Last updated in March 2013
Relations between Palau and Germany are good and amicable. Bilateral relations date back to the period of German colonial administration between 1899 and 1914 which, however, has left barely any mark, apart from some architectural vestiges of phosphate plants on Angaur Island and the name of a waterway (German Channel). In October 2005, the Palau National Museum opened a small department devoted to Germany.
Diplomatic relations were established on 11 November 1997. The German Ambassador in Manila/Philippines is also accredited to Palau. Germany is also represented in Palau by an Honorary Consul.
Palau also receives support through German development cooperation and humanitarian clearance of unexploded ordnance left over from the Second World War. Island states like Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are particularly threatened by the effects of climate change. In 2006, the three countries’ presidents and the heads of government of the Micronesian US territories signed the Micronesia Challenge with the aim of protecting 30 per cent of near-shore marine resources and 20 per cent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. As part of its International Climate Initiative, the Federal Government is supporting these efforts through development cooperation projects.
Bilateral trade relations are very modest. In 2011, German imports from Palau were worth less than EUR 100,000 and German exports to Palau approximately EUR 300,000. However, Germans make up a relatively large portion of the tourists visiting Palau, many of whom are attracted by the wide range of diving opportunities available there.
In terms of development policy, Germany is involved on only a modest scale with Technical Cooperation microprojects. It does, however, contribute to Palau’s development through its contributions to the EU (EU-ACP Agreement) and other international organizations.
The so-called ‘Krämer’ volumes from the German South Seas Expedition (1907-1910) undertaken by the German navy physician, anthropologist and ethnographer August Krämer (1864-1941) continue to be of topical relevance: the records contained in the five volumes are still recognized today by Palau’s courts as the only authentic source in tribal disputes or disputes over property. In the absence of official national or other written records, the ‘Krämer’ records constitute the codified memory of Palauan culture and identity, which are under threat from the modern way of life. The German Embassy is following the request by Palauan Minister of Culture Faustina Rehuher and providing long-term financial support (a total of EUR 48,800 over the period 2010-2012) under the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme for the planned translation of the records into English in the coming years.
In addition, Germany supported the 2010 Micronesian Games, held in Palau in August 2010, by donating volleyball equipment worth USD 4,900.
In 2011, the German Embassy in Manila participated in the third EU Film Festival in Koror, which was held from 28 April to 1 May 2011, by submitting a German film.
In late September 2011, the long-planned South Seas Exhibition, dealing with Germany’s past in the region and its current prospects, was opened in Koror. The section of the exhibition devoted to Palau, which was designed by Professor Dr. Hiery of the University of Bayreuth and funded by the Federal Foreign Office, is entitled ‘Germany and Palau. Old Ties. New Contacts.