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Inside Germany: Citizenship campaign, wedding bureaucracy and landmark cinema closure

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
Inside Germany: Citizenship campaign, wedding bureaucracy and landmark cinema closure
The Kino International in Berlin which has closed its doors for two years. Photo: Rachel Loxton for The Local

From a campaign to encourage foreigners to apply for German citizenship and the clunky process of getting married in Germany to an East German cinema, here are a few of the things we've been talking about this week.


Inside Germany is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in Germany that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

Citizenship campaign to launch

With just over a month to go until Germany's citizenship law comes into effect, many foreign residents will be getting their documents together. 

But for those who are unsure (and do qualify under the new rules), the German government wants to convince you to become a naturalised German. 

This week we learned that a campaign will kick off on the same date the new rules enter into force - June 27th - providing foreigners with guidance for their applications.

The campaign will be launched by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration and aims to "inform those interested in naturalisation and those potentially entitled to naturalisation about the requirements and procedures for naturalisation".

A website will go live when the reform comes into force. 

"It will contain information on the requirements for German citizenship, the application process and the naturalisation procedure, as well as a digital quick check, which interested parties can use to check whether they basically meet the requirements."

People in Germany may also spot various adverts about the new on social media, including Instagram. 

A German citizenship certificate and passport.

A German citizenship certificate and passport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

Alongside cutting ordinary residence requirements from eight years to five, a previous ban on dual nationality for non-EU citizens will be lifted, allowing applicants to keep their existing passports after they become German - unless it is not permitted in their origin country. 

Meanwhile, we were also given some clarification over the exact date that German citizenship will come into force. After previously letting us know that the law would come into force on June 26th 2024, the government told us on Thursday it would be June 27th. 

There had been some confusion over this date, including among elected officials. 


Saying yes (or no) to marrying in Germany

Imagine meeting the person of your dreams in Germany - but then realising how difficult the bureaucracy requirements can be when you're getting married. That's the experience of many foreign residents.

Instead, a lot of couples choose to cross the border into neighbouring Denmark where the hurdles to wed are much lower, as Paul Krantz reported this week.

"Given our experience with German bureaucracy, it didn’t take much to convince us,” Sam Care, 32, who lives in Berlin told The Local.

There are, of course, some couples who stick with Germany and successfully get married here. Check out our article below to find out the steps you need to take. 

Germany in Focus 

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel this week announced more details about her upcoming memoir and when it will be released. We get into this on the new episode of the Germany in Focus podcast as well as looking at how politicians are getting on TikTok, why a row over pro-Palestinian protests at a Berlin university have sparked a nationwide row and fascinating facts about Cologne. 

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel on stage in Berlin on Tuesday.

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel on stage in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer


Berlin's Kino International cinema shut for renovation

One thing I love about living in Berlin is the number of cinemas. I especially like the ones with a bit of interesting history attached to them, such as the Kino International. 

This cinema, which opened in 1963 in the former East Berlin, shut its doors on May 14th for a two-year renovation.

It was viewed as a gem of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), hosting film premieres up until German reunification in 1990. Interestingly, On November 9th, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell, the premiere of an East German film called “Coming Out” took place - this was the first and last queer film in a GDR cinema.

One of the last films to be shown this week at the Kino before it shut was (the German dubbed) Dirty Dancing. This film premiered there in 1987!

Last weekend I took a turn to the cinema's iconic cafe-bar before it closed. Check out the video in this tweet if you're interested in getting a last look (at least for now) inside the building. 

Let me know if you have some recommendations for cool cinemas to check out in Germany. 



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