Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sharing in Germany

Beside crafting, as described in another post, sharing things is an increasing feature in Germany, due to the LOHAS trend and new possibilities using internet communities and smartphone apps.
Car sharing has become quite popular, especially in Berlin, many people don't see the necessity to own a car any more. Costs are rising, especially for parking space and having good public transportation in the capital, cars are often only used for carrying heavy objects or a trip to the country. Furthermore, attitude has changed among the younger generation, the car as status symbol has lost importance.
There are organisations such as Car Zapp (Beta test in Berlin) and Flinc
Car Zapp was founded in 2012, the special feature is the ZappKit. It is a small box, installed in the car. It is equipped with GPS and all the important data are sent via Internet to the system of Carzapp.
After the approval of the car owner, the car can be opened with the app and the second car key can be found in the car. So there isn't any need that the car owner and renter have to meet in person to hand over the car key.
Other car rental service of the new kind in Stuttgart are Stadtmobil and Flinkster, Car2Go (Electric cars) and Autonetzer.
Flinc has elevated the well-known idea of Mitfahrzentrale and Mitfahrgelegenheit  to fill up your car with fellow passengers to a new technical level. It is also used by many companies, as the website demonstrates.
Whyownit is another smartphone app, created in Germany. It enables sharing of different objects among friends. It might be books, drilling machines or a sailing boat. The app shows to all of the participants what their friends have to lend.
Companies can share their machines, vehicles or equipment on Floow2
If you need office space but don't want to rent a whole office ore just need the space for a limited amount of time, there are offers on Coworking-Stuttgart. You have the possibility to rent a small space including Wifi starting at € 19,- per day, a meeting room starting at € 20,- per hour. Moreover, there is a possibility to use office equipment such as printers, copy machines, scanners, the tea kitchen and you have a nice community and someone to talk to.
AirBnB is already quite known all over the world but there is also a German version called 9Flats
Another interesting feature are the repair cafes, first founded by Martine Postma from the Netherlands. In the meantime there have been founded more than 20 in Germany as well.
People who got fed up with the idea that you have to throw away stuff once there is a small malfunction meet in order to repair it there. There are experts and professionals who help with their knowledge on a volunteer basis. Tools and lots of advice are provided. People get together to have a chat and a nice cup of coffee. The community is still growing and people who are interested to join it opening a repair cafe themselves, get a start package with all the information and conditions at the rate of € 25,-.

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