Dr Knut Unger awarded German Order of Merit

Dr Knut Unger awarded German Order of Merit

Dr Knut Unger awarded German Order of Merit, © German Embassy Singapore

07.12.2021 - Article

Recognition of contributions to Singaporean-German relations and commitment to Singapore-NGO ‚Food from the Heart’

German Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier has bestowed upon Dr Knut Unger the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding accomplishments for both cultural and economic Singaporean-German relations and efforts to raise Germany’s reputation abroad.

Dr Unger - a lawyer by training – has lived in Singapore since 2000. Among the first of his various voluntary activities in Singapore was joining the Board of the Association affiliated with Goethe-Institut Singapore Branch - the German Cultural Centre. Since then, he has worked tirelessly towards the deepening of bilateral cultural relations in and outside of this particular role. Similarly, he has been a Board Member and active supporter of the activities of the ‚German Association - Deutsches Haus‘ that helps newcomers to Singapore to adapt, provides a platform for the German community to integrate further and also publishes ‚Impulse’ - the only magazine for German speakers and learners in Singapore.

He was also involved in the set-up of the German restaurant chain ‚Brotzeit‘ that has grown beyond Singapore’s borders and thus contributes to promoting German cuisine and lifestyle abroad.

In the economic sphere, Dr Unger has held positions in both the Singaporean-German as well as the European Chamber of Commerce. He has been a constant advocate for corporate concerns by German and European companies and thus contributed to success stories such as the implementation of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement that entered into force in 2019.

Probably his most impactful activity is his voluntary engagement for the Singaporean NGO ‘Food from the Heart’. Built on a concept known in Germany as “Tafeln” – saving food to re-distribute it to those in need – he joined the Board in 2006 and ever since serves as one of the guarantors of the initiative.

German Ambassador to Singapore Dr Norbert Riedel, who presented the Order of Merit on behalf of Germany's Federal President Steinmeier congratulated the awardee: “Dr Unger is living proof, that the German community in Singapore is not here ‚on a stopover for business’, but we actively want to do our part to contribute to Singapore’s diversity. This includes giving back to the society that is providing a home away from home for more than 8.000 German citizens. I have been able to witness myself the appreciation that the work from ‚Food from the Heart’ receives, when the embassy-team volunteered as part of the donation campaign I had initiated on the occasion of Germany’s National Day earlier this year.

This award is also an encouragement for the future, as his impact was particularly felt during challenging times for our community. With his decade-long engagement in various roles, he literally has given our bilateral relations a lasting boost.

Dr Unger is a partner at Luther LLP Singapore and one of the entrepreneurs behind the franchised German casual dining concept ‚Brotzeit‘ founded in 2006 in Singapore, that currently operates 13 outlets in five countries. Since 2016, Dr Unger is President of the Association that runs the Goethe-Institut.

The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany was handed over by Ambassador Dr Riedel on 3 December 2021 at the official residence of the Ambassador. Due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions the ceremony was restricted to a small group.

Food from the Heart

Food from the Heart is a non-profit organisation that feeds the needy through its food distribution programme. It was established in February 2003 originally to channel surplus food from bakeries to those in need.

Food from the Heart started with 120 volunteers. As at the end of 2020, volunteers have multiplied to over 10,000 who reached together 53,700 beneficiaries across Singapore.

For donations and/or volunteering requests, please visit:

The Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut Singapore located in Neil Road is part of the world-wide networ of cultural institutes of the Federal Republic of Germany. It promotes knowledge of the German language abroad and fosters international cultural cooperation.

The Goethe-Institute offers language courses suitable for people of all ages to study German at all levels. It also certifies German language proficiency and offers teacher training’s. Further, promoting and enabling cultural exchange and international collaboration in the arts, bilaterally between Singapore and Germany and multilaterally between Germany, Europe and Southeast Asia is also part of its portfolio.

For more information, please visit:

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