Facts about Germany

World Facts Index > Germany > Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Flensburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Heidelberg, Kiel, Leipzig, Lubeck, Munich, Nuremberg

GermanyAs Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation, 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 of 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: 357,021 sq km
water: 7,798 sq km
land: 349,223 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 3,621 km
border countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 646 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km
2,389 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm foehn wind
lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m
Natural resources:
iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land
Natural hazards:
Environment current issues:
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
Geography - note:
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea

More Geography

Population of Germany

82,369,552 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.1% (male 5,973,437/female 5,665,971)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 27,889,936/female 26,874,858)
65 years and over: 19.4% (male 6,602,478/female 9,415,619)
Median age:
42.6 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.8 years
male: 75.81 years
female: 81.96 years
Fertility rate:
1.39 children born/woman
noun: German(s)
adjective: German
Ethnic groups:
German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)
Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Government type:
federal republic
Administrative divisions:
16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen
18 January 1871 (German Empire unification); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and later, France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; unification of West Germany and East Germany took place 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights 15 March 1991
National holiday:
Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united German people 3 October 1990
Legal system:
civil law system with indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Horst KOEHLER (since 1 July 2004)
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
elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held 23 May 2004 (next scheduled for 23 May 2009); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Assembly for a four-year term; Bundestag vote for Chancellor last held 22 November 2005 (next will follow the national elections to be held by autumn 2009).
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Federal Assembly or Bundestag (613 seats; elected by popular vote under a system combining direct and proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain representation; members serve four-year terms) and the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments are directly represented by votes; each has three to six votes depending on population and are required to vote as a block)
elections: Federal Assembly - last held 18 September 2005 (next to be held September 2009); 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.
Judicial branch:
Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat)


Germany's affluent and technologically powerful economy - the fifth largest in the world in PPP terms - showed considerable improvement in 2007 with 2.6% growth. After a long period of stagnation with an average growth rate of 0.7% between 2001-05 and chronically high unemployment, stronger growth led to a considerable fall in unemployment to about 8% near the end of 2007. Among the most important reasons for Germany's high unemployment during the past decade were macroeconomic stagnation, the declining level of investment in plant and equipment, company restructuring, flat domestic consumption, structural rigidities in the labor market, lack of competition in the service sector, and high interest rates. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion. The former government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER launched a comprehensive set of reforms of labor market and welfare-related institutions. The current government of Chancellor Angela MERKEL has initiated other reform measures, such as a gradual increase in the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 67 and measures to increase female participation in the labor market. Germany's aging population, combined with high chronic unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions, but higher government revenues from the cyclical upturn in 2006-07 and a 3% rise in the value-added tax pushed Germany's budget deficit well below the EU's 3% debt limit. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations that could help Germany meet the long-term challenges of European economic integration and globalization, although some economists continue to argue the need for change in inflexible labor and services markets. Growth may fall below 2% in 2008 as the strong euro, high oil prices, tighter credit markets, and slowing growth abroad take their toll.

$2.807 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 29.6%
services: 69.5%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
43.32 million
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 33.4%, agriculture 2.8%, services 63.8%
revenues: $1.249 trillion
expenditures: $1.362 trillion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 61.8%
hydro: 4.2%
other: 4.1%
nuclear: 29.9%
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; tourism
potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; cattle, pigs, poultry
machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs, textiles
Export partners:
France 10.1%, US 8.8%, UK 7.9%, Italy 6.9%, Netherlands 6.1%, Belgium 5.6%, Austria 5.4%, Spain 5.1%
machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, metals
Import partners:
France 8.8%, Netherlands 8.5%, US 6.5%, UK 6.3%, China 6.2%, Italy 5.8%, Belgium 5%, Austria 4.1%
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

Copyright 2004 - 2008 worldfacts.us