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East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn as a provisional capital, to emphasise its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial and temporary status quo.
West Germany was established as a federal parliamentary republic with a " social market economy ". Starting in West Germany became a major recipient of reconstruction aid under the Marshall Plan and used this to rebuild its industry.
In summer , Hungary decided to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders, causing the emigration of thousands of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary.
This had devastating effects on the GDR, where regular mass demonstrations received increasing support. The East German authorities eased the border restrictions, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West; originally intended to help retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process.
This culminated in the Two Plus Four Treaty a year later on 12 September , 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 , with the accession of the five re-established states of the former GDR. The united Germany is considered to be the enlarged continuation of the Federal Republic of Germany and not a successor state.
Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union. Together with its European partners Germany signed the Maastricht Treaty in , established the Eurozone in , and signed the Lisbon Treaty in In the elections , Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany as the leader of a grand coalition.
In , a liberal - conservative coalition under Merkel assumed leadership of the country. In , a grand coalition was established in a Third Merkel cabinet.
Among the major German political projects of the early 21st century are the advancement of European integration , the energy transition Energiewende for a sustainable energy supply, the " Debt Brake " for balanced budgets, measures to increase the fertility rate significantly pronatalism , and high-tech strategies for the future transition of the German economy, summarised as Industry 4.
Germany was affected by the European migrant crisis in as it became the final destination of choice for many asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East entering the EU.
The country took in over a million refugees and migrants and developed a quota system which redistributed migrants around its federal states based on their tax income and existing population density.
Germany is in Western and Central Europe , with Denmark bordering to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, Switzerland to the south-southwest, France, Luxembourg and Belgium lie to the west, and the Netherlands to the northwest.
Germany is also bordered by the North Sea and, at the north-northeast, by the Baltic Sea. With Switzerland and Austria, Germany also shares a border on the fresh-water Lake Constance , the third largest lake in Central Europe.
It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 64th largest in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps highest point: The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany lowest point: Significant natural resources include iron ore, coal, potash , timber, lignite , uranium , copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land and water.
Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate dominated by humid westerly winds. The country is situated in between the oceanic Western European and the continental Eastern European climate.
This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea; consequently in the northwest and the north the climate is oceanic. Winters are cool and summers tend to be warm: The east has a more continental climate: Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental.
In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central German Uplands have a mountain climate, with lower temperatures and more precipitation.
Though the German climate is rarely extreme, there are occasional spikes of cold or heat. Winter temperatures can sometimes drop to two-digit negative temperatures for a few days in a row.
Conversely, summer can see periods of very high temperatures for a week or two. The recorded extremes are a maximum of The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.
Plants and animals include those generally common to Central 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.
Wild animals include roe deer , wild boar , mouflon a subspecies of wild sheep , fox , badger , hare , and small numbers of the Eurasian beaver.
In addition, there are 15 Biosphere Reserves , as well as 98 nature parks. More than registered zoos and animal parks operate in Germany, which is believed to be the largest number in any country.
Germany has a number of large cities. There are 11 officially recognised metropolitan regions in Germany. The largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region Germany is a federal , parliamentary , representative democratic republic.
The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the constitution known as the Grundgesetz Basic Law.
Amendments generally require a two-thirds majority of both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat ; 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.
The president , Frank-Walter Steinmeier 19 March —present , is the head of state and 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 Chancellor, Angela Merkel 22 November —present , is the head of government and exercises executive power through their Cabinet , 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 the legislative body.
The Bundestag is elected through direct elections , by proportional representation mixed-member. So far every chancellor has been a member of one of these parties.
In the German federal election, , the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany gained enough votes to attain representation in the parliament for the first time.
The debt-to-GDP ratio of Germany had its peak in when it stood at Germany has a civil law system based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law.
The Bundesverfassungsgericht Federal Constitutional Court is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review.
The German penal system seeks the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of the public. Germany has a low murder rate with 0.
Two of the states are city-states consisting of just one city: The state of Bremen consists of two cities that are separated from each other by the state of Lower Saxony: Because of the differences in size and population, the subdivisions of the states vary.
As of [update] Germany is divided into districts Kreise at a municipal level; these consist of rural districts and urban districts.
Germany has a network of diplomatic missions abroad  and maintains relations with more than countries.
It has played an influential role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France and all neighbouring countries since Germany promotes the creation of a more unified European political, economic and security apparatus.
The development policy of Germany is an independent area of foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and carried out by the implementing organisations.
The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community. In absolute terms, German military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world.
As of [update] the Bundeswehr employed roughly , service members, including about 9, volunteers. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence.
In state of defence , the Chancellor would become commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr. The role of the Bundeswehr is described in the Constitution of Germany as defensive only.
But after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in the term "defence" has been defined to not only include protection of the borders of Germany, but also crisis reaction and conflict prevention, or more broadly as guarding the security of Germany anywhere in the world.
As of [update] , the German military has about 3, troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, including about 1, supporting operations against Daesh , in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and in Kosovo.
Until , military service was compulsory for men at age 18, and conscripts served six-month tours of duty; conscientious objectors could instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst civilian service , or a six-year commitment to voluntary emergency services like a fire department or the Red Cross.
In conscription was officially suspended and replaced with a voluntary service. Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled labour force , a large capital stock , a low level of corruption,  and a high level of innovation.
Germany is part of the European single market which represents more than million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union EU members and by EU legislation.
Germany introduced the common European currency, the Euro in Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank , which is headquartered in Frankfurt , the financial centre of continental Europe.
Being home to the modern car , the automotive industry in Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world,  and is the fourth largest by production.
Germany is recognised for its large portion of specialised small and medium enterprises , known as the Mittelstand model. More than 1, of these companies are global market leaders in their segment and are labelled hidden champions.
The list includes the largest German companies by revenue in With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub for the continent.
Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. Germany is committed to the Paris Agreement and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, water management , and the renewable energy commercialisation.
Germany is a global leader in science and technology as its achievements in the fields of science and technology have been significant.
Research and development efforts form an integral part of the economy. Albert Einstein introduced the special relativity and general relativity theories for light and gravity in and respectively.
Along with Max Planck , he was instrumental in the introduction of quantum mechanics , in which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born later made major contributions.
Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers , including Hans Geiger , the creator of the Geiger counter ; and Konrad Zuse , who built the first fully automatic digital computer.
The Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald hosts a facility in the research of fusion power for instance. Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world,  with a total of million overnights during In , over Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe.
Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over EUR Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.
With a population of The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is Four sizeable groups of people are referred to as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries: Approximately 5 million Germans live abroad Auslandsdeutsche.
After the United States , Germany is the second most popular immigration destination in the world. The Federal Statistical Office classifies the citizens by immigrant background.
Regarding the immigrant background, In census, as people with immigrant background Personen mit Migrationshintergrund were counted all immigrants, including ethnic Germans that came to the federal republic or had at least one parent settling here after In the s and s, the German governments invited "guest workers" Gastarbeiter to migrate to Germany for work in the German industries.
As of [update] , the largest national group was from Turkey 2,, , followed by Poland 1,, , Russia 1,, , and Italy , Upon its establishment in , Germany was about two-thirds Protestant [f] and one-third Roman Catholic , with a notable Jewish minority.
Other faiths existed in the state, but never achieved a demographic significance and cultural impact of these three confessions.
Germany lost nearly all of its Jewish minority during the Holocaust. Religious makeup changed gradually in the decades following , with West Germany becoming more religiously diversified through immigration and East Germany becoming overwhelmingly irreligious through state policies.
It continues to diversify after the German reunification in , with an accompanying substantial decline in religiosity throughout all of Germany and a contrasting increase of evangelical Protestants and Muslims.
Geographically, Protestantism is concentrated in the northern, central and eastern parts of the country. According to the German Census , Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, claiming Other religions accounted for 2.
According to the most recent data from , the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church claimed respectively Islam is the second largest religion in the country.
All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50, adherents each. German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany.
To a lesser extent, it is also related to the North Germanic languages , and the extinct East Germanic languages , to an even lesser extent.
Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. German is written using the Latin alphabet.
German dialects , traditional local varieties traced back to the Germanic tribes, are distinguished from varieties of standard German by their lexicon , phonology , and syntax.
German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union , with around million native speakers. The most used immigrant languages are Turkish , Kurdish , Polish , the Balkan languages , and Russian.
Germans are typically multilingual: The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with institutes.
It is offering the study of the German language and encouraging global cultural exchange. Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states.
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 to six years. A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree.
It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school. Most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment.
However, there are a number of exceptions, depending on the state, the college and the subject. Tuition free academic education is open to international students and is increasingly common.
Germany has a long tradition of higher education. The established universities in Germany include some of the oldest in the world , with Heidelberg University established in being the oldest.
In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence: Currently the population is covered by a health insurance plan provided by statute, with criteria allowing some groups to opt for a private health insurance contract.
A study shows Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe. Culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular.
Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker "the land of poets and thinkers" ,  because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.
Germany is well known for such folk festival traditions as Oktoberfest and Christmas customs , which include Advent wreaths , Christmas pageants , Christmas trees , Stollen cakes, and other practices.
In the 21st century Berlin has emerged as a major international creative centre. During his tenure as violinist and teacher at the Salzburg cathedral, Augsburg-born composer Leopold Mozart mentored one of the most noted musicians of all time: Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras.
Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms composed in the Romantic idiom. Richard Wagner was known for his operas. Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.
Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Zimmer are important composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Germany is the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world.
German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre. Paul van Dyk , Paul Kalkbrenner , and Scooter.
German painters have influenced western art. The New Objectivity arose as a counter-style to it during the Weimar Republic.
Other notable artists who work with traditional media or figurative imagery include Martin Kippenberger , Gerhard Richter , Sigmar Polke , and Neo Rauch.
Major art exhibitions and festivals in Germany are the documenta , the Berlin Biennale , transmediale and Art Cologne. Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles , which were precursors of Romanesque.
Brick Gothic is a distinctive medieval style that evolved in Germany. Also in Renaissance and Baroque art, regional and typically German elements evolved e.
Weser Renaissance and Dresden Baroque. The Wessobrunner School exerted a decisive influence on, and at times even dominated, the art of stucco in southern Germany in the 18th century.
The Upper Swabian Baroque Route offers a baroque-themed tourist route that highlights the contributions of such artists and craftsmen as the sculptor and plasterer Johann Michael Feuchtmayer , one of the foremost members of the Feuchtmayer family and the brothers Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Dominikus Zimmermann.
Notable sub-styles that evolved since the 18th century are the German spa and seaside resort architecture. Expressionist architecture developed in the s in Germany and influenced Art Deco and other modern styles, with e.
Germany was particularly important in the early modernist movement: Consequently, Germany is often considered the cradle of modern architecture and design.
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. The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level.
German philosophy is historically significant: The German video gaming market is one of the largest in the world. German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film.
The first works of the Skladanowsky Brothers were shown to an audience in The defining film genre in West Germany of the s was arguably the Heimatfilm "homeland film" ; these films depicted the beauty of the land and the moral integrity of the people living in it.
Various Germans won an "Oscar" award for their performances in other films. German cuisine varies from region to region and often neighbouring regions share some culinary similarities e.
International varieties such as pizza , sushi , Chinese food , Greek food , Indian cuisine and doner kebab are also popular. German cheeses account for about a third of all cheese produced in Europe.
Germans produce their ubiquitous sausages in almost 1, varieties, including Bratwursts and Weisswursts. Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, especially close to German wine regions ,  the national alcoholic drink is beer.
The Michelin Guide awarded eleven restaurants in Germany three stars , the highest designation, while 38 more received two stars and one star.
Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue sports individually. With more than 6. Other popular spectator sports include winter sports , boxing , basketball , handball , volleyball , ice hockey , tennis , horse riding and golf.
Water sports like sailing , rowing , and swimming are popular in Germany as well. Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world.
Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race 19 times, and Audi 13 times as of [update].
He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history. Historically, German athletes have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games , ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count when combining East and West German medals.
Germany was the last country to host both the summer and winter games in the same year, in the Berlin Summer Games and the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
German designers became early leaders of modern product design , with the Bauhaus designers like Mies van der Rohe , and Dieter Rams of Braun being essential pioneers.
Germany is a leading country in the fashion industry. The German textile industry consisted of about 1, companies with more than , employees in , which generated a revenue of 28 billion Euro.
Almost 44 per cent of the products are exported. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Germany disambiguation and Deutschland disambiguation.
For the country from to , see West Germany. Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe.
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Forbundsrepublikken Tyskland Low German: Federalni Republika Jermaniya North Frisian: Since , the third verse alone has been the national anthem.
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Zoos and Aquariums of America. In the s and 80s, efforts were made by conservatives in Germany to reclaim all three stanzas for the anthem.
The opening line of the third stanza, " Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit " "Unity and Justice and Freedom" , is widely considered to be the national motto of Germany, although it was never officially proclaimed as such.
The first verse, which is no longer part of the national anthem and is not sung on official occasions, names three rivers and one strait — the Meuse Maas in German , Adige Etsch and Neman Memel Rivers and the Little Belt strait — as the boundaries of the German Sprachbund.
As the song was written before German unification, there was never an intention to deliniate borders of Germany as a nation-state.
Nevertheless, these geographical references have been variously criticized as irredentist or misleading. The Belt strait and the Neman later became actual boundaries of Germany the Belt until , the Neman until , whereas the Meuse and Adige were not parts of the German Reich as of Today, no part of any of the four places mentioned in the " Deutschlandlied " lies in Germany.
In an ethnic sense, none of these places formed a distinct ethnic border. The Duchy of Schleswig to which the Belt refers was inhabited by both Germans and Danes, with the Danes forming a clear majority near the strait.
Around the Adige there was a mix of German, Venetian and Gallo-Italian speakers, and the area around the Neman was not homogeneously German, but also accommodated Lithuanians.
The Meuse if taken as referencing the Duchy of Limburg , nominally part of the German Confederation for 28 years due to the political consequences of the Belgian Revolution , was ethnically Dutch with few Germans.
Nevertheless, such nationalistic rhetoric was relatively common in 19th-century public discourse. Despite the text and tune of the song being quite peaceful compared to some other national anthems, the song has frequently been criticised for its generally nationalistic tone, the immodest geographic definition of Germany given in the first stanza, and the alleged male-chauvinistic attitude in the second stanza.
However, the latter misleading translation was chosen by the Allies during both World Wars for propaganda purposes.
German president Theodor Heuss , upon request from chancellor Konrad Adenauer , declared the Lied der Deutschen the national anthem of the German Federal Republic in May , along with the provision that only the third verse was to be sung at official occasions.
As a result, the Lied implicitly in its entirety was declared the national anthem, with the provision that the third verse would have precedence.
The inclusion of the first two verses was met with criticism at the time. The first two verses are therefore no longer part of the national anthem, and the performance of the first verse in some cases has been portrayed as controversial.
In , Pete Doherty was supposed to sing the German national anthem live on radio at Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. As he sang the first verse, he was booed by the audience.
A spokesperson for Bayerischer Rundfunk welcomed the response, stating that otherwise further cooperation with Doherty would not have been possible.
When the first verse was played as the German national anthem at the canoe sprint world championships in Hungary in August , German athletes were reportedly "appalled".
Similarly, in the first verse was mistakenly sung by Will Kimble, a U. In an unsuccessful attempt to drown out the soloist, German tennis players and fans started to sing the third verse instead.
Unity and justice and freedom For the German fatherland; This let us all pursue, Brotherly with heart and hand.
Unity and justice and freedom Are the pledge of fortune. It gained some currency after the unification of Germany, with a number of prominent Germans opting for his "antihymn" to be made official: Grace spare not and spare no labour Passion nor intelligence That a decent German nation Flourish as do other lands.
That the people give up flinching At the crimes which we evoke And hold out their hand in friendship As they do to other folk. The German musician Nico sometimes performed the national anthem at concerts and dedicated it to militant Andreas Baader , leader of the Red Army Faction.
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