Those visiting Hannover on business can look forward to getting down to work without too much small talk, but not at the expense of a good dose of conviviality. The northern city is known for hosting several large annual tradeshows – and Germany’s second biggest Oktoberfest after Munich. Business opportunities abound, but be punctual, formal and smart. If you know some German you’ll impress your hosts who will often speak flawless English.
The four-star Dormero Hotel (www.dormero-hotel-hannover.de) in central Hannover earns rave reviews from most guests. With nearly 300 guestrooms, it is among the largest hotels in the city but exudes a low-key, minimalist profile, particularly when it comes to design – sleek lines and subtle shades of browns and whites with a splash of red are the order of the day.
In the heart of Hannover, the modern Pier 51 restaurant (www.pier51.de) juts out over the man-made Maschsee lake, with an outside terrace as well as plenty of seating inside, plus floor-to-ceiling windows for uninterrupted panoramas year-round. The menu combines traditional German with modern pan-European. Think tuna carpaccio with curry oil, orange-thyme risotto with scampi or entrecote of bison with tomatoes and onions. Corporate events are catered for.
The vaulted ceiling, brick interior and low lighting contribute to an overall rustic-chic effect at Acanto (www.acantohannover.de), where there’s sofa-style seating, tables and chairs and a long bar at which to sink back a cocktail or traditional German beer.
Hannover benefits from flights courtesy of several low-cost carriers as well as traditional airlines. Air Berlin flies daily from London Gatwick, with Germanwings operating the same frequency from London Stansted; Flybe flies to Hannover from Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton. Lufthansa flies from London Heathrow.
Hannover Airport is on the overland train network’s S5 line, with trains operating between 4.30am until midnight at the Terminal C station. Departures are every 30 minutes and the journey downtown takes 15 minutes. One-way from Hannover Central Station currently costs around 3 euros. Taxis are available outside the airport terminal. The journey to the city centre takes around 20 minutes and costs around 25 euros.
Overseas business trips don’t come much more straightforward than Germany. It is one hour ahead of UK time and the climate is not be markedly different. The currency is the euro. See www.hannover.de
Wander between the city’s architectural delights – Marktkirche, or The Church at the Marketplace, together with the Old Town Hall to its right, which is considered to be the southernmost specimen of the North German neo-gothic style. The baroque gardens of Herrenhausen form a grand display of European horticulture, while the Tiergarden is a wilder expanse of greenery.
"British understatement and humour can sometimes be misconstrued in Germany – keep this for when you know your business partner better. Be patient but politely persistent in your negotiations."