LONDON – Germany has launched a smartphone app to help hundreds of thousands of migrants get to grips with the country they hope to make their new home, Reuters reported.
The app called Ankommen, which means “Arrive” in German, offers guidance on the asylum process, a basic language course, information on finding training and work, and a section on German rules, values and culture.
Germany took in 1.1 million refugees and migrants last year, more than any other European nation. Many are Syrians who have trekked across Europe after fleeing war in their homeland. Others include Eritreans, Afghans and Iraqis.
A website for the app describes it as “your companion for the first few weeks in Germany” and calls on users to “become part of society and join in”.
The app is available in Arabic, Farsi, English, French and German.
Information on gender equality was added following mass sexual assaults on women during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne and other cities, according to newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
Police investigations into the attacks are focusing on asylum seekers and illegal migrants.
“Understanding how Germany works is the basis for getting on well together,” the app website says.
“Everyone has the same obligations and has to obey German laws. But everyone has the same rights too. In this app you get to know the rules of this country and learn what you have to pay attention to.”
The app was developed by German government agencies, broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk and the Goethe-Institut cultural body. It is currently for Android phones only, but an iPhone version is coming in late January.