Journeyman training in carpentry training, or compagnonnage, also developed in German-speaking countries and territories that were part of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. The origin of this tradition, similar to the French compagnons, lies in the major currents of monastic construction in the Middle Ages.
Today, some journeymen belong to various guilds or societies, most of which adhere to a Code of Conduct (Schacht). Others, known as free-journeymen, claim to be free of any written law but obey an implicit moral code.
Journeymen travel on foot or hitchhike, often sleep outdoors and only take with them what they can carry in their rucksack.
Journeymen travel throughout Germany and abroad for three years and a day, sometimes longer. They are forbidden to work within 50 km of their home town. They must learn to behave well in both professional and social settings. Before their journey begins, however, they must complete their professional training. They are not accepted into institutions or societies as in France. Rather, they must travel on their own and contract out for six to eight weeks of work for various companies. Their journal is a record of their travels and experiences. Having taken a vow of poverty, they depend on their work to sustain them, but they also solicit ritual and informal charity during their travels. Journeymen travel on foot or hitchhike, often sleep outdoors and only take with them what they can carry in their rucksack. This cloth bag (Charlottenburg) contains personal belongings and hand tools. Journeymen can be recognised by their cane made from a twisted branch (the Stenz), the black hat they must wear at all times as a sign of authority, and a three-piece black and white suit with – depending on the guild – an identifying tie. Certain jewellery (a decorated earring) is worn and particular clothing codes are respected.
The free-journeymen wears a white shirt with a collar turned inside. Except for a few details, the rest of the outfit is freely chosen.