France, to put weeks to meet the demand of a prospect. “Be reactive, when a prospect asks you, answer him in two days,” says the expert.

Finally, your salespeople will first have to contact the operational staff, who, once convinced by the product, will be able to promote it to their general management.

5. Prefer to recruit experienced people

Finding qualified employees is a particularly delicate business in Germany. “The job market is in tension,” observes Frédéric Berner, Deputy Director General of the French Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
It would be missing, for example, 100,000 engineers in the country. A real handicap for French companies who want to start in this area, especially since they do not have the power of attraction of their German counterparts …

In this context, “It is better to first look for people with luggage, network, experience,” advises the expert. This implies, however, he warns, that the proposed wages must follow. For example, a confirmed business developer can claim 70,000 euros gross annual salary (excluding variable and benefits like the car).

Why not, also, call for a VIE (Volontariat International en Entreprise)? Provided, however, that it corresponds to your needs. VIEs are almost 9800 currently in Germany. The characteristics of this type of contract are threefold: “no contractual relationship between the company and the VIE, no social charges and administrative, social and legal management supported,” lists Eléonore Hurault de Ligny, project manager partnerships LIFE at Business France. On the financial side, “a 12-month mission in Germany costs around € 25,000, including allowances, management and social protection costs,” adds the expert.

And quote the platform Civiweb allowing candidates to find recruiters and companies to put forward their offers.

6. Developing your approach to recruitment interviews

Beyond appealing to experienced people, it is also, to succeed recruitment, to ensure reassurance candidates.

The Germans, indeed, would be famous for not having a taste for risk. “It will be necessary to say who one is, which bases its specificity”, explains Frédéric Berner (French Chamber of Commerce in Germany). And to continue: “the product is the center of everything.
More than marketing, more than people “.

In terms of CV, the uses, too, differ. “The CV is not condensed on a page but can do three or four,” says Frederic Berner. It includes appendices delivered by the previous employer on the missions of the person, how it carried them out, if it gave satisfaction. “The game is to say yes,” says the expert. Quit to support his compliments, for a particularly efficient employee.

7. Prioritize the experience

Another difference of approach: while in France the weight of schools and diplomas remains preponderant even for a candidate already largely experienced, it is much less the case in Germany, for which the training course is gradually put in the background .
Still, the training system is not at all identical. “There is no business school in the business school sense of the term, commercial qualities are acquired with experience.
This system trains people who are less hunters and more breeders, “says Frédéric Berner, adding,” many people are coming up in companies with learning. “

8. Address the subtleties of German labor law

“Labor law in Germany can be very unpleasant …” warns Roman Frik, a lawyer specializing in labor law at Vogel & Partner.

One of the main differences concerns the uses of works councils. While in France the creation of an EC is mandatory from 50 employees, in Germany, it is an option, and this concerns structures from 5 employees. “Employees to start the movement, says the lawyer.The employer can not refuse.A him to create a pleasant atmosphere so that employees do not wish to create one.
Moreover, by virtue of a right to co-determination, the entrepreneur decides with the works council. If no agreement is found on a subject, for example overtime, it can not succeed.
On working time there is no law in Germany like the 35 hours. Below 48 hours, working time is negotiable with employees.
In terms of charges, “you can never pay more than 13,000 euros in employer costs per year and per employee,” said his side Frederic Berner (French Chamber of Commerce in Germany).

9. Going to the salons

CeBIT for IT in Hanover, IFA (electronics) in Berlin, IAA (automobile) in Frankfurt … “Two-thirds of leading trade fairs take place in Germany,” says Ulrike Mayer, head of trade fairs in the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

These events (listed online in a dedicated database) are essential to establish contacts and business in the territory.

To participate, a preparation “a year in advance” appears necessary to the expert, who recommends starting by visiting the exhibition and, if the target audience is at the rendezvous, to begin, only then, the registration procedures.

To expose, it is better, a priori, the grouped play. “Exhibitors take booths of 150 m2 If you arrive with 9m2, we will not see you …”, warns Violaine Terreaux (Business France).

And the expert to put forward the pavilions France set up by the organization, where SMEs can be welcomed to present their solutions. Proof that, despite their huge size, the salons are accessible to all profiles.

For example, for a first-time exhibitor and a turnkey stand, “the average budget starts at 2000 euros,” says Ulrike Mayer (Franco-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

10. Budgeting your implementation project

“Setting up your company in Germany is not very expensive, for 5000 euros everything can be put in place”. This is what Frédéric Berner (French Chamber of Commerce in Germany) assures.
Still, these are not the only costs to be incurred, far from it.
By counting 70 k € annually for the hiring of a business develop, its variable (the variables being proportionally less important than in France), 13 k € of charges, a car, the salons, “below 120 to 130 k € for the first year, it’s too fair, “says the expert.

[Testimony]

“How do I do business in Germany?” Marc Lott is Managing Director of Actimage GmbH, an engineering, computer and multimedia services company based in France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Based, among others, on the French border, he stressed the importance of finding, for an entrepreneur who would like to follow the same path, the appropriate base. “Look what you have to offer and go where it fits,” advises the leader. It will take a long time to get into local networks and find opportunities.
To form his team, he surrounded himself with Germans “not to make foolishness”.
Moreover, he himself learned the language, which he did not speak when he arrived in the country. Among other qualities, “the bicultural aspect is fundamental,” he says, “you need people who can understand both cultures.” Cooperation between entrepreneurs In a tense job market, he, like many entrepreneurs, has experienced the difficulties inherent in this type of context. “It’s hard to find good profiles – there are not enough people trained in IT.
Also, you have to look for it, sell your vision. To do this, never pass an ad, it is useless: enter the networks. As an entrepreneur, you have to spend a lot of time in the networks. Little by little, we will help you. There is a lot of cooptation between entrepreneurs, “he says.

On the commercial side, he confirms that a client meeting can not be improvised. “You have to be much more precise in the preparation, to know what you are going to talk about, to have your road map, to stick to the points of the meeting, in order”. No need to count seducing his interlocutor without a solid file. “Customers need to see projects you have done.
At first, I landed a project worth more than a million euros without being asked for my turnover. “A project that he believes he probably would not have won in France.
To develop his business, he participated in exhibitions. “You have to target them, that does not mean to be present as an exhibitor but to get out there, to have the feeling,” he says. Former exhibitor at Cebit, he does not intend to reproduce the experience: “You will not do business.The people who know each other greet each other,” he regrets. So many ways to be recognized and become a preferred partner. “My partner opened my address book after five years …”, says the manager