Welcoming the world to Bavaria: French savoir-vivre
It’s generally well known that France and Germany are linked by a long relationship together. In Bavaria too of course, where the French savoir-vivre goes down very well. The French are not just popular in Bavaria for fine arts or culinary treats though as the Bavarian and French friendship is also flourishing in a business sense too.
The fact that the bilateral relationships work superbly is proved among other things by the roughly 400 twin town partnerships that link Bavarian communities to municipalities in France – for example Munich to Bordeaux, Augsburg to Bourges and Erlangen to Rennes. In addition, Bavaria also fosters collaborative relationships with various French regions as a state, for example the Occitan area (formerly Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées) or Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’Azur.
French companies in Bavaria
The partnerships go beyond more than just lip services, as shown by the successful establishment of French firms in Bavaria, including for example Danone in Haar, Ochsenfurt and Rosenheim or Airbus in Ottobrunn. There are mainly new settlements in the IT and software sector. Roughly 500 companies from France have settled in Bavaria in total, which corresponds to a quarter of French companies in Germany. The other way round, more than 4,000 Bavarian firms foster close business relationships with France, the trade volume between France and Bavaria was a healthy 19 billion euro in total in 2016. The Bavarian and French business dinner, organised by the French General Consulate in Munich, the French Foreign Trade Councils and the German-French business club in Bavaria, has in the meantime established itself as a permanent discussion platform in the business world.
The attractiveness of the other’s culture and economy is not just one-sided – more than 11,000 French citizens in Munich and almost 30,000 in the whole of Bavaria prove that the German lifestyle is also obviously very appealing. Living and working in Germany – and still maintaining French culture? Numerous facilities from kindergartens to museums make this possible.
En français, s’il vous plaît
The collaboration already starts at school level and goes way beyond traditional school exchanges: for example, the French lycée in Munich is the most important French school in Germany, five Bavarian “Gymnasium” schools offer a combined school qualification – the so-called ABIBAC. The unique Bavarian-French Hochschulzentrum (BFHZ-CCUFB, Centre de Coopération Universitaire Franco-Bavarois) is a regional interface that intensifies the cooperation in higher education and research. Anyone who wants to start international exchange with our French neighbours very early has the chance to do so at various German-French kindergartens.
The Institut français is of course also essential in Bavaria as the haven of French culture. Besides language courses, the Munich branch also offers a wide range of education, culture and political topics. Another cultural centre has established itself in northern Bavaria, where the Deutsch-Französisches Institut Erlangen invites Francophiles and anyone who would like to become one the opportunity to socialise and share.