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Here we will share with you in-depth information on German culture, local events and education twice a month. Please feel free to comment your own experiences and opinions on each post and let us know, which topics you would love to read about in future posts.

Colourful worlds of education and fun: German Children’s books

Believing the teachers of my six year old daughter and my own intuition, reading is the most important skill for young children. Schools in England put huge effort in motivating pupils to read and take an interest in stories and books. I remember when I was a kid, my excessive reading caused raised eyebrows and the accusation of being a “bookworm” who should “go out and see more of the real world.” Today, German libraries are plastered with posters claiming: “Shock your parents! Read a book!” It’s not outdoor playtime that’s the biggest threat to literature and the learning experiences that come from it today. “Screen time” has become the bigger challenge. Instant gratification, colourful pr

There’s no Chinatown in Germany… … and Little Istanbul is still a matter of discussion

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – a name so cumbersome that in Germany it was renamed as “International Day against racism” (Welttag gegen Rassismus). The topic is pressing these days, with nationalism and xenophobia creating a massive move to authoritarian thinking all around the globe, dwarfing real issues like Climate Change in the public discourse. Future generations might think that we all lost the plot in the early 21st century, setting the wrong priorities while engaging in pointless squabble. Nevertheless, it is a great opportunity to have a look at the state of racism, immigration and multiculturalism in Germany. Many myths are going

The fifth season: How German carnival takes over and splits the nation for days of folly

A few years back I found myself in hospital for surgery on a more or less auspicious date: Outside the gates (and a little bit also inside), carnival had taken over, switching huge parts of Germany into something closely resembling a madhouse. “Karneval” – the German word – is a term of magic and huge impact not really comparable to the English “carnival”. Germans don’t use it for small events. It’s strictly reserved for the “Fifth Season”, the “fünfte Jahreszeit”: Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring and Karneval. My girlfriend, kindly flying in from Helsinki to pay me a visit in hospital, arrived shellshocked. “The train was full of bees in short skirts, cowboys waving around plastic guns, fake

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