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In Germany, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous (regional) languages by the ECRML. In each of these, Germany"s official name is as follows:
* ;
* ;
* ;
* ;
* ;
* Saterland Frisian: Bundesrepublek Dütschland

|conventional_long_name=Federal Republic of Germany
|common_name=Germany
|national_anthem=File:Deutschlandlied played by USAREUR Band.oggThe third stanza of
|image_flag=Flag of Germany.svg
|image_coat=Coat of Arms of Germany.svg
|image_map=EU-Germany.svg
|map_caption=
|official_languages=German
|demonym=German
|ethnic_groups= 91.5% German, 2.4% Turkish, 6.1% other
|capital=Berlin
|latd=52|latm=31|latNS=N|longd=13|longm=23|longEW=E
|largest_city=capital
|government_type=Federal parliamentary republic
|leader_title1=President
|leader_name1=Christian Wulff (CDU)
|leader_title2=Chancellor
|leader_name2=Angela Merkel (CDU)
|leader_title3=President of the Bundestag
|leader_name3=Norbert Lammert (CDU)
|sovereignty_type=Formation
|sovereignty_note=
|established_event1=Holy Roman Empire
|established_date1=2 February 962
|established_event2=Unification
|established_date2=18 January 1871
|established_event3=Federal Republic
|established_date3=23 May 1949
|established_event4=Reunification
|established_date4=3 October 1990
|accessionEUdate=25 March 1957
|EUseats=99
|area_km2=357,021
|area_sq_mi=137,847
|area_rank=63rd
|area_magnitude=1 E11
|percent_water=2.416
|population_estimate = 81,757,600
|population_estimate_year = 2010
|population_estimate_rank = 15th
|population_census = 81,642,000
|population_census_year = 1995
|population_estimate_year = Jan. 1, 2010
|population_estimate_rank = 15th
|population_density_km2 = 229
|population_density_sq_mi = 593
|population_density_rank = 55th
|GDP_PPP_year = 2009
|GDP_PPP = $2.806 trillion
|GDP_PPP_rank=
|GDP_PPP_per_capita=$34,212
|GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank=
|GDP_nominal=$3.352 trillion
|GDP_nominal_rank=
|GDP_nominal_year=2009
|GDP_nominal_per_capita=$40,874
|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank=
|HDI_year=2010
|HDI= 0.885
|HDI_rank=10th
|HDI_category=very high
|Gini=27
|Gini_year=2006
|Gini_category=low
|currency=Euro (€)(2002-Present)
|currency_code=EUR
|time_zone=CET
|utc_offset=+1
|time_zone_DST=CEST
|utc_offset_DST=+2
|drives_on=right
|cctld= .de
|calling_code=49
|ISO_3166-1_alpha2=DE
|ISO_3166-1_alpha3=DEU
|ISO_3166-1_numeric=?
|alt_sport_code=GER
|vehicle_code=D
|aircraft_code=D
|footnote1= Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany, and Frisian are officially recognised and protected by the ECRML.
|footnote2= Before 2002: Deutsche Mark (DEM).
|footnote3= Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.
}}

"Germany" (), officially the "Federal Republic of Germany" (, ), is a country in Central Europe. 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. The territory of Germany covers an area of 357.021 km2 and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state of the European Union, and home to the third-largest number of international migrants worldwide.

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. During the 16th century, northern Germany became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. After World War II, in 1949, Germany was divided into the states of East Germany and West Germany, along the lines of Allied occupation. Germany was reunified in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area and adopted the euro in 1999.

Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states. The capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD. It is a major power with the world"s fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the third biggest annual development aid budget in the world, while its military expenditure ranked seventh. The country has developed a very high standard of living and a comprehensive system of social security. It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a multitude of close partnerships on a global level. Germany is recognised as a scientific and technological leader in several fields. www.innovations-report.de. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04.

istor


tymolog


The English word "Germany" derives from the Latin word Germania. The name "Germania" came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it from a Gallic term for the peoples east of the Rhine that could possibly have meant "neighbour", or "men of forests", or even "men with spears".

ermanic tribes 750BC-26

Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1
The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is assumed to have occurred during the Nordic Bronze Age, or at the latest during the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began expanding south, east and west in the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe. Little is known about early Germanic history, except through their recorded interactions with the Roman Empire, etymological research and archaeological finds.

Under Augustus, the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (a term used by the Romans to define a territory running roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains), and it was in this period that the Germanic tribes became familiar with Roman tactics of warfare while maintaining their tribal identity. In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Modern Germany, as far as the Rhine and the Danube, thus remained outside the Roman Empire. By AD 100, the time of Tacitus" "Germania", Germanic tribes settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus) , occupying most of the area of modern Germany; Austria, southern Bavaria and the western Rhineland, however, were Roman provinces. The 3rd century saw the emergence of a number of large West Germanic tribes: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, and Thuringii. Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke through the Limes and the Danube frontier into Roman-controlled lands.

oly Roman Empire 962–180


Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, created around AD 1000

On 25 December 800, Charlemagne founded the Carolingian Empire, which was divided in 843. The medieval empire resulted from the eastern portion of this division and existed in varying forms from 962 until 1806. Its territory stretched from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. Often referred to as the Holy Roman Empire (or the Old Empire), it was officially called the "Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ" (Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) starting in 1448, to adjust the title to its then reduced territory.

Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation.

Under the reign of the Ottonian emperors (919–1024), the duchies of Lorraine, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Thuringia, and Bavaria were consolidated, and the German king was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. Under the reign of the Salian emperors (1024–1125), the Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy, although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy. Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), the German princes d their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs, preceding German settlement in these areas and further east "(Ostsiedlung)". Northern German towns grew prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League. Starting with the Great Famine in 1315, then the Black Death of 1348–50, the population of Germany plummeted.

The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire that lasted until its dissolution. It codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics. Beginning in the 15th century, the emperors were elected nearly exclusively from the Habsburg dynasty of Austria.

The monk Martin Luther publicised his 95 Theses in 1517, challenging practices of the Roman Catholic Church, initiating the Protestant Reformation. A separate Lutheran church became the official religion in many German states after 1530. Religious conflict led to the Thirty Years" War (1618–1648), which devastated German lands.Rempel, Gerhard. . Western New England College. The population of the German states was reduced by about 30%. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended religious warfare among the German states, but the empire was "de facto" divided into numerous independent principalities. From 1740 onwards, the dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1806, the "Imperium" was overrun and dissolved as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.

estoration and revolution 1814–187

Frankfurt parliament in 1848

Following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Congress of Vienna convened in 1814 and founded the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund), a loose league of 39 sovereign states. Disagreement with restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, demanding unity and freedom. These, however, were followed by new measures of repression by the Austrian statesman Metternich. The "Zollverein", a tariff union, profoundly furthered economic unity in the German states. During this era many Germans had been stirred by the ideals of the French Revolution, and nationalism became a more significant force, especially among young intellectuals. For the first time, the colours of black, red and gold were chosen to represent the movement, which later became the national colours.Martin, Norman. . Flags of the World. 5 October 2000. Retrieved 2006-12-07.

In the light of a series of revolutionary movements in Europe, which successfully established a republic in France, intellectuals and commoners started the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. The monarchs initially yielded to the revolutionaries" liberal demands. King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, leading to a temporary setback for the movement. Conflict between King William I of Prussia and the increasingly liberal parliament erupted over military reforms in 1862, and the king appointed Otto von Bismarck the new Prime Minister of Prussia. Bismarck successfully waged war on Denmark in 1864. Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled him to create the North German Federation (Norddeutscher Bund) and to exclude Austria, formerly the leading German state, from the affairs of the remaining German states.

erman Empire 1871–191

Foundation of modern Germany in Versailles, France, 1871. Bismarck is at the centre in a white uniform.

The state known as "Germany" was unified as a modern nation-state in 1871, when the German Empire was forged, with the Kingdom of Prussia as its largest constituent.
After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was proclaimed in Versailles on 18 January 1871. The Hohenzollern dynasty of Prussia ruled the new empire, whose capital was Berlin. The empire was a unification of all the scattered parts of Germany except Austria (, or "Lesser Germany"). But internally the official political unification came rather sequentially: Germany had no national flag until 1892 and no national hymn until after WW I. Beginning in 1884, Germany began establishing several colonies outside Europe.

Imperial Germany (1871–1918), with the dominant Kingdom of Prussia in blue

In the period following the unification of Germany, Emperor William I"s foreign policy secured Germany"s position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war. Under William II, however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries. Most alliances in which Germany had been previously involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country. Specifically, France established new relationships by signing the Entente Cordiale with Great Britain and securing ties with the Russian Empire. Aside from its contacts with Austria-Hungary, Germany became increasingly isolated.

Germany"s imperialism reached outside its own country, and it joined many other powers in Europe in claiming its share of Africa. The Berlin Conference divided Africa between the European powers. Germany owned several pieces of land in Africa including German East Africa, South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon. The Scramble for Africa caused tension between the great powers that may have contributed to the conditions that led to World War I.

The assassination of Austria"s crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I. Germany, as part of the unsuccessful Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allied Powers in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. An estimated two million German soldiers died in World War I. The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor William II and all German ruling princes abdicated. An armistice putting an end to the war was signed on 11 November, and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Its negotiation, contrary to traditional post-war diplomacy, excluded the defeated Central Powers. The treaty was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war. The treaty"s harshness is often cited as an influence toward the later rise of Nazism in the country.

eimar Republic 1919–193

Billboard advertising "Die Dreigroschenoper" by Bertolt Brecht. The Weimar era was dominated by political unrest.

At the beginning of the German Revolution, Germany was declared a republic and the monarchy collapsed. However, the struggle for power continued, with radical-left communists seizing power in Bavaria, but failing to take control of all of Germany. The revolution came to an end in August 1919, when the Weimar Republic was formally established. The Weimar Constitution came into effect with its signing by President Friedrich Ebert on 11 August 1919.

Suffering from the Great Depression, the harsh peace conditions dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, and a long succession of more or less unstable governments, the people of Germany increasingly lacked identification with their political system and the "Establishment Parties" in their parliamentary democracy. This was exacerbated by a widespread right-wing (monarchist, "völkisch", and Nazi) , which promoted the view that Germany had lost World War I because of the efforts and influence of those who wanted to overthrow the government. The top brass of the Weimar government was accused of betraying the German Nation by signing the Versailles Treaty, while the radical left-wing communists, such as the Spartacist League, had wanted a revolution to abolish "capitalist rule" in favour of a , and were also targeted.

Discontentment with the new Weimar government helped fuel the growth of the German Communist Party. Many conservatives were drawn towards the reactionary/revolutionary right, particularly the National Socialist German Workers Party—the Nazi Party. By 1932, these two parties controlled the majority of parliament (296 total parliamentary seats by July 1932). After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, President Paul von Hindenburg made a crucial decision: on 30 January 1933, seeing little alternative and pushed by right-wing advisors, von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany, honoring Hitler"s request.

hird Reich 1933–194

Großdeutsches Reich"

On 27 February 1933 the Reichstag building went up in flames, and a consequent emergency decree abrogated basic citizens" rights. An Enabling Act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party voted against it, while Communist MPs had already been imprisoned.Stackelberg, Roderick (1999). "Hitler"s Germany: origins, interpretations, legacies". Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 0-415-20114-4. Scheck, Raffael. Colby College. Retrieved 2006-07-12. Using his powers to crush any actual or potential resistance, Hitler established a centralised totalitarian state within months. Industry was revitalised with a focus on military rearmament. In 1935, Germany reacquired control of the Saar and in 1936 military control of the Rhineland, both of which had been lost in the Treaty of Versailles.

Leading to World War II and roughly in parallel with military rearmament, German foreign policy became more aggressive and expansionistic. In 1938 and 1939, Austria and Czechoslovakia were brought under control and the invasion of Poland prepared through the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and Operation Himmler. On 1 September 1939 the German Wehrmacht launched a blitzkrieg on Poland, which was swiftly occupied by Germany and by the Soviet Red Army. The UK and France declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II in Europe. As the war progressed, Germany and its allies quickly gained control of much of continental Europe while the plan to occupy the United Kingdom failed.

Berlin in ruins after World War II, Potsdamer Platz 1945On 22 June 1941, Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and invaded the Soviet Union. The same year, Japan attacked the American base at Pearl Harbor, and Germany declared war on the United States as a consequence of its alliance with Japan. Although the German army advanced into the Soviet Union quite rapidly, the Battle of Stalingrad marked a major turning point in the war. Subsequently, the German army started to retreat on the Eastern front. In September 1943, Germany"s ally Italy surrendered, and German forces were forced to defend an additional front in Italy. D-Day marked another major turning point in the war, opening up a Western front; the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and made advances towards German territory. Germany"s defeat soon followed. On 8 May 1945, the German armed forces surrendered after the Red Army occupied Berlin. Approximately seven million German soldiers and civilians — including ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe — died during World War II.Steinberg, Heinz Günter. "Die Bevölkerungsentwicklung in Deutschland im Zweiten Weltkrieg: mit einem Überblick über die Entwicklung von 1945 bis 1990." Bonn 1991.

In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Third Reich regime enacted governmental policies directly subjugating many dissidents and minorities. About seventeen million people were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, including six million Jews and a sizable number of Gypsies, Jehovah"s Witnesses, Poles and other Slavs, including Soviet POWs, people with mental and/or physical disabilities, homosexuals, and members of the political opposition.Niewyk, Donald L.; Nicosia, Francis R. , Columbia University Press, 2000, pp. 45-52. World War II and the Nazi genocide were responsible for more than 40 million dead in Europe. The Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals were held after World War II.". Professor Richard Overy. BBC History.


ivision and reunification 1945–199

occupation zones of Germany, in its 1937 borders, with territories east of the Oder-Neisse line shown as annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union, plus the Saar protectorate and divided Berlin. East Germany was formed by the Soviet Zone, while West Germany was formed by the American, British, and French zones in 1949 and the Saar in 1957.

The war resulted in the death of over seven million German soldiers and civilians; large territorial losses; the expulsion of about 15 million Germans from the eastern areas of Germany and other countries; mass rape of German women; and the destruction of multiple major cities. The remaining national territory and Berlin were partitioned by the Allies into four military occupation zones.

The western sectors, controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were merged on 23 May 1949, to form the "Federal Republic of Germany" ("Bundesrepublik Deutschland"); on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone became the "German Democratic Republic" ("Deutsche Demokratische Republik", or DDR). They were, mainly outside Germany, informally known as "West Germany" and "East Germany", and the two parts of Berlin as "West Berlin" and "East Berlin". East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn. However, West Germany declared the status of its capital Bonn as provisional, in order to emphasise its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial "status quo" that was to be overcome one day.

West Germany, established as a federal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy", was allied with the United States, the UK and France. The country came to enjoy prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s (). West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957. On 1 January 1957, following a plebiscite, Saarland became part of West Germany by virtue of article 23 , having been occupied by France since 1947.

The Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate shortly after its opening in 1989

East Germany was an Eastern bloc state under political and military control by the USSR via the latter"s occupation forces and the Warsaw Pact. While claiming to be a democracy, political power was solely executed by leading members ("Politburo") of the communist-controlled SED ("Socialist Unity Party of Germany"). Their power was ensured by the Stasi, a secret service of immense size, and a variety of SED suborganizations controlling every aspect of society. In return, the basic needs of the population were satisfied at low cost by the state. A Soviet-style command economy was set up; later, the GDR became a Comecon state. While East German propaganda was based on the benefits of the GDR"s social programs and the alleged constant threat of a West German invasion, many of her citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans from escaping to West Germany, became a symbol of the Cold War.

Tensions between East and West Germany were somewhat reduced in the early 1970s by Chancellor Willy Brandt"s , which included the "de facto" acceptance of Germany"s territorial losses in World War II.

In summer 1989, Hungary decided (2 May) to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders (23 August), causing an exodus of thousands of East Germans (September 11) to West Germany via Hungary.
This had devastating effects on the GDR, with mass demonstrations. The East German authorities unexpectedly eased the border restrictions in November, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West. Originally intended as a pressure valve to retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the "Wende" reform process in East Germany, which finally concluded with the "Two Plus Four Treaty" a year later on 12 September 1990, under which the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the Instrument of Surrender, and Germany regained full sovereignty. This permitted German reunification on 3 October 1990, with the accession of the five re-established states in the former GDR (new states or "neue Länder").

erlin Republic and the EU 1990–Presen

A new currency, the Euro, began circulating on 1 January 2002.

Based on the Bonn-Berlin Act, adopted by the parliament on 10 March 1994, Berlin once again became the capital of the reunified Germany, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a "Bundesstadt" (federal city) retaining some federal ministries. WDR; 14 September 2006. WDR; 20 June 2006. The relocation of the government was completed in 1999.

Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union and NATO. Germany sent a peacekeeping force to secure stability in the Balkans and sent a force of German troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO effort to provide security in that country after the ousting of the Taliban.Dempsey, Judy. International Herald Tribune. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-30. These deployments were controversial, since after the war, Germany was bound by domestic law only to deploy troops for defence roles. Deployments to foreign territories were understood not to be covered by the defence provision; however, the parliamentary vote on the issue effectively legalised the participation in a peacekeeping context.

In 2005, Angela Merkel was elected the first female Chancellor of Germany. From 2005 to 2009, she led a grand coalition supported by her own parliamentary group (consisting of CDU and CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Following general elections on 27 September 2009, Merkel built the current coalition government replacing the Social Democratic Party with the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

eograph

Topographic map

Germany is located in the Central Europe, the territory covers , consisting of of land and of water. It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 63rd largest in the world.

Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at ) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the north-west and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the north-east. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany (lowest point: Wilstermarsch at below sea level), traversed by some of Europe"s major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe.

Germany shares borders with more European countries than any other country on the continent. Its neighbours are Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west and Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west.

The most significant natural resources are iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land and water.

tate divisio


Germany comprises 16 states ("Bundesländer"), which are further subdivided into 439 districts ("Kreise") and cities ("kreisfreie Städte").



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limat


Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate in which humid westerly winds predominate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, which is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea including the area along the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. Consequently in the north-west and the north, the climate is oceanic; rainfall occurs year round with a maximum during summer.

Winters are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed for prolonged periods. In the east, the climate is more continental; winters can be very cold, summers can be very warm, and long dry periods are often recorded. Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental.

In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central German Uplands have a so-called mountain climate. This climate is characterized by lower temperatures because of higher altitudes and greater precipitation caused by air becoming moisture-laden as it lifts over higher terrain. GermanCulture. Retrieved 2010-26-08.

iodiversit


Phytogeographically, Germany is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine. WWF. Retrieved 21 November 2000. The majority of Germany is covered by either arable land (33%) or forestry and woodland (31%). Only 15% is covered by permanent pastures.

Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn.

The national parks in Germany include the Wadden Sea National Parks, the Jasmund National Park, the Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Park, the Müritz National Park, the Lower Oder Valley National Park, the Harz National Park, the Saxon Switzerland National Park and the Bavarian Forest National Park.

Germany is known for its many zoological gardens, wildlife parks, aquaria, and bird parks. www.eupedia.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. More than 400 registered zoos and animal parks operate in Germany, which is believed to be the largest number in any single country of the world. www.americanzoos.info/. Retrieved 2008-10-17. The Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the oldest zoo in Germany and presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world., Zoo Berlin. Retrieved 19 November 2009.

nvironmen


Germany is known for its environmental consciousness., German Federal Environmental Foundation, 16 October 2004. Most Germans consider anthropogenic causes to be a significant factor in global warming. The state is committed to the Kyoto protocol and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, recycling, and the use of renewable energy, and supports sustainable development at a global level. Umweltbundesamt. Retrieved 2007-11-25.

The German government has initiated wide-ranging emission reduction activities and the country"s overall emissions are falling. Times of India. Retrieved 2008-11-25. For example, since 1964, air pollution in Germany has been regulated by strict "TA Luft" legislation. Nevertheless Germany"s carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the EU, although they are significantly lower than those of Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution. Acid rain, resulting from sulphur dioxide emissions, continues to damage German forests. Pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in former East Germany have been reduced. The government under Chancellor Schröder announced the intention to end the use of nuclear power for producing electricity. Germany is working to meet EU commitments to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU"s Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive. Germany"s last glaciers in the Alpine region are experiencing deglaciation. Natural hazards are river flooding in spring and stormy winds occurring in all regions.

olitic

Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the "Grundgesetz" (Basic Law). By calling the document "Grundgesetz", rather than "Verfassung" (constitution), the authors expressed the intention that it would be replaced by a proper constitution once Germany was reunited as one state.

Amendments to the "Grundgesetz" generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the parliament; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law are valid in perpetuity. Despite the initial intention, the "Grundgesetz" remained in effect after the German reunification in 1990, with only minor amendments.

overnmen
Christian Wulff has been the President of Germany since June 2010. The head of state holds primarily representative powers.

The President, Christian Wulff, is the head of state and invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers. He is elected by the "Bundesversammlung" (federal convention), an institution consisting of the members of the "Bundestag" and an equal number of state delegates.

The second highest official in the German order of precedence is the "Bundestagspräsident" (President of the "Bundestag"), who is elected by the "Bundestag" and responsible for overseeing the daily sessions of the body.

The third-highest official and the head of government is the Chancellor, who is appointed by the "Bundespräsident" after being elected by the "Bundestag". The Chancellor can be removed by a constructive vote of no confidence by the "Bundestag", where constructive implies that the "Bundestag" simultaneously has to elect a successor.

Reichstag in Berlin is the site of the German parliament (Bundestag)

The Chancellor—currently Angela Merkel—is the head of government and exercises executive power, similar to the role of a Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies. Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the "Bundestag" (Federal Diet) and "Bundesrat" (Federal Council), which together form a unique type of legislative body. The "Bundestag" is elected through direct elections, by proportional representation (mixed-member). The members of the "Bundesrat" represent the governments of the sixteen federated states and are members of the state cabinets. The respective state governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time.

Since 1949, the party system has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany with all chancellors hitherto being member of either party. However, the smaller liberal Free Democratic Party (which has had members in the "Bundestag" since 1949) and the Alliance "90/The Greens (which has controlled seats in parliament since 1983) have also played important roles, U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-12-07. as they are regularly the smaller partner of a coalition government.

a

Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Karlsruhe

The Judiciary of Germany is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Germany has a civil or statute law system that is based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. The "Bundesverfassungsgericht" (Federal Constitutional Court), located in Karlsruhe, is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review., Bundesverfassungsgericht.de. Retrieved 13 April 2007. It acts as the highest legal authority and ensures that legislative and judicial practice conforms to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Basic Law). It acts independently of the other state bodies, but cannot act on its own behalf.

Germany"s supreme court system, called "Oberste Gerichtshöfe des Bundes", is specialised. For civil and criminal cases, the highest court of appeal is the Federal Court of Justice, located in Karlsruhe and Leipzig. The courtroom style is inquisitorial. Other Federal Courts are the Federal Labour Court in Erfurt, the Federal Social Court in Kassel, the Federal Finance Court in Munich and the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

state police officer in Hamburg

Criminal law and private law are codified on the national level in the "Strafgesetzbuch" and the "Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch" respectively. The German penal system is aimed towards rehabilitation of the criminal; its secondary goal is the protection of the general public. Bundesministerium der Justiz. Retrieved 19 November 2009. To achieve the latter, a convicted criminal can be put in preventive detention ("Sicherungsverwahrung") in addition to the regular sentence if he is considered to be a threat to the general public. The "Völkerstrafgesetzbuch" regulates the consequences of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. It gives German courts universal jurisdiction if prosecution by a court of the country where the crime was committed, or by an international court, is not possible.

Legislative power is divided between the federation and the state level. The Basic Law presumes that all legislative power remains at the state level unless otherwise designated by the Basic Law itself.

Any federal law overrides state law if the legislative power lies at the federal level. A famous example is the purported Hessian provision for the death penalty, which goes against the ban on capital punishment under the Basic Law, rendering the Hessian provision invalid. The "Bundesrat" is the federal organ through which the states participate in national legislation. State participation in federal legislation is necessary if the law falls within the area of concurrent legislative power, requires states to administer federal regulations, or is so designated by the Basic Law. Every state has its own constitutional court. The "Amtsgerichte", "Landgerichte" and "Oberlandesgerichte" are state courts of general jurisdiction. They are competent whether the action is based on federal or state law.

Many of the fundamental matters of administrative law remain in the jurisdiction of the states, though most states base their own laws in that area on the 1976 "Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz" (Administrative Proceedings Act) covering important points of administrative law. The "Oberverwaltungsgerichte" are the highest level of administrative jurisdiction concerning the state administrations, unless the question of law concerns federal law or state law identical to federal law. In such cases, final appeal to the Federal Administrative Court is possible.

oreign relation

Chancellor Angela Merkel, the head of government, hosting the G8 summit in Heiligendamm.

Germany maintains a network of 229 diplomatic missions abroad and holds relations with more than 190 countries. Business Recorder. Retrieved 2010-10-03. As member it is the largest contributor to the budget of the European Union (providing 20%) and third largest contributor to the United Nations (providing 8%). Germany is a member of the NATO defence alliance, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G8, the G20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Germany has played a leading role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France since the end of World War II. The alliance was especially close in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the leadership of Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl and Socialist François Mitterrand. Germany is at the forefront of European states seeking to advance the creation of a more unified European political, defence, and security apparatus. Elysee.fr 13 May 3004. Retrieved 2006-12-03. For a number of decades after WWII, the Federal Republic of Germany kept a notably low profile in international relations, because of both its recent history and its occupation by foreign powers.Glaab, Manuela.  Internationale Politik. Spring 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-03.

EEC in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It maintains close relations with its neighbours to coordinate EU politics.

During the Cold War, Germany"s partition by the Iron Curtain made it a symbol of East-West tensions and a political battleground in Europe. However, Willy Brandt"s Ostpolitik was a key factor in the "détente" of the 1970s.Harrison, Hope. German historical institute, Washington, DC, Bulletin supplement 1, 2004, "American détente and German ostpolitik, 1969–1972". In 1999, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder"s government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking a full part in the decisions surrounding the NATO war against Yugoslavia and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since World War II. Deutsche Welle. 14 October 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-03.

West Germany became a NATO member in 1955. (Defense ministers in 2000)

The governments of Germany and the United States are close political allies. U.S. Department of State. 6 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-03. The 1948 Marshall Plan and strong cultural ties have crafted a strong bond between the two countries, although Schröder"s very vocal opposition to the Iraq War suggested the end of Atlanticism and a relative cooling of German-American relations., The Economist, 6 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-31. The two countries are also economically interdependent: 8.8% of German exports are U.S.-bound and 6.6% of German imports originate from the U.S. U.S. Embassy in Berlin. May 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-03. Other signs of the close ties include the continuing position of German-Americans as the largest ethnic group in the U.S. U.S. Census Bureau 30 June 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-03. and the status of Ramstein Air Base (near Kaiserslautern) as the largest U.S. military community outside the U.S. U.S. Military. Retrieved 2006-12-03.

The development policy of the Federal Republic of Germany is an independent area of German foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and carried out by the implementing organisations. The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community. Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development 10 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-07. It is the world"s third biggest aid donor after the United States and France. OECD Germany spent 0.37 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on development, which is below the government"s target of increasing aid to 0.51 per cent of GDP by 2010. The international target of 0.7% of GNP would have not been reached either.

ilitar

UNIFIL II operation off the coast of Lebanon.

Germany"s military, the "Bundeswehr", is a military force with "Heer" (Army), "Marine" (Navy), "Luftwaffe" (Air Force), "Zentraler Sanitätsdienst" (Central Medical Services) and "Streitkräftebasis" (Joint Support Service) branches. Military service is compulsory for men at the age of 18, and conscripts serve six-month tours of duty. Conscientious objectors may instead opt for an equal length of "Zivildienst" (roughly translated as civilian service), or a six year commitment to (voluntary) emergency services like a fire department, the Red Cross or the THW. In 2005, military spending was an estimated 1.5% of the country"s GDP. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence, currently Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. If Germany went to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, the Chancellor would become commander in chief of the "Bundeswehr". Bundestag.de. Retrieved 19 November 2009.

Eurofighter flight demonstration

The Bundeswehr employs 200,500 professional soldiers, 55,000 18–25 year-old conscripts who serve for at least six months under current rules, and 2,500 active reservists at any given time. Roughly 300,000 reservists are available to the Armed Forces and participate in defense exercises as well as deployments abroad.

Since 2001 women can serve in all functions of service without restriction, but they are not subject to conscription. There are presently around 14,500 women on active duty and a number of female reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations. Two female medical officers have been promoted to a General rank so far.

, the German military had about 8,300 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 2,470 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo, 4,520 German troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, and 450 troops with UNIFIL in Lebanon.


conom

A Mercedes-Benz automobile. Germany was the world"s leading exporter of goods from 2003 to 2008.

Germany has a social market economy characterised by a highly qualified labour force, a developed infrastructure, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption, and a high level of innovation. It has the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth largest by nominal GDP in the world, and ranked fifth by GDP (PPP) in 2009. The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%. In July 2010 the average national unemployment rate was 7.5%, ranging from 4.1% in Bavaria to 13.6% in Berlin.

Germany is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy. Germany is a founding member of the EU, the G8 and the G20 and was the world"s largest exporter from 2003 to 2008. In 2009 it remains the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods while generating a trade surplus of $189.7 billion., suite101.com, 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.

Most of the country"s export products are in engineering, especially in machinery, automobiles, chemical goods and metals. Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest annual international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt, and Berlin. Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Germany) Retrieved 30 November 2006.

Germany is an advocate of closer European economic and political integration. Its commercial policies are increasingly determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and EU single market legislation. Germany introduced the common European currency, the euro on 1 January 2002. Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Two decades after German reunification, standards of living and per capita incomes remain significantly higher in the states of the former West Germany than in the former East.Berg, S., Winter, S., Wassermann, A. Spiegel Online International. 5 September 2005. Retrieved 28 November 2006. The modernisation and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a long-term process scheduled to last until the year 2019, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion.

The nominal GDP of Germany contracted in the second and third quarters of 2008, putting the country in a technical recession following a global and European recession cycle. In January 2009 the German government under Angela Merkel approved a €50 billion ($70 billion) economic stimulus plan to protect several sectors from a downturn and a subsequent rise in unemployment rates.

orporation
Siemens AG in Munich. The city is the headquarter of 7 Fortune Global 500 companies.
Frankfurt is a financial global city, seat of the European Central Bank, and an international aviation hub.

Of the world"s 500 largest stock market listed companies measured by revenue in 2010, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in Germany. 30 Germany based companies are included in the DAX, the German stock market index, trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Well known global brands are Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, DHL, T-Mobile, Lufthansa, SAP, and Nivea., Businessweek. Retrieved 26 November 2007.

Germany is recognized for its highly specialized small and medium enterprises. Around 1000 of these mostly family-owned companies are global market leaders in their segment and are usually labeled hidden champions., Businessweek. Retrieved 23 September 2010.

The list includes the largest companies by turnover in 2009. Unranked are the largest bank and the largest insurance company in 2007:


ranspor

The ICE 3 trainset

With its central position in Europe, Germany is an important transportation hub. This is reflected in its dense and modern transportation networks. The extensive motorway (Autobahn) network that ranks worldwide third largest in its total length and features a lack of blanket speed limits on the majority of routes.

Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. The InterCityExpress or "ICE" is the most advanced service category of the Deutsche Bahn and serves major German cities as well as destinations in neighbouring countries. The train maximum speed varies between 160 km/h and 300 km/h. Connections are offered at either 30-minute, hourly, or two-hourly intervals. , Deutsche Bahn. Retrieved 19 November 2009.

The largest German airports are the Frankfurt International Airport and the Munich International Airport, both are global hubs of Lufthansa. Other major airports are Berlin Tegel, Berlin Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne-Bonn, Leipzig/Halle and in the future Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.

nerg

The largest wind farm and solar power capacity in the world is installed in Germany., The Economist. Retrieved 2008-11-29.

Germany is the world"s fifth largest consumer of energy, and two-thirds of its primary energy was imported in 2002. In the same year, Germany was Europe"s largest consumer of electricity, totaling 512.9 terawatt-hours. Government policy promotes energy conservation and the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy. As a result of energy-saving measures, energy efficiency has been improving since the beginning of the 1970s. The government has set the goal of meeting half the country"s energy demands from renewable sources by 2050.

In 2000, the government and the German nuclear power industry agreed to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2021., BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2007. Renewable energy still plays a more modest role in energy consumption. In 2006, energy consumption was met by the following sources: oil (36%); coal, including lignite (24%); natural gas (23%); nuclear (13%); hydro and wind power (1%); and other (4%). However, the share of renewable energy in electricity supply has been rapidly increasing, reaching 14% in 2007. The German government has set a new target to this share to 27% by 2020.

echnolog

Liquid crystal visualized by a polarizing microscope. Germany is a pioneer research center for nanotechnology and material engineering. German Embassy, New Delhi. Retrieved 2010-28-08.

Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first fully automatic digital computer.Horst, Zuse. Everyday Practical Electronics (EPE) Online. Retrieved 2007-01-02. German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Otto Lilienthal, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel, Hugo Junkers and Karl Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology. U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Retrieved 2007-01-02.

Aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun developed the first space rocket and later on was a prominent member of NASA and developed the Saturn V Moon rocket, which paved the way for the success of the US Apollo program. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz"s work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication. International Telecommunication Union. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-02.

With regard to triade patents Germany is in third place after the USA and Japan. With more than 26,500 registrations for patents submitted to the European Patent Office, Germany is the leading European nation. Siemens, Bosch and BASF, with almost 5,000 registrations for patents between them in 2008, are among the Top 5 of more than 35,000 companies registering patents. Together with the USA and Japan, with regard to patents for nano, bio and new technologies Germany is one of the world’s most active nations. With around one third of triade patents Germany leads the way worldwide in the field of vehicle emission reduction. Facts about Germany. Retrieved 2010-29-08.

cienc

Max Planck presents Albert Einstein with the Max-Planck medal in 1929
Germany"s achievements in sciences have been significant and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country"s economy. Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific fields. German Academic Exchange Service (2005-02-23). Retrieved 2006-12-08.

The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 103 German laureates., Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 19 November 2009. For most of the 20th century, German laureates had more awards than those of any other nation, especially in the sciences (i.e., physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine). ScienceNews web edition, 1 October 2010.National Science Nobel Prize shares 1901-2009 and . From J. Schmidhuber (2010), at

The work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born developed further.Roberts, J. M. "The New Penguin History of the World", Penguin History, 2002. Pg. 1014. ISBN 0-14-100723-0. They were preceded by physicists such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, which are called "Röntgenstrahlen" (Röntgen-rays) in German and many other languages. This accomplishment made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. History Channel from "The World Almanac and Book of Facts" 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-02. Numerous significant mathematicians were born in Germany, including Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, Bernhard Riemann, Gottfried Leibniz, Karl Weierstrass and Hermann Weyl.

Important research institutions in Germany are the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer Society. They are independently or externally connected to the university system and contribute to a considerable extent to the scientific output. The prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is granted to ten scientists and academics every year. With a maximum of €2.5 million per award it is one of highest endowed research prizes in the world., DFG. Retrieved 12 March 2007.

emographic
Population density in German states (left) and communities (right)


With estimated 81.8 million inhabitants in January 2010, Germany is the most populous country in the European Union and ranks as the 15th largest country in the world in terms of population. Its population density stands at 229.4 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is 79.9 years. The fertility rate of 1.4 children per mother, or 7.9 births per 1000 inhabitants in 2009, is one of the lowest in the world. Death rates are continuously exceeding low-level birth rates.

Germany"s population pyramid in 2005

Over 99% of those of age 15 and above are estimated to be able to read and write. A growing number of inhabitants are functionally illiterate. Illiteracy rates of youngsters vary by ethnic group and parents socioeconomic class.

Germans make up 91% of the population of Germany. As of 2004, about seven million foreign citizens were registered in Germany, and 19% of the country"s residents were of foreign or partially foreign descent (including persons descending or partially descending from ethnic German repatriates), 96% of whom lived in Western Germany or Berlin. It is estimated by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany that nearly 30% of Germans aged 5 years and younger have at least one parent who was born abroad.

igratio
Population of German territories 1800–2000 and immigrant population from 1975–2000

The United Nations Population Fund lists Germany as host to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants. United Nations Population Fund. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-01. As a consequence of restrictions to Germany"s formerly rather unrestricted laws on asylum and immigration, the number of immigrants seeking asylum or claiming German ethnicity (mostly from the former Soviet Union) has been declining steadily since 2000.".

In 2009, 20% of the population had immigrant roots, the highest since records were kept since 1945. , the largest national group of people with a migrant background was from Turkey (2.5 million), followed by Italy (776,000) and Poland (687,000).

Large numbers of people with full or significant German ancestry are found in the
United States (50 million), The 1990 census gives 57.9 million, or 23.3% of the U.S. population. Brazil (5 million) Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 19 November 2009. and Canada (3 million). gives 2,742,765 total respondents stating their "ethnic origin" as partly German, with 705,600 stating "single-ancestry". About 3 million "Aussiedler"—ethnic Germans, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union—have resettled in Germany since 1987.. "Migration Information Source." February 2004

rbanizatio
Germany has a number of large cities; the most populous are: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart. The largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region (12 million), including Düsseldorf (the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia), Cologne, Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, and Bochum.




anguage

Knowledge of German in European countries

German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany. It is one of 23 official languages in the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission, along with English and French. Recognised native minority languages in Germany are Danish, Sorbian, Romany, and Frisian. They are officially protected by the ECRML. The most used immigrant languages are Turkish, Kurdish, Polish, the Balkan languages, and Russian.

Standard German is a West Germanic language and is closely related to and classified alongside English, Dutch, and the Frisian languages. To a lesser extent, it is also related to the East (extinct) and North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Significant minorities of words are derived from Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from French and most recently English (known as Denglisch). German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlauts, namely ä, ö, and ü, as well as the Eszett or "scharfes S" ("sharp s") which is written "ß".


German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German. German dialects are traditional local varieties and are traced back to the different German tribes. Many of them are not easily understandable to a speaker of standard German, since they often differ in lexicon, phonology, and syntax.

Around the world, German has approximately 100 million native speakers and also about 80 million non-native speakers. German is the main language of about 90 million people (18%) in the EU. 67% of German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language, 27% in at least two languages other than their own.

eligio

The Cologne Cathedral at the Rhine river is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to organizational reportings based on projections in 2008 about 34.1% Germans have no registered religious denomination. According to a poll by Der Spiegel magazine, 45% believe in God, and just a quarter in Jesus Christ.

Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, with around 49.4 million adherents (62.8%) in 2008 of which 24.5 million are Protestants (29.9%) belonging to the EKD and 24.9 million are Catholics (30.0%) in 2008, the remainder belong to small denominations (each (considerably ) less than 0.5% of the German population).(German), fowid. Retrieved 2010, September 09-09. The second largest religion is Islam with an estimated 3.8 to 4.3 million adherents (4.6 to 5.2%) followed by Buddhism and Judaism, both with around 200,000 adherents (0.3%). Hinduism has some 90,000 adherents (0.1%) and Sikhism 75,000 (0.1%). All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50,000 (
* – Official Germany portal (non-profit)
* (German and English)
* – Germany"s international broadcaster
*
*
* entry at "Encyclopædia Britannica"
* at "UCB Libraries GovPubs"
*

* – by the German Federal Foreign Office
* – Federal Statistical Office Germany


Category:European countries
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ace:Jeureuman
af:Duitsland
als:Deutschland
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arc:ܓܪܡܢ
roa-rup:Ghermãnia
frp:Alemagne
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bn:জার্মানি
zh-min-nan:Tek-kok
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bi:Germany
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gd:A" Ghearmailt
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got:𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌹𐍃𐌺𐌰𐌻𐌰𐌽𐌳
hak:Tet-koet
xal:Ниицәтә Немшин Орн
ko:독일
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pnt:Γερμανία
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ro:Germania
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qu:Alimanya
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sah:Германия
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sm:Siamani
sa:जर्मनी
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sco:Germany
stq:Düütsklound
sq:Gjermania
scn:Girmania
simple:Germany
ss:IJalimane
sk:Nemecko
cu:Нѣ́мьци
sl:Nemčija
szl:Mjymcy
so:Jarmal
ckb:ئاڵمانیا
srn:Doysrikondre
sr:Немачка
sh:Nemačka
su:Jérman
fi:Saksa
sv:Tyskland
tl:Alemanya
ta:செருமனி
kab:Lalman
tt:Алмания
te:జర్మనీ
tet:Alemaña
th:ประเทศเยอรมนี
ti:ጀርመን
tg:Олмон
tr:Almanya
tk:Germaniýa
udm:Германия
uk:Німеччина
ur:جرمنی
ug:گېرمانىيە
za:Dwzgoz
vec:Germania
vi:Đức
vo:Deutän
fiu-vro:S"aksamaa
wa:Almagne
zh-classical:德國
vls:Duutsland
war:Alemanya
wo:Almaañ
wuu:德国
ts:Jarimani
yi:דייטשלאנד
yo:Jẹ́mánì
zh-yue:德國
diq:Almanya
zea:Duutsland
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|pop_date = 2008-12-31|pop_urban = 3700000|pop_metro = 5000000|elevation = 34 - 115|GDP = 81.7|GDP_year = 2007|Website = / |leader_title = Governing Mayor|leader = Klaus Wowereit|leader_party = SPD|ruling_party1 = SPD|ruling_party2 = Die Linke|votes
|pop_date = 2008-12-31|pop_urban = 3700000|pop_metro = 5000000|elevation = 34 - 115|GDP = 81.7|GDP_year = 2007|Website = / |leader_title = Governing Mayor|leader = Klaus Wowereit|leader_party = SPD|ruling_party1 = SPD|ruling_party2 = Die Linke|votes
|pop_date = 2007-10-31|pop_metro = 4300000|GDP = 86.153|GDP_year = 2006|GDP_percent = 3.9|Website = |leader_title = First Mayor|leader = Ole von Beust|leader_party = CDU|ruling_party1 = CDU|ruling_party2 = Green
|pop_date = 2007-10-31|pop_metro = 4300000|GDP = 86.153|GDP_year = 2006|GDP_percent = 3.9|Website = |leader_title = First Mayor|leader = Ole von Beust|leader_party = CDU|ruling_party1 = CDU|ruling_party2 = Green
|pop_date = 2007-10-31|pop_metro = 4300000|GDP = 86.153|GDP_year = 2006|GDP_percent = 3.9|Website = |leader_title = First Mayor|leader = Ole von Beust|leader_party = CDU|ruling_party1 = CDU|ruling_party2 = Green
"Frankfurt am Main" (, ), commonly known simply as "Frankfurt", is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2008 population of 670,000. The urban area had an estimated population of 2.26 million in
 
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The number of cases reported to Cologne police following a night of mass sex assaults and thefts continued to rise sharply, with the latest official figures rising to 516 complaints from a previous 379. Cologne, Germany (dpa) - Around 40 per cent of
German detectives investigating papers and a computer found at the flat of a couple linked to a suspected bomb plot told dpa on Saturday that they have found Islamist videos stored on the drives. Wiesbaden, Germany (dpa) - The videos are of a violent
The international community should not wait for progress on the diplomatic front before providing much needed assistance to the Gaza Strip, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday as he toured the Palestinian enclave. Gaza City
Decisive action must be taken against right-wing protesters who rioted in front a shelter for asylum seekers in eastern Germany at the weekend, the country's vice chancellor said Monday. Berlin (dpa) - "The people spreading this violence must
Turkey on Friday carried out its first airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria, targeting an area near the site of deadly cross-border clashes between its army and the militants a day earlier. Istanbul (dpa) - Prime Minister
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to address the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a child, it’s easy to pick all the awesome jobs such as the president, an astronaut, or a rock star. However,
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