In a publication by the Federal Antidiscrimination Body (Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes), the following excerpt appears regarding § 2 (1) 7 AGG:

Bei Benachteiligungen von Studierenden ist das AGG nur dann anwendbar, wenn es sich um private Hochschulen handelt, die zivilrechtliche Verträge mit den Studierenden abschließen […] Bei öffent­lich­rechtlichen Bildungsträgern findet das AGG hingegen für die Studie­renden zwar über § 2 Absatz 1 Nummer 7 AGG Anwendung, enthält jedoch keine Rechtsfolgen. (emphasis mine)

It's clear from the excerpt that the substantive difference is that there are no legal consequences to be pursued at public higher education institutions under the statute. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but if X is only anwendbar when Y, then how can X also Anwendung finden in case Z, which is disjoint from Y? That is, the set of private institutions of higher education (Y) is disjoint from the set of public ones (Z), regardless if the former has entered into contracts with its students or not.

Because this doesn't make full sense to me from a prepositional logic point of view, I'm wondering if there is some subtle, hidden nuance in the two words that is escaping me.

Duden states:

anwendbar: zur Anwendung geeignet

There is no entry for Anwendung finden, unfortunately, but there are a couple other entries which contain the expression:

  • das Anwenden: zur Anwendung kommen/gelangen/Anwendung finden (Papierdeutsch; angewendet werden)
  • ungewöhnliche Situation, in der nicht die üblichen Mittel, Maßnahmen zu ihrer Bewältigung Anwendung finden können

Would appreciate an extra pair of eyes on this...

Related SE question: What does it mean for a statute such as § 2 (1) 7 AGG to "apply" but have no legal consequences?


3 Answers 3


There is no secret nuance that is escaping you.

I am not a lawyer, but let's give this a shot. It might help to consider that the sentence in question does not define when the law is applicable. Applicability is derived from the fact that there is a contract subject to private law (§ 19). If there is such a contract, you are entitled to certain rights under § 21; otherwise, you are not. But you can still be a victim of undue discrimination as defined under § 2, and I think that is what the passage with Anwendung finden is about. Basically, the two passages refer to different paragraphs.

I do not want to defend the language in this publication. As a layman, I find it hard to grasp what Anwendung finden is supposed to mean in this context. Have I "applied" § 2 when I claim to be the victim of undue discrimination under it?

  • Much more useful, thanks! (Don't have enough rep to upvote) Mar 7, 2019 at 14:57

anwendbar sein means that something is able to be used and Anwendung finden means that you find a usage for something.

  • Would be nice if you expounded on your initial though to take into account the specific context of the question. Mar 5, 2019 at 20:43
  • 3
    It's as simple as written. Anwendung finden means to find a usage, and the opposite means it's applicable, but we haven't found a usage for it. E.g. it makes little sense. Using mustard as a sunblocker for example.
    – Janka
    Mar 5, 2019 at 22:09
  • Anwendung finden does not mean to find a usage, but to be applied (to find a usage cannot to my knowledge mean to be applied in English).
    – David Vogt
    Mar 6, 2019 at 11:52
  • Sorry but this answer isn't particularly useful (6 upvotes? really?) I know what the terms mean (If that was the question it would've been closed and I would've been told to look at a dictionary). The question is whether there is any nuance, beyond the obvious, literal difference. Mar 7, 2019 at 15:03

It is quite simple:

  • Anwendbar means applicable, i.e. something can be applied, and "Anwendbar sein" means "to be applicable".
  • Anwendung means application, and "Anwendung finden" more or less means "Find application", which resolves to "to be (usually) applied".

As you can see, these are not the same.

  • I know what the terms mean. The question was whether there was any nuance which wasn't explicit, specifically wrt. to the excerpts in the question. Mar 7, 2019 at 15:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.