typically german; – Anja Spohr, Belinda Villbrandt und Gastautoren

Unsere Plattform für internationale Fach- und Führungskräfte auf Deutschland-Einsatz entwickelt sich ständig weiter. Neben unterhaltsamen und hilfreichen Artikeln bieten wir die Möglichkeit zum aktiven Austausch.


Cultural Awareness Workshop – Ahold Europe/Albert Heijn to go Germany

December 03, 2013 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany

Cultural Awareness WorkshopCultural differences and similarities are sometimes ignored, sometimes underestimated and sometimes not noticed at all. To prepare a successful market entry into Germany, the Dutch Retail Company Ahold Europe asked typicall-german to create a workshop. The goal was to minimize cultural related misunderstandings between the Dutch and the German teams.

The one-day workshop consisted of practical exercises and activities. The focus was on the reciprocal perception of both cultural groups and the reflexion on own behaviors. Prejudices were named as well as things which were appreciated with the particular other group. In cooperation with a Dutch Consultancy company a presentation was held: „ Live, work & learn in the DeUTCHLANDS“.

Cultural Awareness WorkshopA questionnaire determined the „Most Typical German“  (the winner was a Dutch group member) and as a common achievement a „Cultural Awareness Card“ was created by all team members, which will further on remind all participants on this success- and joyful day. This will be the basis for a constructive cross-border cooperation.

Celebrate success

July 26, 2013 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany

One of my project partners from the Netherland shortly asked me if we should celebrate our first milestones, which we successfully reached already. Why that, I replied, we are not ready yet and we still have lots of things to do. My project partner looked a bit flabbergasted. The German saying  “First get things done before you can have fun” is obviously very up to date . Almost slavishly the Germans stick to their action lists which they created themselves (or got it from others). After everything has been done, ok, then we could maybe think about having some fun and celebrate that we finished our tasks. But of course in a reasonable way and not too early, you never know if you are really done with everything…. And also, if we were really successful.

Calculated optimism or fishing for compliments?

So, what is it all about, do we like to get more recognition than we deserve or do we hide our light under a bushel? Or are we just fun killers? Proactively promoting ourselves is maybe not our biggest strength. False modesty? Or don’t we have the heart  to be proud of what we accomplished? Let’s face it, the first time, that we really showed ourselves being proud and happy was during and after the Football World Championship 2006, when the world recognized this event as the “German Sommermärchen”. We proudly showed the German flag and announced: yes, this is our success and we celebrate it! And now we surely can be happy on the success to have reached the final at the  Women’s Football European Championchip.

Make it in Germany!

September 07, 2012 Von: Belinda Villbrandt Kategorie: Working in Germany

The Government’s Campaign

Although Germany seems to have a relatively stable standing in the current global economic crisis, unfortunately things do not look so good when it comes to the future of the German workforce. Experts predict that the lack of skilled labor could have a greater negative effect on the German economy than the global crisis. The German government and the federal employment department are preparing a campaign to inform people of how increasing the amount of skilled labor and managers from foreign countries would be advantageous for Germany.

New welcoming concept

More information to the campaign can be found at www.fachkraefte-offensive.de and www.make-it-in-Germany.com. Here you can find offers for advice and counseling for companies and skilled workers. “Coming to Germany pays off”, says Finance Minister Philip Rösler and is campaigning for a new “welcoming concept”. According to his calculations, securing a skilled labor force and immigration will be long term challenges.

500.000 positions open

By 2025, there will be a shortage of approximately three million skilled workers; these are the figures from the federal employment agency.  There are currently 500,000 available positions reported, which could not be filled. The actual number is probably much higher. Most needed are mathematicians, engineers, scientists, but also mechanics, welders and healthcare workers. In Germany, the long term perspectives look great for good, hard working people. And to top it off, it’s a wonderful country full of culture – a bright, exciting Germany is inviting you to live and work here!


Recognition of Foreign Degrees Gets a Green Light

July 01, 2012 Von: Belinda Villbrandt Kategorie: Working in Germany

New Rules Now Apply for the Recognition of Foreign Certifications and Degrees

On April 1, the so-called work qualification acceptance law (BQFG – Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgestz) will be put into action. Those who have completed a degree or acquired certification in a foreign country, now have the right to have such certifications reviewed for recognition. Previously, nationality and resident status were part of the reviewing criteria. Today the review is based solely on content. This is a big step by the German government toward responding to the scarcity of qualified workers in Germany.

Improving opportunities in the German job market

Approximately 300,000 people in Germany will profit from the new law. Those with certifications acquired in their homeland may now be able to have their degrees officially acknowledged in Germany. This is an important step for many individuals, further improving their situation in the current job market, not only in the actual search but also in the compensation of their performance.

Applicants possess certification and a desire to work in Germany

The review for equivalency will be based of officially formulated criteria, such as content and length of the training. The application for recognition may be placed by anyone in possession of a foreign certification or degree and has the purpose of gainful employment in Germany. This option is not available to those without certification or a degree from another country.

Reference to German occupations for comparison

The central factor in the reviewing procedure will be to use German occupations as a reference in the comparison process. It will be officially reviewed as to whether or not there are essential differences between the foreign degrees and the German occupational qualifications. Work experience, both foreign and domestic, may be an additional factor in the reviewing process.

Important for all applicants: All statements and information must be documented. For further information please go to




Coffee-Culture in Germany

June 14, 2012 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Living in Germany

Statistically 86% of German adults drink coffee on a daily or weekly basis. Approx. 150 l of coffee on average is being consumed by every German. That means, Germany drink more coffee than water or beer. This is remarkable. Although Germans really seem to appreciate coffee as a beverage, it is even more amazing, that they are reluctant to try something new when it comes to coffee variations and that quantity still beats quality. Most preferred coffee in Germany is still drip coffee, which is so nicely sour and smells mostly like filter paper. Drip coffee has been invented in 1908 already, when Melitta Benz, a housewife from Dresden, tried to get rid of the coffee grounds by successfully filtering the freshly brewed coffee through a  piece of blotting paper. Today “Melitta” is a successful company, producing – what a surprise – filter paper. So there is a long tradition of drip coffee in Germany.

Cappuccino with milk or cream?

In some Cafés in Germany the answer on your question „do you prepare the Cappuccino with cream?“  will be „of course we do!“ . So it is advisable to ask this question if you know how an Cappuccino should originally be prepared.

„Auf der Terrasse nur Kännchen…. „ (in the patio we only serve pots of coffee…)

It is also quite common to serve only pots of coffee on the terrace, nobody really understands, why.

You don’t need to choose highly sophisticated coffee variations as they are offered by several coffee- house-chains or buy an expensive Espresso machine to enjoy really good coffee. For some years already there is a yearly coffee event taking place in Germany which called “Day of Coffee”. This year it is about to take place on September 28th and will be arranged by the Germany Coffee Association e.V.. Lot of information about coffee will be given. You’ll find more on http://www.tag-des-kaffees.de/index.html

If you don’t want to wait anymore, you might appreciate this recipe for a nice ice cold coffee:

„Eiskaffee Alaska“
You will need
1/2 liter of cold coffee, 1/2 liter of whole milk, 4 table spoons of sugar, 1 package of vanilla ice cream
Preparation: Stir the milk in the cold coffee. Add the vanilla ice cream and put it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Fill it into big glasses  and serve ice cold.

The Blue Card for Germany

June 12, 2012 Von: Belinda Villbrandt Kategorie: Working in Germany

Easier immigration for the highly qualified – the Blue Card is intended to make Germany a desirable option for professionals

Well educated non-EU professionals will be given easier access to Germany. The German parliament has just passed a law to introduce the so-called Blue Card, a kind of simplified work permit. Accordingly, the highly qualified rules of the European Union will apply.

Lowering the salary threshold

The Blue Card is intended for skilled workers from non-EU countries, when certain requirements have been met. These include a college degree and a work contract with an annual salary of at least 44,800 Euros. This is more than 20,000 Euros less than before. In the past, employees from non-EU countries had to have contracts with an annual salary of at least 66,000 Euros in order to receive a residency permit. For those with qualifications in high demand, i.e. engineers, mathematicians, doctors and IT- workers, the threshold is even lower at only 35,000 Euros.

Permanent residency after three years

Holders of a Blue Card and their families are to be given permanent residency after three years, if they still have a work contract with the required salary. However, if the card holder can prove good knowledge of the German language, the status may be attained after only 2 years.




Vocational education in Germany

May 07, 2012 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany

Push for international apprenticeships

The “Emsland” is a small county in Northern Germany, down-to-earth and economically affected by a solid mid size company environment. Even more we should be surprised to see, that the Emsland startet a pilot project to train young Spanish adults as of summer 2012 in the trade and repair business. Language courses and an orientational training included. The chance for young and motivate people to get a solid and professinal vocational education is rising.


“Dual education

The most popular way in Germany to get a proper training to find a solid job is the so called “dual education”. On the one it is  a reliable system with certified quality. On the other hand this system offers a lage scale of different opportunities in almost all industries. No matter if you chose to become a barber, electrician or a banker, the dual eduacation system makes a point on guaranteeing a balanced combination between theory and practice.

Reliable commitment and steadiness assumed

The particular company procures practical oriented knowledge. The apprentices go to the so called “Berufsschule” (trade schools), either on a weekly basis or on block-release courses. To get the approval to participate in the final examinations, an apprentice in Gemany needs to proof what he/she learned over the years. Normally this is approved by the trainer of  the particular company. To graduate successfully it is important to be steady and reliable as an examinee. The apprenticeship offers a  very good preparation for the professional careers. The mixture between theory and practice supports apprentices becoming valuable employees. It is quite obvious that we will need lots of those valuable employees in the future.

The commendable andprovident example from the Emsland should become a role model.


Currencies: “DM“ – the Deutschmark

April 24, 2012 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Living in Germany

Euro bail-out fund and stabilization of markets are key words at the moment. About 10 years ago, when the Euro replaced the Deutschmark in Germany, the majority of the Germans would rather have sticked to their good old currency. These were more romantic than fiscally related reasons. To be honest: we all loved our Deutschmark. For more senior citizens the Deutschmark was a symbol of the „Wirtschaftswunder“ (German economic miracle) and for younger generations it was simply wonderful to go tot he exchange booth to get foreign currency for Deutschmark.

For the so called East Germans (also known as „Ossis“) the Deutschmark meant a lot of privileges over more than one decade. The so called West Germans (also known as “Wessis”) have been very proud of their currency, their „DM“. Especially in foreign countries the Deutschmarks symbolizes German workmanship.

 Just a currency or tool of identification?

Of course the Euro serves the same purpose as the Deutschmark. But the intensity of identification is completely different. We fondly called our 5-DM coins “Heiermann”  (there  are different possible  reasons for this name) and 1-Pfennig-coins were collected over a couple of years to  be crushed into paper and taken to the first own bank account. The old currency still exists in lots of households, nobody really knows how much there is left. Coins and bills are stored like sanctuaries and honored as souvenirs.

What, if…?

Would we miss the Euro as much as the Deutschmark if the unlikely event would happen that we would return to our old currency?

Would we stealthily maintain the 10- and 20-Eurocent-Coins, which we still cannot keep apart in our wallets? Probably we would again compare the DM and Euro values for years and we would be very shocked about the amounts we would have to pay for the same things. But this is not about to happen.

Germany – Car Drivers paradise?

April 05, 2012 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Living in Germany

At the first glance Germany appears to be THE country for car admirers: Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, Audi – everybody’s eyes start sparkeling with joy. So it is more than obvious that especially in Germany the road network is expected to work very well. German roads are considered to be best in class. What is unique in Germany: there is still no general speed limit: on many sections of the German Autobahn you can test the power of you car uninhibited.

High traffic volume causes stress

No freedom without consequence…. Statistically every second German citizen – children included – owns a car. Traffic jams are more than normal every day. No relief in sight. So trying to drive fast on the Autobahn sometimes becomes more frustration than anything else. Moreover, driving with high speed also means danger. If you come to Germany i.e from the Netherlands or France you will quickly recocnize more hectic and pushing on the streets. You always have to be careful, so driving fast does not necessarily mean more fun.

Whom you can meet on the road

There are some typical stereotypes to be mentioned: the family man driving a station wagon and having a “Baby-on bord” sign on his car as well as the car-loving mechanic kind of guy, driving a car with a lowered CG and sounds of Techno coming from the inside. These drivers are often “hunted” by Mercedes or big Audis. Those types o drivers tend to use their headlight flashers (prohibited!) and normally they don’t understand how young drivers can dare to use “his” track on the Autobahn. Last but not least there are also beginners, often driving an older  Japanese Car. Those still need a lot of courage to start overtaking the truck in front of them.There is happening a lot on Germanys roads every day. Paradise may look a little different.


Tuesday is Office Day – rituals in German offices

March 17, 2012 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany

Every day work life in Germany offers a wide range of rituals. Some have a history, others have risen to unwritten laws already. I while ago I heard from a Belgium colleague, who worked in Germany for several years, that he found it impossible to go for a store visit with a district manager on a Tuesday. And here is why: Tuesday, said the district manager, is Office Day. They have always done it like this. That also means, no one could change it. There needs to be an opportunity to handle all the emails and paper work. Even if it’s getting freaking hot outside, there was no way to change this.


In working environments like production plants you normally start greeting your colleagues with „Mahlzeit! as of approx. 11 h in the morning. It means that lunch time is not far away anymore and it is common to use this salutation until late in the afternoon. It is also possible that employees, who start their working day a little later than normal, will be friendly greeted this way.

„Nine fo five“

It is hard to say, if this rule is history already or not. If you believe in European statistics, Germany a world champions when it comes to working overtime: in 2011 there were supposed to be about 2,5 billion hours overtime in Germany. This of course does not work if you strictly work from nine to five. In some industries for sure it changed from „nine to five“ to „seven to three“. Especially on Fridays.

Feierabend (Closing Time)

What a nice word…. Some of us happily anticipate Closing Time shortly after noon. The “Feierabend” is very important and strictly private time for many Germans. As a result, we tend to wish a “Schönen Feierabend” (Happy Closing Time) to others and ourselves.