Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Aren't you just sick of hearing German success stories? They always win the football, they're the first on the beach, and while Britain faces cutbacks and eye-watering debts, just look how well the Germans are doing. We need, frankly, to have a more Germanic approach. Employment is at record levels and it's a world-beating exporter. What's more, the Germans earn more than us AND work fewer hours. So how do they do it? I'm Justin Rowlatt, a journalist. Do you speak English? And I'm Bee Rowlatt, a writer. And we're on a mission to discover the secret of German success. It's like kid heaven. We're taking the kids with us and we're going in. Yes, there'll be beer and sausages, but this is no holiday. We're going to work... Just one text! No, sorry. No? No, you're here to work. Live... It's too loud. What, WE are too loud? You're too loud. And play... Red Army! Red Army! Just like average, ordinary Germans, because our challenge is to become German! ♪ Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... ♪ Daddy, I want soup! You want soup? You've got... Hold on, you've got food! 'I live in North London with my wife, Bee, and our four children.' I'm not. We are, in a week or so. They have socks in Germany, do they? They probably have better socks than we've got! There's quite a kind of tradition of, you know, two World Wars, one World Cup, you know, that kind of attitude to Germany in Britain. And I think it'll be quite interesting to see what the Germans think of us, you know. I mean, we've obviously suffered terrible industrial decline since the Second World War. The Germans have done pretty well. They're still a major industrial nation. It'll be quite interesting to see what they think of Britain. Put those... OK. Can you put them in there for me? Oh, yeah. Oh, thank you. I'm actually half German, but I never grew up there. I grew up in this country. My dad's German, but my parents separated when I was little. I don't want to be disloyal. You know, there's nothing wrong with being half German, so it's not a problem. But maybe there is a kind of... There are a few kind of... sort of Teutonic qualities that she has. I can't believe I'm sharing this, but I quite like sitting on the toilet with the door open and I'll just have a merry exchange with anyone who passes by. Justin thinks that's really German. I just thinks that's the way I grew up. I'm going to miss you. 'What's also really German is small families. 'The German birth rate is low and falling, 'just 1.4 children per couple. 'So the first step in making us German 'is to leave our eldest two, Eva and Zola, at home with Granny.' I'm going to miss them, but it's quite nice to have a break sometimes from all the loudness and everything. I think it's going to be brilliant and I'm not going to miss them at all. 'First off, we need somewhere to live. 'We've moved to Nuremberg, in the heart of Bavaria. 'It's famous for its gingerbread... '..its sausages, and its Nazi history.' Hello. Hello, are you Mrs Holler? Yes, yes. 'We've rented a flat from Mrs Holler. 'We Brits may be obsessed with buying property, but Germans aren't. 'More than half of them rent, compared to just a third of us.' That's really nice. I really like this flat. Oh, it's really warm. 'And I can see why. Rents are cheap. 'This two-bed flat costs 135 euros a week.' Kinder, kinder? Kinder bed. Kinder bed. One kinder bed. Two kinder beds... In Britain, I think we're obsessed with ownership, and here in Germany, they seem happy to rent. And they rent for, like, you know, a really long time. She was saying people would stay for 10, 20 years in a rented property. In Britain, there's this real kind of pressure and expectation that if you can, you'll buy, and I... Do you know what? I actually think it seems a lot healthier. That's the one we looked at earlier today. Wow! 'It means the Germans don't saddle themselves with huge debts. 'In Britain, the average family owes £53,000, including mortgages. 'In Germany, it's just under £30,000. 'The kids are making themselves at home 'and I'm expecting our first German visitor.' DOORBELL RINGS Hiya. Hi, I'm PJ. PJ! 'PJ is an advertising guru. 'His ad agency specialises in knowing exactly what the average. 'German does every minute of every day.' We did quite a lot of research on how the typical German lives, actually. I brought you some things to learn about a typical German in this area. 'Und damit auch die Durchschnittsdeutschen...' And according to the film, the typical German is called Muller, the nation's most common surname, and lives in a 1970s apartment block... like this, a flat just like ours. Sabina is the most common female name, so that's me. And here's me. Thomas Muller is the most common male name. The Mullers only have one child, unlike us. Germans certainly get up early, 20 minutes earlier than the average Brit. Let's talk about tomorrow morning. Are you prepared to go a bit earlier than usual? I don't know. 6:23? 6:23? That is early! That's when you have to get up. And then, the good thing is, you can take a bit of time in the bathroom. The video goes into extraordinary detail. No surprise that I pee standing up. But then, I sit down and read the sports section of the paper. German men sit on the loo for twice as long as German women. And when it comes to loo paper, the Germans are folders, not crumplers. In fact, I get 24.6 minutes in the bathroom. I get to sleep a bit longer and spend 28.1 minutes in the bathroom. With two little children being in the family and not in school, the typical German wife would not go to work, actually. Really? Spend time at home with the kids, doing, you know, housework. Also, to teach the kids proper table manners, that is... That's important to Germans, is it? That is valued highly, actually, yeah. Yeah, yeah. OK. There's a certain amount of good behaviour, and how you do things in a certain structure and order still is very important. 'PJ gives us a German rule book which he wants us to follow, 'a checklist, telling us everything, 'from the amount of housework to our daily pork intake.' I just don't believe that most women want to do four hours and 11 minutes of cooking, washing and cleaning. I'll give it a go. I'll definitely try. I'm going to do my best. It doesn't look fair, though, does it? It doesn't! You get to sleep and then you get to go out and eat loads of potato, pork, white cheese. I get brown bread, you get white bread. You get the same amount of pork, same amount of potatoes and same amount of beer as me. OK. All right. But your life looks normal. To me, that just doesn't look like a normal life. But that could be that I'm not typical. I don't know... Half an hour in the bathroom is a long time, isn't it? We've rented an average German car. A VW Golf is right there, bang in the middle of what the Germans would drive. It's kind of rock solid, it's not flash, but it's kind of well-made and, of course, they buy German, which is quite interesting, isn't it? Germany has one of the most successful car industries in the world, and here, success certainly starts at home. Two thirds of all the cars on the road are German. Will, do you want to choose an egg? Look! Which one was yours? Is this one yours, Elsa? Time to discover a bit more about Nuremberg's history. Kaiserburg, the Imperial Castle. It was one of Medieval Germany's most important centres, but most of the Old City was destroyed by Allied bombing during the War. Since then, the city has been rebuilt and many of the ruined buildings restored. Really sharp roofs, haven't they? The city was a centre of the Nazi regime. The Nazi Mayor called it Germany's most German city and it is here that Hitler held his infamous Nuremberg Rallies. Hello. Hello. 'We meet historian Hans Christian Taubrich.' We are on the former Nazi Party rally grounds, a huge area, covering some 11 square kilometres. My goodness! It was created in 1933, when Hitler designed Nuremberg as the city of the party rallies. So the high-ups, the leaders of the Nazi Party, would be here, looking out on this kind of... It's a vast parade ground, isn't it? So I'm standing where Adolf Hitler stood? Yes. I wonder, looking at this, cos obviously, it's partly a lorry park, isn't it? Yes. And I wonder whether that doesn't reflect the, kind of, ambivalence about what you do with a historical site like this. This is not a memorial site. Now, the whole grounds in the last decades have always been used for most profane purposes. For example, parking lorries here, race cars are touring around here, we have festivals - Bob Dylan had been playing here, and the Rolling Stones. In Britain, we still seem to be obsessed by our victory in the Second World War. It's so interesting to see here at the Rally Ground how Germany is still wrestling with the ghosts of its past. You can't help but feel that losing the war meant Germany had to pull together as a nation to rebuild. It couldn't be complacent. And while Britain's economy has faltered, Germany's has thrived. "The wild things," William. Like the Mullers, after our daily limit of .27 litres of beer, we're tucked up in bed at exactly 11:15 for a bit of average German sleep. ALARM CLOCK BEEPS I'm working to German timetables now. I reckon that was seven minutes, eight minutes, maybe. Nothing more than that. I don't know what they do in there, what are they doing for 20 minutes? I've got to get some pork products going. I've got to eat 1.1 kilos of pork a week. Nuremberg is an important manufacturing centre. There's Siemens, the electrical company, Adidas and Puma churning out trainers. I'm going to be a trainee supervisor at Faber Castell - the world's oldest pencil manufacturer. It produces a sixth of the world's pencils. Small and medium-sized businesses like Faber Castell are the backbone of the German economy - employing almost two-thirds of the German workforce. They're known as the Mittelstand and are mostly family-owned. The average German starts work at 7:49. Already, I'm below average. Hello, Justin. Hi. How are you? Fine, and you? Yeah. You are late! I know. Bisschen spat. Bisschen spat. I'm very sorry. I had to catch public transport and I got a bit lost. 'I'm doing an eight-hour day and that includes an hour for lunch. 'That's almost an hour less than we Brits work. 'How come they work less than us, yet are more productive?' Guten morgen, hi. Danny. Danny. Bit of German? No, no, no, I have no German. No German? No German. OK, where do I start? The job for you is to check if those pencils might stick together. They are OK. As long as... You try. This one back, and green button. OK, now your job is just to keep an eye on the pencils and the machine. I work in the lacquering department. My job is to watch over the machines, in case something goes wrong. You've got to stay focused. Are they falling off? HE SPEAKS GERMAN It's making 336 pencils a minute. I mean, already, I've made 1,500 pencils. It's all going quite smoothly. Although it seems I'm not paying enough attention. He said, "No, no, no, you don't rest." You know, "You are here to work and you should be sweeping the floor." He said, "If I see you doing that, I will just give you another machine" "and then you will be really busy."