Germany

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Federal Republic of Germany
Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Flag
Motto: 
  • "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (German)
  • "Unity and Justice and Freedom"
Anthem: 
"Bundesadler" of the German Government
  • Coat of Arms of the German Government
Location of  Germany  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Germany  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Berlin
52°31′N 13°23′E / 52.517°N 13.383°E / 52.517; 13.383
Official languages German[1]
Ethnic groups
Demonym German
Government Federal parliamentary constitutional republic
 -  President Joachim Gauck
 -  Chancellor Angela Merkel
 -  President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert
 -  President of the Bundesrat Winfried Kretschmann
Legislature
 -  Upper house Bundesrat
 -  Lower house Bundestag
Formation
 -  Holy Roman Empire 2 February 962 
 -  Unification 18 January 1871 
 -  Federal Republic 23 May 1949 
 -  Reunification 3 October 1990 
Area
 -  Total 357,021 km2 (63rd)
137,847 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.416
Population
 -  2013 estimate 80,585,700[6] (16th)
 -  2011 census 80,219,695[7] (16th)
 -  Density 225/km2 (58th)
583/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
 -  Total $3.197 trillion[8] (5th)
 -  Per capita $39,028[8] (17th)
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
 -  Total $3.401 trillion[8] (4th)
 -  Per capita $41,513[8] (22nd)
Gini (2006) 27
low
HDI (2013) Increase 0.920[9]
very high · 5th
Currency Euro () (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code +49
Internet TLD .de [2]
a. ^  Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany and Frisian are officially recognised by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML).
b. ^  The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

The Federal Republic of Germany, also called Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland[10] or just Deutschland), is a country in Western Europe. The country's full name is sometimes shortened to the FRG (or the BRD, in German).

To the north of Germany are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the country of Denmark. To the east of Germany are the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. To the south of Germany are the countries of Austria and Switzerland. To the west of Germany are the countries of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The total area of Germany is 137,847 square miles and has warm weather most of the year. In June 2013, Germany had a population of 80.6 million[6] people. After the United States, Germany is the second most popular country for migration in the world.[11]

Before it was called Germany, it was called Germania. In the years A.D. 900 untill 1806, Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

From 1949 to 1990, Germany was made up of two countries called the Federal Republic of Germany (inf. West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (inf. East Germany). During this time, the capital city of Berlin was divided into a west and an east part. On 13 August 1961, East Germany started building the Berlin Wall between the two parts of Berlin. West Germany was one of the countries that started the European Union.[12]

History[change | change source]

Martin Luther, (1483–1546) started the Protestant Reformation.

Germany gained importance as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which was the first Reich, a word translated as empire. It was started by Charlemagne who became the first Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD, and it lasted until 1806, the time of the Napoleonic Wars.[13]

The second Reich was started with a treaty in 1871 in Versailles.[14] The biggest state in the new German Empire was Prussia. The Kings of Prussia were also "German Emperors", but they did not call themselves "Emperors of Germany". There were many other kingdoms, duchies and republics in the Empire, but not Austria. Germany stayed an empire for another 50 years.

The treaty of unification was made after Germany won the Franco-Prussian War with France in 1871. In World War I, Germany joined Austria-Hungary, and again declared war on France.[14] The war became slow in the west and was fought in trenches, holes soldiers dug in the ground to protect themselves. Many men were killed on both sides. In the east the soldiers fought battles with the Russians and the Germans won in the east after the Russians gave up. The war ended in 1918 because the Germans could not win in the west and did not want to keep sending their soldiers to die, and Germany's emperor had to give up his power.[14] Germany became more strict, and France took Alsace from Germany. After a revolution, the Second Reich ended and the democratic Weimar Republic began.

After the war, there were a lot of problems with money in Germany because of the Peace Treaty of Versailles (which made Germany pay for the costs of World War I) and the worldwide Great Depression.[15]

The Third Reich was Nazi Germany; it lasted 12 years, from 1933 to 1945.[16] It started after Adolf Hitler became the head of government. On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag (parliament) passed the Enabling Act, which let Hitler's government make decrees independently of the Reichstag and the presidency. This gave him total control of the country and the government.[17] Hitler in effect became a dictator.

Hitler wanted to unify all Germans in one state, and did this by making places where Germans lived, such as Austria and Czechoslovakia, a part of the German Republic; Hitler also wanted the land in Poland that Germany had owned before 1918. Poland refused to give it to him. The invasion of Poland started World War II on 1 September 1939. In the beginning of the war, Germany was winning. It managed to take over much of northern and western europe. However, Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and, after the Battle of Kursk, the German Eastern Front began a slow retreat until war's end. On 8 May 1945, Germany gave up after Berlin was captured, Hitler had killed himself a week earlier. Because of the war, Germany lost a lot of German land east of the Oder-Neiße line, and for 45 years, Germany was split into West Germany and East Germany.

In 1989 there was a process of reforms in East Germany, which lead to the opening of the Berlin Wall and to the end of socialist rule in Germany. This events are known as the Wende or the Friedliche Revolution (Peaceful Revolution) in Germany. After that, East Germany joined West Germany in 1990.[18] The new Germany is a part of the European Union.[19]

Politics[change | change source]

Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Reichstag Building in Berlin is the site of the German parliament.

Germany is a constitutional federal democracy.[20] Its political rules come from the 'constitution' called Basic Law (Grundgesetz), written by West Germany in 1949. It has a parliamentary system, and the parliament elects the head of government, the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler). The current Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel, is a woman who used to live in East Germany.[21]

The people of Germany vote for the parliament, called the Bundestag (Federal Assembly), every four years.[22] Government members of the 16 States of Germany (Bundesländer) work in the Bundesrat (Federal Council). The Bundesrat can help make some laws.[23]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Joachim Gauck Independent 18 March 2012
Chancellor Angela Merkel CDU 22 November 2005
Other government parties SPD, CSU

The head of state is the Bundespräsident (Federal President). This person has no real powers but can order elections for the Bundestag. The current president is Joachim Gauck (Independent).

The judiciary branch (the part of German politics that deals with courts) has a Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court). It can stop any act by the law-makers or other leaders if they feel they go against Germany's constitution.

The opposition parties are the Alliance '90/The Greens and Die Linke.

Geography[change | change source]

Topographic map

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe. It stretches from the North Sea and Baltic Sea in the north to the high mountains of the Alps in the south. The highest point is the Zugspitze on the Austrian border, at 2,962 metres (9,718 ft).[23]

Germany's northern part is very low and flat (lowest point: Neuendorf-Sachsenbande at −3.54 m or −11.6 ft). In the middle, there are low mountain ranges covered in large forests. Between these and the Alps, there is another plain created by glaciers during the ice ages.

Germany also contains parts of Europe's longest rivers, such as the Rhine (which makes up a part of Germany's western border), the Danube and the Elbe.[23]

States[change | change source]

Map of Germany

In Germany there are sixteen states (Bundesländer):

State Capital Area (km²) Population[24]
Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart 35,752 10,569,100
Bavaria Munich 70,549 12,519,600
Berlin Berlin 892 3,375,200
Brandenburg Potsdam 29,477 2,449,500
Bremen Bremen 404 654,800
Hamburg Hamburg 755 1,734,300
Hesse Wiesbaden 21,115 6,016,500
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin 23,174 1,600,300
Lower Saxony Hanover 47,618 7,779,000
North Rhine-Westphalia Düsseldorf 34,043 17,554,300
Rhineland-Palatinate Mainz 19,847 3,990,300
Saarland Saarbrücken 2,569 994,300
Saxony Dresden 18,416 4,050,200
Saxony-Anhalt Magdeburg 20,445 2,259,400
Schleswig-Holstein Kiel 15,763 2,806,500
Thuringia Erfurt 16,172 2,170,500

In these states there are 301 Kreise (districts) and 114 independent cities.

Economy[change | change source]

Germany has one of the world's largest technologically powerful economies. Bringing West and East Germany together and making their economy work is still taking a long time and costing a lot of money.[25] Germany is the largest economy in Europe.[26] In September 2011, the inflation rate in Germany was 2.5%. The unemployment rate of Germany was 5.5% as of October 2011.[27]

Germany is one of the G8 countries. The main industry area is the Ruhr area.[28]

People[change | change source]

There are at least seven million people from other countries living in Germany. Some have political asylum, some are guest workers (Gastarbeiter), and some are their families. A lot of people from poor or dangerous countries go to Germany for safety.

About 50,000 ethnic Danish people live in Schleswig-Holstein, in the north. About 60,000 Sorbs (a Slavic people) live in Germany too, in Saxony and Brandenburg. About 12,000 people in Germany speak Frisian; this language is the closest living language to English. In northern Germany, people outside towns speak Low Saxon.

Many people have come to Germany from Turkey (about 1.9 million Turks and Kurds). Other small groups of people in Germany are Croats (0.2 million), Italians (0.6 million), Greeks (0.4 million), Russians, and Poles (0.3 million). There are also some ethnic Germans who lived in the old Soviet Union (1.7 million), Poland (0.7 million), and Romania (0.3 million). These people have German passports, so they are not counted as foreigners. A lot of these people do not speak German at home.[23]

Christianity is the biggest religion; Protestants are 38% of the people (mostly in the north) and Catholics are 34% of the people (mostly in the south).[23] There are also many Muslims, while the other people (26.3%) are either not religious, or belong to smaller religious groups.[23] In the eastern regions, the former territory of the GDR (known as the DDR in German), only one fifth of the population is religious.

Germany has one of the world's highest levels of schooling, technology, and businesses. The number of young people who attend universities is now three times more than it was after the end of World War II, and the trade and technical schools of Germany are some of the best in the world. German income is, on average, $25,000 a year, making Germany a highly middle class society. A large social welfare system gives people money when they are ill, unemployed, or similarly disadvantaged. Millions of Germans travel outside of their country each year.

Religion[change | change source]

Inside the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden.

Germany's constitution says that all people can believe in any religion they want to, and that no one is allowed to discriminate against somebody because of the person's religion.

In ancient times Germany was largely pagan. Roman Catholicism was the biggest religion in Germany up to the 15th century, but a major religious change called the Reformation changed this. In 1517, Martin Luther said that the Catholic Church used religion to make money. Luther started Protestantism, which is as big as the Catholic religion in Germany today. Before World War II, about two-thirds of the German people were Protestant and one-thirds were Roman Catholic. In the north and northeast of Germany, there were a lot more Protestants than Catholics. Today, about two-thirds of German people (more than 55 million people) call themselves Christian, but most of them do not practice it. About half of them are Protestants and about half are Roman Catholics.[29] Most German Protestants are members of the Evangelical Church in Germany. The previous Pope, Benedict XVI, was born in Germany.

Before World War II, about one percent of the country's people were German Jews. Today, Germany has the fastest-growing group of Jewish people in the world. Many of them are in Berlin. Ten thousand Jews have moved to Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall; many came from countries that were in the Soviet Union. Schools teaching about the horrible things that happened when the Nazis were in power, as well as teaching against the ideas of the Nazis, has helped to make Germany very tolerant towards other people and cultures, and now many people move there from countries that may not be so tolerant.

About three million Muslims live in Germany, 3.7% of the total population.[29][30] The country also has a large atheist and agnostic population, and there are also Jain, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities. The 20th century has also seen a neopagan revival.

Culture[change | change source]

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), composer.
Blaues Pferd I (Blue Horse I, 1911 by Franz Marc (1880–1916).

Germany has a long history of poets, thinkers, artists, and so on. There are 240 supported theaters, hundreds of orchestras, thousands of museums and over 25,000 libraries in Germany. Millions of tourists visit these attractions every year.

Germany has created a high level of gender equality, disability rights, and accepts homosexuality. Gay marriage is somewhat legal in Germany. Germany was rated the second most valuable country in the world, and a global poll showed that Germany has the most positive influence on the world.

Food[change | change source]

Germany is also known for their food. Their food varies from region to region. For example, in the southern regions, such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, they share their type of food with Switzerland and Austria. Everywhere in Germany, meat is eaten as a sausage. Even though wine use is increasing, the national alcoholic drink is beer. The number of Germans who drink beer is one of the highest in the world. German restaurants are also rated the second-best, with France rated first place.

Sports[change | change source]

Signal Iduna Park is the biggest football stadium in Germany.

Football is the most popular sport in Germany. The national team has won the FIFA World Cup 4 times (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014), and appears in the finals a lot. The team also has had the most Euro titles than any other country. The top football league in Germany is Bundesliga. Also, the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) is the largest in the world. Some of the world's best Footballers came from Germany. These would include Miroslav Klose, Oliver Kahn, Gerd Müller, Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franz Beckenbauer, and so on. Plus, many tournaments have taken place in Germany. The most recent was the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. The Audi Cup takes place in Germany every year in Munich.

Germany is also known for its motor sports. The country has made companies like the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, etc. Successful German racing drivers include Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Successful tennis players have also come from Germany, including Steffi Graf and Boris Becker. More recently, Sabine Lisicki reached the Women's Singles final at Wimbledon in 2013.

Lastly, Germany is one of the best countries in the Olympic Games. Germany is the third in the list of the most Olympic Games medals in history (mixed with West and East Germany medals.)! The country finished first place in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and second in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Germany got fifth place in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "World Factbook". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  2. Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit: Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund – Ergebnisse des Mikrozensus 2010, p. 64 statistics
  3. Germans without any migrant background
  4. "Press releases - For the first time more than 16 million people with migration background in Germany". Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) - Destatis.de. 2010-07-14. https://www.destatis.de/EN/PressServices/Press/pr/2010/07/PE10_248_122.html. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  5. "Pressemitteilungen - Ein Fünftel der Bevölkerung in Deutschland hatte 2010 einen Migrationshintergrund" (in (German)). Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis) - Destatis.de. 2011-09-26. https://www.destatis.de/DE/PresseService/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2011/09/PD11_355_122.html. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Statistisches Bundesamt: Bevölkerung auf Grundlage des Zensus 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  7. Zensus 2011: Bevölkerung am 9. Mai 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Germany". International Monetary Fund. April 2013. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=59&pr.y=9&sy=2012&ey=2012&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=134&s=NGDP_R%2CNGDP%2CNGDPD%2CNGDPRPC%2CNGDPPC%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC&grp=0&a=. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  9. [url=http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2013_CH.pdf "Human Development Report 2013"]. UN. 2013. url=http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2013_CH.pdf. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  10. Grundgesetz, Preamble and Article 20 (1) Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist ein demokratischer und sozialer Bundesstaat.
  11. "Germany Top Migration Land After U.S. in New OECD Ranking". Bloomberg. 20 May 2014. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-20/immigration-boom-propels-germany-past-u-k-in-new-oecd-ranking.html. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  12. "History of the European Union". http://europa.eu/abc/history/1945-1959/1957/index_en.htm.. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  13. "The foundation of the first German emipre". http://laender-lexikon.com/fdtlhi1r.htm. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "A timeline of German — The second German empire". http://www.stefanjacob.de/Geschichte/Unterseiten/Zeittafel.php?Intern=5&PHPSESSID=b90e60702ee906731aa362b243a99d20. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  15. "A timeline of German — The Third Reich". http://www.stefanjacob.de/Geschichte/Unterseiten/Zeittafel.php?Intern=6&PHPSESSID=b90e60702ee906731aa362b243a99d20. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  16. "History of Nazi Germany". http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=22684. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  17. "Adolf Hitler by britannica.com". http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/267992/Adolf-Hitler. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  18. "This Day in History — History.com — What Happened Today in History". history.com. 2012 [last update]. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  19. "List of Countries - European Union (EU)". statcan.gc.ca. 2012 [last update]. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/standard-norme/sgc-cgt/eu-ue-eng.htm. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  20. "Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (in German, English). The German Bundestag. http://www.bundestag.de/parlament/funktion/gesetze/grundgesetz/gg_02.html. Retrieved 20 March 2012. "Artikel 20(1) Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist ein demokratischer und sozialer Bundesstaat."
  21. "Angela Merkel (chancellor of Germany) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". britannica.com. 2012 [last update]. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/711465/Angela-Merkel. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  22. "German Bundestag: Elections". bundestag.de. 2012 [last update]. http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/bundestag/elections/index.jsp. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 Hesp, Patrick; McKnight, Tom; Thom, Bruce; Wonders, William (2008). Geographica's World Reference. Random House Australia. pp. 446. ISBN 0091841194.
  24. "Bevölkerungszahlen 2011 und 2012 nach Bundesländern" (in German). Statistisches Bundesamt. August 2013. https://www.destatis.de/DE/PresseService/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2013/08/PD13_283_12411.html. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  25. Hesp, Patrick; McKnight, Tom; Thom, Bruce; Wonders, William (2008). Geographica's Worl Reference. Random House Australia. pp. 451. ISBN 0091841194.
  26. "Germany Economy | Economy Watch". economywatch.com. 2012 [last update]. http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/germany/. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  27. "Germany". state.gov. 2012 [last update]. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3997.htm. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  28. "Companies in Germany". mapsofworld.com. 2012 [last update]. http://www.mapsofworld.com/germany/german-companies.html. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "CIA Factbook: Germany". https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  30. "Ilaam.net". http://www.ilaam.net/Intl/PopStats.html. Retrieved 2009-05-18.

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