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

Around 3,300 Kiwis call Germany home. We break down where they live – and find out their motivations for saying goodbye to the land of the long white cloud.

New Zealanders in Germany: How many are there and where do they live?
A Māori man in traditional dress at a cultural event in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Germany keeps detailed statistics of everything – including the location and nationality of all of its residents, whether local or foreigners. The figures are updated as at December 31, 2018. 

For a country of a tick under five million – more than three times smaller than North-Rhine Westphalia – New Zealanders get around. 

The stats show that Kiwis are found in every state, although the likelihood of getting a few mates together for a hāngi will differ significantly depending on which state you live in. 

New Zealanders in Germany

Unlike their antipodean neighbours Australia, there are comparatively far fewer Kiwis in Germany. 

While there are 13,500 Australians scattered across Germany – 3,605 of which are manning espresso machines and operating beer taps in Berlin – there are only 3,300 New Zealanders in Germany as a whole. 

Gender breakdown 

Of the 3,300 Kiwis in Germany, 1,950 are male and the remaining 1,350 are female.

This repeats a pattern seen with most groups of foreigners in Germany.

British and Australians in Germany more likely to be male, with men more likely to move to Germany for work.

On the whole, there are almost a million more male foreigners (5,872,480) in Germany than foreign women (5,042,975) of the total of 10,915,455. 

China remains the anomaly, with 72,130 Chinese women in Germany, compared with 64,330 men. 

READ: Australians in Germany – where do they live?

READ: Chinese in Germany – where do they live? 

READ: Brits in Germany – where do they live? 

Where do the New Zealanders live? 

More Kiwis hear Berlin calling than any other state. A total of 900 live in the Haupstadt, meaning just over one in four (27 percent) call Berlin home. 

A total of 500 Kiwis are scattered across Bavaria, while 460 can be found in Germany’s most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia. All up 400 live in Baden-Württemberg, with a further 220 in the city-state of Hamburg and 215 in Hessen. 

Down the other end of the spectrum, there are 20 Kiwis in both Bremen and Saxony Anhalt, with 25 each in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania and Thuringia. 

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But the loneliest state for homesick Kiwis looking for their cuzzies and their bros is Saarland. Only five Kiwis live in the entire state – all of whom are men.

Kiwi Saarland residents looking to get a game of rugby together would need to call up all of their brethren in Bremen and Thuringia to ensure a full game of 15 on 15 (with a few bench spots left over). 

So why Germany? 

As the crow flies, it’s 18,136 kilometres between the New Zealand capital of Wellington and Berlin. It might not seem like the kind of trip you do on a whim, although for some Kiwis that’s exactly how it happened. 

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

Shane Mason, the organizer of the monthly “Sweet As” New Zealand and German monthly meet up group in Berlin, told The Local that it was a relatively spontaneous decision – one he doesn’t regret at all eight years later.

Mason, a video producer, was given the opportunity to come to Berlin while still living in New Zealand.

“I was making travel television and the producer I was working with was based here in Berlin. I initially turned it down and they said ‘why not come for three months and try it out?’“ he said. 

“I came here and got my freelance visa as soon as I could. I loved it.

“This is the first place I lived outside of New Zealand. An opportunity came up and I took it. I had no real plans, I thought I’d just see where it goes.”

Mason said he had plenty of big – and some small – reasons for making the move. 

“The lifestyle and the cost of living. The ease of living here. (Germany) offers quite a lot and it’s a bit more easy going here – or at least in Berlin,” he said. 

“Oh and the cheap beer – and being able to walk down the street with a bottle. That doesn’t fly back home.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel meets New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden. Image: DPA

Close relations across the globe

Despite the distance between the two countries, Germany is New Zealand's sixth-largest trading partner, with an overall two-way trade value worth €3.2 billion per annum.

Around 3,000 Kiwi students study in Germany each year, while just under 14,000 German tourists find their way to New Zealand every year – the largest of any country. 

A Kiwi presence in Germany? 

Much to their frustration, Kiwis tend to be roped in with Australians when it comes to pubs, food and cafes – meaning that a unique Kiwi presence is hard to find. 

Berlin’s Kiwi Pub, located in the neighbourhood of Stieglitz, serves New Zealand beer and stocks a range of products for the homesick. The Pub also holds regular events to commemorate national holidays like Waitangi Day and Anzac Day. 

Also in Berlin is New Zealand butcher Simon Ellery, who started up The Sausage Man Never Sleeps – an ambitious gourmet sausage shop bringing Kiwi and international flavours to the already saturated German sausage palate.

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How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.