On the occasion of last month’s International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at who Germany’s billionairesses are: Australian financial services provider City Index did us the favour and analysed the live billionaire tracker (no, never heard of it either) of business magazine Forbes to find out which country is home to the most female billionaires.

Well, the winner is not Germany – that would be the US with 92, followed by China with 46 –but it comes in a very respectable third with 32 super rich ladies. And I’m sure you’d like to know who they are, right? Ok, Germany’s richest woman is the BMW heiress Susanne Klatten with US$ 27.58 billion to her name. She is the only one with a two-digit amount in the bank, all the others ‘only’ have riches below US$ 10 billion, such as Francine von Finck and family (US$ 8.27 billion), Nadja Thiele (US$ 6.1 billion US dollars), Renate Reimann-Haas US$ 5.41 billion) and Alexandra Schörghuber and family (US$ 5.03 billion). They are a daughter of a banker, widow of a rich entrepreneur, co-owner of an investment firm and boss of a family investment company respectively.

More? I could give you places six to ten but it gets a bit much with all those billions. Bottom line is, they are all very rich. Ok, one more, with a name that is more familiar in the UK than most of the above: Julia Oetker – yes, of the Great British Bake Off sponsor Dr. Oetker, who is listed at number eight in the German billionaires ranking. And it’s not just baking powder and the likes. The holding she owns with her siblings spans wine and spirits, chemicals and luxury hotels. Anyone ever had afternoon tea at London’s Lanesborough? The splendid Hyde Park Corner property is part of the Oetker Collection of very fine hotels around the world.

But I digress. Let me end with the hope that the billionaire ladies are not as tight when it comes to tipping as a lot of their – non-billionaire – German compatriots. Because based on a recent survey by market research company Norstat 57 per cent of respondents said that they do not tip at all, or at most just five per cent of the total amount, even if they had a good time in a restaurant or bar, while 39 per cent of Germans generally only tip between three per cent and per cent instead of the usual ten per cent. And isn’t there an expression in certain countries to “pay the German way” when penny pinchers demand separate bills? I’m beginning to wonder, did some of the German billionaires, male or female, reach their dizzy monetary heights also because there’s a certain Teutonic tendency to keeping your money together… Let’s discuss next/another time!

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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