What's going on ... in Germany?

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Bamberg - a typical German town
Bamberg - a typical
German town
If it is important to you to read texts that are absolutely up-to-date or if you simply like to keep informed on current events in Germany, the following online sources ought to be of interest to you:

Our latest news always on Facebook.com/sprachinstitut.treffpunkt.online

1. News and background information - especially edited for those learning German:

  • " Deutsch perfekt ": Every month this language magazine offers reports from Germany, Austria and Switzerland written at three levels of language difficulty. The different levels mean that the magazine is a useful source for all learners of German, beginners and more advanced students alike. The stories cover topics on politics, culture, society and everyday life. Readers of Learn-German-Online.com can obtain this language magazine at a special rate: www.spotlight-verlag.de/graff.
  • "The week is Germany" is a informative weekly newsletter of the govermental German Missions in the United States, written in English. To sign in, please visit www.germany.info.
  • is available.
  • Wherever you may be, you can tune into the "Deutsche Welle", radio station. This station broadcasts "news spoken slowly" created especially for learners of German: www.dwelle.de
  • The IIK of Düsselsdorf University regularly publishes news on German as a foreign language, together with a number of exercises and relevant links. See: www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de and www.wirtschaftsdeutsch.de
  • www.germancorner.com is an English-language portal to German resources on the Internet, from German history, poets and literature to discussion forums. A similar service is offered by www.german-way.com and www.germanways.com
  • german.about.com offers a weekly newsletter comprising reports on current events and customs in Germany, as well as discussions and advice on common learning problems.
  • TREFF PUNKT German News: keep up-to-date with the Sprachinstitut TREFFPUNKT ’s newsletter >>>

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2. For advanced learners: "daily fresh news"

  • A little German every day. At www.br.de the Bayerischer Rundunk broadcast "Das Kalenderblatt" ("the calendar sheet"). At 8:45 a.m. every Monday to Friday, a topic is discussed on Bayern2Radio Sometimes they take a look at a saying, sometimes an event, a personality or simply an anecdote. They discuss the chosen topic for around 15 minutes, aiming not just to inform the listener about the relevant subject but also to provoke thought "for the rest of the day" (über den Tag hinaus).
    Note: If you are unable to receive Bayern2Radio, take a look at the radio frequencies for German stations by Don Kalinscher.
  • For notes on current events in Germany have a look at our link pages Veranstaltungen & Tourism in Deutschland and at www.germany.travel by the German Tourism Board (DZT).
  • Bayern2Radio also broadcasts a biographical talk on the radioDuo program every Saturday evening. These discussions offer an insight into the motivation, sentiments and experiences of people who have made a significant contribution to our present culture and society. The motto of this program is: "People who have something to say. People who we wish to know more about. People who we know, but we first need to discover.“ And the great thing about this program is that you can download it for free on the internet as mp3 data: www.br-online.de/br-intern/thema/download/radioduo.xml .
    If you would like more information on all the programs broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk and available as mp3 files, please refer to "Podcasts und Downloads">>>
  • Newsletter by e-mail: some recommendations are listed on our newsletters page.

3. For advanced learners: “Germany in 2030. A vision of the future“

People often ask about the politics, society, employment, culture and social situation in Germany. All these questions naturally relate back to our original question of "What’s going on in Germany?"
It is obviously difficult to give a succint answer to such wide ranging queries. However, a study presented by the Chemnitz Technical University in Autumn 2006 offers an interesting overview of the current situation and its possible future development. Named "Germany in 2030. A vision of the future", many of the so-called "visions" are already recognizable as trends today.
Here we provide a summary of some of the areas covered by the study

  • Business and employment:
    The imbalance in the labour market will increase. The TU-study predicts a demand for qualified employees that will simply not be satisfied, due to the deficit in specialist qualifications. At the same time, there will be an excess supply of those with minimal qualifications. In the future, this group of prospective employees will find it harder and harder to find a job. Supported through altering statutory provisions.
    • in the future more and more wages will be adjusted according to operational percentages. As a result “flat-rate“ wages will gradually cease. Instead each enterprise will be able to stipulate its own system of payment.
    • the average working week will be reduced to 30 hours
    • bargaining parties are already steadily losing their influence and the erosion of the Trade Unions is set to continue
    • an aging workforce will present a challenge for those enterprises which currently engage no employees older than 50.

    This aging of society will also affect forms of employment: telecommuting and part-time work will set the tone for everyday life, resulting in an increase in the number of people working several jobs at once or working as part of a self-directed team. The futurologist Matthias Horx adds to this theme in his new book “How we are going to live?“ („Wie wir leben werden") : He hypothesises that in the future a large number of firms will offer only short-term or seasonal contracts that offer no real security to the employee. In addition he envisages self-employment being combined with long-term collaborations (working as an employed freelancer, for example). In the future, only 40 % of the workforce will consist of employees with permanent contracts.

  • Living habits
    There is unlikely to be a collapse in the real estate market, despite a marginally decreasing resident population. A rise in the average living space required per capita together with an increasing life expectancy resulting in lengthening periods of usage will keep market price levels steady.

    Living space will be used more intensively. It will serve as a place of recovery and retreat for multi-jobbers and double wage earners. However, work that has previously always been completed at the office or elsewhere will now take place at home. The global communication network has been a key element in the establishment of this trend. At the same time, private fitness rooms will gain in importance. Home saunas and all forms of recreational entertainment will become more and more popular.

    The living room will become a media zone. On the video screen you will have the option of either watching your child sleeping or a television program. The central computer will enable cinema-quality film projections. Television broadcasts will be able to be arranged according to individual preferences. It is even possible that the screen could be embedded into the table surface, allowing you to be entirely “interactable“, whether at work, surfing the internet or killing time playing computer games with your family.

  • Free time
    The alteration in the world of employment will also affect our leisure time behaviour. The boundary between work and leisure time is not always distinct. Many of our free time activities move ever nearer to “work“. Academics, for example, spend much of their free time in improving their knowledge. What true leisure time there is will be shaped by mobility and activity. Experiencing nature, health and making use of the virtual worlds on offer (games, artistic “worlds of experience“) are the key target areas for the leisure market.

  • Raw materials/Energy
    By 2030, an entirely satisfactory form of technology to provide energy for commercial use will still not be in existence. However, single innovations will result a considerable change in market shares of energy sources. Fuel cells for vehicles will reach the mass market and replace the petrol engine used by cars and lorries today. Increasing efficiency in energy from renewable sources (wind, sun, water etc.) will result in these energy forms being adopted more readily. Biomass will result in eco-farming reaching a new level of significance and favourably situated lands will specialize in the development and use of renewable energy.

Note: This outlook was created in 2010. If you are interested in new future analyzes, check out the Trendscanner or the TrendLetter-Magazin of PROGNOS. (both in German language only)

Important: We are very concerned about the current internet links. We would be very grateful if you could report dead links to us. Send an e-mail to info@learn-german-online.net.

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