I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter break – and those of you who were in Germany probably had to ‘endure’ the tropical climate there. And if you feel you had too many chocolate Easter eggs and are looking to watch future sugar intake, you might like this article in Stern on ‘Süssmacher’. It shows just how much sugar is in various (sometimes unsuspecting) products.
With Easter, Royal Weddings and so on, we thought April is just too busy for a Stammtisch. But in less than two weeks’ time – on Tuesday, 10 May – we will meet again. Ralph Sälzer, the managing director of the Liebherr factory in Sunderland has invited us to a factory tour, which will start at 6pm. From 7pm onwards, we will then be in the Irish pub TJ Doyles just up the road for German food (eg Schnitzel and Potato Salad) and German/Austrian beers. Dermot, who runs the Irish pub/restaurant, lived in Austria for a while and will make sure we have authentic food & drink. Please let me know if you will join us – either for the factory tour/for food & drink/or both – so that we can cater for this accordingly and I will also send directions to those who will come along.
Liebherr is one of the largest German family owned companies and employs around 32,000 people worldwide. It is not the only family owned company (Familienunternehmen) here in the North East, there is also Aldi, Lidl, Heraeus, Makro (Metro Group), Freudenberg and, of course, across the UK well-known brands such as BMW, Porsche, Dr Oetker, Bosch, Otto (they own Freemans/Grattan here), Würth, Haniel, Merck etc. Of Germany’s 1,500 world leaders (ie they are the number 1,2 or 3 in their particular sector), 70% are family owned and 51% of the largest listed 250 companies in Germany are also under one family’s control.
Just like anywhere else, family-owned companies in Germany face numerous challenges and a key one is to find a suitable and willing successor. The Handelsblatt has established a portal for business owners who are looking to sell their company. To see what type of businesses are available, visit the website Deutsche Unternehmerbörse.
Japan has dominated the news in recent months following the earth quake and subsequent impact on its nuclear industry. On a happier note, this year Germany celebrates 150 years’ friendship with Japan. Back in 1861 Prussia and Japan signed its first friendship and trade treaty, the foundation for this relationship. If you want to find out more about the background, activities and events that are taking place in Germany and Japan, visit the website. And do you know which German city is called ‘Klein-Tokio am Rhein’? In this German city, over 7,000 Japanese have found a new home and around 450 Japanese companies established a base in the region. The city on the Rhein will also be a focus for the 150 Year Celebrations with a traditional Japan Week from 21 to 28 May.
The Tyneside Cinema currently shows a new film directed by Wim Wenders. Pina is a tribute to the choreographer Pina Bausch and was filmed in Wuppertal. Click here to get to the film’s website. In the trailer you can see a famous train (Schwebebahn) and it’s safety was demonstrated in a very unique way. Does anybody know how and what happened next???
I would like to wish you all a great time on Friday whatever you’re doing and look forward to seeing you again soon.