Facts on Germany

General informations

The Federal Republic of Germany is situated in the heart of Europe. This central location has been in existence since 3rd October 1989, after reunification. Germany is not only a link between East and West, but also between Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

Government

The president is the head of state, elected to a five-year term by the Bundesversammlung (Federal Convention). The Federal Convention consists of all members of the Bundestag (Lower House) and an equal number of members elected by the Länder (State) Parliaments.

People

The total population is around 82,329,758 million of whom around 7.36 million are non-Germans. Over 3 million expellees and refugees from Eastern Europe (mainly former Yugoslavs, Bulgarians and Romanians) have been integrated into Germany since 1989.

Language

German belongs to the Indo-German languages and within this category it is connected to Germanic languages. It is thus related to Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and Flemish, but also to English. The emergence of a common High German language (“Hochdeutsch”) is attributed to Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible.

Social Customs

Most Germans tend to play by the rules and thus appear to outsiders as very conservative. Often humour is taken seriously and sarcasm is often not appreciated. Jokes tend to be made about the system rather than being aimed at individuals.

History

With the discovery of human remains in the Neander valley (Neandertal) near Dusseldorf, scientists were able to say with certainty that humans existed in Germany as early as 100,000 years ago. These early inhabitants appear to have been nomadic hunting groups.

International Relations

Germany was among those states that adopted the Single European Currency in January 1999 and the Euro replaced the Deutschmark in 2002. Germany ratified the Treaty of Maastricht in October 1993.

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