Europe :: Germany

Introduction ::Germany

    As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.

Geography ::Germany

    Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
    51 00 N, 9 00 E
    total: 357,022 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 63
    land: 348,672 sq km
    water: 8,350 sq km
    slightly smaller than Montana
    total: 3,790 km
    border countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 815 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km
    2,389 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
    lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
    lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
    highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m
    coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
    arable land: 33.25%
    permanent crops: 0.56%
    other: 66.19% (2011)
    5,157 sq km (2006)
    154 cu km (2011)
    total: 32.3 cu km/yr (16%/84%/0%)
    per capita: 391.4 cu m/yr (2007)
    emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
    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 Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea

People and Society ::Germany

Government ::Germany

    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
    federal republic
    name: Berlin
    geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen (Hesse), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat)
    18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
    Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
    23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united Germany 3 October 1990
    civil law system
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Joachim GAUCK (since 23 March 2012)
    head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
    cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 19 February 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Parliament for a four-year term; Federal Parliament vote for Chancellor last held after 27 September 2009 (next to be held 22 September 2013)
    election results: Joachim GAUCK elected president; received 991 votes of the Federal Convention against 126 for Beate KLARSFELD and 3 for Olaf ROSE; Angela MERKEL reelected chancellor; vote by Federal Parliament 323 to 285 with four abstentions
    bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each has three to six votes in proportion to population and is required to vote as a block) and the Federal Parliament or Bundestag (622 seats; members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition)
    elections: Bundestag - last held on 27 September 2009 (next to be held no later than autumn 2013); most all postwar German governments have been coalitions; note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
    election results: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 33.8%, SPD 23%, FDP 14.6%, Left 11.9%, Greens 10.7%, other 6%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 239, SPD 146, FDP 93, Left 76, Greens 68
    highest court(s): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges - one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
    subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts
    Alliance '90/Greens [Claudia ROTH and Cem OEZDEMIR]
    Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]
    Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]
    Free Democratic Party or FDP [Philipp ROESLER]
    Left Party or Die Linke [Katia KIPPING and Bernd RIEXINGER]
    Social Democratic Party or SPD [Sigmar GABRIEL]
    business associations and employers' organizations
    trade unions; religious, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
    ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Peter AMMON
    chancery: 2300 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
    telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
    FAX: [1] (202) 298-4261
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
    chief of mission: Ambassador Philip D. MURPHY
    embassy: Clayallee 170, 14191 Berlin
    mailing address: Unit 5090, Box 1000, DPO AE09265
    telephone: [49] (30) 48305-0
    FAX: [49] (30) 8305-1215
    consulate(s) general: Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
    three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold; these colors have played an important role in German history and can be traced back to the medieval banner of the Holy Roman Emperor - a black eagle with red claws and beak on a gold field
    golden eagle
    name: "Das Lied der Deutschen" (Song of the Germans)

    lyrics/music: August Heinrich HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN/Franz Joseph HAYDN
    note: adopted 1922; the anthem, also known as "Deutschlandlied" (Song of Germany), was originally adopted for its connection to the March 1848 liberal revolution; following appropriation by the Nazis of the first verse, specifically the phrase, "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" (Germany, Germany above all) to promote nationalism, it was banned after 1945; in 1952, its third verse was adopted by West Germany as its national anthem; in 1990, it became the national anthem for the reunited Germany

Economy ::Germany

    The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms. Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, contributed to strong growth in 2006 and 2007 and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the 2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II - and its decrease to 6.5% in 2012. GDP contracted 5.1% in 2009 but grew by 4.2% in 2010, and 3.0% in 2011, before dipping to 0.7% in 2012 - a reflection of low investment spending due to crisis-induced uncertainty and the decreased demand for German exports from recession-stricken periphery countries. Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term increased Germany's total budget deficit - including federal, state, and municipal - to 4.1% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduced the deficit to 0.8% in 2011. In 2012 Germany reached a budget surplus of 0.1%. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016 though the target was already reached in 2012. By 2014, the federal government wants to balance its budget. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in May 2011 that eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022. Germany hopes to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production.
    $3.25 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $3.222 trillion (2011 est.)
    $3.125 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $3.401 trillion (2012 est.)
    0.7% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    3.1% (2011 est.)
    4% (2010 est.)
    $39,700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    $39,400 (2011 est.)
    $38,200 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    24.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    24.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    23.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 57.5%
    government consumption: 19.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 17.6%
    investment in inventories: -0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 51.5%
    imports of goods and services: -45.8%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 28%
    services: 71.2%
    (2012 est.)
    potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; cattle, pigs, poultry
    among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles
    -0.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    43.93 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    agriculture: 1.6%
    industry: 24.6%
    services: 73.8%
    5.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    7.1% (2011 est.)
    15.5% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.6%
    highest 10%: 24% (2000)
    27 (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    30 (1994)
    revenues: $1.535 trillion
    expenditures: $1.53 trillion (2012 est.)
    45.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    0.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    81.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    80.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds; the series are presented as a percentage of GDP and in millions of euro; GDP used as a denominator is the gross domestic product at current market prices; data expressed in national currency are converted into euro using end-of-year exchange rates provided by the European Central Bank
    calendar year
    2.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    2.5% (2011 est.)
    1.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    1.75% (31 December 2010)
    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
    3.07% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    3.94% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.025 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $1.777 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $4.281 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $4.197 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.277 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $4.188 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.184 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    $1.43 trillion (31 December 2010)
    $1.298 trillion (31 December 2009)
    $208.1 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    $204.3 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.46 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $1.516 trillion (2011 est.)
    motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products
    France 10.2%, UK 7%, Netherlands 6.9%, US 6.3%, Austria 5.6%, Italy 5.4%, China 5.1%, Switzerland 4.7%, Belgium 4.3%, Poland 4.1% (2012)
    $1.222 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $1.295 trillion (2011 est.)
    machinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products
    Netherlands 14%, France 7.5%, China 6.7%, Belgium 6.4%, Italy 5.5%, UK 4.9%, Austria 4.4%, Russia 4.4%, Czech Republic 4.1% (2012)
    $248.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    $238.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.719 trillion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $5.338 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $1.307 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $1.222 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.79 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    $1.651 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7778 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
    0.7198 (2009 est.)
    0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::Germany

Communications ::Germany

    51.8 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    108.7 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    general assessment: Germany has one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country, dating back to World War II, has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part
    domestic: Germany is served by an extensive system of automatic telephone exchanges connected by modern networks of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system; cellular telephone service is widely available, expanding rapidly, and includes roaming service to many foreign countries
    international: country code - 49; Germany's international service is excellent worldwide, consisting of extensive land and undersea cable facilities as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (2011)
    a mixture of publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; national and regional public broadcasters compete with nearly 400 privately owned national and regional TV stations; more than 90% of households have cable or satellite TV; hundreds of radio stations including multiple national radio networks, regional radio networks, and a large number of local radio stations (2008)
    20.043 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    65.125 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 5

Transportation ::Germany

    539 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    total: 318
    over 3,047 m: 14
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 49
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
    914 to 1,523 m: 70
    under 914 m: 125 (2013)
    total: 221
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 35
    under 914 m:
    185 (2013)
    23 (2013)
    condensate 37 km; gas 26,985 km; oil 2,826 km; refined products 4,479 km; water 8 km (2013)
    total: 41,981 km
    country comparison to the world: 6
    standard gauge: 41,722 km 1.435-m gauge (20,053 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 220 km 1.000-m gauge (75 km electrified); 39 km 0.750-m gauge (24 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 645,000 km
    country comparison to the world: 11
    paved: 645,000 km (includes 12,800 km of expressways)
    note: includes local roads (2010)
    7,467 km (Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    total: 427
    country comparison to the world: 24
    by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 6, cargo 51, carrier 1, chemical tanker 15, container 298, liquefied gas 6, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 24, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 6, vehicle carrier 1
    foreign-owned: 6 (Finland 3, Netherlands 1, Switzerland 2)
    registered in other countries: 3,420 (Antigua and Barbuda 1094, Australia 2, Bahamas 30, Bermuda 14, Brazil 6, Bulgaria 12, Burma 1, Cayman Islands 3, Cook Islands 1, Curacao 25, Cyprus 192, Denmark 9, Dominica 5, Estonia 1, France 1, Gibraltar 123, Hong Kong 10, Isle of Man 56, Jamaica 10, Liberia 1185, Luxembourg 9, Malta 135, Marshall Islands 248, Morocco 1, Netherlands 86, NZ 2, Panama 24, Papua New Guinea 1, Philippines 2, Portugal 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 32, Slovakia 3, Spain 4, Sri Lanka 8, Sweden 3, UK 59, US 5, Venezuela 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Baltic Sea - Rostock; North Sea - Wilhemshaven
    river port(s): Bremen (Weser); Bremerhaven (Geeste); Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Neuss-Dusseldorf (Rhine); Brunsbuttel, Hamburg (Elbe); Lubeck (Wakenitz)
    oil/gas terminal(s): Brunsbuttel Canal terminals
    container port(s): Bremen/Bremerhaven (5,915,487), Hamburg (9,014,165)(2011)

Military ::Germany

Transnational Issues ::Germany

    refugees (country of origin): 113,809 (Serbia); 90,773 (Turkey); 49,829 (Iraq); 40,204 (Russia); 31,746 (Afghanistan); 23,799 (Vietnam); 23,460 (Bosnia and Herzegovina); 21,629 (Iran); 20,059 (Ukraine); 18,165 (Syria); 11,819 (Lebanon); 11,672 (Sri Lanka); 6,575 (Azerbaijan); 6,175 (Macedonia); 5,206 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2012)
    stateless persons: 5,683 (2012)
    source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center