Authored by: Helen Williams

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics & Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415686860
eBook ISBN: 9781315747040
Adobe ISBN: 9781317600152


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The partition of Germany following World War II, combined with the historical movement of ethnic Germans and the frequent changes to Germany’s borders in the preceding century, led to a configuration of citizenship in Germany that diverged significantly from European norms. Until 2000, Germany had no provisions for acquisition of German nationality by birth on German soil (ius soli), while most European countries at least had provisions for double ius soli, whereby a child born to non-national parents also born in the country would have access to that country’s nationality, effectively granting citizenship automatically to third-generation immigrants. 1 German citizenship, by contrast, was inherited almost exclusively through the bloodline (ius sanguinis). Historically, Germany has been a country of emigration, and there is a clear trend for countries that are net exporters of migrants to regulate nationality through ius sanguinis (Koslowski 2000). 2 However, this does not explain Germany’s avoidance of naturalisation and ius soli citizenship.

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