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Full of clear and relevant knowledge, Amazing Concepts are an inspiring family of websites taking a look at countries and their folk. As emotional introductions, they are written in the international language of business to assist anyone and everyone to gain quick insights.

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Constantly striving to improve transparency and fairness

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No matter what you do on Amazing Concepts, these are the terms.

 
 

Germany's Great

The emotional country guide for Germany and the Germans

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Germany is a great Nation. Respected, yet sometimes feared, it is also far too often underestimated. A safe haven at the heart of Europe and the EU, it has a calming effect on much of the political and cultural landscape. Germany's Great takes an emotional look at Germans.

Government

A safe, balanced German cabinet

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The conservatives comprised of CDU and CSU have joined forces with the socialists (SPD) to form the German Federal Government. With six women and ten men, the cabinet reveals a high proportional mix of genders compared to German business boardrooms.

German national election 2013 Results

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The electorate in Germany have made their decision and cast their vote; the combined result of tens of millions of ticked boxes has brought joy, sadness and surprise. The national election created a fascinating result, created mostly by the extreme policy of the 5% hurdle.

Amazing Capitals

An expanding series of regional and city expat guides

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Full of clear and relevant knowledge about a single geographical location, expats find the necessary formalities and must do’s, things to see and enjoy as well as ways to contact other people in similar situations. Several sites are already available in the new, easy to use format.

 

Amazing Concepts

Emotional country guides to discover more

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People define places and places define people. History, political ambitions and politician’s egos also form countries and regions as do the ability of individuals to create businesses and jobs. Insights to a developing range of countries will develop on the Amazing Concepts platform.

Village Green

Non-profit creative centre for European children

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Once a house has been purchased, less fortunate children from across Europe will be brought together under one roof on an inspiring trip to meet others. Whilst there, they can spend a period of time becoming involved in creative groups to learn, interact and enjoy themselves together.

Welcome

New format, improved style and flavour

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A warm welcome and thanks for visiting the new Germany's Great on Amazing Concepts. Enjoy the experience of perhaps the most curious guide for those interested in aspects of the Germans and Germany. Interested to know more about this powerful and important place? Enjoy the discoveries.

 

About Us

Helping to understand a unique country

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A warm welcome to the new Amazing Concepts, unique emotional country guides for those who wish to know more about the place and its people. Germany’s Great gives many insights on the Germans and Germany where we lived for a long time and stumbled across so much curious stuff.

German national election 2013

A state election with vast consequences beyond German borders

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Germany's great federal election for the national Government takes place on September 22 2013. The choice for voters is between the CDU, CSU, SPD, Green, Liberal, Left and a few fringe parties. The candidate for the conservatives is Angela Merkel, for the socialists Peer Steinbrück.

Smile Days 2013

People offering the Germans their smile

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In a bookstore in Essen, a lovely young woman who comes from the United States perused the latest publications. Asked whether she would donate her smile to the Smile Days 2013, she hesitated not one instant. Her beautiful, open and friendly smile opens this season's project.

 

Looks

Spot a German a mile away?

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Sitting on the terrace while on vacation, partaking of a perfect espresso and devouring a delicious meal, or perhaps walking through our own town. Someone strolls by and our mind instantly kicks in prompting us to think that person is a different kind of foreigner. That goes for Germans too.

Smile Days 2012

The people of France smiling for Germans

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The French have many personal dealings with the German folk, since they, the Germans, enjoy travelling throughout France. The good wine and food keeps them coming as does the friendliness of their hosts which makes them feel welcome. Germans love the affection shown to them.

Thank You

The most positive and humbling words in the universe

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Two words yet for children the toughest. It seems that German parents do not spend so much time on the matter, thus consecutive generations lose that aspect of personal interaction. Germans don't possess such a feeling for a sophisticated vicinity with others, it's simply not part of their make-up.

 

Carol Singers

The Three Kings give their blessings

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During the period between Christmas and Epiphany many children in Germany dress up as the Three Kings. The twelve days of Christmas are spent wandering from house to house, leaving strange markings above or beside the door. They read, for example, 20*C+M+B*14 for 2015.

Future

A few thoughts through the looking glass

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Tensions are rising in Germany and within parliament on a few issues where changes to the constitution would be necessary. Facing worries on demography will become an ever more challenging issue. Those that need to change are often conservative, white, aging men. But change will come.

Present

A challenged people in challenging times

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Amongst its population of 82 million Germany boasts some 9% of foreigners, placing the country above the European Union average. Quality of life is relatively high, Germans benefit greatly from their strong economy and feel fine with the status quo, while showing concern for the future.

 

Smile Days 2011

Signs of affection from Britain made for Germany

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As an experiment, in 2011 we asked some cheerful types from several countries in England to donate their smiles to us for Germany and the Smile Days. Many gladly did so since the folk in Germany are looked upon with warm hearts and well wishes by many nations including the British.

New Year

A national holiday following great celebrations

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The new year for Germany begins on January 1, since the country is firmly nestled in the Gregorian calender and has been for centuries. With the following day a bank holiday, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve people dash from parties to balconies or gardens to set off fireworks.

Smile Days 2010

Celebrating twenty years of a reunited Germany

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Germany had long come home in 2010, that's why we suggested turning May 1 and October 3 into smile days. We watched surprised, that few official events and even less individual initiatives took place so decided to show that a feel good factor can be developed and promoted with a smile.

 

Thanksgiving

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In Germany Saint Michael’s Day on September 29 marks the end of the harvest season. Europe’s harvest celebrations hold a long tradition, having their origins in pagan rituals. Nature’s riches were used on the last warm days of the year before winter to get together and enjoy festivities.

Saint Nicholas

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In Germany children put a plate or one of their boots in front of their bedroom door on the eve of December 6, a traditional celebration known as Saint Nicholas Day. The kind Bishop of Myra in southern Anatolia is patron saint of, amongst others, children, thieves and the falsely accused.

St Martins

Paper lanterns light up the dark evenings

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Celebrations symbolise the adoration of this kind and gentle man. In many regions of protestant or catholic Germany, young children and infants meet, carrying lanterns at Saint Martin's Day processions. Due to the dark time of year, the processions create a magical atmosphere.

 

May Day

Focus on labour and dance into May

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Historically, witches night was a Pagan tradition where witches saw in the arrival of spring. It has changed somewhat over time and now the focus is on music and dancing the eve night away. In Germany it is also a traditional, politically heated public holiday with many demonstrations.

Halloween

Spooky celebrations on the rise in Germany

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Halloween celebrations are conquering Germany, trick or treating is on the rise and the natives love to dress up in costumes. Pumpkins or squash have become popular with delicious specialties such as butternut and hokkaido available on farmers markets and in selected food stores.

Easter

An important religious springtime celebration

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Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday fall on the first Weekend following the first full moon following the spring equinox on March 21, a time of the year when the length of day and night are equal. Children search for eggs hidden by the Easter bunny; smiles and laughter guaranteed.

 

Christmas

A wonderful time of year to enjoy

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Celebrations at Christmastime (Weihnachtszeit) in Germany are similar to those found in other countries. Here, the evening of December 24 is the major day of celebration and togetherness. Traditions include Advent wreaths, Christmas cake, gingerbread and the terrific Christmas markets.

Traditions, Holidays & Celebrations

Vacations in Germany are numerous

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The German calender is dotted with numerous long standing traditional events. Statutory holidays can be of religious or political origin and are either nationwide or exclusive to certain federal states. Political days off are fixed to a date while religious holidays follow the church calendar.

Tipping

Friendly and cheerful service deserves reward

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The word tip is the euphemism for "to improve service" and originates from long ago when money was handed over to preempt poor service. In Germany service charges are included in all restaurant and pub bills yet it is customary to round up and add a few Euros up to 10% if in restaurants.

 

Law-Abiding

Many fines merely a symbolic slap of the hand

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Generally speaking, the Germans are a serious bunch of people, abide by the law and stick to the rules. It is said that in Germany there is a regulation for everything and if it's not regulated, it's not aloud. The German authorities tend also to appeal collectively to the rationale of all individuals.

Corruption

An honest majority hampered by a small minority

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Germany is one of only very few countries in the world where the national parliament refuses to implement anti-corruption legislation for its members. The majority of the population's representatives appear offended by the mere thought that they may be anything but open and honest.

Germans

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Germans might be a somewhat private folk but once the ice is broken, they can be as communicative as any. That is the point. The impression and image of the natives in Germany has arisen through a character trait, but contrary to popular belief, Germans are friendly and fun to be with.

 

Germany

A great country, full of people and beauty

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Germany with its 356,854 square kilometres is not such a massive country. Geographically it is located very centrally on north south and east west axes, as streams of trucks on the motorways show. Its population numbers some 82 million so it is a European nation that is very full of people.

Famous Deceased

German personalities no longer amonst us

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Several individuals have in the past made notable contributions to German and world culture. Some have played an important role in history redefining beliefs and helping us understand more. They have been instrumental in improving lives, inventing such things as the car and the computer.

Famous Living

German personalities still on the go

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Germany has its stars and other famous names who are in the spotlight. Some are either internationally popular or well known and so are included here. Their talents vary with some active in politics or the clergy, other personalities are designers, models, performers and sportspeople.

 

Famous Stuff

Inventions "Made in Germans"

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Many German inventors contributed to the nation’s fame as a cradle of inventions and technologies. Classy cars, trendy kitchen appliances and rockets as well as some every day articles such as tea bags, toothpaste and coffee filters were created in Germany and sold to the whole world.

Feminism

Equality has a long way to go in Germany

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Extremely low numbers of women hold places in boardrooms in Germany, most receive lower salaries and opportunities linger behind those of men. Even though Germans voted in a female chancellor in 2005, the personnel policies of major corporations still keep women out of key positions.

Do's & Dont's

Things to watch out for in Germany

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Some aspects of a foreign culture can be of some surprise. One are two important points about life in Germany are quite unique. The country is rather liberal yet people look up to authority. Germans are a friendly bunch of people, observing many rituals that define life and accepted behaviour.

 

Customs

Strange behaviour passed down over time

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Tradition is the written or verbal passing on of customs, capabilities and also knowledge. These may be scientific and they can concern fairy tales, myths, religions or crafts. Some customs in Germany may appear strange to anyone who is not familiar with them but they help define the society.

Habits

The fabric of everyday life

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Being in every day contact with Germans quickly reveals simple rituals, manners towards others, even their attitude on the environment. Some of the most common German habits may appear strange and odd at first glance but they are the fabric of society and the weather is a big topic here too.

Service

Consumer values and choices in Germany

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The service environment in Germany is defined both by a mix of personal attitudes of both staff and consumers and the ability to interact with others. It is also as much a reflection of motivation (or lack thereof) as a result of social tradition and recent history. The topic remains one of much debate.

 

Nudity

Germans take clothes off to reveal all

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Despite the robust climate, Germans are generally a lot less reluctant to take off all or part of their clothing in public than most nationalities. In German the euphemism for nudism is FKK, which stands for Freikörperkultur (free body culture) standards of which vary considerably across the country.

Humour

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Even if many foreigners wonder whether Germans have any sense of humour, Germans love to laugh. Considering they can also be rather down-to-earth and pessimistic, that's quite a feat for the country of poets and thinkers. In fact, sensitive, deep humour has quite a long tradition in Germany.

Past

A young country with long and eventful histories

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Germany and its diverse regions are characterized by the unique culture of their people and their contact to their neighbours and the geographical location. Strong regional traditions and autonomous political landscapes have preserved a rich cultural heritage from early times of settlement.

 

Federal System

Balance of power, influence on policies and compromise

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With the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany, focus was also placed balance and control. Berlin may be the country's capital, but many powers are spread elsewhere. While the federal government and the lower house rule, the upper house is made up of representatives from the states.

Eurovision Song Contest

Musical magic for millions in Germany and beyond

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Performances are held every year and Germany has attended all but one contest to date, succeeding in winning the title twice. The first was with Nicole in 1982. Many years of distress accompany the rise and fall of national rankings but Germany was successful again in 2010 with Lena.

Football Galore

Champions of the round ball

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Culture

Heavy investment from national, state and local autorities

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The interest in a wide range of cultural activities filters down through state, city and local institutions that fund a wide spectrum of interests. These range from sports to opera, through classical performances to folklore and from children to seniors or religion and integration to gender issues.

Jaywalking

Crossing the street when the light is red

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Jaywalking was born with the invention of the wheel. Planners in every town in every country build crossings and invest in lights, whilst legislators package regulations that are broken. However, crossing a street in Germany to this day still reveals a discipline that is seldom experienced elsewhere.

Smile Of The Day

Thank your for your wonderful smile

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It is always great to enjoy an emotional moment that any delightful person offers us by smiling. A smile can reflect an inner state of mind. But a smile can also do much more. A forced smile can also help make each and every person feel better themselves. Enjoy today's stranger's smile.

 

Tough Ones

Serious situations, people of authority a Du Zone

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Believe it or not, a court decision has been made over whether the use of Du to a person of authority is an insult or not. Speaking to the police, the judge, traffic wardens, our professor, our teacher, at the doctors, the lawyer could all seem unavoidably situations for using exclusively Sie. Or not.

Du Zone

Our own area of decision and choice

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Join the Du Project on Germany's Great and do your little bit over the coming weeks, months and years. There are only 80 million of us. One by one. Create a personal Du Zone as a defined space for each and everyone. Use Du on every person or individually according to mood and situation?

Unknown Strangers

Our encounters, our chance meetings, our experiences a Du Zone

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Everyone we meet casually on the street that perhaps comments on something happening or someone who stops us to ask our way are ideal candidates for the Du Project of Germany's Great. Examples of many more such situations prevail. What more perfect way is there to practice using Du?

 

Known Strangers

Our shops, our taxis, our planes, our trains a Du Zone

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The social sciences speak of those who are on the edge of our daily activities with whom we come into contact with. They are people that we recognise but know little about and exchange few words with who can all affect the way we feel and can have a surprisingly strong influence on us.

At the Desk

Our department, our office, our building, our clients a Du Zone

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Is it impossible to demand respect from a colleague without the instrument of grammar? Or can we utilise phonetics, tonality, respectful attitude and body language? Superiors just love happy staff and efficiency and clients welcome anything that's to their advantage. Create a "Du Zone" in the office.

At the Door

Our house, our street, our block, our neighbourhood a Du Zone

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Residents that live in a flat or apartment have neighbours that are sometimes across the hall and definitely on a floor above or below. Those that live in their own house are sometimes in a terraced home, reside in a semi-detached or a detached home. All can join together to create a "Du Zone".

 

First Names

So much thought causing so little

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In Germany, one of the many topics that is extremely fascinating about life is that of names. Not necessarily family names such as Schmidt, Meyer, Schwarz, Weiss, Cloppenberger or Hendrichs. What captivates more is the continued lack of so many to recognise and use first or christian names.

Strategy

An approach that will work

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The positive aspects of using the informal verasion of the language will outweigh the negative for sure. So let us choose strategy two and proceed. Just imagine the proficiency of Germany and the effect of the personal form of German on each and every citizen. People may even dance on the streets.

Flying the Flag

Open patriotism prevents hidden nationalism

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At last the shift from an unhealthy angst of nationalism to a tentative yet open patriotism has been accomplished. Waving the flag has become acceptable and widespread. The Germans have arrived home. For some, an insignificant step, for others and important ongoing phase of development.

 

Values

The heart and soul of a nation's people

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A country's image is defined in certain circles by the famous names of actors, musicians and writers or by innovative national corporations. The man or woman on the street plays a less important role, yet they are the vast majority that define a nation. More important to society are the agreed values.

Phobia

A difficult past to deal with

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Looking back some seventy years and facing the reality is not necessarily easy as a German. But should anyone under the age of 75 bear any responsibility for the terrible wrongdoing? Or be expected to refrain from showing patriotism, as most parents taught their offspring to do in the past?

Brotherly Love

Do Germans enjoy other Germans?

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The most striking impression a foreigner receives upon arriving in Germany is the lack of smiling faces and a certain indifference on the streets. Why? Most Germans earn well, live well, have a good social system, material belongings, good infrastructure, freedoms, ease of travel and so on.

 

Pass the Buck

The others are normally at fault

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Germany invests fairly heavily in its motorway network, so lanes are often narrowed by contraflows and traffic slowed quite dramatically. Signs encountered after many minutes of patiently waiting to speed off again on the asphalt paradise read simply: "We're building for you" (Wir bauen für Sie).

Driving

Road rules for all in Germany

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Driving habits differ in every country and in Germany especially, right of way can at times be a fairly dangerous concept for those who are not familiar with or have not been born into it. At junctions showing no road signs or markings, drivers definitely need to give way to those coming from the right.

Behaviour

Not all is great in this place

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In Germany, much occurs subliminally. Equality is often proclaimed but structures are far from egalitarian. German travellers enjoy and respect behavioural patterns witnessed abroad yet fail to implement them upon their return. The level of self esteem amongst Germans seems to have sunk to an all time low.

 

Giving Way

Egos in the way of politeness

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But Germans do tend to be less aware of others around them, stand side by side on escalators and block doors trying to enter carriages before commuters can alight. They can ignorantly refuse to move out of the way or block others with their slow stroll. Their sense of another person's aura is lower than many.

Intellect & Talent

A nation divided by education

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The Germans have difficulty in revealing their free spirit. Society is generally built not only on mass inter-dependencies but also on suppression of free will. Anarchy fails and expression of free thought tends to be frowned upon unless the speaker is highly educated and respected as a luminary.

Poets & Thinkers

German literature some of the finest

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The quality of literature by German authors such as Goethe, Hesse and Kant and many more recent authors is legendary. While Germans are proud of works that have been penned over the centuries and love to read, is the country really a land of poets and thinkers?

 

Littering

Clean, separated and recycled

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Germany seems to be a clean country compared to many others. The vast majority are respectful and general interest in all aspects of ecology is very widespread in this society. People possess high awareness and most children are taught early to be particularly conscientious.

Fossil Fuels

Renewable energy on the increase

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In Germany, the government has bravely taken the challenge to substantially increase the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Unfortunately the task of change is far from going smoothly, confusion reigns and consumers are footing the bill.

Politics

Governing Germany in all its facets

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Germany's federal system works mostly in favour of the system, sometimes against. And the system gives an impression of Germanic efficiency that can be misleading. And over the last six odd decades, the Germans have taken democracy on board in typical German fashion.

 

Character

One nation, one character?

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The German race is evolving faster than ever. Like it or not, the Germans are having to face change and the consequences of the perpetuous influx of people from numerous nations. So does that affect the character of the human animal we call the "German"? Who are those that define?

European

Germany is nestled among 500 million people

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Numerous bodies and institutions form the core of the EU, including the European Council, European Parliament, Council of the European Union, European Commission, Court of Justice of the European Union and so on. Germany is a highly devoted member of this largest group of nations.

Democratic

A system of checks and balances

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The populace in this country love democracy. Yet surprisingly the importance of the democratic system is still a topic firmly on the agenda of the media today. And with its highly complicated proportional representation, Germany is a modern day experiment in purist democratic systems.

 

Being German

Not so easy, often downright difficult

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Multiculturalism has taken hold even as the strains of globalisation have started to show. Immigration has positively redefined the way people think about others. Most realise that a German of today may have been born elsewhere or been born within these borders looking decidedly foreign.

Safe Haven

Life in Germany

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Germany offers it's populace a safe haven where society is far more peaceful than in many other countries. There is very little social unrest, low levels of violence. What's more, an increasing tolerance and acceptance of foreigners with different cultural backgrounds can be noted.

Geography

Huge, full and very scenic

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Germany's landscape is often stunning. Majestic rivers weave in all directions through rolling hills, wide valleys and near rich, deep forests. Stretching from the mountains in the south to the coast in the north, history and the federal system has benefited a landscape full of beautiful cities.

 

Neighbours

Germany is surrounded by diverse cultures

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Apart from the north, the sea is quite a distance away and Germans are landlocked. The Danes, Dutch, Belgians, Luxembourgers and French, Swiss and Austrians, Poles and Czechs all possess very individual cultures, different styles of living as well as attitudes towards their fellow citizens.

Smile Days 2007

Supporting Rhein Fire in Düsseldorf

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One of the first impressions and influences a foreigner experiences when arriving in Germany is the lack of smiling faces. In 2007 and idea was born to appeal to local folks in Dusseldorf to join in and show that smiling belongs in the open domain. Hundreds of wonderful images resulted.

Sixty Years On

The path to an inviting society

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Perhaps most surprising aspect of the country's welcoming society is that the Germans themselves are so surprised how open and helpful they can be. The Soccer World Cup in 2008 is defined by many as a turning point in Germany's modern day development.

 

Time

Germany through the ages

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While much soul searching has taken place by older generations, the young live their lives in a far more healthy oblivion of collective responsibility for the past. That's good for them and their neighbours. And the world is better off with a strong and patriotic Germany.

The Time

Language also influences the clock

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When someone in parts of Germany means three thirty, they say half before four (halb vier). In cross-cultural meetings, time can be more than the position of the hands of a clock. Check both time and language; a crucial amount of time can separate destinies.

Multiple Strangers

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The fact that millions originate from cultures so vastly different creates anxieties with some and friction with others. But, extreme right wing or radical activities are proportionately very rare, contrary to impressions formed through some media exposure.

 

Lifestyle

Choosing the way we live

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Germany is rather full. Some eighty million people live in the most populous country in the EU. Politicians, associations and the clergy like to take control everyone's lives in an almost manic fashion. The populace tend to let them, anarchy is almost non existent.

Ah Ha

A defining moment

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A few years ago, your writer strolled into a graveyard atmosphere in the local bistro and had a defining moment. It was a national holiday, where almost everything closes for the day and the country is quiet. A perfect day for an extended walk with the dog, Kiva.

Reunification Day

A good reason to celebrate

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One major day in Germany is Reunification Day, which has an interesting history. Nowadays, it falls on 3 October and almost everywhere closes. People relax, take a stroll, go window shopping, visit family and unfortunately, few Germans take the time to celebrate.

 

Immigrants

Fine for foreigners

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As foreigners quickly come to realize, life in this crowded country is highly regulated and rather bureaucratic. Free enterprise does not always sit well with the country’s collectivist instincts and Germans like to feel that, come what may, they’re all in the same boat.

Nationals

Good for Germans

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Germany is a great nation. The country is respected, sometimes feared and far too often underestimated. A safe haven at the heart of the EU, it has a smoothing effect on much of the political and cultural landscape. It sometimes has strong influence on world events.

Society

An environment full of tensions

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After only a little over sixty years under its belt and following some twenty plus years of reunification, what makes this country called Germany so great? What is it that attracts many millions of foreigners from across the globe who wish to settle here?

 

The People

A vast populace yearning recognition

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The Germans are said to be respected yet not shown affection. Since its creation, modern day Germany has enabled its inhabitants to develop stronger character and higher ethic values. On the whole, the people in Germany have a high standard of living.

The Place

A strong nation envied by many

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Germany is a fascinating place that is hard to be ignored. Landlocked by so many countries whose populations reveal extremely different characters, it can sometimes feel claustrophobic. The world today feels more comfortable with the way the country is run.

Success Stories

Finland and Scandinavia embraced

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The Scandinavian and Nordic countries of the 1960s, turned their backs on the use of a cool and distanced language. In ministries, universities and schools, formal language was simply abolished. Society changed positively and more warmth in society was created.

 

The Reason

Grasping the point behind formality

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Many Germans wish to dispose of the "Sie" phenomenon. Why bother, since the consequences of change are far reaching and such a task is almost overwhelming. Because such a vast amount of people desire change and yearn for a more openly happy society.

The Projects

The spice of life!

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Germany's Great started the first Smile Days project in Düsseldorf 2007. Debate was stirred about the health value of a smile. A chance meeting with an English speaking foreigner led to a student design challenge in Berlin and the Du project was raised a level. More soon.

Smile Days

Smiling is inspiring so make every day a smile day

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One of the first impressions German tourists encounter whilst they are on vacation abroad, is that strangers from other cultures smile at them. Many say they would love it if they experienced it at home, if they could bring that feeling to their neighbourhoods.

 

Du

The personal form of you

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Innumerable infectious individuals, young and old have started too to say Du. But it doesn't really work. Middle-aged men and women stand weaving their way through the language self-consciously avoiding the formal and the informal form of speech. It is painful and a complete waste of energy.

Bread Rolls

A surprising phenomenon

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After thirty odd years in the country, one day I decided to do something I had obviously never before attempted. We had guests staying and out I trotted with the dog to purchase some goodies at the baker I frequent. They have friendly, chatty and certainly