Germany is the largest economy in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. With a population of roughly 82 million people who live in the nation’s 16 federal states (“Bundesländer”) the country has a lot of diversity to offer in terms of work places and lifestyles - even if foreigners may have to get used to a couple of German quirks before they can fully enjoy them.
Germans still struggle with the peculiar role that the nation played in the history of 20th century Europe. And even though the former Eastern and Western parts of Germany have been reunified more than 25 years ago, differences in the regions are still palpable today. Except for the occasions of football World Cups, the concept of national pride is still somewhat tricky to maneuver in Germany, which may be why people tend to carry a lot of regional pride instead. While Bavaria and its Oktoberfest have become an international trademark for German culture, Northern Germans will usually be quick to insist that not all Germans in fact dress and speak like Bavarians. Ranging from the Northern and Baltic Sea coast in the north to the Alps in the south, mentalities and local cultures can differ greatly within the country.
Many cities to choose from
Due to its specific history the country runs quite decentralized. While the capital Berlin in the eastern part is the largest city in Germany and serves as its political power hub, it is harder to pinpoint one economic center of the country. In the north, Hamburg has the second-biggest harbour in Europe. Frankfurt am Main in the center of Germany is famous for its financial district. In the west, the cities Cologne and Düsseldorf are home to many consumer goods companies, while in the south Munich and Stuttgart are the country’s “motor towns”.
The economic strength of Germany lies within its large amounts of exports. With brands like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen the car manufacturing industry is a major driver for wealth in the country. According to some statistics every 7th workplace in Germany depends - directly or indirectly - on the automotive industry. However, with employers such as Adidas, Siemens, Bosch or Bayer the range of possibilities for young talents is actually a lot broader.