Germany’s factory halls and workshops will no longer be the same from 2023: With the Würth calendar, an era ends at the end of the year. The king of screws had recently sent three quarters of a million copies all over the world. Why it’s over now and what that says about our society.

Thousands of craftsmen and factory workers literally turned to the last page on December 1: From 2023, the famous Würth calendar, which has become a tradition in many places, will no longer exist.

It was decided in the summer, but word has only gotten around at the end of the year: where the model calendar has been hanging on the wall for decades, there will be a gap from January. In terms of calendar, Würth was the last Mohican in Germany anyway: Stihl published its last chainsaw calendar in 2020, and the lubricant manufacturer Liqui Moly ended in 2021.

For once, one cannot blame Putin: paper prices have risen enormously since the Ukraine war, which also drives up the costs per calendar. But the reasons for the disappearance of the calendar are primarily of a cultural nature: “The classic distribution of roles is becoming more and more obsolete, job profiles are less and less occupied in the understanding of classic role models. We also support that,” explains Alexandra Schneid from the corporate communications of the screw manufacturer.

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And so it was clear that both calendars, the one with female and one with male models, should no longer exist. It was similar at Stihl. A major customer, the Swedish forestry agency, made it clear: As long as Stihl publishes the calendar with scantily clad women, no more devices should be bought from the company. It didn’t help that Stihl hadn’t published it in Sweden for twelve years. The reasoning for the lubricant manufacturer Liqui Moly, which has belonged to Würth since 2018, was similar.

At Würth, the discussion ignited in the summer after a tweet by ARD correspondent Natalie Amiri: “What the f…”, the journalist tweeted about a photo of a Würth model calendar. “Just seen hanging in a company. Thought are relics from the 80’s. But they are seriously from 2021 and 2022!!!! That something (sic) is still sent by companies…”

Amiri’s tweet was widely shared and extensively commented on, and a Würth spokeswoman later explained: “Respectful and appreciative interaction with one another is a central component of the corporate culture of the Würth Group. Equal opportunities for people, regardless of sexual identity, skin color, ethnic origin, disability, age or religion, is very important to us. This is also linked to the consistent decision to no longer produce the model calendar.”

Now a tradition that has existed since 1984 is coming to an end. Over the years, top models such as Heidi Klum, Claudia Schiffer, Laetitia Casta, Alessandra Ambrosio and Karolina Kurkova have featured in the large-format wall calendar. Since 2003, Würth has also had a version with men printed. Until 2016, the calendars were not available for purchase, but only for the company’s customers – mostly from trade and industry. They in turn made their business partners happy with the popular collector’s item. It wasn’t until 2016 that Würth decided that private individuals could also buy the calendar – for 25 euros, by the way, certainly not a bargain. The circulation at that time: 745,630, which were distributed to customers in 61 countries.

Only the Pirelli calendar has survived. Why he? Do the Italians tick differently? It may still exist because the creators changed the concept back in 2017: instead of half-naked models, the icon for erotic photography has since relied on dressed actresses such as Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore or Penelope Cruz. In 2022, singer Bryan Adams exclusively photographed musicians for the tire manufacturer. Only Billy Idol showed his bare chest. Whether this is the alternative for the calendars from Würth, Stihl and Liqui Moly for Germany’s craftsmen’s workshops is another matter.

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