The division of Germany after its military defeat in 1945 resulted from the agreements made by the Allied powers in the aftermath of World War II. The country was split into two major regions – the western part of Germany was allowed to develop into a free-market economy and was subsequently integrated into the Western bloc of nations. In contrast, the eastern region became a communist state under Soviet influence.
During the Cold War, East and West Germany developed along very different lines, with the East becoming more isolationist and collectivist while the West embraced internationalism and capitalism. Despite these differences, both sides managed to develop into industrial powerhouses, although West Germany emerged as the stronger of the two.
The reunification of Germany in 1990 was the culmination of years of negotiations and political maneuvering. Under the leadership of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, West Germany agreed to absorb the economically struggling East on the condition that the country would remain a democratic, market-oriented society.
In the years following reunification, Germany has continued cementing its place as Europe’s strongest industrial power and most populous nation, with a dynamic economy, world-class technological innovation, and a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Today, Germany remains a key player in shaping the future of Europe and the world.
Jump to Introduction, Geography, Climate, People & Society, Economy, Insight, Google Maps, Facts, and Did You Know about Germany. Or visit the driving directions page for routing instructions.
The geography of Germany is as diverse as it is stunning, with a range of landscapes that are as varied as they are beautiful. The central European coastal plains make up a large part of the northern region of Germany, stretching along the coastline of the North and Baltic Seas. These plains are characterized by long, sandy beaches, dunes, mudflats, and marshes, which give way to pine forests and rolling hills as you head inland.
As you move further south, the landscape changes dramatically, with the rolling hills of the central region giving way to the majestic Alps in the far South. These towering mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the country’s picturesque villages and historic towns and offer visitors an array of activities to enjoy, such as skiing, hiking, and mountaineering.
In between the coastal plains and the Alps lie some of Germany’s most famous regions, including the Rhine River Valley, the Black Forest, and the Bavarian Forest. These areas are characterized by dense forests, gently rolling hills and quaint villages that have retained their traditional charm and character over the centuries.
Overall, Germany’s geography is breathtaking, offering visitors a glimpse into a country rich in natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether looking for stunning coastal vistas, rolling hills, forests, or towering mountain peaks, Germany has something for everyone to discover and enjoy.
The climate of Germany is influenced by several factors, including its location in central Europe, the influence of the Gulf Stream, and the country’s diverse topography. As a result, the climate can vary significantly from region to region.
The climate is generally damp and temperate in Germany’s northern and central regions. This means the summers are mild and relatively cool, while winters are chilly with occasional snowfall. The coastal areas of the North are particularly affected by the influence of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, which can result in more frequent rainfall and higher humidity levels.
In contrast, the mountainous South of Germany experiences more extreme continental weather patterns. These areas can experience hot summers and very cold winters, with significant temperature variations between day and night. The mountain ranges in southern Germany, such as the Bavarian Alps, can also produce their microclimates, resulting in unique weather patterns and precipitation levels.
Overall, the climate of Germany is mild and pleasant, with distinct seasonal changes and moderate rainfall throughout the year. While the northern and central regions tend to be cooler and wetter, the mountainous South can be more extreme, with hot summers and cold winters. Visitors to Germany should pack accordingly, taking into account the time of year and the region they plan to visit.
People & Society
Regionalism is strong. The North is mainly Protestant, while the South is staunchly Roman Catholic. Social and economic differences still exist between East and West. Turks are the largest single ethnic minority; many came as guest workers in the 1950s and 1970s. Immigration rules now favor skilled workers. Feminism is strong.
The German economy is a powerhouse, recognized globally as one of the world’s most innovative and efficient economies. The country is a major exporter of electronics, heavy engineering, chemicals, and cars and is home to several multinational corporations, including BMW, Siemens, BASF, and Volkswagen. This expansive economic base has helped Germany remain competitive worldwide, generating jobs and contributing significantly to domestic and international trade.
However, the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 hit Germany hard, resulting in the worst recession the country had seen in over 60 years. The economic downturn led to significant job losses, with many companies forced to cut back on production and lay off workers. However, Germany’s resilient economy weathered the crisis better than many other countries and emerged from the recession relatively quickly due to effective fiscal policies and strong export growth.
One growing challenge for the German economy is its aging population, projected to continue as a trend in the coming decades. As a result, the country’s workforce is shrinking, which could make it difficult to maintain the high levels of productivity and innovation that have characterized the German economy for so long. To address this issue, the German government has implemented policies aimed at encouraging immigration and supporting families, but more work needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of the country’s economic growth.
Overall, the German economy is recognized globally as a highly efficient and innovative system, despite having faced challenges such as the recession of 2008-2009 and an aging population. With its broad range of industrial sectors, highly skilled workforce, and commitment to innovation, Germany remains a key player in the global economy and a model of economic success for many countries worldwide.
Germany’s rivers and canals are an important part of its transportation infrastructure, providing a cost-effective and efficient means of moving goods throughout the country and across Europe. Germany’s waterways carry as much freight as its busy highways, making them a vital component of its economy.
One advantage of using Germany’s waterways for transportation is that it is often more environmentally friendly than trucks or other road transport. This is because marine transport releases fewer emissions and pollutants than road transport, helping to reduce the country’s overall carbon footprint and contribute to sustainability efforts.
In addition to transporting goods, Germany’s waterways also provide opportunities for recreation and tourism. Many of the country’s rivers and canals are lined with scenic paths popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Boat tours and river cruises are another popular way to explore Germany’s waterways, offering visitors a unique perspective on the country’s landscape and history.
Germany’s rivers and canals connect the country’s regions and industries, providing a sustainable and efficient way to move goods and people. Whether you’re a business owner looking to transport your products or a tourist looking to explore the country, Germany’s waterways offer something for everyone.
Name: Germany (Federal Republic of Germany), local name: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Languages: German (official); note – Danish, Frisian, Sorbian, and Romani are official minority languages; Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, and Romani are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
ISO code: de, internet: .de
Capital city: Berlin, GPS: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
Time: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time) (+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October)
Population: 79,903,481 (July 2021 estimate) (German / German(s))
Urban population: 77.5% (2021) – 3.567 million, Berlin (capital city), 1.789 million, Hamburg, 1.553 million, Munich, 1.129 million, Cologne, 785,000 Frankfurt (2021)
Location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark. Germany is a(n) European country. You may find 47 other countries on this continent.
Coordinates: 51 00 N, 9 00 E
Bordering countries: (9 nations): Austria 801 km, Belgium 133 km, Czechia 704 km, Denmark 140 km, France 418 km, Luxembourg 128 km, Netherlands 575 km, Poland 447 km, Switzerland 348 km
Land area: 348,672 sq km
Water area: 8,350 sq km
Total area: 357,022 sq km – Three times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Montana.
Terrain: Lowlands in the North, uplands in the center, bavarian alps in the South
Highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m
Lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.5 m
Major rivers: Danube river source (shared with Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania m) – 2,888 km, Elbe river mouth (shared with Czechia) – 1,252 km, Rhine (shared with Switzerland, France, and Netherlands) – 1,233 km
Natural hazards: Flooding.
National holiday(s): German Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
Did you know about Germany?
- Germany is the world’s second-largest beer consumer after the Czech Republic. The country is known for its beer culture, with over 1,300 breweries in Germany.
- Berlin, the capital of Germany, has more bridges than Venice, Italy. The city has over 1,700 bridges, compared to Venice’s 409.
- The world’s first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible, was printed in Germany in the 15th century by Johannes Gutenberg.
- The Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Berlin during the Cold War, was built in 1961 and stood for 28 years until its fall in 1989. Today, parts of the wall still stand as a monument to the city’s division.
- Germany is the birthplace of the automobile, with the first gasoline-powered automobile invented by Karl Benz in 1886.
You may also be interested in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland.
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