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Thank you Germany: Part 014: Intercultural openness makes for a colourful world


Due to the history of its own country, Germany today places a high value on international openness. Intercultural learning is firmly part of the programme in all schools in Germany – and that’s a good thing! Germans know that people appreciate diversity. And every child likes the fact that the world is colourful and that his or her friends have very different stories to tell. Community here is not founded on the basis of ethnicity, but is experienced as friendship and solidarity. Germany has taken in many people from other countries and offered them particularly good opportunities for integration. The migration society is a reality and it offers many positive opportunities.

It is not only in recent years that people from other countries have been welcomed into Germany. Guest workers from Italy came to Germany and brought pizza. Turkish families were taken in and provided people with many small goods or even kebab dishes. And people also came to Germany from many other countries and brought things with them that are now a normal part of the country’s culture. This culture is not a rigid German Leitkultur.

It is a multicultural society in which many different people live together. The Basic Law is regarded by all as the common basis of their lives. Human dignity is regarded as a firm and inviolable foundation. Respecting each other even in diversity is thus the important foundation. This works comparatively well in Germany. Many people even come to Germany because they can live more freely here than in their family’s country of origin.

The special value of the Basic Law is guarded by a constitutional court that enjoys an extremely high level of recognition among the population. In its judgements, it has repeatedly underlined the openness of German society. German culture and many works from its canon are also appreciated by migrants and immigrants. In many cases, they bring with them an admiration for these works. But when reading great works, it must not be forgotten that they themselves have always been inspired by cultural products of the most diverse kind. The entire history of the Occident is a history of cultural openness and inspiration across national borders. German culture would be inconceivable without the cultural tradition of other countries, and vice versa. Poets like Goethe and intellectual giants like Kant have therefore shown themselves to be true citizens of the world. But many Germans today also live a special intercultural openness on a small scale.

Those who enjoy listening to people’s stories and appreciate cultural diversity must see this as an advantage. One must appreciate Germany for the mutability of its culture just as one must appreciate its inhabitants for their solidarity and charity. Anyone coming to Germany will find friendly and open people in every federal state. This can make integration much easier. Why are Germans so open about diversity? Possibly they are aware of how different the cultural behaviour patterns already are in different federal states.

Anyone travelling from northern Germany to Bavaria will quickly notice this difference. In some parts of Germany, this also results in small arguments. For the most part, however, people deal with this difference affectionately or take it in their stride.

Last updated on 6. February 2023

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