General informations about Germany

Official name: Conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
Conventional short form: Germany
Local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Local short form: Deutschland
Former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
Area: Total: 357,021 km2
Land: 349,223 km2
Water: 7,798 km2
Size: 348,672 sq km
Capital: Berlin
Population: 82,329,758 (2009 est.)
Population density: 230 inhabitants per km2
Bordering countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland
Coastline: 2,389 km, Forests and woodland cover 31% of the country
Climate: temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm, tropical foehn wind; high relative humidity
Lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster (-3.54 m)
Highest point: Zugspitze (2,963 m)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.7%
15-64 years: 66.1%
65 and over: 20.3% (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 - 76.26 for males - 82.42 for females
Language: German
Ethnic groups: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Serbo-Croatian, Italian, Russian, Greek, Polish, Spanish)
Religions: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
Currency: Euro (EUR) 1 euro (€) = 100 cents
Government type: federal republic
Voting Age: 18
Time difference: GMT +1
Electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz
System of measurement: Metric
States: Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig- Holstein, Thüringen
Political parties: Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Social Democratic Party (SPD), Alliance 90/Greens, Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), Left Party (Die Linke)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 51, FM 787, shortwave 4
Television broadcast stations: 373
Railways: 41,896 km of track
Highways and roads: 231,581km
Airports: 550
Heliports: 25
Roadways: 644,480 kilometers (12,400 km autobahns) - includes local roads


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. The Federal Republic is an integral part of the European Union and NATO.

Germany covers an area of approximately 356,910 km². The longest distance from north to south as the crow flies is 876 km, from west to east 640 km. To the west, its neighbours are the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France; to the south are Switzerland and Austria, and the Czech Republic and Poland are in the east. Denmark lies to the north, between coastlines with the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

Germany has an extraordinary variety of landscapes. Low and high mountain ranges, plains, terrace country, hilly regions and lakeland, as well as wide open lowlands. Physically the terrain of Germany rises from the coastal belt and North German plain, to the hill and valley region of the Central Plateau. Most of the eastern part of Germany is relatively flat and dotted with numerous small lakes.

In the southwest are mountain ridges, and the wooded hills of Thuringia. The Alps dominate the southeast of the country. In the Bavarian Alps, which run along the Austrian border, is the country’s highest mountain, the “Zugspitze”, which is 3,000 m high. In the southeast, the land rises to the “Erzgebirge” range on the border with the Czech Republic.

The River Rhine forms part of the border with Switzerland and France before flowing through Germany and into the Netherlands. The Rhine and its tributaries form the country’s most important network of waterways. The River Elbe, where the city of Hamburg is to be found, is in the north.

Germany has a population of about 81.5 million, the largest within all the countries in/bordering Europe after Russia.


In the west, the climate is a mixture of continental and oceanic. The north is exposed to the Arctic influence, and consequently has cold winters and cool summers. Sharp changes of temperature are rare.

Conditions become progressively more continental towards the south and east; winters are cold with temperatures possibly as low as -9°C (34°F) in the lowland areas and 2,9°C (27°F) in mountain areas in January, and the summers are longer and generally sunnier than in the maritime countries of northern Europe. July is the warmest month of the year. The high altitude of much of the region keeps the temperature below the average 17,1°C (63°F) found in the valleys of the Rhine and its tributaries and 22°C (72°F) in the southern valleys. Most of the rain falls in summer, with the highest average in the highlands to the west of the country.

The eastern part of Germany lies in a zone between the oceanic climate of Western Europe and the continental climate of Eastern Europe.

Summers are warm and temperatures between May and September can rise to 33°C (91°F); winters are cold with temperatures falling to -16°C (3°F).

Exceptions are the Upper Rhine trough (Oberes Rheintal) with its extremely mild climate and Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern) with its regularly occurring warm Alpine Winds (Föhn) from the south. Freiburg im Breisgau, a city in the very south is said to be the hottest part of Germany i.e. the town with the most sunny days during the year.

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