Every year on October 6, German-American Day commemorates the first German settlers to reach the New World. They came 340 years ago from Krefeld – not far from Messe Düsseldorf. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the U.S. Consulate General in Düsseldorf are therefore celebrating transatlantic friendship in the NRW-USA Year 2023/24. And with its world-leading trade fairs, Messe Düsseldorf is making an important contribution to economic exchange. Apostolos Hatzigiannidis, a colleague at Messe Düsseldorf, is originally from New York State. The Press & PR Manager has moved to the Rhine and tells us first-hand what he likes about NRW – and why the beer selection is not one of them.

What do you think is “typically German” and what is “typically American”?

For me, typically German is, of course, lederhosen and very large beer glasses. When I think of “typically American”, I think of big parking lots and Hollywood.

Big beer glasses and big parking lots – you know where the priorities are in those two countries! In New York, you definitely have to look for a parking space, but in North Rhine-Westphalia, unfortunately, you often have to do that in some big cities. What do you personally like most about NRW compared to New York?

I don’t get out of New York very often, so I really like the fact that I can get around here in NRW without a car. You can be in many different cities and countries within a few hours. The Netherlands, France, Belgium and even more countries are so close that you can easily visit another country in between.

With the border triangle nearby, you can really go around the world from NRW and get to know different cultures. If you want, you can also spend a party night in the Netherlands. How does partying in Germany differ from partying in the USA? Can you party better here and is our beer really the best?

When I’m out on the weekend, things start much later in Germany. In my city, all the bars and clubs close at 2 a.m. That’s why you’re home earlier in the States. When it comes to beer, there’s been a craft beer boom in the U.S. for years. Bars often have more than ten beers on tap. Here in Germany, there’s maybe four at the most.

sliderimage-Apostolos Hatzigiannidis (Messe Düsseldorf)
Apostolos Hatzigiannidis (Messe Düsseldorf)
sliderimage-As Press & PR Manager, he takes care of many different trade fair projects.
As Press & PR Manager, he takes care of many different trade fair projects.

So nightlife in Germany starts much later. What about making new friends? Are interpersonal relationships different in the U.S. than in NRW? How would you compare the friendliness and openness of people in the two places?

There are nice people everywhere. I think on average Americans are a little more open. But what was very difficult for me in Germany was all the “Sie” and “Du”. Who do I call “Sie” and who do I call “you”? In the USA we don’t have this dilemma. Everyone is just called by their first name.

But what I really like about Germany is the club culture. I’ve been playing lacrosse with DSC 99 for years, and I’ve made a lot of friends there. It’s hard to meet new people as an adult in the U.S., but it’s very easy in clubs.

Thank you for this exciting perspective on the cultural differences between the USA and Germany, dear Apostolos!

NRW USA Footer