Bonn Although the British community in Bonn has thinned out since the Berlin move, it cannot and shouldn’t be ignored. 1000 people with British passports still live here. Here’s an overview of British life in Bonn.
The British Embassy in the shadow of the CDU headquarters on Friedrich-Ebert-Allee? That’s been long gone. The magnificent residence of the kingdom on the banks of the Rhine in Rüngsdorf, which was once used intensively for restaurants and bars? Has presumably been delighting its new owners for two decades. There may be cities where the Brexit is currently causing more excitement politically. Nevertheless, British life has not completely left Bonn.
For example, there is a regional group of the association British in Germany, which was founded in 2017 specifically to represent the interests of affected citizens during the Brexit negotiations. This is also done indirectly by the Bonn residents' registration office. For the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union at the end of this month, the city administration offers British citizens and their family members the opportunity to register.
Paragraph 4 of the German Residence Act makes this necessary. As soon as there is an unregulated withdrawal from the UK, British citizens will need a residence permit. No registration is required if, in addition to British citizenship, you are also a citizen of an EU member state or of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. There are approximately 1000 people living in Bonn with exclusively British passports.
They may also be customers of the "English Shop" on Sternstraße. Anna-Maria Böhm says that in the Bonn branch of the shop, founded by Alexander McWhinney in 1995, the Brexit has actually already been been the subject of debate for so long. The company had already criticised the withdrawal a long time ago in the form of social media campaigns. Slightly more than half of the employees had a British passport; those who could, applied for dual citizenship. "Most of them have now done so," said Böhm.
However, even in earlier times, the movement of goods between the continent and the island was far from being as free as it has been in recent times, so there is a certain amount of experience in overcoming trade barriers. "Whether it will be more expensive or perhaps cheaper for us and our customers remains to be seen". When asked about the two bestsellers, she reacts spontaneously: "This reflects British extremes," she laughs: "One is the Clotted Cream for the typical English scones. The other is our Strongbow Cider.“
And then there is the special exhibition in the Haus der Geschichte. "Very British - A German View" runs until March 8th. Well timed.
Original text: Rüdiger Franz
Translation: Mareike Graepel