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  Introduction Back To Top

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

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 38.01 cu km/yr (12%/68%/20%)
per capita: 460 cu m/yr (2001)

Total renewable water resources:
188 cu km (2005)

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

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
51 00 N, 9 00 E

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

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

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

Geography - note:
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea

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

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

2,389 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Montana

Irrigated land:
4,850 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:

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

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.41 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
43,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.1 years
male: 76.11 years
female: 82.26 years (2008 est.)

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

Net migration rate:
2.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

People - note:
second most populous country in Europe after Russia

Median age:
total: 43.4 years
male: 42.2 years
female: 44.7 years (2008 est.)

82,369,552 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.6% of GDP (2004)

Population growth rate:
-0.044% (2008 est.)


Death rate:
10.8 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.8% (male 5,826,066/female 5,524,568)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 27,763,917/female 26,739,934)
65 years and over: 20% (male 6,892,743/female 9,622,320) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
8.18 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

noun: German(s)
adjective: German

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires John KOENIG
embassy: Pariser Platz 2, 10117 Berlin; note - new embassy opened 4 July 2008
mailing address: PSC 120, Box 1000, APO AE 09265, Clayallee 170, 14195 Berlin
telephone: [49] (030) 2385174
FAX: [49] (030) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general: Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich

National holiday:
Unity Day, 3 October (1990)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
federal republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: business associations and employers' organizations; religious, trade unions, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Klaus SCHARIOTH
chancery: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
FAX: [1] (202) 298-4249
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Assembly or Bundestag (614 seats; elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition) and the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each has three to six votes depending on population and are required to vote as a block)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 18 September 2005 (next to be held no later than autumn 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: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 35.2%, SPD 34.3%, FDP 9.8%, Left 8.7%, Greens 8.1%, other 3.9%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 225, SPD 222, FDP 61, Left 53, Greens 51, independents 2

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

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold

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

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
Alliance '90/Greens [Claudia ROTH and Cem OEZDEMIR]; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]; Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]; Free Democratic Party or FDP [Guido WESTERWELLE]; Left Party or Die Linke [Lothar BISKY and Oskar LAFONTAINE]; Social Democratic Party or SPD [Franz MUENTEFERING]

name: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

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

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Horst KOEHLER (since 1 July 2004)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor
elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held 23 May 2004 (next scheduled for 23 May 2009); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Assembly for a four-year term; Bundestag vote for Chancellor last held 22 November 2005 (next will follow the national elections to be held by 27 September 2009)
election results: Horst KOEHLER elected president; received 604 votes of the Federal Convention against 589 for Gesine SCHWAN; Angela MERKEL elected chancellor; vote by Federal Assembly 397 to 202 with 12 abstentions

Administrative divisions:
16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat)

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
France 9.7%, US 7.5%, UK 7.3%, Italy 6.7%, Netherlands 6.4%, Austria 5.4%, Belgium 5.3%, Spain 5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
549.1 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

Electricity - imports:
42.87 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$267.1 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$4.489 trillion (30 June 2007)

Unemployment rate:
note: this is the International Labor Organization's estimated rate for international comparisons; Germany's Federal Employment Office estimated a seasonally adjusted rate of 10.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
563,400 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$34,800 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
18.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$5.081 trillion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.863 trillion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.818 trillion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
27 (2006)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6734 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
1.7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the Euro Area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 15 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders

Labor force:
43.62 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Netherlands 12%, France 8.6%, Belgium 7.8%, China 6.2%, Italy 5.8%, UK 5.6%, US 4.5%, Austria 4.4% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 30.1%
services: 69% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
3.026 million bbl/day (2005)

$1.53 trillion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
97.44 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
euro (EUR)

Economy - overview:
The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - officially entered a recession in the third quarter of 2008 as the strong euro, high oil prices, tighter credit markets, and slowing growth abroad took their toll on the world's leading goods exporter. Growth - 1.7% in 2008 - is widely expected to contract further in 2009. Recent stimulus and lender relief efforts will cut into Germany's budget surplus and undercut its efforts to balance its budget as planned. Prior to the downturn, stronger growth in 2007 led unemployment in 2008 to fall below 8%, a new post-reunification low. This suggested the end of a long period of chronically high unemployment and stagnation when average growth beween 2001-05 was only 0.6%. Among the most important reasons for Germany's high unemployment during the past decade were macroeconomic stagnation, the declining level of investment in plant and equipment, company restructuring, flat domestic consumption, structural rigidities in the labor market, lack of competition in the service sector, and high interest rates. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy - where unemployment exceeds 30% in some municipalities - continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion. The former government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER launched a comprehensive set of reforms of labor market and welfare-related institutions. The current government of Chancellor Angela MERKEL has initiated other reform measures, such as a gradual increase in the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 67 and measures to increase female participation in the labor market. Germany's aging population, combined with high chronic unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions, but higher government revenues from the cyclical upturn in 2006-07 and a 3% rise in the value-added tax pushed Germany's budget deficit well below the EU's 3% debt limit. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations that could help Germany meet the long-term challenges of European economic integration and globalization, although some economists continue to argue the need for change in inflexible labor and services markets.

Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $10.44 billion (2006)

Natural gas - exports:
12.22 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, metals

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

Electricity - exports:
62.31 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
11% (2001 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.96% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:

Electricity - production:
594.7 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$1.202 trillion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
367 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 29.7%
services: 67.8% (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
254.8 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$136.2 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Oil - consumption:
2.456 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.36 trillion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
62.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$924.7 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.106 trillion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 22.1% (2000)

Exports - commodities:
machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs, textiles

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 61.8%
hydro: 4.2%
nuclear: 29.9%
other: 4.1% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
88.35 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
17.96 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $1.614 trillion
expenditures: $1.579 trillion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
148,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
42.5 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
53.75 million (2007)

51.4 million (1998)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 51, FM 787, shortwave 4 (1998)

77.8 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
97.151 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
373 (plus 8,042 repeaters) (1995)

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)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
200 (2001)

Internet hosts:
22.606 million (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

7,467 km
note: Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea (2008)

condensate 37 km; gas 25,094 km; oil 3,546 km; refined products 3,828 km (2007)

total: 48,215 km
standard gauge: 47,962 km 1.435-m gauge (20,278 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 229 km 1.000-m gauge (16 km electrified); 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Bremen, Bremerhaven, Duisburg, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Lubeck, Rostock, Wilhemshaven

28 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 393
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 43, chemical tanker 13, container 284, liquefied gas 5, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 27, petroleum tanker 11, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 11 (China 2, Cyprus 2, Denmark 1, Finland 4, Netherlands 1, Sweden 1)
registered in other countries: 2,998 (Antigua and Barbuda 941, Australia 2, Bahamas 44, Bermuda 22, Brazil 6, Bulgaria 63, Burma 1, Canada 3, Cayman Islands 15, Cyprus 189, Denmark 9, Denmark 1, Estonia 1, Finland 1, France 1, Georgia 2, Gibraltar 129, Hong Kong 6, India 2, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 56, Jamaica 4, Liberia 849, Luxembourg 5, Malaysia 1, Malta 91, Marshall Islands 235, Mongolia 4, Morocco 2, Netherlands 75, Netherlands Antilles 43, Norway 1, NZ 1, Panama 44, Portugal 2, Portugal 18, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 24, Slovakia 3, Spain 1, Spain 4, Sri Lanka 5, Sweden 5, Turkey 1, UK 76, US 5) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 331
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 52
1,524 to 2,437 m: 58
914 to 1,523 m: 72
under 914 m: 135 (2007)

total: 644,480 km
paved: 644,480 km (includes 12,400 km of expressways)
note: includes local roads (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 219
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 181 (2007)

550 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (conscripts serve a 9-month tour of compulsory military service) (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 19,594,118
females age 16-49: 18,543,955 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 15,906,930
females age 16-49: 15,051,183 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Central Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitaetsdienst) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 442,972
female: 420,801 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.5% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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

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