The approximately 395,700 Croatian nationals who live in Germany (according to Federal Statistical Office figures for 2018), as well as the large number of Croats who previously lived in Germany but have since returned to Croatia, are key to the very close relations between Germany and Croatia
There are regular political visits in both directions, most recently on 18 May 2019, when Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Zagreb for talks with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid an official visit to Croatia from 20 to 22 March 2019. Germany and Croatia also make use of many multilateral meetings, such as those in the European Union’s political bodies, to conduct close exchange.
The two countries also enjoy close relations in the business, science and technology sectors. The bilateral Action Plan signed by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers on 7 March 2019 further strengthens relations between Germany and Croatia. Germany is Croatia’s largest trading partner, followed by Italy, Slovenia and Hungary, and ranks third among foreign direct investors after the Netherlands and Austria. With 2.6 million holidaymakers visiting Croatia every year, Germany makes up the largest group of tourists.
Bilateral cultural cooperation is based on the German-Croatian cultural agreement of 26 August 1994, which entered into force on 23 January 1998. Priority areas of cooperation are promoting mobility in science and higher education and maintaining and strengthening the prominent role of the German language in the Croatian education system (almost 30 percent of all pupils at Croatian schools learn German as their first or second foreign language). The Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA, in the form of a coordinator responsible for the German Language Certificate (DSD), as well as eight programme teachers at Croatian grammar schools) are active in Croatia. The Deutsche Internationale Schule Zagreb (DISZ – German International School Zagreb) was founded in 2004.