Italians in Germany

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Italians in Germany
Staatsangehörigkeit Italien in Deutschland.png
Distribution of Italian citizens in Germany (2014).
Total population
969,000 (with Italian ancestry) [1] 596,127 (Italians citizens)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Berlin · Hamburg · Munich · Rhein-Ruhr · Frankfurt · Stuttgart · Cologne
German · Italian · other languages of Italy
Major Catholicism · Lutheranism · Others
Related ethnic groups
Italian people · other European peoples

Italians in Germany consist of ethnic Italian migrants to Germany and their descendants, both those originating from Italy as well as from among the communities of Italians in Switzerland. Most Italians moved to Germany for reasons of work, others for personal relations, study, or political reasons. Today, Italians in Germany form one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world and account for one of the largest immigrant groups in Germany.


Italian emigrants in Germany (called "Gastarbeiter"), receiving instruction in 1962

Large numbers of Italians have resided in Germany since the early Middle Ages, particularly architects, craftsmen and traders. During the late Middle Ages and early modern times many Italians came to Germany for business, and relations between the two countries prospered. The political borders were also somewhat intertwined under the German princes' attempts to extend control over all the Holy Roman Empire, which extended from northern Germany down to southern Italy. During the Renaissance many Italian bankers, architects and artists moved to Germany and successfully integrated in the German society.

Italian worker in Duisburg in 1962
Italian workers in Cologne in 1962

When the huge Italian emigration of the 19th century began, only a few Italians moved to the German Empire under Prussian rule.

With Germany's post-World War II economic boom (Wirtschaftswunder), a large wave of immigrants from Italy relocated to Germany. Italy and Germany have been joint members of the European Coal and Steel Community (later the European Economic Community). Since the establishment of freedom of movement for workers between the two countries in 1961, more than 580,000 Italians migrated to Germany for work, mainly from southern and north-eastern Italy. Among the German cities Wolfsburg and Ludwigshafen had the highest share of Italian migrants in 2011 according to German Census data. [3]

The workers in the Contemporary Art Museum of Casoria in Naples, Italy, proposed a plea of asylum to Germany.[4]

Organised crime[edit]

In 2017 there wre 14 organized crime trials of Italian mafia groups. The following groups were involved:[5]

The major activity of these groups was cocaine drug trafficking. In these trials 169 suspects were reported, of which 139 were Italian citizens.[5]

Social integration[edit]

Italians in Germany are actively involved both in regional and federal German politics; areas of concern are European integration and assimilation.

They also had a substantial influence on the development of Fine Arts in Germany from Romanesque and Gothic architecture to contemporary fashion and design.

Notable people[edit]

In general[edit]

Football players[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Johannes Augel - Italienische Einwanderung und Wirtschaftstätigkeit in rheinischen Städten des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts - Bonn, L. Röhrscheid, 1971.
  • G. Corni, C. Dipper - Italiani in Germania tra Ottocento e Novecento: spostamenti, rapporti, immagini, influenze - Bologna, Il Mulino, 2006, ISBN 88-15-10731-2.
  • Marco Fincardi - Emigranti a passo romano: operai dell'Alto Veneto e Friuli nella Germania hitleriana - Verona, Cierre, 2002, ISBN 88-8314-179-2.
  • Brunello Mantelli - Camerati del lavoro. I lavoratori emigrati nel Terzo Reich nel periodo dell'Asse 1938-1943 - Scandicci, La Nuova Italia, 1942.
  • Claudia Martini - Italienische Migranten in Deutschland: transnationale Diskurse - Amburgo, D. Reimer, 2001, ISBN 3-496-02496-8.
  • Edith Pichler, Ethnic economics: the Italian enterpreneurs in Germany, in: Chiapparino, F. (Hg.), The Alien Entrepreneur, Milano, S.54-82, 2011.
  • Edith Pichler, 50 anni di immigrazione italiana in Germania: transitori, inclusi/esclusi o cittadini europei?, in: Altreitalie, International journal of studies on Italian migrations in the world, Nr. 33, S. 6-18. Torino, 2006.
  • Edith, Pichler, Junge Italiener zwischen Inklusion und Exklusion. Eine Fallstudie. Berlin, 2010.
  • Edith, Pichler, Dai vecchi pionieri alla nuova mobilità. Italiani a Berlino tra inclusione ed esclusione, in (a cura di) De Salvo, E./Ugolini, G./Priori, L., Italo-Berliner. Gli italiani che cambiano la capitale tedesca, Milano-Udine, Mimesis, 2014.


External links[edit]