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.

Artikel der Kategorie December, 2011

New Year’s Eve or “Dinner for One”

December 27, 2011 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Living in Germany Noch keine Kommentare →

Partytime on New Year’s Eve

Not only in Germany. But New Year’s Eve, the evening of December 31st of every year, is the night of celebrations in Germany as well. Some arrange a gorgeous festivity; others go and have a party in their so called “Partykeller”, a party room in the basement of the house, and some meet their friends to have a cooking event. Or they have a gaming night with the entire family.

Regardless which kind of event will take place on this special evening, there is one thing that cannot be missed:

Dinner for One or The 90th Birthday

This sketch was first produced by the NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk, a big TV- and Radio station in Germany) in 1963, but it was invented in the UK.

Miss Sophie’s (May Warden) 90th birthday is celebrated with her old buddys .  However, their chairs remain empty as the gentlemen all passed away years ago. Very real and very agile is Butler James (Freddie Frinton), who acts in multiple roles: as a waiter, as “speaker” of the imaginary guests and after the party also in another, not really defined role – very british.

This appeals to the Germans, whereas in the UK this sketch did not attain this high level of popularity.

After almost 50 years and after the sketch has been broadcasted more than  230 times, Butler James and Miss Sophie became family members and kind of  a „institution“ in Germany’s living rooms, where New Year’s Eve is celebrated.

Almost nobody, who cannot cite at least little text passages. This, as a consequence, leads us to a very German characteristic: the cultivation of traditions. According to this, cultivation of traditions not only applies to VERY German topics, but is also able to expand.

Same procedure as every year, James!


All the best for a healthy and happy New Year 2012! Hope to see you here next year again.

German certificates

December 13, 2011 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany Noch keine Kommentare →

Certificates in “normal life”

Besides the certificates and documents, which are necessary to get the permission to live and work in Germany (please see blog article “formalities” http://www.typically-german.com/?p=282), there are lots of more opportunities to “proof” yourself, your qualifications and other facts in life:

  • Did you ever take a look at German cars’ license plates? Without a valid  “TÜV-Plakette” (vehicle inspection sticker), the proof, your car is in proper technical condition, you are not allowed to drive it.
  • By the way: it is absolutely prohibitted to drive your car without a documented proof there is a proper insurance for your car
  • If yougot over  this hurdle don’t even think of driving without a reflective vest, a warning triangle or a first aid kit.
  • Everybody, who wants to go to University, needs to show the general qualification for University entrance.
  • Are you able to present your proof of competence as a mechanic? If not, aou are not allowed to work with hazardous substances as paint, fuel oil or gasoline.
  • You want to work in the food industry with animal products? Then it is essential to have an indoctrination § 43 Infection Protection Act, formerly known as “certificate of health”.
  • If you want to become a freelancer in Germany, you normally need a  trade license as any self-employed occupatinal job is notifiable, no matter if it is a full-time regualr job or if it’s avocational.

Those questions on certifivates and  permissions always cost a lot of thoughts and energy. Trust is good, control is better…. After all it allows a certain degree of saftey, which contributes to society’s own good.

Certificates in professional life

In Europe the only countries, where you have a statuatory claim on job references are Switzerland and Germany.  As a consequence it is important to present a complete record of applicatin documents:

  • copies of school and University diploma
  • certificates of additional education and trainings
  • job references of all your jobs
  • a photo on your CV

If you apply for a job, which requires Geman language skills, you should present the cover letter and your CV in German. Try to have your certificates aailable in a translated version as well.

It  needs a good level of discipline to have a continuous  record of all jobs and trainings you ever fullfilled and completed. It also may seem to be complicated and unnecessary, but to present yourself in the best possible way, it makes life much easier if you get in contact with potential employers or business partners.

Dress code

December 06, 2011 Von: Anja Spohr Kategorie: Working in Germany Noch keine Kommentare →

Fine feathers make fine birds

In several situations it is quite important to think about an appropriate outfit. What should I wear when I am planning to convince as a candidate in an interview? Will my clothes be suitable when I am going to my boss’ house for dinner? How hip are people dressed on the party at my neighbor’s house?

In general it should be better to be over- than underdressed.  But even then you might be feeling uncomfortable if you for example are the only person in the room who wears a tie and your job interview partners show up in Jeans and Sweatshirts. You see, it is important to prepare yourself in terms of facts and circumstances you might have to face when you are aiming to be adequately dressed.

Conservative or modern?

Different industries have different usages when it comes to dress codes. Banks and other companies, where many employees work in the front office, might prefer you being dressed more conservatively than Advertising Agencies, where hip clothes are more important than looking formal. Jobs with less customer contact may allow a more casual way of dressing, although the Germans in general are a little reserved in terms of clothing: leather jackets, stilettos or piercings are not that common to wear at work unless you work in a certain branch. Lucky you if you are working in the hospitality business or as a craftsman: normally you have a certain outfit to wear during your working day and you don’t have to think again and again about what to put on the next day.

After work

After a hard day’s work you may want to join your boss/colleagues and business partners for a business dinner. If you go directly from the office, dress code questions are easily to answer:  come as you are. In case of doubt use the tie from your desk drawer…   But if you go home first before you join the dinner, you better don’t put on your Jeans but better choose another pair of flannels.

Also in your private time (i.e. private invitations) you might make a point of being dressed in an adequate way. If you are new to Germany und not quite sure, what kind of clothing would match for a certain event, just ask your host upfront, what kind of event you are invited to. By doing so you show respect and open-mindedness and it’s a nice communication driver.