The Skilled Crafts in Germany

German skilled crafts are internationally acclaimed, and are at home all over the world. With innovative spirit, skills, passion and reliable service, they delight customers in all corners of the planet.

The Skilled Crafts Sector

With its one million mainly small and medium-sized companies and 5.5 million employees, Skilled Crafts are at the heart of the Germans economy.

The Trade and Crafts Code

Membership of a skilled craft in Germany is not regulated via the company size or turnover. Instead, German legislation lays down in the the Trade and Crafts Code (the ‘Handwerksordnung’), which trades belong to the sector.


Germany has a so-called “dual” apprenticeship system, with apprentices learning both in the company they work for and at a VET.

The Skilled Crafts Organisation and the ZDH

Being responsible for the whole of the German skilled crafts sector, the skilled crafts organisation is divided into two pillars: the chambers of skilled crafts and the national confederations of skilled crafts.

Political Principles

The ZDH is committed to the social market economy and to an SME policysupporting the competition on a high level.

Foreign Trade Activities and International Partnerships

Skilled crafts enterprises identify and use their export opportunities. Around 50.000 companies sell their products and services abroad.


The SCIVET-Coordination Unit makes the craft organisations expertise in dual vocational education and training (VET) accessible to interested partner countries anywhere in the world.

European Politics

The European Union's competence covers a wide range of policy areas that are of relevance to the skilled crafts sector. That is the reason why it is so important for the ZDH (German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses) …


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