Federal Republic of Germany
Bonn, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Bremen, Dresden, Heidelberg, Cologne, Potsdam, Lübeck, Hanover, Kassel, Nuremberg, Duisburg, Dortmund, Aachen, Bochum, Augsburg
Bielefeld, Brunswick, Chemnitz, Dessau, Erfurt, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Jena, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Krefeld, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Münster, Rostock, Schwerin, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Zwickau
This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Germany. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State’s web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.
A stay in Germany, the heart of central Europe, means living and working in one of the most dynamic, progressive and interesting of European countries. Today, it is an opportunity to witness, and participate in, an important new phase of German and European history. In addition, Germany offers a high standard of living, extensive travel opportunities both within and outside the country, world-class cultural events and recreational facilities for everyone.
Despite its linguistic and cultural affinity and close ties with the U.S., Germany is a distinctly foreign experience and assignment to Germany requires adjusting to a different pace and way of life. As Europeans, for example, Germans are more formal in business and social relationships than Americans. The national culture and its regional variations are shaped by patterns rooted in a long and unique central European history. Although English is a commonplace alternate language in parts of Germany, living in Germany will be more rewarding for those who speak German or who have the interest and initiative to take advantage of the many opportunities to learn the language.
As the century ends and a new millennium begins, Germany’s Government and Parliament have come back to Berlin, the nation’s historic capital. The immediate postwar era is over. Both Germany and Berlin are whole again. Germany today is the world’s third largest economy and the economic foundation on which the euro, Europe’s common currency, rests. The years ahead are certain to be filled with exciting new challenges, new issues and new opportunities for partnership with the United States as Germany and Europe reshape themselves for the future.
This country of broad variations in its geography and its culture is one that has endured a long and troubled history, often as the battlefield for the great conflicts which have embroiled the European continent. It was not until the mid-19th century that what is now Germany became a federation; until that time, it had been a conglomeration of independent states. The empire was formed in 1871 after Prussia‘s victory over France, and a period of prosperity and expansion began. Bowed by the outcome of the First World War and the subsequent economic and political chaos, Germany rose again as the Third Reich, but was finally defeated in 1945 by Allied powers and divided after the war. As a democratic republic, it has rebuilt itself into an important and influential state.
Greater Bonn has a population of over 300,000. It was the provisional capital from 1949-91. Although Berlin has been reinstated as Germany’s capital, Bonn remains, for the time being the country’s political nucleus. The city is studded with buildings that house a myriad of official government offices. Bonn is also known as a university town and as the birthplace of Beethoven. The house Beethoven was born in is now a museum and is probably Bonn’s best known attraction. Bonn has a large concert hall, the Beethoven-halle, and a opera house. Bonn’s Rheinisches-Landes-Museum contains the skull of the famous Neanderthal man.
The city, badly damaged during World War II, had not been restored by 1949 when it became the provisional capital. Facilities had to be found or built to provide housing and office space for the German ministries and various embassies, foreign journalists, etc. Existing facilities were converted to government use, and new ministries were built in a simple, functional style. Most embassies found or built structures for chanceries in Bonn, but diplomatic corps residences are located throughout the area from Cologne to Remagen, a distance of some 40 miles.
The availability of food on the German market is much the same as in the U.S.
Local German markets are well stocked, and open-air markets sell excellent seasonal fruits and vegetables.
German grocery stores are somewhat smaller than their American counterparts, but the selections are generally good. Most German grocery stores carry fresh fruits and vegetables. Hours of operation are somewhat restricted compared to the U.S., with most shops closing at 6:30 pm on weeknights and at 2 pm on Saturdays. No Sunday shopping is available.
Bonn has a moderate, maritime climate. Although lightweight summer clothing is generally not needed here, warm, humid spells can be expected most years. Warm clothing and rain gear are a must. Hat, gloves and a warm winter coat are advisable. The Plittersdorf Sales Store stocks a small quantity of American and European-made clothing. Local clothing is fashionable but expensive, and sizing is different. Children’s clothes are especially expensive. Shoes are also expensive in Germany, and half, small, and narrow sizes are difficult to find.
Supplies and Services
German stores are well stocked for all household needs.
Tailoring, shoe repair, dry-cleaning, laundry, and beauty shops are available in Plittersdorf and other nearby German areas.
Roman Catholic and Protestant services are conducted in English in the American Stimson Memorial Chapel in Plittersdorf. A full-time Catholic priest and two Protestant ministers serve the community. Sunday school, CCD, youth fellowship programs, Bible study, and prayer meetings are offered.
The Latter-day Saints, Anglican-Episcopal, Baptist, and Christian Science churches hold English services outside the community. A Jewish synagogue in Bonn offers services in German.
The Bonn American Schools, operated by the Department of Defense Dependents School System (DoDDS), are accredited by the North Central Association. The elementary school offers instruction in kindergarten through grade 5, and the middle/high school grades 6 to 12. Both schools comprise about 500 students. Foreign students representing 45 countries make up almost 50 percent of the student population.
School standards and curriculum equal those of U.S. public schools. In addition to the regular academic curriculum, the elementary school provides special classes in talented and gifted instruction and individualized instruction for special education students.
The high school curriculum is considered to be excellent and covers 4 years of English, science, mathematics, and social studies, as well as 5 years of German and French and 2 years of Spanish. Music and art are also offered, as well as courses in home economics, industrial arts, and business. The school has an excellent reputation, with strong departments in foreign language, science, business, television media, music, and computer science. The extracurricular program (ECP) has an especially strong Athletic Department, with teams in football, wrestling, girls and boys golf, tennis, track, basketball, cross-country, soccer, and girls volleyball. The girls teams have won many championships over the past 4 years. The school competes in the Benenor Conference (Belgian, Netherlands, and North Germany). Other ECP offerings vary from year to year, but generally the school offers a band, chorus, yearbook, and school newspaper. The video club, which was started during the 1983-84 school year, is especially strong, with two weekly closed-circuit programs within the Plittersdorf community. (Although not a DoDDS-sponsored program, the community hosts a very active swim team that competes with military schools all over Europe.)
The high school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) since the 1982-83 school year, and the Advanced Placement Program (AP) since February 1983. There is an active Advanced Studies Program, which includes TAG (talented and gifted), IB, AP, Independent Study, and Accelerated Middle School Program. There are also strong programs in Special Education and English-as-a-second language (ESL).
Each school has its own School Advisory Council (SAC) and an active PTSA. Though advisory in nature, these volunteer organizations are highly influential in the successful operation of the two schools.
Both schools earned the number one spot in DoDDS-Germany on the California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) in May of 1987 and 1988, with the high school repeating the rating for the second year. The elementary school was number 1 of about 90 schools, while the high school was ranked 1 among the 28 DoDDS high schools. Bonn American High is one of three DoDDS schools in the last 6 years to receive this award. Both schools score consistently in the top 5 percent.
Tuition at the Bonn American Schools, which ranged from $7,200-$7,500 for the 1992-93 school year, goes up annually at about the same rate as inflation in the U.S. For information write:
Bonn American High School
PSC 117 Box 390
APO AE 09080
Bonn American Elementary School
PSC 117 Box 125
APO AE 09080-0005
Some American children have attended the British Embassy Preparatory School. The tuition is about $4,000. The school offers a British education for boys and girls in kindergarten through grade 8 (13 years of age maximum). The independent school can respond flexibly and quickly to parent-student concerns. If children are ready, they read in kindergarten. Emphasis is placed on composition, spelling, grammar, reading, and reading comprehension. American achievement tests are given by special arrangement. For information write:
The British Embassy Preparatory School
A British secondary school is available for grades 9 to 12. For information write:
British High School, Bonn e.V.
Tel. (0228) 37-40-84
The Bonn International Academy serves ages 3-16 and describes itself as offering a solid academic program based on the British School System with special consideration for the needs of the diplomatic child. For information write:
Bonn International Academy
Godesberger Allee 24
Tel. (0228) 37-77-88
The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium is an up-to-date German school which covers grades 5 to 13. The school population is one-quarter foreign and three-quarters German. Children up to age 15 who do not know German or who have inadequate classroom German are placed in “German for Foreigners” classes for up to 1 year or until their German is adequate. Tuition is free as are most of the books. There are minor expenses for extra books and supplies. Space in the foreigners’ program is limited, and parents who plan to enroll their children should correspond promptly with the school at:
The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium
Other German elementary and secondary schools have been used by a few American families. Interested families should allow time to investigate the possibilities after arrival in Bonn.
The Bonn American Preschool, operated by AEA, provides a pre-school program for children 3-5 years old. A typical school-day includes free play in the classroom, songs and stories, quiet activities, handicrafts, outdoor play, and cleanup. Creativity and self-expression are emphasized. Occasionally, there is a waiting list. AEA also operates a kindergarten.
Preference is given to U.S. Government dependents, but you should enroll your children by mail if you plan to arrive in Bonn late in the summer. Tuition provides the school’s income. For preschool information write:
Bonn American Preschool
PSC 117 Box 270
APO AE 09080
The Daycare Center
This facility provides a baby-sitting service for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. It is open 5 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. Fees are about $2.35 per hour on a monthly basis and $3 per hour on a drop-in basis. In addition, there is now an Infant Room which provides day-care to infants from 6 weeks to 14 months. Hours are the same as the Day Care and charges are about $4 per hour.
Special Educational Opportunities
Bonn’s night schools, called Volkshochschulen, offer courses in German for foreigners and instruction in political science, philosophy, the arts, literature, sports, cooking, art, etc. Fees are moderate. Night schools sponsor trips to places of interest, film showings, and lectures.
The Bonn University offers the following courses: theology, law, political science, medicine, arts, mathematics, science, agriculture, economics, education, and social science. German-speaking foreign students are welcomed. Tuition is free. German universities begin at the college junior level by U.S. standards.
In Bonn, the University of Maryland offers various undergraduate courses. For American University courses at nearby military facilities.
Golfers have access to several challenging golf courses. An international riding school, German tennis clubs, swimming and rowing clubs, and athletic clubs, all with limited membership, are available in the Bonn-Bad Godesberg area. American children may play on local German soccer teams.
While not as extensive, there are opportunities for freshwater and deep-sea fishing.
Touring and Outdoor Activities
The beautiful countryside around Bonn invites touring. There are many castles, Roman ruins and charming villages. Bonn is situated on the navigable Rhine River, and during summer, river cruises are popular. The area has excellent opportunities for cycling and hiking. Organized hikes through the German countryside or “Volks-marching” is a German pastime.
Skiing is possible during the winter months in the nearby Eifel Mountains and in the Hartz Mountains.
Within easy range of Bonn, the Rhine, Mosel, and Ahr Valleys with their vineyards, castles, and restaurants offer extensive and intensive exploring. More distant points of cultural and historical interest are easily accessible by rail or car on weekends. Because Bonn enjoys a central European location, day trips to Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland are possible.
Theater, art galleries, museums, and musical performances may be found in any German city of more than 100,000. Although Bonn provides fewer recreational and cultural facilities than most European capitals, it has excellent facilities for a city of its size. Besides art galleries and museums, Bonn has the Beethovenhalle, in which concerts are given two or three evenings a week. Theaters and the opera house present plays, ballet, or opera each evening. Düsseldorf (population 675,000) is only 45 minutes away by car, and Cologne (population 994,000) is only 30 minutes away. Operas, plays, first-rate symphony orchestras, nightclubs, and good restaurants are found in both cities. Bonn celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of its founding in 1989, with festivities that were held throughout the year.
The American Women’s Group sponsors cultural, educational, and welfare activities. Other activities are available through the Bonn Booster Club, the PTSA, the Teen Club, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, and a Cub Scout Pack and Brownies for boys and girls. A German-American “Friends of Music” Group arranges concerts by German and American artists in private homes. The International Stammtisch arranges speakers one night a month at the American Embassy Club.
Berlin is a capital city with a turbulent past, the crucible of a century of history. Reduced to rubble by World War II bombing, and starkly divided by the Cold War, the city has survived and prospered through the courage, optimism and determination of its citizens. Today, Berlin has a population of nearly four million. The city is situated on the North German Plain about 100 miles south of the Baltic Sea and 50 miles west of the Oder River, the modern border between Poland and Germany. Berlin is one of three German cities that comprise a separate Land although it is completely surrounded by Land Brandenburg. The city is divided into 20 districts, each with its own name, ruling authority and history. Since 1990, but especially since a huge construction and modernization boom started in mid-decade, the city has experienced a process of radical economic and physical change as well as a significant cultural renaissance. Berlin is once again the seat of Germany’s Government and Parliament and the move of ministries, offices and embassies from Bonn is continuing.
Berlin’s climate is similar to the northeastern U.S. even though the city lies at a much more northerly latitude. Overcast days are not uncommon and summers tend to be cool and rainy although uncomfortable summer heat waves do occur. Winters are cool and temperatures between 20°F and 40°F are usual from December to February although much colder days and nights are not infrequent along with periodic snowfalls. Berlin is one of Europe’s most celebrated green cities with over 20 percent of its area devoted to parks. Although completely landlocked, Berlin is also a lakeside city, with an extensive complex of forested urban parks and lakes where residents enjoy swimming, sailing, water sports and sunning.
There are several Internet sites with Berlin-specific information. A good starting point is: http://www.berlin-info.de with English-language information about Berlin and excellent links to scores of other Berlin-relevant sites.
To maintain their own grounds. Many yards are very large, and you may wish to check with GSO before packing out to determine if you will need to ship gardening equipment. Lawn mowers are provided to Department of State employees (other agencies have their own policies concerning furnishings and equipment).
The availability of food in German food stores is much the same as in the U.S. albeit with some important differences. Retail shopping is tightly controlled in Germany and the inconvenient shopping hours present serious challenges to working couples. Most food shops are closed evenings, Sundays and holidays and are tightly shut by mid-afternoon on Saturdays. Fortunately, loosening restrictions in Berlin have resulted in many major supermarkets remaining open until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and popular “warehouse” stores are open as late as 10:00 p.m. on week-days and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Outdoor farmers markets and neighborhood groceries are a feature of city life throughout Berlin. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent but availability is distinctly seasonal. The German diet usually emphasizes meat (especially pork) at the expense of fish but fresh and smoked fish along with excellent poultry and game are available in most large markets. Fine bakeries are everywhere with huge selections of fresh bread and rolls and other tempting baked goods often made on the premises. German and other European wines and cheeses are widely available. Familiar U.S. products are found in most large supermarkets although favorite breakfast cereals, for example, may be slightly altered for the European palate. Ethnic food shops are scattered throughout the city. Berlin’s famous Kaufhaus des Westens Department Store (popularly known by its initials, KaDeWe, or “Kah-Day-Vay”) has a specialty food hall that rivals Harrod’s in London with a huge (and quite expensive) selection of gourmet-quality fresh and imported food items which can be bought for home or consumed on the premises. Generally, food prices in Germany are somewhat higher than in the U.S.
Clothing suitable for autumn and winter wear in Washington, D.C. will be ideal for Berlin. The climate is generally much cooler than Washington’s. Clothing for men and women is readily available in Berlin with shops ranging from expensive boutiques offering familiar designer labels to more moderately-priced department stores. Clothing is usually costly in Europe, especially children’s clothes, but quality is high and most goods are European-made. On the other hand, good European shoes are also widely available, usually at prices lower than in the U.S. Priority mail should be requested for mail order clothing from the U.S. Internet ordering significantly lowers telephone charges when dealing with the large U.S mail order suppliers.
Supplies and Services
As with most large European cities, Berlin offers a nearly unlimited range of supplies and services. There are differences however, between U.S. and European standards and practices that sometime make locating a particular item or familiar service difficult. Such services as laundry and dry cleaning, hair stylists for men and women, shoe repair and tailoring arc readily available in most neighborhood at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S.
Domestic help is difficult to obtain and expensive in Berlin although agencies exist to provide domestic services. Employers are expected to comply rigorously with applicable German immigration and social security laws which control legal status, working conditions and the payment of required taxes.
Church services and Sunday School activities-both Protestant and Roman Catholic-are held in various Berlin Churches. English-language Protestant services are conducted in the American Church in Berlin. Berlin has a growing Jewish community, now more than 10,000 members, and Jewish services are held at locations throughout the city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an active community in Berlin. In addition, there are several other active Protestant denominations, many of which offer services in English, and a particularly large Muslim community.
The JFK School is part of the German public school system and is a special bicultural German-American community school originally established in 1960. English-speaking students are taught in English and study German until their German reaches a level of fluency to enable them to join German-language classes. The JFK School includes grades K-12 and offers a U.S. high school diploma (or a German diploma through its arbitur program which requires a 13th grade). The school currently has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students equally divided between German and foreign. The school’s faculty is made up of Germans, Americans and other nationalities.
There are tutoring programs in reading and mathematics available at the JFK School. However, there are no facilities for children with special learning problems or children who have unusual physical or emotional needs. Questions about special educational issues should be addressed to the school Managing Principal, John F. Kennedy School, 95-123 Teltower Damm, 14167 Berlin, Germany. You can also find the JFK School on the Internet at: http://www.kennedy.beehive.de.
Some American children attend the Berlin/Potsdam International School (BPIS), located near Potsdam. The BPIS offers the international baccalaureate program and the U.S. High School Diploma. The language of instruction is English. Other children attend the Berlin British School (BBS). The BBS offers nursery, primary and middle school programs for children between the ages of three and 13. The curriculum is based on the English national curriculum, but has been adjusted to roughly match those of other international schools. The language of instruction is English. The BBS is located in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg. Finally, some American children also attend standard Berlin public schools nearby their homes, where all instruction is in German.
In addition, there are other schools in Berlin with international student bodies. Together with the JFK School and other schools mentioned here, there are an increasing number of school options in Berlin providing American parents with unusually wide schooling choices. Parents should investigate the available choices and seek the best possible match for their school-age children. Various preschool and day care options are also available in Berlin.
Special Educational Opportunities
There are three large universities in Berlin: the Humboldt University, founded in 1910, and located in Berlin’s Mitte District; the Free University of Berlin, founded in the post-war period and located in Dahlem; and the Berlin Technical University located in Charlottenburg. Instruction at Berlin’s universities is in German. Several U.S. universities offer extension and correspondence courses in Berlin.
Berlin offers many private and public athletic facilities. These include private and semi-private golf courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, sailing facilities and outdoor sports fields throughout the city.
Although Berlin’s terrain is flat, a few natural snow slopes exist for downhill skiers. Most nearby ski areas are for cross country skiing, a popular German wintertime recreation when snow conditions permit. Ice skating is also popular and there are several rinks open in winter. The Botanical Gardens and Museum and the extensive Grünewald and Tegel Forests provide extensive sites for family outings and parts of the Grünewald and Wannsee areas are designated nature preserves. The Wannsee is home to one of Europe’s largest lake beaches. Running along city streets or pedestrian sidewalk, is not customary in Europe (although not uncommon in Berlin). There are many trails and paths reserved for biking and running, especially in the Grünewald which is crisscrossed with bike and pedestrian paths. The Tiergarten, Berlin’s Central Park, and the grounds of Char-lottenburg Palace also offer good runs for joggers.
Berlin’s reputation as a great city for art suffered from the depravations of war and political division but now, with the reunification of Berlin, and the shift of the heart of the city eastwards to its historic and cultural center that had been East Berlin, the city is enjoying a cultural rejuvenation. A dramatic new center for culture has opened at the edge of the Tiergarten near the reconstructed Potsdamer Platz and is the new location for museums of modern art and the 18th and 19th century collections of the Gemaldegalerie, formerly situated in Dahlem. Meanwhile, in the Mitte District. Berlin’s Museuminsel, home to the “old” National Gallery and museums of classical art, is undergoing renovation with plans for a dramatic new work by architect I.M. Pei on the drawing boards. Charlottenburg Palace houses several museums including Berlin’s well-known Egyptian Museum. home to the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti.
Berlin is one of Europe’s greatest cities for serious music. The Berlin Philharmonic is one of the world’s premier orchestras. 11 performs in a sparkling new Philharmonic Hall in the Tiergarten complex. In addition. the city has three opera houses. The Berlin music season is long and feature, performances annually by nearly all the world’s finest companies, dancers. musicians, conductors and singers, with both traditional and modern programs, Theater is a Berlin staple and, although most productions on the Berlin stage are naturally in German, there are local English-language theater groups and occasional visits by English-speaking touring companies.
Most American films reach Europe about three months after their U.S, openings. Foreign films (and television programs too) are dubbed in Germany although films are shown in their original language at some Berlin movie theaters. The Berlin Film Festival brings many of the world’s best films to Berlin each February.
Berlin after dark offers plenty of entertainment for night-owls. Cabarets, dance clubs, rock and jazz joints and bars proliferate in all parts of the city. Fine restaurants at all prices are everywhere offering German and continental cuisine in addition to a huge variety of ethnic restaurants for every budget. In summer, the city blossoms with sidewalk restaurants and outdoor cafes fine for eating, drinking or just plain people-watching. Kids will love Berlin’s famous Zoo, especially the giant Pandas, the bridge over the reptile pit and the attached Aquarium with 9,000 varieties of fish.
There are probably more opportunities in Berlin for making contact with the local American and international community than hours in the day. Many social contacts tend to flow from professional relationships although several more traditional community and church-based organizations exist and have active social programs and sponsor fund-raising activities. The Berlin Chapter of the Steuben-Schurz Society brings Americans together with prominent Berliners for lectures by distinguished speakers. The Berlin American Chamber of Commerce provides a forum for business contacts and activities with a commercial-economic focus. The Society of Parents and Friends of the John F. Kennedy School offers opportunities for parents to be involved with the school and to meet Berlin officials involved in supporting bilingual education.
Germany’s fifth largest city and most important transportation hub, Frankfurt am Main is Land Hessen’s giant urban center (the Land capital is nearby at Wiesbaden). The population is about 660,000 but the total metropolitan area includes many clustered towns and exceeds one million. The city is located on the Main River and is about 25 miles east of the river’s confluence with the commercially important Rhine River at Mainz.
The new European Central Bank is headquartered in Frankfurt. The presence of this bank, perhaps 400 other financial institutions and over 800 American businesses make Frankfurt one of Europe’s most important commercial and financial marketplaces. The Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Center (Messeglande) is one of the principal sites in the world for trade events, including the well-known Motor Show and International Book Fair.
The cosmopolitan nature of Frankfurt is reflected in its major airport complex with regular non-stop flights to virtually all regional cities, including cities in Europe and beyond, as well as daily flights to various destinations in the U.S. Approximately 90 airlines from nearly as many countries use the Frankfurt Main Airport.
Frankfurt is proud of its long and distinguished history. It has been a center for trade and banking for some 700 years. Until Prussia assumed control in 1866, the Free City of Frankfurt was, for 400 years, the site of the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. The “Romer” is the traditional symbol of Frankfurt. This historic building in downtown Frankfurt has been the city
One of Germany’s most important newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has an excellent German-language site at: http://www.faz.de
Americans normally use German shops and markets as well. These are amply stocked with excellent fresh produce, dairy products and baked goods and a different mix of local and imported items, often at surprisingly moderate prices. Most fruits and vegetables can be found throughout the year, although prices rise for imported, out-of-season goods. Ethnic food and ingredients-particularly Asian and Middle Eastern-are easier to find in Frankfurt than at most other German cities.
Frankfurt can often be overcast but its location along the Main River generally helps moderate the temperature extremes. Since the temperatures have been historically relatively mild in the summer months, few German facilities are air-conditioned but this is changing as new office buildings are constructed and others renovated. The frequency of misty or rainy weather also prompts the regular use of umbrellas. Winters can be quite cold but snow seldom accumulates.
Because Frankfurt is Germany’s financial capital, dress tends to be “banker conservative,” although many contemporary designers are represented in trendy Frankfurt wardrobes. Local stores offer a full range of clothing in European sizes. Prices tend to be more expensive than U.S. department store standards.
The Carl Schurz School, located in the Siedlung area, provides a pre-school for children aged two-four, and a day-care facility.
Parents with school-age family members have a number of choices in educational facilities. All students receive an education allowance, which will cover tuition and fees to schools listed here. Any costs exceeding the approved educational allowances, however, must be paid by the parents. For example, costs for field trips associated with the school’s program will normally be the responsibility of the parent. To obtain additional information regarding the schools, please write to:
Frankfurt International School (FIS) An der Waldlust 15, D-61440 Oberursel.
International School of Frankfurt Albert-Blank-Strasse 50 D-65931 Frankfurt am Main.
Halvorsen-Tunner American School (DoDDS-elementary) Rhein-Main Air Base, Bldg 610, Gateway Gardens 60549 Frankfurt.
H. Arnold High School (DoDDS) Texas Strasse Geb. 190, 65189 Wiesbaden/Hainerberg.
The DoDDS High School is accredited by the North Central Association; the FIS High School by the Middle States Association and the European Council of International Schools; the ISF school is a Sabis affiliated school and is not yet U.S. accredited. All schools offer athletic and extracurricular activities throughout the school year.
Special Educational Opportunities
In addition to full-time university studies in Mannheim, the European program of the University of Maryland offers a variety of evening classes at the local U.S. military facilities. The Education Center at Rhein Main Air Base may be contacted to answer questions concerning costs and requirements. There are also classes offered through the City Colleges of Chicago, Troy State University, and the University of Oklahoma.
Other sports including golf and swimming are locally available. Professional sports in Frankfurt include soccer, basketball and a professional American football team, the Frankfurt Galaxy, sponsored in part by the National Football League, with regular games in the European league.
Opera, ballet, concerts, music recitals and theater are available in Frankfurt and nearby Wiesbaden. Additionally, Frankfurt boasts excellent English-language theater with regular productions in the heart of the city. First-run movies in English are also available at several theaters in addition to movie theaters at U.S. military installations, including a popular theater at the Rhein-Main Air Base area known as Gateway Gardens.
The American Women’s Club of the Taunus is a particularly active organization with special programs and events.
Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany (1.7 million inhabitants) is best known for its port. That image, however, is only a small part of a city that, for most Americans, is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Built around the Alster, a lake that is the size of Monaco, the city is graced with large open spaces (half the area is either water or parkland), elegant architecture and a thriving cultural life. Hamburg has the highest per-capita income of any region in the European Union, and the city is noted for stylish boutiques as well as a large and varied selection of fine restaurants.
The relatively modern look of Hamburg belies its age. In 1189, Hamburg was granted the right to a free trade zone and, in 1321, joined the Hanseatic League. Because of wood construction, the city was repeatedly destroyed by fires, the latest being in 1842. In the last decades of the 19th century, Hamburg underwent a building boom and the city took on its current outline by adding port areas, parks, and beautiful buildings and homes constructed in Jugendstil architecture. During World War II, over sixty percent of Hamburg was destroyed. The city rebuilt many architectural treasures while maintaining a low skyline of new buildings of brick, steel and glass that reflect the city’s maritime tradition.
Trade is still the backbone of Hamburg’s prosperity. The city boasts the second largest port in Europe and the fifth largest container port in the world, despite the fact that ships must travel 68 miles down the Elbe River to reach the North Sea. In addition, the city is a center for media (print, TV, and multi-media), insurance and aerospace (it has the second largest number of workers in the aircraft industry after Seattle).
The weather in Hamburg is generally rainy and can be quite cool. Spring is lovely, with blooming tulips, daffodils and other flowers around the Alster and parks. Hamburgers take advantage of all sunny days (sometimes they are few) and can be found walking or having coffee or a beer at an outdoor cafe. Sweater-weather is common even in the summer although, on the occasional hot day, the weather can be humid and sticky. Winter days are frequently overcast, with temperatures similar to Washington but with the north German darkness approaching by 4:00 p.m.
Almost all foodstuffs are available on the local market. There are many types of markets ranging from small mom-and-pop stores to large hyper-markets to open-air markets. German food quality and sanitation standards are extremely high. In general, most food items can be more expensive and a few baking ingredients and some processed foods may be more difficult to find; however, this is changing monthly.
Supplies and Services
Well-stocked German stores sell all European-style household items and are generally well made, but can be more expensive. Stores are generally open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., with the larger stores open until 8:00 p.m. during the week. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. On Sundays, all stores are closed except those located at train and gas stations.
All normal services are available on the local economy in Hamburg although prices and, in some cases, quality may differ from U.S. standards. A variety of Internet Service Providers (ISP) exist, such as Compu Serve, AOL, UUNET and Deutsche Telekom’s T OnLine, for local Internet connections. Prices tend to be more expensive than in the U.S. Local phone
English-language services are held at the Lutheran Petrikirche, International Baptist Church, the English Church of St. Thomas a Becket, the Methodist Church, St. Elisabeth Roman Catholic Church, International Christian Fellowship and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Orthodox services are also available, but not in English. There is one Orthodox Jewish synagogue (services are in Hebrew and German.) There is a large Muslim community with several Mosques.
Most school-age American family members attend the International School of Hamburg (ISH), which is situated in the western section of the city, about 45 minutes from the city center of Hamburg. This is the only school in Hamburg in which the principal language of instruction is English. The school is divided into two sections, the Early Learning Center/Junior School (equivalent to preschool through grade 5 in the U.S.) and the Secondary School (grades 6 to 12). ISH is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and as well, offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. All students are tested before official acceptance. Children must be at least five years old by October 1 to enter the ISH kindergarten program.
There are 520 students representing 45 nationalities. Classes are generally small, from 14 to 20 students. Music, art and drama classes are offered; however, sport programs are not as comprehensive as in an American public school. The school is in the process of a major expansion program that should be completed by 2000.
The school arranges bus transportation to and from the ISH campus for children in kindergarten through grade 5 who live in the downtown area. Secondary students are not offered this option, but public transportation, the norm, is quite convenient and safe.
Special needs education: Certain opportunities exist for students with special needs at ISH and are considered on a case-by-case analysis every year. Contact the school in advance for more details.
For further information or applications for ISH, the address is: The International School of Hamburg Holmbrook 20, 22605 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (40) 8830010, Fax: (40) 88300199. E-mail: mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
German public and private schools accept foreign students, but instruction is in German. There is also a French Lycee for those interested in the French school system. There are many good German kindergartens (equivalent of American preschool), but waiting lists may be long for some of these kindergartens.
Special Educational Opportunities
Four different universities in the area offer a variety of degree programs in English. Rice University in collaboration with the University of Bremen and the City of Bremen is establishing an international, private, research university in Bremen that will grant undergraduate and graduate degrees similar to U.S. universities. Purdue University in collaboration with the State of Lower Saxony is establishing a private business school in Hannover and will offer MBA degree programs. The University of Hamburg is establishing an International Center for Advanced Studies, which will offer an international MBA degree program. The Technical University of Hamburg-Hamburg offers Bachelor and Master degree programs in engineering.
Hamburgers are quite serious about sport and exercise, and because of this, Hamburg has a wonderful selection of sports and sport facilities. Swimming is available year-around, with exceptionally nice, inexpensive and numerous indoor swimming pools. In the winter, there are several popular outdoor ice-skating rinks. The centrally located Alster Lake and many miles of intertwining canals offer wonderful opportunities for rowing and sailing in the summer, with a number of rowing, sailing and windsurfing schools available. Tennis and horseback riding are also very popular and many schools can be found in the area.
Hamburg abounds with playgrounds and parks. The Alster Lake, beautiful open areas and woods in the vicinity offer opportunities for walking and picnics. A pleasant way to discover the city and the surrounding countryside is by bicycle. Hamburg has an extensive system of bike paths, which make most of the city easily accessible by bicycle.
As a major European city, Hamburg provides something for everyone, from the prestigious opera and ballet to its many museums, from the Harbor Birthday to a night out on the world-famous Reeperbahn. The Hamburg State Opera is considered one of the world’s leading opera houses and is the oldest in Germany. The Hamburg Ballet is world class and has been under the direction of an American since 1973. Three important orchestras are based in Hamburg. Jazz music enthusiasts will not be disappointed; the city offers year-round quality entertainment. Hamburg has some 30 theaters that are considered among the best in Germany. The English Theater group presents plays several times a year with professional actors recruited from London. The Hamburg Players, an amateur theater group, also presents plays in English. In German cinemas, most films are dubbed into German, but “original version” English language films are shown at more than one city location. There are several video stores with a large selection of current and classic English language videos. Most are in the PAL format, with a few in NTSC. For up-to-date information in English on events in Hamburg, see the Internet site www.hamburgguide.de.
There are eight American-related clubs in Hamburg, which cover a wide range of interests such as social contacts, business networking, volunteer activities, and current events.
Again, there are a number of international clubs that hold meetings and lectures and conduct activities to promote international understanding and friendship through the English language. The International School is an important venue for international contacts for those with school age children. There are also numerous activities of the Consular Corps, depending on one’s rank and function.
Situated in the center of the former GDR’s industrial triangle, famous for its chemicals, steel, heavy engineering, and publishing, Leipzig has a proud heritage as home to the world’s first and longest-running trade fair, more than 825 years old. An impressive fairground facility, between downtown Leipzig and the Leipzig-Halle Airport, was opened in April 1996. Banking, communications, and the service sector have largely replaced heavy manufacturing since German reunification.
Although Leipzig still bears scars of neglect and mismanagement, first at the hands of the Nazis and later under the yoke of the Communists, thousands of buildings have been restored or renovated, new construction abounds, and the infrastructure is on its way to becoming state-of-the-art. Eastern Germany already has the finest telephone system in Europe, and thousands of miles of roads have been widened, repaired, or replaced in the last ten years.
Leipzig’s citizens played a primary role in toppling the Communist regime, demonstrating bravery en masse with peaceful demonstrations that sealed the end of the GDR in the fall of 1989. Throughout the Consular District, the United States, its people and policies, remain a source of considerable interest and curiosity; countless sister-city relationships, exchange programs, economic partnerships, and the like have been created in the past decade, and many more are in the planning stages. Additional information about Leipzig in English and German can be found on the Internet at http://www.leipzig.com.
The climate in Leipzig is moderate, although each summer there are generally several days above 90°F and each winter temperatures go down below zero E Rain is frequent (average 20-30 inches annually), and it generally snows several times each winter.
Local markets are well-stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are limited; most shops close at 6 p.m. on weekdays and shortly after noon on Saturdays, and are closed Sundays, although by law stores may remain open until 8 p.m. week-days and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Neighborhood markets are augmented by large discount retailers located in newly built shopping malls, as well as the Leipzig Central Station, where stores are exceptionally permitted to remain open until 10 p.m.
Leipzig as well as other major cities in the district offers a wide variety of excellent restaurants, ranging from Saxon specialties to Italian and Asian delicacies. Fast food outlets abound. Prices are notably higher than in the Washington, D.C. area.
A car is certainly not indispensable, though a few tourist sites are not accessible by public transport. At present many highways are in the process of being widened or rebuilt, causing extensive traffic jams, accidents, and other delays. Train travel is frequent and with a rail pass (Bahncard) relatively inexpensive. Traveling by train not only eliminates the headaches of negotiating traffic, but is also substantially faster. Within Leipzig buses, streetcars, and taxis are accessible and relatively inexpensive. Bus or streetcar tickets are generally obtained from machines (located at only the major stops) before boarding, although they may also be purchased from the conductor at a higher price. Taxis operate from several stands in the center, or may be called by telephone. For motorists, well-established car dealers and workshops offer a full range of services. vehicles.
Standards for street and business dress are similar to those in Washington, D.C. Formal attire is rarely required. For most evening functions, a dark suit or cocktail dress usually suffices. Given the variable climate, a flexible wardrobe is useful. Given the large number of cobblestoned streets, several good pairs of walking shoes are advisable. Raingear and umbrellas get frequent use most of the year. Prices in local stores are high in comparison to the United States, and local stocks may be limited. However, gaps in local supply may be filled by shopping trips to Berlin, a two-hour drive.
Regular Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Russian Orthodox, and Jewish religious services are offered in German by various congregations in Leipzig. A British pastor offers English-language services at the Anglican Church in Leipzig on an irregular basis.
Supplies and Services
A wide array of toiletries, cosmetics, and household products is available in Leipzig. Although all American brands are not represented, in nearly all cases there is an adequate alternative. Prices are, however, higher.
Dry cleaning services are of variable quality. Hairdressers are generally very good. Most repair services are more than adequate.
Leipzig International School currently offers classes from Kindergarten through Grade 9 in English, based on a U.S. curriculum. The school intends to add one grade per year as part of the International Baccalaureate Program.
Special Educational Opportunities
Leipzig has University, Music Academy, Art Institute, and Volkshochschule (adult education institution) courses for those with German-language ability. Leipzig University is one of the oldest Germans peaking universities. The French, British, and Polish governments also have active cultural centers in town.
The Leipzig region offers opportunities for exploration of the area’s rich cultural and historical heritage and is blessed with extensive parklands. Recreational facilities include swimming pools, bowling alleys, and fitness centers. Horseback riding is available nearby. Saxony’s Erzgebirge offer opportunities for winter sports as does Thuringia’s Rennsteig.
Cultural opportunities in this part of Germany are particularly extensive. Leipzig’s world-famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and innovative Opera perform most of the year, augmented by guest performances in the Gewandhaus’s first class philharmonic hall. Other theaters include Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus and the Musikalische Komedie, which offer a wide variety of drama. Leipzig’s Kabaretts, well-known throughout the German speaking world, serve up a special brand of biting political humor. The region is also home to no fewer than eight other opera companies within a two-hour radius, including Dresden’s world-famous Semperoper. Dresden’s Zwinger complex offers an Old Masters art collection to rival the leading collections in Western Europe, and the nearby Albertinum houses the treasures of the “Grunes Gewolbe.” Weimar, the European Cultural Capital in 1999, is the home of the Goethe and Schiller houses and a splendid “Schloss” decorated in the Classical style, and Eisenach’s Wartburg is the medieval castle whose “Singers’ War” was made popular by Wagner’s opera Tannhauser.
Local movie theaters offer recent releases, generally dubbed into German. Leipzig hosts several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, located in temporary quarters while a new facility is built, the Grassi Ethnographic and Decorative Arts Museum, Egyptian Museum, and several collections covering the historic Battle of Nations, scene of Napoleon’s defeat in 1813. Travelling exhibits are often displayed in the various institutions.
Leipzig’s traditional Christmas Market sets the tone for Holiday activities, while Dresden’s Strietzelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. The region is home to a number of festivals and celebrations, many related to its rich musical history.
Leipzig’s nightlife revolves around various bars and discotheques, as well as Moritzbastei, a university-associated club, offers space for some 1,000 revelers in deep underground caverns.
Munich, capital of Bavaria and a metropolis of almost 1.3 million people, is the dominant commercial, travel, and political center of southern Germany. It attracts numerous conventions, meetings, fairs, and exhibits with a broad range of economic activities. Munich is also one of the world’s outstanding cultural and entertainment centers. Its excellent theaters, museums, and galleries present unending high-quality cultural performances and exhibits, while the traditional Bavarian love of fun sustains a wide variety of festivals, atmospheric nightspots, and entertainment. It is a dynamic city with a multitude of recreational and intellectual possibilities.
Munich is Germany’s third largest city, after Berlin and Hamburg. The city long ago outgrew its medieval walls, leaving a well-defined inner city, or downtown area. Munich is also Germany’s fastest-growing major city. Expansion continues at a fast pace with construction of new suburbs and U-bahn lines. Part of this growth is due to Bavaria’s drive to become the electronics, information sciences, aerospace, biotechnology, and media center of Germany.
Munich is about 1,600 feet above sea level on the southern edge of a flat plain stretching from the foothills of the Alps, about 25 miles away, north to the Danube River. The Isar River flows through eastern Munich on its way to join the Danube.
The climate is like that in the northern U.S. Winters are cold but not severe. Temperatures rarely fall below 0°F, and 2-3 feet of snow may blanket the ground in January and February. In spring and fall, pleasant, clear, warm weather is interspersed with prolonged stretches of rain and cloudiness. Temperate summers are short with a fair amount of rain.
Individuals interested in further information about Munich and Bavaria should also look at the following websites:
German food stores offer a wide variety of food items of excellent quality, but the current dollar/mark ratio has made local shopping expensive. The sidewalk fruit and vegetable stands have beautiful, fresh produce, and the large open-air market, the “Viktualienmarkt,” just behind the Marienplatz, offers almost any fresh food you can imagine, but at a high price.
Munich has Italian and Oriental food stores.
Clothing needed is like that worn in the northeastern U.S. During July and August, heavier weight summer clothes are needed. Only be a few days are over 90°F, and even then, evenings cool off. Both men and women are comfortable working in suits or lightweight wool dresses for the women. Most entertaining in Munich is informal, and a business suit or dress is appropriate. Due to Munich’s frequent rainfall, bring a raincoat, preferably one with a removable liner, and suitable footwear. Boots are a must for the winter.
Munich is a fashion center; beautiful and well-made clothing can be purchased here. U.S. retail outlets such as Eddie Bauer are gaining a foothold in the Munich area. However, clothing of similar quality to U.S. items is frequently more expensive in Germany. Sales are conducted only twice a year.
Supplies and Services
Bring a sufficient supply of special toiletries, cosmetics, and over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Some favorite products, such as liquid aspirin/Tylenol for children, are unavailable locally.
Electronic items, such as calculators, computers, fax machines, microwave ovens, TVs and VCRs, stereos, etc., are available, but prices are sometimes higher than in the U.S.
All the normal necessities for comfortable living are readily available in Munich on the local economy. These include tailors, shoe and watch repair, laundry and dry cleaners, photo developing, small appliance repair, picture framing, and bicycle repair. Barbershops and beauty shops are in every neighborhood, and unless you frequent the most exclusive and expensive shops in the downtown area, prices will be comparable to those in the U.S.
Finding English-language reading materials will require some effort, at least until you gain a familiarity with the city. The closest U.S. library and bookstores are at least an hour’s drive from Munich. The International Herald Tribune is available locally at some newsstands.
A locally published English-language magazine called Munich Found is very helpful in providing information and events in Munich and where to find certain things. Larger bookstores carry some English-language books and magazines, but the selections and supply are somewhat limited and are more expensive than in the U.S. Kiosks at the main train station carry a wide range of English-language newspapers and periodicals.
There are a number of Internet providers in Munich, including Compu Serve, AOL and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Online.
Few families have domestic help, but such help is available on a daily basis. Domestic services are, however, hard to find and quite expensive. Consequently, when a good house cleaner is found, many families will arrange to share his or her services.
English-language services in downtown Munich are held by the following churches: Seventh-Day Adventist, Baptist, Christian Science, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Methodists and the Munich International Church (interdenominational). The American Church of the Ascension, (Episcopal) holds regular Sunday and Sunday School services in Harlaching. The University chapel and St. Killian’s Church also hold Sunday masses in English.
The Munich International School (MIS) is an accredited and well-respected English-language school located in the southern outskirts of Munich. The Bavarian International School (BIS) is a new school located north of Munich, near the international airport.
The Munich International School is operating at its full capacity of almost 800 students in kindergarten through grade 12. The school has more applications for admission than places available, and this situation is expected to continue for some time.
The Bavarian International School (BIS) is located in the northern part of Munich. BIS has the backing of the Munich business community, the international community, and the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture. BIS is currently offering grades kindergarten (age four) through grade 12 to 300 students. BIS has its own Board of Directors that meets regularly with the MIS Board. BIS and MIS work together in a cooperative agreement to assure consistency of administration and curriculum for both schools.
Children with physical, emotional, or learning disabilities cannot be accommodate at present by the international schools.
German elementary schools with free tuition, in each section of the city, are open to American children. These schools may be extremely crowded, however, and the ratio of students to teachers is high. Children normally attend only half-day and have several; hours of homework. Older children sometimes enter German secondary schools, but language may be a barrier. Many German kindergartens accept American children, but they are also crowded and frequently have a long waiting list.
Special Educational Opportunities
The University of Munich, the largest in Germany, offers numerous courses. To enter, you must have an excellent knowledge of the German language and have already completed two years at a U.S. college. A German course for foreigners is taught only to those who have completed two years at a U.S. college. The nearest U.S. affiliated academic facility is a four-year branch of the University of Maryland in Schwaebisch Gemuend, approximately 200 kilometers from Munich.
Bavaria is a sports paradise. World-renowned German, Austrian, and Swiss ski resorts are within easy reach of Munich. Many resorts feature learn-to-ski weeks. Several Munich sport shops sponsor ski weeks at popular resorts, as well as special ski plans which provide transportation and instruction at a different slope each weekend. Most large sport shops rent ski equipment. The Munich International Ski Club organizes both day trips and longer trips throughout the ski season for its members.
Munich has three large public ice skating rinks, many large outdoor swimming pools and several larger indoor swimming pools. Several golf courses are also available, but greens fees are very expensive and many are operated by private clubs requiring membership. Horseback riding enthusiasts use several riding clubs.
The 1972 Olympic facilities give Munich the opportunity to host frequent international sporting events, e.g., equestrian competitions, soccer matches, and cycling competitions. Racing is also a popular spectator sport.
Touring and Outdoor Activities
Walking tours through Munich are popular. From various observation towers you can see the city and as far as the Alps. Many old churches are interesting to visit. Numerous art galleries and museums are free or charge only a small entrance fee. The Deutsche Museum is the world’s largest technical museum. Several large castles in and around Munich are well worth a visit. Many miles of pleasant and scenic trails are in the Alpine regions and in the Isar Valley on the outskirts of Munich. Also in Munich are several parks. The largest is the English Garden. Trips to Munich’s Botanical Garden and to its Hellabrunn Zoo, one of Europe’s largest, are also available.
The nearness of the Alps and a host of interesting cities offer unlimited touring opportunities. Bavaria has more interesting museums, castles, and architectural monuments than you could visit in a 2-year tour. Perhaps the most impressive points of interest are the towering Alps of Upper Bavaria and the Austrian Tyrol, with world-famous spas and sports facilities. Skiing is particularly popular, but the beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, and colorful people offer year-round attractions.
Numerous interesting cities are within a few hours’ drive; included are Nürnberg, Ulm, Innsbruck, Augsburg, Salzburg, Regensburg, and Bayreuth, site of the annual Wagner Music Festival. The so-called Romantic Road connects the 16th century walled towns of Dinkelsbuehl, Noerdlingen, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Eastern Austria, the Czech Republic, Northern Italy, and Switzerland are within a day’s drive.
Bavaria is also an excellent hunting and fishing area. Game includes deer, boar, chamois, capercaille, black cock, hare, fox, pheasant, partridge, and duck. Streams are well stocked with trout, and there is some river char and pike fishing. German hunting and fishing licenses are required.
The large Bavarian State Opera House and about 20 theaters have nightly performances. Concert lovers will find the musical fare frequent, varied, and of outstanding quality.
Munich’s world-renowned Oktoberfest, a combination carnival/beer festival, lasts about 2 weeks starting in mid-September. Fasching (carnival) begins in early January and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Munich is famous for its excellent beer, and the city features many beer halls. Europe’s largest circus has its home in Munich and performs from Christmas until the end of March. Several theaters in downtown Munich feature recent English-language (usually American) films.
There are long-standing German-American clubs for men and women in the Munich community which combine social activities with charity work. The Columbus Society, a German-American society for all ages, offers a varied program of lectures, social gatherings, and outings. Membership is also available in international clubs such as the International Federation of Business Women, Zonta Club, Soroptomists Club and Lyceum Club.
Many opportunities for social contact with Germans are available, but initiative is required. Various sports, hobby clubs, and other social groups usually welcome German-speaking Americans. The Bavarian-American Center also sponsors exhibits, lectures, concerts, etc., during the year. These programs are well attended by Germans and offer a good opportunity to establish contacts with host-country nationals.
Stuttgart, the cultural and political capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg, has a population of slightly fewer than 600,000 people; adjoining suburbs contain over two million. The area is a vigorous and vibrant cultural and economic center, with high-tech industries such as automobiles, chemicals, electronics, and machine tools. The city, surrounded on three sides by low hills, retains an old-world Swabian charm in its modern downtown core as well as in its more traditional outlying districts. More than 30,000 U.S. military and dependents are stationed in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Major headquarters are located in Stuttgart and Heidelberg.
Land Baden-Wuerttemberg, which comprises the entire consular district, is an area of rolling hills and forests with a population of nearly 10 million and a yearly export trade of over $130 billion. In an area about the size of Switzerland (13,000 square miles) are such landmarks as the Black Forest, Swabian Alps, and the classical university towns of Heidelberg, Tuebingen, and Freiburg.
The climate is moderate, with mild summers averaging 60°F-70°F and winter temperatures slightly above freezing. Humidity is high, and the average annual rainfall is 20-30 inches.
German markets are well stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are restricted, with most shops closing at 6 pm on weekdays and early afternoon on Saturday. On the first Saturday of each month, stores remain open until 6 pm in winter and 4 pm in summer. Stores are also open Thursdays until 8:30 pm.
Bus, streetcar, and subway services are well developed, but do not conveniently serve the Stuttgart area.
Standards for street and formal dress in Stuttgart are becoming more casual. The variable climate makes a flexible wardrobe most useful. Prices for clothes in German stores are high, but twice-yearly sales provide high-quality items at bargain prices. Shoes for women and children have been difficult to find in the past.
Regular English-language Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious services are held in Stuttgart under U.S. Army auspices. Monthly Anglican services are also available. German-language worship includes Lutheran Community, Catholic, Jewish, Church of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist, General Communion, and Latter-day Saints.
Dependent Education: Parents may send their children to German public schools free of charge. Waiting lists exist for day-care centers and private kindergartens (ages 3-6).
Special Educational Opportunities
Undergraduate work in various fields is offered by the University of Maryland at U.S. Army Education Centers. In addition, in fall 1992, the University of Maryland University College opened a 4-year program in Schwaebisch Gemuend. A 2-year graduate program for a master’s degree in education is offered by Boston College, and other university degree programs are available.
Stuttgart has university, music academy, and art institute courses for those with German-language ability, and there is a film academy in Ludwigsburg. The French, Hungarian, and Italian Institutes offer lectures, concerts, films, and courses in French and Italian.
Numerous facilities exist for handicapped dependents, but specialized schools, such as those for the hearing or vision impaired, require fluency in German.
Hunting and fishing opportunities abound. Stuttgart and areas within 4 hours driving have an excellent range of sports—volksmarching, horseback riding, ice-skating, swimming, bowling, tennis, golf, and cross-country and downhill skiing.
Entertainment and cultural events are abundant. Stuttgart’s internationally acclaimed ballet and its opera company have performances throughout most of the year (with the exception of 2 months in late summer). Frequent concerts are given by the State Symphony and other orchestras and by various local groups. Stuttgart is, among other things, a jazz center. Various international artists and circuses also perform in Stuttgart during the year.
There are several museums, including artistic, ethnographic, and natural history collections. The expanded Stuttgart Staatsgalarie has attained international prominence. The Wuerttemburg Art Association offers periodic painting, sculpture, and graphic arts exhibits.
The annual fall harvest festival, a rival to the Munich Oktoberfest (which starts somewhat earlier and closes as Stuttgart’s Volksfest gets into full swing) always attracts large crowds. Many towns have similar colorful festivals during the year centered around harvest time or historical events.
Downtown cinemas show many first run (several months after the U.S. opening) American and international films, dubbed in German. There are a few good theaters that occasionally show films in English or the original language.
There is a good downtown nightlife district, and one of the largest discos is located near the Trade Exhibition Center.
Several German-American groups are located in Stuttgart. Among these are the German-American Men’s and Women’s Clubs and the International Circle.
Düsseldorf is the capital of the German Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and a major political, commercial and cultural center. The city has a population of over 575,000 and the State, 17 million, about a quarter of Germany’s total, making it one of Europe’s most densely populated regions. The Ruhr is Europe’s largest industrial region and Germany’s principal producer of power for the entire nation. Today, the Ruhr’s economy is more broadly based than ever before with less than five percent of the work force employed in the old coal and steel industries.
Dusseldorf is a large, cosmopolitan city with a flourishing arts community including opera, ballet, art galleries and concerts. The city has a sophisticated retail sector, including the famous Konigsallee of exclusive shops and chi-chi restaurants. It is also the seat of the German fashion industry. Dusseldorf is the site of some of the largest commercial fairs in Germany: the fairgrounds or Messeglande are near the city center and the international airport. The Düsseldorf Airport is Germany’s third largest and is served by American carriers. For current connections to Diisseldorf, Government travelers should check with the travel office of their agencies or with a travel agency.
Located in the lower Rhine Valley, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are all within a few hours’ drive or train ride of Diisseldorf. The city and its suburbs are built on the valley floor and are rimmed by low hills to the south and west. The Rhine is a major commercial thoroughfare and Dusseldorf is a major inland port. Much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War and has been rebuilt in a modern style, although Diisseldorf boasts a large and diverting Altstadt or old town full of charming restaurants and specialty shops. The city has incorporated suburbs on the opposite bank of the river, which include large parks and greenbelts, and there are a number of parks in the Innenstadt or downtown. Further information on Dusseldorf is available from the Internet at http://www.duesseldorf.com or its German language companion, http://www.nrw.de.
The climate in Dusseldorf is similar to the northern Atlantic seaboard of the U.S. with more rain throughout the year and much cloud cover. Significant snowfalls are rare. Summers are short and cool, particularly when compared to Washington, D.C.
Food, Clothing, Supplies and Services
German groceries and markets offer a wide variety of good quality foods. Most communities have open-air or farmers’ markets selling fresh produce, meat and dairy products. All types of clothing and footwear are available locally from a wide range of shops and department stores although prices may be higher than those encountered in the U.S.
Clothing needed is similar dress for the northeastern United States. Standard business attire is worn in the office. Most social events do not require formal dress although there are a few occasions where it is needed or appropriate (e.g. opera, holiday balls, etc.).
Domestic help is available although very expensive. It is often possible to use an American ATM card at German bank cash machines connected to the PLUS or CIRRUS networks. For convenience with bill paying and for receiving funds electronically, most Americans have local currency accounts with one or another of the German banks, which have numerous branches throughout the region.
English language services are held at Anglican (Episcopal), Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in the Düsseldorf area.
The International School of Düsseldorf has over 600 students in grades kindergarten through thirteen (postgraduate or international baccalaureate). Almost half the students are American; the next largest nationality is German, and the balance are from Britain, The Netherlands, Japan and other nations. The language of instruction is English. Other options include the German public schools, the Japanese international school or the French Lycee. Adult education in English is limited although some courses are available through university extension programs offered at nearby American military installations. There is no accredited international school in Cologne.
Participating sports opportunities include tennis, golf and ice-skating. There is an American professional football franchise in Dusseldorf-the Rheinfire-which has a regular spring season.
There is a large and active American community in Dusseldorf and NRW Many events are held under the aegis of an American Women’s Club that has over a hundred members. The club hosts monthly lunches, a charity ball in December and a number of outings and tours. The American Chamber of Commerce is active in Dusseldorf as are a number of German-American friendship groups which host social and cultural events.
Bremen, dating from late in the 10th century, is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in Germany. It became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1358 and, from 1646, was one of Germany’s free imperial cities.
The oldest and largest part of Bremen—including what was the walled city of the Middle Ages, now marked by the former moat—lies on the east bank of the Weser River. The area is an attractive park. A newer part of the city, Bremen-Neustadt, is on the west bank of the Weser. In addition, there are numerous suburban housing developments, including Neue Vahr, the largest of its type in Germany. The port and warehouse district lies to the north, along the banks of the Weser.
Bremen’s position as a port has been long established, and it is today an important processing and distributing center for such products as coffee, wool, cotton, grain, and tobacco. Its industrial life has expanded greatly, and there are now several large shipyards, a growing electronics industry, a large and modern steel mill, and an important aircraft firm here. The population of the city is 674,000.
Bremen’s cultural attractions include a number of museums, art galleries, theaters, an opera, libraries, fine old buildings of considerable architectural interest, and several parks. Among the latter is the large Bürgerpark, with exhibition grounds and congress halls.
Bremen’s North Sea weather has a reputation worse than it deserves. On average, the temperature ranges from slightly above freezing in winter to the mid-60s in summer. In fall and winter, occasional prolonged periods of gray days are to be expected. For the rest of the year, however, the weather is tolerable to pleasant, although in the cooler range. Cloudless days are few, but many days are fine except for a short shower. Bremerhaven, 40 miles from Bremen and with a population around 150,000, was an important transoceanic passenger port, but with the decline of that trade, it has become specialized in container shipment. It is also the largest single fishing port on the European continent.
Bremen and the surrounding area provide adequate opportunities for sports and outdoor life. A country club, the Club zur Vahr, has two golf courses, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Several tennis clubs, including one with three indoor courts, are available. Fees are reasonable. There is a large indoor swimming pool and a number of public outdoor pools in and near Bremen. However, the weather is seldom warm enough (by American standards) to make outdoor swimming enjoyable. Riding is available, using English saddles. Skiers may go to the Harz Mountains or farther south to the Alps. Excellent hunting for boar, deer, hare, and fowl is available within easy distance of the city.
Bremen has many good movie houses showing the latest American, as well as German and foreign, films. The latter, however, normally have German soundtracks.
Dresden, once the home of one of the world’s most important collections of art, is the capital of Saxony. Situated on the Elbe River about 60 miles southeast of Leipzig, it is a manufacturing city of 518,000 residents, producing precision tools, optical instruments, and electrical equipment.
The city, called “Florence on the Elbe,” was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War; 35,000 people perished in the bombing raids and the city was reduced to rubble. Dresden has since been rebuilt, with part of the inner city restored to its original character. Most of its fabulous works of art were kept safe during the incessant bombings, but a great number of them were taken to Russia; some were returned in 1955, and fabulous art treasures are once again accessible to the public. The city became part of the Soviet occupation zone in May 1945.
Dresden was originally a Slavic settlement (Drezdzane) in the 13th century. It has been occupied by Austrians and Prussians and, from the late 15th century until 1918, was the residence of the dukes of Saxony.
Generations of writers, poets, and musicians were attracted to Dresden at some time in their lives, among them Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Dostoyevski, Ibsen, Bach, Handel, and a host of others.
The city is famous for its National Gallery, its museums, its university and scientific institutes, its music conservatory and opera course, the Zwinger Palace and Museum, the city hall—and for Dresden porcelain which, in reality, is produced in nearby Meissen.
Heidelberg, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg, is famous as the oldest university town in Germany. It is both a cultural center and a tourist attraction. Heidelberg escaped the bombing of World War II and is thus a combination of old and new, considered by many as the ideal German city to visit. Its most distinct disadvantage is its humid and overcast climate. It is neither very cold in winter nor very hot in summer.
Heidelberg’s 15th-century castle, which draws thousands of visitors each weekend throughout the year, overlooks the old town and the Neckar River valley. Its most popular attraction, within the castle walls, is the Heidelberg Tun (Great Vat), a wine cask nearly 200 years old, with a 49,000-gallon capacity. The vat is a part of the city’s folklore. Heidelberg itself has many interesting medieval buildings, and the cultural life generated by the university offers a wide variety of activities at reasonable prices. Concerts, theater, opera, and ballet are available at all times.
The University of Heidelberg dates from 1386, and probably is the country’s most famous educational institution. Generations of scholars have added to its prestige throughout the centuries.
The recreational facilities in and around Heidelberg are good. In mild weather, there is broad opportunity for fishing, cycling, and swimming. When winter arrives, ski enthusiasts can find good areas in the Black Forest, which is only two to three hours away by car; if the weather is not cold enough there, the German, Swiss, or Austrian Alps can be reached in five to eight hours.
Nightclubs and restaurants are abundant for a city of Heidelberg’s size. Many German movie houses are available, and the U.S. Army shows American films nightly in five area theaters.
The ancient city of Cologne (Köln) is the capital of the Rhineland and one of Germany’s largest centers of population (937,500). Founded as a Roman town in 50 B.C., it became, through the ages, a medieval city of note, a center of arts and culture, and finally, a cosmopolitan city of tourism, industry, and commerce. It is situated majestically on the left bank of the Rhine (the right bank is mainly industrial), and the spires of its 11th-to 13th-century churches are dominated by that of the Dom (the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary), one of the most famous Gothic buildings in the world. Cologne was a religious and intellectual center during the Middle Ages.
There is a wealth of activity to attract the visitor to Cologne. Nine municipal and numerous other private museums are open to the public, and the Rhine Park and Tanzbrunnen (open air dancing area and fountain) remain popular tourist spots from year to year. Among the famous museums and galleries are the Kunsthalle (Municipal Art Gallery); the Roman-Germanic Museum, which recounts the history of the city; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum with its paintings by the old masters; and Ludwig Museum of contemporary and modern art.
Cologne offers opera, theater, concerts, fine hotels and restaurants, excellent shops, a zoo with 8,000 animals, an aquarium, and the ever-popular Rhine cable cars. Industry in the city encompasses cars, chemicals (eau de cologne, for example), pharmaceuticals, beer, marine engines, wire cable, paint, tools, and machines. Cologne has the largest broadcasting and television facilities in the Federal Republic.
The Amerika Haus of Cologne, at Aposteln-Kloster 13-15 in the city center, has been in operation for over 30 years.
Potsdam was the main residence of the Hohenzollerns under Friedrich the Great, the brilliant Prussian soldier and statesman whose philosophical and cultural leanings left a mark of refinement on the city. He built the Sans Souci Palace and developed the surrounding park lands during the mid-18th century; this and the enormous Neues Palais (new palace) are among the many showplaces in Potsdam today. Renovations are currently under way in these royal buildings.
The royal family of Prussia, later the imperial family of Germany, lived in this city, which became known as the home of Prussian militarism.
Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg. It is situated on the Havel River, about 17 miles from Berlin, and is a manufacturing city for textiles, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments. Its current population is about 135,000. Much of the German motion picture industry was developed in nearby Babelsberg. The studio is open year-round for tours and an adjacent theme park opened in 1991. Potsdam is the site of the Observatory of the University of Berlin and of Einstein Tower, an astrophysical observatory. In all, there are 21 colleges and technical schools in the area.
In 1945, the Potsdam Conference was held here by the Allied powers to implement the Yalta agreements for the administration of Germany. The Celcilianhof, a country residence built in 1913-15 by the son of the last German kaiser, was the conference site. It is now a hotel and museum.
The three gates of Potsdam—Neuen, Hunters’, and Brandenburg—constitute the restored remnants of the city wall. The main road, Klement Gottwald Allee, and more than 100 buildings along its length, also have been reconstructed in recent years, and the city is a popular tour destination.
Hanover is located on what was once the border between West and East Germany. It is the largest ferry port in Europe and Germany’s most important Baltic port. Second in size only to Cologne among the cities of medieval Germany, it was a Hanseatic town—it has a history dating back almost 900 years, and was known as the ” Queen of Hansa.” The Hansa was a union of North German merchants which, in the 14th century, became a league of cities offering defense of trading interests and commercial privileges, and which served as a court of jurisdiction. It was also a political power waging successful wars for economic aims. From 1926 to 1937, it enjoyed autonomy as a free city of Germany, and then was incorporated into the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein.
Among Lübeck’s famous sons and honorary citizens are Thomas Mann, a Nobel Prize winner, and his brother Heinrich, also a writer; and Carl Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss historian who, as president of the International Red Cross during World War II, protected Lübeck by his negotiations to have the city declared a port of transshipment for Red Cross ships and a storage place for goods bound for Allied prisoners of war in German camps.
Lübeck has colleges of technical science, civil engineering, business administration, medicine, nursing, navigation, and music, and an institute of adult education.
The city’s world-famous trademark is the Holsteintor (Holstein Gate), the best preserved town gate of the Middle Ages in Germany. The contours of the gate have become the distinguishing emblem of the town, and are shown on the 50 Deutsche Mark note of the German Bundes-bank, on postage stamps, and as a trademark symbol by commercial firms. Among the products on which the Holsteintor emblem is used is Lübecker marzipan, the sweet almond pastry exported throughout the world.
Lübeck is 17 minutes behind Central European time.
Hanover (in German, Hannover) is a city of 518,000 residents, located in the north central area of the country and is the regional capital of Lower Saxony. It is at the intersection of major highways and rail connections and is the site of the largest industrial fair in the world. It annually hosts exhibitions, conferences, and trade fairs, yet it maintains an atmosphere of culture and art with its many libraries, museums, and churches. Its beautiful Herrenhausen Gardens, formerly the summer home of Guelph princes, are now used for concerts and theater productions and for fireworks displays. One of the Herrenhausen gardens, the Grosser Garten, has been maintained in its original design for 250 years; another, the Berggarten, dating from 1666, has the largest collections of orchids and cacti in Europe.
The museums of Hanover include the Lower Saxony Regional Museum (art and natural and early history), the Hannover Art Museum (modern art); the Kestner, with its ancient exhibits, including a famous Egyptian collection; and the Wilhelm Busch Museum. There are four major libraries here, including a veterinary college and a medical college library, and churches of major denominations. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, conducts a service in English on Sunday mornings at 11:30.
Hanover has facilities for many sports. There are a stadium, an indoor arena, several swimming pools and saunas, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course at Blauer See, horse racing and cycle tracks, and ice skating rinks.
The city is the home of the Volkswagenwerk Foundation, which promotes scientific research, and the Federal Institute for Geo-sciences and Natural Resources. Currently, the Roderbruck Scientific Research Center is being developed.
A special feature of Hanover’s many municipal services is an emergency medical consultation center at Ärztehaus, Berliner Allee 20. (The telephone number is 3-49-46.)
A British-operated English-language elementary school, comparing favorably with American facilities, is available up to grade six. Several good German elementary, secondary, and technical schools are also within the city, and Hanover has an excellent university.
The city hosts 15 consulates and two foreign/cultural information centers, of which Amerika Haus is one. Amerika Haus maintains a library and coordinates a program of lectures, seminars, and cultural events.
Kassel, the urban center of the North Hesse region, is known internationally for its municipal art collection, which includes 17 Rembrandts. It is a city of theater and festivals, and its exhibition of contemporary art, the Documenta, held every four years (the next is scheduled for 1993), is world renowned. The city is also the home of the Grimm brothers of fairy-tale fame.
Kassel is a center for industry, notably transportation equipment, and sponsors research and technology in that field. It is also the economic capital of Hesse and, as such, is host to numerous conferences every year at the Stadthalle (municipal center).
One of Kassel’s major attractions is the beautiful Wilhelmshöhe Palace, built at the end of the 18th century as a residence for Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Under Jérôme Bonaparte, Kassel was the capital of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807 to 1813. The hillside park at Wilhelmshöhe, the great fountain and waterfalls, and the colossal statue of Hercules attract thousands of tourists each year from spring until autumn. The château remains open all year, although with limited tour hours during the Christmas season.
Other places of interest in Kassel include the Orangerie Palace in the city park; Löwenburg Castle at Wilhelmshöhe; Fredericianum, the oldest museum on the European continent (built by Simon Luis DuRy from 1769 to 1779); the Ottoneum/Museum of Natural Science, which was Germany’s first permanent theater building (1604); the Grimm Museum; the world’s only Museum of Wallpapers; the Regional Library, which houses the Hildebrandslied, the oldest surviving example of German poetry in written form (translated into 140 languages); and the Astrophysics Collection at the Hessian Regional Museum.
Sports and spa facilities are a major attraction in Kassel. The Kurhessen-Therme is a center for brine bathing therapy and is widely used by people from outside the North Hesse region as well as by local residents.
Kassel’s population is 200,000. Its university, founded in 1971, has a student body of 9,500.
Nuremberg (Nürnberg), one of the great and historic German cities, is located in north-central Bavaria. In the 12th century it became, with Augsburg, a major crossroad on the commercial routes between Italy and Northern Europe; in the Middle Ages it flourished culturally as the center of the German Renaissance. Most of Nuremberg was severely damaged late in World War II because of the heavy production of military equipment in the city, but it has been rebuilt and is an important industrial center for products such as electrical equipment, chemicals, textiles, and precision instruments. Nuremberg also has large distilleries and breweries.
Students of 20th-century history will remember Nuremberg as the site of the International War Crimes Tribunal.
Much restoration has been accomplished in Nuremberg since World War II. There are many places of architectural and historic interest, such as the Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), which dates from the 14th century; the medieval churches of Saints Sebaldus, Lorenz, and Jacob; Kaiserberg Castle; and the Germanic Museum, which is considered one of Germany’s finest. The 15th-century Dürer house and the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) also are major attractions.
In a country renowned for its Christmas markets, perhaps none is more celebrated than Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, with more than 2.5 million annual visitors.
Duisburg, one of Germany’s “big twelve” cities, is the largest inland water port in Europe. An ancient town which was once a member of the Hanseatic League, Duisburg is now a major industrial city of North Rhine-Westphalia, situated northwest of Düsseldorf at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr Rivers. Duisburg was a powerful city during the Middle Ages, and much of its early history is reflected in the Niederrheinisches Museum collections.
In addition to having a central library and 34 district branches, Duisburg is the site of Germany’s largest technical library. It is a center for congresses, exhibitions, and sports and cultural events, and boasts a beautiful theater on König-Heinrich Platz. Many of its old churches were restored after World War II, among them Salvatorkirche, which was built in the 14th century on the site of earlier houses of worship. Dreigiebehaus, the oldest extant dwelling house (1536) and the ruins of the ancient city wall, which now has a Jewish memorial, draw a constant stream of visitors.
Duisburg, with a population of 525,000, supports a good zoo, the Kaiserberg; the Wedan Sports Park; Sechs-Seen-Platte (Six Lakes), a large water sports and recreational area; and various other recreational facilities. Many visitors are particularly interested in exploring the exhibits at the German Island Shipping Museum at Duisburg-Ruhrort.
The educational facilities and health care institutions in Duisburg are excellent. There are 15 hospitals in the city.
Dortmund, another old Hanseatic town, is situated in the heart of the Ruhr district, about 50 minutes from Düsseldorf-Lohausen Airport. With a population of 587,000 in the district, Dortmund is the commercial and cultural capital of Westphalia. It is famous as a brewing center and annually processes six million hectoliters (about 634 million quarts) of its well known “Dortmunder” beer. The city has held brewing rights for more than 500 years, and its Kröne beer hall is older than the better known Hofbräuhaus in Munich.
This huge European canal port is also the home of many other industries and commercial ventures. Steel, textiles, machine tools, nitrogen, and chocolate factories employ many thousands of people. Dortmund is also an engineering center for industrial complexes. It has a university and both teaching and research institutes.
The libraries of Dortmund contain 545,000 volumes in 16 buildings and four mobile units. The volumes are housed in the Municipal Archives, the university library, the Institute for Press Research, and the unusual and interesting Institute for German and Foreign Working-Class Literature.
The new Museum of Natural Science is only one of the many museums and permanent exhibits in Dortmund. Others include the Museum for History of the Arts and Civilization, the Ostwall Museum of Modern Art, the Coin Exhibition, the Westphalian Schools Museum, and the Natural History and Electricity Museums.
The facilities for sports in Dortmund are extensive. Westfalenhall is the largest sports and all-purpose hall in Europe. There are pools, racing tracks, tennis courts, health and gymnastic centers, hockey rinks, and a number of other recreational areas. The Botanical Gardens, the German Rose Garden in Westphalia Park, and the zoo are popular spots for residents and visitors.
Dortmund has modern shops, theaters, and galleries, and also supports a philharmonic orchestra. Many hospitals and clinics serve the community.
Aachen, for seven centuries the coronation city of the Holy Roman Empire, is situated on the western border of the country, at the foot of the Eifel and the Ardennes plateaus. The Belgian, Dutch, and German frontiers meet at its gates. The city is known throughout the western world by its French name, Aixla-Chapelle, and is a place of history, culture, and flourishing economy.
Aachen is the city of Charlemagne (Charles the Great), and the cathedral with the famous Palatinate chapel is one of the most important cultural monuments in the world; Charlemagne’s marble throne is housed in the upper chamber of the gallery. This revered emperor was buried here in the year 814. In Aachen’s Rathaus (town hall) where, for centuries, German kings were crowned, replicas of the imperial crown jewels are on display for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who annually flock to the city to see the renowned Christian relics.
Ecclesiastical art treasures are a significant, but not exclusive, part of Aachen’s distinction. Its Rheinisch-Westfälische Technical College, with more than 34,000 students, is one of the largest in Western Europe and hosts many international technical congresses. Concerts and theater are an important part of city life, and elegant shopping in this ancient town of cloth makers and pin manufacturers draws visitors from many countries. Eurogress Aachen, the congress center in the park, is a famous European meeting point, and the many historic inns, hotels, and charming restaurants give the city a cosmopolitan flavor.
Aachen’s spa, Acquis Grani, was famous among Roman legionnaires for its healing powers, and today the spa is operated throughout the year with the most modern facilities. Other major attractions of this western German city include the Casino of Bad Aachen, the world riding championships in the Soers Arena, the annual fair in Kornelimünster and, of course, the art treasures in the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum and the Neue Gallerie, as well as those in the cathedral.
The population of Aachen is about 250,000.
Bochum, an industrial city of 432,000 in the Ruhr Valley, is 650 years old as a municipality, but its history covers more than a millennium. Throughout the centuries it has been beset by fire, pestilence, and foreign invasion and, in 1960, Bochum suffered a major coal crisis. It is now a center of diversified industry and, more important, the home of the Ruhr area’s first university, the Ruhr-University of Bochum, on the hills above the river at Querenburg. This was the first institution of learning in the country to provide an office for the exchange of information between school and industry, and its medical training program with the area hospitals, known as the Bochum Model Scheme, is unique in Germany.
In spite of its industrial nature, Bochum has many historical and cultural attractions. The Old Parish Church of Stiepel, founded in 1008, still has the lower part of the tower and the remains of the walls near the choir, which were part of the first building. St. Gertrudis Deanery, with a 1000-year-old fort, is built on a foundation laid in the year 710. Two other historic houses of worship are St. Bartholomew Pilgrimage Chapel, known for its unique Renaissance door, and the Protestant Church of Gertrudisplatz, which was completed in 1763.
Within the city are the German Mining Museum; the Bochum Art Gallery and Museum; Haud Ken-made, a moated castle from the Middle Ages; the Grumbt Collection of musical instruments (at the castle), with valuable manuscripts and a local history exhibit; Bochum Observatory Planetarium; the Astronomical Observation Station; Institute for Space Research; Rhine-Ruhr Railway Museum; Wattenscheid-Helfs Hof (history museum); German Puppet Institute; a large central library and a reference library for patent specifications; the Music School of Bochum; and a famous school for actors, the West-fälische Schauspielschule.
Bochum also boasts a German Shakespeare Society, a symphony orchestra, an unusual number of gymnastics and sports clubs (284), a playhouse, a zoo, theaters, restaurants, and halls for meetings and conferences.
Local time in Bochum is 31 minutes behind Central European Time.
Augsburg, founded by Augustus in 15 B.C. as a Roman colony, lies on the Lech River in western Bavaria, about 30 miles from Munich. It is the principal city on the Romantic Road, the celebrated route through the historic German towns of the Middle Ages.
Augsburg was a commercial and textile center for northern and southern Europe in medieval times and today, with a population of more than 250,000, remains a major textile hub. It was the richest town on the continent during the 15th and 16th centuries; two of its wealthy families, the Fuggers and the Welsers, were famous and influential throughout the Western world. The merchant Fuggers built a social settlement, the Fuggerei, for the old and the poor which remains in modern times as a housing development still serving low-income families for the original annual rate. The paths winding through the Fuggerei show the care with which the settlement was planned and, even now, the ancient houses appear in good repair.
It was here at Augsburg in 1955 that the Augsburger Religionsfriede (religious peace treaty) was signed, settling the conflict caused by the Reformation between Catholic and Lutheran princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The city is rich in architectural treasures of that time, and of the centuries which preceded it. The cathedral, built in 995, houses relics of its era; stained glass from the 11th century, and a beautiful altarpiece by the elder Hans Holbein (1465-1524) are testimony today of the art that was produced in those times. St. Ulrich’s Church, with its two towers honoring both the Catholic and Protestant religions, and the town hall (Rathaus) also are major attractions here, as is Maximilian Strasse, the Renaissance street which cuts through the city center. Near the Lech River are municipal botanical gardens and a zoo which keeps animals in a natural habitat.
Located in west-central Germany, BIELEFELD is the center of the Westphalian linen industry, which began in the 13th century. The city also manufactures bicycles, sewing machines, and tools. Bielefeld is situated 55 miles southwest of Hanover and has a population of about 300,000. Built in the 1200s and restored in the late 1800s, Sparrenberg Castle is now a museum.
Many of the city’s historical churches and buildings were damaged during World War II.
BRUNSWICK (in German, Braunschweig) is the capital of Lower Saxony and was formerly the capital of the duchy of Brunswick. The city, with an estimated population of 255,000, is situated in central Germany, 34 miles southeast of Hanover. Industries include the manufacture of cameras, pianos, and automobiles. Brunswick was allegedly founded in 861, by Bruno, son of Ludolf, the Saxon duke. Historical buildings include St. Blasius Cathedral, built between 1173 and 1194, which contains the tomb of the duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion. A fortress built by him in 1175, the Dankwarderode, still stands.
CHEMNITZ , called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the Communist era, is an industrial city on the Chemnitz River at the foot of the Erzgebirge mountain range, some 40 miles southeast of Leipzig. Made a free imperial city in the year 1125, it became an early center of the textile industry after it was given the monopoly of bleaching in the mid-14th century. It also developed as a transportation hub, and as a center for chemical production and machinery. Chemnitz suffered heavy bomb damage in World War II. The city has approximately
302,000 residents. It is the site of the prestigious Technische Hochschule (polytechnic institute), founded in 1836; the library contains 588,000 volumes. A combined city/regional library is also located here.
DESSAU is 34 miles north of Leipzig and is an important railroad hub on the Berlin-Leipzig line. Industrially, the city is well developed, especially in the area of mechanical engineering. Dessau has a sugar refinery that processes the beets grown in the rich surrounding farmland. German settlers established Dessau some time during the 12th century, and it received a city charter in the early 13th century. The city has a population of approximately 105,000.
ERFURT , with a population of about 215,000, is situated approximately 60 miles from Halle, in the central-west region of the country. A major commercial city, Erfurt manufactures office equipment and typewriters. It is known for horticulture and seed growing; a horticulture show-ground and museum is located here. Erfurt flourished during the Middle Ages as the gathering place of merchants. In 1808, the city was the site of the famous meeting between Alexander I and Napoleon. The heads of the governments of East and West Germany held their first meeting here in 1970. Historical points of interest include the ancient Merchants’ Bridge that crosses the Gera River, built in 1325; the Old University, where Martin Luther studied; the Augustinian monastery, which he entered; and the 18th-century, baroque-style Governor’s Palace. The elegant homes of the late medieval and Renaissance periods display Erfurt’s former wealth. One of Germany’s oldest universities was founded here in the late 14th century.
Located about 57 miles directly north of Bonn, ESSEN is a city of 620,000 residents. It extends southward through lovely suburbs into the timbered hills above the Ruhr River, where the abbey church of Werden, founded around 800, stands. Since World War II, Essen has taken on a modern look and has traffic-free shopping streets. Relics of the ancient city include the Münster Church, built around 873. The city was established about 852 and housed a convent for noblewomen. Essen later developed as a result of coal mining and heavy industry in the area. The manufacture of plastics and consumer goods are among its industries today.
The city of GELSENKIRCHEN is located in western Germany, about 40 miles northeast of Cologne. As a result of the northward spread of Ruhr coal mining in the late 1800s, Gelsenkirchen changed from a small village into a large industrial city. After 1958, when coal production decreased, the city had to diversify its industries. Today, machine building, the clothing industry, and glass-making have become economic mainstays. There is a central shopping area, a zoo, a theater, an artists’ area, and two racetracks here. Gelsenkirchen has an estimated population of 290,700.
Situated 10 miles south of Dortmund, HAGEN is on the northern fringe of the picture-perfect Sauer-land Hills. Like other cities in the region, Hagen grew with the expansion of Ruhr coal mining. It was chartered in 1746 and remained small until the late 1800s when industrialization began. Hagen suffered considerable damage during World War II but was quickly reestablished after 1945. Hagen’s current population is 209,500.
The city of JENA is located less than 100 miles west of Dresden and about 25 miles east of Erfurt. It has an economy based on the glass and chemicals industries. Jena is known for its university, founded in 1554; and its optical works, founded by Carl Zeiss in 1846. Notable landmarks include the Zeiss planetarium, the late-Gothic style St. Michael’s Church, the old university, and a 14th-century town hall. The current population in Jena is about 106,600.
KARLSRUHE (also spelled Carlsruhe) is situated in southwest Germany, just east of the Rhine River near the Black Forest. Formerly the capital of the grand duchy of Baden, the city currently is a retailing, transportation, and manufacturing center. The German Court of Justice (supreme court) and Constitutional Court are located here. Karlsruhe, founded in 1715, has a symmetrical fan of streets that extend south of its 16th-century palace, which is now a museum. The streets to the north of the palace, through its parks and gardens, mirror the others. Germany’s first technical university, Fridericiana University, was founded here in 1825. Karlsruhe’s population is about 268,700.
KIEL lies at the head of Kieler Förde, a deep inlet of the Baltic Sea, which forms the eastern terminus of the Kiel Canal. Kiel’s location, about 56 miles north of Hamburg, offers a magnificent view of the water and passing vessels. The city has facilities for processing foods, especially fish; other industries include brewing and manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment. The Old Market, with traffic-free shopping streets, lies in the shadow of the medieval Church of St. Nicholas. The city has an estimated population of 250,000.
The city of KREFELD , whose population is 220,000, is situated less than 50 miles northwest of Bonn. The Rhine River lies eight miles west of the city. Chemicals, silk, steel products, and clothing are among Krefeld’s manufactured goods. Protestant refugees, including Mennonites, introduced the silk industry here in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Situated 80 miles southwest of Berlin, MAGDEBURG is a transportation hub with a population of close to 290,500. The city’s economic life revolves around the nearby lignite (brown coal) field in Saxony and the large potash deposits around Stassfurt. Magdeburg’s port plays a major role in the engineering and shipbuilding industries. Founded in 805 by Charlemagne, the city became an archbishopric in 967. Magdeburg was a leader among the Hanseatic League cities but was practically destroyed in 1631 during the Thirty Years War. It regained its prominent status after becoming part of Prussia in 1814. During World War II, Magdeburg was a major industrial center. The Allies bombed the city repeatedly and finally took it on April 18-19, 1945.
MAINZ lies on the west bank of the Rhine River in southwest Germany. Frankfurt am Main is located 20 miles to the east. A port city, Mainz is also an industrial hub, producing chemicals, optical glass, and food products. Mainz was once the capital of Rome‘s Upper Germany Province. The Romans founded the city as a camp on the Rhine in 13 B.C. Mainz became a political and religious power, and was a free city after 1118. It remained influential until Napoleon dissolved the empire in 1806. Historical sites, most of which were damaged during World War II, include an 18th-century grand-ducal palace and an 11th-century cathedral. Johann Gutenberg, the printer-inventor, was born here in the late 1300s; the university named in his honor was founded in 1447. There is also a Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. The population here is about 185,000.
The port city of MANNHEIM lies on the east bank of the Rhine River, about 60 miles northwest of Stuttgart. Along with its twin city, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim is the country’s second major inland port. The port area has grain elevators and facilities for petroleum storage and refining. There are excellent connections to other cities by water and rail. The city manufactures automobiles, electrical equipment, and farm machinery. Chartered in 1606, Mannheim was attacked and destroyed twice, first during the Thirty Years War, and then by the French. In the late 16th century Mannheim was the musical headquarters of Europe. The earliest plays of Friedrich von Schiller were performed here in the city’s theater (built between 1776 and 1779). The city has a population of nearly 300,000.
Located in northwest Germany, about 80 miles northeast of Cologne, MÜNSTER is a distribution center for the area’s grain and lumber. Dating from the year 805, Münster was originally named Mimigernaford; its current name was given in 1068. During the 13th and 14th centuries Münster was a dominant member in the Hanseatic League. The Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War, was signed in Münster’s town hall in 1648. Notable landmarks include a large 13th-century cathedral, a 14th-century town hall, and the Gothic Church of St. Lambert. Münster, whose population exceeds 273,000, has a museum of fine arts.
ROSTOCK lies on the Warnow River, just over 40 miles north of Schwerin. The current population here is about 254,000. Rostock is the country’s largest port on the Baltic Sea. The city’s industries include the manufacture of chemicals and diesel engines. Rostock was chartered in 1218, and in the 14th century it joined some 80 other German cities in forming the Hanseatic League to promote commerce. The University of Rostock was founded in 1419.
Situated on Lake Schwerin, about 60 miles east of Hamburg, SCHWERIN is a manufacturing city with a population of about 125,000. It manufactures cigarettes, food products, machinery, and ceramics. Settled by the Wends around 1018, Schwerin received its charter in 1161. It was the seat of a bishopric from 1167 to 1648. A 13th-century Gothic cathedral may be found here.
WIESBADEN , the capital of Land Hesse, is located in central Germany. It lies at an altitude of 500 feet at the southern base of the Taunus mountain range, 20 miles west of Frankfurt am Main. The population of Wiesbaden is 268,900; it is noted for its mineral springs and mild climate. Industries include the manufacture of pottery, boats, clocks, and paints. The city is a trading post for lumber, fruit, and vegetables. Rhine wines are produced from the nearby vineyards. The Celts founded Wiesbaden in the third century B.C.; it was a popular Roman spa. The city boasts a casino, a 19th-century palace, the Nassau State Library, and the Hessian State Theater. A U.S. military base and hospital is located in Wies-baden.
WUPPERTAL is situated in the western region of the country, 40 miles north of Bonn. Industrially, the city relies on its textile production, which includes velvet, silk, carpets, linen, and artificial fibers. It is also a major center for the production of rubber and pharmaceuticals. The vicinity around Wuppertal was settled between the 11th and 12th centuries. This city of 380,000 residents was heavily damaged during World War II.
Positioned 40 miles south of Leipzig, ZWICKAU is a city with many historical buildings. Probably established in 1118, it was a free imperial city from 1290 until 1323. At that time, it was overtaken by the mar-graves of Meissen. Notable buildings include St. Catherine’s Church, begun in 1212 and rebuilt in late Gothic style; the city hall of the 15th century; the late Gothic Clothworkers’ Hall, built in 1522-36; the Church of St. Mary, dedicated in 1118 and altered in the late Gothic, style in 1505-37, which contains a painting of Christ by Lucas Cranach the Elder; and the Oberstein Castle, built in 1565-85 and now a penitentiary. Zwickau today has an estimated population of 120,500, and an economy based on the nearby rich coal fields. The manufacturing of textiles, dyes, ceramics, and small automobiles also supports its residents. There is a technological institute located here. Zwickau was the birthplace of Robert Schumann, the composer.
Geography and Climate
Unified Germany comprises 16 states (Lander in the plural; singular: Land), of which three (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg) are city-states. Berlin, with a population approaching four million, is surrounded by the State of Brandenburg, with the Brandenburg Land capital at Potsdam, a city that adjoins Berlin on the southwest. Bavaria is Germany’s largest land. Germany’s population exceeds 82 million and, with a total land area of only 137,800 square miles (slightly smaller than the State of Montana), the nation is one of the most densely populated and urbanized in Europe.
Germany has five distinct geographical areas and widely varying landscapes. From north to south these are: the flat north German lowlands; the hills and the low mountains of the Mittelgebirge; the west and south German plateaus and mountains (including the Black Forest, the Schwarzwald); the south German Alpine foothills and lake country; and the Bavarian Alps with the Zugspitze (Germany’s highest mountain, 9,717 ft.) near Garmisch.
The most important rivers are the Rhine, the Weser, the Elbe, the Main, the Oder, and the Danube. The first three flow northward, emptying into the North Sea. The Main is a tributary of the Rhine. The Danube, starting as a spring in the beautiful, historic town of Donaueschingen in southwest Germany, flows east 1,725 miles to meet the Black Sea in Romania. Lake Constance (Bodensee), Germany’s largest lake, lies at the border separating Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
Germany is in the Temperate Zone and enjoys frequent weather changes, sometimes daily. The country has four distinct seasons with rainfall frequent in most months, especially in the autumn. Winter temperatures and snowfall tend to be more extreme in the southern part of the country where the average elevation is higher, but even low-lying Berlin has snowfalls and winter temperatures which occasionally dip below 10°F. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than Washington, D.C., although short summer hot spells are common.
With a population totaling more than 80 million persons, Germany has one-quarter of the population of the European Union. It is the largest nation in Europe after Russia even though, in size, it is smaller than either France or Spain. Today, over 85 million people speak German as their mother tongue.
Many Americans call Germany home. There are thousands of U.S. military men and women including retirees, Government employees, representatives of U.S. businesses, academics and their family members throughout Germany. Relationships between Germans and Americans are generally very positive. Many older Germans remember the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshall Plan after World War II and the commitment and aid pro
Vided by the Berlin Airlift in 1948. America’s steadfast support of German democracy, especially during the crises of the Cold War, adds to the generally positive reputation of the U.S. in Germany. Many Germans travel or have traveled to the U.S. for business or pleasure and many learn English from the earliest years in school. English is a common second language, especially in the western parts of Germany, although some German-language ability is necessary everywhere for a rewarding living and cultural experience.
The chronology of German events since the end of the Second World War has been dramatic and extraordinarily eventful. After Germany’s defeat, the country was occupied by the four Allied powers-the U.S., the U.K., France and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the zones under control of the three western nations united to become the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). In the same year, the eastern part of the country, under control of German Communist authorities and the Soviet Union, was declared a separate German State and became the GDR. On October 3, 1990, following the revolutionary changes of late 1989, the Federal Republic and the GDR joined to form a reunified Republic of Germany that extended the constitution and laws of the former West Germany to five new eastern States.
The city of Berlin, surrounded by East Germany, had a special status in the immediate postwar period and was under the military occupation of the four allies under a
By 1948, Soviet violation of Four-Power Agreements from the immediate post-war days increasingly had isolated their zone from those parts of Berlin occupied by the Western powers and the division of the city began to take shape. The Berlin airlift of food and supplies in 194849 was an Allied response to Soviet efforts to use their control of overland access to Berlin to force the Western powers from the city. The Berlin Wall, the infamous dividing line between East and West Berlin, went up almost overnight in August 1961 in an effort to stem the tide of East Germans departing for the West. The Wall remained in place as a physical and psychological barrier until November 1989 when, under the pressure of weeks of peaceful protests throughout the GDR and changes in Soviet policy, it suddenly collapsed along with the government that had built it. One year later, Germany was unified. In 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, made the historic decision to move the German Government and Parliament back to Berlin from Bonn where it had been located in a “provisional capital” since 1949.
Democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany is founded on the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which came into force in May 1949. It provides for a parliamentary democracy and is protected by the Federal Constitutional Court. The constitution contains strong guarantees of individual rights for all. Matters requiring centralized direction, such as foreign policy, foreign trade, defense, and monetary policy, are reserved to the Federal Government. Parliament has two Chambers. The first Chamber of Parliament, the so-called “lower house,” is the Bundestag, which normally comprises 656 members popularly elected every four years. The “upper house,” the Bundesrat, is composed of 69 deputies appointed by the State or Land governments. This Chamber can approve or veto certain important legislation passed by the Bundestag.
Like the U.S., modern Germany is a highly decentralized nation. Each of the 16 States, or Lander, in the German republic has its own state government, with a Parliament and separate executive branch led by the head of government, the Minister-President. Education, social services, public order, and police are under Lander control. The ability of the Federal Government to affect Lander decisions in matters reserved to the states is quite limited, a feature of the German system of government deliberately created as a result of the experiences of the National Socialist period.
The Federal President, whose powers are mostly limited to ceremonial functions as head of state, is elected every five years by the Federal Convention, consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the state legislatures. The Federal Chancellor, Germany’s Prime Minister, is elected by a majority vote of the Bundestag for a four-year term corresponding to the life of the Bundestag. As chief executive, the Chancellor has a strong position in the German system of government. The Bundestag can remove the Federal Chancellor by electing a successor with an absolute majority of votes.
The largest national political parties are the Social Democratic Party (SPD), leaders of the governing coalition following Parliamentary elections in 1998, and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) which operates in tandem with the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria. The CDU governed Germany during the periods 1949-69 and 1982-98. Germany’s “Greens;” a political party officially known as Alliance 90/The Greens, with roots in the environmental and left-wing movements of the seventies, entered government as junior coalition partner in 1998. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is a small center-right party that has participated as a partner in most German governments since 1949, with the exception of the periods 1957-61, 196669 and after the 1998 elections. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) is the successor political organization to the Communist Party which ruled in the former German Democratic Republic. It enjoys limited regional strength, particularly in some districts of Berlin and the states of the former GDR.
Arts, Science, and Education
Germany has a active and highly innovative theater culture, in both the large cities and smaller communities throughout the country. Theaters and acting companies are usually subsidized although more and more theatres are privatizing, especially in Berlin. Despite this financial dependence, theaters have great artistic freedom guaranteed by the German Basic Law.
For lovers of the visual arts, almost every city maintains art exhibitions and private galleries. Germany has more than 3,000 museums, of which 500 are concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most heavily populated of the Lander. There are outstanding art museums in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Kassel, Stuttgart, and Wiesbaden. The most extensive art collections in the care of a local authority are found in the city of Cologne, including the Wallraf Rich-artz Museum and the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art. The latter institution contains one of the largest collections of American modern art outside the U.S. Cologne also enjoys a global reputation as a sales center for contemporary art. Every five years, the city of Kassel, in the state of Hesse, hosts the largest festival of modern art in the world. Meanwhile, Berlin is also experiencing a revival in the arts and is seeking to establish the Berlin Biennial as a major international show and marketplace.
Foreign artists are frequently involved in German cultural events. Almost every German opera house has American singers under contract. Several German orchestras have an American conductor, and many have American musicians. Every year major American orchestras and dance companies perform under commercial auspices in Germany, touring several cities. American artists are represented in all major museums, exhibits, and galleries around the country. German-language productions of American plays and musicals are frequently part of the repertoire of German theater companies.
As in the U.S., where education is a State and local function, education in Germany is largely the responsibility of the Lander. The Lander coordinate their educational policies through the “Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs ” (Kulturministerkonferenz). The Federal Government can legislate on vocational training and regulations governing the basic principles of higher education and research, and, as in the U.S., it provides important subsidies in these areas.
As an industrial nation lacking raw materials, Germany sees high standards of education and high levels of productivity as essential to the quality of life of its citizens. Although there are many regional variations in educational patterns and changes under way, certain basic practices remain as the German educational model. Compulsory schooling begins at age six and lasts nine years (in some Lander, 10). As in most European countries, Germany relies on early testing and the track system to select students for vocational training leading to skilled employment or further academic study culminating in the university. Most children are tested at age 10. Options include placement in a Hauptschule or Realschule-vocational high schools or in a Gymnasium, an academic high school. In some Lander there are comprehensive schools called Gesamtschulen. After completion of their compulsory schooling, students may qualify for higher-level specialized vocational training at a Fachöberschule, after which admission to a polytechnic university is possible. The Gymnasium leads to the award of the highly-prized “Abitur,” a certificate received after successfully passing stringent tests at the conclusion of the 13th year. (Most eastern Lander give the Abitur after only 12 years.) The Abitur degree is required for university entrance. The comprehensive school embraces all these tracks.
There are nearly two million students at institutions of higher education in Germany. There are over 200 advanced institutions of several kinds (universities and technical universities, polytechnic universities, comprehensive universities, teacher training colleges, and fine art colleges). Numerous adult education centers (Volkshochschulen) also offer an attractive spectrum of subjects for personal enrichment.
Study courses at the 70 universities are divided into basic studies (Grundstudium) and specialized studies (Hauptstudium). Basic studies culminate in an intermediate examination or Vordiplom (usually after four or five semesters) and specialized studies in the Diplom or State Examination (after eight or more semesters, depending on the field). American students with two years of full-time college study may be admitted to German universities if they have the required language proficiency. Students with combined SAT scores above 1,300 may sometimes be admitted with less U.S. college credit. Admission requirements for doctoral and other advanced programs vary. There is limited access to the medical fields.
Education in Germany, including university education, is free of charge for all students, including foreigners.
Commerce and Industry
The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the world’s leading economic powers. In terms of overall economic performance, Germany is Europe’s major industrial nation, the world’s third largest industrial country (after the U.S. and Japan) and the world’s second largest exporting country. Its per capita income is higher than the U.S. and second only to Japan. Principal German industries include automobiles and other road vehicles, chemicals, machinery, electrical goods, iron, steel, and coal. Germany imports food, raw materials, textiles, oil, natural gas, and various manufactured goods.
International trade is crucial to the German economy and the nation enjoys a steadily increasing trade surplus of almost $60 billion. Principal exports are motor vehicles, machinery, chemical products and electrical engineering products. In percentage terms, over 70 percent of Germany’s trade is with European Union nations. The U.S. is Germany’s third largest export partner, behind France and the U.K. At the same time, the U.S. is the fourth largest importer to Germany.
The German labor market has had to cope with profound changes during the past decade and the rate of joblessness, especially in the eastern parts of the country, was a major issue in the election of 1998 that returned the Social Democrats to power. Since then, strategies and policies to stimulate the economy and create jobs have been at the forefront of government deliberations and public discussion. The problem remains most acute in the eastern parts of the country, the former GDR, where an unemployment rate more than 50 percent higher than in western Germany persists in a region with only one-quarter of Germany’s population. About one-third of German workers belong to large, powerful trade unions that bargain collectively for wages and working conditions and commonly participate in industrial policy and managerial decisions. Pressures from continuing high unemployment, high labor costs, an aging population and costly social security/pension programs are forcing Germany to consider reform or restructuring of its labor market and social policies.
Germany requires a valid German driver’s license. No one under age 18 is issued a German driver’s license. You can get German and international licenses during registration if you present a valid driver’s license either from the U.S. or another country with an appropriate translation into German. A U.S. license must be valid on application. Without a valid license, you have to attend a local driving school to obtain a German license. Tuition rates are high, around $730-$900. A passport-sized photograph is needed for both the German and the international drivers licenses.
A driver’s license issued in the U.S. or any other country brought into Germany is not accepted in Germany unless you can prove that the applicant was a resident in the country where the driver’s license was issued for six months or longer.
Germany’s urban transportation system is generally excellent and consists of electric trains, streetcars, and buses. Subways or U-bahns are found in several cities including Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich. All cities have superb taxi service. Taxi rates are relatively expensive and tipping is customary. Public transportation in Germany is easily accessible, clean, dependable, and safe, and is a common method of getting around cities.
As in other countries of continental Europe, Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road. City speed limits, unless otherwise posted, are usually 50 kilometers or 31 miles per hour; on State highways, 100 kilometers or 62 miles per hour. Sections of the German autobahns have no general speed limits for passenger cars, but certain stretches of roadway often will have posted limits that are strictly enforced by radar monitoring. Most emergency vehicles are painted off-white or red and white, with police vehicles painted green and white; emergency ambulances are lettered and numbered in orange or red. Fire vehicles are red.
The Berlin transport system consists of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains. There is excellent service to most parts of the city. A single adult fare (Einzelfahrschein) costs more than $2 in Berlin although a variety of special fares exists for regular users of public transportation.
The large metropolitan areas of Diisseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich are also served by excellent S-Bahn and UBahn systems along with buses and trams. Leipzig has no subway system although public transportation is excellent and is being modernized.
Germany’s largest transport network is the federal railway system (Deutsche Balm AG) which was privatized and decentralized in 1994. More than 25,000 miles of track connect cities and towns throughout Germany and the system is constantly being upgraded and modernized. In addition to domestic high-speed intercity express service, German cities are connected to cities throughout Europe by frequent international express trains. Rail service between German cities, large and small, is excellent, and most European capitals, including London, can be easily reached within 24 hours. Rail fares in Germany are lower and rail usage much more common than in the U.S.
Due to its geographical position in the heart of Europe, Germany is a hub of European air traffic. Almost all major international airlines operate services to or within the Federal Republic. Frankfurt has the busiest international airport in Europe. Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich airports also accommodate international flights including direct flights to and from the United States. The Bonn/Cologne airport is a “feeder” for Frankfurt as well as an intra-Europe airport hub.
Only the United States has a more extensive network of highways than Germany. Because of its well-developed road system, Germany is an ideal country for automobile travel. Most people find a car desirable-sometimes for transportation to and from work-as well as for shopping and recreation. Express highways connect most major German cities, and secondary roads are usually excellent, so all parts of Germany are easily accessible by car.
International road signs are used everywhere in Germany. Drivers need to be familiar with these signs as well as with local driving rules, which are sometimes very different from U.S. driving customs. Parking regulations are rigorously enforced throughout the country and several different systems of paying parking charges may be encountered.
Telephone and Telegraph
Post and telecommunication services in Germany were reformed by a landmark 1995 law in response to European Union requirements and the enormous technical and marketplace changes occurring globally. Further changes resulting from deregulation are continuing. Telephone service in residences is now available through Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest telecommunications company and the third largest in the world. The company traditionally enjoyed a monopoly on local telephone service in Germany. Telephone service is charged on a “per unit” basis of actual usage and tends to be slightly more expensive than U.S. phone service, especially for high-volume users although deregulation and competition are forcing rates lower. Rental and call charges are paid monthly. Itemized bills are now available. Direct long-distance dialing is available in all German cities to most places of the world. Dialing the U.S. from Germany costs much more than direct dialing from the U.S. to Germany. Collect calls from Germany to the U.S. are charged at U.S. rates. AT&T, Sprint, and MCI credit cards and callback services are currently used by many employees for U.S. calls at considerable savings although international long-distance rates are falling as more and more competition enters the communications marketplace.
Germany has an extensive cellular telephone network covering nearly the entire country and personal telephones are commonplace. Deutsche Telekom offers ISDN service to businesses and residences in most locations and the use of ISDN channels is growing fast. Installation fees and monthly service rates vary but are reasonable.
There are scores of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany, both local and national, including AOL and Compu Serve. Deutsche Telekom offers Internet connections through its T-Online service.
UUNET, an affiliate of MCI World Communications, also provides Internet access throughout Germany. Costs to connect to the Internet are somewhat higher than in the U.S. because, in addition to paying the service provider, users must pay for their local calls on a “per unit” basis.
U.S. telephones, including most cordless telephones, answering machines, and fax machines will operate in Germany although devices with internal clocks may run slow because of the difference in cycles in the electrical current.
Radio and TV
Germany has both government and commercial broadcasting. Radio and television in Germany are dominated by two major organizations, ARD, a national public broadcasting network combining eleven regional affiliates, each of which has a radio and a TV arm; and ZDF, Germany’s national television broadcaster. The regional affiliates generate most of the programming for the main ARD channel, known in Germany as the “first channel.” ZDF is the “second channel” and the regional affiliates, such as WDR or NDR, are the local “third channel.” ARD affiliates and ZDF are neither purely commercial nor government-controlled broadcasters. They are independent corporations operating under public laws and controlled by boards whose members are selected by political parties, churches, labor unions, and other public groups. Television programming in Germany is supported both by viewer/listener fees and by commercials. All programs are produced or dubbed in German, including foreign programs and films. The public broadcasters usually favor a program mix more oriented towards news and documentaries.
The most important commercial television broadcasters include: RTL, SAT 1, RTL Plus, Pro 7, n-tv (the first all-news network in Germany), DSF (German Sports TV), RTL-2, and VOX (an “infotainment” channel). While the public companies broadcast on public frequencies, commercial companies rely mostly on the cable network and their programming emphasizes entertainment. Programs are interrupted by commercials. Households serviced by German cable networks can receive approximately 36 programs from Germany and neighboring countries. Satellite service is also available in Germany. English language television broadcasting such as BBC World, BBC Prime, CNN International,
CNBC and AFTN (Armed Forces Television Network) is available on many cable and satellite services.
Radio broadcasting in Germany is dominated by ARD affiliates. Virtually all of them broadcast on two or three frequencies. One channel typically concentrates on pop music and casually presented features and news. Other broadcasts are reserved for classical music, political magazines, educational programs, and radio plays. The number of commercial radio stations in Germany is growing constantly and there are nearly 200 private radio stations.
It is well-known that transmission standards differ for European and American television (PAL vs. American NTSC). European television sets will not operate in the U.S. and American television sets will not operate in Germany. Similarly, NTSC video products cannot be shown on PAL-only television sets. Multistandard sets are required to receive programs where American community cable television systems are operated. CB use by U.S. citizens in Germany is authorized, but it is more restricted than in the U.S. Licensing is obtainable from German civil telecommunications authorities. If turntables for LPs and/or reel-to-reel tape recorders are brought to Germany, remember that the electrical current here is 230v, 50 cycles. Although transformers will reduce voltage to 110v, the 50-cycle adjustment requires replacing the 60-cycle pulley for operation at the correct speed.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals
Germany’s Basic Law guarantees freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. There is no censorship. As a consequence of the strong position of a free press, Germany is as media rich as the U.S. In fact, in terms of the availability of news and information from other countries, Germany, like many other European countries, is far more news saturated than the U.S. There are, however, significant differences between the media in the two countries. Germany remains principally a newspaper-reading nation but the broadcast media are possibly even more influential in their ability to influence public opinion.
Regional newspapers, many with national circulation, play a larger role than in the U.S. and general newspaper readership far exceeds that of the U.S. A circulation of 200,000 is an average circulation for a German regional paper with even higher figures for several regional papers that circulate nationally. Large circulation newspapers in Germany include the tabloid Bild (Hamburg), Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt) Rheinische Post (Diisseldorf), Leipziger Volkszeitung (Leipzig) and the influential Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit. In Berlin, Berliner Zeitung is the daily with the largest circulation, followed by Berliner Morgen-post and Der Tagesspiegel. In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, about 9,000 periodicals of all sorts are published in Germany. Der Spiegel, a weekly news magazine with a circulation of over one million, is one of the largest. A typical well-educated German household might subscribe to a local paper, a national paper and a weekly news magazine. Many major papers and magazines are openly identified with particular political parties or political viewpoints.
Nearly 75 German newspapers are now on-line with Internet sites. One particularly good English-language site is: http://www.Berliner-Morgen-postde. Updated every two weeks, the site has translations of the newspaper’s feature stories about Berlin, lots of the latest information about the city and links to many other useful Internet sites with important information about Germany. Another valuable site is: http://www.dwelle.de, the home of Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, which features the news of Germany and the world in English and links to other Germany sites. Visitors may also subscribe to Deutsche Welle’s daily English news summary via e-mail.
The German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse Agentur-DPA) is the leading German news agency, with offices worldwide. The leading U.S. news agency, Associated Press, also services German newspapers. The English-language International Herald Tribune, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal are available in most locations. European editions of Time and Newsweek are widely sold along with
Daily editions of British newspapers. Bookstores in larger cities sell a limited number of English-language books, usually in British editions.
Health and Medicine
Excellent medical care is available in Germany. The approach to medical care, however, is different. A large number of physicians speak English.
Patients who have chronic medical problems requiring scheduled and unscheduled medical follow-up should plan to use local German physicians. Most local German hospitals provide 24-hour emergency care. German medical practice is often different from what is customary in the U.S. and not all hospitals can provide full English-language assistance.
Germany also has excellent medical and educational facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped, but all services are usually in German. English speaking facilities are scarce. Germany is not necessarily appropriate for all special needs children. Bills for German medical and dental care must be paid by the patient and then submitted to a health insurer. Dental and orthodontic care is available throughout Germany although standards may sometimes vary from U.S. standards. Charges for medical and dental care are standardized by the German Government and tend to be equivalent or somewhat higher than in the U.S.
Well-known German medical institutions include the Oskar Helene-Heim Orthopedic Hospital of the Free University of Berlin, the Waldfriede Community Hospital and the Benjamin Franklin Klinikum, one of Berlin’s finest large university hospitals with a full service emergency room.
Dusseldorf: Excellent medical care is available from German providers in the Dusseldorf area.
Hamburg: The city and region have many competent and specialized German doctors and hospitals, many of which are internationally recognized and which provide excellent emergency and routine care. Generally, German doctors in Hamburg speak at least some English. The University Hospital of Hamburg-Eppendorf has a number of specialized clinics that treat illnesses and medical conditions of all kinds. For detailed information regarding this hospital, see their Internet site at www.uke.uni-hamburg.de.
Leipzig: Local medical establishments capable of handling routine medical problems and emergencies. A number of local medical and dental facilities have reached West German standards, and Leipzig recently opened a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility, which is one of the leading such institutions in Germany. In addition, the Bundeswehr Krankenhaus offers high-quality treatment and the Diakonissen Hospital offers most medical services. American tourists and business officials have also received satisfactory emergency services from Leipzig University’s clinics and quality dental care from local practitioners.
Munich: Excellent medical care is available from German physicians and German hospitals in the Munich area.
Community sanitation and public cleanliness are similar to or exceed those incomparable American cities. Drinking water, dairy products, fresh vegetables, meats and other food products are under strict German Government control and meet the highest sanitation and health standards. In recent years, information about the health risks of smoking have reduced the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Germany. Smoking is not allowed, for example, on domestic airline flights and there are “no smoking” train compartments and “no smoking” rooms in many hotels. Still, few restaurants have smoke-free areas and smoking in public buildings and shops is common.
NOTES FOR TRAVELERS
Passage, Customs and Duties
Frankfurt International Airport, continental Europe’s largest airport, is the principal gateway city in Germany for international air connections. In many cases, other European cities may serve as convenient gateways to Germany and conform with travel rules. U.S. airlines serve many German cities directly from U.S. locations.
A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany. Further information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 298-4000, or the German Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco; and on the Internet at http://www.germany-info.org/newcontent/index_consular.html. Inquiries from outside the United States may be made to the nearest German embassy or consulate
Germany’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Germany of certain items such as firearms, military artifacts (particularly those pertaining to the Second World War), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals and business equipment. Under German law it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany literature, music CDs, or other paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past or the former “Third Reich.” It is advisable to contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Americans living in Germany are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or any of the U.S. consulates and obtain updated information on travel and security within Germany. A new initiative of the American Embassy in Berlin allows all Americans in Germany to obtain automatic security updates and Public Announcements by e-mail. To subscribe to this service, simply send a blank e-mail to German-yACS@state.gov and put the word “SUBSCRIBE” on the subject line. Individuals planning extended stays in Germany are encouraged to register in person at their local consular section.
U.S. Embassy in Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5; Tel: (49)(30) 238-5174 or 8305-0; the Consular Section is located at Clay-allee 170; Tel: (49)(30) 832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215.
U.S. Consulates General are located at:
Duesseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10, Tel.: (49)(211)788-8927; Fax: (49)(211)788-8938.
Frankfurt: Siesmayerstrasse 21, Tel: (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304.
Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28, Tel: (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49)(40) 44-30-04.
Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4, Tel: (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 21384-17 (emergency services only).
Munich: Koeniginstrasse 5, Tel: (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.
There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at:
Bremen World Trade Center, Birkenstrasse 15, Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421)301-5861.
When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).
Germany is a pet-loving country and dogs especially are familiar companions in all German cities. Dogs and cats imported from abroad must be accompanied by a valid health certificate and a certificate of vaccination against rabies. These certificates should be issued by an official veterinarian in the country of origin. The health certificate must state that the pet is in good health, free from contagious diseases, and that no cases of rabies had occurred within an area of 20 kilometers of where the pet had previously resided. Rabies certificates must certify that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry but not longer than one year before. Travelers should understand that animals may be refused entry if fewer than 30 days have passed since the rabies inoculation was administered. This health certificate itself should be less than ten days old when the pet arrives. The German Embassy in Washington provides a formal form for use when importing pets although experience has shown that officials at the entry port, particularly at Frankfurt International Airport, rarely demand the form when handling pets arriving from the U.S.
Animals without health certification may be admitted if they are found to be in good health after inspection by an official veterinarian at the airport and payment of the applicable veterinarian’s fee. In the event that an animal thus imported becomes sick or dies within three months after importation, the owner must report the incident to the official veterinarian at the animal’s place of domicile.
Birds of the parrot family and exotic animals are admitted only by special permission.
While walking your dog outside your own yard, it must be kept on a leash at all times. Canine varieties specified in German law as “dangerous” must wear a muzzle in addition to being leashed. Only in designated areas may dogs roam freely without running afoul of the law. German law also requires the removal by the dog owner of waste, when deposited on public property. Pet owners should plan to purchase inexpensive liability insurance available locally for pets, especially larger dogs. German pet owners typically carry such insurance. Excellent veterinary and dog grooming services are available everywhere in Germany. There is no heartworm (filaria) in Germany.
Animals sent by airfreight should arrive between 9:00 a.m. Monday and 5:00 p.m. Friday, since Customs offices are closed weekends and holidays. Travelers should carry the airway bill number to facilitate animal identification.
If you intend to walk a dog freely in Berlin, it is imperative to obtain the appropriate dog tax decal. House pets or dogs kept in one’s own yard are not subject to this tax. documentation.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures
As a member of the European Community, the Austrian monetary unit is the Euro, which is divided into 100 cent. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 & 2 euros. Bank notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The exchange rate approximates 1.15 euro to $1 US.
Although credit cards, are used throughout Germany, especially in hotels and restaurants, their use in retail shops is not as ubiquitous as in the U.S. Most payments in Germany are made in cash, personal checks in DM or via direct bank transfer. Personal checks drawn on U.S. banks are not accepted. Cash machines are available for use almost everywhere and most-but not all-provide cash withdrawals on credit cards. American ATM cards affiliated with major U.S. bankcard systems (such as the PLUS’ or CIRRUS’ networks) can be used at many bank cash machines.
In Germany, commodities are sold in liters for liquid volume and kilograms for dry weight. A gallon is 3.8 liters (one liter is 0.264 gallons) and a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. Measure of length is by meter, which equals 39.37 inches. Distances are measured in kilometers (eight kilometers are five miles) and speeds in kilometers per hour (80 kph equals 50 mph). Land measure is by hectares. One hectare is 2.47 acres.
Jan.1…New Year’s Day
May 1…Labor Day
May/June…Corpus Christi Day*
Aug. 15…Assumption Day
Oct. 3… Day of German Unity
Oct. 31… Reformation Day
Nov. 1…All Saints’ Day
Nov. 21…Repentance Day
Dec. 25…Christmas Day
Dec. 26…Second Christmas Day
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.
Ash, Timothy Garton. The File: A Personal History. New York: Random House, 1997.
In Europe’s Name: Germany and the Divided Continent. New York: Random House, 1993.
Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Friedrich, Otto. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995.
Germany: A Phaidon Cultural Guide. Prentice-Hall: 1985.
Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1996.
Kitchen, Martin. Cambridge Illustrated History: Germany. London: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Ladd, Brian. The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Maier, Charles S. Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany. Princeton and New York: Princeton University Press, 1997.
Richie, Alexandra. Faust‘s Metropolis: A History of Berlin. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998.
Shandley, Robert R. (ed.). Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1998.
Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.
Taylor, Ronald. Berlin and its Culture: A Historical Portrait. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997.
Wise, Michael Z. Capital Dilemma: Germany’s Search for a New Architecture of Democracy. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.
In addition to the U.S. Embassy’s site (http://wwwusembassy.de) and many other sites mentioned in this publication, two good starting points for Germany information are http://www.germany-tourism.de and http://www.germany-info.org. The Internet site http://www.bundesregierung.de contains excellent information in English and German on all aspects of Germany today as well as links to current news from the Federal Government’s Press and Information Office. In addition, a variety of topical and helpful Frequently Asked Questions on Germany can be found at http://.www.physics.purdue.edu/-vogelges/faq.