Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch to coincide with ‘Oktoberfest’ week held at the Broad Chare at Newcastle’s Quayside. I have reserved a table on Tuesday, 8 October from 7pmclick here for a link to the Broad Chare and food options on the day. Please let me know if you would like to join us as I need to give the Broad Chare numbers by the weekend.

This Friday – 4 October – there is also a joint UK-German concert in the St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle’s city centre. German Winds, which is led by Sven Hellinghausen, is visiting the North East and Scotland for a series of three concerts.

50 musicians are travelling over from Germany (they will even bring along three alpine horns) to perform with a further 30 musicians of the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band. The evening programme will include a varied repertoire of music including Classical, Pop and Swing. Tickets cost £10/person, with the proceeds going to North Northumberland Hospice, which has wellbeing centres in Alnwick and Berwick.

Last month, Germany but also many other countries around the world celebrated 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt. Germany even issued a new stamp in his honour. If you do not know much about this explorer, polymath, scientist, adventurer, communications expert (actually hard to find a description for him), then I can recommend Andrea Wulf‘s book ‘Alexander von Humboldt & The Invention of Nature’/’Erfindung der Natur‘. And if you rather watch and follow his footsteps, there’s a new DW documentary on his travels in the Americas on YouTube. Another older documentary entitled ‘Natural Traveller‘ features Christopher Eccleston, with contributions for example from David Attenborough.

UK German Connections is currently inviting applications for Cultural Exchange Ambassadors. So if you are/know either a Language Assistant in Germany or the UK – then check out this website. This initiative aims to enhance Language Assistantship and for participants to gain valuable project management skills, to lead bicultural projects and create connections between UK & German schools. Deadline for applications is Thursday, 17 October 2019.

I wish you a good week and maybe see you at one of the forthcoming events!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

We’re currently planning a few events here in the region and maybe there are some you would like to join in:

On Sunday, 30 June 2019, the Martin Luther Kirche is organising its annual Grillfest in Shieldfield, Newcastle. There is a family service from 3pm to 4pm, the bbq starts at 4pm to 7pm. Entrance donation is £1 per person (children under 10 are free) with the proceeds going to the North of England Child Cancer Research and the German Church. To get tickets – please call Oliver on: 07811 109 312

You may heard of the numerous sightings of dolphins at our coastline. I recently also met a lady through my consular work, who made me aware of the Dolphin Watch Association in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. The next Dolphin Watch event will take place on Saturday, 6 July and I thought this may be good for a Stammtisch get-together at 11am at Church Point in Newbiggin. There is plenty of car parking next to the Marine Centre, where we can later head for refreshments. There is also the Newbiggin Dolphin Watch Group on Facebook, where you can follow the sightings, photos and videos. This event is open to all ages and if you have binoculars, bring them along! Please let me know if you’re planning to come so that I get an idea of numbers.

Other events I am currently considering are:

‘Vera’ Tour: to visit some of the film locations for this detective series
‘Project Auckland’: I was recently invited to a visit to this market town in County Durham and it is very impressive what is being developed there
– A Bavarian Movie with a short ‘language’ class

You may have also seen the news that Lufthansa has announced a new flight from Newcastle to Munich, not only connecting our region with the Bavarian capital, but also to a hub to another 140 destinations in 46 countries. You can already book the Munich flights now, which will commence in February 2020. Lufthansa will fly six days a week, leaving the North East at 1.40pm and arriving in Munich at 4.40pm. The inbound flight departs in Munich at 11.50am and arrives in Newcastle at 12:55. The German market is particularly important for business travellers as it’s the largest trading partner for the UK after the US.

The ferry service from Amsterdam to North Shields also brings many visitors to our region and hence DFDS Seaways are currently recruiting bi-lingual (German & English) travel advisors for their contact centre here at the Port of Tyne in North Shields.

I just returned from Germany and it is now my young nephews who keep me up to date of what’s going on there. This time I was introduced to Die Känguru-Chroniken (it was popular with my 10-year old nephew, but also the grown ups in the family). You can either buy a book, the audio book or watch some short YouTube videos. The author, Marc-Uwe Kling, who also reads the short stories, is a song-writer and comedian. It is difficult to explain, but it’s about Marc-Uwe sharing his Berlin flat with a very opinionated kangaroo. Here is a link to the episode ‘Theorie & Praxis’.

Make the most of the longest day of the year!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

It’s all about crime fiction this weekend. From 3 – 5 May, Newcastle Noir will feature over 25 crime fiction related talks, panels, readings, film screenings and writing workshops. There are also over 80 authors from all over the world coming to Newcastle to tell us about their crime and noir work.

From Germany, there is a session on Saturday afternoon with Simone Buchholz, the winner of the German Crime Award 2019 (Deutscher Krimipreis) for ‘Mexikoring’. All the Newcastle Noir events will be hosted at the City Library in Newcastle.

On Brexit – click here for information on the latest FAQ update from the German Embassy – status 4 April 2019.

Until 22 May 2019, young researchers have time to apply for the prestigious “Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” competition. This is hosted every year by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable. Selected by a jury of German experts, the award winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.

I recently read an interesting article about a Columbian student in Austria. Katherin Reina helps other students of German on Instagram with photos of images or activities using post-it notes. Check it out!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

We have plenty of autumn events taking place and maybe you will be able to join one or two?

It’s again ‘Oktoberfest Time’ and I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch on Monday, 9 October 2017 in the Broad Chare in Newcastle for 7pm. I have already reserved two larger tables, so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to join us. This year the Broad Chare celebrate the Oktoberfest from Thursday, 5 October to Friday, 13 October and if you’d like to have a peek beforehand what’s on offer, here’s the menu.

If you’re still looking for things to do this weekend, here are two suggestions:
– 6 mile Culture Crawl tonight in Newcastle in aid of Maggies Centre.
Tynemouth Beer Festival on Friday & Saturday

The Tyneside Cinema will present its ninth season of live satellite opera broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. On Saturday, 14 October you can experience Mozart’s irresistible fantasy Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) in all its glory in an enchanting production with a cast of rising young stars, conducted by Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine.

Here in Alnwick, you’ll be able to attend the European Music Show on Tuesday, 24 October. This is a European Partnership in Education, facilitated and funded by Erasmus. For the past two years, Lindisfarne Middle School students have been collaborating with schools from Paris, Boblingen, Algarrobo and Palermo towards creating an original musical. The story, dialogue in five languages, choreography, music and costumes are all created by middle school students under the supervision of their project coordinators and parent volunteers. They even got the voluntary help of a professional movie director, Luc Porta, from Paris.

Then at the end of next month, Bernhard will host another ‘Kaffeeklatsch‘ in the Kaffeehaus Amadeus in Lanchester – here’s your diary date: Sunday, 29 October from 2.30pm. As usual, please register directly. The Kaffeehaus Amadeus is also planning a Christmas Special on Sunday, 17th December 2017.

On 3 November from 9pm, Newcastle based Jazz Cafe will host Nautilus, a prominent contemporary jazz quartet from Germany. This is one of only three performances that they will be giving in the UK. Nautilus are Leipzig- based drummer and bassist Phillip Scholz and Robert Lucaciu, Cologne-based pianist Jurgen Friedrich and saxophonist Hayden Chisholm from New Zealand. Their brief, three-date UK tour is to promote their album ‘Infrablue,’ released by the London-based label Two Rivers Records.

There are probably various things that you may miss from Germany. InterNations recently put a few ideas together. What do you think about these ‘10 Things the UK needs to adopt from Germany‘? Do you have any other suggestions?

You may have heard of the South African tv host & comedian Trevor Noah. What you may not be aware of is that his father is Swiss and he therefore has been trying to tackle our language – in this YouTube clip he explains more. I can also highly recommend Trevor Noah’s book ‘Born a Crime‘, which describes him growing up in South Africa under Apartheid.

I wish you a lovely weekend!

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New Honorary Consul

After 18 years in post, Jo Chexal retired in June as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Germany.

Her consular district used to include Northumberland, Cumbria, Tyne & Wear and Durham, but more recently, following the retirement of Honorary Consul John Knight, Teesside and North Yorkshire (not Selby) were added to her region.

Over these 18 years, Jo looked after many individuals & families in need of new passports, children’s passports, name declarations, authentication of signatures and copies etc. She helped German nationals (tourists and residents) in all types of emergencies. Those drawing a German pension were able to come to Jo every year to get their Lebensbescheinigung stamped.

And of course, she did a fantastic job introducing the region to visitors (may it be investors or twin town partnerships and so on) and, of course, representing Germany at many local events and initiatives.

Manuela Wendler has now been appointed as the new Honorary Consul, looking after the same region as Jo Chexal. Her consular office will be based at Newcastle’s Civic Centre and she also offers appointments once a week on a Thursday.

If you do require any assistance/an appointment, please contact her either via email (newcastle-upon-tyne@hk-diplo.de) or the office number (07954 034 744).

Please note that it currently takes around 6 – 8 weeks to get a biometric passport. Applications for visas or ID cards can only be made at the Consulate in Edinburgh for residents in the North East & Cumbria.

For information on all consular services in the UK, please visit German Missions in the UK.

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Dear Stammtisch Friends,

Next Monday, 15 May 2017 the Language Cafe at the Tyneside Cinema will host a joint French and German event, following the film Frantz. The film will start at around 6.15pm and there will be a discussion in French or German after the film. There are usually three groups, arranged by language level, so that everyone from beginners to fluent speakers can participate.

Also the Martin Luther Church in Shieldfield, Newcastle invites you again to their annual German Grillfest on Saturday, 24 June 2017. The event will start in the afternoon at 4pm and finish around 7pm. There is an entrance donation of £1 per person (children under 10 are free) in aid of the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund. To help the organisers plan ahead, please get tickets by either calling Oliver on07811 109 312, email him oliverheidrich@yahoo.com or simply turn up on the day.

If you’re still wondering what to do at the next bank holiday weekend, maybe the Northumberland Show at Bywell Hall near Stocksfield could just be up your street? On Monday, 29 May the finest livestock in the country is on show, there will be ‘bake off’ classes, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, a tug of war and Britains Strong Man Challenge Qualifier.

No day goes by and there is another ‘Brexit’ story in the papers and, of course, EU nationals are currently living a little bit in limbo. The German Embassy recently released some FAQs regarding Brexit and the impact on German nationals after the referendum, which you may find informative.

Here is also the lastest DIHK Brexit newsletter, which collates information on the latest events and news on this topic.

Also if somebody has recently taken on British citizienship or applies for the permanent residence status and are happy to share this with others, please let me know. I would also be interested in hearing from people who are planning to return to the EU and the challenges that brings.

However, if you are just planning your holidays, one quick piece of advice! Have a quick at your European Health Card, to make sure it is still valid as they expire and you have to renew them. The process is very simple via the NHS website and you should receive your new card promptly.

Honeywell have also shared information about new roles that have opened recently, both here in the North East and in Scotland. They are careers, requiring German in both Customer Service Administration and Technical Support:

Customer Service Administrator
Customer Care Specialist
Technical Support Specialist

Like many of you, I pick up German books when in the country and I can highly recommend these three – coincidentally, they all had as a common theme leaving a home and settling in a new country:

In ‘33 Bogen und ein Teehaus‘, author Mehrnousch Zaeri-Esfahani describes the journey she made as a 10-year old, when her family fled Iran via Turkey before they arrived first in East and then West Germany.

Dörte Hansen’s first novel ‘Altes Land‘ is based a bit closer to home. It follows the lives of two women – one makes a life for herself in Northern Germany after fleeing East Prussia as a child at the end of the war; another ‘escapes’ her life in Hamburg with her young son.

Bella Italia‘ is the first novel for author Daniel Speck, who already has a successful career as a script writer. The book is all about family, Italy (Sicily, Milan, Naples), Munich, cars, fashion, ‘Gastarbeiter’ and takes you on a journey through time, starting in the mid 1950s to today.

If you have books you would like to recommend to our Stammtisch group, then please forward this to me and I’m happy to share.

All the very best on this sunny day!

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I would like to invite you to a Kino Stammtisch next Wednesday, 8 February at 5.40pm. The Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle will show the Oscar nominated German comedy ‘Tony Erdmann‘ as part of its Language Cafe season. You can buy tickets online or simply at the Tyneside Cinema on the day. After the film there will be a get-together with other native speakers to chat about the film with anybody who is interested. It would be great to see you there!

On Thursday, 9 February from 6pm, there will also be another InterNations evening here in Newcastle, this time in Bonbar near the Central Station.

Have a very good week & maybe see you soon!

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Welcome to 2017

There is obviously a lot of uncertainty and speculation around Brexit at this moment in time. If Article 50 is triggered by the government and negotiations with the EU are concluded, only then will we know for certain, what changes there will be for UK/EU businesses, what it means for EU/UK residency and movement between countries.

In the absence of clarity, I thought I might from time to time share information from various sources that may be helpful or give some food for thought.

The German Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DIHK) now distributes a monthly newsletter re Brexit. If this is of interest to you, here’s a link to register for it. Ireland’s economy, for example, is heavily dependent on trading with the UK and the possible impact was investigated in a report by Dr. Voker Treier (DIHK), Dr. Brian Murphy (Dublin Institute of Technology) and Ralf Lissek. Click here for the publication.

If there are any areas of interest regarding Brexit, please let me know and I will keep my eye out for relevant information.

You may be aware that Germany has around 1,500 forest and nature kindergartens/ groups – the umbrella assocation is the Bundesverband der Natur- und Walkindergärten. Children and their ‘Erzieher’ spend all day outside, playing and exploring their environment – no matter what the weather is like. If you search on YouTube, you can find many examples of videos of such Kindergartens – here’s an introduction.

If you would like to follow in the little ones footsteps, why not explore Northumberland National Park? They are organising a guided Winter Walk in Coquetdale on Sunday, 5 February between 10.30am and 2.30pm. Click here to register.

Have you heard yet about ‘The National Gin Museum‘? Well, it’s a news story I came across on local tv earlier this week. The Managing Director of the Gin Company, that produces the very nice ‘Steampunk Gin’ here in Gateshead, would like to get funding to create exactly that here in the North East. You can either simply donate a sum or donate and get a reward – for example £50 will get you a bottle of gin, plus two entrance tickets. More information can be found on Crowdfunder.

If you now have a drink on your mind, you may want to meet up tomorrow, Thursday, 19 January with the InterNations Group in Newcastle. They meet for the first time in 2017 and the venue is Browns Bar in Grey Street, Newcastle, where you can mingle with people from over 26 countries from 6pm.

Enjoy the rest of this week & all the very best for 2017!


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German-speaking Sales Engineer

Belt Technologies designs and manufactures metal belting and conveyor systems for wide ranging applications in the automation, electronics, packaging, food processing, medical device, tobacco, and aerospace markets.

Based at the European Sales office in Washington, UK, the job holder would have an initial placement at the company’s head office in the USA (BTI) for product training (length of stay dependent on candidate) before returning to the UK to begin work as the Sales Engineer for the German- speaking markets.


1. Provide professional technical support for the German markets
Using existing knowledge and experience, gained from placement at BTI, provide customers and new contacts with professional , technical support about Steel belt applications . Liaise with BTI to obtain further input as and when needed to the benefit of the customer and help with developing applications.

2. Protecting and growing existing business
Liaise with existing customers and develop relationships with their R&D and purchasing functions. Explore in depth current sales with possible other growth opportunities in mind. Manage price and day to day delivery issues. This will be done in coordination with our Mrs Cartwright( also a native German speaker and customer services rep).

3. Research and acquire new business.
Use knowledge gained to seek out new business opportunities. Pro-actively contact new potential accounts and use leads provided from shows, media, website as well as ones gained from own research. Grow these new contacts into new, profitable accounts.

4. Arrange customer visits – ideally out on the road 1 week out of 4 weeks. The job holder will be following up leads from our website, marketing campaigns and exhibitions as well as service regular key accounts.

5. Manage and tailor the company’s current German media to suit marketing needs.
Follow –up all leads and research new forms of media which will best suit our product image in Germany.

6. Attend German shows as and where necessary. Research new shows. Visit new shows to evaluate with a view to future exhibiting. 2 German shows are planned in 2017.Interpack and Motek.

7. Maintain regular communication with the BTE team.
Develop good two -way communication with BTE team who will be your primary point of contact on a day –to-day basis whilst on visits. A good team fit will be needed so the ability to work within a team is key to the job holder’s success

The Employer reserves the right to assign other duties and other markets.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Engineering degree or several years’ experience in a similar role with technical product.
  • Fluent in German and English
  • Ability to spend several weeks based in USA at head office, at beginning of acceptance of position for training purposes.
  • Experience of sales / distribution of technical product.
  • IT literate- Word/Excel/CRM systems
  • Self –starter/Team player

Remuneration will be offered according to experience and qualifications .

If you are interested in this position, please send your application to recruitment@bte.co.uk.

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Getting Ready for Christmas

Dear Stammtisch Friends

With only a month to go, there are various Christmas related events going on in the region that you may be interested in. On Sunday, 27 November the Martin Luther Church in Shieldfield and St Dominica’s are holding a joint advent’s service, starting at 4pm. This will feature the service, advent carols followed by refreshments. The following Saturday, 3 December, the Martin Luther Church will also meet for its annual advents tea between 2pm and 4.30pm.

The day after, on Sunday, 4 December the next Stammtisch will take place in the Kaffeehaus Amadeus in Lanchester from 2.30pm onwards. Could you please let Bernhard know by 2 December, if you are coming so he can plan for the day. Please call 01207 520 056 or email servus@kaffeehaus-amadeus.co.uk.

Two weeks later, on Sunday, 18 December, the Kaffeehaus Amadeus offers again its Christmas Special ‘Deutsche Weihnacht‘. There are two time slots: the first from 11:30 – 13:30, the second from 15:00 – 17:00. Both sessions include the same: 2 hours of festive fun, good food (lunch buffet, cake buffet, Stollen, etc…), great coffee, German Wine, and, of course, entertainment with our wonderful Kaffeehaus Singers, “The Qunitessentials”. Tickets are £20 (includes all food, live music, filter coffee and tea). Speciality drinks, wine, etc. can be purchased at the counter.

Tonight, the ‘Christkind‘ opens the famous Christmas market in my home town of Nuremberg. According to the Telegraph, it’s one of Germany’s Top 10 Christmas Markets. But if you’d like to stay on the British isles, here’s the Telegraph’s list of its Top 10 British Christmas markets.

At our recent walk in Tynemouth, one of our Stammtisch members – Karl Wilson – mentioned a multi-lingual library in Eldon Gardens. The Kittiwake Trust’s library opened in August 2015 and currently has around 7000 books in 68 languages, including German and Geordie. Membership costs £5 per year and the loan period is one month. They also operate a ‘pay it forward’ system where people can pay in advance for those unable to afford the fee, which allows the library to offer free memberships to people belonging to local refugee support groups.

Karl and his wife also run VJW Jewellery in the Grainger Market. Incidentally, the Grainger Market hosts its own Christmas Night Market next Thursday, 1 December from 5.30pm until 9pm. You can browse the illuminated isles of this busy market place, with stall holders offering samples, tasters & special festive promotions and discounts of up to 20%. There will also be entertainment, such as jewellery classes,live music from the likes of the Bamboo shoots, Salida ,Ragtime rewind, Lindy Jazz teaching us the Lindy Hop,Bay Ukes & more, a yuletide bar serving festive drinks including mulled wine and hot chocolate, street food, a shop launch & art. This free evening will also mark the launch of The Great Grainger Market Online Advent Calendar, featuring Craig Wilde & offering you the chance to win the Christmas hamper of your dreams.

Advents calendars are popular gifts at this time, but if you are not persuaded by a chocolate filled one, you may enjoy this selection of literary advent calendars put together by the German Spotlight Verlag. It contains bi-lingual advent calendars, some with traditional Christmas stories, or recipes and even a ??? detective story for each day leading up to Christmas.

Anyway, I hope you will soon be able to relax soon at the end of this very interesting and turbulent year and enjoy time with your family and friends.

See you soon & very warm regards


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