Every year, Franco-German Day is celebrated in Germany on the 22nd of January. This day celebrates a reconciliation between the two countries following the end of World War II and is often observed with special events in both Germany and France. Back in the 1960s, the two countries would sign a treaty that would build a foundation on which mutual trust and the exchange of ideas could be built.
Some 59+ years later, that foundation has proven to be quite strong as school student exchanges, cultural events, and other activities are shared between the two countries. This is a day during which Germans and French citizens renew their friendship with one another.
The History Of Franco-German Day
On the 22nd of January in 1963, the first Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer, and French statesman Charles de Gaulle signed The Elysée Treaty. This treaty outlined the friendship between France and West Germany and established a foundation for relations. Prior to and during World War II, Franco-German relations were based on German and French enmity, which simply means that there was a natural hostility and rivalry between the two countries.
With the signing of this treaty, that idea changed, however. The treaty required both countries to consult with one another on important questions of education, defense, and youth issues. It also required high-ranking government officials of both countries to meet twice a year. Today, Franco-German Day commemorates this historical event and calls for the continued friendship between France and Germany.
Some Important Facts About German-French Relations
Below are just some of the facts that we’ve learned about German-French relations while we were researching Franco-German Day. We hope the following points are informative to all of our readers and will encourage them to do more research on this subject for themselves. With that being said, let’s dig into the following facts, shall we?
- There’s a specific office for dealing with Franco-German relations. That office is the Franco-German Youth Office or FGYO.
- The FGYO is an international organization that has allowed almost 10 million young people from France and Germany to engage in almost 400,000 student exchange programs.
- The Treaty of Aachen was signed between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 22, 2019.
- The Treaty of Aachen updated Franco-German integration and cooperation.
Observing Franco-German Day
During this day, the cooperation between these two countries is reemphasized for everyone’s benefit. This includes foreign student exchanges, language programs, and other such cultural events.
It’s also the day for Germans to reach out to French citizens in a spirit of cooperation. The hashtag #FrancoGermanDay can be used on social media to raise awareness about this holiday.