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12 December 2017 - Corinna Laubach

Taking a gamble – how Brexit made Zareer Dadachanji opt for German citizenship


A new start in Bremen

Brexit is looming over the European Union like a dark cloud. March 2019 is the cut-off date for the UK to leave the EU, but Dr Zareer Dadachanji was not going to wait around for it to happen. He has held a German passport since the beginning of the year, having applied for it only a few weeks before the referendum. It was a step he thought long and hard about, both in terms of his personal and his professional life. But he is certain that Brexit has no plus points. Dadachanji spent a total of 42 years in the UK before relocating to Bremen five years ago with his family. He left for personal reasons – his wife is from Bremen. Together, they have founded Model Quant Solutions, a company with mainly UK-based customers.

Zareer Dadachanji in an interview
Entrepreneur Zareer Dadachanji opted for a German passport and a new start in Bremen © WFB / Frank Pusch

Dadachanji’s parents moved from India to the UK to study. The 47-year-old grew up near London, gained a PhD in physics from Cambridge University, and then spent many years working in the IT and finance sectors in London, where he also met his wife, Ulrike. His interest in physics runs in the family. “My father loved physics. He too studied physics at university, and nurtured my interest in the sciences from an early age,” Dadachanji says. His brother also studied physics.

But it’s not just science that plays a big part in the Dadachanji household. There’s plenty of room for things like music and books too. Zareer gets his love of music from his mother, who had originally wanted to become a pianist when she moved to London from Mumbai. His heart still beats for the UK, and he visits his mother there as often as possible. But he worries whether he will still be able to visit friends, family and customers in the UK after Brexit. Aside from gaining the right to vote, this was a deciding factor in his decision to apply for German citizenship. “It’s important to me to be able to travel across Europe without any hassle,” he says, and he is keen for his six-year-old and four-year-old to have that advantage too.

A new life in Germany

Never in his wildest dreams would Dadachanji have thought that he would hold a German passport. “I’ve lived the majority of my life in the UK, and that has shaped my outlook, of course. But now I’ve found a new life in Germany,” he says, although occasionally he still longs for British food, London pubs and his favourite park. “London and Bremen are worlds apart,” Dadachanji says, chuckling. He feels at home in Bremen’s Horn-Lehe district and has established good links with the city’s British expat community. His company, Model Quant Solutions, is based in his in-laws’ former home. Dadachanji specialises in mathematical models and programming for banks and assists the financial sector with complex data analyses and algorithms. “This is an area that is constantly evolving, and it requires a good understanding of the market,” he says.

England will always be in my heart, but now my home is in Bremen.

Zareer Dadachanji

Now he has to learn all about business practices on the German market. In spring he acquired his first German customer, and until then had only conversed in English, although he learnt German at school. “It has been a huge challenge,” Dadachanji admits. “In English there’s only one word for ‘you’, and it’s taking me a while to get used to choosing the correct form of address in German, depending on the position and status of the person I’m speaking to.” The majority of his customers are UK-based. “London remains attractive as a financial centre, but with Brexit looming it is more beneficial to be based in Germany.”

An unfortunate decision for the UK

The UK’s split from the continent worries him. “I cannot see any upsides to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.” Dadachanji’s circle of British friends are very pro-EU and they all believe it is an unfortunate decision. In particular, they fear that they will lose their rights as citizens of an EU member state. “The UK has always had a very insular outlook and unsurprisingly Europe is referred to as ‘on the continent’,” he says. This political will for change concerns him. “This decision will see us lose out,” he adds – even if Germany is his new home, his connection to the UK is still strong.

Brexit is also a hot topic for Bremeninvest

Since the UK voted to leave the EU, companies of all sizes, from small businesses like Dadachanji’s to SMEs and large corporations, have been left to worry about the impact the decision will have on their existing and, in particular, future (European) business. And not just in the UK – Brexit is also a hot topic in Bremen.

Andreas Gerber, Team leader and project manager
Andreas Gerber, head of the international relocation team at Bremeninvest © WFB / Jann Raveling

The international relocation team at Bremeninvest has detected a growing interest among UK-based companies in moving to Bremen, and is well prepared to answer questions in this area. Where in the past international companies that operate in the EU favoured the UK for their European headquarters, they are now looking for alternatives. And Bremen is keen to showcase its many benefits and sectors. Companies looking to relocate to Bremen can turn to Bremeninvest for expert advice and support with the entire relocation process and more.

If you are interested in relocating from abroad, please feel free to contact Andreas Gerber, head of the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, tel: +49 (0)421 960 0123, andreas.gerber@wfb-bremen.de.

Brexit and Bremen

Britons in Bremen: read the interview with Fiona Moore.

The Chamber of Commerce for Bremen and Bremerhaven runs Brexit-themed events and has further information and newsletters on Brexit.

General information on Brexit and its potential impact on tax and external trade legislation is available from Anja Markmann, international advisor, tel: +49 (0)421 363 7247, Markmann@handelskammer-bremen.de.

Want to find out more about Bremen?

You can read all about living in Bremen in our Marketing for Bremen section.

You can find out about other things that Bremen has to offer from our city showcase: the city portal bremen.de has more information and useful tips for getting to know, and love, Bremen.

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