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Living in Germany: New citizenship law moves forward, raw meat and the Adventskranz

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
Living in Germany: New citizenship law moves forward, raw meat and the Adventskranz
An Adventskranz (Advent wreath) in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

This week we get into what's been happening with the new citizenship law, the raw meat dish that Germans love, ski season and the Adventskranz tradition.

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Living in Germany is our weekly look at some of the news and talking points in Germany that you might not have heard about. Members can receive it directly to their inbox on Saturday.

A step forward for the new citizenship law - but it’s a bumpy ride

It’s been a bumpy ride for the German government’s proposed new nationality law, that will allow dual citizenship for all. But after various delays, things took a major step forward this week. The first reading of the law and debate was finally held in the Bundestag on Thursday - months later than initially planned. As expected, though, it is ruffling feathers.

The opposition Christian Democrats outlined why they think reducing the required residency that people will need to apply for German citizenship is a bad idea. As we reported this week, the CDU’s Alexander Throm accused the government of "endangering the peace" by allowing people to naturalise after just three or five years, arguing that it’s not enough time to fully integrate into German society. He also raised concerns about laws like this pushing voters towards far-right parties like the AfD, a claim the CDU has made often.

But Interior Minister Nancy Faeser emphasised that the changes were needed - along with relaxed immigration laws - to attract more talent to worker-starved Germany. One point that the government has been working on in recent weeks is toughening up the law around anti-Semitism in a bid to make sure that no person who is anti-Semitic can become German. This made up a big part of Thursday’s debate. 

So what happens next? We can expect two more readings of this law in the German parliament before it’s voted on. Even though there may be tweaks, it looks like the legislation will become reality. As Imogen Goodman noted in her analysis of the debate and next steps, “dual nationality and shorter residence requirements could become a reality in spring next year”. 

Tweet of the week

Those familiar with German food culture may be aware of the Mett, a dish made up of minced raw pork seasoned with salt and black pepper. But the hedgehog shape it often comes in can still catch you off guard.

Where is this?

Skiers

Photo: DPA/Angelika Warmuth

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We’re heading to the Zugspitze today and as you can see, it’s been a great start to the ski season there. Skiers took to the slopes on Friday to take advantage of the fresh snow. The Zugspitze, in Grainau, Bavaria, stands at 2,962 metres above sea level and is the highest peak in Germany, and of the Wetterstein Mountains.

Did you know?

Sunday December 3rd marks the first Advent, officially starting the countdown to Christmas. But did you know about the significance of the Adventskranz or Advent wreath in Germany? Perhaps you’ve seen lots of plant and flower shops with wreaths decorated with four candles. That is the Adventskranz, which is made out of fir sprigs with four, usually red, candles. German families typically buy one and place it on a table. 

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The four candles on the wreath symbolise the four Sundays before Christmas. On the first, you light the first candle. On the following Sunday you light the next candle, until all candles are burning on the last Sunday before Christmas. However, some people also light all of their candles at once, because it gives more light. This way, the only light needed in the room is given by the advent wreath. The tradition is said to date back to the 1800s and was invented by a Pastor named Johann Hinrich Wichern who made the wreath for the children in the Diaconal educational institution he worked at.

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