Know Your Diaspora: Germany

Filipinas wearing traditional Bavarian dresses at Munich's Oktoberfest (Source:, photo by Reuters/Michaela Rehle)

There are officially 57,362 Filipinos living in Germany—46,237 permanent residents, 8,095 temporary residents, 3,030 “irregulars.” They started coming to Germany years ago to work as nurses and employees in the medical industry and in marine-based sectors, such as seamen on German ships.

Many Filipinos in Germany are married to Germans. In December 2009 this proportion stood at 45 percent. In the same period, 82 percent of the Filipino community in Germany was female. 

Filipinos are spread relatively evenly across the population centers of Germany. In general, Filipinos are very well integrated into German society and many have become German citizens. Each year, about 750 Filipino citizens acquire German citizenship through naturalization, a large proportion of them are women.

The first wave of immigration, which began in the early 1970s, consisted of nurses and midwives who worked in Germany's hospitals and retirement homes. The second wave was in the 1980s, composed mainly of Filipinas married to German men. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) include those working on German registered ships.

An annual average of 1,000 women apply at the Philippine Embassy for a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.

Based on estimates of various Filipino immigrant organizations and non-government agencies in Germany, the total number of undocumented Filipino migrant workers could easily reach 20,000. In the past years, an annual average of 1,000 women applied at the Philippine Embassy for a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. Many German men meet Filipino women through international marriage agencies. An estimated 1,500 Filipinos are added each year to the current immigrant population through marriage.

Filipinos in Germany have established more than 100 civic organizations. Karaoke contests are a particularly popular form of social gathering. Church-based volunteer work is also widespread and has been particularly successful in encouraging social engagement by female immigrants. The activities are aimed at assisting the local Filipino community as well as raising money for charity projects in the Philippines. Filipinos are well integrated into German society, viewed by their neighbors as hardworking, skillful and peaceful. According to a 1997 survey by the Netherlands' Universiteit van Tilburg, 75 percent of Filipinos in Germany feel they have no problems with cultural or linguistic adjustment.

Germany has a population of 81,337,541 up to 95.1 percent native-born. The rest are of other ethnic origins. Turks are the largest non-Germanic minority, followed by Italians. Of the population, 41 percent are concentrated in industries, 6 percent in agriculture while 53 percent are in other sectors (service, government, etc.).

The induction of incoming officers of the Federation of Filipino Organizations in Northern Germany led by their President Corazon Entapa (left). (Source:

The Federal Republic of Germany, a parliamentary democracy, comprises 16 administrative states, with the capital in Berlin. The unification of West Germany and East Germany took place October 3,1990, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The German economy—the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest—is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms.

There has been much progress towards economic integration between eastern and western Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall, yet the eastern region almost certainly will remain dependent on subsidies funded by western Germany. Assistance to the east continues to run at roughly $100 billion annually. 

The economic recovery in the east is led by the construction industries, which account for one-third of industrial output, with growth increasingly supported by the service sectors and light manufacturing industries. Eastern Germany's economy is changing from one anchored on manufacturing to a more service-oriented economy. 

The statue in Wilhelmsfeld, Germany honoring Dr. Jose Rizal (Photo courtesy of Tadeo Macaraeg)

Western Germany, with three times the per capita output of the eastern states, has an advanced market economy and is a world leader in exports. The strong recovery in 1994 from recession began in the export sector and spread to the investment and consumption sectors in response to falling interest rates. Western Germany has a highly urbanized and skilled population that enjoys excellent living standards, abundant leisure time, and comprehensive social welfare benefits. 

It is relatively poor in natural resources, coal being the most important mineral. Western Germany's world-class companies manufacture technologically advanced goods. The region's economy is mature: services and manufacturing account for the dominant share of economic activities, and raw materials and semi-manufactured goods constitute a large portion of imports.


The Philippine Embassy

Uhlandstraβe 97
D-10715 Berlin

Trunk Line: +49 (30) 864 95 00 
Consular Section: +49 (030) 864 95 023 / +49 (030) 864 95 026 
Duty Officer Mobile (For Emergencies Only): +49 0173 5215703 / +49 (30) 873 25 51

Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad  (Source:

Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad (Source: