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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: World Cup rainbows, pumpkin slaughter and a nation of savers

From unusual traditions at a world famous pumpkin festival to Germans' spending habits (or lack there of), we take a look at some of the big talking points of life in Germany.

A person places money in a piggy bank in Germany.
A person places money in a piggy bank in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Patrick Pleul

Where do Germans move to?

Many of our members are foreigners who choose to call Germany home. But what do we know about the Germans who move outside the country? According to official figures from last year, around five million Germans currently live abroad. And most of the Germans who emigrate – perhaps unsurprisingly – don’t go too far. Switzerland is home to the most Germans who choose to leave their country.

About 17,000 Germans took up residence there in 2021. Next in line is Austria – another German-speaking country. Around 11,000 Germans chose to live and work there last year.

But it’s not just the German-speaking places that attract Deutschlanders. In third spot for Germans emigrating abroad in 2021 was the United States – 8,400 Germans moved there last year. Meanwhile, just over 6,000 Germans took up residence in Spain, while around 5,000 each opted for Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, and Poland. 

Tweet of the week

All eyes are on the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – but it’s more than football that’s in the news. The world is watching the various protests going on against Qatar, over its treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community. German football commentator Claudia Neumann made waves for her choice of rainbow clothing. 

Where is this?

Photo: DPA/Ilkay Karakurt

The Ludwigsburg pumpkin festival (Kürbisausstellung) is slowly coming to an end after months! So what happens to the pumpkins? Well, a big “pumpkin slaughter” takes place at the Blühende Barock gardens where enthusiasts salvage what they can. Meanwhile, the seeds are usually auctioned off. 

Did you know?

With inflation at over 10 percent, it’s no wonder that many people in Germany are being more careful with their spending. A new survey released this week from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) found that 63 percent of consumers have cut back their spending. The survey also found that more Germans are making long-term changes to their lifestyle such as buying less clothes and repairing goods instead of buying new ones. However, did you know that Germany has a reputation for saving, and making items go further? In fact, Germans are known for being a nation of savers rather than investors.

The Local contributor Aaron Burnett wrote in a recent article on investing: “It’s even apparent in the language – the German word for “debt” is ‘Schuld,’ which also means ‘guilt.’ During the euro crisis, ‘austerity’ was often called ‘Sparpolitik’ in German newspapers, or “the politics of saving”. Meanwhile, many Germans keep most of their money in savings accounts and avoid maxing out credit cards. 

Germany is also known for its second-hand culture and strong recycling ethic. Second-hand shops or platforms for selling items are common. You’ll also find that people leave their old clothes or books on their doorstep in a box with ‘zu verschenken’ (to give away) written on a sign. People can look through the items and take anything they want at no cost. 

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For members

EVENTS

Nine unmissable events in Germany in February 2023

From carnival in Cologne to Berlinale in Berlin, there are some incredible events happening in Germany this February. So while the weather's still gloomy, why not check out our top picks and pencil in some fun things to do in the coming weeks?

Nine unmissable events in Germany in February 2023

February 2nd – 3rd: Feel Jazz Festival in Hamburg

Whether you’re a jazz music convert or a curious newcomer, it’s worth heading down to Hamburg’s Hafenklang nightclub at the start of February to enjoy two full evenings of innovative jazz-inspired music.

The motto is “Discover Jazz”, which means festival goers will be treated to a diverse array of artists from across the jazz scene – and there’s likely to be something for everyone. From classical smooth jazz to electronic pulses and funky beats, this is set to be a whirlwind tour of jazz in all its guises, and what better setting than Hamburg’s atmospheric harbour to enjoy it in?

For more information on the line-up or to book tickets, head to the Feel Jazz website here.

February 3rd onwards: Flower Power Festival in Munich

You don’t have to be a hippie to enjoy this one – but it certainly helps! On Friday, February 3rd, the Flower Power Festival will kick off in Munich under the theme of “Celebrating Nature in the City”. 

One of the highlights in February is set to be a stunning installation by artist Juli Gudehus. Noticing the sheer scale of waste produced in society, Gudehus decided to cut down her own waste and rework it into blossom sculptures, which will be on display at the Nymphenburg Botanical Gardens. Art fans can also catch an exhibition on the history of flowers in art and culture at the Kunsthalle that starts on February 3rd. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t got time to catch an event in February, though. The festival is set to run all the way until October 7th, with numerous family-friendly exhibitions and events run by the Botanical Garden, the BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum and Munich’s Kunsthalle all throughout the year. You can find out more about the Flower Power Festival here.

February 16th – 22nd: Cologne Carnival

Traditionally held just before Lent, carnival in Cologne involves around 1.5 million people visiting the city to dress up, party, sing, and drink. Costumes people pick out can range in everything from mostly festive, historical wear to clear political satire – much resembling a drunken Halloween in February. 

February 20th Rosenmontag – or “Rose Monday” parade often involves parade floats with on-the-nose political humour.

This Carnival float comments on the current traffic light government’s plan to legalise cannabis. Many floats are satirical. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Henning Kaiser

February 16th – 22nd: Düsseldorf Carnival

Given the rivalry between the two cities, you may want to be careful about telling Cologne revellers if you’re headed to Düsseldorf’s Carnival about a half-hour train ride from Cologne. While Cologne’s Carnival is definitely larger, Düsseldorf’s has a reputation for being a little bit less rowdy and a bit cleaner, but with a more full-bodied Altbier instead of Kölsch.

February 16th – 26th: Berlinale Film Festival

One of the world’s “Big Three” film festivals, along with Venice and Cannes, tens of thousands of people visit the Berlinale every year. Running for ten days in mid-February, Berlinale takes over many of the city’s cinemas. The final 2023 schedule won’t be publicised until February 7th, but to give you an idea of just how huge the festival is – in 2014, 441 films were shown at Berlinale in over 900 different screenings.

Berlinale 2023 will feature many world premieres and a few star appearances, as films from around the globe enter into its competition for the Golden Bear trophy, awarded by an international jury to the year’s best film.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack during a Berlinale photo call.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack during a Berlinale photo call. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Gerald Matzka

February 16th – 22nd: F.r.e.e Trade Fair in Munich

Are you a travel enthusiast looking to keep up with everything from your camping gear to bikes and water toys?

F.r.e.e is Bavaria’s largest fair for leisure and travel, with a trade exhibition and presentations on everything from travel destinations to fitness and outdoor gear.

February 17th – Schall & Rausch Music Theatre Festival in Berlin

Berlin’s Komische Oper starts up its new annual festival for new musical theatre this month. With seven separate events going on at the city’s Vollgutlager, Centre for Contemporary Art, and SchwuZ queer club, this festival promises a bit of glitz and glamour, along with experimental music that explores contemporary culture issues.

Komische Oper performances also venture out into these Berlin venues, with its normal home currently under renovation.

February 18th: Valentine’s Day Zoo Tour in Nuremberg 

How do animals love? Are there gay penguins? What species mate for life?

You can find out the answers to these questions and more during the Nuremberg Zoo’s Valentine’s tour. Although not technically on Valentine’s Day, it obviously follows the theme. 

Two special tours set off at the Zoo on the 18th, starting at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

February 21st: Dance of the Market Women in Munich

Once a year, on Munich Carnival’s Shrove Tuesday, women who spend most of the year selling everything from fresh vegetables to spices hang up their aprons and don colourful costumes. As the Carnival season ends, they show off the typical “Line 8” dance followed by newly rehearsed and choreographed numbers.

The Dance of the Market Women ends Munich’s Carnival season. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager

With reporting by Aaron Burnett

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