GERMANY

Date of establishment: May 23, 1949

Brief history:

9th century: The Germanic tribes had already been settling in the territory of present-day Germany for several centuries. The region became part of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne, who was crowned Emperor in 800 CE.

10th century: After the Carolingian Empire fragmented, the eastern part evolved into the East Frankish Kingdom, which later became the Holy Roman Empire, officially established in 962 CE with Otto I’s coronation as Emperor.

16th century: The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, leading to significant religious conflict within the Holy Roman Empire. This period included the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), a devastating conflict across central Europe, which ended with the Peace of Westphalia.

19th century: The 19th century saw the rise of nationalist movements and the eventual unification of Germany. The German Empire was established in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War, led by Prussia and its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. This event marked the consolidation of numerous German states into a single nation-state.

1914-1918: Germany participated in World War I, resulting in defeat and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which imposed heavy reparations and territorial losses on Germany, leading to economic and political instability.

1933-1945: Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power, transforming Germany into a totalitarian state. The regime’s aggressive expansionism led to World War II in 1939.

1945: Germany was defeated in World War II and occupied by Allied forces (the USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France), resulting in significant territorial losses and the division of the country.

1949: The establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), formalizing the division during the Cold War.

1955: West Germany joined NATO.

1957: West Germany became one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (EEC), which later evolved into the European Union (EU).

1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and initiated the process of German reunification.

October 3, 1990: Germany was officially reunified, re-establishing the Federal Republic of Germany as a single sovereign nation.

 

International abbreviation: D

 

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Germany’s currency is the euro (EUR), since January 1, 2002. Before that, from 1948 to 2001, the German mark (DEM) was the national currency. After adopting the euro as the single currency of the European Union, Germany joined the Eurozone and adopted the euro as its official currency.

 

Internet domain: .de

 

Dialing code: +49

 

Time zone: +1 GMT

 

Geography:

Germany is the largest Central European country, located near the North and Baltic Seas, with a very diverse terrain. The north has plains, while the south is dominated by the Alps. Germany is bordered by nine countries: Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg to the west, and Belgium and the Netherlands to the northwest.

The southern part of Germany is dominated by the Alps, which stretch across the southern border with Austria. The highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze, is part of the Bavarian Alps.

To the north of the Alps, there are various mountain ranges and uplands such as the Bavarian Forest, the Swabian Jura, and the Black Forest. Further north, the terrain transitions into the North German Plain, characterized by flatlands and low-lying areas extending from the North Sea to the Harz Mountains. These plains are known for their agricultural productivity and fertile soil.

Germany is crisscrossed by many rivers, which play a crucial role in transportation and trade. The largest rivers are the Rhine, the Elbe, and the Danube. The Rhine flows from the Swiss Alps through Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea, forming part of the border with France. The Danube flows from the Black Forest in Germany through many countries to the Black Sea, making it the second-longest river in Europe. The Elbe rises in the Czech Republic and flows northward through Germany to the North Sea.

On the northern coast of Germany lies the North Sea, which is essential for maritime trade and fishing. This region features sandy beaches, coastal towns, and islands, such as Sylt and the East Frisian Islands. To the northeast, Germany also has a coastline along the Baltic Sea, including popular destinations like the island of Rügen and the coastal city of Lübeck.

Germany is rich in lakes, with the largest one being Lake Constance (Bodensee), on the border with Austria and Switzerland. The Mecklenburg Lake District in northeastern Germany is also notable for its numerous lakes, making it a popular destination for tourists and water sports enthusiasts.

 

Highest peak: Zugspitze – 2 962 meters (9 718 feet) above sea level.

Zugspitze is located in the Alps, on the border between Germany and Austria. The summit of Zugspitze offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular destination for tourists, mountaineers, and nature enthusiasts. The region is also known for its ski resorts and outdoor activities, which are available all year round.

 

Climate:

Germany has a Central European climate with oceanic influences in the west and continental influences in the east. The western part generally experiences milder summers and moderate winters, while the eastern part tends to have warmer summers and colder winters with greater temperature variations. In the south of Germany, where the Alps are located, a mountainous climate prevails with cold winters and mild summers.

Average seasonal temperatures in Germany vary across the regions. In the western part, average summer temperatures range from 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F), while average winter temperatures range from 0 to 5°C (32 to 41°F). In the eastern part, summers are warmer with average temperatures ranging from 25 to 30°C (77 to 86°F), and winters are colder with average temperatures between -5 to 0°C (23 to 32°F). In the southern regions with Alpine influence, average summer temperatures range from 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F), while average winter temperatures can drop below freezing, ranging from -5 to 0°C (23 to 32°F).

 

Fauna and flora:

Germany has diverse fauna and flora across its landscapes, ranging from dense forests to lush meadows and pristine rivers. In the forests, there is a variety of wildlife, including red and roe deer, wild boars, foxes, badgers, and even occasional sightings of elusive lynxes and wolves, which have been making a comeback in recent years. Bird enthusiasts can delight in spotting various avian species such as tits, woodpeckers, storks, owls, and majestic birds of prey like eagles and hawks.

Germany’s rivers and lakes teem with aquatic life, offering habitats for species like salmon, trout, carp, pike, and eels. These water bodies also provide crucial breeding grounds for numerous amphibians, including frogs, toads, and newts.

The country’s forests are rich and diverse, comprising not only beeches, oaks, pines, and spruces but also lesser-known species such as larches, firs, and birches.

In addition to forests, Germany’s meadows have many wildflowers, including violets, lilies of the valley, daisies, and many others. These meadows also serve as important pollinator habitats, supporting bees, butterflies, and other insects crucial for ecosystem health.

Germany places a strong emphasis on nature conservation, with an extensive network of national parks, biosphere reserves, and nature reserves aimed at protecting its natural heritage.

 

Agriculture:

Germany’s agricultural sector is diverse and contributes significantly to its economy. The main crops cultivated include cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, and corn, which are grown across vast agricultural lands in both northern and southern regions. Additionally, Germany is a leading producer of rapeseed, used primarily for oil extraction, as well as potatoes, sugar beets, fruits (such as apples, cherries, and strawberries), and various vegetables.

The southern regions of Germany are renowned for their vineyards, which produce high-quality wines enjoyed both domestically and internationally. German wines, particularly those from regions like the Moselle Valley and Baden, are celebrated for their distinctive flavors and exceptional quality.

In addition to crop production, Germany has a thriving livestock industry. The country raises cattle, pigs, poultry, and sheep, with dairy production being particularly significant. German dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk, are highly regarded for their quality and taste.

Modern agricultural technology and techniques play a crucial role in Germany’s farming practices. Farmers utilize advanced machinery, precision farming methods, and sustainable agricultural practices to optimize yields while minimizing environmental impact.

 

Raw materials extraction:

Currently, Germany’s raw materials extraction sector is relatively limited, with coal mining being one of the few remaining industries, albeit in decline. Most raw materials, including metals, minerals, and fossil fuels, are imported to meet domestic demand.

While traditional raw material extraction in Germany has diminished over the years, the country places increasing emphasis on sustainable resource management and environmental conservation. Efforts are underway to promote recycling, waste reduction, and the development of renewable energy sources to minimize dependence on imported raw materials and reduce environmental impact.

Moreover, Germany is actively engaged in research and development initiatives aimed at exploring innovative technologies for sustainable resource extraction and utilization. These efforts include the exploration of deep-sea mining, urban mining, and the development of eco-friendly extraction techniques.

 

Industry:

Germany’s industrial landscape is characterized by its diversity and technological prowess. Key industries include automotive manufacturing, engineering, chemicals, and high technology. Renowned for its efficiency, innovation, and commitment to quality, Germany maintains a leading position in global industry.

The automotive sector stands out as one of Germany’s flagship industries, with renowned brands such as Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi dominating both domestic and international markets. German automakers are celebrated for their cutting-edge technology, precision engineering, and commitment to sustainability, making them leaders in electric and hybrid vehicle production.

In addition to automotive manufacturing, Germany boasts a strong engineering sector, producing a wide range of machinery and equipment for various industries worldwide..

The chemicals industry is another cornerstone of German industry, with companies like BASF, Bayer, and Evonik leading the way in chemical production and innovation. German chemical manufacturers produce a wide range of products including pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, and advanced materials.

Germany’s commitment to innovation extends to the high-technology sector, where it excels in areas such as information technology, biotechnology, and renewable energy. The country is home to numerous tech startups, research institutions, and industrial giants driving advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, and clean energy technologies.

Overall, the industrial sector is a key pillar of the German economy, driving innovation, generating employment, and playing a crucial role in global trade and competitiveness.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: services, banking, insurance, tourism, transportation, telecommunications, information technology, science, research, education, and healthcare.

 

Natural and historical points of interest:

Germany is renowned for its wealth of historical landmarks, including magnificent Gothic cathedrals, well-preserved city walls, and enchanting castles that offer a glimpse into its rich history. Notable historical cities that captivate visitors include Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Heidelberg, Dresden, and Koblenz.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Germany’s picturesque countryside provides ample opportunities for exploration and adventure. In the southern part of the country, the majestic Alps beckon hikers, skiers, and snowboarders with their stunning landscapes and recreational activities. Meanwhile, the northern regions boast the North Sea coast, where sandy beaches and invigorating water sports await.

Germany’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse, offering a plethora of festivals, theatrical performances, concerts, and art exhibitions throughout the year. Visitors can immerse themselves in the world-class collections of museums such as the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, renowned for its archaeological treasures, or the BMW Museum in Munich, which showcases the evolution of automotive engineering.

Wine enthusiasts flock to Germany’s renowned wine regions to savor high-quality vintages amidst picturesque vineyards. The tranquil shores of Lake Constance in the south of the country provide a serene setting for leisurely holidays and relaxation.

Moreover, Germany’s traditional and Christmas markets are beloved attractions, drawing visitors with their festive ambiance, local delicacies, and unique shopping experiences, especially during the holiday season. These markets offer a glimpse into German traditions and culture, making them cherished destinations for both locals and tourists alike.

 

 

Government system: Federal parliamentary republic

Germany is a federal republic with a parliamentary democratic system, and its official name is the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland).

The government system in Germany is based on the principle of the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The executive power is represented by the federal president (Bundespräsident), who serves as the head of state. While the president does have some ceremonial functions, they also play a crucial role in appointing the chancellor and ministers.

The German government is headed by the chancellor (Bundeskanzler), who is the chief executive officer. The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, and leads the government in policy-making and administration.

Legislative power is indeed vested in the bicameral parliament, consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag is responsible for passing laws and deciding on the budget, while the Bundesrat represents the federal states and provides their input on legislative matters.

Judicial power in Germany is independent and ensures justice and the rule of law. In addition to the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), which reviews the constitutionality of laws, there are also lower courts responsible for adjudicating civil, criminal, and administrative cases.

Germany is a federal state composed of 16 states (Bundesländer), each with its own constitution and government. The states have autonomy in various policy areas, including education, culture, and policing, while matters of national importance are handled by the federal government.

 

Capital city: Berlin

Berlin holds a prominent position as one of Europe’s largest and most influential cities. Situated in the northeastern part of the country, Berlin’s history dates back to the 13th century, marked by the establishment of its first settlements. Over the centuries, Berlin has served as the capital of various entities, including the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. During the Cold War era, the city was divided, with East Berlin serving as the capital of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) until reunification in 1990, when Berlin once again became the capital of a unified Germany.

Renowned for its rich historical heritage, Berlin boasts iconic landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, and the Holocaust Memorial, as well as significant remnants of the Berlin Wall. The city also houses an array of museums and art galleries, including the acclaimed Pergamon Museum, the New Museum, and the National Gallery.

Beyond its historical significance, Berlin is a vibrant cultural hub with a thriving artistic and musical scene. It hosts an array of cultural festivals, concerts, and events that draw artists and visitors from around the globe, contributing to its status as a dynamic center of creativity and innovation.

 

Area: 357 021 km2 (137 847 square miles)

 

Population: 84 400 000 (2022 estimate)

Germany is known for its high standard of living, quality healthcare system, educational opportunities, and economic strength.

Germany has a long history of migration, making its population quite diverse and multicultural. Many residents have foreign roots or come from other countries.

The population of Germany consists of various ethnic groups, religions, and linguistic communities. The most commonly spoken language is German, but due to migration, many other languages are also spoken in the country.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 51

 

  1. Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (2007) – 5 forest locations in central and northern Germany.
  2. Modernist Housing Estates in Berlin (2008)
  3. Wadden Sea (2009) – Coastal area of the North Sea full of tidal flats and wetlands.
  4. The Fagus Factory in Alfeld (2011) – Building constructed in the style of modern architecture and industrial design.
  5. Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps (2011) – Pile dwellings dating from 5,000 to 500 BC near lakes.
  6. The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth (2012) – Baroque building from the 18th century with a capacity of up to 500 people.
  7. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (2013) – An expansive park in Kassel.
  8. Corvey Abbey (2014) – 9th-century abbey complex on the banks of the Weser River.
  9. The Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (2015) – Urban districts associated with Hamburg’s maritime trade.
  10. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier (2016) – 17 diverse structures in Argentina, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, India, and Japan.
  11. Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura (2017) – Human settlement remains dating back over 40,000 years.
  12. Archaeological Border Complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke (2018) – Archaeological finds of Viking fortifications.
  13. Naumburg Cathedral (2018) – Romanesque-Gothic cathedral in the German city of Naumburg.
  14. The Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Cultural Landscape (2019) – Over 800 years of industrial history with significant mining innovations spreading throughout Europe and the world.
  15. The Water Management System of Augsburg (2019) – Water management system of the city developing in gradual phases from the 14th century to the present.
  16. The Great Spas of Europe (2021) – 11 cities representing the international European spa culture that developed from the early 18th century to the 1930s.
  17. Frontiers of the Roman Empire – Danube Limes (2021) – Remains of the border fortifications and other structures in Germany, Austria, and Slovakia.
  18. Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt (2021) – The Mathildenhöhe artist colony in Darmstadt with Art Nouveau buildings.
  19. ŠUM – Jewish Heritage of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz (2021) – Ensemble of Jewish monuments in cities representing the cradle of European Judaism.
  20. Frontiers of the Roman Empire – Lower German Limes (2021) – Remains of the border fortifications and other structures in Germany and the Netherlands.
  21. Cologne Cathedral (1978) – Iconic Gothic cathedral located in Cologne.
  22. Aachen Cathedral (1981) – Romanesque basilica from the 11th century.
  23. Würzburg Residence with Court Gardens and Residence Square (1981) – One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany.
  24. The Church of Wies (1983) – Pilgrimage church built in the Bavarian Rococo style.
  25. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl (1984) – The first Rococo castles in Germany.
  26. Hildesheim Cathedral and St. Michael’s Church (1985) – Both churches have a long history and are cultural and historical treasures of the city of Hildesheim.
  27. Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier (1986) – Architectural complex of monuments in Trier.
  28. Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz (2000) – One of the most important landscape parks in Germany.
  29. Abbey of St. Gallen (1983) – Former Benedictine abbey and Carolingian monument. Mines of Rammelsberg,
  30. The Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System (1992) – A technical monument of mining pits, a well-preserved old town, and a water system of canals and drainage that provided energy for mining.
  31. Maulbronn Monastery Complex (1993) – A Cistercian monastery and the best-preserved monastic complex north of the Alps.
  32. Bamberg (1993) – An old town with architecture that influenced northern Germany and Hungary.
  33. Quedlinburg (1994) – Preserved half-timbered houses, castle, and Romanesque church.
  34. The Völklingen Ironworks (1994) – Historical ironworks from the 19th century preserved in its original state.
  35. Messel Pit Fossil Site (1995) – One of the most significant fossil sites from the Tertiary period.
  36. Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau, and Bernau (1996) – World-renowned school of architecture in the cities of Weimar and Dessau.
  37. Cologne Cathedral (1996) – Iconic Gothic cathedral.
  38. The Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (1996) – Houses and churches in the towns of Eisleben and Wittenberg associated with Martin Luther’s life.
  39. Classical Weimar (1998) – Refers to the period in the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries when Weimar became a center of intellectual and cultural life.
  40. Museum Island in Berlin (1999) – A unique cultural complex located in the center of Berlin. It contains five museums built between 1824 and 1930.
  41. Wartburg Castle (1999) – A fortified castle where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

 

National parks: 16

 

  1. Bavarian Forest National Park
  2. Berchtesgaden National Park
  3. Black Forest National Park
  4. Eifel National Park
  5. Hainich National Park
  6. Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park
  7. Harz National Park
  8. Jasmund National Park
  9. Kellerwald-Edersee National Park
  10. Müritz National Park
  11. Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park
  12. Lower Oder Valley National Park
  13. Saxon Switzerland National Park
  14. Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park
  15. Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park
  16. Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park