German society

Cosmopolitanism and lived diversity

Many visitors experience Germany as a cosmopolitan, culturally diverse, and livable country. And not just at events like the 2006 soccer World Cup. “The world as a guest of friends” was the official motto of the soccer event at the time. And some who accepted the invitation were surprised by the joie de vivre, friendliness, and curiosity of the people in the most populous country in the European Union. They were able to experience that for “the Germans” not only economic success is the focus, but also family, friends, and leisure time. But you have also seen that most of the older and younger generation are still grappling intensively with the National Socialist past and the division of Germany up to reunification in 1990. Culture of remembrance as well as deep anchoring of basic values ​​such as solidarity and respect for diversity.

It is therefore not surprising that Germany has long since become a country of immigration. The numbers, which may surprise some, tell of the diversity that is lived in the country. Of the total of 82.87 million people in Germany, 10.96 million have a foreign passport – more than in any other of the 28 EU countries. If you then add those women and men who now have German citizenship, but were not born in Germany or are descended from immigrant parents, then more than 20 million people in Germany have a migration background. That means: almost a fifth of the inhabitants has foreign roots.

The growing cultural diversity is on the one hand a social and political challenge for Germany, on the other hand, it represents an opportunity to shape coexistence in the heart of Europe in an active and future-oriented manner.

Attraction and opportunities for advancement

Why are so many immigrants drawn to Germany? The word got around that Germany is a country with many opportunities and interesting job opportunities.

It is accordingly colorful in almost all of the larger German cities. People who cultivate different cultures, languages ​​and religions meet there. In 2015, the German capital Berlin was the most popular destination for foreign immigrants, followed by Munich and Hamburg. The international financial center Frankfurt was also in the top ten. But the science locations also attract people. Karlsruhe, for example, as one of the most important European locations for information and communication technologies, is continuously gaining a large number of international immigrants.

Immigrants play an important role in Germany’s success and improved image. Many people with a migration background have come a long way in Germany: They are teachers, entrepreneurs, specialists in engineering or management, lawyers or medical professionals. You also work as a specialist or in catering. Or they make a career as a director like the Turkish-born Fatih Akin or as a politician like Cem Özdemir from the Greens. In football, the multicultural generation has long been on the field, because the national players no longer only have German roots, but also Polish, Swedish, Turkish, Bosnian, Brazilian, Ghanaian, Nigerian or Tunisian.

The fact that German society is pluralistic in so many areas is also due to the good opportunities for migrants to participate. This also has to do with the high level of respect for and enforcement of equality and participation rights. These are expressly formulated in Article 3 of the Basic Law for various social groups.

Prosperity, legal security and freedom of religion

On the list of the ten “most liveable cities in the world” by the consulting company Mercer, for example, there are three German metropolises: Düsseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt – the criteria for this ranking were political stability, crime, economic conditions, freedom of the individual and the press, health care, the school system, the housing situation, environmental pollution and leisure activities.

Germany has many social achievements that people value regardless of gender, age or origin. These include political and economic stability, the solidarity community with its social security systems, freedom of expression and religion, comprehensive and affordable medical care, the rule of law, the strong role of non-governmental organizations and trade unions and the high priority given to education. Germany is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, the country has not seen any social or political unrest for decades.

As a country of immigration, Germany also has great religious diversity. In everyday life, you meet people from a wide variety of religious traditions. Religious freedom is a valuable asset in Germany. It is therefore in Basic Law codified. There it says in Article 4 among other things:

(1) Freedom of belief, conscience, and freedom of religious and ideological creed are inviolable.

(2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed.

Most of Germany’s residents are Christians (55 percent) and either belong to the Roman Catholic Church or are members of a regional Protestant church. With a share of almost five percent, Islam is the third largest religion in Germany. In addition, there are more than 70 other religious communities. More than 36 percent of the population are non-denominational.

Diverse cultural and leisure activities

The cultural and leisure offer in Germany is also very diverse and attractive. For example, there are tens of thousands of sports clubs in Germany from a wide variety of disciplines such as football, handball and tennis. Anyone can join the clubs, which are usually a cost-effective way to do sports alone or in a team – and thus also to connect with people with the same interests. Those interested in literature can browse through books in numerous libraries across Germany. In addition, the libraries regularly offer cultural events such as readings and lectures, which can be attended free of charge or for a low admission fee. Those who are more interested in history or art can choose between many museums nationwide. Various music schools with lessons in singing, dance or instruments take care of the musical offer. If you are interested in attending a music school, you should first inquire about the costs of the teaching units, as these can vary between the individual schools. You will also find a wide range of courses at Community College . Whether you are interested in a new language, cultural, creative, social or a new sport, everyone is welcome at adult education centers. There are no prerequisites for taking part in the course and the participation fees are usually low. You can even get a discount under certain conditions. Get advice from your local adult education center and find out about the current program.

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