A course in how to get on with Germans

The Catholic University of Nijmegen, Holland, 30 miles from the German border, is running postgraduate courses for Dutch business people, politicians and civil servants, teaching them how to understand, get on with and do business with their German neighbours.

Under the title Met Meer Succes Naar Duitsland (To Germany With Greater Success), the department of German studies offers six course modules, each dealing with different aspects of German business culture.

Groups of about 20 senior figures from Dutch business and politics spend three days getting to grips with German fiscal law, management and corporate strategy, as well as studying the German economy and the various geographical regions.

But a large part of the course is taken up with tackling the everyday practicalities of dealing with people of a different culture.

Course tutor Jan van Megen said: "The Netherlands and Germany seem very like each other in many ways, in language, mentality and structure. That means that many Dutch people think it's easy because there aren't any differences, but there are."

By inviting guest lecturers from Germany, the course aims to show too that many of the stereotypical images of German officiousness no longer apply and that the country is changing rapidly.

The university also offers inhouse training to companies that want to do better business in Germany.

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