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Federal Republic of Germany
Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German)
Flag Coat of arms
Third stanza of
Das Lied der Deutschen
(also called "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit")
Location of  Germany  (dark green)

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

(and largest city)
52°31′N 13°23′E / 52.517°N 13.383°E / 52.517; 13.383
Official language(s) German[2]
Ethnic groups  91.5% German, 2.4% Turkish, 6.1% other[1]
Demonym German
Government Federal Parliamentary republic
 -  President Horst Köhler (CDU)
 -  Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU)
 -  Holy Roman Empire 2 February 962 
 -  Unification 18 January 1871 
 -  Federal Republic 23 May 1949 
 -  Reunification 3 October 1990 
EU accession 25 March 1957
 -  Total 357,021 km2 (63rd)
137,847 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.416
 -  Jan. 1, 2010 estimate 81,757,600[2] (14th)
 -  Density 229/km2 (36th)
593/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $2.918 trillion[3] (5th)
 -  Per capita $35,539[3] (21st)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $3.673 trillion[3] (4th)
 -  Per capita $44,728[3] (19th)
Gini (2000) 28.3 (low
HDI (2007) 0.947[4] (very high) (22nd)
Currency Euro ()[3] (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .de [4]
Calling code 49
1 ^ Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany and Frisian are officially recognised and protected by the ECRML.
2 ^ Before 2002: Deutsche Mark (DEM).
3 ^ Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Germany (pronounced /ˈdʒɜrməni/ ( listen)), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, pronounced [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant]  ( listen)),[5] is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The territory of Germany covers 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 sq mi) and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants in January 2010,[2] it has the largest population among member states of the European Union, and it is also home to the third-largest number of international migrants worldwide.[6]

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, has been known and documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. During the 16th century, northern Germany became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In 1949, after World War II, Germany was divided into two separate states—East Germany and West Germany—along the lines of Allied occupation.[7] Germany was reunified in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the European Community (EC) in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen zone and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.

Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states (Länder). The capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, G8, G20, OECD, and the WTO. It is a major power with the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power parity. It is the second largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the second biggest annual budget of development aid in the world,[8] while its military expenditure ranked sixth.[9] The country has developed a high standard of living and established a comprehensive system of social security. It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a multitude of close partnerships on a global level.[10] Germany is recognised as a scientific and technological leader in several fields.[11]



The English word "Germany" derives from the Latin word Germania. The name "Germania" came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it from a Gallic term for the peoples east of the Rhine that probably meant "neighbour".[12][13]

Germanic tribes

Expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1.

The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is assumed to have occurred during the Nordic Bronze Age, or at the latest, during the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began expanding south, east and west in the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe. Little is known about early Germanic history, except through their recorded interactions with the Roman Empire, etymological research and archaeological finds.[14]

Under Augustus, the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (a term used by the Romans to define a territory running roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains), and it was in this period that the Germanic tribes became familiar with Roman tactics of warfare while maintaining their tribal identity. In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Modern Germany, as far as the Rhine and the Danube, thus remained outside the Roman Empire. By AD 100, the time of Tacitus' Germania, Germanic tribes settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus) , occupying most of the area of modern Germany; Austria, southern Bavaria and the western Rhineland, however, were Roman provinces. The 3rd century saw the emergence of a number of large West Germanic tribes: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, and Thuringii. Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke through the Limes and the Danube frontier into Roman-controlled lands.[15]

Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)

The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire (Created around AD 1000).

On 25 December 800, Charlemagne founded the Carolingian Empire, which was divided in 843. The medieval empire resulted from the eastern portion of this division and existed in varying forms from 962 until 1806. Its territory stretched from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. Often referred to as the Holy Roman Empire (or the Old Empire), it was officially called the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ (Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) starting in 1448, to adjust the title to its then reduced territory.

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

Under the reign of the Ottonian emperors (919–1024), the duchies of Lorraine, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Thuringia, and Bavaria were consolidated, and the German king was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. Under the reign of the Salian emperors (1024–1125), the Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy, although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy. Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), the German princes increased their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs, preceding German settlement in these areas and further east (Ostsiedlung). Northern German towns grew prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League. Starting with the Great Famine in 1315, then the Black Death of 1348–50, the population of Germany plummeted.[16]

The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire that lasted until its dissolution. It codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics. Beginning in the 15th century, the emperors were elected nearly exclusively from the Habsburg dynasty of Austria.

The monk Martin Luther publicised his 95 Theses in 1517, challenging practices of the Roman Catholic Church, initiating the Protestant Reformation. A separate Lutheran church became the official religion in many German states after 1530. Religious conflict led to the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), which devastated German lands.[17] The population of the German states was reduced by about 30%.[18] The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended religious warfare among the German states, but the empire was de facto divided into numerous independent principalities. From 1740 onwards, the dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1806, the Imperium was overrun and dissolved as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.[19]

Restoration and revolution (1814–1871)

Following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Congress of Vienna convened in 1814 and founded the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund), a loose league of 39 sovereign states. Disagreement with restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, demanding unity and freedom. These, however, were followed by new measures of repression on the part of the Austrian statesman Metternich. The Zollverein, a tariff union, profoundly furthered economic unity in the German states. During this era many Germans had been stirred by the ideals of the French Revolution, and nationalism became a more significant force, especially among young intellectuals. For the first time, the colours of black, red and gold were chosen to represent the movement, which later became the national colours.[20]

In light of a series of revolutionary movements in Europe, which successfully established a republic in France, intellectuals and commoners started the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. The monarchs initially yielded to the revolutionaries' liberal demands. King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, leading to a temporary setback for the movement. Conflict between King William I of Prussia and the increasingly liberal parliament erupted over military reforms in 1862, and the king appointed Otto von Bismarck the new Prime Minister of Prussia. Bismarck successfully waged war on Denmark in 1864. Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled him to create the North German Federation (Norddeutscher Bund) and to exclude Austria, formerly the leading German state, from the affairs of the remaining German states.

German Empire (1871–1918)

Foundation of modern Germany in Versailles, France, 1871. Bismarck is at the centre in a white uniform.

The state known as Germany was unified as a modern nation-state in 1871, when the German Empire was forged, with the Kingdom of Prussia as its largest constituent. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was proclaimed in Versailles on 18 January 1871. The Hohenzollern dynasty of Prussia ruled the new empire, whose capital was Berlin. The empire was a unification of all the scattered parts of Germany except Austria (Kleindeutschland, or "Lesser Germany"). But internally the official political unification came rather sequentially: Germany had no national flag until 1892 and no national hymn until after WW I. Beginning in 1884, Germany began establishing several colonies outside of Europe.

In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Emperor William I's foreign policy secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war. Under William II, however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries. Most alliances in which Germany had been previously involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country. Specifically, France established new relationships by signing the Entente Cordiale with the United Kingdom and securing ties with the Russian Empire. Aside from its contacts with Austria-Hungary, Germany became increasingly isolated.

Imperial Germany (1871–1918), with the dominant Kingdom of Prussia in blue.

Germany's imperialism reached outside of its own country and joined many other powers in Europe in claiming their share of Africa. The Berlin Conference divided Africa between the European powers. Germany owned several pieces of land in Africa including German East Africa, South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon. The Scramble for Africa caused tension between the great powers that may have contributed to the conditions that led to World War I.

The assassination of Austria's crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I. Germany, as part of the unsuccessful Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allied Powers in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. An estimated two million German soldiers died in World War I.[21] The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor William II and all German ruling princes abdicated. An armistice putting an end to the war was signed on 11 November and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Its negotiation, contrary to traditional post-war diplomacy, excluded the defeated Central Powers. The treaty was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war by other means and its harshness is often cited as having facilitated the later rise of Nazism in the country.[22]

Weimar Republic (1919–1933)

Billboard advertising Die Dreigroschenoper by Bertolt Brecht. The Weimar era was dominated by political unrest.

At the beginning of the German Revolution, Germany was declared a republic and the monarchy collapsed. However, the struggle for power continued, with radical-left communists seizing power in Bavaria, but failing to take control of all of Germany. The revolution came to an end in August 1919, when the Weimar Republic was formally established. The Weimar Constitution came into effect with its signing by President Friedrich Ebert on 11 August 1919.

Suffering from the Great Depression, the harsh peace conditions dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, and a long succession of more or less unstable governments, the people of Germany increasingly lacked identification with their political system and the "Establishment Parties" in their parliamentary democracy. This was exacerbated by a widespread right-wing (monarchist, völkisch, and Nazi) Dolchstoßlegende, which promoted the view that Germany had lost World War I because of the efforts and influence of those who wanted to overthrow the government. The top brass of the Weimar government was accused of betraying the German Nation by signing the Versailles Treaty, while the radical left-wing communists, such as the Spartacist League, had wanted a revolution to abolish "capitalist rule" in favour of a Räterepublik, and were also targeted.

Nevertheless, discontentment with the new Weimar government helped fuel the growth of the German Communist Party. Many conservatives were drawn towards the reactionary/revolutionary right, particularly the National Socialist German Workers Party—the Nazi Party. By 1932, these two parties controlled the majority of parliament (296 total parliamentary seats by July 1932). After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, President Paul von Hindenburg made a crucial decision: on 30 January 1933, seeing little alternative and pushed by right-wing advisors, von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany, honoring Hitler's request.

Third Reich (1933–1945)

Adolf Hitler, chancellor of the Großdeutsches Reich.

On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building went up in flames, and a consequent emergency decree abrogated basic citizen rights. An Enabling Act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party voted against it, while Communist MPs had already been imprisoned.[23] Using his powers to crush any actual or potential resistance, Hitler established a centralised totalitarian state within months. Industry was revitalised with a focus on military rearmament.[24] In 1935, Germany reacquired control of the Saar and in 1936 military control of the Rhineland, both of which had been lost by the Treaty of Versailles.

Leading to World War II and roughly in parallel with military rearmament, German foreign policy became more aggressive and expansionistic. In 1938 and 1939, Austria and Czechoslovakia were brought under control and the invasion of Poland prepared (Hitler-Stalin pact, Operation Himmler). On 1 September 1939, the German Wehrmacht launched a blitzkrieg on Poland, which was swiftly occupied by Germany and by the Soviet Red Army. The UK and France declared war on Germany marking the beginning of World War II in Europe. As the war progressed, Germany and its allies quickly gained control of much of continental Europe.

Berlin in ruins after World War II, Potsdamer Platz 1945.

On 22 June 1941, Germany broke the Hitler-Stalin pact and invaded the Soviet Union. The same year, Japan attacked the American base at Pearl Harbor, and Germany declared war on the United States as a consequence of its alliance with Japan. Although the German army advanced into the Soviet Union quite rapidly, the Battle of Stalingrad marked a major turning point in the war. Subsequently, the German army started to retreat on the Eastern front. In September 1943, Germany's ally Italy surrendered, and German forces were forced to defend an additional front in Italy. D-Day marked another major turning point in the war, opening up a Western front; the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and made advances towards German territory. Germany's defeat soon followed. On 8 May 1945, the German armed forces surrendered after the Red Army occupied Berlin. Approximately seven million German soldiers and civilians—including ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe—died during World War II.[25]

In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Third Reich regime enacted governmental policies directly subjugating many dissidents and minorities. About seventeen million people were murdered during the Holocaust, including six million Jews and a sizable number of Gypsies, Poles and other Slavs, including Soviet POWs, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and members of the political opposition.[26] World War II and the Nazi genocide were responsible for more than 40 million dead in Europe.[27] The Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals were held after World War II.[28]

Division and reunification (1945–1990)

1947, Occupation zones of Germany, in its 1919 borders, with territories east of the Oder-Neisse line given to Poland or annexed by Soviets, plus the Saar protectorate and divided Berlin. East Germany was formed by the Soviet Zone, while West Germany was formed by the American, British and French zones in 1949 and the Saar in 1957.

The war resulted in the death of nearly ten million German soldiers and civilians;[citation needed] large territorial losses; the expulsion of about 15 million Germans from the eastern areas of Germany and other countries; rape of up to two million German women; and the destruction of multiple major cities. The remaining national territory and Berlin were partitioned by the Allies into four military occupation zones.

The western sectors, controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were merged on 23 May 1949, to form the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland); on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone became the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or DDR). They were, mainly outside Germany, informally known as "West Germany" and "East Germany" (in West Germany, East Germany referred to the areas east of the GDR, while the GDR was often referred to as Middle Germany), and the two parts of Berlin as "West Berlin" and "East Berlin". East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn. However, West Germany declared the status of its capital Bonn as provisional, in order to emphasise its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial status quo that was to be overcome one day.[29]

West Germany, established as a federal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy", was allied with the United States, the UK and France. The country came to enjoy prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s (Wirtschaftswunder). West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957. On 1 January 1957, Saarland gave in its adhesion to West Germany by virtue of article 23 Grundgesetz.

The Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate shortly after the opening in 1989.

East Germany was an Eastern bloc state under political and military control by the USSR via the latter's occupation forces and the Warsaw Pact. While claiming to be a democracy, political power was solely executed by leading members (Politburo) of the communist-controlled SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany). Their power was ensured by the Stasi, a secret service of immense size, and a variety of SED suborganizations controlling every aspect of society. In return, the basic needs of the population were satisfied at low cost by the state. A Soviet-style command economy was set up; later, the GDR became a Comecon state. While East German propaganda was based on the benefits of the GDR's social programs and the alleged constant threat of a West German invasion, many of her citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity.[30] The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans from escaping to West Germany, became a symbol of the Cold War.

Tensions between East and West Germany were somewhat reduced in the early 1970s by Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, which included the de facto acceptance of Germany's territorial losses in World War II.

In the summer of 1989, Hungary decided (May 2) to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders (August 23), causing an exodus of thousands of East Germans (September 11) going to West Germany via Hungary. The effects of the Hungarian events had devastating effects on the GDR, with mass demonstrations. The East German authorities unexpectedly eased the border restrictions in November, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West. Originally intended as a pressure valve to retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process in East Germany, which finally concluded with the Two Plus Four Treaty a year later on 12 September 1990, under which the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the Instrument of Surrender, and Germany regained full sovereignty. This permitted German reunification on 3 October 1990, with the accession of the five re-established states in the former GDR (New states or "neue Länder").

In 1999 Germany adopted the single European currency, the euro with German Euro-notes bearing serial numbers starting with a capital X.

Berlin Republic and EU integration (1990–)

Based on the Bonn-Berlin Act, adopted by the parliament on 10 March 1994, Berlin once again became the capital of the reunified Germany, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a Bundesstadt (federal city) retaining some federal ministries.[31][32] The relocation of the government was completed in 1999.

Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union and NATO. Germany sent a peacekeeping force to secure stability in the Balkans and sent a force of German troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO effort to provide security in that country after the ousting of the Taliban.[33] These deployments were controversial, since after the war, Germany was bound by domestic law only to deploy troops for defence roles. Deployments to foreign territories were understood not to be covered by the defence provision; however, the parliamentary vote on the issue effectively legalised the participation in a peacekeeping context.


Topographic map

The territory of Germany covers 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi), consisting of 349,223 km2 (134,836 sq mi) of land and 7,798 km2 (3,011 sq mi) of water. It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 63rd largest in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 metres / 9,718 feet) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the north-west and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the north-east. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany (lowest point: Wilstermarsch at 3.54 metres / 11.6 feet below sea level), traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe.[1]

Germany shares borders with more European countries than any other country on the continent. Its neighbours are Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west and Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west.

State division

Germany comprises 16 states (Bundesländer), which are further subdivided into 439 districts (Kreise) and cities (kreisfreie Städte).

State Capital Area (km²) Population
Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart 35,752 10,717,000
Bavaria Munich 70,549 12,444,000
Berlin Berlin 892 3,400,000
Brandenburg Potsdam 29,477 2,568,000
Bremen Bremen 404 663,000
Hamburg Hamburg 755 1,735,000
Hesse Wiesbaden 21,115 6,098,000
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin 23,174 1,720,000
Lower Saxony Hanover 47,618 8,001,000
North Rhine-Westphalia Düsseldorf 34,043 18,075,000
Rhineland-Palatinate Mainz 19,847 4,061,000
Saarland Saarbrücken 2,569 1,056,000
Saxony Dresden 18,416 4,296,000
Saxony-Anhalt Magdeburg 20,445 2,494,000
Schleswig-Holstein Kiel 15,763 2,829,000
Thuringia Erfurt 16,172 2,355,000


Alpine scenery in Bavaria.

Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate in which humid westerly winds predominate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, which is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea including the area along the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. Consequently in the north-west and the north, the climate is oceanic; rainfall occurs year round with a maximum during summer.

Winters are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) for prolonged periods. In the east, the climate is more continental; winters can be very cold, summers can be very warm, and long dry periods are often recorded. Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental.


Deer is a widespread species to be found in the wild.

Phytogeographically, Germany is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.[34] The majority of Germany is covered by either arable land (33%) or forestry and woodland (31%). Only 15% is covered by permanent pastures.

Around one third of the country's area is covered with forests. (Thuringian Forest)

Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn.

The national parks in Germany include the Wadden Sea National Parks, the Jasmund National Park, the Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Park, the Müritz National Park, the Lower Oder Valley National Park, the Harz National Park, the Saxon Switzerland National Park and the Bavarian Forest National Park.

Germany is known for its many zoological gardens, wildlife parks, aquaria, and bird parks.[35] More than 400 registered zoos and animal parks operate in Germany, which is believed to be the largest number in any single country of the world.[36] The Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the oldest zoo in Germany and presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.[37]


The largest wind farm and solar power capacity in the world is installed in Germany.[38]

Germany is known for its environmental consciousness.[39] Most Germans consider anthropogenic causes to be a significant factor in global warming.[40] The state is committed to the Kyoto protocol and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, recycling, and the use of renewable energy, and supports sustainable development at a global level.[41]

The eagle is a protected bird of prey and the national heraldic animal.

The German government has initiated wide-ranging emission reduction activities and the country´s overall emissions are falling.[42] For example, since 1964, air pollution in Germany has been regulated by strict "TA Luft" legislation. Nevertheless Germany's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the EU, although they are significantly lower than those of Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution. Acid rain, resulting from sulphur dioxide emissions, continues to damage German forests. Pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in former East Germany have been reduced. The government under Chancellor Schröder announced the intention to end the use of nuclear power for producing electricity. Germany is working to meet EU commitments to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive. Germany's last glaciers in the Alpine region are experiencing deglaciation. Natural hazards are river flooding in spring and stormy winds occurring in all regions.


The Reichstag in Berlin is the site of the German parliament.

Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). By calling the document Grundgesetz, rather than Verfassung (constitution), the authors expressed the intention that it would be replaced by a proper constitution once Germany was reunited as one state. Amendments to the Grundgesetz generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the parliament; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law are valid in perpetuity.[43] Despite the initial intention, the Grundgesetz remained in effect after the German reunification in 1990, with only minor amendments.

President Horst Köhler.

The Chancellor—currently Angela Merkel—is the head of government and exercises executive power, similar to the role of a Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies. Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the Bundestag (Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council), which together form a unique type of legislative body. The Bundestag is elected through direct elections, by proportional representation (mixed-member). The members of the Bundesrat represent the governments of the sixteen federal states and are members of the state cabinets. The respective state governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time.

The President—currently Horst Köhler—is the head of state, invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers. He is elected by the Bundesversammlung (federal convention), an institution consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates. The second highest official in the German order of precedence is the Bundestagspräsident (President of the Bundestag), who is elected by the Bundestag and responsible for overseeing the daily sessions of the body. The third-highest official and the head of government is the Chancellor, who is nominated by the Bundespräsident after being elected by the Bundestag. The Chancellor can be removed by a constructive motion of no confidence by the Bundestag, where constructive implies that the Bundestag simultaneously elects a successor.

Since 1949, the party system has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany with all chancellors hitherto being member of either party. However, the smaller liberal Free Democratic Party (which has had members in the Bundestag since 1949) and the Alliance '90/The Greens (which has controlled seats in parliament since 1983) have also played important roles,[44] as they are regularly the smaller partner of a coalition government.


The Judiciary of Germany is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Germany has a civil or statute law system that is based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court), located in Karlsruhe, is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review.[45] It acts as the highest legal authority and ensures that legislative and judicial practice conforms to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Basic Law). It acts independently of the other state bodies, but cannot act on its own behalf.

Germany's supreme court system, called Oberste Gerichtshöfe des Bundes, is specialised. For civil and criminal cases, the highest court of appeal is the Federal Court of Justice, located in Karlsruhe and Leipzig. The courtroom style is inquisitorial. Other Federal Courts are the Federal Labour Court in Erfurt, the Federal Social Court in Kassel, the Federal Finance Court in Munich and the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

Criminal law and private law are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. The German penal system is aimed towards rehabilitation of the criminal; its secondary goal is the protection of the general public.[46] To achieve the latter, a convicted criminal can be put in preventive detention (Sicherungsverwahrung) in addition to the regular sentence if he is considered to be a threat to the general public. The Völkerstrafgesetzbuch regulates the consequences of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. It gives German courts universal jurisdiction if prosecution by a court of the country where the crime was committed, or by an international court, is not possible.

German state police officer in Hamburg.

State legislation

Legislative power is divided between the federation and the state level. The Basic Law presumes that all legislative power remains at the state level unless otherwise designated by the Basic Law itself.

Any federal law overrides state law if the legislative power lies at the federal level. A famous example is the purported Hessian provision for the death penalty, which goes against the ban on capital punishment under the Basic Law, rendering the Hessian provision invalid. The Bundesrat is the federal organ through which the states participate in national legislation. State participation in federal legislation is necessary if the law falls within the area of concurrent legislative power, requires states to administer federal regulations, or is so designated by the Basic Law. Every state has its own constitutional court. The Amtsgerichte, Landgerichte and Oberlandesgerichte are state courts of general jurisdiction. They are competent whether the action is based on federal or state law.

Many of the fundamental matters of administrative law remain in the jurisdiction of the states, though most states base their own laws in that area on the 1976 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Proceedings Act) covering important points of administrative law. The Oberverwaltungsgerichte are the highest level of administrative jurisdiction concerning the state administrations, unless the question of law concerns federal law or state law identical to federal law. In such cases, final appeal to the Federal Administrative Court is possible.

Foreign relations

Chancellor Angela Merkel hosting the G8 summit in Heiligendamm.

Germany has played a leading role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France since the end of World War II. The alliance was especially close in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the leadership of Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl and Socialist François Mitterrand. Germany is at the forefront of European states seeking to advance the creation of a more unified European political, defence and security apparatus.[47] For a number of decades after WWII, the Federal Republic of Germany kept a notably low profile in international relations, because of both its recent history and its occupation by foreign powers.[48]

Germany is a founding member of the EEC in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It maintains close relations with its neighbours to coordinate EU politics.

During the Cold War, Germany's partition by the Iron Curtain made it a symbol of East-West tensions and a political battleground in Europe. However, Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik was a key factor in the détente of the 1970s.[49] In 1999, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking a full part in the decisions surrounding the NATO war against Yugoslavia and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since World War II.[50]

The governments of Germany and the United States are close political allies.[51] The 1948 Marshall Plan and strong cultural ties have crafted a strong bond between the two countries, although Schröder's very vocal opposition to the Iraq War suggested the end of Atlanticism and a relative cooling of German-American relations.[52] The two countries are also economically interdependent: 8.8% of German exports are U.S.-bound and 6.6% of German imports originate from the U.S.[53] The other way around, 8.8% of U.S. exports ship to Germany and 9.8% of U.S. imports come from Germany.[53] Other signs of the close ties include the continuing position of German-Americans as the largest ethnic group in the U.S.[54] and the status of Ramstein Air Base (near Kaiserslautern) as the largest U.S. military community outside the U.S.[55]

Development aid

The development policy of the Federal Republic of Germany is an independent area of German foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and carried out by the implementing organisations. The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community.[56]

Germany's official development aid and humanitarian aid for 2007 amounted to 8.96 billion euros (12.26 billion dollars), an increase of 5.9 per cent from 2006. It has become the world's second biggest aid donor after the United States.[57] Germany spent 0.37 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on development, which is below the government's target of increasing aid to 0.51 per cent of GDP by 2010. The international target of 0.7% of GNP would have not been reached either.


The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern participated in a UNIFIL II operation off the coast of Lebanon.

Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is a military force with Heer (Army), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services) and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. Military service is compulsory for men at the age of 18, and conscripts serve nine-month tours of duty. Conscientious objectors may instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst (roughly translated as civilian service), or a six year commitment to (voluntary) emergency services like a fire department, the Red Cross or the THW. In 2003, military spending constituted 1.5% of the country's GDP.[1] In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence, currently Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. If Germany went to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, the Chancellor would become commander in chief of the Bundeswehr.[58]

Eurofighter 9803.ogg
A Eurofighter flight demonstration

The Bundeswehr employs 200,500 professional soldiers, 55,000 18–25 year-old conscripts who serve for at least nine months under current rules, and 2,500 active reservists at any given time. Roughly 300,000 reservists are available to the Armed Forces and participate in defense exercises as well as deployments abroad. Since 2001 women can serve in all functions of service without restriction, but they are not subject to conscription. There are presently around 14,500 women on active duty and a number of female reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations. Two female medical officers have been promoted to a General rank so far.

As of November 2009, the German military had about 8,300 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 2,470 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo, 4,520 German troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, and 450 troops with UNIFIL in Lebanon.[59]

In 2009, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stated that conditions in Afghanistan were "like a war", while it previously had been referred to as "stabilisation and civilian reconstruction", avoiding the word "war".[60][61]


Population of German territories 1800–2000 and immigrant population from 1975–2000.

With 81.8 million inhabitants in January 2010,[2] Germany is the most populous country in the European Union. However, its fertility rate of 1.38 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world,[62] and the federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to between 65 and 70 million by 2060 (65 million assuming a net migration of +100,000 per year; 70 million assuming a net migration of +200,000 per year).[63] Germany has a number of large cities, the most populous of which are Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. By far the largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region (12 million), including Düsseldorf (the capital of NRW) and the cities of Cologne, Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, and Bochum.

Berlin is the largest city with a population of 3.4 million people.

As of December 2004, about seven million foreign citizens were registered in Germany, and 19% of the country's residents were of foreign or partially foreign descent. The young are more likely to be of foreign descent than the old. 30% of Germans aged 15 years and younger have at least one parent born abroad. In the big cities 60% of children aged 5 years and younger have at least one parent born abroad.[64]

As of 2007, the largest national group of people with a migrant background was from Turkey (2.5 million), followed by Italy (761,000) and Poland (638,000).[65]

The United Nations Population Fund lists Germany as host to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants, or about 12% of the population of Germany.[66] As a consequence of restrictions to Germany's formerly rather unrestricted laws on asylum and immigration, the number of immigrants seeking asylum or claiming German ethnicity (mostly from the former Soviet Union) has been declining steadily since 2000.[67]

Large numbers of people with full or significant German ancestry are found in the United States (50 million),[68] Brazil (5 million)[69] and Canada (3 million).[70] About 3 million "Aussiedler" — ethnic Germans, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union — have resettled in Germany since 1987.[71]


Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, with 52.116 million adherents (63%) in 2007.[72] 26.5 million are Protestants (32.3%) and 25.5 million are Catholics (31.0%) in 2007.[73] The second largest religion is Islam with 4.3 million adherents (5%)[74] followed by Buddhism and Judaism, both with around 200,000 adherents (c. 0.25%). Hinduism has some 90,000 adherents (0.1%) and Sikhism 75,000 (0.09%). All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50,000 (or less than 0.05%) adherents. About 24.4 million Germans (29.6%) have no registered religious denomination.

Protestantism is concentrated in the north and east and Roman Catholicism is concentrated in the south and west. The current Pope, Benedict XVI, was born in Bavaria. Non-religious people, including atheists and agnostics, make up 29.6% of the population, and are especially numerous in the former East Germany and major metropolitan areas.[75]

Of the 4.3 million Muslims, most are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey, but there are a small number of Shi'ites.[76] 1.7% of the country's overall population declare themselves Orthodox Christians, Serbs and Greeks being the most numerous.[72] Germany has Europe's third-largest Jewish population (after France and the United Kingdom).[77] In 2004, twice as many Jews from former Soviet republics settled in Germany as in Israel, bringing the total Jewish population to more than 200,000, compared to 30,000 prior to German reunification. Large cities with significant Jewish populations include Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.[78] Around 250,000 active Buddhists live in Germany; 50% of them are Asian immigrants.[79]

According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 47% of German citizens agreed with the statement "I believe there is a God", whereas 25% agreed with "I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% said "I do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".[80]


Knowledge of German in EU countries (plus Croatia, Switzerland, and Turkey).

German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany.[81] It is one of 23 official languages in the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission, along with English and French. Recognised native minority languages in Germany are Danish, Sorbian, Romany, and Frisian. They are officially protected by the ECRML. The most used immigrant languages are Turkish, Polish, the Balkan languages, and Russian.

Standard German is a West Germanic language and is closely related to and classified alongside English, Dutch, and the Frisian languages. To a lesser extent, it is also related to the East (extinct) and North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.[82] Significant minorities of words are derived from Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from French and most recently English (known as Denglisch). German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlauts, namely ä, ö, and ü, as well as the Eszett or scharfes S (sharp s) which is written "ß".

German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German. German dialects are traditional local varieties and are traced back to the different German tribes. Many of them are not easily understandable to a speaker of standard German, since they often differ in lexicon, phonology, and syntax.

Around the world, German has approximately 100 million native speakers and also about 80 million non-native speakers.[83] German is the main language of about 90 million people (18%) in the EU. 67% of German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language, 27% in at least two languages other than their own.[81]


Germany was the world's leading exporter of goods in 2007.

Germany has the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth largest by nominal GDP in the world, and ranked fifth by GDP (PPP) in 2008.[84] Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy. Germany was the world's top exporter with $1.133 trillion exported in 2006 (was passed by China in February 2010) (Eurozone countries are included) and generates a trade surplus of €165 billion.[85] The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country's products are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods.[1] Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest annual international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt, and Berlin.[86]

Frankfurt is a major financial centre, seat of the European Central Bank, and a global aviation hub.

Of the world's 500 largest stock market listed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in Germany. In 2007 the ten largest were Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz (the most profitable company), Siemens, Deutsche Bank (2nd most profitable company), E.ON, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Metro, and BASF.[87] Among the largest employers are also Deutsche Post, Robert Bosch GmbH, and Edeka.[88] Well known global brands are Mercedes Benz, SAP, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Nivea.[89] It is estimated that German companies were losing about €50 billion ($87 billion) and 30,000 jobs to industrial espionage every year.[90]

Germany is a strong advocate of closer European economic and political integration, and its commercial policies are increasingly determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and EU single market legislation. Germany uses the common European currency, the euro, and its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Prior to 1999, the official currency was the Deutsche Mark. As of 1 January 1999, this was converted to the euro at an exchange rate of 1 euro for 1.95583 German marks, for accounting purposes. Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January 2002.

Two decades after German reunification, standards of living and per capita incomes remain significantly higher in the states of the former West Germany than in the former East.[91] The modernisation and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a long-term process scheduled to last until the year 2019, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion. The overall unemployment rate has consistently fallen since 2005 and reached a 15-year low in June 2008 with 7.5%.[92] In 2009 the unemployment rate was 8% in the whole of Germany; in the former West Germany it was half the rate compared to the east.[93][94]

The nominal GDP of Germany contracted in the second and third quarters of 2008, putting the country in a technical recession following a global and European recession cycle.[95] In January 2009 the German government under Angela Merkel approved a €50 billion ($70 billion) economic stimulus plan to protect several sectors from a downturn and a subsequent rise in unemployment rates.[96]


Hamburg harbour is the second-largest port in Europe.

With its central position in Europe, Germany is an important transportation hub. This is reflected in its dense and modern transportation networks. The extensive motorway (Autobahn) network that ranks worldwide third largest in its total length and features a lack of blanket speed limits on the majority of routes.[97]

Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. The InterCityExpress or ICE is the most advanced service category of the Deutsche Bahn and serves major German cities as well as destinations in neighbouring countries. The train maximum speed varies between 160 km/h and 300 km/h. Connections are offered at either 30-minute, hourly, or two-hourly intervals.[98]

The ICE 3 trainset

Germany is the world's fifth largest consumer of energy, and two-thirds of its primary energy was imported in 2002. In the same year, Germany was Europe's largest consumer of electricity, totaling 512.9 terawatt-hours. Government policy promotes energy conservation and the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy. As a result of energy-saving measures, energy efficiency has been improving since the beginning of the 1970s. The government has set the goal of meeting half the country's energy demands from renewable sources by 2050.

In 2000, the government and the German nuclear power industry agreed to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2021.[99] Renewable energy still plays a more modest role in energy consumption. In 2006, energy consumption was met by the following sources: oil (36%); coal, including lignite (24%); natural gas (23%); nuclear (13%); hydro and wind power (1%); and other (4%). However, the share of renewable energy in electricity supply has been rapidly increasing, reaching 14% in 2007. The German government has set a new target to increase this share to 27% by 2020.


Max Planck presents Albert Einstein with the Max-Planck medal in 1929.

Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific fields.[100] The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 103 German laureates.[101] The work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born developed further.[102] They were preceded by physicists such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, which are called Röntgenstrahlen (Röntgen-rays) in German and many other languages. This accomplishment made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.[103]

Aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun developed the first space rocket and later on was a prominent member of NASA and developed the Saturn V Moon rocket, which paved the way for the success of the US Apollo program. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz's work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication.[104] Through his construction of the first laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879, Wilhelm Wundt is credited with the establishment of psychology as an independent empirical science.[105] Alexander von Humboldt's work as a natural scientist and explorer was foundational to biogeography.[106]

Extensive cleanroom complex for microelectronic manufacturing in Stuttgart.

Numerous significant mathematicians were born in Germany, including Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, Bernhard Riemann, Gottfried Leibniz, Karl Weierstrass and Hermann Weyl. Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first fully automatic digital computer.[107] German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Otto Lilienthal, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel, Hugo Junkers and Karl Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology.[108][109]

Important research institutions in Germany are the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Fraunhofer Society. They are independently or externally connected to the university system and contribute to a considerable extent to the scientific output. The prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is granted to ten scientists and academics every year. With a maximum of €2.5 million per award it is one of highest endowed research prizes in the world.[110]


Kindergarten in Hesse

Responsibility for educational oversight in Germany lies primarily with the federal states individually, whilst the federal government only has a minor role. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years. Primary education usually lasts for four years and public schools are not stratified at this stage.[111] In contrast, secondary education includes three traditional types of schools based on a pupil's ability as determined by teacher recommendations: the Gymnasium enrolls the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies, and attendance lasts eight or nine years depending on the state; the Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediate students and lasts six years; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education.

The University of Heidelberg was established in 1386.

Since the 1960s, a reform movement attempted to unify secondary education in a Gesamtschule (comprehensive school). However, instead of overcoming the stratification, Gesamtschule just became a fourth type of secondary school. Since about 2000, several West German Länder simplified their school system to two or three tiers. Motives were: The example of Eastern Germany where in the 1990s, following reunification, a two-tier school system was established; mediocre scores in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), first published in 2001, prompted a nation-wide debate about the school system, and in particular about the social selectivity of early stratification;[112] catering mostly for students from immigrant families, inner-city Hauptschulen were increasingly considered dysfunctional; outside the metropoles, the population is shrinking, so that it becomes increasingly unpractical to maintain a three- or four-tier school system.

A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung ("dual education") allows pupils in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run vocational school.[111]

To enter a university in Germany, high school students are generally required to take the Abitur examination, which is similar to A-levels in the UK and typically done at the age of 18 or 19. However, students possessing a diploma from a vocational school may also apply for matriculation in certain subjects. Germany's universities are recognised internationally, indicating the high education standards in the country. In the ARWU ranking for 2008, six of the top 100 universities in the world are in Germany, and 18 in the top 200.[113] Nearly all German universities are public (i.e. non-private) institutions, charging tuition fees ranging from €50–500 per semester for each student.[114]


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), composer.
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphonie 5 c-moll - 1. Allegro con brio.ogg

Germany is historically called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers).[115] German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. As a result, it is difficult to identify a specific German tradition separated from the larger framework of European high culture.[116] Another consequence of these circumstances is the fact that some historical figures, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka and Paul Celan, though not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, must be considered in the context of the German cultural sphere in order to understand their historical situation, work and social relations.

Blaues Pferd I, 1911 by Franz Marc (1880–1916).

In Germany, the Federal States are in charge of the cultural institutions. There are 240 subsidised theatres, hundreds of symphonic orchestras, thousands of museums and over 25,000 libraries spread over the 16 states. These cultural opportunities are enjoyed by many millions: there are over 91 million German museum visits every year; annually, 20 million go to theatres and operas; while 3.6 million listen to the great symphonic orchestras.[117]

Germany claims some of the world's most renowned classical music composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner. As of 2006, Germany is the fifth largest music market in the world and has influenced pop and rock music through artists such as Kraftwerk, Scorpions and Rammstein.[118]

Numerous German painters have enjoyed international prestige through their work in diverse artistic styles. Hans Holbein the Younger, Matthias Grünewald, and Albrecht Dürer were important artists of the Renaissance, Caspar David Friedrich of Romanticism, and Max Ernst of Surrealism. Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, which were important precursors of Romanesque. The region later became the site of significant works in styles such as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Germany was particularly important in the early modern movement, especially through the Bauhaus movement founded by Walter Gropius. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, also from Germany, became one of the world's most renowned architects in the second half of the 20th century. The glass façade skyscraper was his idea.[119]

German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Various German authors and poets have won great renown, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level. Influential authors of the 20th century include Thomas Mann, Berthold Brecht, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, and Günter Grass.[120]


Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), philosopher.

Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape western philosophy since the Middle Ages. Gottfried Leibniz's contributions to rationalism; the establishment of classical German idealism by Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Johann Gottlieb Fichte; Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels' formulation of Communist theory; Arthur Schopenhauer's composition of metaphysical pessimism; Friedrich Nietzsche's development of Perspectivism; Martin Heidegger's works on Being; and the social theories of Jürgen Habermas were especially influential.


The German book market produces annually around 18% of all books published worldwide (Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008).

Germany's television market is the largest in Europe, with some 34 million TV households. The many regional and national public broadcasters are organised in line with the federal political structure. Around 90% of German households have cable or satellite TV, and viewers can choose from a variety of free-to-view public and commercial channels. Pay-TV services have not become popular or successful while public TV broadcasters ZDF and ARD offer a range of digital-only channels.[121]

Germany is home to some of the world's largest media conglomerates, including Bertelsmann and the Axel Springer AG. Some of Germany's top free-to-air commercial TV networks are owned by ProSiebenSat1.

The German book market produces around 60,000 new publications every year. It represents 18% of all the books published worldwide and puts Germany in third place among the world’s book producers.[122] The Frankfurt Book Fair is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading and has a tradition that spans over 500 years.

The country's news is provided for English speakers by news magazine Der Spiegel, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle and news site The Local.

In December 2008 the top visited websites by German internet users were,, YouTube, eBay, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and[123]


Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel in 1930, Germany's first major film with sound.

German cinema dates back to the very early years of the medium with the work of Max Skladanowsky. It was particularly influential during the years of the Weimar Republic with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. Austrian-based director Fritz Lang, who became a German citizen in 1926 and whose career flourished in the pre-war German film industry, is said to have been a major influence on Hollywood cinema. His silent movie Metropolis (1927) is referred to as the birth of modern Science Fiction movies.

In 1930 Austrian-American Josef von Sternberg directed The Blue Angel, which was the first major German sound film and it brought world fame to actress Marlene Dietrich.[124] Impressionist documentary Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, directed by Walter Ruttmann, is a prominent example of the city symphony genre. The Nazi era produced mostly propaganda films although the work of Leni Riefenstahl still introduced new aesthetics to film.[125]

The Berlinale Palast during the Berlin Film Festival in February.

During the 1970s and 80s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder put West German cinema back on the international stage with their often provocative films.[126] More recently, films such as Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004), Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004), and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) have enjoyed international success.

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to the German production Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) in 1979, to Nowhere in Africa in 2002, and to Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) in 2007.[127] Among the most famous German actors are Marlene Dietrich, Klaus Kinski, Hanna Schygulla, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jürgen Prochnow, and Thomas Kretschmann.

The Berlin Film Festival, held annually since 1951, is one of the world's foremost film festivals. An international jury places emphasis on representing films from all over the world and awards the winners with the Golden and Silver Bears.[128] The annual European Film Awards ceremony is held every second year in the city of Berlin, where the European Film Academy (EFA) is located. The Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam are the oldest large-scale film studios in the world and a centre for international film production.


Michael Schumacher has won seven Formula One championships.

Sport forms an integral part of German life. Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually.[129] Association football is the most popular sport. With more than 6.3 million official members, the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) is the largest sports organisation of its kind worldwide.[129] The Bundesliga attracts the second highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world. The German national football team won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and the European Football Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Germany has hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 2006 and the UEFA European Football Championship in 1988. Among the most successful and renowned footballers are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, and Oliver Kahn. Other popular spectator sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and tennis.[129]

The Allianz Arena is host to the football club Bayern Munich and was a venue for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Germany is one of the leading motorsports countries in the world. Race winning cars, teams and drivers have come from Germany. The most successful Formula One driver in history, Michael Schumacher, has set the most significant motorsport records during his career and won more Formula One championships and races than any other driver since Formula One's debut season in 1946. He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history and became a billionaire athlete.[130] Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are among the leading teams in motorsport sponsorship. Porsche has won the 24 hours of Le Mans, a prestigious annual race held in France, 16 times. The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters is a popular series in Germany.

Historically, German sportsmen have been some of the most successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Germany finished fifth in the medal count,[131] while in the 2006 Winter Olympics they finished first.[132] Germany has hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice, in Berlin in 1936 and in Munich in 1972. The Winter Olympic Games took place in Germany once in 1936 when they were staged in the Bavarian twin towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen.


A Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake).

German cuisine varies from region to region. The southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia, for instance, share a culinary culture with Switzerland and Austria. Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular.[133] Throughout all regions, meat is often eaten in sausage form. More than 1500 different types of sausage are produced in Germany. The most popular vegetables are potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips, spinach, and beans.[134] Organic food has gained a market share of around 3.0%, and is predicted to increase further.[135]

A popular German saying has the meaning: "Breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a king, and dine like a beggar." Breakfast is usually a selection of breads and rolls with jam and honey or cold meats and cheese, sometimes accompanied by a boiled egg. Cereals or muesli with milk or yoghurt is less common but widespread.[136] More than 300 types of bread are sold in bakery shops across the country.[137]

A typical cheese and cold meat buffet served at private festivities.

As a country with many immigrants, Germany has adopted many international dishes into its cuisine and daily eating habits. Italian dishes like Pizza and Pasta, Turkish and Arab dishes like Döner Kebab and Falafel are well established, especially in bigger cities. International burger chains, as well as Chinese and Greek restaurants, are widespread. Indian, Thai, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines have gained popularity in recent decades. Among nine high-profile restaurants in Germany, the Michelin guide has awarded three stars, the highest designation, while 15 more received two stars.[138] German restaurants have become the world's second most decorated after eateries in France.[139]

Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, the national alcoholic drink is beer. German beer consumption per person is declining but—at 116 litres annually—it is still among the highest in the world.[140] Beer varieties include Alt, Bock, Dunkel, Kölsch, Lager, Malzbier, Pils, and Weizenbier. Among 18 surveyed western countries, Germany ranked 14th in the list of per capita consumption of soft drinks in general, while it ranked third in the consumption of fruit juices.[141] Furthermore, carbonated mineral water and Schorle (its mixture with fruit juice) are very popular in Germany.


Germany has established a positive reputation around the globe. (Claudia Schiffer, model)

Since the 2006 World Cup celebrations the internal and external perception of Germany's national image has changed.[142] In annually conducted global surveys known as Nation Brands Index, Germany became significantly and repeatedly higher ranked after the tournament. People in 20 different states were asked to assess the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, exports, its people and its attractiveness to tourists, immigrants and investments. Germany has been named the world's most valued nation among 50 countries in 2008.[143] Another global opinion poll based on 13,575 responses in 21 countries for the BBC revealed that Germany is recognised for the most positive influence in the world in 2009, leading 16 investigated countries. A majority of 61% have a positive view of the country, while 15% have a negative view.[144]

Germans invest a large amount of money in international travel and domestic vacation trips (seaside resort in Sellin[145] on the island of Rügen).

Germany is a legally and socially tolerant country towards homosexuals. Civil unions have been permitted since 2001.[146] Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children (stepchild adoption). The Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and the mayors of the two largest German cities, Berlin and Hamburg, are openly gay.[147]

During the last decade of the 20th century Germany has transformed its attitude towards immigrants considerably. Until the mid-nineties the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 10% of the population were of non-German origin. After the end of the influx of so-called Gastarbeiter (blue-collar guest-workers), refugees were a tolerated exception to this point of view. Today the government and German society are acknowledging the opinion that controlled immigration should be allowed based on the qualification of immigrants.[148]

With an expenditure of €67 billion on international travel in 2008, Germans spent more money on travel than any other country. The most visited foreign destinations were Spain, Italy and Austria.[149]

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace Global Peace Index[150] 16 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 22 out of 182
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 14 out of 180
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 7 out of 133

See also


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  2. ^ a b c "First demographic estimates for 2009". Eurostat. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Germany". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  5. ^ Max Mangold (ed.), ed (1995) (in German). Duden, Aussprachewörterbuch (Duden Pronunciation Dictionary) (6th ed.). Mannheim: Dudenverlag (Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG. pp. 271, 53f. ISBN 3-411-04066-1. 
  6. ^ "Germany: Inflow of foreign population by country of nationality, 1994 to 2003". Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  7. ^ Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (2 BvF 1/73; BVerfGE 36, 1): The German Reich as the German state is identically the very same to the Federal Republic of Germany [because it exists as a nation-state and international legal personality (public international law) since 1871]. In 1949, at East – West Germany division there was no foundation of a new West German state and no successor of the German Reich, instead of that a part of Germany was reorganised.
  8. ^ Germany world's second biggest aid donor after US TopNews, India. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  9. ^ "The fifteen major spenders in 2006" (PDF). Recent trends in military expenditure. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
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  11. ^ Confidently into the Future with Reliable Technology May 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  12. ^ Schulze, Hagen. Germany: A New History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 4. 
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    Roderick Stackelberg, Hitler's Germany: origins, interpretations, legacies. Routledge 1999, p. 103. ISBN 0-415-20114-4.
    Scheck, Raffael. Establishing a Dictatorship: The Stabilization of Nazi Power Colby College. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
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  66. ^ State of World Population 2006 United Nations Population Fund. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
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  68. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey".;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201PR:535;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201T:535;ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201TPR:535&-qr_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201&-qr_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201PR&-qr_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201T&-qr_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_S0201TPR&-ds_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_&-TABLE_NAMEX=&-ci_type=A&-redoLog=false&-charIterations=047&-geo_id=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en. Retrieved 2007-04-15.  The 1990 census gives 57.9 million, or 23.3% of the U.S. population.
  69. ^ (Portuguese) A Imigração Alemã no Brasil Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  70. ^ 2001 Canadian Census gives 2,742,765 total respondents stating their ethnic origin as partly German, with 705,600 stating "single-ancestry".
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  72. ^ a b (German) "EKD-Statistik: Christen in Deutschland 2007". Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
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  74. ^ Germany Has 1 Million More Muslims than Previously Thought. Spiegel Online. June 24, 2009.
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Germany is a modern European nation (formally Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or Federal Republic of Germany) whose recorded ethnic, territorial, and political history reaches back to the 1st century BCE.


  • Thinking of Germany in the night robs me of my sleep.
    • Original (German): Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht, dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht.
    • Heinrich Heine, Nachtgedanken (1843)
  • If now, after the collapse, should any of these lackeys of Adolf Hitler have the insolence to claim they were merely harmless onlookers, let them feel the scourge of avenging mankind.
    • Original (German): Wenn nun jetzt, nach dem Zusammenbruch, sich einige dieser Lakaien von Adolf Hitler die Frechheit erlauben, als harmlose Mitläufer gelten zu wollen, dann kann man nur wünschen, daß sie schnellstens die Wut der rächenden Menschheit zu spüren bekommen.
    • Friedrich Kellner, My Opposition, 1945.
  • The Satan of the Italian and English poets may be more poetic; but the German Satan is more satanic; and in this respect one could say, the Satan is a German invention.
    • Original (German) : Der Satan der italienischen und englischen Dichter mag poetischer sein; aber der deutsche Satan ist satanischer; und insofern könnte man sagen, der Satan sei eine deutsche Erfindung.
    • Friedrich Schlegel, Athenäumsfragmente 379
    • Note: The Italian poet may mean Dante, the English poet John Milton.
  • "Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth." ~ Mark Twain


  • The death is a master from Germany.
    • Original (German): Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland.
    • Paul Celan
  • The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".
  • To the English I say this: be grateful for the Germans. Were it not for them, you would be the most hated people in Europe.
  • To think about Germany is to think about Auschwitz.
    • Original (German): Deutschland denken, heißt Auschwitz denken.
    • Theodor Adorno

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From Wikitravel

Quick Facts
Capital Berlin
Government Federal Republic
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area 357,021 sq km
Population 82,400,996 (July 2007 est.)
Language German
Calling Code +49
Internet TLD .de
Time Zone UTC +1

Germany, (officially: the Federal Republic of Germany), [1] (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the largest country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany is a federation of 16 states, each with its own distinct and unique culture. If you have perceptions of Germany as homogeneous, it will surprise you with its regions and diversity.


Germany is an economic powerhouse. It has the largest population and biggest economy in Europe, and is the world's largest exporter. Geographically, however, its size is small compared with many other powerful nations in the world. Germany is a federalist country with a highly decentralized structure and has several large cities. The capital Berlin is not as dominant over the rest of the nation as say London is in the United Kingdom or Paris in France. Nevertheless, it has been touted as one of the world's most fashionable big cities since the early 90's.

The financial capital of Germany is Frankfurt am Main and most likely all of continental Europe. It features a modern skyline that is unusual in Central Europe, with many high-rise buildings, an ever growing airport and thus the city is sometimes referred to as "Mainhattan".

The decentralised structure fosters regional traditions. Germany's famous beer culture is centered around Southern Germany's biggest city (Munich), where beer is traditionally served in 1 liter mugs (but not in Kneipen (pubs) and Restaurants). Munich is also the site of the annual Oktoberfest , Europe's most visited festival and the world's largest fair.

Germany's south-western regions are known for their wine growing areas (e.g. Rheinhessen and Palatinate) and Bad Duerkheim on the 'German wine route' organises the biggest wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.

The fall of the wall in 1989 and the subsequent German Reunification are the main events of recent German history. Today most Germans as well as their neighbours support the idea of a reunified Germany and while the eastern regions still suffer from higher unemployment and a brain-drain the reunification overall is seen as a success. October 3rd is celebrated as the day of "German National Unity" or "Reunification Day".

Cars are a symbol of national pride, and manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen (VW) are world famous for their quality, safety and style. This quality is matched by Germany's excellent network of roadways including the world famous Autobahn network, which has many sections without speed limits and attracting speed hungry drivers. Amazingly for its size Germany is home to the third largest freeway/motorway network in the world. Germany also features an extensive network of high speed trains - the InterCityExpress (ICE).

Most cities have a vibrant gay and lesbian scene, especially Berlin and Cologne. The Berlin tourism agency and other tourism organisations have started campaigns to attract gay and lesbian travellers to their cities. In fact, some politicians (e.g. the Mayors of Berlin and Hamburg) and stars in Germany are homo- and bisexuals.

Germany was the host of the FIFA World Cup 2006.

Eisenhardt Castle in Belzig (Brandenburg)
Eisenhardt Castle in Belzig (Brandenburg)
  • From the Holy Roman Empire to Imperial Germany
The roots of German history and culture date back to the Germanic tribes and after that to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Since the early middle ages Germany started to split into hundreds of small states. It was the Napoleonic wars that started the process of unification, which ended in 1871, when a large number of previously independent German kingdoms united under Prussian leadership to form the German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich). This incarnation of Germany reached eastward all the way to modern day Klaipeda (Memel) in Lithuania and also encompassed today´s regions of Alsace-Lorraine (France), a small portion of eastern Belgium (Eupen-Malmédy), a small border region in southern Denmark and over 40% of contemporary Poland. The empire ended in 1918 when Emperor (Kaiser) Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate the throne at the time of Germany's defeat in World War I (1914-1918) and was followed by the short-lived ill fated Weimar Republic, which tried in vain to completely establish a liberal, democratic regime. Because the young republic was plagued with massive economic problems (such as hyperinflation) and disgrace for a humiliating defeat in the First World War, strong anti-democratic forces took advantage of the inherent organizational problems of the Weimar Constitution and the Nazis were able to seize power.
  • Hitler and the Nazis
The year 1933 witnessed the rise to power of the nationalistic and racist National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party and its Führer, Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazi dictatorship, democratic institutions were dismantled and a police state was installed. Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, handicapped people, socialists, communists, unionists and other groups not fitting into the Nazi's vision of a Greater Germany faced persecution, and ultimately murder in concentration camps. Europe's Jews and Gypsies were marked for total extermination. Hitler's militaristic ambitions to create a new German Empire in Central and Eastern Europe led to war, successively, with Poland, France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States - despite initial dazzling successes, Germany was unable to withstand the attacks of the Allies and Soviets on two fronts in addition to a smaller third front to the south of the alps in Italy.
It was "Stunde Null" or zero hour. Germany had destroyed itself and much of Europe and only had itself to blame. By April of 1945 Germany was in ruins with most major cities bombed to the ground. The reputation of Germany as an intellectual land of freedom and high culture (Land der Dichter und Denker) had been decimated and tarnished for decades to come. At the end of the war, by losing 25% of its territory, east of the newly Allied imposed Oder-Neisse frontier with Poland the occupied country was faced with a major refugee crisis with well over 10 million Germans flooding westward into what remained of Germany. Following the end of the war at the Potsdam conference the Allies decided the future of Germany's borders and taking a Soviet lead stripped her of the traditional eastern Prussian lands. Therefore, German provinces east of the rivers Oder and Neisse like Silesia and Pomerania were entirely cleared of its original population by the Soviets and Polish - most of it an area where there had not been any sizable Polish or even Russian minorities at all. Even more refugees came with the massive numbers of ethnic Germans expelled from their ancient eastern European homelands in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia.
  • Post WWII
After the devastating defeat in World War II (1939-1945), Germany was divided into four sectors, controlled by the French, British, US and Soviet forces. United Kingdom and the US decided to merge their sectors, followed by the French. Silesia, Pomerania and the southern part of East Prussia became Polish territory according to the international agreement of the allies. With the beginning of the Cold War, the remaining central and western parts of the country were divided into an eastern part under Soviet control, and a western part which was controlled by the Western Allies. The western part was transformed into the Federal Republic of Germany, with Bonn as the capital, while the Soviet-controlled zone became the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR). Berlin had a special status as it was divided among the Soviets and the West, with the eastern part featuring as the capital of the GDR. The western sectors of Berlin were de facto an exclave of the Federal Republic but formally governed by the Western Allies. On August 13, 1961 the Berlin Wall was erected as part of a heavily guarded frontier system and hundreds of Germans trying to escape from the communist dictatorship were killed here in the following years.
In the late 1960's a desire to confront the Nazi past came into being. Students' protests beginning in 1968 successfully clamoured for a new Germany. The society became much more liberal, and the totalitarian past was dealt with more unconcealed than ever before since the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949. Post-war education had helped put Germany among countries in Europe with the least number of people subscribing to Nazi ideas. Willy Brandt became chancellor in 1969. He made an important contribution towards reconciliation between Germany and the communist states.
Germany was reunited in 1990, a year after the fall of the GDR's communist regime. The re-established eastern states joined the Federal Republic on the 3rd October 1990, a day which is since celebrated as the German National Holiday (Tag der Deutschen Einheit). Together with the reunification, the last post-war limitations to Germany's sovereignty were removed. The German parliament, the Bundestag, after controversial debate, finally agreed to comply with the eastern border of the former GDR, the so-called "Oder-Neisse-Line" thus shaping Germany the way it can be found on Europe's map today.


Germany is a federal republic, consisting of 16 states ('Bundesländer'). The federal parliament ('Bundestag') is elected every four years in a fairly complicated system, involving direct and proportional representation. A party will be represented in Parliament if it can gather at least 5% of all votes or at least 3 directly won seats. The parliament elects the Chancellor ('Bundeskanzler', currently Angela Merkel) on its first session, who will serve as the head of government. There is no restriction regarding re-elections. The 'Bundesländer' are represented at the federal level through the Federal Council ('Bundesrat'). Many federal laws have to be approved by the council. This can lead to situations where Council and Parliament are blocking each other if they are dominated by different parties. On the other hand, if both are dominated by the same party with strong party discipline (which usually is the case with CDU-CSU-FDP coalitions), its leader has the opportunity to rule almost like a dictator, the only power being allowed to intervene being the Federal Constitutional Court ('Bundesverfassungsgericht').

The formal head of state is the President ('Bundespräsident', currently Horst Köhler), who is not involved into day-to-day politics and has mainly ceremonial and representative duties. He can also suspend the parliament, but all executive power lies with the chancellor. The President of Germany is elected every 5 years by a specially convened national assembly, and is restricted to serving a maximum of two five year terms.

The two largest parties are the Christian Democratic Party ('Christlich Demokratische Union (CDU)') and the Social Democratic Party ('Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD)'). Due to the proportional voting system, smaller parties can also be represented in parliament. Medium-sized parties of relative importance are the Christian Social Party ('Christlich Soziale Union (CSU)', most important party within Bavaria, a kind of CDU subsidiary), Liberals ('Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP)'), the Green party ('Bündnis 90/Die Grünen') and, since summer 2005, the new Left Party ('Die Linke', most important party in the East), the result of a merger between the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) (legal successor of GDR's state party, SED (Socialist Unity Party)) and the Alternative for Work and Social Justice (WASG) (founded by SPD's ex-leader, Oskar Lafontaine, to accommodate SPD's former left wing creating an alternative to Gerhard Schröder's "Agenda 2010" policy). There have been some attempts by extreme right-wing parties (NPD - National Democratic Party / REP - Republicans) to get into parliament, but so far they have failed the 5% requirement (except in some State parliaments, currently Saxony and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania).


The electricity supply runs at 230V 50Hz. Almost all outlets use the Schuko plug, most appliances have a thinner Europlug. Adapters are widely available in electronics stores.


Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states (called "Bundesländer" or, shortened to, "Länder" in German). Three of the Bundesländer are actually city-states: Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg. The states can be roughly grouped by geography as listed below.

Regions of Germany
Regions of Germany
Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Schleswig-Holstein)
Wind-swept hills and the popular vacation destinations of the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.
Western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), Saarland)
Wine country and modern cities sharply cut by the breathtaking Rhine Valley and Moselle valley.
Central Germany (Hesse (Hessen), Thuringia (Thüringen))
The green heart of Germany, with some of the most important historical and financial cities and the ancient Thurigian Forest.
Eastern Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony (Sachsen), Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt))
highlighted by the eccentric and historic capital Berlin, and rebuilt historic Dresden, the Florence of the Elbe.
Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria (Bayern))
Black Forest, Alps, and Oktoberfest. The Germany of lederhosen and postcards.
Brandenburg gate in Berlin.
Brandenburg gate in Berlin.
Hofbräuhaus in Munich.
Hofbräuhaus in Munich.
Semperoper in Dresden.
Semperoper in Dresden.
Nuremberg old town, view from west
Nuremberg old town, view from west

Germany has numerous cities of interest to tourists; these are nine of the most famous travel destinations.

  • Berlin — the reunified and reinvigorated capital of Germany; known for its division during the Cold War — and the Berlin Wall. Today its a metropolis of diversity with elegant clubs, galleries and traditional restaurants. It is also a haven for shoppers.
  • Hamburg — Germany's second-largest city, famous for its harbour as well as its liberal and tolerant culture. Don't miss the Reeperbahn with its night clubs and casinos. Hamburg is also popular for its many musicals.
  • Munich (München) — Bavaria's beautiful capital city and Southern Germany's primary city. The third largest city in Germany, Munich is the site of the famous Oktoberfest and is the gateway to the Alps.
  • Cologne (Köln) — Germany's fourth-largest city. Cologne was founded by the Romans and is 2000 years old with its huge cathedral, Romanesque churches, and archaeological sites. Cologne also well known for its carnival and its Christopher-Street-Day parade. Don't forget to try the local cuisine and of course the local beer, called "Kölsch".
  • Dresden - Once called 'Florence on the Elbe', and world-famous for its Frauenkirche and historic center which was destroyed during the war, the city offers more than what the average traveller can expect: Great festivals, all kinds of cultural entertainment, vibrant night life, and surrounded by beautiful natural vistas. Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which is one of the world's most impressive museums and collections. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Grünes Gewölbe are the most well-known.
  • Dusseldorf (Düsseldorf, Duesseldorf) — Germany's capital of fashion, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia offers a wide scale of fascinating new architecture. Right along the shores of river Rhine, the "Altstadt" and the "Medienhafen" are among the best places in Germany to enjoy a vibrant nightlife. Being one of the country's wealthiest cities, the atmosphere is very pleasant. Germans call it "the only metropolis ending with -dorf (German for village)".
  • Frankfurt — Germany's leading financial center, transportation hub, seat of the European Central Bank (ECB), international trade fair center (Book Fair, Motor Show), hub of multicultural activity (30% Immigrants), and site of numerous world-class museums and theaters. It is also Germany's only city with enough skyscrapers to have a skyline.
  • Bremen - One of the most important cities in northern Germany, its old town will be of interest to travellers who want a slice of history.
  • Nuremberg (Nürnberg) — Second largest city in Bavaria, after WWII over 90% of the old-town was destroyed. Today it has been reconstructed, including the Gothic Kaiserburg Castle (Emperor's Castle of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation). You can also visit the infamous Nazi party rally grounds, the Documentation Centre and Courtroom 600 - venue of the Nuremberg Trials.
Castle of Münster (today used by the University)
Castle of Münster (today used by the University)
  • The Baltic Sea Coast (Ostseeküste) and North Sea Coast (Nordseeküste), with picturesque islands such as Rügen, the North and East (Ostfriesische Inseln) Frisian Islands.
  • The Rhine Valley (Mittelrhein) between Bonn and Bingen and the Upper Rhine Valley (Oberrheinische Tiefebene) between Bingen and Basel, Switzerland. Home to the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet), part of the Rhine River is a UNESCO Heritage site, and the valley is famous for its wines.
  • Franconian Switzerland (Fränkische Schweiz). One of the oldest travel destinations in Germany, it was called by Romantic artists who said its landscape was that of Switzerland's.
  • Black Forest (Schwarzwald) A region with wide peaks, paranomic views , it is a haven for tourists and hikers.
  • Lake Constance (Bodensee). Occupying an extremely beautiful corner of Central Europe, it boasts water sports and beautiful towns to be seen by the visitor.
  • The Bavarian Alps (Bayrische Alpen), home to the world famous Neuschwanstein castle, and Germany's best skiing and snowboarding resorts.
  • Other smaller but notable, destinations in Germany include the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge), Bavarian Forest (Bayerischer Wald), the Harz Mountains, Spreewald and the ancient city of Heidelberg.
  • The Castle Road (Burgenstraße) is a theme route over 1000 km in length in southern Germany (in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) and a small portion in the Czech Republic, between Mannheim and Prague. It passes by many historical castles.
  • Heuneburg, Baden-Württemberg (seat of an important Celtic prince in the Late Hallstatt Period).  edit
  • Hochdorf and Hohmihele, near Ludwigsburg (tombs of Celtic princes).  edit
  • Limes, about 550 kilometers, from Regensburg to North of Mainz (Roman fortifications against the barbaric German tribes).  edit
  • Trier, (oldest German town with the best preserved Roman buildings north of the Alps).  edit
  • Xanten, (excavations of the Roman town Colonia Ulpia Traiana, rendering a complete picture of a Roman colonial town).  edit

Get in

Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Swiss citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.

Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you travelling within the Schengen area or not, some airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.

Keep in mind that the counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa.

As of January 2010 only the citizens of the following non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area; note that they must not stay longer than three months in half a year and must not work while in the EU: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.

Note that

  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.

However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.

Further note that

(*) Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian citizens need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel and

(**) Serbian citizens with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Serbs residing in Kosovo) still do need a visa.

Another notable exception regards authorized members of the U.S. military, who need to possess only a copy of their duty orders and their ID card to be authorized entry. The passport requirement, though, applies to spouses and dependents of military personnel, and they must obtain a stamp in their passports to show that they are sponsored by a person in Germany under the Status of Forces Agreement.

There are no land border controls, making travel between Germany and other Schengen states easier with the accession of Switzerland to the Schengen area in 2008.

Some persons eligible for visa-free entry, namely those from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States of America are also eligible to obtain a residence permit, or Aufenthaltstitel (authorizing a stay of more than 90 days and work permission), upon arrival in Germany, but before the end of the initial 90-day period. Honduran, Monegasque, and Sanmarinese nationals can also obtain such a permit, but only if they will not work on the residence permit.

There are a number of ways to get into Germany. From neighboring European countries, a drive with the car or a train ride are feasible; visitors from further away will probably be using air travel.

By plane

The most important airports are Frankfurt (IATA: FRA), Munich (IATA: MUC) and Düsseldorf (IATA: DUS). Berlin Schönefeld Airport (IATA: SXF) and Tegel Airport (IATA: TXL), Cologne (IATA: CGN) and Hamburg (IATA: HAM) serve some international flights as well.

Frankfurt is Germany's main hub and one of Europe's four major hubs, and the destination of most intercontinental flights. Munich is a secondary hub. Travellers can easily fly in from most places of the world and then connect with Germany's biggest and most respected airline Lufthansa [2] which is a member of the Star Alliance. Germany's second largest airline is Air Berlin [3].

Some German airports are connected to the InterCityExpress and other rail lines, as are most international airports (except Berlin-Tegel Airport). The others all feature some sort of connection to the nearest rail station as well as public transport to the central station of the respective cities. Lufthansa's passengers travelling from Frankfurt Airport have the option to check-in their luggage in Cologne or Stuttgart train stations and connect to the airport by ICE. If doing so, be sure to book the train journey like a Lufthansa connecting flight (i.e. in advance together with the flight), otherwise you are regarded responsible for a missed connection.

Budget Air Travel and minor airlines

There are budget flights to almost every city in Europe from Germany. If you are seeking a budget flight, you should first check with the nearest airport. Examples of budget airline hubs are Berlin Schönefeld and Dortmund for easyJet [4]. Germanwings [5] and Tuifly [6] (formerly Hapag-Lloyd-Express and HapagFly), Air Berlin and WizzAir offer budget flights from many assorted airports across Germany and Europe. Condor [7], a major charter airline, may also offer budget flights to/from main tourist destinations throughout the world. Germania [8], Intersky [9] and OLT [10] have a limited number of international destinations. Ryanair [11] flies from London to Berlin Schoenefeld, Altenburg (Leipzig), Lübeck (near to Hamburg), Weeze (near Duesseldorf) and from some other European destinations to Hahn (usually advertised as "Frankfurt-Hahn" despite being about 120km from Frankfurt without a passenger rail connection!). Flying can be the cheapest way to get to Germany, especially if the flights are booked well in advance. A sample airfare on AirBerlin from Münster/Osnabrück to Vienna, Austria is €29 one-way including all taxes, only if booked far in advance.

Before booking a budget flight, compare carefully as their destinations are often a bit off the track and after adding all the fees, taxes, aditional bus tickets to get to their airports, you might end up at even higher prices than you would pay for a discounted Lufthansa ticket.

By train

Regular train services connect Germany with all neighbouring countries. Almost all neighbouring countries (especially Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Austria) and even some non-neighbouring countries (e. g. Italy) are quite well connected with "EuroCity" trains. They are a little bit slower than the European high speed trains but reach nevertheless up to 200 km/h. They are a worthwhile way to travel--not only for budget travellers (although budget airlines might be cheaper) or landscape viewers (especially the Rhine valley lines).

There are also several European high speed trains to cross into or get out of Germany:

  • The Thalys [12] brings you from Cologne (Köln) to Paris in approximately four hours and to Brussels in about two hours.
  • The ICE brings you at 330 km/h top speed from Frankfurt (3h 15), Cologne (2h 30) or Düsseldorf (2h 15) to Amsterdam. The train journey from Frankfurt to Paris using the ICE will take about four hours; going from Hamburg to Paris can take eight and a half hours. There is also an ICE line from Frankfurt to Brussels via Cologne.
  • Between Stuttgart and Milan (via Zurich) the Cisalpino [13] offers several connections and is at the moment the only direct trans alpine train connection.

Standard rail fares are quite high and in 2005 Deutsche Bahn [14] introduced discount return tickets. You must buy them three or seven days in advance (e. g. online and print your ticket at home). Further reductions are available for groups of two or more persons. These tickets are valid on only specific trains and times. From time to time there are further discount offers for single rides. The Bahncard (see Train Fares) is a discount card for the standard fare. If your travel starts or ends in Germany, you are still eligible for a reduction on the whole journey.

Another option for cheap rail travel are the so-called Ländertickets and the Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket. The most well-known of these Ländertickets is the Bayern-Ticket. Ländertickets and the Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket allow unlimited travel on regional trains for the day and region of validity. Most Ländertickets are available in two versions: Single or Normal. Normal tickets are designed for a group of up to 5 people. Single tickets are cheaper, but they allow only one person to travel. The Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket is valid for all of Germany, the Ländertickets are usually valid only in the Land that they are sold in. (Bayern-Ticket is valid only in Bavaria, but Sachsen-Ticket is valid in Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt.) Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket can be used on only Saturday or Sunday from midnight to 2AM the next day, Ländertickets are valid during the week from 9AM on and on Saturdays and Sundays from midnight on. With Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket it is possible to travel in a group of 5 people from Amsterdam to Berlin for less than 14 EUR one-way per person when the normal train fare is 100 EUR. If you arrive at a train station early on a Saturday or Sunday, you might be invited to join a group travelling on Schöne-Wochenende-Ticket or look for fellow travellers yourself.

Lander Tickets cost approximately 28 Eur for two people per day (Monday to Sunday). Schone Wochenende costs approximately €40 for unlimited travel throughout Germany over the weekend for up to 5 people. When booking on the website or looking for schedules remember that you are not allowed to travel on the ICE or IC with these tickets.

Rail travel in Germany works out cheapest if you travel your long distances in groups of 5 over weekends with the Schones Wochenende ticket. A trip from Hamburg to Munich will cost each member approximately 10 Eur as opposed to 150 Eur per person on normal tickets. When in a state stay in the state and travel on the Lander Tickets until you have seen all the sites.

In-city transport is approximately 10 - 15 Eur for two people for a day pass. Most cities have their own transport authority and the pass allows travel on trams, buses, trains and ferries. Obviously it is better to pay for in-city transport through these tickets thatn through Lander-Ticket.

By boat

International ferry services exist, notably to Scandinavia. Some of the most popular connections are listed below:

Get around

German transportation runs with German efficiency, and getting around the country is a snap — although you'll need to pay top price for top speed. The most popular options by far are to either rent a car, or to take the train.

By plane

The German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa [15] connects all major cities in Germany to each other and foreign destinations.

Domestic flights are mainly used for business, with the train being a simpler and often cheaper alternative for other travel. However, the boom of budget airlines and competition has made some plane flights price competitive with trains to some major cities. Make sure though, that you get where you want go to. Low-cost airlines are known for naming small airports in the middle of nowhere by cities 200 km away (e.g. "Frankfurt-Hahn" is actually in Hahn, over two hours away by bus from Frankfurt city).

The following carriers offer domestic flights within Germany:

  1. Air Berlin [16] incl. LTU & DBA is the second biggest airline and flies to most airports in Germany. Though primarily being a no-frills airline today, its reputation has remained exceptionally high as LTU used to be Germany's major holiday carrier, business class being still on offer on long-distance flights.
  2. Lufthansa [17] Flag carrier that flies all major routes on a nearly hourly schedule with Hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. Within dedicated terminals, coffee, tea and a lavish assortment of newspapers are available freely even for economy class passengers. Dedicated terminal for first class passengers in Frankfurt with limousine transfer to the plane.
  3. Cirrus Airlines [18] Focus on smaller business travellers routes within Germany and Europe. Close cooperation with Lufthansa on selected routes.
  4. OLT [19] Selected niche routes in Germany with base in Bremen, serving i.a. Borkum and Helgoland.
  5. [20] (formerly HapagFly and HLX) No-Frills rival of Air Berlin and several off-site airports in the portfolio.
  6. Germanwings [21] (subsidiary of Lufthansa) No-frills airline with base in Cologne.
  7. InterSky [22] Small no frills airline with few routes in Germany and Europe, based in Friedrichshafen (near Lake of Constance).
  8. Sylt Air [23] Shuttle between Hamburg and Sylt.

By train

Germany has an excellent, reliable, and affordable railway system, which reaches almost every part of the country. Unless you travel by car, rail will be your major mode of transportation. Crossing Germany from Munich in the south to Hamburg in the north will take at most 6 hours, while driving by car will take around 8 hours.

Almost all long-distance and many regional trains are operated by Deutsche Bahn ("German Rail") , the national railway company. DB's website [24], also available in English, is an excellent resource for working out transportation options not only in Germany but also pretty much anywhere in Europe. The website itself is extremely informative and even suggests local buses, subways, etc. for getting you door to door. An interesting nice feature is the carbon dioxide emission comparisons for different train journeys.

Long distance

Inter City Express (ICE).
Inter City Express (ICE).

All major cities are linked by DB's ICE (InterCity Express) and regular InterCity trains. ICE is a system of high speed trains that can reach top speeds of 330km/h (although they rarely go that fast). Although being significantly faster than by road, they are also expensive, with a one-hour jaunt (eg. Frankfurt to Cologne, around 150 km) costing around €60. Reservations are not mandatory but are recommended, especially when you travel on weekends or holidays.

The next tier are the regular InterCity (IC) and EuroCity (EC) trains. The latter connect the larger European cities and are virtually identical to the regular ICs. These trains are also fairly comfortable, even if they lack the "high-tech" feeling of the ICE.

On the major lines, an ICE or IC train will run each hour or so during the day. Before you shell out the money for the ICE ticket, you may want to check if it actually makes a significant time difference. ICE trains travel faster than other IC trains only on specially equipped "high speed" routes. There are also long distance trains operated by other companies than Deutsche Bahn, usually running over secondary routes. These are usually comfortable enough (although not as comfortable as ICE) and sometimes cheaper, but most of them stop at almost every station en-route.

Regional travel

Regional and local trains in Germany come in several flavors:

  • IRE (InterRegioExpress). As fast as an IC, but with no surcharges.
  • RE (Regional-Express). Semi-express trains, skips some stations.
  • RB (Regional-Bahn). Stops everywhere, may skip S-Bahn stops.
  • S-Bahn. Commuter network for a city, but can travel fairly long distances. Stops almost everywhere. Toilets are only available on loco-hauled trains (BR1xx).

Urban transportation systems are usually ran by local companies that are publicly held; these may include subways, city buses, light rail and even regional trains. In larger urban areas the local companies will often form a Verkehrsverbund (integrated public transport system). This means that you will be able to travel in and between all participating cities using the same tickets and fares. These urban transport networks are often (but not always) integrated with the DB network and "local" tickets will also be valid on DB trains inside the Verkehrsverbund.

Regular tickets

Old (keypad) and new (touchscreen) DB ticket machines
Old (keypad) and new (touchscreen) DB ticket machines

There are a few locations you can book your tickets:

  • Online. The engine will automatically look up the cheapest possible fares according your requirements, including any applicable early-booking discounts. Pay online, print out your ticket, bring it along and you're set.
  • At an automat. If you're already at the station, find a new (touchscreen) ticket machine, tap the British/UK flag, and then navigate through the menus. Like the online engine, they will automatically suggest the best routes, and credit cards are accepted. Ticket machines for the local Verkehrsverbund are yellow, white or gray. They can be used on all local transport in the area, including DB trains, but are not valid outside it. DB's ticket machines, which are red or blue, can sell you both local (VB) and regional (DB) tickets. For regional train travel between VBs, you'll have to use a DB ticket machine or buy your ticket at a Reisezentrum. If you're using an old red machine that doesn't have the code for your destination, punch in "9999" to buy a Fahrkarte Anfangsstrecke (preliminary ticket), which can be upgraded to the correct fare on board without penalty. The new touchscreen machines accept credit cards, but the old ones do not.
  • At a manned ticket counter. Head to any major train station (Hauptbahnhof) and find the Reisezentrum. You will need to queue and pay a small surcharge.
  • On the train. If you're really in a hurry, just run onto the train and grab any non-reserved seat, then buy a ticket from the conductor. This will cost you about 10% extra. Almost all conductors — and at least every main conductor, called the Zugchef ("Train Boss") — speak English. However, local tickets are usually not sold on local trains, you need to buy them at the station. If in doubt, signs on the platform or on the train itself saying Einstieg nur mit gültigem Fahrausweis mean that you have to have a ticket before you board. Drivers on buses and trams, though, usually do sell tickets.

Now, if you're traveling on local trains, things can get hideously confusing very fast. The basic unit of confusion is the Verkehrsverbund (VB), or "tariff union", which is basically a region around a large city that has a single tariff system. Examples include VBB [25] around Berlin and RMV [26] around Frankfurt. Any travel within a single Verkehrsverbund is "local", and usually quite cheap; but any travel between Verkehrsverbunds requires either a special (within North Rhine-Westphalia) or the full DB fare, and will usually be considerably more expensive. The catch is that DB trains often merrily cross between Verkehrsverbunds with no warning at all, and your "local" ticket stops being valid the instant you cross the invisible line.

Local tickets have to be paid for by cash, and credit cards are not accepted, even on DB machines that do usually accept credit cards. Change in coins is given, but no more than €10. With many local machines and old DB machines, you'll need to figure out the four-digit code for your destination, found on a panel of densely packed print nearby. Poke the flag button to switch to English, punch in the code for your destination station on the keypad, then hit the appropriate button in the left ("adult") row below to pick your ticket — the first button is always one-way single (Einzelfahrausweis). A price will be displayed: feed in your money (quickly, since the timeout is quite fast!), and the machine will spit out your tickets and change. For new blue DB machines, select the local tariff union in the top menu, and the rest is easy.

If you buy a local VB ticket, you will usually have to validate it by timestamping it at the bright yellow punch machines located on platforms. If you have no valid ticket, or an unpunched ticket, you will be fined as a fare dodger. Ticket validity varies randomly from one VB to another: usually there is either a zone system (the further you travel, the more you pay), a time system (the longer you travel, the more you pay), or most commonly a combination of these two. Unlimited transfers between trains, buses etc are usually allowed as long as your ticket remains valid. Discounts may be given for return trips, and one-day tickets (Tageskarte) are usually cheaper and much less hassle that single tickets, although zone limits apply to them as well. You can often pick up brochures attempting to explain all this, usually with helpful maps and occasionally even in English, at a local Reisezentrum.

Regional train tickets are point-to-point, with the destinations written on the ticket. They are only valid on trains, although for long-distance tickets, you may have the option to add on a local transport ticket at your destination for a few euro extra.

Special fares

There are some special promotions and prices the rail company offers at various times. Your best course of action is to check their website, or to ask at a train station or their telephone hotline for current details. However, some general points to keep in mind are:

  • If you buy a return ticket at least three days in advance you can get discounts of 25% and even 50% if your trip includes the night from Saturday to Sunday. Unlike standard fare tickets you must use the trains you booked the ticket for and cannot choose an earlier or later one.
  • Children up to fourteen years travel free when accompanied by at least one of their parents or grandparents.
  • If you plan to travel by train a lot, you may consider getting a BahnCard, valid for 12 months (from the date of purchase), which gives you discounts on all ticket purchases.
  • The BahnCard 25 costs €57 (€114 for first class) and gives you a 25% discount on all further ticket purchases. Spouses and kids of BahnCard 25-owners can get additional cards for €5.
  • The BahnCard 50 is €225 (€450 for first class) and gives you a 50% discount on all tickets. You can get this card for half the price if you're a pupil or student (up to 26 years of age), a pensioner of more than 60 years or disabled. If you are a student in Germany and under the age of 26, you can get the BahnCard50 for only €113.
  • The BahnCard 100 is €3650 (€6150 for first class) and gives you a 100% discount on almost all tickets. An example for the exceptions is the AutoZug, which is a train that allows you to take your car along. You will have to pay some additional fare to use the night trains and the ICE Sprinter.

If you don't want to buy the BahnCard, book the train ticket one week in advance, and you also can get half priced tickets, but there is a catch: you have to arrange your itinerary carefully, and you will return back to where you began, and the duration should cover the weekends. Besides the train that you can take is fixed (the train code will be given to you).

  • The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (translated as 'Lovely Weekend Ticket') lets you travel anywhere in Germany on a Saturday or Sunday until 3AM the following day. It is, however, valid only on regional trains (IRE, RE, RB, S), many private railways and on most of the other means of public transport, but not express or night trains (ICE, IC, etc.). If you have time on your hands, it is a very inexpensive option at just €35 for up to 5 people. It is not uncommon to be asked by fellow travellers at a major train station if you have such a ticket in order to travel as a group and share the costs. The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket is potentially an ultra-cheap form of long distance travel: You can get from Munich to Hamburg for €7, taking 12+ hours, however it's still faster and more comfortable than taking the bus.
  • If your travel is contained within a single Bundesland (state), then you can buy a Länder-Ticket [27], which is much like a Schönes-Wochenend-Ticket, except that they're valid on weekdays (after 9 AM) and limited to that state (plus, usually, a few short links across the border). Tickets cost around €17 for 1 person and €27 for up to five people.
  • The German Rail Pass and the Eurail Pass [28] allow for unlimited travel throughout Germany and Europe on a select number of days. These tickets are available only from travel agencies outside Germany.

Information for railway fans

There are several railways of special interest in Germany.

  • the Rasender Roland on Rügen
  • the Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn Molli in Bad Doberan
  • the Harzquerbahn
  • the Harzer Schmalspurbahn
  • Lössnitz Valley Railroad
  • the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, the world's oldest monorail
  • the H-Bahn in Dortmund
  • the Schwebebahn Dresden
  • the Transrapid [29] maglev test track in Emsland

Cog railways are in Stuttgart, up Drachenfels, up the Zugspitze Mountain and up the Wendelstein Mountain.

For an almost complete list, see de:Sehenswerte Eisenbahnen in Deutschland.

DB subsidiaries

  • Burgenlandbahn [30] (Artern - Nebra - Naumburg, Zeitz - Teuchern - Weißenfels / Naumburg, Querfurt - Merseburg, Merseburg - Schafstädt)
  • Usedomer Bäderbahn (Usedom/ Baltic Sea)

Other railway corporations

  • ABELLIO Rail [31] (Gelsenkirchen - Herne - Bochum (Nokia-Bahn), Essen - Bochum - Witten - Hagen (Ruhr-Lenne-Bahn))
  • Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft [32] (around Karlsruhe)
  • Allgäu Express [33] (München - Oberstdorf)
  • Altona-Kaltenkirchen-Neumünster Eisenbahn [34] (Hamburg-Eidelstedt - Ulzburg - Neumünster, Elmshorn - Ulzburg, Ulzburg - Norderstedt Mitte)
  • Bahnbetriebsgesellschaft Stauden [35] (Gessertshausen - Fischach - Markt Wald, Günzburg - Krumbach)
  • Bayerische Oberlandbahn [36] (München - Lenggries / Tegernsee / Bayrischzell)
  • Bayerische Zugspitzbahn [37] (Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Grainau - Schneefernerhaus/Zugspitzplatt)
  • Bodensee-Oberschwaben-Bahn [38] (Friedrichshafen Hafen - Aulendorf)
  • Borkumer Kleinbahn und Dampfschiffahrt [39] (on the North Sea island Borkum)
  • Breisgau-S-Bahn-Gesellschaft [40] (Freiburg - Breisach, Riegel - Endingen - Breisach, Riegel - Gottenheim, Freiburg - Elzach)
  • Brohltal Schmalspur-Eisenbahn [41] (Brohl - Engeln)
  • Busverkehr Ober- und Westerzgebirge Bahn [42] (Cranzahl - Oberwiesenthal, Radebeul Ost - Radeburg)
  • Chiemseebahn [43] (Prien(DB) - Hafen Stock)
  • City Bahn Chemnitz [44] (Chemnitz - Stollberg, Stollberg - St. Egidien - Glauchau, Chemnitz - Burgstädt, Chemnitz - Hainichen)
  • Connex Sachsen [45] (Cottbus - Görlitz - Zittau, Leipzig - Bad Lausick - Geithain, Görlitz - Bischofswerda - Dresden)
  • Dessau-Wörlitzer Eisenbahn [46] (Dessau - Wörlitz)
  • Döllnitzbahn [47] (Oschatz - Mügeln - Kemmlitz, Nebitzschen - Glossen)
  • NordWestBahn [48]

By bus

A few long distance bus lines exist within Germany, most of them orientated to/from Berlin. Besides, there is a very useful long distance bus line, the "Neun-Euro Bus". If booked in advance, you can end up paying just nine euro for any trip on the bus line connecting Hamburg (+airport), Hanover (+airport), Kassel, Frankfurt (+airport), Mannheim and Heidelberg. The bus runs during the night. For more information, check [49]

Apart from these, there is a very dense network of regional and local bus lines. In rural areas though, many lines run only once per day. Regional and local express bus line designators usually contain the letter(s) CE (local), E (regional around Hamburg; in other areas, E is used for special runnings), S (regional), SB (regional and local) or X (local within Berlin), city bus line designators may contain the letter(s) BB ("Bürgerbus", not integrated within tariff unions), C or O. Always check the departure boards carefully: sometimes - especially at night or in rural areas - you have to order your bus by phone.

By car

Germany has a world-famous network of excellent roads and Autobahn (motorway) with no toll or fees for cars (trucks have to pay), but gasoline prices are kept high by taxation. As of July 2009 prices float around €1.30 per litre for petrol (91 and 95 octane), and around €1.10 per litre for diesel. Oddly, normal petrol and "super" is the same price in Germany. At petrol stations you'll have the choice between Diesel, Benzin (91 octane), Super (95 octane) and SuperPlus (98 octane) or Ultimate (100 octane). Also LPG (Liquid petroleum gas) is available with not so much problems on Highways. Here and there you might find "Erdgas", too; this is compressed natural gas not gasoline. In Germany, you may first fill up your tank and pay afterwards (only if the petrol station is staffed, of course). Some stations will not release the fuel to pump unless you pay first or at least hand over a credit card in advance.

Car Rental and Carpools

All German airports offer car hire services and most of the main hire firms operate at desk locations

Car hire and pool cars are also available in most cities, and one-way rentals (within Germany) are generally permitted with the larger chains without an additional fee. When renting a car, be aware that most cars in Germany have manual gearbox (stick-shift), so you might want to ask for a car with an automatic gearbox if that's what you're used to. Mind that in Germany you´re not allowed to drive a manual transmission car if you got your license on an automatic gearbox car.

Another great way to get around without your own car is using one of the popular car pool services. You can arrange many connections over their respecive websites if you speak some German or have a friend that can help you out. Making contact is free of charge and getting a lift is often the cheapest way to get around. The two most popular hosts are Mitfahrgelegenheit [50] and Mitfahrzentrale [51], for second one you have to pay an extra charge. If you have your own car, taking other people is also a great way of saving money and protecting the environment.

Traffic rules

Most foreign licenses are accepted for up to a year if you are at least 18 years old. After a year, you must obtain a German license. This rule does not apply to driving licences issued in EU member states.

  • Traffic Lights: You may not turn right on red traffic lights except if there is a small green right arrow sign affixed to the traffic light. In that case you may carefully turn right, however you must still stop and make sure that there is no traffic or pedestrians approaching. Sometimes instead of a sign there's a light with the same symbol on it, you're allowed to turn right without stopping as long as the light is on; the same applies to left arrow lights.

In many areas traffic lights are not hung over the intersection, but instead placed at the corners. Do not creep into the intersection or else you won't be able to see the lights change. Some intersections (especially in bigger cities) use "self regulating" traffic lights. The inductive sensor device used to determine if there's a car waiting is under the thick white stripe in front of the traffic light. Be sure to stop right in front of (or very slightly on) that stripe or the sensor might not recognise you, the light will still turn green but you might have to wait quite a while longer.

Yellow lights are short in duration and are also used prior to the light turning green. If the yellow light is flashing this means the traffic light either is defective or switched off (for example late at night or during weekends), and you MUST STOP at the intersection as though you were at a stop sign (observe "right before left" or stop signs). Driving through the lights at red carries a fine (up to €200).

  • Mobile phones: Using your mobile phone while driving is forbidden, unless you use a hands-free set. This includes using the mobile phone while stopped at a traffic light, etc. It does not matter if you use the phone for making a call or just reading the clock: If you pick it up, you are violating the rule. This also means that using a navigation software on a smartphone is not allowed, unless the phone is mounted in the car. The police are quite strict about this.
  • Cyclists and road markings: Normal road markings are white. Yellow road markings invalidate any existing white markings, observe the yellow markings. Watch out for cyclists on sidewalk lanes, sometimes they are allowed to use the "wrong direction" lane (though many drive in "wrong direction" even if they are not allowed to do so). If a road crosses a bicycle lane (Radweg) it might have a red color where it interjects with the bicycle lane or other special markings, if that´s the case cyclists have right of way. If in doubt or there are no markings, its still a good idea to give right of way.
  • Traffic Police: The police will show blinking signs reading "Polizei Halt" (police, stop) if they want to stop you. An audible "yelp-signal" is currently being introduced. Stay calm and friendly, hand over the driving license and car papers (if you rent a car, you will have a copy of the rental contract) when you are asked to. In most cases that is all that happens and if you respect traffic signs and speed limits it is very unlikely that you get stopped at all.

The police may routine check vehicle drivers for alcohol; controls will be especially heavy at national holidays or close to mass events where people may consume alcohol. It's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.05% (0.5‰ (permille)). Even below that limit you may face severe fines if you seem unfit to drive. The limit is zero for people under 21 and those who have held their license for less than two years. If your license was recently renewed, it might be a good idea, if possible, to have a copy of your previous license.

All accidents, no matter how small, must be reported to the police at the time. You will usually be asked to show your driving licence, some other form of ID and the car papers (Zulassungsbescheinigung - a long green card covered with numbers which is found in all rental cars). The police will fill out an accident report (which is usually needed by most car rental companies for insurance claims), stating where and when the accident took place and the vehicles involved in the accient. There is also usually a fine to pay (approximately €25 if the accident was caused in "stationary" traffic i.e. parking and can be up to €40 if the accident was caused in "moving" traffic) which must be paid either on the spot or at the nearest police station. The fine can be higher if there was an obstruction or hazard to other road users. Hitting-and-running, if caught, is punished with a heavy fine (the German police possess surprising efficiency when it comes to tracking down foreign cars caught breaking the traffic laws).

  • Speed limits are the following in Germany (unless otherwise shown):
  • max. 7 km/h on "Spielstraßen" (marked by a blue/white sign showing playing kids)
  • max. 30 km/h in most residential areas within cities (marked with a sign "30-Zone Wohngebiet", 20-Zone and 10-Zone also exist)
  • max. 50 km/h inside towns and cities (including "Kraftfahrtstraßen" (marked by a sign showing a white car on a blue background))
  • max. 100 km/h outside towns and cities
  • There is no constant general speed limit on the "Autobahn" or on "Kraftfahrstraßen" if there is any kind of barrier between two or more lanes of different direction. However, it is not an entirely unrestricted roadway as there are sections that are periodically or permanently assigned lower rates of speed. The recommended maximum speed on the Autobahn is 130 km/h and if you drive on the Autobahn for your first time and are not yet used to the usual heavy traffic you should not exceed that speed. In addition, if you are legally travelling in excess of 130 km/h and are involved in an accident you can still be held liable for part or all of the damages, regardless of fault on your part.

Speed cameras are common in Germany (the country has one of the highest speed camera concentrations in Europe) and are found mostly in towns and cities. There are usually no speed cameras on the motorway, even when there is a speed limit in force, however do not abuse this fact. Temporary road works on the motorway are usually a favourite for the police, so obey the speed limit, which is clearly marked. Also be aware that all forms of radar jammers and radar detectors (including satellite navigation systems with a speed camera overlay) are illegal.

The following table gives an overview of the fines for speeding (the speeds below indicate the difference between the speed limit and the actual speed travelled after the 3 km/h allowance has been deducted)

Inside built-up areas

  • up to 10 km/h €15
  • 11-15 km/h €25
  • 16-20 km/h €35
  • 21-25 km/h €80 [1 point]
  • 26-30 km/h €100 [3 points]
  • 31-40 km/h €160 [3 points, 1 month driving ban]
  • 41-50 km/h €200 [4 points, 1 month driving ban]
  • 51-60 km/h €280 [4 points, 2 months driving ban]
  • 61-70 km/h €480 [4 points, 3 months driving ban]
  • over 70 km/h €680 [4 points, 3 months driving ban]

Outside built-up areas (e.g. motorway, country roads; also in road works)

  • up to 10 km/h €10
  • 11-15 km/h €20
  • 16-20 km/h €30
  • 21-25 km/h €70 [1 point]
  • 26-30 km/h €80 [3 points]
  • 31-40 km/h €120 [3 points]
  • 41-50 km/h €160 [3 points, 1 month driving ban]
  • 51-60 km/h €240 [4 points, 1 month driving ban]
  • 61-70 km/h €440 [4 points, 2 months driving ban]
  • over 70 km/h €600 [4 points, 3 months driving ban]

NB: There are extra fees of €23.50 for any fine over €40.

You have the right to appeal against any traffic violation, however this process is long, complicated and can cost a lot of money.

Vehicles with a maximum speed of less than 60 km/h are not allowed on the "Autobahn" or "Kraftfahrstraßen".

  • 'Green' Measures: All cars driving into an Umweltzone (pollution-free zone) need a special vignette (Feinstaubplakette) according to their pollution category. Signs at the start of pollution-free zones will show which vignette is needed to be allowed to enter (green, yellow, or red), and which cars are not allowed to enter. If a car does not have a vignette at all, its not allowed to enter a pollution-free zone. If you rent a car make sure to ask if it has a Feinstaubplakette.

Using the Autobahn

  • German drivers tend to drive faster and more aggressively than you might be used to, especially on the parts of the highway system without a speed limit, which is taken literally.
  • The minimum speed limit on the Autobahn is 60 km/h. Vehicles unable to travel this fast are not permitted to use the Autobahn.
  • While most passenger vehicles only have a recommended speed limit of 130 km/h, vehicles with studded tires must not travel faster than 145 km/h, some buses generally have a speed limit of 100 km/h, and any vehicle towing a trailer, along with buses in general and non-passenger vehicles with a gross weight of greater than 3,5 tonnes, is limited only to 80 km/h.
  • Road signs on the Autobahn show possible destinations (mostly city names). They do not show the direction of the road (e.g. east/west), like in some other countries. Signs at exits rather show the name of the next exit than destinations.
  • You must use the right lane if it's free, even if everybody seems to prefer the left and middle lanes (where they exist). You may stay in the left/middle lane if there are occasional slow vehicles on the right. Overtaking on the right lane is not allowed and can be dangerous as other drivers may not expect it. You must always pass vehicles on the left side, except in a traffic jam (note that passing on the right is allowed on other streets within city limits). Before using the left lane in order to overtake look carefully behind as there might be really fast cars coming.
  • Autobahns have an emergency lane where you can stop only in case of a breakdown or when otherwise unavoidable. For everything else, always use the frequent service areas; it is illegal and dangerous to stop there for other reasons. Running out of fuel on the Autobahn may also incur a small fine if the police happens to notice you, as this is considered to be avoidable. If you have to stop you must set up your warning triangle. The emergency lane is a dangerous place - you should leave your vehicle and stay off the road until help arrives!
  • Arrows on the small posts along the Autobahn will guide you to the next orange emergency phone. These will automatically connect you free of charge with an emergency call center which will help you get the police, an ambulance or just a mechanic. These phones should be the preferred choice over using your mobile since they transmit your exact location.
  • In some areas emergency tracks are used as extra lanes in times of heavy traffic. But this is always announced by electronic light signs.

In case of a breakdown you may also call the ADAC, the world's largest automobile club. The number is +49 180 2222222 from fixed lines and 22 22 22 from mobile phones regardless of network. On the Autobahn, the ADAC must always come to you free of charge. In other situations, there may be costs involved if you're not a member. If you're a member of a foreign AA or automobile club, you may want to check if the ADAC honours your membership.

By recreational vehicle and campervans

German campgrounds (like most in Western Europe) usually offer a full range of amenities. You'll always have your own electricity hookup, and water and sewer hookups for each are common, too. Every campground has restrooms and showers as well as kitchens, washing-machines and a spin dryer.

The yellow pages of camping, or, if you like, the German camping bible, is the ADAC Campingführer, a campground guide by Germany's largest automobile club ADAC. It lists almost all campgrounds along with prices, type of location, size, opening hours, amenities, you-name-it. Since the guide uses lots of symbols which are explained in a number of languages, it's suitable for travellers from abroad, too.

By thumb

It is possible to hitchhike in Germany and most Germans speak basic English, so you will be understood if you speak slowly. Drivers rarely expect you to give them any money for the ride. The first letters of the German number plate (before the hyphen) indicate the city in which the car is registered. If you know the code for your destination [52] it will increase your chances of stopping the right vehicle.

It is illegal to stop on the Autobahn itself, but hitchhiking from service areas or petrol stations is a good way of getting long rides (100-200 km). The hard part is getting onto the Autobahn, so it pays off to sleep near the gas stations if you are going far. At the gas stations you can get a free booklet called Tanken und Rasten with a map of the Autobahn and its gas stations. When getting a lift, agree with the driver where to get off, and make sure there is a gas station. Try to avoid the Auto Hofs.

It is also quite common to arrange a ride in a private vehicle in advance through on offline agency or the Internet. Offline agencies like Citynetz [53] or ADM [54] do have offices in major cities, mostly near the city center or the main railway station. These offline agencies do charge a commission to the cost for fuel you need to pay for the driver.

In the recent years online services to arrange rides in private vehicles became very popular, as both parties do not have to pay the commission to traditional agencies. You need to contribute only towards fuel costs. (example fare: Frankfurt to Berlin €25). You can contact the driver directly by email, phone or sms. As the drivers need to be registered, it is safer than hitchhiking. Hitchhikers [55] is a comparable service, multilingual and free. Mitfahrgelegenheit [56] and Mitfahrzentrale [57] are other well known players with plenty of rides in their databases. Mitfahrzentrale even operates all over Europe. Raumobil [58] is a new player in the market but a more private-run affair. Mitflugzentrale [59] arranges rides in private planes.

Another form of hitchhiking available in Germany is on the trains. People purchase a Wochenende-ticket (weekend ticket) which allows them to take up to four other people with them on the regional transports for the entire weekend. To hitch a ride with these travelers, first figure out which regional transportation you will need to take in order to reach your destination. You may figure that out online at the German train website [60], making sure to check "regional transportation only", or train stations in major cities have computer terminals in which you can do the same. Then just hop on the train that is going your way. Always, within one car you will find someone willing to let you tag along. "Haben Sie ein Wochenendeticket?" Do you have a weekend ticket? "Kann ich bei Ihnen mitfahren?" Can I travel with you?. Just make sure it is the right train and the weekend.


The official language of Germany is German. The standard form of German is called "Hochdeutsch" (High German). This is accent-free or better dialect-free German, the "official" form of the language. It is understood by all and spoken by almost all Germans. However, every region has its historical dialect, which might pose a challenge sometimes to those who speak even good German - and even to native speakers as well. This is usually only noticeable in the south and rural areas of the north and east. Thus when traveling in Bavaria, Saxony and Baden you are stepping foot in places where dialect remains a strong part of the local identity. The general rule of thumb is, south of the Main River divides north Germany from the south in both language dialects and local culture.

All Germans learn English at school, so you should be able to get by with English in most places. Many people--especially in the tourism industry and higher educated persons--also speak French, Russian or Spanish, but if you can't speak German, English remains your best bet. Even if one member of the staff doesn't speak English, you are likely to find someone who does and is more than willing to help you. In the southeastern part of that area, a small Slavic community of 50,000 also speak the Sorbian language, the least spoken modern Slavic language today, but widely protected from near-extinction since 1945.

If you address a German with English, always ask "Do you speak English?" or its German translation "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" It is considered a sign of politeness.

Germans less fluent in the English language often answer questions very briefly (one or two words) because they feel uncertain how to create a complete English sentence. This might sometimes appear impolite but it is not at all meant this way. Germans less fluent in English also often say "become" instead of "get" because the German word "bekommen" ("get") is phonetically so close to "become". Since it's polite to reply "Bitte" if someone thanks you, Germans may literally translate this with "please" instead of "here you are" or "you're welcome". Another source of confusion is that Germans call mobile (cell) phones a "Handy" and many of them regard this as an English word.

While Germany uses the 24 hour format for times, people very often use 12 hour times in conversations. There is no real suffix like "AM/PM", though you can add "vormittags" (before noon) and "nachmittags" (after noon) when it's not clear from the context. Another difference is that when saying the time is 7:30 the English would say "half past seven" where as the Germans say the time half to eight, or "halb acht." In addition, Germans say two-digit numbers "backwards": instead of "twenty-two" they say "two and twenty." Numbers below 20 are said the same way as in English. This becomes especially important when you inquire for prices, although most who speak English with you should use the correct form. It is still better to double-check what is really meant.

See also: German phrasebook.


Germany offers virtually every activity you can imagine. Most Germans are members of a sports club and visit cultural events less often. Due to the federal structure every region has its own specific activities.


Due to its size and location in central Europe, Germany boasts a large variety of different landscapes, offering many activities related to nature, from hiking in the forests to exploring the picturesque islands off the northern coasts!

  • Seacoasts: Germany's north has coasts to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The landscape, especially along the North Sea shore is very flat, the climate is rough with strong winds and mild, chilly temperatures. Due to the south-easterly winds that press water into the German Bight, tidal variations are exceptionally high, creating the "Wattenmeer": Vast areas of the seabed are uncovered twice a day, allowing one to walk from one of the numerous islands to another. The North Sea islands just off the coast are very picturesque, although mostly visited by the Germans themselves. Most of the north sea islands are free of car traffic and guarantee a silent holiday. Out in the German Bight lies the country's only off-shore island, Helgoland. Thanks to the strong winds, Wind-Surfing is possible all year round. Do not expect Hawaiian temperatures, though.
  • Forests: Germans are fanatic about their forests. While they are much smaller now than they used to be in medieval times, they are still huge compared to forests in other, especially western and southern European countries and only thinly populated. Among others, the Black Forest and the Bayrischer Wald have been declared national heritage and will, over the course of the next centuries, slowly return into a wild state. Although Germans love to go for long walks and hikes in these dark and humid woods, there's space enough for everyone to get lost. If you take one of the smaller paths you may not meet another person for the rest of the day (this in a country of 230 people per square kilometer). Especially the more remote areas are of an almost mythical beauty. It is no wonder the brothers Grimm could collect all those fairytales among the dark canopies, and a large part of the German poetry circles around trees, fog and those lonely mountain tops. Even Goethe sent his Faust to the Brocken for his most fantastic scene. Today, wild animals, although abound, are mostly very shy, so you might not get to see many. While a few wolves in Saxony and a bear in Bavaria have been sighted, their immigration from Eastern Europe caused quite a stir. In the course of events "Bruno" (the bear) was shot, and while the wolves are under heavy protection local hunters have been suspected of killing them illegally. The most dangerous animal in Germany's forests is by far the wild boar, especially sows leading young are nothing to joke about. Wild boar are used to humans, since they often plunder trash cans in villages and suburbs and their teeth can rip big wounds. If you see one, run.
Königsee nearby Berchtesgaden, Bavaria St. Bartolomä
Königsee nearby Berchtesgaden, Bavaria St. Bartolomä
  • Mountains: The centre half of Germany is a patchwork of the so-called "Mittelgebirge": Hilly rural areas where fields and forests intermix with larger cities. Many of these hillranges are tourist destinations. Most noteably are the Bayrischer Wald (Bavarian Forest), the Black Forest, the Harz, the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) and Elbsandstone Mountains. In the extreme south, bordering Austria, Germany contains a small portion of the Alps, Central Europe's highest elevation, rising as high as 4000m (12,000 ft) above sea level, with the highest summit in Germany being the Zugspitze, at 2962m (9717 ft). While only a small part of the Alps lie in Germany, they are famous for their beauty and the unique Bavarian culture. A lot of people go there or further south into neighboring Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein for skiing in the winter and hiking and climbing in the summer.
  • Lake Constance: Lying along the country's south-western border with Switzerland and Austria, Lake Constance is Germany's largest fresh-water lake. The area around the Lake and up the lower Rhine valley has a very mild, amenable climate and fertile grounds, making it the country's most important area for wine and fruit growing.
  • The Romantic Road (Itinerary): is the most famous scenic route in Germany. It starts in Würzburg and ends in Füssen. Most important points to visit on the Romantic Street are the cities: Würzburg, Harburg, Donauwörth, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Definitely recommended--the best preserved Medieval city in Germany by far, with its original, complete city walls and no modern construction--if you can stand the crowds of tourists that have taken over the town, see this city. Some areas of the old city are less picturesque but very residential in character, including the high street. Be aware that the city closes extremely early, and the last triains leave around 20:00, or 8pm), Landsberg am Lech and Augsburg. Most notable wider areas are: Taubertal, Nördlinger Ries and Lechrain. (For cyclists there's a special route available called "Radwanderweg Romantische Straße".)


Germany is crazy about football (soccer to North Americans) and the German Football Association DFB [61] is the biggest FA association in the world with 6.35 million members (8% of the German population) in more than 25,000 clubs. Every village has a club and the games are the main social event on weekends. Participation is strongly encouraged.

In the winter many people go skiing in the Alps in Bavaria close to Munich.

Almost every middle-size German city has a spa (often called "Therme") with swimming pools, water slides, hot tubs, saunas, steam baths, sun roofs etc. The sauna areas are coed and people are nude there.

Cultural Events

Germany has world class opera houses (especially Berlin and Munich) and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra [62] is known as one of the Top3 orchestras in the world. Several theatres in bigger cities play outstanding classical and contemporary plays. Germanys prides itself in the wide varierty of cultural events and every city works out a cultural agenda.


Musicals are popular in Germany. Although there are some touring productions from time to time, most shows stay in a specific city for a few years. Most shows belong to the company called "Stage Entertainment". The main 'musical cities' are Hamburg, Berlin, Oberhausen, Essen, Stuttgart, Bochum and Cologne.



Germany is part of the European Union and the Eurozone; as such it replaced German marks with the euro (symbol: €) in 2002. If you have marks remaining from previous trips, they can still be exchanged at certain banks: inquire first before you attempt to convert your marks.

Do not expect anybody to accept foreign currencies or to be willing to exchange currency. An exception are shops and restaurants at airports and also - more rarely - fast-food restaurants at major train stations. These will generally accept at least US dollars at a slightly worse exchange rate. If you wish to exchange money, you can do so at any bank, where you can also cash in your traveller's cheques. Currency exchanges, once a common sight, have all but disappeared since the introduction of the euro. Again, international airports and train stations are an exception to this rule. Swiss Franc can sometimes be accepted near the Swiss border.

German banks have agreed on a standard debit card called "Maestro card" (Formerly called "EC card") this is far more accepted as plastic payment methods than credit cards from American Express, VISA and others. Pay close attention that they support "Maestro card", because it's very common in German super markets to only accept "electronic-cash cards" (Every German "Maestro card" is a "electronic-cash card" too, but most of the foreign "Maestro card" aren't). Nevertheless, credit cards are often accepted, but to a lower extent than in other European countries or the United States. Hotels, bigger retailer, gas stations and nationwide companies accept credit cards. If you want to pay smaller amounts (less than 40 Euro) with a credit card, it is best to check in advance if credit cards will be accepted. Most ATMs will allow you to withdraw money with your credit card or your foreign debit card, but you'll need to know your card's PIN for that.


Unlike in some other countries, service staff is always paid by the hour (albeit not always that well). A tip is a matter of politeness and shows your appreciation. If you didn't appreciate the service (e.g. slow, snippy or indifferent service), reduce the tip accordingly or don't tip at all.

Since the introduction of the Euro, a tip (Trinkgeld, lit. "drink money") of about 5-10% is customary if you were satisfied with the service. Nonetheless, service charge is already included in an item's unit price so what you see is what you pay.

Tipping in Germany is usually done by mentioning the total while paying. So if eg. a waiter tells you the bill amounts to "€13.50", just state "15" and he will include a tip of €1.50.

Tipping in other situations (unless otherwise indicated):

  • Taxi driver: 5%-10% (at least €1)
  • Housekeeping: €1-2 per day
  • Carrying luggage: €1 per piece
  • Public toilet attendants: €0.30-0.70


In common with most other Western European languages (but unlike English), in German a comma is used to indicate a decimal. For example, 2,99€ is two euros and 99 cents. The "€" symbol is not always used and may be placed both in front or after the price. A dot is used to "group" numbers, so "1.000" would be one thousand.

Taxes: Retail prices are reasonable and lower than in northern European countries but the value added tax, V.A.T., "Umsatzsteuer" (official, but even politicians use this rather sparsely) or "Mehrwertsteuer" (most Germans use this word) has been increased to 19% from 2007 onwards and therefore prices will slightly rise. Fuel, sparkling wine, spirits and tobacco are subject to even higher taxes, the first of those excise taxes - the "Branntweinsteuer" (spirit tax) - first being imposed on Nordhäuser Branntwein (the ancestor of Nordhäuser Korn) in 1507, the certainly most ridiculous of them - the sparkling wine tax - being introduced by Emperor Wilhelm II to finance the Kiel Canal and his war fleet. Some German brands of high end goods such as kitchen utensils, stationery, and hiking gear are considerably cheaper than abroad. V.A.T. is always included by law in an item's pricetag (only exception is for goods that are commercially exported but then duties might apply). There exists a reduced V.A.T of 7% i.a. for edibles (certain items considered luxury goods, e.g. lobster, are exempted from this reduction), print products, public transport (short-distance only) and admission price for opera or theatre.
Supermarkets: Many Germans rather look for prices than for quality when shopping for food. As a result, the competition between food discounters (which might be the cause of this very specific behaviour) is exceptionally fierce (in fact, WalMart had to retract from the German market because it failed at competing on price) and results in very low food prices compared to other European countries (though not compared to North America or the UK - as a general rule, a discount German supermarket will have similar quality compared to a North American discounter, but at mid-range prices). The chains "Aldi", "Lidl", "Penny" and "Plus/Netto" are a special type of supermarket (don't call it "Supermarkt" - Germans call it "Discounter"): Their range of products is limited to the absolute necessities of daily life (like vegetables, pasta, UHT-milk, eggs, convenience foods, toiletries etc.), sold in rather simple packaging for tightly calculated prices. While quality is generally surprisingly high (at least in relation to price levels), do not expect delicatessen or local specialties when you go to shop there. Many Germans buy their daily needs there and go to the more "standard" supermarket (like the chains Rewe, Real, Tengelmann/Kaisers, Globus, Famila or Edeka) to get more special treats. These however, are few in number, often far outside of town, and don't offer the selection of a Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Wal-Mart, but their personnel is trained to be especially helpful and friendly. Don't blame discounter personnel for being somewhat harsh; although they are paid slightly better than usual, they have to cope with a grim working atmosphere and a significantly higher workload than colleagues in "standard" supermarkets and therefore are certainly not amused about being disturbed in getting their work done. Beside those major chains, Turkish supermarkets which can be found in townships with predominantly Turkish population can be a worthwhile alternative since they combine the characteristics of discounters (low price levels but limited assortment) with those of "standard" supermarkets ((Turkish) specialties and usually friendly personnel).
Similarly it applies to clothes; although competition on this market is not that fierce and quality varies, cheap clothing of sufficient quality might be bought at C&A, but don't expect designer clothes though. During the end-of-season sales you should also compare prices of conventional stores since they may be even cheaper than the discounters. H&M sells cheap, stylish clothing, but with notoriously awful quality.
You can find supermarkets and certain other stores (only major chains) at [63].
Be prepared to bag your own groceries and goods as well as provide your own shopping bags for doing so. While most stores provide plastic as well as canvas shopping bags at the checkout, you are charged for them. The Germans think it is more environmentally-friendly to re-use bags rather than get a new one each time. It's a good reminder to also keep a euro coin handy for the buggys/shopping carts. They all require a euro to use the cart but you get it back once your shopping is done.
If you are looking for organic products, your best bet is to visit a "Bioladen" or "Biosupermarkt". (Bio- generally means organic.) There are also many farmers selling their products directly ("Hofladen"), most of them organized in the "Bioland" cooperative. They offer reasonable food at reasonable prices.
Factory Outlets: Germany has only about 6 Factory Outlet Centers, but approximately up to 1000 Factory Outlets called "Fabrikverkauf".
Local Products: You can find local food products (not necessarily organic) in most places at the farmer's market ("Wochenmarkt" or simply "Markt"), usually once or twice a week. While you your chances on finding english-speaking sellers there may be somewhat reduced, it's nevertheless quite fun to shop there and mostly you will get fresh and good quality food for reasonable prices. Most winemakers sell their products either directly or in "Winzergenossenschaften" (winemaker cooperatives). These wines are almost always superior to the ones produced by German wine brands. Quality signs are "VdP" ("Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter", symbolized by an eagle) and "Ecovin" (German organic winemaker cooperative). Wines made of the most typical German wine varieties are usually marked with "Classic".
Souvenirs: German honey is a good souvenir, but only "Echter Deutscher Honig" is a guarantee for reasonable quality. Along the German coasts, smoked eel is quite a common delicacy and a typical souvenir.
Recycling: Germany has an elaborate and confusing beverage container deposit ("Pfand") system. Reusable bottles, glass and plastic, usually cost between 8 and 15 cents Pfand per bottle depending on size. Additional Pfand is due for special carrying baskets matching the bottle measures. The Pfand can be cashed in at any store offering that brand of beverage. Nonreusable bottles and cans cost 25 Cents Pfand and can be cashed in at every large and most small stores. Exempt from Pfand are liquors, wine, milk and juices as well as containers considered "ecologically beneficial"; as a rule of thumb that is every container which is not a traditional can or bottle. There are also a few other instances where Pfand is due, for example for standardized gas containers. Pfand on glasses, bottles and dishware is also common at discotheques, self-service bars or public events.
Cigarettes are easily available in most kiosks, supermarkets and newsagents. Cigarette machines are often dotted around towns and cities (be aware you will need an EU driving licence or a debit card with an electronic chip to "unlock" the machine). As of July 2009, a pack of 17 costs around €4.20 and a pack of 24 costs around €5.70. The legal age to smoke in Germany is 18. Many Germans buy paper and tobacco separately as this is cheaper.

Opening hours

Due to a federal reform, opening hours are set by the states, therefore opening hours vary from state to state. Some states like Berlin, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have no more strict opening hours from Monday to Saturday (however, you will rarely find 24 hours shops other than at petrol stations). Sunday and national holidays (including some obscure ones) is normally closed for shops everywhere in Germany, including pharmacies. However single pharmacies remain open for emergencies. Information can be obtained here [64]. Shops are allowed to open on Sundays on special occasions called "Verkaufsoffener Sonntag", information on open Sundays may be found here [65].

As a rule of thumb:

  • Supermarkets: 8 or 9AM – 8PM
  • big supermarkets 8AM - 10PM
  • Shopping centers and great department stores: 10AM - 8PM
  • Department stores in small cities: 10AM - 7PM
  • Small and middle shops: 9 or 10AM – 6.30PM (in big cities sometimes to 8PM)
  • Petrol stations: in cities and along the "Autobahn" usually 24h a day
  • Restaurants: 11.30AM – 11 or 12AM(midnight), sometimes longer, many closed during afternoon

Small shops are often closed from 1 to 3PM If necessary in many big cities you will find a few (sometimes more expensive) supermarkets with longer opening hours (often near the main station). Bakeries usually offer service on Sunday mornings (business hours vary) as well. Also most petrol stations have a small shopping area.

In some parts of Germany (like Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr area) there are cornershops called "Kiosk", "Trinkhalle" (drinking hall) or "Büdchen" (little hut) that offer newspapers, drinks and at least basic food supplies. These shops are often run by Arab or Turkish immigrants and are, depending on the area, open till late night.

Basic supplies can usually be bought around the clock at gas stations. Gas station owners work around opening hour restrictions by running 7-Eleven style mini marts on their gas station property. Be aware that prices are usually quite high. Another exception to this law are supermarkets located in touristy areas. Towns designated as a Kurort (health resort) are allowed to have their stores open all week during tourist season. Just ask a local for those well-kept secret stores.


German food usually sticks to its roots and a typical dish will consist of meat with some form of potatoes and gravy, accompanied by vegetables or salad. The modern German cuisine has been influenced by other European countries such as Italy and France to become a bit lighter. Dishes show a great local diversity and it might be interesting to discover those. Since most bigger employers have a canteen for their employees, you will find few sandwich shops and takeaways and eating out culture in Germany is dominated by the Gasthaus/Gasthof and Restaurants to have proper food. Putting places to eat in 6 categories gives you a hint about the budget/taste. Starting from the lower end, these are:


'Schnellimbiss' means quick snack, and is what you will see on the sign of German stalls and small shops that sell primarily sausage (Wurst) and fries (Pommes Frites). Sausages will include Bratwurst, which is fried and usually a boiled pork sausage. A very German variant is Currywurst: sausage chopped up and covered in spiced ketchup, dusted with curry powder. Beer and often harder liquor are available in most.

'Döner Kebab' is Turkish lamb or chicken stuffed into bread, similar to Greek Gyros and Arab Schawarma. Even though considered Turkish, it's actually a speciality which originated in Germany. According to its legend, it was invented by Turkish immigrants in West-Berlin during the 1970s. In fact, the 'Döner' is Germany's most beloved fast food. The sales numbers of 'Döner' exceed those of McDonald's and Burger King products by far.

Nevertheless, fast food giants like McDonald's, Burger King and Pizza Hut are in most towns. Nordsee is a German seafood chain, they offer 'Rollmops' - soussed herrings - and many other fish and seafood snacks. However, many independent seafood snack-bars (most common along the German shores) offer slightly better and slightly cheaper seafood.

Bakeries and butchers

Germans have no tradition for sandwich shops, but you will find that bakeries / butchers sell quite nice take away food and are serious competition for the fast food chains. Even the smallest bakeries will sell many sorts of bread or rolls, most of them darker (for example, using wholemeal or more rye flour) than the white bread popular around the world and definitely worth a try. Even if they don't already have it prepared, almost all butchers will prepare a sandwich for you if you ask. Some butchers even prepare meals for you. This butcher 'imbiss' is mainly popular in southern Germany, and the quality and freshness of food is usually high.


Here you will get the obvious drink. In traditional beergardens in Bavaria it is possible to bring your own food if you buy drinks. Most places will cater simple meals. A very good place for beer and bavarian food is the Biergarten of "Kloster Andechs" close to the Ammersee (round 40km south of Munich).


Microbreweries sell their products straight to the customer and sometimes you will find some nice food there as well.


Probably 50% of all eating out places fall into this group. They are mainly family-run businesses that have been owned for generations comparable to taverns/pubs in the UK. You can go there simply for a drink, or to try German food (often with a local flavor). Food quality differs significantly from place to place but the staff will usually give you an indication of the standard; regulations require restaurant owners to indicate certain possibly harmful ingredients (e.g. glutamates/MSG) by footnotes - a menu containing lots of such footnotes usually indicates low quality; if a cheap "Gasthaus" / restaurant is overcrowded with Germans or Asians, this indicates at least sufficient quality (unless the crowd is caused by an organized coach excursion).


Germany has a wide range of flavors (e.g. German, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Polish, Indian, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Turkish) and almost all styles of the world are represented.

Turkish cuisine in Germany ranges from simple "Döner" shops to mostly family-run restaurants offering a wide variation of usually very cheap (in relation to German price levels) Turkish home cooking.

You will rarely find restaurants catering for special needs within Germany (e.g. kosher restaurants are common only in cities with a notable Jewish population like Berlin), although most restaurants will prepare special meals or variants for you if they are neither relying on convenience foods only nor too fancy. Most restaurants have at least some vegetarian meals. For muslims it is recommended to stick to Turkish/Arabic restaurants. At some Turkish or Arab food stalls vegetarians might find falafel and baba ganoush to suit their tastes. For not-so-strict Jews the halal Turkish food stalls are also the best option for meat dishes.

In most restaurants in Germany you can choose your own table. You can make reservations (recommended for larger groups and haute cuisine on Saturday nights) and these are marked by reservation cards ("Reserviert"). In expensive restaurants in larger cities you will be expected to make reservations and will be seated by the staff (who will not allow you to choose your table).

Restaurants in commercial areas often offer weekday lunch specials. These are cheap (starting at €5, sometimes including a beverage) options and a good way to sample local food. Specials tend to rotate on a daily or weekly basis, especially when fresh ingredients like fish are involved.

Table manners

At very formal events and in high-end restaurants, a few deviations of German customs from western standards should be noted:

  • It is considered bad manners to eat with your elbows resting on the table. Keep only your wrists on the table.
  • When moving the fork to your mouth, the curved end should point upwards (not downwards as in Great Britain)
  • When eating soup or other food from your spoon, hold it with the tip towards your mouth (not parallel to your lips as in, again, Great Britain). Spoons used to stir beverages, e.g. coffee, should not be put in the mouth at all.
  • If you have to leave the table, it is fine to put your napkin (which should have rested, folded once along the center, on your lap until then) on the table, to the left of your plate, in an elegant little pile -- unless it looks really dirty, in which case you might want to leave it on your chair.
Hearty Bavarian food on a fancy plate. Left to right: Schnitzel, pork belly (Schweinebauch) with red cabbage (Rotkohl), Weißwurst with mashed potatoes (Kartoffelpüree), Bratwurst on sauerkraut
Hearty Bavarian food on a fancy plate. Left to right: Schnitzel, pork belly (Schweinebauch) with red cabbage (Rotkohl), Weißwurst with mashed potatoes (Kartoffelpüree), Bratwurst on sauerkraut

Rinderroulade mit Rotkraut und Knödeln: this dish is quite unique to Germany. Very thin sliced beef rolled around a piece of bacon and pickled cucumber until it looks like a mini barrel (5cm diameter) flavoured with tiny pieces of onion, German mustard, ground black pepper and salt. The meat is quick-fried and is then left to cook slowly for an hour, meanwhile red cabbage and potato dumplings are prepared and then the meat is removed from the frying pan and gravy is prepared in the frying pan. Knödel, Rotkraut and Rouladen are served together with the gravy in one dish.

Schnitzel mit Pommes frites: there are probably as many different variations of Schnitzel as there are restaurants in Germany. They have in common a thin slice of pork often covered in egg and bread crumbs that is fried for a short period of time and it is often served with fries (that's the Pommes frites part). Variations of this are usually served with different types of gravy: such as Zigeunerschnitzel, Zwiebelschnitzel, Holzfäller Schnitzel and Wiener Schnitzel (as the name suggests, an Austrian dish – the genuine article must be veal instead of pork, which is why most restaurants offer a Schnitzel Wiener Art, or Viennese-style schnitzel which is allowed to be pork). In the south you can often get Spätzle (pasta that Swabia is famous for) instead of fries with it. Spätzle are egg noodles typical of south Germany – most restaurants make them fresh. It is very common to find Schnitzel on the menu of a German restaurant, it might even be the most common dish in German restaurants.

Rehrücken mit Spätzle: Germany has maintained huge forests such as the famous Black Forest, Bayrischer Wald and Odenwald. In and around these areas you can enjoy the best game in Germany. Rehrücken means venison tenderloin and it is often served with freshly made noodles such as Spätzle and a very nice gravy based on a dry red wine.

Wurst “sausage”: there is no country in the world with a greater variety of sausages than Germany and it would take a while to mention them all. “Bratwurst“ is fried, other varieties such as the Bavarian “Weißwurst“ are boiled. Here is the shortlist version: “Rote” beef sausage, “Frankfurter Wurst” boiled pork sausage made in the Frankfurt style, “Pfälzer Bratwurst” sausage made in Palatine style , “Nürnberger Bratwurst” Nuremberg sausage – the smallest of all of them, but a serious contender for the best tasting German sausage, “grobe Bratwurst”, Landjäger, Thüringer Bratwurst, Currywurst, Weißwurst ... this could go on till tomorrow. If you spot a sausage on a menu this is often a good (and sometimes the only) choice. Often served with mashed potato, fries or potato salad.

Koenigsberger Klopse: Literally "meatballs from Koenigsberg", this is a typical dish in and around Berlin. The meatballs are made out of minced pork and are cooked and served in a white sauce with capers and rice or potatoes.

Matjesbrötchen: Soussed herring or "roll mops" in a bread roll, typical street snack.

Local specialities

Starting from the north of Germany going south you will find a tremendous variety of food and each region sticks to it origins. The coastal regions are fond of seafood and famous dishes include “Finkenwerder Scholle”, going south to the region of Cologne you will find Sauerbraten (a roast marinated in vinegar), if made really traditionally it's from horse meat.

Labskaus (although strictly speaking not a German invention) is a dish from the north and the opinions about this dish are divided, some love it, others hate it. It is a mash of potato, beetroot juice and cured meat decorated with rollmops and/or young herring and/or a fried egg and/or sour cucumber and/or beetroot slices on top. The north is also famous for its lamb dishes, the best type of lamb probably being "Rudenlamm" (lamb from Ruden, a small island in the Baltic Sea; only a few restaurants in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania serve this), the second best type being "Salzwiesenlamm" (salt meadow lamb). The Lueneburger Heide (Lueneburg Heath) is famous not only for its heath but also for its Heidschnucken, a special breed of sheep. Be aware that a lot of restaurants import their lamb from New Zealand though because it is cheaper. Crabs and mussels are also quite common along the German coasts, especially in North Frisia.

A specialty of Hamburg is "Aalsuppe" which - despite the name (in this case "Aal" means "everything", not "eel") - originally contained almost everything - except eel (today many restaurants include eel within this soup, because the name led tourists into confusion). At the coast there's a variety of fish dishes. Beware: if a restaurant offers "Edelfischplatte", the fish may be not fresh and even (this is quite ironical) of poor quality. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that, for eating fish, you visit specialised (or quality) restaurants only. A fast-food style restaurant chain serving quality fish and other seefood at low prices all over Germany is "Nordsee", though you will rarely find authentic specialties there.

Pfälzer Saumagen: known for a long time in Palatinate, but difficult to find outside of this area. The dish became well known to the general public in Germany as then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s favorite dish, especially when this was enjoyed by him and the Russian president Mikhail Gorbatchev on a State visit in Germany in Deidesheim. Pictures of the feast are shown in the restaurant “ Deidesheimer Hof” in Deidesheim. Literally this is pig stomach filled with a mash of potato and meat, cooked for 2-3 hours and then cut in thick slices often served with sauerkraut.

Swabia is famous for Spätzle (a kind of noodle), "Maultaschen" (noodles stuffed with spinach and mince meat, but lots of variations, even veggie ones, exist).

In Bavaria this may be Schweinshaxe mit Knödeln (pork's leg with knödel, a form of potato dumplings), "Leberkäs/Fleischkäse mit Kartoffelsalat" (kind of meat pie and potato salad), "Nürnberger Bratwurst" (probably smallest sausage in Germany), Weißwurst (white sausages) and "Obatzda" (a spicy mix of several milk products).

The south is also famous for its nice tarts such as the "Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte" (tart with lots of cream and spirit made from cherries).

A delicacy in Saxony is Eierschecke, a cake made of eggs and cream similar to cheese cake.

A specialty of the East is "Soljanka" (originating from Ukraine, but probably the most common dish in the GDR), a sour soup containing vegetables and usually some kind of meat or sausages.

Seasonal specialities

White “Spargel” (asparagus) floods the restaurants in April/June all over Germany and it is delicious especially in and around Baden-Baden and the small town of Schwetzingen ("The Spargel Capital"), near Heidelberg, in an area north and north-east of Hannover (Lower Saxon Asparagus Route"), as well as in the area southwest of Berlin, especially in the town Beelitz and along the Lower Rhine, especially "Walbecker Spargel" (Walbeck is a suburb of Geldern). Many vegetables can be found all around the year and the are often imported from far away. Whereas asparagus can be found only for 2 months from mid April to mid June and is best enjoyed freshly after harvest it stays nice for a couple of hours or till next day. The asparagus is treated very carefully and it is harvested before it ever is exposed to daylight and only then it remains white. When exposed to daylight it changes its color to a green and it might taste bitter. Therefore, white asparagus is considered to be better by most Germans.

The standard Spargel meal is the spargel stalks, hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes, and some form of meat. The most common meat is ham, smoked preferred; however you will find it teamed with schnitzel (fried breaded pork), turkey, beef, or whatever is available in the kitchen.

White asparagus soup: one of the hundreds of different recipes that can be found with white asparagus is soup. Often it is made with cream and has some of the thinner asparagus pieces.

Lebkuchen: Germany has many nice Christmas biscuits and gingerbread. The best known are produced in and around Nuremberg.

Stollen is a kind of plaited bun during the Advent season and yuletide. Original Stollen is produced only in Dresden, Saxony, however you can buy Stollen everywhere in Germany (although Dresdner Stollen is reputed to be the best (and - due to the low salaries in Eastern Germany - comparatively cheap)).

Around St. Martin's day, roasted ducks and geese ("Martinsgans") are quite common in German restaurants, usually served with "Rotkraut" (red cabbage) and "Knödeln" (potato dumplings).


Germans are very fond of their bread, which they make in many variations. This is the food that Germans tend to miss most when away from home. Most people like their bread relatively dark and dense and scorn the soft loaves sold in other countries. Bakeries will rarely provide less than twenty different sorts of bread and it's worth trying a few of them. In fact, many Germans buy their lunch or small snacks in bakeries instead of takeaways or the like. Prices for a loaf of bread will range from 0.50 € to 4 €, depending on the size (real specialties might cost more).


Most restaurants have one or two vegetarian dishes, but there aren't many places which are particularly aimed at vegetarian or vegan customers, except some places in big cities like Berlin. If the menu does not contain vegetarian dishes, do not hesitate to ask for. Vegetarian restaurant guides can be found at [66] (german) or [67] (VEBU restaurant list, the restaurants are not necessarily vegetarian in general). Be aware when ordering to ask whether the dish is suitable for vegetarians, as chicken stock and bacon cubes are a commonly "undeclared" ingredient on German menues.

However, there are usually organic food shops ("Bioladen", "Naturkostladen" or "Reformhaus") in every city, providing veg(etari)an bread, breadspreads, cheese, icecream, vegan cream topping, tofu and seitan. The diversity and quality of the products is great and you will find shop assistants that can answer special nutritional questions profoundly.

Allergy & Celiac Sufferers

When shopping for foods, the package labeling in Germany is generally reliable. All food products must be properly labeled including additives and preservatives. Be on the look out for "Weizen" (wheat), "Mehl" (flour) or "Malz" (malt) and "Stärke" (starch). Be extra cautious for foods with "Geschmacksverstärker" (i.e. flavour enhancers) that may have gluten as ingredients.

  • Reformhaus [68] - a 3.000 strong network of health food stores in Germany and Austria that has dedicated gluten-free sections stocked with pasta, breads and treats. Reformhaus stores are usually found in the lower level of shopping centres (i.e. PotsdamerArkaden, etc.)
  • DM Stores [69] - the CWS/Shopper's Drug Mart equivalent in Germany has dedicated wheat and gluten free sections
  • Alnatura [70] - natural foods store with a large dedicated gluten-free section


The German federal states started banning smoking in public places in early 2007, however the laws vary from state to state. Smoking is however generally banned in restaraunts and cafes. Some places may provide separate smoking areas but it is best to enquire when booking. A loophole in these laws allows clubs and bars to advertise as a "Raucherclub" or "smoker's club", and therefore allow patrons to smoke, though sometimes charging an entrance fee. These establishments are often smoke-filled and extremely unpleasant. Savvy travelers ought to avoid them. Otherwise be prepared to step outside if you want to light up. Smoking is banned in all forms of public transport and on railway platforms (except in designated smoking areas, which are clearly marked with the word "Raucherbereich" [smoking area]).


Legal drinking age is 18 for spirits (drinks containing distilled alcohol) and 16 for everything else (e.g. beer and wine).


For centuries, beer-making in Bavaria has been governed by the Reinheitsgebot (purity law) that was made national policy with the unification of Germany in 1871, which states that German beer may be made only from hops, malt, yeast and water. The Reinheitsgebot has come down with the European integration, but German breweries still have to stick to it since for them, national law applies.

The domestic beer market is not dominated by one or a only a few big breweries. Even though there are some big players, the regional diversity is enormous, and there are over 1200 breweries with most of them serving only local markets. Usually bars and restaurants serve the local varieties that differ from town to town. When sitting in a German Kneipe, a local beer is always a option, and often the only option.

Specialities include Weizenbier (or Weissbier in Bavaria), a refreshing top-fermented beer which is popular in the south, Alt, a kind of dark ale that is especially popular in and around Dusseldorf, and Kölsch, a special beer brewed in Cologne. "Pils", the German name for pilsner is a light-gold colored beer that is extremely popular in Germany. There are also seasonal beers, which are made only at different times of the year (such as Bockbier in winter and Maibock in May, both containing a greater quantity of alcohol, sometimes double that of a normal Vollbier). Beer is usually served in 200 or 300ml glasses (in the northern part) or 500ml in the South. In Biergartens in Bavaria, 500ml is a small beer ("Halbe") and a liter is normal ("Maß" pronounced "Mahss"). Except for in Irish pubs, pints or pitchers are uncommon. For Germans, a lot of foam is both a sign of freshness and quality; thus, beer is always served with a lot of head. (All glasses have volume marks for the critical souls.) Additionally, Germans are not afraid to mix beer with other drinks (though the older generation may disagree). Beer is commonly mixed with carbonated lemonade (usually at 1:1 ratio) and called a "Radler" (or cyclist so named because it is commonly associated with a refreshing drink a cyclist might enjoy in spring or summer during a cycling excursion) (or "Alsterwasser"/"Alster" (after the river in Hamburg) in the north); "Cocktails" of Pilsener/Altbier and soft drinks like Fanta, a "Colaweizen" cola and dark wheat beer is another combination that can be found.

Pubs are open in Germany until 2 in the morning or later. Food is generally available until midnight. Germans typically go out after 8PM (popular places already fill up at 6PM).


Undisputed capital of "Apfelwein" cider in Germany is Frankfurt. Locals love their cider and it is very popular around here. There are even special bars ("Apfelweinkneipe") that will serve only "Apfelwein" and some gastronomic specialities. Cider is often served in a special jug called "Bembel". The taste is slightly different from Ciders in other countries and tends to be quite refreshing. In autumn when apples are turned into cider you might find "Frischer Most" or "Süßer" signposted at some places. That is the first product in the chain of "Apfelwein" production; one glass of it is nice, but after two or three glasses you will have a problem unless you enjoy spending lots of time on the toilet. In the Saarland and surrounding regions "Apfelwein" is called "Viez". It varies here from "Suesser Viez" (sweet), to "Viez Fein-Herb" (medium sweet) to "Alter Saerkower" (sour). The Viez capital of that region is Merzig. During winter it is also quite common to drink hot cider (along with some cloves and sugar). It is considered an efficent measure against an upcoming cold.


Germans drink lots of coffee. Currently, the port of Hamburg is the world's busiest place for coffee trading. Coffee is always freshly made from ground coffee or beans - no instant. However, persons coming from countries with a great coffee tradition (like Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Greece or Austria) might find the coffee that is served in normal restaurants a bit boring. A German specialty, originating from North Frisia but nowadays also common in East Frisia, is "Pharisäer", a mixture of coffee and a spirit, usually rum, with a thick cream top. A variation of this is "Tote Tante" (dead aunt, with coffee replaced by hot chocolate).

Over the past few years, American coffee house chain Starbucks has expanded into Germany, but mostly you will encounter "Cafés" which usually offer a large selection of cakes to go along with the coffee.


Visiting Germany in December? Then go and see one of the famous Christmas markets [71] (the most famous taking place in Nuremberg, Dresden, Leipzig, Münster and Aachen) and this is the place where you find Glühwein (mulled wine), a spiced wine served very hot to comfort you in the cold of winter.


“Kirschwasser” literally means cherry water; it certainly tastes of cherry but on the other hand it is not regular drinking water. There is a long lasting tradition in making spirits in Baden, and “Kirschwasser” is probably the flagship product and it might encourage you to taste other specialities such as Himbeergeist (from raspberry), Schlehenfeuer (flavored with sloe berries), Williamchrist (pear) and Apfelkorn (apple).

“Enzian” Bavarians like their beer as well their Enzian. A spirit high in alcohol that is best as a digestive after a hefty meal.

"Korn", made of grain, is probably the most common spirit in Germany. Its main production centre (Berentzen [72]) lies in Haselünne, where tours and tastings can be arranged in the distilleries. The town is located near the river Ems in northwest Germany; for rail service to Haselünne (very sparse) see Eisenbahnfreunde Hasetal [73].

In North Frisia, "Köm" (caraway spirit), either pure or mixed with tea ("Teepunsch", tea punch), is very popular.

"Eiergrog" is a hot mixture of egg liquor and rum.


Tea is also very popular, and a large choice is readily available. The region of East Frisia in particular has a long tea tradition, and is probably the only place in Germany where tea is more popular than coffee. The East Frisian tea ceremony consists of black tea served in a flat porcelain cup with special rock sugar (Kluntje) that is put in the cup before pouring the tea. Cream is added afterwards, but is not stirred into the tea.


Germans are just as passionate about their wines as they are about their beer. The similarities don't stop here, both products are often produced by small companies and the best wines are consumed locally and only the remaining ones are exported. The production of wine has a 2000 year old history in Germany as learned from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier, but of course this was a roman settlement at this time. Sunshine is the limiting factor for the production of wines in Germany and therefore the wine production is limited to the south. White wine plays a main role in the wine production, but some areas produce red wines (Ahr, Baden Württemberg). White wines are produced from Riesling, Kerner and Müller-Thurgau grapes (there are a lot more, but to name them all would be too much), and produce generally fresh and fruity wines. German wines can be rich in acid and are quite refreshing. It is generally accepted that Riesling grapes produce the best German wines, but they demand a lot of sunshine and they grow best in very exposed areas such the Mosel, Rheingau, Bergstrasse, Kaiserstuhl and Pfalz.

The best way to learn about wines is go to the place where they are grown and taste them on the spot. This is called "Weinprobe" and is generally free of charge though in touristic areas you have to pay a small fee. Good wines usually go together with good food and therefore it is well worth it to visit some of those places.

Another nice opportunity to get a taste of local wine is the so-called Straußenwirtschaft, Besenwirtschaft or Heckenwirtschaft. These are little "pubs" or gardens where a wine-producer sells his own wine, normally with little meals such as sandwiches or cheese and ham. Normally, they are open only in summer and autumn, and not longer than 4 months a year (due to legal regulations). As they are sometimes located in the vineyards or in some backstreets, they are not always easy to find, so you best ask a local for the next (or best) Straußenwirtschaft he knows.

Wine producing areas are:

Ahr Ahr is the paradise of German red wines. Half of the production is dedicated to red wines and it is densely populated with “Gaststätten” and “Strausswirten”. A saying goes: Who visited the Ahr and remembers that he was there, hasn’t actually been there.

Baden [74] With approx. 15,500 hectare of wine yards and a production of 1 mn hectolitre Baden is Germany’s third biggest wine growing area. It's the most southern German wine growing area and is Germany’s only member of the European Wine Category B together with the famous French areas Alsace, Champagne and Loire. Baden is more than 400 km long and is split into nine regional groups: Tauberfranken, Badische Bergstraße, Kraichgau, Ortenau, Breisgau, Kaiserstuhl, Tuniberg, Markgräflerland and Bodensee. The Kaiserstuhl and the Markgräflerland are the most famous areas for wine from Baden. One of the largest wine cooperatives is the Badischer Winzerkeller [75] in Breisach (English site).

Franken: Franconia is in the northern part of Bavaria and you can find there very nice wines. Some wines produced in Franconia are sold in a special bottle called "Bocksbeutel".

Hessische Bergstrasse: located on the slopes of the Rhine valley it is a quiet small wine producing area and wines are usually consumed within the area in and around Heppenheim.

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: the steepest vineyards in Germany can be seen when driving in the Mosel valley from Koblenz to Trier.

Pfalz: biggest wine producing area in Germany. Has some excellent wines to taste and a lot of nice villages embedded in vineyards. Tasting wine in Deidesheim is a good idea and several prime producer of German wine are all located on the main road. Want to see the biggest wine barrel in the world then go to Bad Dürkheim.

Rheingau: is the smallest wine producing area, but it produces the highest rated Riesling wines in Germany. Visit Wiesbaden and make a trip on the Rhine to Rüdesheim.

Rheinhessen too is especially famous for its Riesling.

Sachsen: One of the smallest wine regions in Germany, nestled along the Elbe River near Dresden and Meissen.

Württemberg As it was mentioned before, here the rule, that the wine production is consumed by the locals, strictly applies. The wine consumption is twice as high as in the rest of Germany, regardless of whether it's red or the white wine. The specialty of the region is the red wine called Trollinger and it can be quite nice by German standards.

Saale-Unstrut: located in the state Saxonia-Anhalt at the banks of the rivers Saale and Unstrut it is most northern wine area in Europe.


Germany provides almost all options for accommodation, including hotels, B&B's, hostels, and camping. You might also consider staying with members of a hospitality exchange network.


Most international hotel chains have franchises in the major German cities, and a large variety of local hotels exist. All hotels in Germany are ranked by stars (1 to 5 stars). The rankings are made independently and are therefore reliable. The rate always includes VAT, is usually per room and includes in most places breakfast. Prices vary significantly by city (Munich and Frankfurt are most expensive). A cheap and convenient way to stay are Ibis Hotels [76], usually located near major railway stations. For people who travel by car, Etap [77] hotels located at the outskirts of cities near autobahns offer rates that can compete with hostel prices; though those hotels are not necessarily better and they lack the individuality hostels are renowned for.


B&Bs ("Pensionen" or "Fremdenzimmer") (usually) provide less comfort than hotels for cheaper prices. The advantage is that you are likely to meet Germans and get a touch of the German way of living. A sign saying "zimmer frei" indicates a B&B with a room available.


Hostels provide simple, budget accommodation primarily in shared rooms. They are good places to get to know other travellers. In Germany, as in many countries, two flavors exist: international youth hostels and independent hostels.

International Youth Hostels ("Jugendherbergen") are owned and run by the association "Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk" (DJH), which is part of the Hostelling International (HI) network. There are more than 600 hostels spread all over Germany in big and small cities as well as in the country side. Not only individual travellers are guests but also school classes and other youth groups. To sleep there, you have to be or become a member in a youth hostel organisation belonging the HI network [78]. Detailed information about this and each of their hostels can be found on the DJH's [79]. Generally, this entails simply filling out a card and payng a few extra Euro per night. In general, the advantage of these places is that they tend to serve a buffet style breakfast for no additional charge, though this is not an absolute rule. However, the quality is often below that of private hostels, and many do not provide a good opportunity for socializing.

Privately run independent hostels are starting to be an attractive alternative for a similar price. More than 60 already exist in Germany, getting more and more every year. They are located in bigger cities, especially in Berlin, Munich, Dresden, and Hamburg. Only few are in the country side. Sometimes run by former travellers, hostels refrain from having strict rules. Especially small ones are frequently places where you can feel at home. Many are known for their vibrant, party atmosphere and can be an excellent way to meet other travelers. There is no need to be a member in some organisation to sleep there. About half of the hostels have organized themselves in a "Backpacker Network" [80], which provides a list of their members hostels. A website which lists almost every independent hostel in Germany is Gomio [81]. Of course, international room booking agencies such as Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are also good resources, and give travelers the ability to leave reviews.


There are countless campsites in Germany. They vary significantly in the infrastructure and standard. The ADAC, the German automobile club, offers an excellent guide for most German camping groups. If you are member of your national motorclub assistance and guides are free or at substantial reduced prices.

Some travellers just put up their tents somewhere in the country side. In Germany this is illegal, unless you have the landowner's permission. Practically however nobody cares as long as you are discreet, stay for one night only and take your trash with you. Be aware of hunting ranges and military practise grounds or you could be in significant danger of being shot.


German universities can compete with the best universities in the whole world. Since the vast majority of the universities are state-owned, studying in Germany is usually very cheap (50-500 Euros/semester), but keep in mind that the costs to make your living are quite high. Access to universities is easy for EU nationals, non-EU foreigners may face some bureaucratic hurdles and may be asked to provide proof that they can cover their own expenses. There are very few scholarships available, work-study jobs rarely exist, and student-loans are rare. In addition, Germany universities rarely provide the discounted and high quality amenities that other universities do. Oftentimes, German universities do not have a coherent campus, and opening hours can be short. Caveat Emptor.

German universities are now changing their traditional course system to Master/Bachelor programmes. As a general rule that means that the courses become more structured and school-like, with a higher workload. Nevertheless more self-initiative is expected at German Universities than in many other places. Help with problems is not "automatic" and newcomers may feel a little left alone in the beginning.

  • German Academic Exchange Service [82]
  • Goethe-Institut [83] offers German language courses


While the official unemployment rate in Germany is at around 8% (realistic figures might be much higher since only registered unemployment is counted and many German part-time workers are desperately wishing to work full-time), there are jobs for those with the right qualifications or connections. Non-EU foreigners wishing to work in Germany should make sure they secure the proper permits. Since this can mean extended acts of distinctly German bureaucracy especially for non-EU citizens; it is likely not a good method to help your travelling budget.

Non-EU students are permitted to work on their residence permits, but there is a limitation of 90 full (more than four hours worked) days per year or 180 half days (under 4 hours worked) without special authorization. Working through one's university, though, does not require a special permit.

Illicit work is rather common in Germany (about 4.1% of the German GDP) and virtually the only way to avoid the German bureaucracy. Being caught, however, can mean time in jail and you are liable to your employer to almost the same extent as if you worked legally.

If you want to stay in Germany for an extended period of time, but do not speak German, your best bets are large multinational companies in the banking, tourism or high-tech industries. Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and of course Hamburg and Berlin are likely the best places to start looking. A good knowledge of German is usually expected, but not always a prerequisite. English speakers who are certified teachers in their home countries might be able to secure work at American or British international schools. English teaching without these qualifications is not lucrative in Germany.

During the asparagus season (April to June) farmers are usually looking for temporary workers, but this means really hard work and miserable pay. The main advantage of these jobs is that knowledge of German shall not be required.

Applying for a job in Germany is different from many other countries. As in nearly every country there are some peculiarities that every applicant should know. Resources for information on how to apply in Germany are (in English) [84] or (in German) [85].

Stay safe

Germany is a very safe country and the law is strictly enforced. There are no ghettos but certain areas, like the areas surrounding main train stations, have a higher crime risk.

Pickpockets can be a problem in large cities or at events with large crowds. Bigger cities also have their share of beggars and punks usually watched closely by police. If you consider giving them money, keep the following in mind: Anyone complying with all rules of the German social system, among them to accept and tolerate virtually any work, shall receive enough money from the state to countervail against starving from hunger. Nevertheless, the procedure for getting that money, which does not suffice for anything but a very vulgar way of life, can be quite bureaucratic, frustrating and humiliating, leading some people into other ways of getting money. There is a low risk that a beggar belongs to a criminal gang not allowing him to keep any of the money for himself, similar may apply to the tip for lavatory attendants.

Symbols of Nazism (e.g. saying "Heil Hitler" or "Sieg Heil" or raising your hand for the Roman Salute), including Mein Kampf itself and any material questioning the extent of National Socialist crimes or praising its actions, are forbidden in Germany. The penalty for any kind of neo-Nazism is a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine (the maximum is €21,600). Foreigners are not exempted from this law and it will be very strictly enforced


The nationwide emergency number is 112. It is used for any type of emergencies (medical, fire, police). These numbers can be dialled toll-free from any phone, including phone booths and mobile phones (SIM-card required!). If you're reporting an emergency, the usual guidelines apply: Stay calm and state your exact location, the type of emergency and the number of persons involved. Don't ever hang up, the operator will terminate the call if all his questions about the emergency are answered.

There are emergency telephones interspersed along the main motorways. You can find the closest SOS-phone by the arrows on the reflection posts.

Ambulances can be summoned via the national toll-free emergency number 112 and will help you regardless of insurance issues. All except for the smallest private hospitals (Krankenhäuser) have 24-hour emergency rooms able to cope with all kinds of medical problems, although you may have to wait if your problem is not life-threatening.


Most foreign visitors will never deal with issues of open racial discrimination or racism. Large cities in Germany are cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic with large communities from all continents and religions. Germans are also aware of the historical burden of the Nazi era and are usually tolerant or at least appear to be so in contacts with foreigners. Public displays of overt anti-semitism are forbidden by strict laws that are enforced. Non-white visitors may get an occasional wary look (often caused by uneasiness or insecurity) but very rarely any verbal insults.

The situation is different in parts of Eastern Germany (including the outskirts of East Berlin). The feeling of being left alone with widespread under- and unemployment and the desperation caused thereby can lead any but the most intelligent people into xenophoby ("They're stealing our jobs") and therefore racism, making them easily biasable by right-wing groups. As a result there are more incidences of racist behavior than in the West with occasional incidents of violence. Most of these happen at night when groups of drunken "Neo-Nazis" look for trouble (and solitary victims) downtown or near public transport stations. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that white tourists get into trouble with these aggressive youth as their sole purpose is to show their might.

Large cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne have a significant Turkish, Russian and Arab population. Similar to the Neo-Nazis these groups tend to look for trouble at especially weekend nights and some of the (mostly poor and unemployed) youths gather at underground and railway stations in certain districts. Use your common sense to avoid them at night and do not travel alone (especially women) as these youths can easily be provoked and sometimes will attack you without any reason at all.


The German Police (Polizei) [86] is professional and helpful but tends to be rather strict. When dealing with officers it's usually best to remain calm, courteous and avoid getting into confrontations. Many officers were trained to deal with tourists in preparation for the 2006 World Cup, so they should speak basic English or have colleagues who do so.

Police are employed by the states except in airports, train stations, border crossings etc. which are controlled by the federal police. In mid-sized towns and big cities local police are called Stadtpolizei, kommunale Polizeibehörde or Ordnungsamt (in some states the Ordnungsamt does have law enforcement rights) and are in general responsible for traffic issues and small crimes. Labour issues are controlled by the customs services.

Police uniforms are green or blue. Green was the standard colour but some states have started a transition to blue uniforms (and cars) to comply with the EU standard. The federal police has already changed to blue uniforms and customs will keep their green uniforms.

The police and custom officers work together to control illegal immigration and the black labour market, mainly at construction sites and small businesses. By law you must have original or photocopied photo ID with you if you are over 16 (e.g. passport and/or visa papers). The police are generally very helpful but they have heard all the stories about "I forgot my papers" before and will likely be sceptical about any explanation, so it is better to bring photocopies if you have left your original documents in the hotel.

If you get arrested you have the right to have an attorney. Foreign nationals also have the right to contact their respective embassy for assistance. You are never obliged to make any statement that would incriminate yourself. If you are in trouble the best idea is to not make any statements before you've talked to your lawyer. If you don't have an lawyer call your embassy (or someone else who can find one for you) otherwise the local justice official will appoint a lawyer for you.


Prostitution is a legal business in Germany.

All larger cities have a red light district with licensed bars, go-gos, escort services and separees. Tabloids are full of ads and the internet is taking over as the main contact base. Be aware of the huge amounts of fakes. Brothels are not necessarily easily spotted from the streets. Best known for their red-light activities are Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne.

Due to Germany's proximity to Eastern Europe several cases of human trafficking and illegal immigrations have taken place. Police regularly raid brothels to keep this business within its legal boundaries. In general the police is not interested in the clients but you must have a photo ID with you. Otherwise you might be taken to the police station to check your identity.


Alcohol may be purchased by people 16 years and older. However distilled beverages and mixed drinks with those (including the popular 'Alcopops') are available only from 18 years on. It's not technically illegal for younger people to drink, but it's illegal to allow them to drink on premises. If the police notices, they may pick the person up, confiscate the drinks and send the person home in the presence of an officer.

Smoking is allowed from 18 years on. Vending machines for cigarettes will now require a valid "proof of age" to use them, which in practice means that you'll need a German bank card or a (European) driving license to use them.

The situation on marijuana is a bit confusing. The Constitutional Court ruled that possession for "personal use", though still illegal, should not be prosecuted. Germany is a federal state therefore the interpretation of this ruling is up to the state authorities. In fact charges are sometimes pressed even for tiny amounts, which will cause you a lot of trouble regardless of the outcome. As a general rule the northern states tend to be more liberal while in the south (especially Bavaria) even negligible amounts are considered illegal. The customs officials are also aware of the fact that you can legally buy marijuana in the Netherlands and therefore set-up regular border controls as the import is strictly prohibited.

Even if you get off the charges the authorities may cause different problems, like revoking your drivers licences etc. and if you have more than a few grams you will be prosecuted in any case. Also the drugs will be confiscated in all cases.

All other recreational drugs (e.g. ecstasy) will definitely lead to prosecution and earn you at least a police record.


Some types of knives are illegal in Germany, this concerns mostly some types of spring knives, "butterfly" knives, knuckle knives and the like. These knives are illegal and owning them is an offence. Knives that are intended as weapons are restricted to persons over 18 years.

Since recently it is illegal to carry any type of "dangerous knife" on your person in public -unless you have a valid reason to do so. For example, if you're going fishing you're still entitled to carry your fishing knife on you. "Dangerous" knives are generally those with a blade of more than 12cm and "one-handed" folding knives. They are still illegal to transport but can carried on a person only with a valid reason.

Firearms are strictly controlled. It is practically impossible to legally carry one in public unless you're a law enforcement professional. "Fake" firearms may also not be carried in public if they resemble real guns. CO2 and air guns are relatively easy to acquire.


Avoid bringing any fireworks into Germany, especially from outside the EU. Even bringing those can be an offence. Fireworks are traditionally used on New Year's Eve. Most "proper" fireworks (marked as "Klasse II") will be available at only the end of the year; they may be used by persons only over 18 on December 31 and January 1. Really small items (marked as "Klasse I") may be used around the year by anyone.


Fishing laws differ a lot from state to state. Obtaining a fishing license for Germans has become a highly bureaocratic thing due to over-concerned politicians who tightend animal protection laws. As a foreigner, it will be too, but depends on the state where you are.

Gay and lesbian travellers

In some areas of Berlin and eastern Germany 'gay-bashing' is popular with Neonazis or other gangs, so use common sense and be geared to the behavior of the locals around you - if they display homosexuality it it safe for you, too, if not better avoid it. In small towns and in the countryside display of homosexuality is almost unknown while it may be everywhere in some areas of Berlin and other big cities.

The attitude towards gays and lesbians is rather tolerant - at least on the surface. While many Germans inwardly still don't approve homo- or bisexuals they usually suppress open utterances of homophobia. Therefore in most cases display of homosexuality (holding hands or kissing) will at most provoke stares or sometimes comments by children or elderly people but will not result in physical danger.

Stay healthy

Sanitary and medical facilities in Germany are excellent. The phone book lists telephone numbers for various medical services, many hotlines and services exist that are open during "off hours". See the section Medical Emergencies above if you are in an emergency

Health care

If you have an non-urgent medical problem, you may choose from any local doctor. The German health system allows specialists to run their own surgery so you will be able to find every discipline from Dentistry to Neurology on duty within reasonable reach from even the most remote villages. GPs/family doctors will usually describe themselves as "Allgemeinmediziner" - meaning "general medician".

Pharmacies are called "Apotheke" and are marked by a big, red "A" symbol [87]. At least one pharmacy in the area will be open at all times (usually a different one every day), and all pharmacies will post the name and address of the pharmacy-on-duty in the window. Some medication that is sometimes freely available in other countries (e.g. antibiotics and the "morning-after pill") needs a prescription in Germany, so you may want to check before your journey. The staff of an Apotheke have specially trained personnel, as it is mandatory to have a university degree in pharmaceutics to run an Apotheke in Germany. A German pharmacist is able to offer advice on medications. In Germany pharmaceuticals tend to be expensive, so it might be wise to ask the pharmacist for "Generika" (generic drugs): A "Generikum" is virtually the same produce, often even produced by the same pharmaceutical trust, just lacking the well-known brand name and being considerably cheaper.

Health insurance

EU citizens that are members of any public health insurance can get a European Health Insurance Card [88]. The card is issued by your insurance provider and lets you use the public health care system in any EU country, including Germany.

If you're from outside the EU, or if you have a private health insurance, check if your insurance is valid in Germany. If not, get a travel health insurance for the trip - German health care is expensive.

Foreign insurance, even if it covers travel abroad, may not be accepted by local hospitals.

Drinking water

Tap water has a good quality, is very strict controlled and can be freely used for consumption. Exceptions have to be labeled ("Kein Trinkwasser", no drinking water).


Many lakes and rivers, as well as both the North Sea and Baltic Sea are generally safe for swimming. Nevertheless, while there may be no life-threatening pollutants in most bodies of water, you would do very well to inform yourself about local regulations. If you intend to swim in a large river, at best do so only on official bathing locations. Keep away from structures (power plants might cause streams you don't see from the surface) in the river or reaching from the shore into the river, also keep out of the path of ships. Both structures and ships, even if they look harmless or far away, may create major sucks underwater. Take particular care of children.

If you intend to swim in the North Sea you should inform yourselves about the tide schedules and weather conditions - getting caught in a tide can be fatal, getting lost in the mist, too. Hiking in the Wattenmeer without a local guide is extremely dangerous, so keep out if you do not really know your way around. There are no tides in the Baltic Sea.


You should be aware of rabies (Tollwut) which has been a problem in some areas in the past, even if forestry officials combat it very seriously. If you want to go to Germany for hiking or camping you should inform yourself about the situation at your destination and take appropriate precautions. Normally, you won't have to worry about it because the main transmitting animal is the fox.

The biggest risks hikers and camper face are two diseases transmitted by ticks. In some parts of Germany there is a (low) risk of contracting tick-borne encephalitis; an inoculation is advised if you plan out-door activities in high-risk areas. The risk of Lyme disease is higher and inoculation is not available. Therefore you should try to prevent tick-bites by wearing long trousers and appropriate shoes. Chemical repellents can also be effective. You should also check for ticks afterwards since the risk of transmission is lower if the tick is removed early. If in any doubt consult a doctor.



Especially in the English-speaking countries, Germany and the Germans have earned themselves a reputation for being stiff and strict with rules but also hard working and efficient. The German language is not as smooth as English, so even a friendly word can sound harsh to the English-speaker. More important, the German sense of "politeness" differs significantly from the Anglo-American concept of courteous remarks, small talk and political correctness. Germans highly value honesty, straight talking, being able to cope with criticism and generally not wasting other people's time. Many times, unfortunately, this applies to your interactions with them, and not their interactions with you. Once tempers are lost, they are very hard to reign in again. Consequently, business meetings tend to lack the introductory chit-chat. There is also a strong desire to achieve mutual agreement and compromise. As for the infamous efficiency: Germans are the world's leading recreationists (at an average of 30 days of paid leave per year, not counting public holidays), while maintaining one of the highest productivity on earth. A late-running train is considered a sign of the degradation of society.


Be on Time! Punctuality is seen not as a courtesy but as precondition for future relations. Most Germans arrive 5-10 minutes early and take this for granted from everyone. Arriving more than two minutes late to a meeting is seen as rude and will be tolerated only with unknowing strangers, unless you can give good reason in your defense. It is seen as a courtesy to call the other participants if you seem to run late. Regular delays are seen as a disrespect for the other participants.

Behaving in public

Germany, especially urban Germany, is a rather tolerant society, and your common sense should be sufficient to keep yourself out of trouble.

Drinking in public is not forbidden and is even a common sight in the far west (Cologne and the Rhine-Ruhr Area). In some larger cities (such as Cologne) there are local laws that in theory make drinking alcohol in public a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of tens of euros; these laws are rarely enforced against tourists, except in cases when drinking leads to rowdy behavior. Behaving aggressively or disturbing the peace will earn you a conversation with German police officers and possibly a fine. Behave respectfully in places of worship and places that carry the dignity of the state (like the numerous war and holocaust memorials, parliaments and other historical sites).

On German beaches, it's in general okay for women to bathe topless. Full nudity is tolerated everywhere though not a frequent sight outside of the numerous nudist areas (labeled "FKK" -- "Freikörperkultur", literally free body culture). These are especially common at the east German Baltic coastline, due to the high popularity of nudism in the former GDR. It's also possible to spot nudists in Berlin's public parks and in Munich's "English Garden". In most saunas nudity is compulsory and mixed sessions are common practice. One day of the week is usually only for women.

Know the locals

The general rule of thumb is that wealth rises towards the south: Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are the two richest states, competing with Switzerland and Austria for quality of life. A more liberal atmosphere is dominant as the traveler goes northward: Hamburg and Berlin have homosexual mayors, bars and clubs are open all night and the density of young artists in Berlin Friedrichshain easily surpasses that of London, Paris or Manhattan. Northern Germany is in the same cultural sphere as the Netherlands and Scandinavia with even the food and architecture more pragmatic, simple and unrefined then in the traditionally Catholic south. Hamburg however is the richest city in Germany even outpacing trendy Munich.

The Nazi era

In the late 19th Century, Germany was arguably the most enlightened society in the world. As a mental exercise, try to think of five famous physicists, philosophers, composers or poets without mentioning a German name. This dignity and prestige faced a severe setback during the period of National Socialist rule under Hitler. Since then, the Third Reich has been a permanent scar on the German national identity, and is considered a blot on Germany's national honor and will remain so for a very long time. Every German pupil has to deal with it at about 5 different times during his or her schooling and most classes visit a concentration camp (most of these sites have been transformed into memorials). Not a single day passes without educational programmes on television and radio dealing with this period of time. Growing up in Germany, whether in the GDR or West Germany, meant and still means growing up with this bitter heritage, and every German has developed her or his own way of dealing with the public guilt. For the traveler, this can mean confusion. You might come across people (especially young ones) eager to talk to you about Germany's troubled history, feeling the urge to convince you Germany has come a long way since then. Choose adequate places to talk about the issue and be polite about it. If you are visiting friends in Berlin, you might find it hard to keep them from constantly dragging you into one of the abundant memorials.

Humour, even made innocently, is absolutely the wrong way of approaching the matter and is insulting. Even worse, what might sound funny abroad may earn you jail time (up to 3 years) and a hefty fine in Germany. All Nazi-era slogans, symbols, and gestures are forbidden (except for educational purposes, and even these are strongly regulated), and displaying them in public is illegal. Foreigners are not exempted from these laws. Do not even think about jokingly giving a stiff arm Nazi (roman) salute! A German man that trained his dog to do this was discovered and openly criticized by the media for doing so. This is not something to be taken lightly.

Probably the best way of dealing with the issue is being relaxed about it. If your company likes to talk about German history, use the opportunity for a sincere, maybe even very personal conversation. If you want to steer clear of awkward moments, don't bring up the matter.

However, this is not the case when you ask them about the division of Germany into East and West. Communist symbols, GDR songs and other East-German related regalia are circulated freely and many are some what nostalgic about the country, hence the artistic and commercial movement "Ostalgie" (nostalgia for the East). Just avoid bringing up the topic of the Berlin Wall impulsively, as it is still a very divisive issue.



The international calling code for Germany is 49, and the prefix for international calls is 00; the area code prefix is 0. Some number blocks are reserved for special use: Number starting with 010xx let you choose a different phone provider (see below), 0800 and 00800 are toll-free numbers, 0180 are service numbers (which may or may not be more expensive than a local call). Avoid 0900 prefix numbers. These are for commercial services and usually incredibly expensive.

Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data) is also available but still somewhat limited to cities and urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. This is different to the GSM 1900 standard used in the United States, but modern "multi-band" handsets will usually work in all GSM networks. Non-GSM phones cannot be used in Germany. If you have a GSM mobile telephone from the USA, make sure to call your provider in the USA prior to your trip and have them "unlock" your telephone handset so that you can use it with a German SIM card.

The vast majority of Germans own mobile phones (called "Handys" in German, pronounced "hendy"); the disadvantage of this is that the once-common phone booths have started to disappear except at "strategical" locations such as train stations. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area.

Mobile telephony is still comparatively expensive in Germany, depending on your contract you may be charged about €0,10 to €0,40 per minute (and more for international calls).

In most supermarket chains, there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy (10-20 € with 5-15 € airtime) and for national calls (0,09-0,19 €/minute), but expensive for international calls (around 1-2 €/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around 0,09-0,19 €. They are available at: Aldi, Penny, Plus, Tchibo, Schlecker, Rewe, Minimal, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.

While international calls using the German SIM card can be expensive, there are some prepaid offers with good rates. Since the liberalization of Germany's phone market, there is a multitude of phone providers on the market. If you're calling from a private fixed line, you can usually choose from the different providers (and thus from different pricing schemes) by using special prefix numbers (starting with 010xx) with prices of 0,01 € or 0,02 €, sometimes below 0,01 € even for international calls. There's a calculator on the net [89] where you can compare the prices for different destinations. Hotels usually have contracts with a particular phone provider and won't let you use a different one.

Alternatively, you can also buy prepaid phone cards you can use by calling a toll free number; this is especially a good deal if you intend to make international calls. Cards' quality and prices vary wildly, however, so a good recommendation cannot be made. There's a comparison of german prepaid cards at [90]

Recently, phone shops have sprung up in the major cities, where you can make international calls at cheap rates. These call shops are mostly located in city areas with a high number of immigrants and are your best option to call internationally. Apart from offering calls abroad themselves they sell international calling cards for use from any phone in Germany. You can usually spot these shops by the many flags decorating their windows.


Internet cafes are common, but usually small, local businesses. You probably won't have a problem finding at least one in even smaller towns or large villages. See Online-Cafes (in German) [91] for details. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too.

Most hotels offer internet access. Confirm with your hotel for access and rates.

In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking.

See Public Spots (page in German) [92] for details.

Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.

Public libraries often offer Internet access, however usually not free of charge. The libraries are open to the public for free, taking a book home might require you to get a customer card at a low fee, though. Note the National Library in Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin is not free.

Postal Service

Deutsche Post [93] (the German postal service) runs several international companies including DHL [94] and others. A standard postcard costs €0.45 to send within Germany and €0.60 to Europe. A standard letter not weighing more than 20 grams costs €0.55 to send within Germany and €0.70 to Europe. Letters within Germany are mostly delivered within 2 days, allow a bit longer for Europe.

The service has been reduced in the privatization process. Due to a surge in the theft rate [especially by outsourced letter carriers and contractors] any international shipments, especially incoming, should be insured if they are valuable.

Air mail (Luftpost) can be as cheap as the alterative, Landweg. If you want to send packages, there are three options (cheapest to most expensive)-Maxibrief an oversized letter up to 2kg and L+W+H=900mm. Päckchen is a small(up to 2kg for international), uninsured packet. Otherwise it will have to be sent under the price system of a DHL Paket.

It is possible to drop letters and parcels at FedEx and UPS stations. Expect to queue.

This is a usable article. It has information about the country and for getting in, as well as links to several destinations. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GERMANY (Ger. Deutschland), or, more properly, THE GERMAN EMPIRE (Deutsches Reich), a country of central Europe. The territories occupied by peoples of distinctively Teutonic race and language are commonly designated as German, and in this sense may be taken to include, besides Germany proper (the subject of the present article), the German-speaking sections of Austria, Switzerland and Holland. But Germany, or the German empire, as it is now understood, was formed in 1871 by virtue of treaties between the North German Confederation and the South German states, and by the acquisition, in the peace of Frankfort (May 10, 1871), of Alsace-Lorraine, and embraces all the countries of the former German Confederation, with the exception of Austria, Luxemburg, Limburg and Liechtenstein. The sole addition to the empire proper since that date is the island of Heligoland, ceded by Great Britain in 1890, but Germany has acquired extensive colonies in Africa and the Pacific (see below, Colonies).

The German empire extends from 47 16 to 55 53 N., and from 5 52 to 22 52 E. The eastern provinces project so far that the extent of German territory is much greater from southwest to north-east than in any other direction. Tilsit is 8,5 m. from Metz, whereas Hadersleben, in Schleswig, is only 540 m. from the Lake of Constance. The actual difference in time between the eastern and western points is, hour and 8 minutes, but the empire observes but one timeI hour E. of Greenwich. The empire is bounded on the S.E. and S. by Austria and Switzerland (for 1659 km.), on the S.W. by France (242 km.), on the W. by Luxemburg, Belgium and Holland (together 558 m.). The length of German coast on the North Sea or German Ocean is 293 m., and on the Baltic 927 km., the intervening land boundary on the north of Schleswig being only 47 km. The eastern boundary is with Russia 843 km. The total length of the frontiers is thus 4569 m. The area, including rivers and lakes but not the haffs or lagoons on the Baltic coast, is 208,830 sq. km., and the population (1905) 60,641,278. In respect of its area, the German empire occupied in 1909 the third place among European countries, and in point of population the second, coming in point of area immediately after Russia and Austria-Hungary, and in population next to Russia.

Political Divisions.The empire is composed of the following twenty-six states and divisions: the kingdoms of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Wtirttemberg; the grand-duchies of Baden, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, ,Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg and Saxe-Weimar; the duchies of Anhalt, Brunswick, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen; the principalities of Lippe-Detmold, Reuss-Greiz, Reuss-Schleiz, Schaumburg-Lippe, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, SchwarzburgSondershausen and Waldeck-Pyrmont; the ,free towns of Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck, and the imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine.

Besides these political divisions there are certain parts of Germany which, not conterminous with political boundaries, retain appellations derived either from former tribal settlements or from divisions of the old Holy Roman Empire. These are Franconia (Franken), which embraces the districts of Bamberg, Schweinfurt and Wurzburg on the upper Main; Swabia (Schwaben), in which is included Wtirttemberg, parts of Bavaria and Baden and Hohenzollern; the Palatinate (Pfalz), embracing Bavaria west of the Rhine and the contiguous portion of Baden; Rhineland, applied to Rhenish Prussia, Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt and parts of Bavaria and Baden; Vogtland, the mountainous country lying in the south-west corner of the kingdom of Saxony; Lusatia (Lausitz), the eastern portion of the kingdom of Saxony and the adjacent portion of Prussia watered by the upper Spree; Thuringia (Thulingen), the country lying south of the Harz Mountains and including the Saxon duchies; East Frlesland (Ost Friesland), the country lying between the lower course of the Weser and the Ems, and Westphalia (Westfalen), the fertile plain lying north and west of the Harz Mountains and extending to the North Sea and the Dutch frontier.

Coast and Islands.The length of the coast-line is considerably less than the third part of the whole frontier. The coasts are shallow, and deficient in natural ports, except on the east of Schleswig-Holstein, where wide bays encroach upon the land, giving access to the largest vessels, so that the great naval harbour could be constructed at Kiel. With the exception of those on the east coast of Schleswig-Holstein, all the important trading ports of Germany are river ports, such as Emden,Bremen, Hamburg, LUbeck, Stettin, Danzig, Konigsberg, Memel. A great difference, however, is to be remarked between the coasts of the North Sea and those of the Baltic. On the former, where the sea has broken up the ranges of dunes formed in bygone times, and divided them into separate islands, the mainland has to be protected by massive dikes, while the Frisian Islands are being gradually washed away by the waters. On the coast of East Friesjand there are now only seven of these islands, of which Norderney is best known, while of tile North Frisian Islands, on the western coast of Schleswig, Sylt is the most considerahl~. Besides the ordinary waste of the shores, there have been extensive inundations by the sea within the historic period, the gulf of the Doliart having been so caused in the year 1276. Sands surround the whole coast of the North Sea to such an extent that the entrance to the ports is not practicable without the aid of pilots. Heligoland is a rocky island, but it 1ie. the territory once under the jurisdiction of an imperial Vogi or advocalus (see ADVOCATE).

also has been considerably reduced by the sea. The tides rise to the height of 12 or 13 ft. in the Jade Bay and at Bremerhaven, and 6 or 7 ft. at Hamburg. The coast of the Baltic, on the other hand, possesses few islands, the chief being Alsen and Fehmarn off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein, and Rtigen off Pomerania. It has no extensive sands, though on the whole very flat. The Baltic has no perceptible tides; and a great part of its coast-line is in winter covered with ice, which also so blocks up the harbours that navigation is interrupted for several months every year. Its haffs fronting the mouths of the large rivers must be regarded as lagoons or extensions of the river beds, not as bays. The Pommersche or Oder Haff is separated from the sea by two islands, so that the river flows out by three mouths, the middle one (Swine) being the most considerable. The Frische Haff is formed by the Nogat, a branch of the Vistula, and by the Pregel, and communicates with the sea by means of the Pillauer Tief. The Kurische Haff receives the Memel, called Niemenin Russia, and has its outlet in the extreme north at Memel. Long narrow alluvial strips called Nehrungen, lie between the last two haffs and the Baltic. The Baltic coast is further marked by large indentations, the Gulf of LUbeck, that of Pomerania, east of Rugen, and the semicircular Bay of Danzig between the promontories of Rixhoft and Brusterort. The German coasts are well provided with lighthouses.

Surface.In respect of physical structure Germany is divided into two entirety distinct portions, which bear to one another a ratio of about 3 to 4. The northern and larger part may be described as a uniform plain. South and central Germany, on the other hand, is very much diversified in scenery. It possesses large plateaus, such as that of Bavaria, which stretches away from the foot of the Alps, fertile low plains like that intersected by the Rhine, mountain chains and isolated groups of mountains, comparatively low in height, and so situated as not seriously to interfere with communication either by road or by railway.

Bavaria is the only division of the country that includes within it any part of the Alps, the Austro-Bavarian frontier running along the ridge of the Northern Tirolese or Bavarian Alps. The M

loftiest peak of this group, the Zugspitze (57 m. S. of Munich), is 9738 ft. in height, being the highest summit Jateaus in the empire. The upper German plain sloping north- ~

wards from the Bavarian Alps is watered by the Lech, the Tsar and the Inn, tributaries of the Danube, all three rising beyond the limits of German territory. This plain is separated on the west from the Swiss plain by the Lake of Constance (Bodensee, 1306 ft. above sea-level), and on the east from the undulating grounds of Austria by the Inn. The average height of the plain ~nay be estimated at about 1800 ft., the valley of the Danube on its north border being from 1540 ft. (at Ulm) to 920 ft. (at Passau). The plain is not very fertile. In the upper part of the plain, towards the Alps, there are several lakes, the largest being the Ammersee, the WUrmsee or Starnberger See and the Chiemsee. Many portions of the plain are covered by moors and swamps of large extent, called Moose. The left or northern bank of the Danube from Regensburg downwards presents a series of granitic rocks called the Bavarian Forest (Bayrischer Wald), which must be regarded as a branch of the Bohemian Forest (Bohmer Wald). The latter is a range of wooded heights on the frontier of Bavaria and Bohemia, occupying the least known and least frequented regions of Germany. The summits of the Bayrischer Wald rise to the height of about 4000 ft., and those of the Bohmer Wald to 4800 ft., Arber being 4872 ft. The valley of the Danube above Regensburg is flanked by plateaus sloping gently to the Danube, but precipitous towards the valley of the Neckar. The centre of this elevated tract is the Rauhe Alb, so named on account of the harshness of the climate. The plateau continuing to the north-east and then to the north, under the name of the Franconian Jura, is crossed by the valley of the winding AltmUhl, and extends to the Main. To the west extensive undulating grounds or low plateaus occupy the area between the Main and the Neckar.

The south-western corner of the empire contains a series of better defined hill-ranges. Beginning with the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), we find its southern heights decline to the valley of the Rhine, above Basel, and to the Jura. The summits are rounded and covered with wood, the highest being the Feldberg (10 m. S.E. of Freiburg, 4898 ft.). Northwards the Black Forest passes into the plateau of the Neckarbergland (average height, iooo ft.). The heights between the lower Neckar and the Main form the Odenwald (about 1700 ft.); and the Spessart, which is watered by the Main on three sides, is nothing but a continuation of the Odenwald. West of this range of hills lies the valley of the upper Rhine, extending about 180 m. from south to north, and with a width of only 20 to 25 m. In the upper parts the Rhine is rapid, and therefore navigable with difficulty; this explains why the towns there are not along the banks of the river, but some 5 to 10 m. off. But from Spires (Speyer) town succeeds town as far down as Dsseldorf. The western boundary of this valley is formed in the first instance by the Vosges, where granite summits rise from under the surrounding red Triassic rocks (Suizer Belchen, 4669 ft.). To the south the range is not continuous with the Swiss Jura, the valley of the Rhine being connected here with the Rhone system by low ground known as the Gate of Mulhausen. The crest of the Vosges is pretty high and unbroken, the first convenient pass being near Zabern, which is followed by the railway from Strassburg to Paris. On the northern side the Vosges are connected with the Hardt sandstone plateau (Kalmit, 2241 ft.), which rises abruptly from the plain of the Rhine. The mountains south of Mainz, which are mostly covered by vineyards, are lower, the Donnersberg, however, raising its head to 2254 ft. These hills are bordered on the west by the high plain of Lorraine and the coalfields of Saarbrucken, the former being traversed by the river Mosel. The larger part of Lorraine belongs to France, but the German part nossesses great mineral wealth in its rich layers of ironstone (siderite) and in the coal-fields of the Saar. The tract of the Hunsruck, Taunus and Eifel is an extended plateau, divided into separate sections by the river valleys. Among these the Rhine valley from Bingen to Bonn, and that of the Mosel from Trier to Coblenz, are winding gorges excavated by the rivers. The Eifel presents a sterile, thinly-peopled plateau, covered by extensive moors in several places. It passes westwards imperceptibly into the Ardennes. The hills on the right bank of the Rhine also are in part of a like barren character, without wood; the Westerwald (about 2000 ft.), which separates the valleys of the Sieg and Lahn, is particularly so. The northern and southern limits of the Niederrheinische Gebirge present a striking contrast to the central region. In the south the declivities of the Taunus (2890 ft.) are marked by the occurrence of mineral springs, as at Ems on the Lahn, Nauheim; Homburg, Soden, Wiesbaden, &c., and by the vineyards which produce the best Rhine wines. To the north of this system, on the other hand, lies the great coal basin of Westphalia, the largest in Germany. In the south of the hilly duchy of Hesse rise the isolated mountain groups of the Vogelsberg (2530 ft.) and the Rhon (3117 ft.), separated by the valley of the Fulda, which uniting farther north with the Werra forms the Weser. To the east of Hesse lies Thuringia, a province consisting of the far-stretching wooded ridge of the Thuringian Forest (ThUringerwald; with three peaks upwards of 3000 ft. high), and an extensive elevated plain to the north. Its rivers are the Saale and Unstrut. The plateau is bounded on the north by the Harz, an isolated group of mountains, rich in minerals, with its highest elevation in the bare summit of the Brocken (3747 ft-). To the west of the Harz a series of hilly tracts is comprised under the name of the Weser Mountains, out of which above Minden the river Weser bursts by the Porta Westphalica. A narrow ridge, ~he Teutoburger Wald (1300 ft.), extends between the Weser and the Ems as far as the neighborhood of OsnabrQck.

To the east the Thuringian Forest is connected by the plateau of the Frankenwald with the Fichtelgebirge. This group of mountains, occupying what may be regarded as ethnologically the centre of Germany, forms a hydrographical centre, whence the Naab flows southward to the Danube, the Main westward to the Rhine, the Eger eastward to the Elbe, and the Saale northward, also into the Elbe. In the north-east the Fichtelgebirge connects itself directly with the Erzgebirge, which forms the northern boundary of Bohemia. The southern sides of this range are comparatively steep; on the north it slopes gently down to the plains of Leipzig, but is intersected by the deep valleys of the Elster and Mulde. Although by no means fertile, the Erzgebirge is very thickly peopled, as various branches of industry have taken root there in numerous small places. Around Zwickau there are productive coal-fields, and milling for metals is carried on near Freiberg. In the east a tableland of sandstone, called Saxon Switzerland, from the picturesque outlines into which it has been eroded, adjoins the Erzgebirge; one of its most notable features is the deep ravine by which the Elbe escapes from it. Numerous quarries, which supply the North German cities with stone for buildings and monuments, have been opened along the valley. Tile standstone range of the Elbe tinites in the east with the low Lusatian group, along the east of which runs the best road from northern Germany to Bohemia. Then comes a range of lesser hills clustering together to form the frontier between Silesia and Bohemia. The most western group is the Isergebirge, and the next the Riesengebirge, a narrow ridge of about 20 miles length, with bare summits. Excluding the Alps, the Schneekoppe (5266 ft.) is the highest peak in Germany; and the southern declivities of this range contain the sources of the Elbe. The hills north and north-east of it are termed the Silesian Mountaihs. Here one of the minor coal-fields gives employment to a population grouped round a number of comparatively small centres. One of the main roadf into Bohemia (the pass of Landshut) runs along the eastern base of the Riesengebirge. Still farther to the east the mountains are grouped around the hollow of Glatz, whence the Neisse forces its way towards the north. This hollow is shut in on the east by the Sudetic group, in which the Altvater risesto almost 4900 ft. The eastern portion of the group, called the Gesenke, slopes gently away to the valley of the Oder, which affords an open route for the inter. national traffic, like that through the Mlhausen Gate in Alsace. Geographers style this the Moravian Gate.

The North German plain presents little variety, yet is not absolutely uniform. A row of low hills runs generally parallel to the mountain ranges already noticed, at a distance of 20 to 3om. to the north. To these belongs the upper Silesian coal-basin, which occupies a considerable area in south-eastern Silesia. North of the middle districts of the Elbe country the heights are called the Flaming hills. Westward lies as the last link of this series the Luneburger Heide or Heath, between the Weser and Elbe, north of Hanover. A second tract, of moderate elevation, sweeps round the Baltic, without, however, approaching its shores. This plateau contains a considerable number of lakes, and is divided into three portions by the Vistula and the Oder. The most eastward is the so-called Prussian Seenplatte. Spirdingsee (430 ft. above sealevel and 46 sq. m. in area) and Mauersee are the largest lakes; they are situated in the centre of the plateau, and give rise to the Pregel. Some peaks near the Russian frontier attain to 1000 ft. The Pomeranian Seenplatte, between the Vistula and the Oder, extends from SW. to N.E., its greatest elevation being in the neighborhood of Danzig (Turmberg, 1086 ft.). The Seenpiatte of Mecklenburg, on the other hand, stretches from S.E. to N.W., and most of its lakes, of which the Mritz is the largest, send their waters towards the Elbe. The finely wooded heights which surround the bays of the east coast of Holstein and Schleswig may be regarded as a continuation of these Baltic elevations. The lowest parts, therefore, of the North German plain, excluding the sea-coasts, are the central districts from about 52 to 53 N. lat., where the Vistula, Netze, Warthe, Oder, Spree and Havel form vast swampy lowlands (in German called Brche), which have been considerably reduced by the construction of canals and by cultivation, improvements due in large measure to Frederick the Great. The Spreewald, to the S.E. of Berlin, is one of the most remarkable districts of Germany. As the Spree divides itself there into innumerable branches, enclosing thickly wooded islands, boats form the only means of communication. West of Berlin the Havel widens into what are called the I3avel lakes, to which the environs of Potsdam owe their charms. In general the soil of the North German plain cannot be termed fertile, the cultivation nearly everywhere requiring severe and constant labor. Long stretches of ground are covered by moors, and there turfcutting forms the principal occupation of the inhabitatits. The greatest extent of moorland is found in the westernmost parts of the plain, in Oldenburg and East Frisia. The plain contains, however, a few districts of the Utmost fertility, particularly the tracts on the central Elbe, and the marsh lands on the west coast of Holstein and the north coast of Hanover, Oldenburg and East Frisia, which, within the last two centuries, the inhabitants have reclaimed from the sea by means of immense dikes.

Rivers.Nine independent river-systems may be distinguished:

those of the Memel, I regel, Vistula (Weichsel), Oder, Elbe, Weser, Ems, Rhine and Danube. Of these the Pregel, Weser and Ems belong entirely, and the Oder mostly, to the German empire. The Danube has its sources on German soil; but only a fifth part of its course is German. Its total length is I 750 m., and the Bavarian frontier at Passau, where the Inn joins it, is only 350 m. distant from its sources. It is navigable as far as Ulm, 220 m. above Passau; and its tributaries the Lech, Isar, Inn and Altmuhl are also navigable. The Rhine is the most important river of Germany~ although neither its sources nor its mouths are within the limits of the empire. From the Lake of Constance to Base! (122 m.) the Rhine forms the boundary between the German empire and Switzerland; the canton of Schaffhausen, however, is situated on the northern bank of the river. From Easel to below Emmerich the Rhine belongs to the German empireabout 470 m. or four-sevenths of its whole course. It is navigable all this distance as are also the Neckar from Esslingen, the Main from Bamberg, the Lahn, the Lippe, the Ruhr, the Mosel from Metz, with its affluents the Saar and Satier. Sea-going vessels sail up the Ems as far as Halte, and river craft as far as Greven, and the river is connected with a widely branching system of canals, ,as the Ems-Jade and Dortmund-Ems canals. The Fulda, navigable for 63 m., and the Werra, 38 m., above the point where they unite, form by their junction the Weser, which has a course of 271 m., and receives as navigable tributaries the Aller, the Leine from Hanover, and some smaller streams. Oceangoing steamers, however, cannot get as far as Bremen, and unload at Bremerhaven. The Elbe, after a course of 250 m., enters German territory near Bodenbach, 490 m. from its mouth. It is navigable above this point through its tributary, the Moldau, to Prague. Hamburg may be reached by vessels of 17 ft. draught. The navigable tributaries of the Elbe are the Saale (below Naumburg), the Havel, Spree, Elde, Sude and some others. The Odor begins to be navigable almost on the frontier at Ratibor, 480 m. from its mouth, receiving as navigable tributaries the Glatz Neisse and the Warthe. Only the lower course of the Vistula belongs to the German empire, within which it is a broad, navigable stream of considerable volume. On the Pregel ships of 3000 tons reach Kdnigsberg, and river barges reach Insterburg; the Alle, its tributary, may also be navigated. The Memel is navigable in its course of 113 m. from the Russian frontier. Germany is thus a country abounding in natural waterways, the total length of them being estimated at 7000 m. But it is only the Rhine, in its middle course, that has at all times sufficient volume of water to meet the requirements of a good navigable river.

Lakes.The regions which abound in lakes have already been pointed out. The Lake of Constance or Bodensee (2043/4 sq. m.) is on the frontier of the empire, portions of the northern banks belonging severally to Bavaria, Wurttembcrg and Baden. In the south the largest lakes are the Chiemsee (33 sq. m.); the Ammersee and the Wrmsee. A good many smaller lakes are to be found in the Bavarian Alps. The North German plain is dotted with upwards of 500 lakes, covering an area of about 2500 sq. m. The largest of these are the three Haffsthe Oder Haff covering 370 sq. m., the Frische Haff, 332, and the Kurische Haff, 626. The lakes in the Prussian and Pomeranian provinces, in Mecklenburg and in Holstein, and those of the Havel, have already been mentioned. In the west the only lakes of importance are the Steinhuder Meer, 14 m. northwest of Hanover, and the Dummersee on the southern frontier of Oldenburg. (P. A. A.)

Geology.Germany consists of a floor of folded Palaeozoic rocks upon which rest unconformably the comparatively little disturbed beds of the Mesozoic system, while in the North German plain a covering of modern deposits conceals the whole of the older strata from view, excepting some scattered and isolated outcrops of Cretaceous and Tertiary beds. The rocks which compose the ancient floor are thrown into folds which run approximately from W.S.W. to EN.E. They are exposed on the one hand in the neighborhood of the Rhine and on the other hand in the Bohemian massif. With the latter must be included the Frankenwald, the Thuringerwald, and even the Harz. The oldest rocks, belonging to the Archaean system, occur in the south, forming the Vosges and the Black Forest in the west, and the greater part of the Bohemian massif, including the Erzgebirge, in the east. They consist chiefly of gneiss and schist, with granite and other eruptive rocks. Farther. north, in the Hunsrck, the Taunus, the Eifel and Westerwald, the Harz and the Frankenwald, the ancient floor is composed mainly of Devonian beds. Other Palaeozoic systems are, however, included in the folds. The Cambrian, for example, is exposed at Leimitz near Hof in the Frankenwald, and the important coal-field of the Saar lies on the southern side of the Hunsruck, while Ordovician and Silurian beds have been found in several localities. Along the northern border of the folded belt lies the coal basin of the Ruhr in Westphalia, which is the continuation of the Belgian coal-field, and bears much the same relation to the Rhenish Devonian area that the coal basin of Liege bears to the Ardennes. Carboniferous and Devonian beds are also found south-east of the Bohemian massif, where lies the extensive coal-field of Silesia. The Permian, as in England, is not involved in the folds which have affected the older beds, and in general lies unconformably upon them. It occurs chiefly around the masses of ancient rock, ~nd one of the largest areas is that of the Saar.

Between the old rocks of the Rhine on the west and the ancient inassif of Bohemia on the east a vast area of Triassic beds extends from Hanover to Basel and from Metz to Bayreuth. Over the greater part of this region the Triassic beds are free from folding and are nearly horizontal, but faulting is by no means absent, especially along the margins of the Bohemian and Rhenish hills. The Triassic beds must indeed have covered a large part of these old rock masses, but they have been preserved only where they were faulted down to a lower level. Along the southern margin of the Triassic area there is a long band of Jurassic beds dipping towards the Danube; and at its eastern extremity this band is continuous with a synclinal of Jurassic beds, running parallel to the western border of the Bohemian massif, but separated from it by a narrow strip of Triassic beds. Towards the north, in Hanover and Westphalia, the Triassic beds are followed by Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits, the latter being here the more important. As in the south of England, the lower beds of the Cretaceous are of estuarine origin and the Upper Cretaceous overlaps the Lower, lying in the valley of the Ruhr directly upon the Palaeozoic rocks. In Saxony also the upper Cretaceous beds rest directly upon the Palaeozoic or Archaean rocks. Still more to the east, in the province of Silesia, both Jurassic and Cretaceous beds are again met with, but they are to a large extent concealed by the recent accumulations of the great plain. The Eoccne system is unknown in Germany except in the foothills of the Alps; but the Oligocene and Miocene are widely spread, especially in the great plain and in the depression of the Danube. The Ohgocene is generally marine. Marine Miocene occurs in N.W. Germany and the Miocene of the Danube valley is also in part marine, but in central Germany it is of fluviatile or lacustrine origin. The lignites of Hesse, Cassel, &c., are interstratified with basaltic lava-flows which form the greater part of the Vogelsbarg and other hills. The trachytes of the Siebengebirge are probably of slightly earlier date. The precise age of the volcanoes of the Eifel, many of which are in a very perfect state of preservation, is not clear, but they are certainly Tertiary or Post-tertiary. Leucite and nepheline lavas are here abundant. In the Siebengebirge the little crater of Roderberg, with its lavas and scoriae of leucite-basalt, is posterior to some of the Pleistocene river deposits.

A glance at a geological map of Germany will show that the greater part of Prussia and of German Poland is covered by Quaternary deposits. These are in part of glacial origin, and contain Scandinavian boulders; but fluviatile and aeolian deposits also occur. Ouaternarv beds also cover the floor of the broad deoression throuch which the Rhine meanders from Basel to Mainz, and occupy a large part of the plain of the Danube. The depression of the Rhine is a trough lying between two faults or system of faults. The very much broader depression of the Danube is associated with the formation of the Alps, and was flooded by the sea during a part of the Miocene period. (p, LA.)

Climala.The climate of Germany is to be regarded as intermediate between the oceanic and continental climates of western and eastern Europe respectively. It has nothing in common with the Mediterranean climate of southern Europe, Germany being separated from that region by the lofty barrier of the Alps. Although there are very considerable differences in the range of temperature and the amount of rainfall throughout Germany, these are not so great as they would be were it not that the elevated plateaus and mountain chains are in the south, while the north is occupied by low-lying plains. In the west no chain of hills intercepts the warmer and moister winds which blow from the Atlantic, and these accordingly influence at times even the eastern regions of Germany. The mean annual temperature of south-western Germany, or the Rhine and Danube basins, is about 52 to 54 F., that of central Germany 48 to 50, and that of the northern plain 46 to 48. In Pomerania and West Prussia it is only 44 to 45, and in East Prussia 42 to 44. The Quatersmary Triassic Siluro-Cambrian Tertiary Perniian A,chaew, & Metamo~-phic LIIIII1 Cretaceous r~j~,1Caiboniferous l~.IPlatonic Rocks Juras~(c ~ Ocuonlan Volcanic Rocks mean January temperature varies between 22 and 34 (in Masuren and Cologne respectively); the mean July temperature, between 61 in north Schleswig and 68 at Cologne. The extremes of cold and heat are, as recorded in the ten years 1895-1905, 7 in Konigsberg and 93 ifl Heidelberg (the hottest place in Germany). The difference in the mean annual temperature between the south-west and northwest of Germany amounts to about 3. The contrasts of heat and cold are furnished by the valley of the Rhine above Mainz, which has the greatest mean heat, the mildest winter and the highest summer temperature, and the lake plateau of East Prussia, where Arys on the Spirdingsee has a like winter temperature to the Brocken at 3200 ft. The Baltic has the lowest spring temperature, and the autumn there is also not characterized by an appreciably higher degree of warmth. In central Germany the high plateaus of the Erz and Fichtelgebirge are the coldest regions. In south Germany the upper Bavarian plain experiences an inclement winter and a cold summer. In Alsace-Lorraine the Vosges and the plateau of Lorraine are also remarkable for low temperatures. The warmest districts of the German empire are the northern parts of the Rhine plain, from Karlsruhe downwards, especially the Rheintal; these are scarcely 300 ft. above the sea-level, and are protected by mountainous tracts ~of land. The same holds true of the valleys of the Neckar, Main and Mosel. Hence the vine is everywhere cultivated in these districts. The mean summer temperature there is 66 and upwards, while the average temperature of January does not descend to the freezing point (32). The climate of north-western Germany (west of the Elbe) shows a predominating oceanic character, the summers not being too hot (mean summer temperature 60 to 62), and snow in winter remaining but a short time on the ground. West of the Weser the average temperature of January exceeds 32; to the east it sinks to 30, and therefore the Elbe is gem~erally covered with ice for some months of the year. as are also its tributaries. The farther one proceeds to the east the greater are the contrasts of summer and winter. While the average summer warmth of Germany is 60 to 62, the January temperature falls as low as 26 to 28 in West Prussia, Posen and Silesia, and 22 to 26 in East Prussia and upper Silesia. The navigation of the rivers is regularly interrupted by frost. Similarly the upper basin of,the Danube, or the Bavarian plain, has a rather inclement climate in winter, the average for January being 25 to 26.

As regards rainfall, Germany belongs to those regions where precipitation takes place at all seasons, but chiefly in the form of summer rains. In respect to the quantity of rain the empire takes a middle position between the humidity of north-western Europe and the aridity of the east. There are considerable differences between particular places. The rainfall is greatest in the Bavarian tableland and the hilly regions of western Germany. For the Eifel, Sauerland, Harz, Thuringian Forest, Rhn, Vogelsberg, Spessart, the Black Forest, the Vosges, &c., the annual average may be stated at 34 in. or more, while in the lower terraces of south-western Germany, as in the Erzgebirge and the Sudetic range, it is estimated at 30 to 32 in. only. The same average obtains also on the humid north-west coast of Germany as far as Bremen and Hamburg. In the remaining parts of western Germany, on the shores of farther Pomerania, and in East Prussia, it amounts to upwards of 24 in. In western Germany there is a district famous for the scarcity of rain and for producing the best kind of wine: in the valley of the Rhine below Strassburg, in the Palatinate, and also in the valley of the Main, no more than from 16 to 20 in. fall. Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Lusatia, Saxony and the plateau of Thuringia, West Prussia, Posen and lower Silesia are also to be classed among the more arid regions of Germany, the annual rainfall being 16 to 20 in. Thunderstorms are most frequent in July. and vary between fifteen and twenty-five in the central districts, descending in the eastern provinces of Prussia to ten annually.

Flora.The flora of Germany comprises 3413 species of phanerogamic and 4306 cryptogamic plants. The country forms a section of the central European zone, and its flora is largely under the influence of the Baltic and Alpine elements, which to a great degree here coalesce. All plants peculiar to the temperate zone abound. Wheat, rye, barley and oats are cultivated everywhere, but spelt only in the south and buckwheat in the north and north-west. Maize only ripens in the south. Potatoes grow in every part of the country, those of the sandy plains in the north being of excellent quality. All the commoner sorts of fruitapples, pears, cherries, &c.grow everywhere, but the more delicate kinds, such as figs, apricots and peaches, are confined to the warmer districts. The vine flourishes as far as the 51 N., but only yields good wine in the districts of the Rhine and Danube. Flax is grown in the north, and hemp more particularly in the central districts. Rape can be produced everywhere when the soil permits. Tobacco is cultivated on the upper Rhine and in the Are valley of the Oder. The northern plain, especially in the province of Saxony, pro- States of the Empire. duces beet (for sugar), and hops are largely grown in Bavaria, ____________________________ WUrttemberg, Alsace, Baden Kingdoms and the Prussian province of Prussia Posen Bavaria Speaking generally, northern Saxony .

Germany is not nearly so well Wurttemberg Forests, wooded as central Grand-Duchies and southern Ger- Baden many, where indeed most of the Hesse lower mountains are covered Mecklenburg-Schwerin -

with timber, as is indicated by the frequent use of the termina- Saxe-Weimar tion wald affixed to the names Mecklenburg-Strelitz. -

Oldenburg - .

of the mountain ranges (as Duchies Schwarzwald, Thuringerwald, Brunswick &c.). The Seenplatten are Saxe-Meiningen .

less wooded than the hill Saxe-Altenburg .

country, but the eastern por- Saxe-Coburg-Gotha tion of the northern lowlands Anhalt is well provided with timber. Principalities A narrow strip along the shores Schwarzburg-Sondershausen of the Baltic is covered with Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt -

oaks and beeches; farther in- Waldeck land, and especially east of the Reuss-Greiz Elbe, coniferous trees are the Reuss-Schleiz most prevalent, praticularly Schaumburg-Lippe .

the Scotch fir; birches are also Lippe abundant. The mountain forests consist chiefly of firs, Free Towns pines and larches, but contain Lbeck also silver firs, beeches and Bremen oaks. Chestnuts and walnuts Hamburg appear on the terraces of the Imperial Territory Alsace-Lorraine .

Rhine valley and in Swabia and Franconia. The whole north-west of Germany ~s desti- German Empire. - -

tute of wood, but to compensate for this the people have ample supplies of fuel in the extensive stretches of turf, Fauna.The number of wild animals in Germany is not very great. Foxes, martens, weasels, badgers and otters are to be found everywhere; bears are found in the Alps, wolves are rare, but they find their way sometimes from French territory to the western provinces, or from Poland to Prussia and Posen. Among the rodents the hamster and the field-mouse are a scourge to agriculture. Of game there are the roe, stag, boar and hare; the fallow deer and the wild rabbit are less common. The elk is to be found in the forests of East Prussia. The feathered tribes are everywhere abundant in the fields, woods and marshes. Wild geese and ducks, grouse, partridges, snipe, woodcock, quails, widgeons and teal are plentiful all over the country, and in recent years preserves have been largely stocked with pheasants. The length of time that birds of passage remain in Germany differs considerably with the different species. The stork is seen for about 170 days, the house-swallow 160, the snow-goose 260, the snipe 220. In northern Germany these birds arrive from twenty to thirty days later than in the south.

The waters of Germany abound with fish; but the genera and species are few. The carp and salmon tribes are the most abundant; after them rank the pike, the eel, the shad, the roach, the perch and the lamprey. The Oder and some of the tributaries of the Elbe abound in crayfish, and in the stagnant lakes of East Prussia leeches are bred. In addition to frogs, Germany has few varieties of Amphibia. Of serpents there are only two poisonous kinds, the common viper and the adder (Kreuzotter).

Population.Until comparatively recent times no estimate of the population of Germany was precise enough to be of any value. At the beginning of the I 9th century the country was divided into some hundred states, but there was no central agency for instituting an exact census on a uniform plan. The formation of the German Confederation in 1815 effected but little change in this respect, and it was left to the different states to arrange in what manner the census should be taken. On the foundation, however, of the German customs union, or Zoilverein, between certain German states, the necessity for accurate statistics became apparent and care was taken to compile trustworthy tables, Researches show the population of the German empire, as at present constituted, to have been:

(1816) 24,833,396; (1855) 36,113,644; and (1871) 41,058,792.

The following table shows the population and area of each of the states included in the empire for the years 1871, 1875, 1900 and 1905: and Population of the German States.

Are,a Population. Density thgllsh per q. m. 1871.1875.1900.1905. Sq. m.

34,616 24,691,433 25,742,404 34,472,509 37,293,324 277.3

29,292 4,863,450 5,022,390 6,176,057 6,524,372 222.7

5,789 2,556,244 2,760,586 4,202,216 4,508,601 778.8

7,534 1,818,539 1,881,505 - 2,169,480 2,302,179 305.5

5,823 1,461,562 1,507,179 1,867,944 2,010,728 345.3

2,966 852,894 884,218 1,119,893 1,209,175 4076

5,068 557,897 553,785 607,770 625,045 123.3

1,397 286,183 292,933 362,873 388,095 277.8

I,f31 96,982 95,673 102,602 103,451 91.5

2,482 314,459 319,314 399,180 438,856 176.8

1,418 311,764 327,493 464,333 485,958 342.5

953 187,957 194,494 250,731 268,916 282~2

511 142,122 145,844 194,914 206,508 404.1

764 174,339 182,599 229,550 242,432 317.3

888 203,437 2,3,565 316,085 328,029 369.4

333 75,523 76,676 80,898 85,152 255.7

363 67,191 67,480 93,059 96,835 266.7

433 56,224 54,743 57,918 59,127 136.5

122 45,094 46,985 68,396 70,603 578~7

319 89,032 92,375 139,210 144,584 453.2

131 32,059 33,133 43,132 44,992 3434

469 111,135 112,452 138,952 145,577 310.4

115 52,158 5,912 96,775 105,857 920.5

99 122,402 142,200 224,882 263,440 2661.0

I6o 338,974 388,618 768,349 874,878 5467~9

5,604 1,549,738 1,531,804 1,719,470 1,814,564 323~8

208,780 41,058,792 42,727,360 I 56,367,178 60,641,278 290.4

The population of the empire has thus increased, since 1871, by 19,582,486 or 47-6%. The increase of population during 1895 1900 was greatest in Hamburg, Bremen, LUbeck, Saxony, Prussia and Baden, and least in Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Wakieck. Of the total population in 1900, 54.3% was urban (ie. living in towns of 2000 inhabitants and above), leaving 45~7% to be classified as rural. On the 1st of L)ecembei 1905, of the total population 29,884,681 were males and 30,756,597 females; and it is noticeable that the male population shows of late years a larger relative increase than the female, the male population having in five years increased by 2,147,434 and the female by only 2,126,666. The greater increase in the male population is attributable to diminished emigration and to the large increase in immigrants, who are mostly males. In 1905, 485,906 marriages were contracted in Germany, being at the rate of 8o per thousand inhabitants. In the same year the total number of births was 2,048,453. Of these, 61,300 were stillborn and 174,494 illegitimate, being at the rate, respectively, of 3% and 8.5% of the total. Illegitimacy is highest in Bavaria (about 15%), Berlin (14%), and over 12% in Saxony, MecklenburgSchwerin and Saxe-Meiningen. It is lowest in the Rhine Province and Westphalia (39 and 2~6 respectively). Divorce is steadily on the increase, being in 1904, II ~I per 10,000 marriages, as against 8-i, 8-1, 9-3 and 10.1 for the four preceding years. The average deaths for the years 1901-1905 amounted to 1,227,903 the rate was thus 202 per thousand inhabitants, but the death-rate has materially decreased, the total number of deaths in 1907 standing at 1,178,349; the births for the same year were 2,060,974. In connection with suicides, it is interesting to observe that the highest rates prevail in some of the smaller and more prosperous states of the empire for example, in Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and SaxeAltenhurg (on a three years average of figures), while the Roman Catholic country Bavaria, and the impoverished Prussian province of Posen show the most favorable statistics. For Prussia the rate is 20, and for Saxony it is as high as 31 per 100,000 inhabitants. The large cities, notably Berlin, Hamburg, Breslau and Dresden, show, however, relatively the largest proportion.

In 1900 the German-speaking population of the empire amounted to 51,883,131. Of the inhabitants speaking other languages there were: Polish, 3,086,489; French (mostly in Lorraine), 211,679; Masuran, 142,049; Danish, 141,061; Lithuanian, 106,305; Cassubian, 100,213; Wendish, 93,032; Dutch, 80,36,; Italian, 65,961; Moravian, 64,382; Czech, 43,016; Frisian, 20,677; English, 20,217; Walloon, 11,841. In 1905 there were resident within the empire 1,028,560 subjects of foreign states, as compared with 778,698 in 1900. Of these 17,293 were subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, 17,184 of the United States of America and 20,584 of France. The bulk of the other foreigners residing in the country belonged to countries lying contiguous, such as Austria, which claimed nearly the half, Russia and Italy.

Languages.The German-speaking nations in their various branches and dialects, if we include the Dutch and the Walloons, extend in a compact mass along the shores of the Baltic and of the North Sea, from Memel in the east to a point between Gravelines and Calais near the Straits of Dover. On this northern line the Germans come in contact with the Danes who inhabit the northern parts of Schleswig within the limits of the German empire. A line from Flensburg south-westward to Joldelund and thence northwestward to Hoyer will nearly give the boundary between the two idioms.i The German-French frontier traverses Belgium from west to east, touching the towns of St Omer, Courtrai and Maastricht. Near Eupen, south of Aix-la-Chapelle, it turns southward, and near Anon south-east as far as the crest of the Vosges mountains, which it follows upto Belfort, traversing there the watershed of the Rhine and the Doubs. In the Swiss territory the line of demarcation passes through Bienne, Fnibourg, Saanen, Leuk and Monte Rosa. In the south the Germans come into contact with Rhaeto-Romans and Italians, the former inhabiting the valley of the Vorder-Rhein and the Engadine, while the latter have settled on the southern slopes of the Alps, and are continually advancing up the valley of the Adige. Carinthia and Styria are inhabited by German people, except the valley of the Drave towards Kiagenfurt. Their eastern neighbors there are first the Magyars, then the northern Slays and the Poles. The whole eastern frontier is very much broken, and cannot be described in a few words. Besides detached German colonies in Hungary proper, there is a considerable and compact German (Saxon) population in Transylvania. The river March is the frontier north of the Danube from Pressburg as far as BrUnn, to the north of which the German regions begin near Olmtz, the interior of Bohemia and Moravia being occupied by Czechs and Moravias. In these countries the Slav language has been steadily superseding the German. In the Prussian provinces of Silesia and Posen the eastern parts ate mixed territories, the German language progressing very slowly among the Poles. In Bromberg and Thorn, in the valley of the Vistula, German is prevalent. In West Prussia some parts of th interior, and in East Prussia a small region along the Russian frontier, are occupied by Poles (Cassubians in West Prussia, Masurians is East Prussia). The total number of German-speaking people, within the boundaries wherein they constitute the compact mass of the population, may be estimated, if the Dutch and Walloons be included, at 65 millions.

The geographical limits of the German language thus do not quite coincide with the German frontiers. The empire contains about 31/8 millions of persons who do not make use of (~erman in everyday life, not counting the resident foreigners.

Apart from the foreigners above mentioned, German subjects speaking a tongue other than German are found only in Prussia, Saxony and Alsace-Lorraine. The following table shows roughly the distribution of German-speaking people in the world outside the German empire: Austria-Hungary. 12,000,000 Other European Netherlands (Dutch) 5,200,000 Countries -. 2,300,000

Belgium (Walloon) - 4,000,000 America.. - 13,000,000

Luxemhurg.. - 200,000 Asia 100,000

Switzerland. - - 2,300,000 Africa. .. 600,000

France. ... 500000 Australia... i50~0OO

According to the census of the fst of December 1900 there were 51,634,757 persons speaking commonly one language and 248,374 speaking two languages. In the kingdom of Saxony, according to the census of 1900, there were 48,000 Wends, mostly in Lusatia. With respect to Alsace-Lorraine, detailed estimates (but no census) gave the number of French in the territory of Lorraine at about f 70,000, and in that of Alsace at about 46,000.

The Poles have increased very much, owing to a greater surplus of births than in the case of the German people in the eastern provinces of Prussia, to immigration from Russia, and to the Polonization of many Germans through clerical and other influences (see History). The Poles are in the majority in upper Silesia (Government district of Oppeln; 55%) and the province of Posen (60%). They are numerous in West Prussia (34%) and East Prussia (14%).

The Wends are decreasing in number, as are also the Lithuanians on the eastern border of East Prussia, Czechs are only found in Silesia on the confines of Bohemia.

Russians flocked to Germany in thousands after the Russo-Japanese War and the insurrections in Russia, and the figures given for 1900 had been doubled in 1907. Males preponderate among the various nationalities, with the exception of the British, the larger proportion of whom are females either in domestic service or engaged in tuition.

Chief Towns.According to the results of the census of the 1st of December 1905 there were within the empire 41 towns with populations exceeding 100,000, viZ.

State. Population.

Berlin Prussia 2,040,148

Hamburg Hamburg 802,793

Munich Bavaria 538,393

Dresden Saxony 516,996

Leipzig ,, 502,570

Breslau Prussia 470,751

Cologne ,, 428,503

Frankfort-on-Main ,, 334,951

Nuremberg.. - - Bavaria 294,344

Düseldorf Prussia 253,099

Hanover ,, 250,032

Stuttgart Württemberg 249,443

Chemnitz Saxony 244,405

Magdeburg Prussia 240,66f

Charlottenburg ,, 239,512

Essen ,, 231,396

Stettin ,, 224,078

Konigsberg ,, 219,862

Bremen Bremen 214,953

Duisburg Prussia 192,227

Dortmund ,, 175,575

Halle ,, 169,899

Altona ,, I68,30I

Strassburg Alsace-Lorraine 167,342

Kiel Prussia 163,710

Elberfeld ,, 162,682

Mannheim. .. - Baden 162,607

Danzig Prussia 159,685

Barmen ,, 156,148

Rixdorf ,,, 153,650

Gelsenkirchen ,, 147,037

Aix-la-Chapelle ,, 143,906

Schoneberg ,, 140,992

Brunswick - Brunswick - 136,423

Posen Prussia 137,067

Cassel ,, 120,446

Bochum ,, 118,455

Karisruhe Baden 111,200

Crefeld Prussia 110,347

Plauen Saxony 105,182

Wiesbaden Prussia 100,953

Density of Population.In respect of density of population, Germany with (1900) 269~9 and (905) 290.4 inhabitants to the square mile is exceeded in Europe only by Belgium, Holland and England. Apart from the free cities, Hamburg, Bremen and Lbeck, the kingdom of Saxony is the most, and MecklenburgStrelitz the least, closely peopled state of the empire. The most thinly populated districts are found, not as might be expected in the mountain regions, but in some parts of the plains. Leaving out of account the small centres, Germany may be roughly divided into two thinly and two densely populated parts. In the former division has to be classed all the North German plain. There it is only in the valleys of the larger navigable rivers and on the southern border of the plain that the density exceeds 200 inhabitants per square mile. In some places, indeed, it is far greater, e.g. at the mouths of the Elbe and the Weser, in East Holstein. in the delta of the Memel and the environs of Hamburg. This region is bordered on the south by a densely peopled district, the northern boundary of which may be defined by a line from Coburg via Cassel to Mnster, for in this part there are not only very fertile districts, such as the Goldene Aue in Thuringia, but also centres of industry. The population is thickest in upper Silesia around Beuthen (coal-fields), around Ratibor, Neisse and Waldenburg (coal-fields), around Zittau (kingdom of Saxony), in the Elbe valley around Dresden, in the districts of Zwickau and Leipzig as far as the Saale, on the northern slopes of the Harz and around Bielefeld in Westphalia. In all these the density exceeds 400 inhabitants to the square mile, and in the case of Saxony rises to 750. The third division of Germany comprises the basin of the Danube and Franconia, where around Nuremberg, Bamberg and Wurzburg the population is thickly clustered. The fourth division embraces the valleys of the upper Rhine and Neckar and the district of Dsseldorf on the lower Rhine. In this last the proportion exceeds 1200 inhabitants to the square mile.

Emigralion.-There have been great oscillations in the actual emigration by sea. It first exceeded 100,000 soon after the FrancoGerman War (1872, 126,000), and this occurred again in the years 1880 to 1892. Germany lost during these thirteen years more than 1,700,000 inhabitants by emigration. The total number of those who sailed for the United States from 1820 to 1900 may be estimated at more than 4,500000. The number of German emigrants to Brazil between 1870 and 1900 was about 52,000. The greater number of the more recent emigrants was from the agricultural provinces of northern GermanyWest Prussia, Posen, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Schleswiz-Holstein and Hanover, and sometimes the emigration reached 1 ,~ of the total population of these provinces. In subsequent years the emigration of native Germans greatly decreased and, in 1905, amounted only to 28,075. But, to this number must be added 284,787 foreigners who in that year were shipped from German ports (notably Hamburg and Bremen) to distant parts. Of the above given numbers of purely German emigrants 26,007 sailed for the United States of America; 243 to Canada; 333 to Brazil; 674 to the Argentine Republic; 7 to other parts of America; 57 to Africa; and 84 to Australia.

AgricultureDespite the enormous development of industries and commerce, agriculture and cattle-rearing still represent in Germany a considerable portion of its economic wealth. Almost two-thirds of the soil is occupied by arable land, pastures and meadows, and of the whole area, in 1900, 91% was classed as productive. Of the total area 47.67% was occupied by land under tiilage, 0.89% by gardens, 1102% by meadow-land, 5-01% by pastures, and 0.25% by vineyards. The largest estates are found in the Prussian provinces of Pomerania, Posen and Saxony, and in East and West Prussia, while in the Prussian Rhine province, in Baden and Wurttemberg small farms are the rule.

The same kinds of cereal crops are cultivated in all parts of the empire, but in the south and west wheat is predominant, and in the north and east rye, oats and barley. To these in some districts are added spelt, buckwheat, millet, rice-wheat, lesser spelt and maize. In general the soil is remarkably well cultivated. The three years rotation formerly in use, where autumn and spring-sown grain and fallow succeeded each other, has now been abandoned, except in some districts, where the system has been modified and improved. In south Germany the so-called Fruchtwechsel is practised, the fields being sown with grain crops every second year, and with pease or beans, grasses, potatoes, turnips, &c., in the intermediate years. In north Germany the mixed Koppelwirthschaft is the rule, by which system, after several years of grain crops, the ground is. for two or three seasons in pasture.

Taking the average of the six years 1900-1905, the crop of wheat amounted to 3,550,033 tons (metric), rye to 9,296,616 tons, barley to 3,102,883 tons, and oats to 7,160,883 tons. But, in spite of this considerable yield in cereals, Germany cannot cover her home consumption, and imported on the average of the six years 1900 1905 about 41/2 million tons of cereals to supply the deficiency. The potato is largely cultivated, not merely for food, but for distillation into spirits. This manufacture is prosecuted especially in eastern Germany. The number of distilleries throughout the German empire was, in 1905-1906, 68,405. The common beet (Beta vu! garis) is largely grown in some districts for the production of sugar, which has greatly increased of recent years. There are two centres of the beet sugar production: Magdeburg for the districts Prussian Saxony, Hanover, Brunswick, Anhalt and Thuringia, and Frankfort-on-Oder at the centre of the group Silesia, Brandenburg and Pomerania. Flax and hemp are cultivated, though not so much as formerly, for manufacture into linen and canvas, and also rape seed for the production of oil. The home supply of the former no longer suffices for the native demand. The cultivation of hops is in a very thriving condition in the southern states of Germany. The soil occupied by hops was estimated in 1905 at 98,000 acres a larger area than in Great Britain, which had in the same year about 48,000 acres. The total production of hops was 29,000 tons in 1905, and of this over 25,000 were grown in Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Baden and Alsace-Lorraine. Almost the whole yield in hops is consumed in the country by the great breweries.

Tobacco forms a most productive and profitable object of culture in many districts. The total extent tinder this crop in 1905 was about 35,000 acres, of which 45% was in Baden, 12% in Bavaria, 30% in Prussia, and the rest in Alsace and Hesse-Darmstadt. In the north the plant is cultivated principally in Pomerania, Brandenburg and East and West Prussia. Of late years the production has somewhat diminished, owing to the extensive tobacco manufacturing indu~tries of Brernen and Hamburg, which import almost exclusively foreign leaves.

Ulm, Nuremberg, Quedlinburg, Erfurt, Strassburg and Guben are famed for their vegetables and garden seeds. Berlin is noted for its flower nurseries, the Rhine valley, Wurttemberg and the Elbe valley below Dresden for fruit, and Frankfurt-on-main for cider.

The culture of the vine is almost confined to southern and western Germany, and especially to the Rhine district. The northern limits of its growth extend from Bonn in a north-easterly -

direction through Cassel to the southern foot of the Vine.

Harz, crossing 52 N. on the Elbe, running then east some miles to the north of that parallel, and finally turning sharply towards the south-west on the Warthe. In the valley of the Saale and Elbe (near Dresden), and in lower Silesia (between Guben and Grunberg), the number of vineyards is small, and the wines of inferior quality; but along the Rhine from Basel to Coblenz, in Alsace, Baden, the Palatinate and Hesse, and above all in the province of Nassau, the lower slopes of the hills are literally covered with vines. Here are produced the celebrated Rdesheimer, Hochheimer and Johannisberger. The vines of the lower Main, particularly those of Wurzburg, are the best kinds; those of the upper Main and the valley of the Neckar are rather inferior. The Moselle wines are lighter and more acid than those of the Rhine. The total amount produced in Germany is estimated at 1000 million gallons, of a value of 4,000,000; Alsace-Lorraine turning out 400 millions; Baden, 175; Bavaria, Wrttemberg and Hesse together, 300; while the remainder, which though small in quantity is in quality the best, is produced by Prussia.

The cultivation of grazing lands in Germany has been greatly improved in recent times and is in a highly prosperous condition.

The provinces of Schleswig-Holstein, Pomerania, Hanover Li stock (especially the marsh-lands near the sea) and the grand- ye duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin are particularly remarkable in this respect. The best meadow-lands of Bavaria are in the province of Franconia and in the outer range of the Alps, and those of Saxony in the Erzgebirge. Wurttemberg, Hesse and Thuringia also yield cattle of excellent quality. These large cattle-rearing centres not only supply the home markets but export live stock in considerable quantities to England and France. Butter is also largely exported to England from the North Sea districts and from Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg. The breeding of horses has attained a great perfection. The main centre is in East and West Prussia, then follow the marsh districts on the Elbe and Weser, some parts of Westphalia, Oldenburg, Lippe, Saxony and upper Silesia, lower Bavaria and klsace-Lorraine. Of the stud farms Trakehnen in East Prussia and Graditz in the Prussian province of Saxony enjoy a European reputation. The aggregate number of sheep has shown a considerable falling off, and the rearing of them is mostly carried on only. on large estates, the number showing only 9,692,50, in 1900, and 7,907,200 in 1904, as against 28,000,000 in 1860. As a rule, sheep-farming is resorted to where the soil is of inferior quality and unsuitable for tillage and the breeding of cattle. Far more attention is accordingly given to sheep-farming in northern and north-eastern Germany than in Schleswig-Holstein, Westphalia, the Rhineland and south Germany. The native demand for wool is not covered by the home production, and in this article the export from the United Kingdom to Germany is steadily rising, having amounted in 1905

to a value of 1,691,035, as against 742,632 in 1900. The largest stock of pigs is in central Germany and Saxony, in Westphalia, on the lower Rhine, in Lorraine and Hesse. Central Germany (especially Gotha and Brunswick) exports sausages and hams largely, as well as Westphalia, but here again considerable importation takes place from other countries. Goats are found everywhere, but especially in the hilly districts. Poultry farming is a considerable industry, thegeeseof Pomerania and thefowls of Thuringia and Lorraine being in especial favor. Bee-keeping is of considerable importance, particularly in north Germany and Silesia.

On the whole, despite the prosperous condition of the German live-stock farming, the consumption of meat exceeds the amount rendered available by home production, and prices can only be kept down by a steady increase in the imports from abroad.

Fisheries.The German fisheries, long of little importance, have been carefully fostered within recent years. The deep-sea fishing in the North Sea, thanks to the exertions of the German fishing league (Deulscher Fischereiverein) and to government support, is extremely active. Trawlers are extensively employed, and steamers bring the catches directly to the large fish markets at Geestemnde and Altona, whence facilities are afforded by the railways for the rapid transport of fish to Berlin and other centres. The fish mostly caught are cod, haddock and herrings, while Heligoland yields lobsters, and the islands of Fhr, Amrum and Sylt oysters of good quality. The German North Sea fishing fleet numbered in 1905 6i8 boats, with an aggregate crew of 5441 hands. Equally well developed are the Baltic fisheries, the chief ports engaged in which are Danzig, Eckernfrde, Kolherg and Travemnde. The principal catch is haddock and herring.s. The catch of the North Sea and Baltic fisheries in 1906 was valued at over 700,000, exclusive of herrings for salting. The fisheries do not, however, supply the demand for fish, and fresh, salt and dried fish is imported largely in excess of the home yield.

Mines and Minerals.Germany abounds in minerals, and the extraordinary industrial development of the country since 1870 is largely due to its mineral wealth. Having left France much behind in this respect, it now rivals Great Britain and the United States.

Germany produces more silver than any other European state, and the quantity is annually increasing. It is extracted from the ores in the mines of Freiburg (Saxony), the Harz Mountains, upper Silesia, Merseburg, Aix-la-Chapelle, Wiesbaden and Arnsberg. Gold is found in the sand of the rivers Isar, Inn and Rhine, and also, to a limited extent, on the Harz. The quantity yielded in 1905 was, of silver, about 400 tons of a value of I,fioo,00cs, and gold, about 4 tons, valued at about 548,000.

Lead is produced in considerable quantities in upper Silesia, the Harz Mountains, in the Prussian province of Nassau, in the Saxon Erzgebirge and in the Sauerland. The yield in 1905 amounted to about 153,000 tons; of which 20,000 tons were exported.

Copper is found principally in the Mansfeld district of the Prussian province of Saxony and near Arnsberg in the Sauerland, the ore yielding 31,713 tons in 1905, of which 5000 tons were exported.

About 90% of the zinc produced in Europe is yielded by Belgium and Germany. It is mostly found in upper Silesia, around Beuthen, and in the districts of Wiesbaden and Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1905 no less than 198,000 tons of block zinc were produced, of which 16,500 tons were exported.

Of other minerals (with the exceptions of coal, iron and salt treated below) nickel and antimony are found in the upper Harz; cobalt in the hilly districts of Hesse and the Saxon Erzgebirge; arsenic in the Riesengebirge; quicksilver in the Sauerland and in the spurs of the Saarbrucken coal hills; graphite in Bavaria; porcelain clay in Saxony and Silesia; amber along the whole Baltic coast; and lime and gypsum in almost all parts.

Coal-mining appears to have been first practised in the I4thcentur at Zwickau (Saxony) and on the Ruhr. There are six large coa -

Coal fields, occupying an area of about 3600 sq. m., of which the most important occt~ies the basin of the Ruhr, its extent being estimated at 2800 sq. m. Here there are more ,than 6o beds, of a total thickness of 150 to 200 ft. of coal; and theamount in the pits has been estimated at 45,000 millions of tons. Smaller fields are found near Osnabruck, Ibbenbbren and Minden, and a larger one near Aix-la-Chapelle. The Saar coal-field, within the area enclosed by the rivers Saar, Nahe and Blies (460 sq. m.), is of great importance. The thickness of 80 beds amounts to 250 ft., and the total mass of coal is estimated at 45,400 million tons. The greater part of the basin belongs to Prussia, the rest to Lorraine. A still larger field exists in the upper Silesian basin, on the borderland between Austria and Poland, containing about 50.000 million tons. Beuthen is the chief centre. The Silesian coal-fields have a second centre in \Valdenhurg, east of the Riesengebirge. The Saxon coal-fields stretch eastwards for some miles from Zwickau. Deposits of less consequence are found in upper Bavaria, upper Franconia, Baden, the Harz and elsewhere.

The following table shows the rapidly increasing development of the coal production. That of lignite is added, the provinces of Saxony and Brandenburg being rich in this product: Production of Coal and Lignite.

F Coal. Lignite.

Year. - -

Quantities. Value. Hands. Quantities. Value.

Mill. Tons. Mill. Mks. Mill. Tons. Mill. Mks.

1871 29-4 218-4.. 8-5 26-2

i8Si 48-7 252-3 186,000 12-8 38-I

189i 73-7 589-5 283,000 20.5 54.2

r899 ,ioi.6 789.6 379,000 34-2 78.4

1900 109.3 966.1 414,000 40.5 98.5

1905 121-2 1049-9 490.000 52.5 1222

This production permits a considerable export of coal to the west and south of the empire, but the distance from the coal-fields to the German coast is such that the import of British coal cannot yet be dispensed with (1905, over 7,000,000 tons). Besides this, from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 tons of lignite come annually from Bohemia. In north Germany peat is also of importance as a fuel; the area of the peat moors in Prussia is estimated at 8000 sq. m., of which 2000 are in the north of Hanover.

The iron-fields of Germany fall into three main groups: those of the lower Rhine and Westphalia, of which Dortmund and Dsseldorf are the centres; those of Lorraine and the Saar; and those of upper Silesia. The output of the ore has enormously increased of recent years, and the production of pig iron, as given for I 905, amounted to 10,875,000 tons of a value of 28,900,000.

Germany possesses abundant saltdeposits. The actual production not only covers the home consumption, but also allows a yearly increasing exportation, especially to Russia, Austriaand Scandinavia. The provinces of Saxony and Hanover, with Thuringia and Anhalt, produce half the whole amount. A large salt-work is found at Strzalkowo (Posen), and smaller ones near Dortmund, Lippstadt and Minden (Westphalia). In south Germany salt abounds most in WUrttemberg (Hall, Heilbronn, Rottweil); the principal Bavarian works are at the foot of the Alps near Freilassing and Rosenheim. Hesse and Baden, Lorraine and the upper Palatinate have also saltworks. The total yield of mined salt amounted in 1905 to 6,209,000 tons, including 1,165,000 tons of rock salt. The production has made great advance, having in 1850 been only 5 million cwts.

Manufactures.In no other country of the world has the manufacturing industry made such rapid strides within recent years as in Germany. This extraordinary development of industrial energy embraces practically all classes of manufactured articles. In a general way the chief manufactures may be geographically distributed as follows. Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine, Bavaria and Saxony are the chief seats of the iron manufacture. Steel is produced in Rhenish Prussia. Saxony is predominant in the production of textiles, though Silesia and Westphalia manufacture linen. Cotton goods are largely produced in Baden, Bavaria, Alsace-Lorraine and Wurttemberg, woollens and worsteds in Saxony and the Rhine province, silk in Rhen.ish Prussia (Elberfeld), Alsace and Baden. Glass and porcelain are largely produced in Bavaria; lace in Sxony; tobacco in Bremen and Hamburg; chemicals in the Prussian province of Saxony; watches in Saxony (Glashutte) and Nuremberg; toys in Bavaria; gold and silver filagree in Berlin and Aschaffenburg; and beer in Bavaria and Prussia.

It is perhaps more in respect of its iron industry than of its other manufactures that Germany has attained a leading position in the markets of the world. Its chief centres are in Westphalia and the Rhine province (auf roter Erde), in upper Silesia, htoi~

in Alsace-Lorraine and in Saxony. Ofthetotal production Engels of pig iron in 1905 amounting to over 10,000,000 tons, more than the half was produced in the Rhineland and Westphalia. Huge blast furnaces are in constant activity, and the output of rolled iron and steel is constantly increasing. In the latter the greatest advance has been made. The greater part of it is produced at or around Essen, where are the famous Krupp works, and BochUm. Many states have been for a considerable time supplied by Krupp with steel guns and battleship plates. The export of steel (railway) rails and bridges from this part is steadily on the increase.

Hardware also, the production of which is centred in Solingen, Heilbronn, Esslingen, &c., is largely exported. Germany stands second to Great Britain in the manufacture of machines and engines. There are in many large cities of north Germany extensive establishments for this purpose, but the industry is not limited to the large cities. In agricultural machinery Germany is a serious competitor with England. The locomotives and wagons for theGerman railways are almost exclusively built in Germany; and Russia, as well as Austria, receives large supplies of railway plant from German works. In shipbuilding, likewise, Germany is practically independent, yards having been established for the construction of the largest vessels.

Before 1871 ,the production of cotton fabrics in France exceeded that in Germany, but as the cotton manufacture is pursued largely in Alsace, the balance is now _______ I against the former country. In 1905 there Cotton were about 9,000,000 spindles in Germany. The and an s. export of the goods manufactured amounted in textiles.

this year to an estimated value of 19,600,000. Cotton spinning and weaving are not confined to one district, but 60 are prosecuted in upper Alsace (MUihausen, Gebweiler, 25, 0 Colmar), in Saxony (Zwickau, Chemnitz, Annaberg), in 35,700 Silesia (Breslau, Liegnitz<