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Australians in Germany: How many are there and where do they live?

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Australians in Germany: How many are there and where do they live?
Australians and Germans celebrate their country's 2010 FIFA World Cup meeting. Image: DPA
14:31 CET+01:00
New statistical figures indicate more than 13,500 Australians are scattered across Germany, making the Bundesrepublik the most attractive European destination for Aussies after the United Kingdom.

For anyone who has visited a hip, chalk-boarded coffee shop in the nation's capital in recent years, the high number of Aussies in Berlin may not come as a surprise. But the Australian presence in Germany is not limited to the bearded baristas of Berlin. 

Every one of Germany's 16 states has at least a few Aussie residents, with seemingly plenty of Australians content to swap the sun, surf and sea for the land of sauerkraut and sausage. 

Getting an insight into how many Australians live in various European countries has been difficult, primarily due to the ad hoc registration system that exists - or doesn't exist - in different countries. 

But Germany's Anmeldung (registration) system and the country's propensity for record keeping has made it easy to find out how many Australians reside in Germany - and where they live. 

Plenty of expats from English-speaking countries call Germany home. Australia's 13,500 international residents, according to Destatis, pales in comparison to the half a million Americans in Germany, while the 116,500 Brits - Brexit pending - is also a good tick above the number of Australians. 

But for a country of just a tick over 23 million inhabitants - which is located half a world away - the amount of Aussies in Germany may seem somewhat high. 

 

The figures simply reflect the number of registered Australians in each state and do not give an indication as to their work status or how long they plan on staying. 

As a comparison, the most recent Australian Census which was taken in 2016 estimates that roughly ten times the amount of German-born residents live in Australia. 

Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!

Berlin is the true Hauptstadt when it comes to Aussies in Germany. In total 3,605 Australians live in Germany's biggest city. 

Alex Iveson, who founded the Australians in Berlin Facebook page five years ago, has seen his site grow from having just one member to now boasting over 1,800. Similiarly, an Aussies and Kiwis in Berlin Facebook page now totals 1,700 members, three years after its founding.

While Iveson suggests that many of those in the groups have come and gone from the city, he said he was surprised by the amount of Australians who lived and worked there. 

“When I came here I knew one person - an acquaintance of an acquaintance - who I stayed with until I got on my feet," Mr Iveson said. 

“I knew there would be some here but not this many. It's really in vogue for Melbournians to move here now. There seems to be an express connection”. 

The other states to feature prominently are Bavaria (2,370), North-Rhine Westphalia (1,960) and Baden-Württemberg (1,660). 

In total there are 975 Australians in Hesse, many drawn by the bright lights of the banking city of Frankfurt and 820 in the harbour city of Hamburg. 

Patrons enter the Australian section of the Karlsruhe Zoo. Photo/DPA

Where do all the lonely Aussies go? 

Each and every one of Germany's 16 states has an Aussie presence, although several do not come close to matching the figures from Berlin. 

Only 150 Australians have decided to swap the German capital for the lakes and forests of Brandenburg, while 130 Australians live in the city state of Bremen. 

For any Australians looking to get their German on but without wanting to run into the familiar accents of their countrymen and women, Thuringia (75), Saxony-Anhalt (60) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (60) have some of the fewest Aussies. 

The state with the lowest number is Saarland in south Germany, where only 55 Australians call it home. 

Gentlemen prefer Deutschland? 

Another statistical observation is the gender breakdown of Australians in Germany. Of the total of roughly 13,500 Aussies, the majority are men. 

A total of 7,375 Aussie men live in Germany, with 6,145 women calling Deutschland home. 

The gender breakdown is much the same in Berlin, where 1,965 Australian men and 1,645 Australian women make up the total. 

The small university town of Göttingen is one of the few where the gender balance goes the other way - with five female residents and zero Aussie men. 

As for his own reasons for moving to Berlin, Mr Iveson said he was looking for something a little different than the usual one-year move to London. 

“I knew that Berlin was a slightly different path for Australians. Most Australians go to the US and to the UK and they don't stay,” he said.  

“I think I was entertaining pipe dreams of moving into a squat while I was hitchhiking here - and that didn't happen,” Mr Iveson laughs. 

“I got a job in tech.”

Australia and Germany face off in the Confederations Cup football tournament in 2017. Image: DPA

How to spot an Aussie? 

OK, so there are plenty of Australians in Germany, but where have they made their mark? For homesick Aussies and returning Germans, most major cities in Germany have an Australian store where customers can stock up on Vegemite and Tim-Tams.

Belushi's Bar in Berlin and the Bar Down Under in Hamburg are two of the most notoriously Australian spots in Germany, while the Ned Kelly Bar in downtown Munich sometimes manages to be less reserved than the fairgrounds during the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. 

But aside from the slew of backpacker hostels and Australia-themed bars which cater mainly to tourists and staycationers, the biggest indicator of Australian life is the slew of third-wave coffee shops which dot the nation's capital. 

Then there are the outliers, including the Australian restaurant Corroboree - an Indigenous word which refers to a large or noisy festivity - in Darmstadt.

The chain also has a restaurant in Berlin, but the Darmstadt location is a relative satellite of Aussie culture in the city of under 150,000. 

And if you're a Filmliebhaber (film lover), you can visit the annual "Down Under Berlin", a film festival devoted to movies hailing from Australia and New Zealand.

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James - 11 Feb 2019 14:53
OK, but the big unanswered question I have is “how are so many Australians able to reside here, visa-wise?” Is there some great Schengen loophole? Are they all super qualified (maybe)? Do they all claim some kind of UK/Irish/rEU ancestry, citizenship visa scam?
Asking for a Canadian friend.
Rob_H - 11 Feb 2019 19:06
Lots seem to have UK passports - like me - but it's actually reasonably easy to get a work permit if you have a job.
Peter Mahaffey - 13 Feb 2019 01:25
Yes, this is mysterious . . . . half a million Yanks living in Germany and several thousand Aussies, presumably all requiring visas . . . . so what precisely is all the worry about being able to stay post-Brexit for Brits like me? Seems like we can relax then? Someone please tell me because I'm getting twitchy!
Martin - 10 Apr 2019 12:32
Australia and Germany signed a bilateral no-visa agreement on 22 December 1952. While this is not a modern work permit or residence permission it does allow long stays as long as you are prepared to leave every 90 days. Unlike the Schengen 90/180 constraint, an Australian can pop back to Germany on the same day and get another 90 days. The reciprocal is true for Germans in Australia: pop out and pop back. Germany advises coming and going from German airports so German officials get the stamping right.
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