You can’t escape size norms in Germany: The stairs you climb, the paper you write on, the bank card you use to get cash – all are subject to stipulated sizes and formats. Life is simply easier when a plug fits every socket or a gasoline pump nozzle works with every vehicle.
Around 30,000 such technical standards regulate everyday life, all dictated by the German Institute for Standardization, a nonprofit institution widely known as DIN. Such norms improve efficiency, save costs and facilitate expansion into foreign markets.
But it can take up to three years for a long everyone involved to agree to a specific norm, which is far too long, says the new DIN board chairman Christoph Winterhalter. “We have to be able to utilize new ideas more quickly. That would improve opportunities for the business sector,” he told Handelsblatt.