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Connecting Germans in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area
The German Blog

Elektronische Erfassung der Auslandsdeutschen - Nachricht vom Konsulat in Houston

Liebe Landsleute,

ich möchte Sie auf diesem Wege über die elektronische Deutschenliste ELEFAND (Elektronische Erfassung der Auslandsdeutschen) in Kenntnis setzen. Alle  Deutschen, die - auch nur vorübergehend - im Ausland leben, können in eine
Krisenvorsorgeliste gemäß § 6 Abs. 3 des deutschen Konsulargesetzes aufgenommen werden.

Es handelt sich hierbei um eine freiwillige Maßnahme. Die Botschaft und die  Generalkonsulate raten, von dieser Möglichkeit Gebrauch zu machen, damit -  falls erforderlich - in Krisen- und sonstigen Ausnahmesituationen schnell  Verbindung mit Ihnen aufgenommen werden kann.

Die Aufnahme in die Krisenvorsorgeliste erfolgt ab sofort passwortgeschützt  im online-Verfahren. Die elektronische Registrierung soll die bisher manuell geführte Krisenvorsorgeliste der Botschaft und der Generalkonsulate
ersetzen. Wir bitten Sie daher, Ihre Daten möglichst bald über das Internet  einzugeben, auch wenn Sie bisher schon registriert waren.

Zur Registrierung  gehen Sie bitte auf folgende Website:

Sie werden künftig automatisch in regelmäßigen Abständen aufgefordert werden, Ihre Angaben zu bestätigen bzw. zu aktualisieren. Damit sollen Vollständigkeit und Aktualität der Registrierungen im Sinne einer wirksamen Krisenvorsorge und --bewältigung sichergestellt werden.

Bitte beantworten Sie die Ihnen automatisch zugehenden Aufforderungen deshalb im eigenen Interesse.

Falls Sie Fragen zu ELEFAND haben sollten, können Sie sich jederzeit Kai-Uwe Spicher in Verbindung setzen.

Kai-Uwe Spicher

Deputy Consul General
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
1330 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 1850
Houston, TX 77056-3018, USA
Tel.: (001) 713-627-7770 (front desk)
Fax:  (001) 713-627-0506

Precision. Motion. Style. -

Work life in Germany is so hard - Germans work 86 % as much as Americans

Life in Germany is hard, so Germans don’t have the energy to work as much as Americans. Even German professionals punch the clock to track their time spent at work down to the minute. The concept of flex time is nearly universal in Germany as is the constant complaining by every German employee that they have so many overtime hours that they don’t know how to get rid of. It is such a burden to them knowing that they are needed by their employers yet owed more time off, because their 30 days of vacation and multitude of holidays a year just aren’t enough, when they work a little longer on the few days a year that they actually go to the office.

When the stress of trying to take care of their own leisure time needs and work place demands simultaneously gets to be too much, Germans go to a doctor to get prescribed a six week Kur, a sort of health spa retreat, where they can enjoy the benefit of having their health insurance pay for the all-inclusive resort, and their employer paying them their full salary for learning horseback riding and cooking. The best part for Germans is that these count as sick days and don’t take away any of their thirty days of vacation.

Germans are delicate and need lots of time to erholen, to sort of rejuvenate, and they need at least one vacation a year with 3 consecutive weeks to properly recoup.  This is best done in a sunny place like Greece, Turkey, Spain, or Portugal.  In America we tell each other to have fun on vacation, Germans command each other to erholen themselves well.

Germans don’t make very many babies, but the ones who do are well rewarded for leaving their employers in a precarious position. Whether they are male or female, Germans can take maternity or paternity leave for up to three years and their employers must hold a place for them, so they can waltz back into corporate life right where they left off. These poor workers can still complain though that they unfairly have to start back where they left off, having missed out on 3 years of raises and promotion opportunities.


Texas schools saying auf Wiedersehen to German programs

 By JESSICA MEYERS / The Dallas Morning News


Posters of snow-capped castles, Oktoberfest revelry and Albert Einstein decorate the walls of Claudia Keller's classroom in Frisco. She's only missing students. Six attend her AP German class, the only one in the school district.

Across the country, German is sputtering next to its garrulous Spanish competitor, and now Mandarin is grabbing the spotlight.

Even in Texas, a state once known for its meat-and-potatoes heritage and annual polka festivals, German's lost the love.

The battle of the tongues is tight. Foreign languages remain a low priority among American students, who start later and study fewer years than counterparts in many other countries. Teachers blame this language loss on budget constraints and a heavier focus on core subjects such as science and math.

But they also point to a societal crutch: Students know they can always rely on English. This leaves German teachers trying to prove that languages have value and that German is still worth it.

"These days we're just happy when kids are taking any language," said Helene Zimmer-Loew, executive director of the American Association of Teachers of German. "It's pitiful. And I have a feeling German might be one of the losers."

National membership in the group has dropped by 2,000 in a little more than a decade, she said. Hawaii is down to five members.

About 200 students study German in Frisco ISD, compared with more than 3,000 enrolled in Spanish classes. It's the least-celebrated language in the district, behind even American Sign Language. It also has the smallest enrollment in Richardson, where Japanese and Latin are more popular. Highland Park and Lovejoy ISD have dropped their German programs and taken up Mandarin instead.

Shrinking numbers

This collective disinterest had the opposite effect on Frisco High School senior Chase Porter, a student in Keller's AP class. "Everybody else takes Spanish," he said, "so I went for German."

Porter is one of a handful of students who study a language throughout high school. Texas students are required to take only two years of foreign language, and in many area schools, at least half don't continue.

That mirrors the rest of the country. Nationwide, less than half of students take foreign languages in public high school, according to the most recent report from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The percentage of students enrolled in these classes has crept up just 2.5 percentage points since 1990.

The numbers are flipped in Europe. About 60 percent of high school students in the European Union studied at least two foreign languages in 2007, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities. Only 6 percent didn't study at least one.

"There just doesn't seem to be as much of a push here to find and embrace solutions to language deficits," said Steve Ackley, a spokesman for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. "There's a lot of lip service but languages are not being translated into things schools are graded on."

Beverly LeMaster, a retired German teacher who taught in North Texas for 30 years, said that mentality plays almost as significant a role in marginalizing language classes as funding does.

"Part of it is good old American arrogance," she said. "Haven't you heard, 'I don't need to learn another language; everyone speaks English?' "

The educational structures in place reinforce that notion, LeMaster said.

"We're not immersing them at an early age, and we're teaching them one hour a day," she said. "By the end of two years, it's impossible to have any fluency."

German's suffering even more because it can no longer draw on the intrigue of ancestral ties or frequent exchange programs, said Gray Westmoreland, president of the Texas German Society and a former German teacher in Yoakum, Texas.

"Young people just don't seem to be interested in cultural heritage," he said. "It's a real pitfall in teaching this language."

Influence on Texas

The German influence in Texas stretches back to the 19th century, when job opportunities and open land brought thousands to Central Texas. The community expanded, leaving legacies like the town of New Braunfels and Shiner beer. More than 2.7 million Texans claim German ancestry, according to the 2008 American Community Survey done by the Census Bureau. More than 112,000 Collin County residents report German heritage, nearly 15 percent of the population.

Backlash from the World Wars silenced a number of German speakers, but German language study gained popularity again as a result of the Cold War. Texas became a prime location for military bases as did Germany, where many American soldiers landed at some point in their careers. And military children like Kevin Lariscy returned to Texas hoping to continue their language study.

He remembers full classes at Lamar High School in Arlington in the late 1980s. Almost two decades later, he struggles to speak more than a few pleasantries – even though he lives in New Braunfels, with one of the oldest German communities in Texas.

"There is definitely an influx of other cultures watering down the tradition," he said, adding that taquerias now outnumber delis.

A reshaped ethnic landscape doesn't mean German shouldn't still get credit in public high schools, said Frisco's Keller as she joked with her small batch of students about pronoun placement.

She points out that Germany is the world's biggest exporter and Europe's largest economy. It's a leader in research and high-tech products. German tourists are the largest spenders of vacation money in the world. And its lively punk and metal music scene spawned a generation of imitators.

Foreign languages, she said, "open us to different cultures so that not everything is Texas, America."

Then she smiled and gave a courtesy nod. One student had just roared from across the room: "No English!"

Best German Restaurant in America title goes to Bavarian Grill of Plano, Texas

“Best German Restaurant in America” title goes to Bavarian Grill of Plano, Texas.
Over 400 German restaurants, located throughout the United States participated in this first year of the search for the “Best German Restaurant in America”. Bavarian Grill, located in Plano, Texas, near Dallas – Fort Worth garnered almost one third of all the validated votes cast during the two-month online voting period. They also received the majority of positive judging forms from “undercover judges”, and the restaurant scored well with teams of expert judges who dined incognito at the highest scoring German restaurants. Health Department inspections were also reviewed to confirm a consistent “A” rating for the restaurant. The goal of the annual competition, according to Inga Bowyer, president of, is to recognize German restaurants that serve up a truly ethnic experience.

“Millions of US citizens trace their ancestry back to Germany. It’s only fitting that we celebrate restaurants that connect us with that heritage,” said Bowyer, who was born in Germany and whose online German food store hosted the contest. After scoring highest among all German restaurants in Texas in the ZAGAT Surveys® 2006, 2007, and 2008, and being voted #1 Ethnic Food by the Plano Star Courier’s Choice Award in 2008 and 2009, the latest recognition is their biggest yet, according to Juergen Mahneke, who along with wife, Elke, has been welcoming guests since 1993.

After receiving the great news Mr. Mahneke said: “My team and I thank all of our loyal, passionate guests who support us not only with regular visits, but also their votes.. And thanks also to our entire team who work hard so that our guests leave smiling, and want to return with their friends soon.” According to Bowyer, Bavarian Grill’s classic German entrees like schnitzel, sauerbraten, bratwurst, and roasted ham hock are complimented by a selection of over 50 different imported German beers. “They top it all off with nightly live music with a distinctly Bavarian vibe. We like their sense of fun, which is not only visible during this Oktoberfest time, but all year long,“ said Bowyer, who will present the award to Bavarian Grill on October 14 along with representatives of competition co-sponsors, Spaten and Franziskaner Breweries, and telecommunications company, Telna.


Contact Inga Bowyer at 817-905-7668 or
Contact Juergen Mahneke at 972-881-0705 or

New German International School (Kindergarten) in Dallas now open!

Young children can acquire native-like fluency as easily as they learned to walk. Where adults have to work through an established first-language system, studying explicit grammar rules and practicing rote drills, the young kids learn naturally, absorbing the sounds, structures, intonation patterns and rules of a second language intuitively, as they did their mother tongue. Benefiting from these skills and encouraging children in the age from 1 to 5 years to learn a second language – this is the goal of the first German International School in Dallas that just had its grand opening.

“Our purpose is to provide an environment with comprehensive programs where the children may better develop their learning and physical skills before formally entering the school system”, says Charlotte von Engelbrechten, Principal of the school. “Two years ago I started realizing my idea”, she remembers, “and with the help of the German community here in Dallas we were able to finish the project just in time to open for the school season 2009/2010. It was such a joy to see how many people were willing to support me building this school. Traute Malhotra, the director of the German American chamber of commerce NTX, helped us finding the right facility in the right location. Thanks a lot also to Nici Bremer, the treasurer of our school. She and her husband Andreas committed a lot of their free time helping us to getting the school up and running.

” Mr. Roland Herrmann, General Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany was the guest of honor at the opening event. “I just moved to Houston a few weeks ago and when I heard that there will be an opening of a German school in Dallas, I was more than willing to come to that event”, he says. “It is important that we further establish the German community in Dallas and a German school is an integral part of that community.

” In her opening speech, Charlotte also emphasized the international and multicultural aspect of the school. “The children who visit our school come from various cultural backgrounds. We have an Indonesian couple who met in Germany. So they want their daughter to learn German. We have German parents who want their children to practice their mother tongue, and we have American families who may have German ancestors and want their children to connect with their roots.” In a time where globalization expects us to create a greater intercultural appreciation and sensitivity - more than ever before – learning a second language helps us expanding our world view and gives our children a competitive edge in future markets and the global marketplace.

From left:
Traute Malhotra (President German/American Chamber of Commerce NTX), Charlotte von Engelbrechten (Principal of German Intl. School) and her husband Malte, Roland Herrmann, General Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Karl Ziebarth (President Dallas Goethe Center) and Andreas Bremer (Board Member of German Intl. School)

You want more information about the German International School in Dallas?

Englisch Lengvitsch - was zum schmunzeln

Obtaining a Texas Driver's licence important for Germans who live and work in Texas

Two important changes have recently gone into effect with Texas law pertaining to DPS (Department of Public safety). 

Assignees/Expatriates coming from Germany
may now exchange their driver’s license, similar to Canadian transferees, without taking the driving test. The documentation required to receive a state driver’s license remains the same.

More info:

Soccer World Cup Federation looks at Dallas sports venues

The Cotton Bowl and the new
Dallas Cowboys Stadium are being considered for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s World Cup soccer tournament.

The USA Bid Committee, which sent letters to stadium operators in major markets in the U.S., has named the two Dallas sports sites as possible host locations for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

The committee says 70 stadiums in 50 metropolitan areas are up for consideration.

The bidding criteria includes the capacity to handle 40,000 or more sporting spectators. Among the stadiums up for consideration, more than 65 have a capacity above 60,000 and 20 can hold more than 80,000 spectators.

“The United States is uniquely qualified to stage the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 as demonstrated by the dozens of metropolitan markets with venues capable of staging World Cup matches in every respect, from the quality of their stadiums to their overall ability to accommodate thousands of fans, news media and visitors,” said Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer president.

Deutsches Fernsehen in den USA

Endlich ist es soweit

Deutschsprachige Fernsehen in Nordamerika ist gestartet

Mit dem VIP-Code jetzt Geld sparen

Ab sofort können Sie bis zu 10 Fernsehprogramme über die Fernsehboxx empfangen. Die Bremer BOXX-TV GmbH hat zusammen mit den technischen Dienstleistern das Projekt begonnen.

Gestartet wird mit sechs Fernsehprogrammen, die zu einem gewaltfreien Familienpaket zusammengefasst wurden. Die Liste der Sender können Sie hier ersehen:

Zwei zusätzliche Sender starten schon in Kürze und weitere Sender kommen später hinzu. Zudem verhandelt die BOXX-TV GmbH mit der Deutschen Fußballliga über die Verbreitung von Bundesligaspielen ab der Saison 2009/2010.

 Sie können jetzt Geld sparen. Geben Sie bei der Bestellung auf dieser Seite den VIP-Code: D 0412 ein; das ist alles. Und schon ziehen wir von der Rechnung 49,90 US$ ab.

Ein Abonnement können Sie mit einer Adresse in den USA (mit Hawaii und Alaska) und Kanada erwerben. Benötigt wird lediglich ein herkömmlicher DSL-Internetanschluss mit mindestens 1.000 kb/s (1 Mb/s). Dieser DSL-Zugang kann über die Telefonfirma oder die Kabelfernsehfirma bereitgestellt werden Ein Dial-Up-Zugang oder ein Internetzugang über Satellit funktionieren leider nicht.

Und wenn Sie Abonnent und zufrieden mit dem Fernsehangebot sind, dann können Sie sich sogar noch etwas hinzuverdienen. Bestehende Abonnenten können über eine Freundschaftswerbung für jeden neuen Kunden 50 US$ verdienen. Wie das geht, steht hier:

Eine Bitte: wir haben bereits viele Vorbestellungen, dass wir schon jetzt um Verständnis bitten, wenn wir am Anfang bis zu 14 Tagen benötigen, um die Fernsehboxxen zustellen zu können. Eine Berechnung der Kreditkarte erfolgt erst direkt vor der Auslieferung und nicht eher. Bitte beachten Sie auch unsere Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen, die Sie auf dem Bestellformular unten anklicken können.

(english version)
 (Deutsche Version)

German American Chamber of Commerce Christmas Member Appreciation Event

The North Texas Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce celebrated their annual membership appreciation event on December 4, 2008  in the lobby of the Mercantile Place upscale apartments on Main Street in the heart of downtown Dallas with a beautiful view over the Dallas skyline

We are thankful for the support of our main sponsors, Dan Hughes with The Mercantile apartments who made it possible to use one of their lobby's on the 14th floor for our Christmas Event. A special thanks to Dan as well for taking our guests on several tours throughout the entire apartment complex.

Vertima Smith, owner of Le Soiree Catering spoiled our guests with delicious Hors-d’œuvre's and a beautiful arranged fruit buffet.

Special thanks goes to the following companies who donated products for our silent auction:

The Bavarian Grill, Eugene Flynn,, La Buena Vida Vineyard and Lufthansa German Airlines.

The winning bidders will help us to make a donation to the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.
A special thanks goes  to Jorge Varela with Technology for Business Corporation, who was the highest bidder of the night and received a picture signed by Dirk Nowitzki. 

The other winners are: Patrick Moebel with ABX Logistics USA, Eugene Flynn with Eugene Flynn, P.C., Lothar Katz with Leadership Crossroads and Traute Malhotra with THM Realty.

Another special thanks goes to the Event organizing team Traute Malhotra, Alexandra Kinney, Kristin Drauschke, Christina Stoll-Shewmaker and Nathalie Flat for her continous support during the year.

Alex Kinney, Christina Stoll-Shewmaker, Nathalie Flatt and Kristin Drauschke (not on picture Director of the GACC Traute Malhotra)

Here are some more pictures, - hope to see you next year again! Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for 2009!

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