Intercultural Dialogue

Global Index (ICDI): Germany


Modern Germany emerged from the destruction of the Second World War, and the collective guilt associated with the Holocaust and the crimes of the Third Reich. Since the unification of West and East Germany in 1989, the country has become an important destination form immigrants from culturally diverse backgrounds (Eckardt 2007). However, Germany doesn’t officially recognise itself as a multicultural society. The discourse of on ethnic diversity is often clouded by controversy around the notion of “multiculturalism” and debates of immigration. With immigration often being politically sensitive issue, migrants with regular residence are generally expected to integrate in the society, unconditionally accepting German laws, and learn the German language.

Although multiculturalism is not adopted in German schools, there is a nonbinding intercultural education that encourages students to be cognizant of their cultural socialisation, acquire knowledge about different cultures, and become curios, open and understanding of other cultures (Tolley 2011). In Germany, there is no explicit support for multicultural expression, the state does not guarantee or fund ethnic representation in media, affirmative action programs (Tolley 2011). However, a range of programs supporting the activities of immigrants and ethnic organizations do exist at various levels of government.


Germany has achieved an overall ICDI score of 0.674. The country’s sturdy legislative dimension is supported by an above average score of 1.0 in the component of anti-discrimination, signalling the presence of anti-discrimination polices. In contrast, a score of 0.146 in the component of social contact signals lower levels of cultural participation. A score of above 0.80 in the components of (in)equality, cohesion and stability indicate stronger degrees of intergenerational social mobility, higher levels of education attainment and low state fragility.

Current Situation and Outlook

Compared to its positive situation around the legislative dimension, Germany achieves relatively lower scores in some components of its structural and opportunities dimensions. The country’s legislative dimension can be further strengthened with additional multicultural or diversity acts or policies. Germany can also improve its structural dimension by encouraging cultural participation and facilitate access to communication to increase platforms for social contact amongst the different communities in the country. Its intercultural opportunities dimension can be strengthened by mitigating racist attitudes towards other groups, which will also aid in improving its global social tolerance index. This move will be supported by its strong framework for the practice of intercultural dialogue, exhibited by an above average score of 0.906 in the freedom of expression dimension.

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