Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Logo)Politics and Consulting


Binational couples and multicultural families

The often negative media coverage about migrants diverges from reality. In Germany, for example, according to the Association of Binational Families and Relationships, every third child has one parent with migration background. When two people from different cultural backgrounds come toghether on the basis of love, this is the highest possible expression of integration.

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The project called “BOUNDLESS“ (in Geman “grenzenlos”) aims on presenting challenges and advantages that binational couples face during their relationship. By doing this, the project examines a very contemporary subject in European politics, namely migration and integration. Discussing integration with help of binational couples is a new way to look upon this issue.

The couples’ stories make it possible to talk about different topics related to integration, such as: What happens if both partners have different religious backgrounds? What happens if both partners speak different languages? And if they have children, in what language to they speak to them? Is the foreign partner discriminated against (e.g. because of skin colour, religion, etc) and is this a challenge for the relationship? Are visa problems a strain to the relationship?

Globalization, open borders, study programs, and the numerous migrant population already living in Europe/United States have resulted in a growing number of binational couples. Binational couples seem to have been able to put their differences aside and accept each other just as they are – setting an example to the broader society. “BOUNDLESS” shows many different couples with varied migration backgrounds. Explore what they have to say on this website.

Facts and Figures:

>> Interaction between people of the receiving country and migrants from other countries is a requirement for successful integration. If this interaction results in an intimate realtionship between two persons from different backgrounds, this means that marriage is a main indicator for socio-cultural integration. >> (Julia H. Schroedter in: Binational Marriages in Germany)

>> According to an annual census (2008) of the Federal Statistical Office, there are almost 1.4 million binational couples living in Germany. That's a sharp increase from 723,000 binational couples in 1996. Married couples as well as common-law couples were surveyed. >> (German Federal Statistical Office)

>> [The "Schengen Agreement"] along with a wave of migration in the globalized world and the rise of mass tourism, has significantly contributed to the social and cultural blending of different national groups. In fact, within the EU, the most common reasons for moving – work, education, tourism, self-fulfilment and emotional relationships – are becoming more frequent. >> (Sofia Gaspar, Towards a definition of European intra-marriage as a new social phenomenon, CIES Working Papers 46/2008)

>> In Germany every ninth marriage is binational, and every third child has parents with different nationalities. >> (German association for binational families and couples)