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Germany

Germany

Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Germany on the EURES Portal.

Finding a job

If you would like to work in Germany, you can find a lot of useful information on the website www.make-it-in-germany.com. The website www.make-it-in-germany.com provides:

  • a Quick-Check tool on training and employment opportunities in Germany,
  • assistance on finding a job, and
  • information on living and working in Germany.
  • Information is available not only in German, but also English, Spanish, French and 14 other languages.

Tips: You can contact advisers directly via www.make-it-in-germany.com. They will support you in finding and applying for a job and provide guidance on living conditions in Germany.

 They speak English and possibly other languages.

You can also register for online workshops on specific topics, such as recognition procedures or living conditions in Germany.

You will find Germany’s largest job portal at https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/jobsuche. Information is available not only in German, but also English and Arabic.

The EURES portal publishes jobs from organisations that are explicitly looking for jobseekers from the EURES area.

Employers also advertise job vacancies in daily newspapers and on private online job exchanges.

It is also common in Germany to send speculative applications.

 Applying for a job

Text last edited on: 07/2021

Finding accommodation

Finding accommodation in Germany is not always easy. If you are interested in accommodation, you will usually need to provide the following documents: application form (this is often given to you at the viewing), identity card or passport. proof of income. certificate to prove that you have not been in rent arrears and evidence of your credit rating (SCHUFA report). Do not forget to check whether the accommodation is offered unfurnished, partly furnished or fully furnished. Accommodation is often leased without kitchen appliances (cooker, sink, refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, etc.).

You will find advertisements for accommodation in the property sections of local daily newspapers and on the internet. In most cases, landlords also expect a one-off deposit of 2 to 3 months’ rent in addition to the actual rent. This serves as a guarantee for any damage to be repaired after moving out of the accommodation. The deposit is returned at the end of the lease period if the landlord has no complaints.

If you come to Germany alone and are prepared to live with other people, shared flats [Wohngemeinschaften] are a good alternative to a place of your own. In many university towns there are also accommodation agencies [Mitwohnzentralen] that can provide rooms or flats for a limited period of time on payment of a commission.

Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

   1.The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

   2.The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

   3.The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

   4.Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

Kinds of employment

Kinds of employment

The minimum age for regular employment in a business is 15. Although trainees work in a business as part of their vocational training, they are not employed in the conventional sense and they therefore enter into a vocational training contract with the company providing the training.

The majority of employees continue to have open-ended, full-time employment contracts with weekly working times that are generally 38-40 hours

The following forms of employment are particularly common in Germany:

  • Vocational training relationship: this includes vocational training, vocational training preparation, further vocational training and retraining. The specific and central source of law is the Vocational Training Act [Berufsbildungsgesetz – BBiG].
  • Mini jobs: In the case of minor employment – also known as a ‘mini-job’ – a distinction is made between low-income and short-term employment.
  • Employment is categorised as short-term employmentif it is limited to no more than 2 months or 50 working days from the start date in the course of a calendar year. Under labour law, there is a fully-fledged employment relationship in each case. Short-term employment also includes seasonal work.
  • Employment is deemed to be low-income employmentif the remuneration generally does not exceed EUR 450 per month. Generally speaking, workers who engage in minor employment must therefore be treated as part-time and full-time workers. Workers who engage in minor employment are not subject to compulsory insurance (sickness, care and unemployment insurance). They can be exempted from compulsory pension insurance.

You can find further information at https://www.minijob-zentrale.de.

  • Part-time work: The agreed working time for part-time employees is shorter than the company’s normal working time. In principle, part-time employment is subject to the same provisions of labour law as full-time employment, since the only difference between the two employment relationships is the duration of the working time. In addition, the Act on part-time work and fixed-term contracts [Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz – TzBfG] contains special provisions. Further information can be found on the internet at http://www.teilzeit-info.de.
  • Fixed-term employment relationships: There are two types of fixed-term contracts:
  • time-based contractsend at the contractually agreed point in time without needing to be terminated.
  • purpose-based contractsare concluded for a specific purpose (e.g. holiday or sickness cover, collaboration on a specific project). In the case of purpose-based contracts, a notice period of two weeks must be given.

With regard to the permissibility of fixed-term employment, the special provisions of the TzBfG must be complied with.

  • Teleworking: An employee can either work entirely from home and thus away from the physical workplace, or he or she can work from home and at the workplace on an alternating basis. A teleworking job is established only when the employer and the employees have laid down the teleworking conditions in an employment contract, a supplementary agreement, a works agreement or a collective agreement and the equipment required for the teleworking job has been provided.
  • Temporary employment relationships/supply of staffThe terms ‘temporary agency work’, ‘hiring-out of workers’ and ‘supply of staff’ refer to the situation in which an employer supplies an employee to a third party in return for remuneration and for a limited period of time. Forms, fact sheets and other documents from the Federal Employment Office [Bundesagentur für Arbeit] can be downloaded at https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/unternehmen/download-center-unternehmen#1478809589553.

Seasonal work

Fair mobility is important to us. German labour law also applies to harvest workers. This includes:

  • entitlement to paid holiday,
  • payment in lieu of untaken holiday,
  • continued payment of wages in the event of illness, 
  • and much more.

Further information on seasonal work (in German, English, French, Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian) can be found here: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/fuer-menschen-aus-dem-ausland/download-center-menschen-aus-dem-ausland#1478932935045

In Germany, there is employment subject to compulsory social security contributions and employment exempt from compulsory social security contributions. Normally, employment is subject to compulsory insurance contributions. A questionnaire is used to determine whether or not you are subject to compulsory social security contributions. The questionnaire can be downloaded in different languages from the website https://www.svlfg.de/auslaendische-saisonarbeitskraefte of the Social Insurance for Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture.

More information on fair mobility can be found in various languages at the following address: https://www.faire-mobilitaet.de/landwirtschaft

 Employment Contract

An open-ended employment contract may be entered into orally or in writing. In the case of a fixed-term contract, however, the expiry date must always be set down in writing. If that is not done, the employment contract is deemed to be open-ended. The written form is compulsory for apprenticeship contracts.

If a written employment contract has not been concluded, the employer is required by the Proof of Employment Act [Nachweisgesetz] to set out the main terms of employment in writing no later than one month after the agreed start of employment, sign them and hand them over to the employee.

A written contract should contain the following details:

  • name and address of the employee
  • name and address of the organisation
  • place of work
  • description of duties
  • date on which employment commenced
  • duration of probationary period
  • in the case of fixed-term contracts: duration of the contract
  • in the case of open-ended contracts: notice period and date of termination
  • weekly or daily working hours
  • amount of remuneration and of any supplements
  • payment date and method
  • leave allowance
  • reference to collective agreements and to works and service agreement

Working time

Working hours and breaks are stipulated in the Working Hours Act [Arbeitszeitgesetz]. This applies to workers and employees, as well as people in vocational training. Executive employees are not within the scope of this law.

At present the working week varies between 38 and 40 hours, depending on the collective wage agreement. As a rule, the working day should not exceed eight hours and is restricted by law to a maximum of ten hours. A break of at least 30 minutes is mandatory after six hours’ work, and a further break of 15 minutes after nine hours. A rest period of at least 11 hours must be observed after a full working day. Employees cannot normally be required to work on Sundays and public holidays.

For many workers, normal working hours in the form of eight working hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. over five weekdays are not the normal pattern. These workers include emergency and rescue services, fire brigade, public safety workers, hospitals, guesthouses, cultural institutions and transport, among others. However, workers must have at least 15 work-free Sundays per year.

Many workers now have flexible working hours, such as ‘flexitime’. ‘Flexitime’ generally provides for core hours during which all employees must be present at the organisation. Employees are given the opportunity to work more or fewer hours within fixed limits. As a rule, overtime hours can be accumulated to a limited extent and ‘taken off in lieu’ or paid out. Electronic time recording systems and working time accounts have been set up in businesses to record the hours of work performed by each individual. If such systems are not available, you should document your working hours yourself. The website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has information on how to document your working time (sample sheet or app).

 The statutory minimum entitlement to leave is 24 working days per year (Federal Act on Leave [Bundesurlaubsgesetz]). Special rules apply to certain groups of people, including young people under the age of 18 and disabled people.

Collective agreements stipulate leave of 30 working days for most employees. A person’s salary continues to be paid in full during this period. Anyone who consistently performs heavy or hazardous work will normally receive additional leave. Some collective wage agreements include arrangements for specific events in one’s private life. For instance, some organisations grant individual and additional special leave days for marriage, the death of a close relative or for moving house if you are transferred to a different location. Full entitlement to leave is acquired only after the employment relationship has been in existence for 6 months.

There is in principle a ban on working on public holidays, to which there are some exceptions. The Public Holidays Acts [Feiertagsgesetz] of the individual federal states [Länder] determine the dates of public holidays in those Länder. The national public holidays are New Year’s Day (1 January), Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, Labour Day (1 May), Ascension Day, Whit Sunday and Whit Monday, Day of German Unity (3 October), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December).

There are clear rules governing absence on grounds of illness. In the event of illness, an employee must inform the organisation of their incapacity for work and the anticipated duration of that incapacity as soon as possible. In the case of illness lasting longer than three days, an employee must submit a doctor’s certificate no later than the following working day.

During parental leave, parents can be released from work by the undertaking to look after their child – the employment relationship is thus in abeyance during parental leave. However, parental leave also gives male and female employees the opportunity to work part-time so that they are able to devote themselves to their child and at the same time keep up with their job. Each parent is entitled to parental leave to look after and bring up their child until it reaches the age of three.

Employees can take educational leave for the purpose of their further training. The Länder have their own laws on educational leave which govern paid leave from work. You can use this for your own citizenship education, language courses (e.g. ‘German as a foreign language’) or for your further vocational training. As for annual leave, you should agree arrangements for educational leave with your employer at an early stage.

Pay

Income earned is set by collective wage agreements or by individual agreements with the employer. Employers frequently pay remuneration exceeding the agreed pay scale to sought-after skilled workers. Higher wage and salary payments above the collectively agreed rate are characterised by the fact that collective wage agreements are applied in the company and therefore the employee’s basic remuneration is regulated collectively. A voluntary, freely agreed supplement is paid in addition to this basic remuneration.

On 1 January 2021, the statutory minimum wage was initially raised to EUR 9.50 gross per hour and will then be incrementally increased to EUR 9.60 gross on 1 July 2021, to EUR 9.82 gross on 1 January 2022 and to EUR 10.45 gross on 1 July 2022. There are also generally applicable sectoral minimum wages in accordance with the Basic Collective Agreements Act [Basis Tarifvertragsgesetz], the Posting of Workers Act [Arbeitnehmerentsendegesetz] and the Act on the Provision of Temporary Workers [Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz].

Persons under the age of 18 without vocational training are exempt from the minimum wage in Germany. In addition, trainees and persons completing a compulsory internship have no right to the minimum wage. Only a voluntary work placement lasting longer than 3 months is remunerated at the minimum wage rate.

Trainees have been subject to a minimum training allowance [Mindestausbildungsvergütung (MAV)] since 2020. The Vocational Education and Training Act [Berufsbildungsgesetz – BBiG] (https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Das_neue_Berufsbildungsgesetz_BBiG.pdf) provides for a minimum training allowance for all vocational training contracts entered into after 1 January 2020. This amounts to EUR 550 in the first training year for vocational training positions taken up in 2021. This amount will increase gradually until 2023 (2022: EUR 585; 2023: EUR 620). Provision is made for an increase of 18% in the second training year, 35% in the third and 40% in the fourth. The change in subsequent years is automatic and is linked to the average growth in contractually agreed training allowances (negotiated collectively and individually). Training companies subject to collective wage agreements may pay trainees the applicable collective training allowances even if these are less than the above-mentioned rates. Above the MAV, the agreed training allowance should not be more than 20 percent below the allowance stipulated in the relevant collective wage agreements.

At present, minimum standards for working conditions (particularly wages and paid leave) exist only in individual sectors as a result of statutory rules of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Posting of Workers Act, 1996). They currently apply to, inter alia, the main and ancillary construction industry, cleaners, postal workers, the care sector, security services and waste management (including street cleaning and winter road maintenance).

Salaries are normally transferred into the employee’s current account in the middle of the month or at the end of the month. Under trade regulations, the employer is required to provide the employee with a statement setting out remuneration in a comprehensible text format. Wage tax, solidarity surcharge and, where appropriate, church tax, as well as the employee share of contributions for social security insurance (healthcare, pensions and nursing care insurance) and unemployment insurance are deducted from the agreed gross pay and transferred directly by the employer to the relevant administrations.

End of employment

Open-ended employment relationships end upon termination by at least one contracting party (employee or employer), but no later than upon reaching the pensionable age.

Normally an open-ended employment relationship begins with a six-month probation period. During this trial period a reduced period of notice of 14 days applies. Termination of an employment relationship must be carried out in writing. The statutory periods of notice are provided for/laid down in the Civil Code [Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)]. Employees must give 4 weeks’ notice to the fifteenth or last day of a given month. The longer an employee has been with a business, the longer the periods of notice that must be given by the employer.

Here is a short list of the notice periods, which depend on the duration of the employment relationship:

0 to 6 months (trial period)   

2 weeks to any day of the month

7 months to 2 years

4 weeks to the fifteenth or last day of the calendar month

2 years

1 month to the end of the calendar month

5 years

2 months to the end of the calendar month

8 years

3 months to the end of the calendar month

10 years

4 months to the end of the calendar month

12 years

5 months to the end of the calendar month

15 years

6 months to the end of the calendar month

20 years

7 months to the end of the calendar month

Fixed-term employment relationships with a written employment contract come to an end automatically when the agreed period expires. In those cases the organisation is not required to give notice of termination. When your employment ends, you are entitled to a reference.

The termination of working life and entitlement to the standard old-age pension are currently being changed in stages. For those born up until 1946, the retirement age was 65. The retirement age for those born after that year is gradually being increased at the moment. From 2019, the statutory retirement age for those born from 1964 onwards will be 67. However, early retirement is still possible, for example in the event of severe disability or contributions having been paid for many years. The longer contributions have been paid into the pension scheme, the higher the pension. Parental leave and the care of relatives are also taken into account as qualifying contributory periods.

In addition, a pension is payable for reduced capacity to work, for example if you can no longer work or can only work part-time on account of an illness or disability. The amount of the pension in that regard depends on your contributory periods and the degree of incapacity.

 The health system

Employees, including trainees, are required to pay social security contributions. This means that employers and employees pay a contribution to statutory pension, unemployment, sickness and care insurance each month. The amount of contributions paid depends on your gross salary. The employer pays half of the contribution, with the employee paying the other half. Salary deductions for social security contributions are subject to an upper limit. This is known as the contribution assessment ceiling [Beitragsbemessungsgrenze].

If you intend to work in Germany, you must always take out health insurance as an employee (national health insurance) as soon as you sign an employment contract. To ensure that illness does not pose a financial risk, the statutory health insurance funds provide their members and their members’ families with cover in the event of illness. Non-working spouses and children can also be included in the insurance. As a member of the national health insurance scheme [Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung (GKV)], you are automatically also covered for nursing care.

Employees can take out private sickness insurance if, over the course of a year, their gross monthly income has exceeded the compulsory insurance limit of EUR 58 050 per year (EUR 4 837.50 per month) (assessment ceiling for 2021).

The self-employedfreelancers and artists are generally privately insured regardless of their income level, as are tenured civil servants and other persons entitled to receive benefits [‘Beihilfeberechtigte’] such as judgesmembers of a Landtag [regional assembly] and members of the Bundestag.

The compulsory insurance limit is set annually by the legislator. Employees who earn a salary above this compulsory insurance limit can take out voluntary insurance. The contribution assessment ceiling for statutory pensions and unemployment insurance is EUR 7 100 (west) and EUR 6 700 (east) per month in 2021.

For a temporary stay in another Member State, EU citizens and citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) merely require a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to receive medical treatment if they fall ill.

You can find addresses and telephone numbers for doctor’s offices and dental practices in the local telephone directory. You should first make an appointment by telephone before visiting a doctor. For acute illnesses or accidents, you will be given an appointment immediately or on the same day. Otherwise, you will have to wait for several days or even weeks, particularly for specialists. Few practices are open on Saturdays, and only emergency services can be accessed on Sundays.

If, after being examined, you have received a prescription for the prescribed medication from the doctor, the pharmacies usually charge an additional fee of EUR 5 to 10 per item. In the case of minor disorders, you will receive non-prescription medicines. You can get a free consultation in all pharmacies, even without visiting a doctor.

If the doctor’s office is closed, the doctors on call will help you. You can contact the emergency services outside surgery hours (Monday to Friday), during the night, at the weekends and on public holidays using the telephone number 116117. You also have the option of going to the accident and emergency department of a hospital. Some pharmacies are also open at weekends and on public holidays. Further information can be found online.

If you require an ambulance, dial 112.

 Income and taxation

The average gross monthly earnings of full-time workers were EUR 3 975 in 2020. The difference between the average gross hourly rate of pay for men (EUR 22.78) and women (EUR 18.62) is 18 per cent.

According to the findings of the Federal Statistical Office for 2020, the average gross annual earnings for full-time employees vary from sector to sector. Here is a brief overview:

  • Manufacturing industry: EUR 53 351
  • Service sector: EUR 51 953
  • Public and personal services: EUR 52 479

Anyone residing in Germany or staying in Germany for more than 6 months in a calendar year must pay tax on their entire income from home and abroad. As an employee, tax is automatically deducted from wages. The amount of income tax is based on income level and marital status.

Individual living conditions are taken into account in calculating taxable income. Single people have to pay the most taxes. Anyone who is married, is also the sole earner and has children gets off much more lightly. 

The filing of a tax return is voluntary in Germany. In some cases, there is an obligation to submit a tax return by 31 July of the following year, e.g. for those who earn additional income on top of their wages or receive unemployment benefit, cash sickness benefit or short-time allowance. In the case of several employment relationships or certain tax class combinations, the filing of a tax return is obligatory.

Those who are not obliged to submit a tax return do not have to submit one, but can do so voluntarily. The submission of a voluntary tax return is particularly worthwhile if, for example, the employee had to pay high advertising costs, special expenses or exceptional costs, or got married during the year. In these cases, a tax refund may be possible.

Value-added tax (VAT) on the acquisition of goods and the use of services varies between 7% and 19%.

  • A rate of 19% is charged on the majority of goods and services in Germany.
  • A rate of 7% applies to basic daily necessities such as bread, butter and milk. Sports and cultural events are also included in basic goods and services, so the reduced VAT rate applies to stadium, cinema and theatre tickets. Even newspapers, magazines and books are only taxed at 7%, as well as public transport within a 50-kilometre radius, which includes buses, trains, trams and even taxis.

The education system

The area of preschool education is diverse and includes day nurseries [Kindertageseinrichtungen (KiTa)] for children aged between

  • one and three: baby nurseries, childminders, mixed-age kindergartens or parenting initiatives
  • three and six: predominantly kindergartens, but also childminders and preschool classes.

Childcare costs vary depending on the local authority. Local authorities assume the bulk of the costs, regardless of whether childcare is provided by a municipal or private institution or a childminder. Parents pay a contribution calculated on the basis of their family income. Private kindergartens are often more expensive than municipal facilities.

With effect from 1 August 2019, under the Good Daycare Facilities Act [Gute-KiTa-Gesetz], all parents who receive child, housing or basic social benefits (unemployment assistance) in respect of beneficiaries who are fit for work in accordance with Book II of the German Social Code [Zweites Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB II)] are exempt from KiTa fees.

Compulsory school begins with primary school [Grundschule] (Years 1 to 4) when a child reaches the age of six. In some Länder, there is also a 6-year primary school, or an orientation phase not attached to any school type [schulartunabhängige Orientierungsstufe] in Years 5 and 6; both count towards the junior secondary level.

Attendance at state schools is free of charge. Parents have to pay only for schoolbooks, additional teaching material and class excursions and trips.

After primary school, the parents decide together with the child which secondary school the child will attend. There is a choice between:

  • secondary lower school [Hauptschule] (to Year 9 or 10),
  • intermediate school [Realschule] (intermediate school-leaving certificate at the end of Year 10) or,
  • grammar school [Gymnasium] (ending with the Abitur [advanced certificate of education]), which – depending on the Land – goes up to Year 12 or 13.

The Abitur allows immediate access to college or university education. A Realschule leaving certificate combined with a successfully completed apprenticeship also allows access to a university of applied sciences [Fachhochschule]. 

The comprehensive school [Gesamtschule] is a special form of school which offers several types of schooling (Hauptschule and Realschule leaving certificates and Abitur) under one roof from Year 5. Gesamtschulen do not exist in every Land.

In Germany, schools’ teaching hours are mainly between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Even though the demand for full-day schools and childcare services in the afternoon is high, it cannot be fully met nationwide, although there are major differences between the different Länder. There should be a legal entitlement to full-day childcare for primary school children by 2025.

Initial vocational training can be commenced after completing a school-leaving certificate (Hauptschule leaving certificate, Realschule leaving certificate, Abitur), that is to say from as early as the age of 15. It is provided as full-time and part-time vocational instruction at vocational schools and in businesses which offer training within the ‘dual system’. Training lasts between 2 and 3.5 years. Young people can choose from among around 340 recognised apprenticeship trades. The term ‘recognised apprenticeship trade’ [anerkannter Ausbildungsberuf] is defined by the Federal Education Act [Bundesbildungsgesetz] and forms the legal basis for the content of in-house vocational training.

Germany has around 400 publicly funded or State-recognised higher education establishments. You will find an overview of the German higher education scene and the availability of courses at www.hochschulkompass.de.

Cultural and social life

In Germany, most small towns have their own theatres, orchestras and museums. You will find a rich and varied cultural programme almost everywhere. In the large towns and cities there are opportunities to see interesting artists and exhibitions, theatre performances and film shows, which can be so numerous that it is difficult to make a choice.

In and around the cities there is a wealth of possible destinations that are accessible via well-maintained cycle paths, footpaths and hiking trails and which are worth discovering. 

Many Germans spend their free time in clubs. In Germany there are 600 000 registered clubs (e.V. – eingetragener Verein). There is also a large number of unregistered clubs. As is to be expected, the most popular clubs are centred on sport.

A typical feature of Germany is Kneipen [pubs], some of which have small exhibitions, theatres, music cellars and revue clubs. Often the ‘alternative’ arts scene takes place in them, away from the major art and cultural institutions. Insiders among your acquaintances will give you the right addresses. In summer, beer gardens and wine bars in particular, where you can sit out until late in the evening, are very popular. You should definitely go to the various public festivals such as Fasching or Karneval in the winter, street festivals in the summer, and beer and wine festivals in the autumn.

 Text last edited on: 07/2021

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