Where is Germany located?

What countries border Germany?

Germany Weather

What is the current weather in Germany?


Germany Facts and Culture

What is Germany famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: The continental style of eating is used. Hands are kept above the table with wrists resting on the edge. Potatoes... More
  • Family: The father is generally the head of the family. Both parents often work, more so in the east than in... More
  • Fashion: Clothing styles are similar to those in United States, but with a distinctively European flavor. Traditional regional costumes are often... More
  • Visiting: Punctuality is appreciated, if guests are invited for dinner at 8 p.m., they will arrive at 8 p.m, but it... More
  • Recreation: Germany is a world leader in tennis, track and field, cycling and Formula One auto racing. Germany has many excellent... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Germans have a strong sense of regional pride, a fact that the federal system of government recognizes and accommodates. Most... More
  • Dating: Boys and girls socialize with each other on a casual rather than a formal basis. Young people usually marry in... More
  • Diet: While regional dishes vary among Germans, potatoes, noodles, dumplings, sauces, cakes, and pastries are common. Every region has its own... More

Germany Facts

What is the capital of Germany?

Capital Berlin
Government Type federal parliamentary republic
Currency Euro (EUR)
Total Area 137,846 Square Miles
357,022 Square Kilometers
Location Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Language German
GDP - real growth rate 1.5%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $47,400.00 (USD)

Germany Demographics

What is the population of Germany?

Ethnic Groups German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)
Languages However, the German taught in school and used in the media is often not the German spoken daily. Various dialects have a strong influence in most areas. English is widely understood and many Germans from the former East Germany speak Russian.
Nationality Adjective German
Nationality Noun German(s)
Population 80,159,662
Population Growth Rate -0.19%
Population in Major Urban Areas BERLIN (capital) 3.462 million; Hamburg 1.796 million; Munich 1.364 million; Cologne 1.006 million
Predominant Language German
Urban Population 73.9%

Germany Government

What type of government does Germany have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (since 19 March 2017) head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005) cabinet: Cabinet... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; age 16 for some state and municipal elections More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a German citizen or a resident alien... More
  • National Holiday: German Unity Day, 3 October (1990) More
  • Constitution: history: previous 1919 (Weimar Constitution); latest drafted 10 to 23 August 1948, approved 12 May 1949, promulgated 23 May 1949,... More
  • Independence: 18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in... More

Germany Geography

What environmental issues does Germany have?

  • Overview: Unified Germany comprises 16 states (Länder in the plural; singular: Land), of which three (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg) are city-states.... More
  • Climate: Germany is in the Temperate Zone and enjoys frequent weather changes, sometimes daily. The country has four distinct seasons... More
  • Border Countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 815 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands... More
  • Environment - Current Issues: emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests;... More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic... More
  • Terrain: lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south More

Germany Economy

How big is the Germany economy?

  • Economic Overview: The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a... More
  • Industries: among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics,... More
  • Currency Name and Code: Euro (EUR) More

Germany News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Germany?
Source: Google News

Interesting Germany Facts

What unique things can you discover about Germany?

  • The Christmas tree tradition is believed to have originated in Germany in the 17th century. German Christmas trees are often decorated with real candles.
  • Nearly half of all Germans are fluent in English, but only 3% of Germans speak French fluently.
  • The Hanseatic League was established in northern Germany in the 14th century by trading companies (hansas) to combat piracy in the North and Baltic Seas. Bremen, Hamburg and L'beck are still known as Hanseatic cities.
  • Johannes Gutenberg invented the art of printing with movable metal type, a new method that would make it possible for books to be printed quickly and in quantity. In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible became the first great book printed in Western Europe.

    Though this pivotal event occurred in a small German town called Mainze (Gutenberg's birthplace), this invention would give common people all over the world access to knowledge that was never before available.
  • German race car driver, Michael Schumacher, won the world championship seven times. Driving for Ferrari, Schumacher won five straight titles between 2000 and 2004, reviving interest in Formula One racing.
  • In 1632, the villagers of Oberammergau in Bavaria promised to perform a Passion Play if the village was spared from the plague that was killing many Europeans. No one in the village died from the plague and the villagers have performed the play every ten years since then. Almost everyone in the village takes part.
  • Till Eulenspiegel was a 14th century peasant who was famous for his wit and irreverence. He loved to play practical jokes on pompous people in authority. His story was written down in the 16th century and became the inspiration for an orchestral work by Richard Strauss and a poem by Gerhardt Hauptmann.
  • German beer gardens date back to the Middle Ages, when brewers planted chestnut trees around their storage areas to shade the beer from the sun.
  • In Germany, a member of the birthday person's family wakes up at sunrise and lights the candles on the birthday cake. There are as many candles as the years of age of the birthday person plus one for good luck. The candles are left burning all day long.

    After dinner that night, everyone sings the birthday song and the birthday person blows out the candles. If all of the candles are blown out in one try then the wish of the birthday person will come true. Presents are then opened and the party starts.
  • If a German man reaches the age of 30 without a girlfriend, tradition requires that he sweep the stairs of their local city hall. Friends spend the day adding rubble to the steps and poking fun. The birthday boy is stuck there until he can get a kiss from a young lady passing by.
  • King Ludwig ruled over the German region of Bavaria from 1864 to 1886. He had many beautiful fairy-tale castles built throughout Bavaria during his reign. He spent huge amounts of money to build them and it was because of this that his subjects called him “Mad” King Ludwig. Today, these castles are visited by millions of tourists.
  • Chimney sweeps can still be seen in Germany, dressed in the traditional black suit and black top hat.
  • Most Germans take environmental issues seriously. Public recycling bins can be found in all towns and cities. This attitude is also reflected in the policies of the Green Party, a political party that stresses environmental issues.
  • Germans have played an important role in the world of fashion and design, not only because of designers such as Hugo Boss, Karl Lagerfeld, Wolfgang Joop and Jil Sander, but also because of the work of photographer Helmut Newton and model Claudia Schiffer.
  • The Romans were the first to enjoy Germany's hot springs. They built baths which people used to cure arthritis and rheumatism. These baths are still used today in towns such as Trier and Baden-Baden.
  • Germans value punctuality. In Germany, if guests are invited for dinner at 8 p.m., they will arrive at 8 p.m., whereas in Canada it is considered polite to arrive a few minutes after the hour.
  • Germans wear their wedding rings on their right hands, not on the left.

Watch video on Germany

What can you learn about Germany in this video?

Germany - Culture, Traditions, People YouTube: Alumniportal Deutschland

Germany Travel Information

What makes Germany a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Germany is a modern and stable democracy. Tourist facilities are highly developed. In larger towns, many people can communicate in English.

Crime

Violent crime is rare in Germany, but can occur, especially in larger cities or high-risk areas such as on large metropolitan subway systems and in train stations, primarily during late night or early morning hours. There have been several reports of aggravated assault against U.S. citizens in higher-risk urban areas. However, most incidents of street crime involve the theft of unattended items and pick pocketing. Take the same precautions that you would in any large city.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but by purchasing them you could also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While traveling in Germany, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. While you are overseas, U.S. laws do not apply, and if you do something illegal in your host country, your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not, as criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are also some things that may be legal where you are traveling, but illegal in the United States; for example, if you engage in sexual conduct with children or use or disseminate child pornography in a foreign country, you can be prosecuted in the United States.

The Embassy has learned of some incidents of German lawyers, working on behalf of media companies, aggressively identifying individuals who are illegally downloading copyrighted content and then billing those people 1000 Euros or more per incident. If these cases are brought to court, German courts will likely rule in favor of the companies. You are strongly advised not to download media content except from reputable legal sites.

Arrest Notifications in Germany: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country that is not the case in Germany. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained.

Languages

However, the German taught in school and used in the media is often not the German spoken daily. Various dialects have a strong influence in most areas. English is widely understood and many Germans from the former East Germany speak Russian.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Germany has good medical care and facilities. If you are not a resident of Germany, doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash. Most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.

Due to Germany's strict customs regulations, generally you are not allowed to receive prescription medication by mail without special permission. During your trip, you should only carry the amount you plan to use.

Safety and Security

German authorities are vigilant in combating terrorism and other threats to security. Authorities have uncovered and disrupted several extremist plots including some targeting U.S. interests. The most recent deadly attack occurred in March 2011, when two U.S. Airmen were killed and two others wounded when a lone Islamic extremist opened fire on them at the Frankfurt International Airport. Like other countries in the Schengen area, Germany's open borders with its European neighbors limit its ability to track suspect individuals entering and exiting the country with anonymity.

Germany's robust democracy is often expressed in large, public demonstrations on a variety of political and economic issues. Such demonstrations are common on politically significant holidays, such as German Labor Day on May 1, and during international summits hosted in Germany. In order to stage a demonstration, groups must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants and passersby. Nonetheless, these demonstrations can attract counter-demonstrations and have the potential to turn violent. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations and check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.

U.S. citizens should exercise caution when congregating in areas known as expatriate hangouts such as restaurants, bars, and discos frequented by high numbers of resident U.S. citizens and/or U.S. citizen tourists. In addition, hooligans, most often drunken "skinheads," have been known to harass or even attack people whom they believe to be foreigners or members of rival groups. On occasion, German police reported assaults which appeared to have been motivated by racial reasons, and U.S. citizens have reported that they were assaulted for racial reasons or because they appeared "foreign."

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

In Germany, road conditions can be significantly different from those in the United States. If you hold a valid U.S. driver's license, you can drive in Germany for up to six months without acquiring a German driver's license. Drivers should be aware that traffic signs in Germany differ from those in the United States, and it is important to be familiar with road signage prior to driving. Basic information about road signs in Germany is available here.

German road conditions in general are excellent, although you should exercise caution while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany. Contrary to popular belief, there are posted speed limits on large stretches of the highway, or Autobahn, mostly when traveling through urban areas or when the road has many curves. The high speed permitted on the Autobahn, adverse weather conditions, and unfamiliar road markings can pose significant hazards. Driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving U.S. citizen motorists in Germany.

Bicycles are another cause of mishaps. Many German streets and sidewalks have dedicated bike lanes. Whether you are driving or walking, be aware that bicycles have priority use of these lanes. If you are walking, watch for bicyclists before crossing or stepping into bike lanes. Bicyclists also have priority over cars when turning onto side streets. If you are driving, check whether a bicyclist is approaching from either direction before attempting to enter side streets, even when the light is in your favor. If you are turning into a side street and hit a bicyclist using a marked bike lane, you will be held responsible for any injury or damage caused.

Driver right-of-way rules are different from the United States. Unless you are traveling on a priority road, vehicles coming from the right have the right-of-way. It is generally illegal in Germany to pass vehicles on the right.

The threshold for determining whether a person has been driving under the influence of alcohol is lower than in the United States. Under German law it is illegal to operate a vehicle if the blood level is 0.5 per mill or higher. The law imposes a penalty and the withdrawal of the driver's license for specified periods of time depending upon the gravity of each violation.

It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in Germany.

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