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March 2013

Why the world needs the new Germans (and their sweet bear): A Monocle special report on how Europe’s star economy uses business brawn, good design and Gummi Bears to win hearts, minds and tummies.

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Teutonic lights

When we think about 21st-century Europe, we think about Germany. But our picture of the character and global outlook of the country can often be shaped by outdated notions. Here, Monocle crosses the real Germany and disc…

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The hand made tale

In a globalised market flooded with faux-artisan branding, real craftsmen are endangered. But in Kyoto, where tradition rules, a new initiative is refreshing generations-old techniques to bring Japanese craft to a worldwide…

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The ice man

Finland’s icebreakers are crucial for keeping the Baltic Sea navigable and its ports open. Captain Tommy Berg is at the helm of the MSV Fennica. He says keeping the ship on the right course is ultimately a team effort.

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Latin Liebe

The streets are immaculate, the inhabitants are blonde and the local beer is exceptional. Welcome to Brazil’s ‘little Germany’.

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Clearing the air

Deutsche Welle broadcasts TV and radio and in 30 languages worldwide. Established in 1953, today the public broadcaster is more important than ever – as a tool for public diplomacy.

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Europe briefing

Gender equality is on the to-do list in France, local food is on the table in Helsinki, and holiday homes are on the shopping list in Switzerland

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Wood for good

While the woodworking firms and lumber yards of northern Japan have been in decline, wooden-toy brand Mastro Geppetto is thriving.

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Sweetness and might

Think you’ve got the measure of the Haribo gummy bear? Think again. Behind that loveable face is a company that buys out rivals and takes its competitors to court. And we bet you didn’t know what country he’s from…

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The outsiders

Munich’s reputation rests largely on history, luxury and beer. But for 2013, the Bavarian city is setting a new focus, on public art. It has invited an outside force – artist duo Elmgreen + Dragset – to playfully carry out…

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Asia briefing

We put Burma's president Thein Sein under the sartorial spotlight. We also find out why Taiwan is making more babies and get the latest on the Malaysian elections

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Building sights

BAU is the world’s largest fair for the construction and architecture industries while also being a dream getaway for home handymen. From grand designs to garden sheds, Monocle visits the design world’s most no-nonsense…

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In good faith

A new mosque in the heart of Köln is set to be the largest in Germany, inviting not only the city’s Muslim community but also a renewed sense of religious openness and the odd architecture enthusiast too.

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Observation

Editor in chief Tyler Brûlé looks back over his career in television, print and radio as we celebrate six years of Monocle and new developments for Monocle 24.

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Oceania briefing

Rebranding Fiji's regime, saving butterflies in Papua New Guinea, and the wonder of ore in Western Australia.

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Defence briefing

Germany’s armed forces are experiencing an era of change. Just as they are becoming more active on the world military stage, they’re also facing cuts and restructuring. What type of military emerges in the end is still…

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Rebuilding process

Since Anders Behring Breivik’s atrocious attack in 2011, Utøya has rarely been out of the news. Here, finally, a positive story emerges from the tragedy: meet the Norwegian architectural firm redesigning the island for a…

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Looks good on paper

Who puts the lead in your pencil? Probably a German firm with a history of making fine writing instruments. And it’s a past these players want to highlight as they do battle with those pesky digital gadgets. Meet the stars…

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Seasonal change

The biannual Pitti Uomo menswear show is a highlight of the fashion calendar but its host country isn’t the force it used to be. That necessitates an unfamiliar focus on expansion into foreign markets – and Japan is first…

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The best of times

Each year there are two must-attend watch fairs in Switzerland. The vast Baselworld is still some months away but at the smaller, perfectly formed SIHH the talk was of slimming and self-reliance.

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All in it together

As companies around the world collapse into administration it would seem that the frenzied pursuit of profit in these straitened times can have an unfortunate side effect: bankruptcy. But the global resurgence of co-oper…

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Counter culture

A quick bite on your own in one of Tokyo’s cafés and restaurants is a pure, indulgent pleasure, especially when you’re adding to the ambience with a sharp-looking outfit.

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Clean break

This Tennessee city used to be known for its smog and stench. However, Chattanooga has cleaned up its act, establishing itself as an emerging technology hub and the home of Volkswagen’s only US factory. How did that happen…

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Inventory no. 61

This month, the natural world brings wood, leather and rare essences to the fore and creates unexpected combinations with chocolate-and-caramel tea and a vodka that starts life with a cow.

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Boring is banished

The sterotypes no longer apply to Germany: both culturally and economically the country is home to fresh ideas and exciting developments. It’s time for the world, and Germans, to embrace a new future.

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Monocle travel guide

From a three-Michelin star restaurant to a new mobile kitchen in Berlin, we take a quick tour of what’s new and noteworthy for a trip to Germany. Then on the following pages we go global for this issue’s travel picks.

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Harmony restored

Built in the 1930s as a Third-Reich propaganda machine, Munich’s Haus der Kunst has since evolved to become one of Germany’s most prestigious and global-minded contemporary-art venues.

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