Doing business in Germany – what do you need to consider?
The German population is more than 83 million people. And yet the German is not really mobile within the country. There is a strong attachment to the region itself. Germany has 16 provinces (‘Bundesländer’) and each Bundesland has its own particularities – also in terms of industry or business preferences.
It is very important to realise this.
In addition, the German is proud of his country, his region – and his language.
Although the average German speaks English quite well, mastering the German language is a great advantage when doing business in and with Germany.
Before you start working in Germany, think carefully about what you want to do there.
Before you sit down with your German business partner: Dutch people like to do business in a friendly way, a joke is part of the deal. Watch out! Germans don’t like this and may think the Dutch joker is not seriously interested. So – put on your serious face at the negotiating table.
Back to what you would like to achieve in Germany.
Do you want to sell products from the Netherlands or do you really want to set up a business in Germany?
Both are possible, but both require a different approach – also legally.
If you want to supply products or services from the Netherlands, you should take a good look at your contracts. Because even though the Netherlands and Germany are both EU countries, different legal systems apply in the two countries and different rules apply.
Germany has a wealth of laws and regulations covering all aspects of environmental and consumer protection, including in particular minimum guarantees and product liability. Often the applicable EU directives have been transposed into German national law more or less unchanged, but beware there are numerous regulations where the German version is stricter than the EU counterparts. And if you do not take this into account – it can become an expensive experience with high fines.
In short, before you start a business relationship from the Netherlands, have your contracts checked so that you can start working full of energy and with a good level of security.
Do you want to set up an office in Germany?
Foreign companies can set up their German activities as companies, partnerships or branches. It is also possible to establish an informal presence through a liaison office or a contract agency or, for that matter, by recruiting a person to live and work in Germany as a direct employee of the parent company.
Before doing so, it is very important to get good advice – setting it up just like that and converting it again later is a huge hassle, which can easily be avoided with good advice beforehand from a lawyer who knows the Dutch situation well as well as the German rules – and who listens carefully to you!
ACG International meets all these criteria.
Moreover, Edith Nordmann, Managing Partner of ACG International, is a so-called native speaker – in short, she speaks German as well as Dutch and has also lived and worked in German-speaking countries for many years. In addition, she has been working as a lawyer in Amsterdam for 20 years and therefore knows both worlds very well, so she understands you perfectly and can help you prepare your business steps in Germany.
Feel free to call her for an informal talk, so you can be sure that you have everything legally in order. Bis bald!