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  • Aren't you just sick of hearing

  • German success stories?

  • They always win the football,

  • they're the first on the beach,

  • and while Britain faces cutbacks

  • and eye-watering debts, just look how well the Germans are doing.

  • We need, frankly, to have a more Germanic approach.

  • Employment is at record levels and it's a world-beating exporter.

  • What's more, the Germans earn more than us AND work fewer hours.

  • So how do they do it?

  • I'm Justin Rowlatt, a journalist.

  • Do you speak English?

  • And I'm Bee Rowlatt, a writer.

  • And we're on a mission to discover the secret of German success.

  • It's like kid heaven.

  • We're taking the kids with us and we're going in.

  • Yes, there'll be beer and sausages, but this is no holiday.

  • We're going to work...

  • Just one text! No, sorry. No?

  • No, you're here to work.

  • Live...

  • It's too loud. What, WE are too loud? You're too loud.

  • And play...

  • Red Army! Red Army!

  • Just like average, ordinary Germans,

  • because our challenge is to become German!

  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... ♪

  • Daddy, I want soup! You want soup? You've got...

  • Hold on, you've got food!

  • 'I live in North London with my wife, Bee, and our four children.'

  • I'm not. We are, in a week or so.

  • They have socks in Germany, do they?

  • They probably have better socks than we've got!

  • There's quite a kind of tradition of, you know, two World Wars,

  • one World Cup, you know, that kind of attitude to Germany in Britain.

  • And I think it'll be quite interesting to see what

  • the Germans think of us, you know.

  • I mean, we've obviously suffered terrible industrial decline

  • since the Second World War. The Germans have done pretty well.

  • They're still a major industrial nation.

  • It'll be quite interesting to see what they think of Britain.

  • Put those... OK. Can you put them in there for me?

  • Oh, yeah. Oh, thank you.

  • I'm actually half German, but I never grew up there.

  • I grew up in this country.

  • My dad's German, but my parents separated when I was little.

  • I don't want to be disloyal. You know,

  • there's nothing wrong with being half German, so it's not a problem.

  • But maybe there is a kind of... There are a few kind of...

  • sort of Teutonic qualities that she has.

  • I can't believe I'm sharing this,

  • but I quite like sitting on the toilet with the door open

  • and I'll just have a merry exchange with anyone who passes by.

  • Justin thinks that's really German.

  • I just thinks that's the way I grew up.

  • I'm going to miss you.

  • 'What's also really German is small families.

  • 'The German birth rate is low and falling,

  • 'just 1.4 children per couple.

  • 'So the first step in making us German

  • 'is to leave our eldest two, Eva and Zola, at home with Granny.'

  • I'm going to miss them, but it's quite nice to have a break sometimes

  • from all the loudness and everything.

  • I think it's going to be brilliant

  • and I'm not going to miss them at all.

  • 'First off, we need somewhere to live.

  • 'We've moved to Nuremberg, in the heart of Bavaria.

  • 'It's famous for its gingerbread...

  • '..its sausages, and its Nazi history.'

  • Hello. Hello, are you Mrs Holler? Yes, yes.

  • 'We've rented a flat from Mrs Holler.

  • 'We Brits may be obsessed with buying property, but Germans aren't.

  • 'More than half of them rent, compared to just a third of us.'

  • That's really nice. I really like this flat. Oh, it's really warm.

  • 'And I can see why. Rents are cheap.

  • 'This two-bed flat costs 135 euros a week.'

  • Kinder, kinder? Kinder bed. Kinder bed.

  • One kinder bed. Two kinder beds...

  • In Britain, I think we're obsessed with ownership,

  • and here in Germany, they seem happy to rent.

  • And they rent for, like, you know, a really long time.

  • She was saying people would stay for 10, 20 years in a rented property.

  • In Britain, there's this real kind of pressure

  • and expectation that if you can, you'll buy, and I...

  • Do you know what? I actually think it seems a lot healthier.

  • That's the one we looked at earlier today. Wow!

  • 'It means the Germans don't saddle themselves with huge debts.

  • 'In Britain, the average family owes £53,000, including mortgages.

  • 'In Germany, it's just under £30,000.

  • 'The kids are making themselves at home

  • 'and I'm expecting our first German visitor.'

  • DOORBELL RINGS

  • Hiya. Hi, I'm PJ. PJ!

  • 'PJ is an advertising guru.

  • 'His ad agency specialises in knowing exactly what the average.

  • 'German does every minute of every day.'

  • We did quite a lot of research on how

  • the typical German lives, actually.

  • I brought you some things

  • to learn about a typical German in this area.

  • 'Und damit auch die Durchschnittsdeutschen...'

  • And according to the film, the typical German is called Muller,

  • the nation's most common surname,

  • and lives in a 1970s apartment block...

  • like this, a flat just like ours.

  • Sabina is the most common female name, so that's me.

  • And here's me. Thomas Muller is the most common male name.

  • The Mullers only have one child, unlike us.

  • Germans certainly get up early,

  • 20 minutes earlier than the average Brit.

  • Let's talk about tomorrow morning.

  • Are you prepared to go a bit earlier than usual?

  • I don't know. 6:23? 6:23? That is early!

  • That's when you have to get up.

  • And then, the good thing is, you can take a bit of time in the bathroom.

  • The video goes into extraordinary detail.

  • No surprise that I pee standing up.

  • But then, I sit down and read

  • the sports section of the paper.

  • German men sit on the loo

  • for twice as long as German women.

  • And when it comes to loo paper,

  • the Germans are folders, not crumplers.

  • In fact, I get 24.6 minutes in the bathroom.

  • I get to sleep a bit longer

  • and spend 28.1 minutes in the bathroom.

  • With two little children

  • being in the family and not in school,

  • the typical German wife would not go to work, actually.

  • Really? Spend time at home with the kids,

  • doing, you know, housework.

  • Also, to teach the kids proper table manners, that is...

  • That's important to Germans, is it?

  • That is valued highly, actually, yeah. Yeah, yeah. OK.

  • There's a certain amount of good behaviour, and how you do things

  • in a certain structure and order still is very important.

  • 'PJ gives us a German rule book which he wants us to follow,

  • 'a checklist, telling us everything,

  • 'from the amount of housework to our daily pork intake.'

  • I just don't believe that most women want to do four hours

  • and 11 minutes of cooking, washing and cleaning. I'll give it a go.

  • I'll definitely try. I'm going to do my best.

  • It doesn't look fair, though, does it? It doesn't! You get to sleep

  • and then you get to go out and eat loads of potato, pork, white cheese.

  • I get brown bread, you get white bread.

  • You get the same amount of pork, same amount of potatoes

  • and same amount of beer as me.

  • OK. All right. But your life looks normal.

  • To me, that just doesn't look like a normal life.

  • But that could be that I'm not typical. I don't know...

  • Half an hour in the bathroom is a long time, isn't it?

  • We've rented an average German car.

  • A VW Golf is right there, bang in the middle of

  • what the Germans would drive. It's kind of rock solid,

  • it's not flash, but it's kind of well-made

  • and, of course, they buy German,

  • which is quite interesting, isn't it?

  • Germany has one of the most successful car industries

  • in the world, and here, success certainly starts at home.

  • Two thirds of all the cars on the road are German.

  • Will, do you want to choose an egg?

  • Look! Which one was yours? Is this one yours, Elsa?

  • Time to discover a bit more about Nuremberg's history.

  • Kaiserburg, the Imperial Castle.

  • It was one of Medieval Germany's most important centres,

  • but most of the Old City was destroyed

  • by Allied bombing during the War.

  • Since then, the city has been rebuilt

  • and many of the ruined buildings restored.

  • Really sharp roofs, haven't they?

  • The city was a centre of the Nazi regime.

  • The Nazi Mayor called it Germany's most German city

  • and it is here that Hitler held his infamous Nuremberg Rallies.

  • Hello. Hello.

  • 'We meet historian Hans Christian Taubrich.'

  • We are on the former Nazi Party rally grounds,

  • a huge area, covering some 11 square kilometres. My goodness!

  • It was created in 1933,

  • when Hitler designed Nuremberg

  • as the city of the party rallies.

  • So the high-ups, the leaders of the Nazi Party, would be here,

  • looking out on this kind of...

  • It's a vast parade ground, isn't it?

  • So I'm standing where Adolf Hitler stood? Yes.

  • I wonder, looking at this, cos obviously,

  • it's partly a lorry park, isn't it? Yes.

  • And I wonder whether that doesn't reflect the, kind of,

  • ambivalence about what you do with a historical site like this.

  • This is not a memorial site.

  • Now, the whole grounds in the last decades

  • have always been used for most profane purposes.

  • For example, parking lorries here,

  • race cars are touring around here,

  • we have festivals - Bob Dylan had been playing here,

  • and the Rolling Stones.

  • In Britain, we still seem to be obsessed by our victory

  • in the Second World War.

  • It's so interesting to see here at the Rally Ground how Germany

  • is still wrestling with the ghosts of its past.

  • You can't help but feel that losing the war

  • meant Germany had to pull together as a nation to rebuild.

  • It couldn't be complacent.

  • And while Britain's economy has faltered, Germany's has thrived.

  • "The wild things," William.

  • Like the Mullers, after our daily limit of .27 litres of beer,

  • we're tucked up in bed at exactly 11:15

  • for a bit of average German sleep.

  • ALARM CLOCK BEEPS

  • I'm working to German timetables now.

  • I reckon that was seven minutes, eight minutes, maybe.

  • Nothing more than that.

  • I don't know what they do in there, what are they doing for 20 minutes?

  • I've got to get some pork products going.

  • I've got to eat 1.1 kilos of pork a week.

  • Nuremberg is an important manufacturing centre.

  • There's Siemens, the electrical company,

  • Adidas and Puma churning out trainers.

  • I'm going to be a trainee supervisor at Faber Castell -

  • the world's oldest pencil manufacturer.

  • It produces a sixth of the world's pencils.

  • Small and medium-sized businesses like Faber Castell

  • are the backbone of the German economy -

  • employing almost two-thirds of the German workforce.

  • They're known as the Mittelstand and are mostly family-owned.

  • The average German starts work at 7:49.

  • Already, I'm below average.

  • Hello, Justin. Hi. How are you? Fine, and you? Yeah. You are late!

  • I know. Bisschen spat. Bisschen spat. I'm very sorry.

  • I had to catch public transport and I got a bit lost.

  • 'I'm doing an eight-hour day and that includes an hour for lunch.

  • 'That's almost an hour less than we Brits work.

  • 'How come they work less than us, yet are more productive?'

  • Guten morgen, hi. Danny. Danny.

  • Bit of German? No, no, no, I have no German. No German? No German.

  • OK, where do I start?

  • The job for you is to check if those pencils might stick together.

  • They are OK. As long as... You try.

  • This one back, and green button. OK, now your job is

  • just to keep an eye on the pencils and the machine.

  • I work in the lacquering department.

  • My job is to watch over the machines,

  • in case something goes wrong.

  • You've got to stay focused.

  • Are they falling off?

  • HE SPEAKS GERMAN

  • It's making 336 pencils a minute.

  • I mean, already, I've made 1,500 pencils.

  • It's all going quite smoothly.

  • Although it seems I'm not paying enough attention.

  • He said, "No, no, no, you don't rest."

  • You know, "You are here to work and you should be sweeping the floor."

  • He said, "If I see you doing that, I will just give you another machine"

  • "and then you will be really busy."

  • He's doing well, but he is a bit slow,

  • so I think he will run into trouble.

  • He has a lot to do, and right now, he isn't doing that much.