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Germany in the Eyes of the World

For the third time, GIZ has interviewed people across the globe to find out about their perceptions of Germany. The interviewees include representatives from the worlds of business, science and research, politics, the arts, journalism and many other professions across the continents. Here are the five key findings.

The face of compassion

Germany’s decision to take in so many refugees in 2015 and 2016 has softened its image. Although still a byword for diligence and efficiency, Germany is now also recognised as a compassionate citizen of the world. The decision, although still controversial in Germany itself, has certainly not dented its international reputation; quite the contrary, it has boosted its credibility. However, there is a lingering lack of clarity over the precise motives behind this policy.

In demand: a more pro-active Germany

The world wants a more pro-active Germany – one that assumes more responsibility. Interviewees would like to see Germany taking a leading role in international politics, without acting alone or in an aggressive manner. It should feature prominently as a sovereign ‘soft power’ with a desire to shape the agenda – a forward-looking nation that develops viable solutions to future challenges in the interests of the wider community. This is an increasingly vocal demand in a world in crisis and turmoil.

  • Statement Brazil
  • Statement China
  • Statement Ghana
  • Statement UK
  • Statement India
  • Statement Canada
  • Statement 1 Mali
  • Statement 2 Mali
  • Statement 1 Mexico
  • Statement 2 Mexico
  • Statement Saudi Arabia

Rather too traditional

In the eyes of the world, Germany remains true to itself, with a strong sense of values: justice, the rule of law, compassion and individual responsibility, with strong institutions and a robust welfare state. Overall, it is viewed as a mature democracy. On social issues, however, most observers regard it as less progressive: from the division of labour within the family to gay rights, Germany is perceived by interviewees to be rather too traditional.

Showing its strengths more clearly

The world wonders why Germany makes so little of itself internationally. Why the low profile? Sure, the classics – Porsche and Mercedes, Goethe and Schiller and the like – are still household names, but little or nothing is known about the rest. The world would like to see more of Germany’s modern and dynamic side, as exemplified by today’s Berlin, and is intrigued to know why Germany is reluctant to make greater use of its strengths for strategic purposes.

Fit for the digital future?

Germany is known for its well-performing economy with strong brands that are recognised and admired. According to the interviewees, Germany is an excellent place to do business; its dual vocational training system and applied research are pluses here. But is Germany resting on its laurels a little too much? In the age of digitalisation, is Germany too risk-averse? Is there a danger of it falling behind?

The study

For the qualitative study ‘Germany in the Eyes of the World’, GIZ conducted more than 150 interviews with representatives of 24 countries. The interviews offer profound insights that merit further reflection. It thus complements other studies, most of them standardised, on Germany’s image abroad. The selection of interviewees from all world regions and demographic groups gives the study its unique diversity. Another feature of the study is that the focal points of the interviews are not decided beforehand. It is therefore even more surprising to see the considerable overlaps in interviewees’ perceptions of Germany in many areas. The report is available in German and English. Similar surveys were conducted in 2011 and 2014.

This article was originally published in the magazine akzente – issue 2/18.

June 2018

Comments

Dr. Mathias Karoli Sweya
26 October 2019

I stayed in Germany for one year. I lent German language for 3 months and there after I studied Hospital Management. My Germany perceptions before was so different. But my stay in Germany gave me a different perception that I noted Germany to be the best place for learning and to stay. I happened to do my practical work in one of the Hospital where I received a highly cooperation from staff and the Hospital Management team. My one year stay in Germany went too fast unbelievable.
I can just say Germany is good place with good people I love the Country

Walber Pereira
22 October 2019

Germany has always been a good partner with my coutry (Brazil).I was given the great chance of knowing Germany through the DAAD, as DER ERSTE STIPENDIATER from my State PARÁ, a bit time ago.Got the chance of knowing its people and way of living. I still give german classes at State University where I work (Uepa), Brazil north. I have a dream os travelling another time to this lovable country. Thank you.

Solomon Mengesha
15 November 2018

I like German starting from my Child hood ,because the first white people I had seen in my live was German they came as a missionaries and established school from grade 1-12th which gave me chance to study . They are Hard worker ,more precise and try to achieve good result. Most of them are not careless people spend much time on joke rather work more time than others ,that is why they are moving faster in development and economy .Regarding human character and behaviors , for me most German looks like a nut ,external hard cover and delicious inner parts . That means they are not easily interact and speak to you until they get to know you , once they know you it is not for shorter moment but for live long friendship . This is my experience from my Child hood time to today and I can say more ! Many countries can learn from Germany in many ways /in Technology ,machinery ,working ethics, preciseness, effectiveness etc .Germany also should keep it up what the older people did and move forward for new invents /innovation.

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