Leading light

A country’s approach to solving its energy needs can foster innovation and influence worldwide trends. Take Germany: its renewable energy reforms are setting a new global benchmark. [weiterlesen]

Position of Strength

—Three challenges for Germany in 2015

Angela Merkel has held firm to her frugal budget policy, angering European neighbors who would like to see Germany create more demand via investment. But for the country’s export-oriented economy the weak euro, excellent products and the world’s highest productivity mean great business. German firms are mostly doing well, creating jobs and paying lots of taxes: for the first time in almost 50 years the country boasts a balanced federal budget. Merkel’s to-do list remains long, though. [weiterlesen]

Harlem Black

—Berlin

In his day job, Marc Sasserath (pictured bottom, right) comes up with ideas for other people’s marketing efforts. He runs SasserathMunzinger+, a Berlin-based brand consultancy, and works for clients such as L’Oréal, Ralph Lauren and energy company Entega. [weiterlesen]

Soft Power Survey

—Germany

The circumstances of Germany’s political history and present-day diplomacy have combined to make it the most robust of soft-power practitioners. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the leadership of Angela Merkel: recently re-elected for a third term, she is lauded at home for keeping her country’s nose clean yet maintaining a vital position in the EU and further afield. What’s her secret? [weiterlesen]

From major to minor

—View from the campaign trail

Sebastian von Hoff is in the middle of a Kreuzberg street festival, between stalls selling caipirinhas and couscous. The Pirate Party’s local candidate in September’s federal election is handing out brochures and trying to talk to residents about data retention. [weiterlesen]

Monocle 24

—Monocle on air

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Mighty Mittelstand

—Humdrum heroes

They may not be sexy but the small businesses that make everything from dog leads to lifting equipment are powering Germany’s economy. [weiterlesen]

Clearing the air

—Berlin

Deutsche Welle has broadcast TV, radio and online content in 30 languages throughout the world since 1953. Today the public broadcaster is more important than ever – as a tool for public diplomacy. [weiterlesen]

Boring is banished

—Germany: by the numbers

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Taking off

—Transport Survey

Twenty-two years after reunification, Berlin finally gets a shiny new airport. Monocle takes a preview tour of the site. [weiterlesen]

Soft Power Survey

—04 Germany

A robust economic base, wielded very softly. It’s as simple as that [weiterlesen]

Q&A — Gilbert Heise

—Germany

Head of market research at Volkswagen Group [weiterlesen]

The Nordic Embassies, Berlin

The Nordic nations’ Berlin embassies share one of the world’s most architecturally unique buildings. Monocle learns how careful thinking about architecture and design is helping these nations punch above their weight in the German capital. [weiterlesen]

Special Envoys

—The sharing diplomats — The Nordic Embassy, Berlin

As embassies struggle to retain a foothold in a diversifying world, the role of the diplomat is changing beyond recognition. We meet the next generation of foreign consuls. [weiterlesen]

The Book Seller

—Thalia Pocket Shop, Germany

Proving that the airport novel needn’t be an “airport novel”. [weiterlesen]

Class Acts

—Global

More teaching pioneers whose ideas get top marks for them – and their students. [weiterlesen]

The Call of Berlin

It was the era of the cold war and in East Berlin they needed workers. The answer: Bring in eager recruits from communist nations in Africa and Asia. But then the Wall fell and the migrants had to quickly discover their inner entrepreneurial spirit. [weiterlesen]

Together Again

—Korea

In the first of a new series examining the possible turn of events in future scenarios, Monocle looks at how the reunification of North and South Korea might unfold. [weiterlesen]

Forecast 2011: The digital backlash begins

In Germany all the blogging, tweeting and iPad-swiping of 2010 has led to a cultural countermovement that’s likely to grow even stronger next year. [weiterlesen]

NoTo (North of Torstrasse)

—The neighbourhood

An old East Berlin neighbourhood is ready for business [weiterlesen]

Zine genie

—Berlin [Bookstore]

When French-born photographer Alexis Zavialoff, 35, first saw the former picture frame factory in Berlin’s Kreuzberg he knew he had to do something with the spectacular but abandoned room. [weiterlesen]

Timely Elegance

—Sinn, Frankfurt

While many luxury watch brands market themselves as the preferred timepiece of divers, pilots or professional explorers, German company Sinn keeps itself quiet. [weiterlesen]

Sharing nicely

—Ulm, Germany

It may still be in its infancy, but can Daimler’s car2go flexible car-sharing service really provide enough vehicles to meet demand while offering realistic ease of use and affordability? Monocle puts it to the test. [weiterlesen]

Stirring the debate on immigration

Thilo Sarrazin’s departure from the Bundesbank last week provided a rare moment of consensus between Germany’s political parties. [weiterlesen]

Top of the glass

—Germany

A family business has been producing a simple niche product for five decades. By making the most of its employees’ expertise to constantly refine the “perfect” glass washer, it now sells to more than 50 countries. [weiterlesen]

Prinzessinnengarten

Urban gardening: We spend a day on the farm in deepest Berlin to find out how urban agriculture is taking root in the German capital. [weiterlesen]

Neighbourhood gentrification

Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood has built up a reputation for being the city’s cultural hotspot. [weiterlesen]

Education hits the rocks

Emotions are running wild in the run up to a referendum in July in which Hamburg citizens will decide whether to abolish what are known in Germany as Hauptschule. [weiterlesen]

The brilliance of the flagship store

It’s the fashion world that created the concept of the flagship store, spaces where brands can showcase their ideas in purist perfection. Not just places to shop, these stores embody how designers and marketing chiefs want their brands to be seen. They also generate good PR. [weiterlesen]

The navigator

—Bonn

As Germany’s minister for transport, building and urban development, Peter Ramsauer has one of the biggest jobs in transport in Europe. Monocle met him in his Bonn office to find out how he wants Germans to get from A to B in future. [weiterlesen]

Ideas for modern nomads

We know that no kind of virtual communication beats a face-to-face meeting and that the most effective organisational tool is called “having lunch”. But this kind of working is becoming rarer. [weiterlesen]

Germany’s welfare black hole

Walking through Berlin can make you feel as though you are on the set of one of those post-apocalypse films from the 1980s, such as Mad Max or The Day After. [weiterlesen]

Germans want their troops home

A few days before the international Afghanistan conference in London on 28 January, there are overwhelming signs that Germans are tired of sending their soldiers into a war many believe cannot be won. [weiterlesen]

Raining supreme

—Braunau

For our series investigating the secrets of success, Monocle visits Austrian company Doppler, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of quality umbrellas. Its top product has been handcrafted in the same way since the 1940s. [weiterlesen]

Germans get adventurous

After years of longing for a job for life and worshipping the ideal of staying at home in comfort, Germans are showing signs of becoming globally minded entrepreneurs. [weiterlesen]

Bother on the Bahn

Deutsche Bahn is much admired by foreign travellers and internationally renowned for its comfort and reliability. [weiterlesen]

2010: Germany gets connected

Berlin politicians wanting to see a modern society systematically implement the right of free online-access should look at Estonia. [weiterlesen]

The engine of the new economy

If it’s true that information is the only natural resource Germany has to offer, then Berlin is quickly moving from the equivalent of mining city to refinery. [weiterlesen]

Speaking to the digital natives

On Monday and Tuesday this week, senior German managers and politicians gathered in a converted factory in Berlin Tempelhof to listen to and learn from the so-called “digital natives” or Generation Y. [weiterlesen]

The new Berlin wall

I’ve spent the past few days tucked away in a secret hideaway in the headquarters of the German publishing house Axel Springer, helping create what the company thinks could be the salvation of newspapers. [weiterlesen]

Dungaree Diplomats

When a flood devastates Uganda or an earthquake strikes Pakistan, Germany’s THW gets some of the first aid workers on the ground. Mostly volunteers, they are part of Germany’s soft power arsenal. [weiterlesen]

From coal to cool

Thanks to its excellent university, international transport links and super bright, skilled workforce, this former mining city in Germany’s Ruhr valley has been transformed into a hive for hi-tech firms. [weiterlesen]

The fall of the Berlin wall: 20 years on

Germany is still a divided country. But the division does not mark the borders of the former East and West Germany. It separates the people who are old enough to remember the two German nations and those who are too young to. [weiterlesen]

Earning his stripes

One of the few bright appointments the new German government produced during its coalition negotiations – the controversial results of which were announced yesterday – is the country’s future defence minister. [weiterlesen]

Inspirational companies

If you dream of going it alone but you’re being held back by fear, then take courage from these 10 brave souls who struck out on their own and have never looked back. Their professions range from equity research to running-shoe design, but one thing unites them all – they are masters of their own destinies. [weiterlesen]

Inspirational workspaces

Look around your office or workshop. What does it say about your company? Is it a place that you enjoy walking into every morning? Here are four firms that understand how a workspace should reflect the personality of the company, and how it can inspire customers and staff alike. [weiterlesen]

Havens of Opportunity

A good small business slots into a community. Here we profile five neighbourhoods where we wouldn’t mind setting up shop. [weiterlesen]

We’re all ears

Sennheiser is a company of obsessives that have spent decades perfecting headphone and microphone technology to produce the most authentic sound. This nerdish persistence has paid off, as the loyalty of its customer base proves. [weiterlesen]

Driven ambition

Monocle brings you a new series on how world leaders travel, from their choice of car to their fleet of private aircraft. First off is German chancellor Angela Merkel, who, like her predecessors, opts for practicality over showiness. [weiterlesen]

Health Visitors

Affluent Arabs used to head to hospitals in the US when they needed treatment. But now, post-Iraq, they are increasingly choosing Germany’s private clinics. With the average foreign patient spending an estimated €80,000 a stay, competition to attract the medical tourists is fierce. [weiterlesen]

The Big Flight Back

The once booming German aviation industry has seen major brands such as MBB and Dornier going bust or being swallowed up by multinationals. Grob is reversing that trend with its SPn business jet – the first plane to be entirely made in Germany for years. [weiterlesen]

Under Growth

With roads gridlocked, delivering goods in the world’s cities is a growing problem. One engineer believes the answer lies in underground victorian-style pneumatic pipes and he has some powerful backers. [weiterlesen]