Munich: making millionaires at home

The capital of Bavaria is one of the wealthiest cities in the EU.

Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria, is located on the Isar River, north of the Bavarian Alps, in southern Germany. Said to have one of the most vibrant economies of any German city, it is second only to Frankfurt as a financial centre. In addition to thriving banking, information technology, filmmaking and publishing sectors, the city is home to a number of corporate headquarters including electronics giant Siemens AG, automaker BMW AG, and Munich Reinsurance Co.

Munich is one of the wealthiest cities in the EU and its residents enjoy a high standard of living. According to WealthInsight’s World City Millionaire Rankings for 2013, it was home to 130,000 millionaires, placing it 12th among world cities. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey called it the fourth best place to live among global cities. The lifestyle magazine Monocle ranked it as the world’s most livable city in 2012.

Regional identities are strong in Germany and Munichers pride themselves on being Bavarian. While this means they love Oktoberfest and beer, they are no less serious when it comes to doing business than their German counterparts in the north. So button up, be on time, and don’t make jokes in meetings.

Who knew?

  1. The name Munich derives from the Old High German term "Munichen," meaning "by the monks’ place."
  2. The city was first mentioned in historical records in 1158.
  3. The Wittelsbach Dynasty was the city’s most prominent family for centuries, reigning as dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria from 1180 to 1918.
  4. The Beer Garden directory lists 114 places in the greater Munich area to enjoy local brews under the trees.

What to see

  1. The Deutsches Museum: the world’s largest museum of science and technology has 50 exhibition areas and a collection of more than 100,000 objects.
  2. Lenbachhaus: an art museum best known for its large collection of paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and the Blue Rider group, which got its start in the area and helped change the course of modern art.
  3. Englischer Garten: larger than New York’s Central Park, this oasis of green in the city includes a beautiful lake and a traditional Chinese tower.
  4. The Nymphenburg Palace: the Wittelsbach’s summer palace is a sprawling Baroque gem, a prime example of how Europe’s rulers once lived.

Business etiquette

  1. How to be: Germans prize formality, structure, precision, thoroughness and directness. Be prepared, and expect to follow the agenda at meetings.
  2. Greetings: address business contacts by their titles and surnames. When introducing a group, start with the most senior person. Make your handshake firm and brief.
  3. Using your German: use the formal "Sie" for "you." If you get to know someone well, they may begin to use the informal "du," but let your German contact be the first to introduce it.
  4. What to eat: if you are invited out for dinner, appreciate the local beer and Bavarian specialties. Don’t start talking business unless your hosts signal there is something they want to discuss.
  5. Don’t schedule meetings for Friday afternoon. Munichers have a strong work ethic, but they also know how to enjoy themselves.