SignAndSight.com

Features » Politics And Society

Since November 2005, applicants for UK citizenship have had to complete the "Life in the UK" test before their application may be submitted. This month the Netherlands passed a regulation that applicants for Dutch citizenship must pass a test in the Dutch embassy of their home country. Now German chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out in favour of having immigrants take a citizenship test. After Baden-Württemberg, Hesse is the second state to propose a test, which we've translated below.

28/03/2006

100 ways to become German

The German citizen test proposed by the state of Hesse.

Send us your answers to: editor@signandsight.com. Thekla Dannenberg, editor and clever-clogs in German politics and history, will review your applications and notify you of her decision.


I. Germany and the Germans

1. What is the population of Germany?
2. Name three rivers that flow through Germany.
3. Name three low mountain ranges in Germany.
4. What is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany?
5. How many federal states make up the Federal Republic of Germany? Name seven federal states and their capitals.
6. Name three countries which border on Germany.
7. What conditions have to be met in order to become a German citizen?
8. List three reasons why you want to become a German citizen.


II. Basics of German history

9. What does the term "Reformation" mean to you, and who started it?
10. What convened in 1848 in the Frankfurt Paulskirche?
11. The first republic with a democratic constitution in Germany was declared in 1918. What is the name of that German republic?
12. When did this first German republic end?
13. Between what years in the first half of the 20th century was Germany a dictatorship?
14. What is the name of the party in power at that time?
15. Explain the term "Holocaust".
16. If someone described the Holocaust as a myth or fairytale, how would you respond?
17. Explain the term "Israel's right to existence".
18. What event took place in July 20, 1944?
19. What happened on May 8, 1945?
20. After the fall of the "Third Reich", Germany was divided into four occupied zones. What were the four occupying powers?
21. In what year was the Federal Republic of Germany founded?
22. Who was the first chancellor?
23. What does "GDR" mean?
24. Which event took place on June 17, 1953 in the GDR?
25. What do you understand by the term "German economic miracle"?
26. Explain the term "the construction of the Wall" (Berlin 1961).
27. Which German chancellor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
28. In what year did the German reunification take place?
29. Name the federal states which exist today in the territory of the former GDR.
30. November 9 has a particular meaning in German history. Which events took place on that date in a) 1938 and b) 1989?


III. Constitution and basic rights

31. Where are the basic rights of German citizens laid down?
32. What is the name of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany?
33. What year did it go into effect?
34. From whom does all state power emanate in the Federal Republic of Germany? What advantages does this have for German citizens?
35. Which right is protected by Article 1 of the German constitution?
36. What is the name of the highest law-making body of the Federal Republic of Germany and who determines its members?
37. Our constitution guarantees basic rights. Name four of them.
38. The constitution states that all people are equal before the law. Explain this basic right.
39. A woman should not be allowed to move freely in public or travel unless escorted by a close male relative. What is your standpoint on this?
40. Who is permitted to file for divorce in the Federal Republic of Germany?
41. Explain the fundamental idea behind the separation of powers.
42. Explain the term "freedom of religion".
43. In films, theatre plays and books, sometimes the religious sentiments of people of various beliefs are offended. What do you consider to be appropriate measures for an individual to take in defence against such a thing, and what not?
44. School attendance is compulsory for children and young people in Germany. At what age does compulsory school attendance start and end?
45. What is the reason for compulsory school attendance?
46. Parents do not always agree with the way their children behave. Which educational methods are permitted and which are not?
47. What possibilities do parents have to influence their sons' or daughters' choice of partner? Which practices are forbidden?


IV. Elections, political parties and lobbies

48. According to Article 38 of the constitution, elections to the German parliament must be:
- general
- direct
- free
- equal and
- secret
Explain these basic election principles.
49. Explain the term "multi-party principle".
50. Explain why elections in the former GDR did not comply with our democratic election principles.
51. Which parties are currently represented in the German parliament? Name at least three.
52. Under what conditions can political parties and associations be forbidden in the Federal Republic of Germany?
53. What are "citizens' initiatives"?
54. Name two economic or business lobbies.


V. Parliament, government and armed forces

55. Where do parliamentary sessions take place in the German parliament?
56. How often do parliamentary elections generally take place?
57. What is the name of the group of members belonging to a given party in parliament?
58. Members of parliament are bound to the "principle of the free mandate". What does this mean?
59. What is the meaning of the "five-percent clause" in elections of the German parliament?
60. All citizens can address complaints and suggestions to specific parliamentary committees. What are the names of these committees in the federal government and states?
61. What is the official title of the head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany?
62. What is the federal cabinet?
63. What is the official title of the head of the German government?
64. What are the armed forces called in the Federal Republic of Germany?
65. When and for what purpose were they founded?


VI. Federal state, constitutional state, welfare state

66. Germany is a federal state. What does this mean?
67. What is the name of the body representing the German states at the federal level?
68. Germany's administrative structure is split into three tiers. What is the lowest tier called?
69. What title is given to the heads of most federal states?
70. The Federal Republic of Germany is a constitutional state. What does that mean?
71. The law forbids individual retribution. The victim of a crime may not take revenge on the aggressor. Who decides in matters of punishment?
72. What is the name of the highest German court?
73. What does the "independence of the courts" mean?
74. The Federal Republic of Germany is a welfare state. Name three elements of social welfare in Germany.


VII. The Federal Republic of Germany in Europe

75. What is the name of the political union of the European states? Name at least five member states.
76. In what city does the European Parliament have its headquarters?
77. In which elections in the Federal Republic of Germany may citizens of the European Union vote?
78. What is the name of the organ in the EU that plans community policy and carries out decisions?
79. Which international defence alliance does the German Federal Republic belong to?


VIII. Culture, education and science


80. Name three German philosophers.
81. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller are considered Germany's most famous poetic artists. Name one work by each.
82. Name a German laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
83. Which German composed the famous "Ode to Joy" at the end of his 9th Symphony? Name two other German musicians or composers.
84. One of the most famous works by the German painter Caspar David Friedrich shows a landscape on the Baltic island of Rügen. What is the painting's central motif?
85. Every five years, the city of Kassel is home to one of the most important exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. What is the name of this exhibition?
86. The Federal Republic of Germany has eminent universities. Name three locations with universities.
87. Name three national newspapers and two public broadcasters in Germany.
88. Explain the term "freedom of opinion and the press".
89. If someone said: "Free media are indispensable to a democratic society", would you agree or disagree?
90. The film "The Miracle of Bern" was released in German cinemas in 2004. What sporting event does it deal with?
91. Which German city was the last to host the Summer Olympic Games, and what event overshadowed the games themselves?
92. Certain sports and athletes belong to the social and cultural image of the Federal Republic of Germany. Name three well-known German sporting personalities.
93. What did Johannes Gutenberg invent?
94. Which Germans are considered pioneers of the automobile industry? Name two.
95. Which German physicist made a discovery in 1895 that has revolutionised medical diagnosis ever since?
96. What was the German scientist Otto Hahn the first to do in 1938?
97. Which German doctor discovered the cholera and tuberculosis organisms?


IX. German national symbols

98. Which colours are shown on the German flag, and in which order?
99. What is the name of the German national holiday, and when does it occur?
100. What is the name of the German national anthem, and with what words does it begin?
signandsight.com - let's talk european