This declaration was intended not only to manifest the political alliance and economic partnership between France and Germany, but also to seal peace and a growing friendship between once enemy nations. In 2003, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Treaty, French President Jacques Chirac and Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared January 22 “Franco-German Day”, a special day of exchange and meeting between the two countries.
As of 31 December 2020, 470 people1) with French citizenship lived in Thuringia, of which 260 were males and 210 were females. On average they were 37.7 years old and remained in Thuringia for 12.7 years. The French living here make up 0.4 percent of Thuringia’s foreign population. Nearly two thirds of them (64.9%) lived in the independent cities of Jena, Erfurt and Weimar, with Jena being the most popular place to live with 135 people. 280 of the French citizens residing in Thuringia were single. Of the 125 French married, just under half (55 people) had a German spouse.
Migration movements between Thuringia and France were clearly in Thuringia’s favor in 2020. While 153 people moved to Thuringia from France, only 112 people moved from Thuringia to France. The sex ratio was almost balanced both in the inflows, with 80 females and 73 males, and in the outflows, with 57 females and 55 males.
Most French visitors didn’t arrive in Thuringia right away with a moving van, but at least they arrived with suitcases. In 2020, approximately every 20 foreign guests came from France. With 4,766 arrivals, these guests booked a total of 8,777 overnight stays in accommodation facilities in Thuringia2) (including campsites). As a result, they stayed about 2 nights on average. However, the restrictions on travel opportunities caused by the pandemic have had a huge impact, as the number of French guests nearly tripled in 2019 (arrivals: 12,801; overnight stays: 25,835). Most of the arrivals (59.9%) and overnight stays (55.1%) of French guests in 2020 were recorded in the travel areas of the cities of Eisenach, Erfurt, Jena and Weimar, followed by the Thuringian Forest (18, 0% of arrivals and 25.9%). percentage of overnight stays).
Guests from France are not only welcome in the accommodation facilities, but also in the educational institutions of Thuringia. In the school year 2020/2021, 25 students with French citizenship were taught in Thuringian schools, 22 of them in general schools and 3 in vocational schools. 41,732 Thuringian schoolchildren learned French in foreign language classes3) in general and vocational schools. In the school year 2020/2021, 67 school partnerships3) were registered between French and Thuringian schools.
In the winter semester 2020/2021, a total of 117 students who had obtained the qualification for access to higher education in France were enrolled in universities in Thuringia, 69 women and 48 men. The most popular subject groups were engineering with 52 students, followed by humanities with 24 and law, economics and social sciences with 22 students.
But Thuringian-French relations are not only evident in social and cultural interactions. Last but not least, France is one of the Free State’s most important trading partners. In 2020, goods worth 942.0 million euros were exported to France, placing it in second place among the exporting countries of Thuringia behind the United States. The most important product groups in export were machines, motor vehicles and parts of motor vehicles, as well as food and feed for animals. On the import side, goods worth 443.7 million euros were recorded in 2020, placing France in 9th place among importing countries. Metals, food and feed as well as machines from France were imported into Thuringia as the most coveted product groups.
How the economic and tourist exchange between France and Thuringia will develop will be shown by the data of the next polls and publications.
1) Results of the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR)
2) Accommodation facilities with at least 10 beds or campsites with at least 10 parking spaces (without fixed campsite)
3) Source: Education in the statistical information system; http://www.schulstatistics-thueringen.de