Germany is sitting pretty with the continent’s most powerful economy. With its capital slated to become the next Silicon Valley and the country gearing up to overtake the USA as the world’s second largest exporter, it’s worth asking the question: what is the secret to Germany’s success?
German efficiency might be a cliché, but there’s a considerable amount of truth in it. When you examine the work/life balance of Germans, some interesting statistics are revealed. Recent studies have suggested that we actually spend less time in the office than many other European nations, with a 2011 study from The Guardian placing our average working week at 35.6 hours.
A crucial part of our prosperity comes from the fact that we understand how to use our time wisely. We may not spend 44 hours a week in the office, but while we are there we work quickly and productively. This could be because we place high value on our Gemütlichkeit, or quality time spent with friends and family away from the stresses of modern life.
In 2013, the British Office for National Statistics measured the productivity of each G7 nation, using calculations based on GDP, average working hours and employment. The results revealed that Germans get 24% more work done per hour than their British counterparts, tying in second place with France behind the USA. By avoiding procrastination, we Germans are able to take more time off work for Gemütlichkeit and can truly enjoy our free time, knowing that we earned it.
Culturally speaking, debt is frowned upon in Germany, with relatively few people taking out loans or even mortgages. It’s no coincidence that the German word for borrowing, schulden, is similar to the word for guilt, schuld. While credit card debts and loans remain commonplace in many countries, this old-fashioned attitude played a crucial role in protecting Germany from the economic turmoil of the past few years.
However, we would argue that we have much more to be proud of than just the strength of our economy. Throughout history, Germany has produced some of the world’s greatest philosophers and thinkers: the theories of Kant, Nietzsche and Marx are still in wide discussion today. We’re also responsible for a lot of favourite fairytales and Disney films, thanks to the Brothers Grimm recording and publicising our celebrated folk stories back in 1812 (Article: Driving Germany’s Fairy Tale Road). The German government remains extremely supportive of creative endeavours, with Berlin’s eclectic fashion scene and Art Cologne just two examples.
Of course, we’re also quite proud of our successes in the world of international real estate: Engel & Völkers is currently operating in 38 countries on five continents. In Germany, the company has more than 240 shops. To find out more about our company and how we can help you with your property search, just visit the E&V website.