German School System

German public education makes it possible for qualified kids to study up to university level, regardless of their families' financial status.

The German education system is different in many ways from the ones in Anglo-Saxon countries, but it produces high-performing students. Although education is a function of the federal states, and there are differences from state to state, some generalizations are possible.

Children aged three to six may attend kindergarten. After that school is compulsory for nine or ten years. From grades 1 through 4 children attend elementary school (Grundschule), where the subjects taught are the same for all. Then, after the 4th grade, they are separated according to their academic ability and the wishes of their families, and attend one of three different kinds of schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium.

The Hauptschule (grades 5-9 in most German states) teaches the same subjects as the Realschule and Gymnasium, but at a slower pace and with some vocational-oriented courses. It leads to part-time enrollment in a vocational school combined with apprenticeship training until the age of 18.

The Realschule (grades 5-10 in most states) leads to part-time vocational schools and higher vocational schools. It is now possible for students with high academic achievement at the Realschule to switch to a Gymnasium on graduation.

The Gymnasium (grades 5-13 in most states) leads to a diploma called the Abitur and prepares students for university study or for a dual academic and vocational credential. The most common education tracks offered by the standard Gymnasium are classical language, modern language, and mathematics-natural science.

Grundschule teachers recommend their students to a particular school based on such things as academic achievement, self confidence and ability to work independently. However, in most states, parents have the final say as to which school their child attends following the fourth grade.

The Gesamtschule, or comprehensive school, is a more recent development and is only found in some of the states. It takes the place of both the Hauptschule and Realschule and arose out of the egalitarian movements in the 1960s. It enrolls students of all ability levels in the 5th through the 10th grades. Students who satisfactorily complete the Gesamtschule through the 9th grade receive the Hauptschule certificate, while those who satisfactorily complete schooling through the 10th grade receive the Realschule certificate.

No matter what kind of school a student attends, he/she must complete at least nine years of education. A student dropping out of a Gymnasium, for example, must enroll in a Realschule or Hauptschule until nine years have been completed.

Beyond the Haupschule and Realschule lies the Berufsschule, combining part-time academic study and apprenticeship. The successful completion of an apprenticeship program leads to certification in a particular trade or field of work. These schools differ from the other ones mentioned in that control rests not with the local and regional school authorities, but with the federal government, industry and the trade unions.
German children only attend school in the morning. There is no provision for serving lunch. There is a lot more homework, heavy emphasis on the "three R's" and very few extracurricular activities.

A very low-cost or free higher education could lie beyond a German Abitur. Many of Germany's hundred or so institutions charge little or no tuition. But, students must prove through examinations that they are qualified.

There are several varieties of university-level schools. The classical universities, in the tradition of Alexander von Humboldt, provide a broad general education and students usually attend them for six and one-half years. The Technical Universities (Technische Hochschulen) are more aimed at training students for specific careers and are usually attended for four and one-half years. There are also Hochschulen for art and music.

The whole German education system, including the universities, is available to the children of bona fide expatriates. The catch, of course, is that the classes are conducted in German, which is usually all right for school beginners but becomes more and more of a problem as the children get older.

Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan


The “Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan” was founded in 1925 as a
 “höhere Lehranstalt für Gartenbau Weihenstephan” (faculty of the Weihenstephan College of Applied Gardening) offering students an advanced course in floral design. It became an independent school in 1971 and since 1978 has offered a two-year vocational technical master certification course for florists.

Prospective applicants must have successfully completed an apprenticeship as florists or an equivalent craft education, have accrued at least one year’s work experience and have passed an entrance examination. The full time course deepens and improves the students’ competence and skills in the field of floral art and design, botanical studies, business economics as well as in system psychology and marketing. Project work ensures co-operation with other businesses and trades. The course qualifies students to hold management positions, set up their own businesses and lecture in vocational training institutions.

Educational aim (European Qualifications Framework level 6/ EQF 6)

You will receive an extended, practical vocational training. Creativity and the further development of your personality, as well as leadership and team cooperation are skills that you will acquire from us.
From the following school timetable you can see that the advanced training course aims at a joint development of the creative - artistic, botanical, as well as the acquisition of commercial and communicative skills. The relationship structure "man - culture - plants" is the core focus of all educational considerations. In addition, you will acquire application-specific computer skills and sound marketing knowledge. Your English language skills will be expanded so that you will be prepared to accept leadership roles or to strengthen and ease your entry into independent, entrepreneurial activities in both the domestic and foreign labour markets.

Students are given opportunities to sharpen their professional profile at the European level. Each year the first-year students take part in a three-week study and work exchange as part of the international module of the “FLORNET Transnational Network for Vocational Education” (European network of horticultural and floristic vocational schools), with emphasis on English as the working language.

Academic degree

After successfully passing the final exam at the end of the second year you will be awarded the professional title “State-certified designer of floral art” (“Staatlich geprüfter Gestalter/Gestalterin für Blumenkunst”).
The Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan is the only advanced educational institution that can award this title!

Upon successful completion of compulsory education in vocational pedagogics and didactics (in accordance with the AEVO [Ausbildereignungsprüfung] stipulations), you will receive an instructor’s license from the IHK (Industrie- und Handelskammer) that qualifies you to instruct apprentices.

The school also offers supplementary instruction including English, German and Mathematics resulting in the awarding of the Fachhochschulreife (advanced technical college entrance qualification). This entitles you to continue your education at a university in the Faculty of Applied Sciences (for example, Design and Interior Design).

Training duration

The vocational training period encompasses two years of full-time education, beginning in mid-September and ending in July of the year after next. Lecture-free periods and vacation conforms with the Bavarian school system vacation calendar. The probationary period is six months.

Terms of admission

Admission is limited to twenty students per year. Fundamental industrial arts skills and product design knowledge are required.


  • Successful completion of vocational training as a florist or an equivalent craft education, and subsequent relevant professional employment of a minimum of one year, or
  • A vocational occupation of a minimum of five years relevant in scope to the direction of study
  • Successful Berufsschule completion (vocational training school)
  • After provisional application acceptance the candidate is required to take part in an obligatory practicum day
  • Upon successful completion of the master craftsman training qualification you may enter the second year of training and be awarded the “State-certified designer of floral art” (Staatlich geprüfter Gestalter/Gestalterin für Blumenkunst) degree.
  • Foreign applicants are subject to the same admission conditions as German applicants. The fluent application of the German language is required.

Financial costs and fees

The Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan is a government institution. School fees are therefore not charged for the attendance of the school.
Tuition fees, examination fees and the state final examination fees are not incurred. We recommend to calculate with a yearly budget of approximately €1000 for study trips, entrance tickets and learning materials.

Financial support

Individual student support:
Financing is possible in accordance with either the Federal Training Promotion Act (BAföG) or a low-interest loan from the Deutschen Ausgleichsbank, a venture capital fund of an agency of the German government. A comparison of these two alternatives and a subsequent application should be made well in advance. The responsible BAföG office will be happy to provide advice and guidance.    

Housing benefits and support from the Mayor’s office can be applied for under certain conditions.

Instructional support:
Support of individual teaching projects is made possible through the Weihenstephan Alumni Association (Berufsverband Weihenstephaner Blumenkunst e.V.).

Special activities

  • The “Weihenstephaner Werkformen” exhibition in December – Development of experimental forms of design presented by both first and second-year students
  • The “Weihenstephaner Projekttage” exhibition presents the second-year students degree theses.  At the same time, the first-year students present their own work on alternating themes.  The goals are interdisciplinary cooperation with other branches and professional practice innovations
  • The students participate in at least four comprehensive exhibition projects over the course of the two year program
  • Educational projects for the development and practical implementation of interior design, indoor greenery, corporate and marketing concepts
  • Study trips and educational courses related to historical and contemporary design
  • Excursions sensitize the perception, the understanding of nature and offer insights into the basic features of design in art
  • Discussions with industry experts on aspects of start-ups, corporate concepts and the organization of work within a company
  • Participation in public events and lectures hosted by the Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf with emphasis on pedagogical topics
  • International studies abroad as part of the European Education Program (Europäischen Bildungsprogrammes) ERASMUS+
  • The Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan is a member of the FLORNET transnational network (EEIG)

Registration, advice, information

We will gladly send you the application documents without obligation. For telephone enquiries please contact the registry office between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm.

In addition, you have the opportunity of a personal conversation with the school director as well as the teachers and both the first and second year students. To ensure a complete school experience we also offer the possibility of taking part in both theory and practical lessons.

All application documents must be submitted to the school management no later than March 31st of each year.


Staatliche Fachschule für Blumenkunst Weihenstephan
Schulleitung: M. Wieler StD
Am Staudengarten 6
85354 Freising
Telefon 0049 (0) 8161-713373
Telefax: 0049 (0) 8161-713845

Responsible Institution

The Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture is directly responsible for the school.

Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus
Salvatorstr. 2
80333 München