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|Federal Republic of Germany
Map of Germany
Location of Germany on the European continent
|Anthem: "Das Lied der Deutschen"
|Patron Saint(s): Saint Boniface|
(and largest city)
|Ethnic groups||Germans 91.5%, others 8.5%|
|Government||Federal parliamentary constitutional republic|
|-||President of the Bundestag||Norbert Lammert|
|-||President of the Bundesrat||Horst Seehofer|
|-||Holy Roman Empire||2 February 962|
|-||Unification||18 January 1871|
|-||Federal Republic||23 May 1949|
|-||Reunification||3 October 1990|
|-||Total||357,021 km2 (63rd)
137,847 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||81,799,600 (16th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||$3.099 trillion (5th)|
|-||Per capita||$37,896 (18th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||$3.577 trillion (4th)|
|Gini (2006)||27 (low)|
|HDI (2011)||0.905 (very high) (9th)|
|Currency||Euro (€)(2002 – present)
Swiss franc (de facto in Büsingen) (
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
- Go to the German CreationWiki for translation of this site.
Germany (German: Deutschland), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is one of the world's major industrialized countries, located in Central Europe. As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation, Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. Germany is a founding member of the European Union. Its capital city is Berlin.
Germany’s population is roughly 82.4 million with a decline to about 80.3 million expected by 2015. Average population density is about 230 people per square kilometer, but population distribution is very uneven. In the former West Germany, population density is 267 people per square kilometer, compared with 140 people per square kilometer in the former East Germany. Berlin and the industrialized Ruhr Valley are densely populated, while much of the Brandenburg and Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania regions in the East are thinly populated. These disparities have been exacerbated by migration from East to West, as former Easterners have sought better employment opportunities. About 61 percent of the population lives in towns with 2,000 to 100,000 inhabitants; 30 percent, in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; and the remainder, in villages with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants.
The literacy rate in Germany is officially pegged at 99%, where literacy is defined as the ability of those 15 years old or older to read and write. According to the most recent results from 2006, German students placed eighteenth out of 57 countries in reading, twentieth in mathematics, and thirteenth in natural sciences. However, an interest group specializing in literacy estimates that 4 million Germans are functionally illiterate, meaning that they cannot read or write well enough to hold a job or support themselves. Many of them are immigrants.
The federal government shares control over education with the states. However, the federal government has primary responsibility for the vocational training system. Kindergarten is available to every child between the ages of three and six. Everyone is required to attend school beginning at the end of their sixth year and must remain in some form of school or training for 12 years. Anyone who leaves school after nine years is required to complete a three-year vocational training program.
Germany is located in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads between west and east, north and south. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It has an area of 357,022 square kilometers. The longest distances are 876 kilometers from north to south and 640 kilometers from east to west. One-third of the country’s territory belonged to the former East Germany.
Germany is divided into four distinct topographic regions. From north to south, they are the Northern Lowlands, the Central Uplands, the Alpine Foreland, and the Alps. From the north, a plain dotted with lakes, moors, marshes, and heaths retreats from the sea and reaches inland, where it becomes a landscape of hills crisscrossed by streams, rivers, and valleys. These hills lead upward, gradually forming high plateaus and woodlands and eventually climaxing in spectacular mountain ranges. As of the turn of the century, about 34% of the country's area was arable, and about 30% was covered by forests.
The northwestern and coastal areas of Germany have a maritime climate caused by warm westerly winds from the North Sea; the climate is characterized by warm summers and mild, cloudy winters. Farther inland, the climate is continental, marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer summers and colder winters. The alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central Uplands have a so-called mountain climate. This climate is characterized by lower temperatures as a result of higher elevations and greater precipitation caused by air becoming moisture-laden as it rises over higher terrain.
Since its unification in 1990, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the Euro. Germany has a social-market economy that combines free enterprise and competition with a high level of social services. The economy is the world’s third largest, when measured at market exchange rates, and the fifth largest, when using purchasing power parity. Reflecting a social compact between employers and employees, workers’ representatives share power with executives in corporate boardrooms in a system known as co-determination, or Mitbestimmung.