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


Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark

Geographic coordinates:

51 00 N, 9 00 E


total: 357,021 sq km
land: 349,223 sq km
water: 7,798 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 3,621 km
border countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 646 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km


2,389 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind


lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m

Natural resources:

coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land

Land use:

arable land: 33.13%
permanent crops: 0.6%
other: 66.27% (2005)

Irrigated land:

4,850 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:


Environment - current issues:

emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive

Geography - note:

strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea


82,422,299 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 14.1% (male 5,973,437/female 5,665,971)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 27,889,936/female 26,874,858)
65 years and over: 19.4% (male 6,602,478/female 9,415,619) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 42.6 years
male: 41.3 years
female: 43.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.02% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

8.25 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

10.62 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

2.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 78.8 years
male: 75.81 years
female: 81.96 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

43,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 1,000 (2003 est.)


noun: German(s)
adjective: German

Ethnic groups:

German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)


Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%




definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich

Government type:

federal republic



Administrative divisions:

13 states (Laender, singular - Land) and 3 free states* (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern*, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen*, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen*


18 January 1871 (German Empire unification); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and later, France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; unification of West Germany and East Germany took place 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights 15 March 1991

National holiday:

Unity Day, 3 October (1990)


23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united German people 3 October 1990

Legal system:

civil law system with indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Federal Assembly or Bundestag (613 seats; elected by popular vote under a system combining direct and proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain representation; members serve four-year terms) and the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments are directly represented by votes; each has three to six votes depending on population and are required to vote as a block)
elections: Federal Assembly - last held 18 September 2005 (next to be held September 2009); note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Federal Assembly - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 35.2%, SPD 34.3%, FDP 9.8%, Left 8.7%, Greens 8.1%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 225, SPD 222, FDP 61, Left 54, Greens 51

Judicial branch:

Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat)

Economy - overview:

Germany's affluent and technologically powerful economy - the fifth largest in the world - has become one of the slowest growing economies in the euro zone. A quick turnaround is not in the offing in the foreseeable future. Growth in 2001-03 fell short of 1%, rising to 1.7% in 2004 before falling back to 0.9% in 2005. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $70 billion. Germany's aging population, combined with high unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions from workers. Structural rigidities in the labor market - including strict regulations on laying off workers and the setting of wages on a national basis - have made unemployment a chronic problem. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations that could allow Germany to meet the long-term challenges of European economic integration and globalization, particularly if labor market rigidities are further addressed. In the short run, however, the fall in government revenues and the rise in expenditures have raised the deficit above the EU's 3% debt limit.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.454 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.764 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

0.9% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$29,800 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 28.6%
services: 70.3% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

43.32 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 33.4%
services: 63.8% (1999)

Unemployment rate:

11.6% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.1% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

28.3 (2000)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

17.1% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $1.249 trillion
expenditures: $1.362 trillion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

68.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; cattle, pigs, poultry


among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles

Industrial production growth rate:

1.7% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

558.1 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

510.4 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

54.1 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

45.4 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

158,700 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - consumption:

2.677 million bbl/day (2003)

Oil - exports:

12,990 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - imports:

2.135 million bbl/day (2003)

Oil - proved reserves:

395.8 million bbl (1 January 2004)

Natural gas - production:

22.22 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

93.88 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

7.731 billion cu m (2003)

Natural gas - imports:

85.02 billion cu m (2003)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

305.8 billion cu m (1 January 2004)

Current account balance:

$119.8 billion (2005 est.)


$1.016 trillion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs, textiles

Exports - partners:

France 10.3%, US 8.8%, UK 8.3%, Italy 7.2%, Netherlands 6.2%, Belgium 5.6%, Austria 5.4%, Spain 5% (2004)


$801 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, metals

Imports - partners:

France 9%, Netherlands 8.3%, US 7%, Italy 6.1%, UK 5.9%, China 5.6%, Belgium 4.9%, Austria 4.2% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$97.17 billion (2004 est.)

Debt - external:

$3.626 trillion (30 June 2005)

Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $5.6 billion (1998)

Currency (code):

euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

54.574 million (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

71.3 million (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: Germany has one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country, dating back to World War II, has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part
domestic: Germany is served by an extensive system of automatic telephone exchanges connected by modern networks of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system; cellular telephone service is widely available, expanding rapidly, and includes roaming service to many foreign countries
international: country code - 49; Germany's international service is excellent worldwide, consisting of extensive land and undersea cable facilities as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (2001)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 51, FM 787, shortwave 4 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

373 (plus 8,042 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

7,657,162 (2005)

Internet users:

48,722,055 (2005)


552 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 332
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 55
1,524 to 2,437 m: 58
914 to 1,523 m: 73
under 914 m: 134 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 220
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 183 (2005)


33 (2005)


condensate 325 km; gas 25,293 km; oil 3,540 km; refined products 3,827 km (2004)


total: 46,166 km (20,100 km electrified)
standard gauge: 45,928 km 1.435-m gauge (20,084 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 214 km 1.000-m gauge (16 km electrified); 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2004)


total: 231,581 km
paved: 231,581 km (including 12,037 km of expressways) (2003)


7,467 km
note: Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 396 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,833,329 GRT/12,866,273 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, cargo 72, chemical tanker 14, container 267, liquefied gas 3, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 25, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 3 (Finland 2, Switzerland 1)
registered in other countries: 2,303 (Antigua and Barbuda 853, Australia 3, The Bahamas 12, Belgium 1, Belize 3, Bermuda 1, Brazil 7, Bulgaria 1, Burma 5, Cambodia 1, Canada 3, Cayman Islands 14, Cyprus 211, Ecuador 1, Faroe Islands 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 2, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 106, Guyana 1, Hong Kong 7, Ireland 3, Isle of Man 55, Jamaica 2, North Korea 1, Liberia 510, Luxembourg 8, Malaysia 2, Malta 59, Marshall Islands 157, Morocco 2, Netherlands 58, Netherlands Antilles 52, NZ 1, Norway 2, Panama 29, Philippines 2, Portugal 17, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11, Samoa 1, Singapore 7, Spain 11, Sri Lanka 8, Sweden 4, Tuvalu 2, UK 63) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brunsbuttel, Duisburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Mainz, Rostock, Wilhemshaven

Military branches:

Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service, Central Medical Service

Disputes - international:


Illicit drugs:

source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center