Press "Enter" to skip to content

Decades after Collapse of Berlin Wall, East German Cities Attempt to lure back Employees

Last updated on November 8, 2019

Now, little cities in the former Communist half of the nation are attempting to lure new residents to cancel an aging population, a lack of skilled employees and stagnant economic development.

One of them to return would be Sebastian Herz, who at age 16 followed what turned into a well-trodden route east to west.

For the next 23 years, he worked and trained as a carpenter from the West — devoting and booming in a number of Germany’s manufacturing hubs.

Back in February, Herz chose to go home, and with his wife and three children returned to the little city some 50 miles from the boundary with Poland. They transferred into his grandparents’ former home, constructed in 1908.

It is the opposite of a decadeslong fad that saw tens of thousands of employees leave in pursuit of greater economic opportunity following the collapse of the wall on Nov. 9, 1989.

2017 was the initial year following reunification the East had people coming from the West compared to departing, according to Germany’s Federal Institute for Population Research.

It is nothing like the location is booming, but Herz is OK with this.

“The market is bad here, I must state,” he explained. “There are not any amateurs. And that is where we found our chance”

The return of”Ossies” or even easterners, since they were frequently referred to, could not come at a better time.

As per a research from the Institute for Economic Research, the inhabitants in what was formerly West Germany is 60 percent bigger than it had been before World War II, whereas East Germany’s is 15 percent smaller. What is more, the East’s inhabitants of 13.9 million is approximately the same as it was in 1905 and is predicted to fall by 12 percent greater in the subsequent 15 decades.

Wages and productivity still lag behind the West, unemployment is 2% greater, and not one of the firms on the DAX 30 German stock exchange index have their headquarters at East.

“It takes a long time. Should I think of it, 30 decades and we’re still not where we ought to have been.

“I always said it’ll take so long as the wall stood, 40 decades, for actual reunification to occur,” additional Klaue, that lost his job after the walls came down along with the area’s largest company, the mining sector, collapsed.


Last month, that the anti-immigrant alternate for Germany celebration, called the AfD, won almost a quarter of the vote in regional elections at the state of Thuringia, in what had been East Germany. The celebration is polling around 14% nationwide.

“Democracy from the East later 1990 arrived for the great majority of individuals with de-industrialization, job reductions and profound existential insecurities in their own lives,” explained Frank Richter, a part of their local country Parliament from the eastern state of Saxony, that demonstrated against the regime in East Germany prior to the fall of the wall.

“The new right has succeeded in carrying these experiences of reduction, which may and needs to be clarified unemotionally, and building a fantastic sufferer storyline,” he added.

To reverse their fortunes, most of the East’s little cities like Lauchhammer are actively recruiting returnees, in addition to new residents from across Germany.

Görlitz is offering potential residents a free trial remain, while Cottbus provides consultations on the work marketplace, support in locating openings and schools to companies needing skilled employees.

In Lauchhammer alone, recruiting efforts, for example, “returnee times” to flaunt the city to prospective residents, have helped bring in over 2,000 new residents since 2016. The motives of those returnees are diverse and have a lower cost of living and also the urge to be near family.

This was one of Herz’s motives for moving back to silent Lauchhammer, about 90 miles southeast of Berlin, a weary town where there is minimal industry.

But the household was not his only motive.

“We specifically chose to choose to prepare a business here since we wanted to make jobs,” additional Herz, who stated that two thirds of his course left to the West around precisely the exact same period that he did.

In Calau, approximately 65 miles northwest of Berlin, the collapse of the region’s major business, coal mining, and increased chance from the West, led to a 28 percent drop in population from 1989 to 2019.

“While the older employees are retiring, younger employees aren’t adequately available,” explained Calau Mayor Werner Cushner. So, what exactly do we do? How do we encourage our market? Where can we get employees out of? That’s the major question today.”

A stroll across the city’s cobblestoned sidewalks shows the way the town has gone to great lengths to be appealing and to entice young men and women. The majority of the houses and buildings within this quaint city have been renovated, and the city now puts on cultural events to attract younger residents.

It set up a schedule that provides individuals who wish to come back to the area help in finding jobs, schools, and housing. A truck using the advertisement”Back to Calau” drives around Germany, expecting to entice new residents. The city wasn’t able to offer details about the quantity of those who have returned as an outcome.

In spite of a powerful will to better their situation, these tiny eastern cities still face big structural issues. The absence of skilled workers has meant that companies have not managed to grow as large or as fast as they’d like. Herz, by way of instance, had just 1 individual respond to an employment advertisement. He hired him said he is a”perfect match ” Also, he expects to employ two apprentices shortly.

“I just feel like a German,” he explained. “I don’t say I come out of the East.”